Thursday, January 31, 2013

That Swagger...

Wow, we've already finished a whole month of 2013!  It seems like time has just flown by!  I am honestly excited for this year.  I have so many plans and big dreams for this year.  It pumps me up to see what the rest of the year holds in store.

Today I noticed something as I was walking out of the gym.  I walk differently.  No, it's not because my legs feel like jelly (even though they do half the time.)  It's a swagger.  

I very rarely have a swagger.  It's completely an "I'm-awesome-and-I-bet-you-can't-do-what-I-just-did" confident swagger.  It feels great to have visible confidence.  I'm the girl that normally walks with her head down, doesn't make eye contact and rarely starts a conversation with a stranger.

But, after the gym, I'm a big dog (in my own head.)  I will answer any question, and look you dead in the eye.  The best thing that comes with my swagger??  I feel damn sexy.

You want to know what makes me feel not sexy after a workout?  The reason I have a waddle rather than a swagger?  Waffles.  Yes, waffles.  Syrup is my major kryptonite.  I love it.  Honestly, I put it on everything.  It sweetens my morning oatmeal.  Before I discovered Stevia I used syrup to sweeten my coffee.  Half the reason I make breakfast for dinner is because of syrup. 

I made 4 different kinds of waffles tonite.  Plain, pumpkin, blueberry, peanut butter, and chocolate chip.  All of them were fat free and they were all delicious.  The girls know that I will always make them 1...just 1 chocolate chip waffle (or pancake.)  That's all I will ever make.


I adapted this recipe from  Vegan Waffle Party
If you want to make it a bit healthier then switch some of the white flour for whole wheat.  You can make it a 50/50 split if you'd like 2 1/2 whole wheat and 2 1/2 white flour.


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups white flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c vanilla yogurt
  • 4 1/2 cups fat free soy milk
  • 6 T sugar free maple syrup
Directions
  1. Mix whole wheat flour, white flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl mix yogurt, soy milk, and syrup
  3. Mix wet ingredients into dry
  4. Heat your waffle iron, spray with pan spray and cook waffles according to manufacturers directions.
Variations

Pumpkin
Measure out about 1 cup of batter and stir in 1/4 cup of pureed pumpkin, a dash of pumpkin pie spice and a tablespoon of syrup

Chocolate chip
Sprinkle a small handful of chocolate chips onto the batter when you get it in waffle iron.

Blueberry
Mix in 1/4 cup of blueberries per 1 cup of batter

Peanut butter
Measure out 1/2 cup of batter and stir in one tablespoon of PB2.

Each plain waffle has about 175 calories.  Not bad unless you're like me and eat 3.5 in one sitting!! 

What do you like to add to your waffles? 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mantha Birthday Recap

Her favorite gift from Kaylee.  A ToothTune!
Special dessert after dinner.  A Publix mini sampler

The Cake!!
 If I had been a bit more ambitious and had more time I would have made this cake 100% from scratch.  The cake, the ice cream, everything would have been homemade.  This cake COULD have been fat free but, it's Mantha's birthday so I decided to go a little crazy.  The ice cream is Low-Fat Moosetracks Frozen Yogurt from Publix and the frosting is made with fat free cool whip and fat free sugar free pudding and skim milk.  Next time I make this I will do step-by-step photos. 


Ice Cream Cake

1 box cake mix (and all the ingredients to make it)
1/2 gallon container of your favorite ice cream, softened
Frosting of your choice (ideas with recipes follow)
Decorating frosting (optional)

Directions
1)  Bake cake according to box directions (I suggest making it an 8 or 9 inch round) and cool.
2)  Slice one layer in half horizontally
3)  In a springform pan a bit larger than your cake layers, put a thick layer of ice cream (I used 2.5 cups per layer but next time I will use 3 or 3.5 per layer) then top layer of the sliced cake, another layer of ice cream, then the bottom layer of cake (flat side up)
4)  Freeze until hard (2-3 hours atleast)
5)  Get your cake out of the pan by turning it upside down (bottom of frozen cake) under a SLOW stream of warm water.
6)  Set the cake on a cake board or plate (I used a larger springform pan bottom) and take the springform pan off. (it will be a bit melty and that's okay)
6)  Freeze until hard (2-3 hours)
7)  Mix your frosting while the cake is freezing
8)  Frost the cake
9)  Freeze until hard (2-3 hours)
10)  Decorate
11)  Freeze again

Take it out 15-30 minutes before you plan  to serve it so it thaws a bit or you won't be able to cut it!

Or, if you don't want to make it yourself then send me an email and I'll custom make one for you and ship it.  (I'm totally serious.  Not joking)

Frosting recipes
1)  Fresh sweetened whipped cream
2)  Plain Cool Whip (any type, fat free, light, full fat, sugar free)

3)  Fat free Cool Whip Frosting
Ingredients
     1 container Fat Free Cool Whip
     1 package of Fat Free Sugar Free Instant Pudding (any flavor you'd like)
     1/2 of the milk that's called for on the pudding package

If you use a large (or 2 normal) Cool Whip(s) then use a large package of pudding.  If you use 1 normal size container of Cool Whip then use the small package of pudding

Directions
1-- Mix pudding and mix
2-- Fold in Cool Whip

So, go out and make yourself one!  It's possible to make it fat free.  What's your favorite ice cream cake combination?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mantha's Birthday

8 years ago I met an amazing little girl.  Her name was Mantha.  My only question is how did she go from this...

  
To this...

But however it happened.  I just wanted to wish her a  
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!




Tomorrow I'll be back with a photo post from her birthday and instructions on how to make an ice cream cake!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Healthy Snack/Dessert For The Kids

Today was one of those days that had 40 bajillion things go wrong.  Actually it was only 3 but they were really annoying. I made myself some angel food cupcakes for Mantha's birthday (since I can't eat her cake.)  I expected a couple dozen cupcakes to come from the mix. NOPE!  It made 50!  REALLY??  I don't need 50 cupcakes for myself.  Then I ate one after dinner and the sugar content is too high and made me fuzzy.  I had mushroom stroganoff planned for dinner.  I decided I would make spaetzle to go under it.  I have made it before and it's worked just fine.  I made it tonite and instead of being noodles it was a gooey, yucky mush.  To top it all off the stroganoff was sub-par, and that killed me. 

BUT, today wasn't all bad.  I took the kids to the park.  We walked since Ken had the car at work.  2 miles round trip.  I was amazed that Sunny made it the whole way.  I found this recipe for Coconut Energy Bites on Sprout's website.  I altered the recipe a bit.  They kids loved them.  I took them to the park with us as a snack.  My one suggestion is that you make sure to keep them cold.  They start to get very soft when they warm up.   


Coconut Energy Bites
(adapted from  Sprout Online)
Makes 16
Nutrition: 106 calories, 4.8 grams of fat, 5.6 grams of sugar

1 1/4 cup plain oatmeal (I used quick cooking)
1/2 cup reduced fat peanut butter
1/2 cup light maple syrup (you can also use honey)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut


Directions
  1. In a food processor, grind oatmeal until fine
  2. In separate bowl mix together peanut butter and syrup
  3. Mix in oatmeal and coconut
  4.  Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, scoop and roll into balls using your hands

Friday, January 25, 2013

Grillin' and Chillin'


Not many of the NaBloPoMo prompts have really "prompted" me this month but, today's came at the perfect time.  The prompt is "How long can you last in a power outage?"  I've just begun to start planning our summer vacation.  I know you're thinking "what does power outages have to do with vacations?"  Well, we are unplugging, boarding the dogs and going on a 4-5 nite camping trip this summer.  We actually love to camp.  We've been a few times but, something has always caused us to cut our trip short.  This time we're boarding the dogs and making sure we have all of the necessary stuff.  

I love to camp because it's a healthy activity.  I always come back a few pounds lighter (and with slightly more toned glutes.  Hiking boots are HEAVY!)  There's a whole slew of reasons why camping is healthy [a quick Google search will bring up a bunch of sites]  

1)  It's exercise that doesn't seem like exercise.
Think about it.  What do you do when you go camping?  You hike. EXERCISE. You swim. EXERCISE.  You fish.  EXERCISE.  You bike.  Yet again, EXERCISE.  You might even go horseback riding.  Hmmmm.....I think that's EXERCISE.  There are a number of other things you can do while you're camping.  None of it seems like exercise but it is.  

2)  You reduce stress.  
Believe it or not stress takes a toll on your health.  When you're camping there's rarely a cell phone signal, there's no place to plug up a laptop, and people rarely bring a TV.  [Anyway, if you're going to bring all that stuff why not stay home??]  There's no one to bother you, it's just you and nature.  Plus seeing a billion stars at nite will relax anybody.  

3)  You sleep better
All the extra exercise makes you sleep better.  

4)  Kids are kids.
"According to the Be Out There campaign from the National Wildlife Federation, the average time a child spends in unstructured outdoor play has plummeted to 4-7 minutes a day, while childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed."  (KOA site cited below)  When you're camping kids get to run around and play for hours on end.  They get to do what kids do best...play!  I know we always bring a few balls and various outdoor toys for the girls to play with at the campsite.  

You also get to reconnect with nature and the people you're with.  I learn more about  the girls in the 3 days we're camping then I do in a month at home.  But you wanna know Ken's favorite  thing to do while we're camping?  GRILL!  

He actually could survive without a stove at all.  But grilling is actually a really healthy cooking method.  Why?  Well, let's find out:

1)  Less fat
When you grill animal products (beef, chicken, lamb, etc) the excess fat actually drips off.  You get rid of alot more of it then you do when you cook any other way.

2)  More vitamins and minerals
Grilling helps food hold onto it's vitamins and minerals.  Other methods of cooking cause foods to leach out the vitamins and minerals due to the water and temperature.

3)  Less bacteria.

E coli, Salmonella and other icky bacteria are killed by the high heat.

4)  Moisture locking 
When you grill the high heat cooks meat faster so it doesn't dry out.  This means that you don't need to add sauces, butter or anything that ups the calories and fat.

Super health food on a super healthy vacation.  What could be better?  Do you like healthy vacations or do you relax on your diet and exercise regimen on vacation?

Links:
Akron Ohio Moms: Benefits to Grilling
Botsford Hospital: 4 Health Benefits of Grilling
BenefitsOf.Net: Benefits of Grilling
Grilling With Rich: Health Benefits of Grilling For the General Population and Those with Chronic Intestinal Disease
Rhode Island Roads Magazine: Many Health Benefits to Camping
Yahoo Voices: Benefits to Camping
Readers Digest: Health Benefits to Camping
Buzzle: Benefits of Camping
Koa: 5 Reasons Camping is Good for You

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Mom!

My mom rocks and today is her birthday.  I just wanted to wish her a

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Skinny Rules: A Book Review



I love reading diet books.  Even though I don't need to lose weight I still read them from cover to cover.  Why?  For a number of reasons.

1) It's a subject that interests me
     It's the same reason my dad reads war novels or my sister reads science fiction

2) Validation that I'm doing things right.
     Don't you like it when the doctor tells you your health is good or the dentist says you have no cavities?

3) New ideas.
     I read cookbooks for new recipes.  Some people read style magazines to find a new look.  I read health and fitness books to get some new ideas to keep my weight off.

I finished the book, The Skinny Rules by Bob Harper (of The Biggest Loser) last nite.  This book is really great for someone who is just starting out.  It was also good for someone like me because it gives you a few new tips and tells you WHY you're doing some of the things you do (or should be doing.)

Bob lays it out in 20 simple, straightforward rules.  These are are meant to help you be successful on your health journey.  They range from "Don't drink your calories" (number 2) to "Go to bed hungry" (number 18).  [That one sounds alot worse then it really is]  Number 18 is actually about what time you eat in relation to the time you go to bed.

I would definitely recommend checking this book out of your local library if you don't want to buy it.  

Skinny Rules on Amazon 
Bob Harper's Official Page 

I mean seriously, if Bob Harper, a man who has helped 100's of people lose 1000's of pounds doesn't have a set of "rules" that work then there's not chance in Hell for anyone else.  Next on my list of books? Unlimited and Master Your Metabolism both by Jillian Michaels.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Look Everybody! I Made Gumbo...

and cheese-steak fries.
{Sorry for the shameless Princess and the Frog quote.  It's a favorite of the girls.  Okay, I can't lie, it's one of my faves too.} 



Gumbo!  Loaded with tomatoes, beans, onions and okra.  I served it over quinoa.  This dish was a protein and nutrient bomb (in a good way.)  This was another great recipe from Happy Herbivore.  It's on page 108 in the 30 minute cookbook.  (I'm not certain about copyright laws and all that so I'm not going to post the recipe).

I came up with this next recipe because I couldn't decide if I wanted cheese fries or cheese steaks for dinner.  Because I didn't want to decide and the kids were being no help, I combined the two.  Crispy, crunchy oven baked fries layered with mushrooms, onions roasted garlic and collard greens with some melted fat free cheese on top.  Sounds decadent right?  It only weighs in at about 320 calories and 1 gram of fat.  I also snuck in a couple carrots since cheese fries aren't exactly a "healthy" dinner.
Before Cheese

After Cheese

Super Veggie Cheese Steak Fries
1 large potato or sweet potato per person (I used a couple small ones instead of a large one)
2 carrots per person
1/2 lb of mushrooms per person, cut in half or quarters
1-2 onions sliced thin
1/4 - 1/2 cup of shredded fat free cheddar per person
1/2 - 1 cup of prepared collard greens or spinach per person (optional) {or any other veggie you want}

Directions
  1. Boil potatoes/sweet potatoes in a large pot of water for about 5 minutes
  2. Drain and cool
  3. Peel carrots
  4. Slice potatoes and carrots into fries (make sure they are all the same size)
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with pan spray
  6. Lay the fries in a single layer and spray with more pan spray
  7. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, flipping every 10-15 minutes until crispy and brown.  During the last 20 minutes put the mushrooms on a separate baking sheet and put them in the oven
  8. Divide the fries evenly between the plates and layer with mushrooms, onions and other vegetables
  9. Sprinkle cheese on the top and put in the microwave on high for 30-60 seconds until the cheese melts.
How do you like to jazz up your cheese fries?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Buddha Buddha Buddha

The weather was gorgeous this past week, up until Thursday when it decided to turn cold.  It's been great to be able to get outside without a jacket.  We spent the whole weekend playing on the beach.

Summer makes me think healthy.  We've been on a mega health kick as you know.  Dinner tonite was Buddha's Delight (page 116 in the Happy Herbivore cookbook)  I definitely suggest picking up a copy of the book.  It's incredible.  The Happy Herbivore website has some great basically fat-free recipes.  You should totally go check her out!

It was delicious.  Stereotypical "summer food."  Fresh, bright veggies and super healthy.  I had a photo for you but my phone decided not to upload it   : (

I have BIG news though.  By the time I get back from my trip to Virginia in the middle of February I will have signed up for my Personal Trainer's Certification.  Which means soon after that (I'm hoping before the blog's 1 year anniversary in March but definitely before May) I will be a personal trainer!  2013 is going to be an AMAZING year!

How's your year?  Is it looking good?  Has the weather started to get warmer where you are? 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Getting into the Swim of Things


Today was my swim day.  I honestly forgot how much I adore swimming.  It's so freeing.  Nothing hurts while I'm swimming.  (Click HERE and HERE to see the benefits of swimming on joints)

It's a total body workout without the feel of a total body workout (until you get out of the pool and your legs feel like jelly.)  Swimming 1 mile is the equivalent of running 4 miles!  Don't ask me how fast because I don't know.  I managed to do over a mile in under an hour.  That beats my normal time by about 30 minutes!  

According to SparkPeople.com my 50 minutes of swimming burned about 404 calories.  I paired that with my healthy dinner of catfish, green beans and a sweet potato.  It was a perfect day.  (Besides the fact that it decided to turn cold today.)

Some days I wish that my future job let me work in the pool all day but, I'm happy at the gym, and I have no plans on changing my career plans.  

I'll be giving you guys a new recipe soon.  Also a cookbook and diet book review coming in a few days.  It's been a busy few days and I have loads of info for y'all.  

Do you like to swim?  Do you prefer to be in the gym, or in the pool?  



Prompt :  How would you start saving the world if you woke up tomorrow with superhuman powers?
Answer:  I'd have to give the world healthy food and rid it of the bad food.  (Sorry I'm on a health kick)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sodium Reduction


Monday was sushi night.  One of the healthiest dinner nights we have.  Seaweed, sliced cucumbers and carrots, rice, and kimchi.  Same as always.  When I woke up on Tuesday and stepped on the sacele IO saw a 3 POUND GAIN!  Luckily I've been doing this long enough to know that I couldn't have eaten enough to gain 3 pounds.  That would be 10500 calories.  (That's over 50 pounds of carrots.)  It was the soy sauce and gochajang (Korean red pepper paste) that were the culprits. 

Low sodium soy sauce has 575 mg of sodium in 1 tablespoon.  Gochajang has 554 per tablespoon.  The reccommended daily value is between 2300 - 2500 mg.  That's equal to about 4 tablespoons. 

Let's talk a bit about why sodium is bad. 
  • It causes the body to retain water (as seen on my scale)
  • It raises your blood pressure
  • It makes your kidneys work harder (As Ken says "sodium is the reason so many Asians are on dialysis.")
Here are a few  steps you can take if you overindulge in salt and sodium.

  1. Cut your sodium intake in half (around 1000 mg) for the next 2-3 days.
  2. Drink more water!  Cut out all other drinks and stick to water until your numbers (weight and inches) are back to pre-indulgence
  3. Rinse packaged foods to get rid of the extra salt on them.  Or stick to home cooked, nonpackaged for the next few days
  4. Exercise.  Sweat is partially made of salt.  Plus, when you exercise your blood pumps faster which helps clear salt out of the kidneys faster
On the flip side sodium and salt are necessary for your body to function.  Here are some of the benefits:
  • Controls fluid balance
  • Helps transmit nerve impulses
  • Influence the contraction and relaxation of muscles
Sources:
CDC Sodium Facts Sheet
American Heart Association
Blood Pressure UK
Mayo Clinic
LiveStrong Sodium Cleanse 
 


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

First Day of School and the Gym

Oh my God! I have so many things to pack into one post!!  To start off, today was the first day of my on-campus class.  This meant that I had to be out of the house by 7 this morning.  (Luckily I'm a morning person!)  Before leaving I needed to wake up the girls AND Ken, plus make Kaylee and Mantha's lunches. Where's the time for ME to eat breakfast??

In the car, of course!  I decided to start with a smoothie this morning.

1 cup soymilk (I like light vanilla)
1 banana
1 cup fresh/frozen strawberries

Blend and drink.  This only takes about 5 minutes and I did it while I was making the girls' lunches.

On Tuesday's I'm in class for 4.5 hours. From 8-12:30. 3 hour labs = NO FUN!   Then I goto the gym.  I packed myself a granola bar.  I tried to use cereal instead of granola and it completely failed.  I went back to a tried and true granola bar. 






Granola Bar Recipe
  • 2 1/2 cup oats (I used quick cooking even though every recipe told me not to)
  • 2 mashed bananas (about 1 1/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup sugar free maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cherry craisins (next time I'm going to use 1/2 - 3/4 cup)


Directions
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Mix everything together in a bowl
  3. Bake on a small sheet pan greased with pan spray for 25 minutes
  4. Cool then cut into squares/rectangles


I cut it into 8 bars.  According to SparkRecipes each bar has 150 calories and 2.1 grams of fat.

So what did I do in the gym?  Nothing too fancy.  Nothing that would kill me.  Even though I am kicking myself for being too self conscience to use the free weights.  I need to stop worrying that I'll look like an idiot

Gym Workout 
10 minutes rowing machine (It's harder than I remember.  My goal is to eventually be able to do it for a full 30 minutes)
15 minutes elliptical

The next set of exercises were done using the 15 lb weights and I did 3 sets of 10

Ab rotation
Rowing weight machine
Bench Press
Lat Pull
Chest Press
Ab machine


I think on Thursday I'm going to spend my hour doing laps.  Now that WILL kill me!  I'm actually surprised at how well equipt the campus gym is.  Cardio equipment, a few weight sets and a 25 meter, 8 lane, indoor heated pool.  I couldn't ask for more.  

Writing Prompt --As a superhero, would you rather have extreme strength or extreme speed?
Answer -- I'm a superhero, why can't I have both?  I think that there are definate perks to both.  But if I only had to choose one I'd pick speed.  I'd never be late to anything and I could travel the world and not have to worry about paying for transportation.  Plus I'd save on gas and car insurance. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

6 Weeks to a Sugar Free House



With Kaylee and Mantha starting sports in March I decided that we were going to start cutting out sugar.  I'm am going to "gently" ween the kids (and myself) off of sugar over the next 6ish weeks.

I still plan on allowing them desserts but, they will be the healthy kind.  Sugar-free sorbet, fruit cobblers and things of this nature.  

I'm not going to be the SUPER-STRICT, ridiculously, sugar free mom.  I just won't allow it in the house except for on special occasions.  If they have it in school, fine.  When Mantha, Sunny, and Kaylee's birthdays come around, we'll have a cake.  But after those are gone?  Bye, bye sugar.  I WILL still allow juice, and Sunny will get her strawberry and chocolate milk. 

I will be weening myself off of sodas.  I can't cut out my morning Monster.  I don't drink coffee, I drink Monster.  It's what keeps me up at 5:30 every morning.  Cereals will be non-sugary.  Rice Krispies, Cheerios and Chex are acceptable.  Frosted Flakes are not.  (Duh!)  Here's a hopeful timeline of how our sugar cancellation will go.

GOAL DATE -- Feb 25th

Week 1 & 2  January 14-27

  • Use up all the sugary desserts in the house (candy, cookies, etc)
  • Finish box of sodas (3/4 of a box left!)

January 28-31
  • Eat Mantha's birthday cake

Week 3 & 4  Feb 1-10
  • Decrease the number of days the girls eat dessert
  • Cut out soda all together
 
Feb 11-15
  • Trip to Virginia

Week 5 & 6  Feb 16-24
  • Stop dessert/completely substitute with non-sugar desserts 

FEBRUARY 25th  -- Be a 100% sugar free house!!


But you might be wondering how I got the kids to be on board with us cutting out sugar.  It was actually quite simple.  I told them since they were going to be exercising more that they needed to eat better.  I told them that Olympic soccer players and gymnasts don't eat sugar.  

Don't worry though.  I'm not pushing my girls to go for gold...yet.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

New Recipe For New Tools

Ever had this happen to you?  You ask for a new gadget for Christmas/your birthday and when you get it you can't find a reason to use it?  Yep, that totally happened to me.  Ken gave me a mini-food processor for Christmas.  I had been asking for one for MONTHS, since my normal sized one died.  But, I haven't made anything that's called for using it.  

I finally found a use for it.  Happy Herbivore's Mushroom Burgers.  The recipe came out of the Happy Herbivore cookbook my sister, Sarah, got me for Christmas.  This book is awesome!

Here's the recipe:

2 slice of whole wheat bread (I used reduced calorie oatmeal bread)
8 oz button mushrooms
1 15oz can dark red kidney beans
1 medium onion
1 T minced garlic
1/4 cup whole wheat flour  (I only added this to try and stiffen the mix)
2 T soy sauce
2 T steak sauce
2 T barbecue sauce


  1. Put the bread in the food processor and create crumbs. Put them in a mixing bowl
  2. Process the mushrooms until very finely chopped.  Put in bowl with breadcrumbs
  3. Do the same thing with the beans and onion
  4. Add all of the wet ingredients and flour to bowl with the veggies and beans.  Mix well.
  5. Form 7 or 8 patties with your hands
  6. Put patties on a baking sheet that has been greased with pan spray.
  7. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes
  8. Flip the burgers and respray.  Bake for 8 minutes.
  9. Flip again and spray again.  Bake 5 minutes.

I topped it just like I would a normal burger. The recipe was a bit thin and that's why I added the flour.  Now if I could only find my camera for a picture....But, I'll post a picture once I find my camera.  Enjoy!  

The best part about these burgers?  According to Caloriecount.about.com They only have 111 calories and 0.6 grams of fat.

My Secret Obsession




I have a guilty pleasure/secret obsession.  Not many people outside of my family and friends know about it.  It's The Biggest Loser.  I watch it religiously.  I DVR it.  I get upset if an episode doesn't get recorded. The show actually motivates me.  It drives me to workout.  It reminds me what I never want to go back to. 

This season they're tackling the subject of childhood obesity.  I love that they're doing this because so many children are overweight.  I fear about my own children's weight and health occasionally.  But the growing number of obese kids is due to the fact that almost every house has a TV with 200+ channels and atleast 1 game system (Wii, Xbox, Playstation 3 etc.)  I think the root of all evil are the parents though!   

When I was a child I was not asked if I WANTED to goto the playground/park.  I was just taken.  It was not suggested that I go out and play, I WANTED to go.  And if I didn't want to?  I was still told to go out.  

Parents allow kids to sit inside on their butts all day eating junk food, watching TV and playing video games.  Parents are the ones that buy and cook the meals that are causing 7 year olds to weigh the same as full grown adults. 

I find it amazing that people my age don't know how to cook a healthy meal from scratch (yet there are 40 new food blogs popping up everyday).  Convenience meals and fast food is part of the reason America is fat.  My daughters' friend came over for dinner one nite and she told me she had never had a salad before.  My jaw nearly hit the floor!  REALLY????  Even before I turned into a "health freak" my kids ate salad.  Even Sunny will eat a big salad (a deconstructed salad but, salad all the same).  They love salad.  

Okay, enough ranting about parents and the poor choices they make for their children.  

I am very happy that The Biggest Loser is back.  I'm also very happy that Jillian Michaels is back.  She's actually my idol.  I'm excited to see how the contestants change and who wins.  

In order to do my part to ensure my kids aren't included in the obesity statistic I have signed Kaylee up for soccer and as soon as we get her practice schedule Mantha will be starting gymnastics.  I can't wait to post picture from Kaylee's first game!

How do you feel about The Biggest Loser?  Do your kids do any sports?  

Writing Prompt --  What is your favorite song that gives you energy?
Answer -- I don't think I really have a specific song.  Anything with a good beat.  Normally when I workout I turn on Pandora and just go with it.  I have never been lead wrong by Pandora.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January's Seasonal Produce and How it Can Help Your Health

Fresh Veggies!



January is here. [DUH!] So that means that certain produce has come into season.  I've put together a list of the produce that's available and some of the health benefits.

January
Avocado
Passion Fruit


January-March
Bell Pepper  -- Carotenoids, Various vitamins, phytonutrients, fiber, folate, antioxidants, potential anti-cancer effects

Broccoli -- Cholesterol lowering, detox-regulating, various vitamins and minerals, folate, fiber, potassium, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer nutrients, digestive support, eye health, skin support

Cabbage -- Cholesterol-lowering, cancer prevention, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, digestive tract support, cardiovascular health

Cauliflower -- Various vitamins, folate, potassium, fiber, digestive support, detox support, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular health

Celery -- Anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, various vitamins, folate, potassium, fiber, digestive health, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention

Eggplant -- Fiber, various vitamins, brain health, antioxidants, cardiovascular health, free radical protection

Grapefruit -- Various vitamins, lycopene, antioxidants, promotes optimal health, lowers cholesterol, prevents kidney stones, cancer protection, repairs DNA

Guava --  Antioxidants, lowers cancer risk, lowers diabetes risk, helps eyesight, folate, regulates blood pressure, helps thyroid, increases enzyme activation, relaxes muscles and nerves, brain health, skin health

Lettuce --  {Romaine} Various vitamins, Folic acid, folate, fiber, omega 3's, heart healthy

Mushrooms (Available year round) -- {Crimini} Selenium, vitamins, potassium, immune system support, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cardiovascular health, anti-cancer

Oranges (Available every month but July & Aug) -- Various vitamins, fiber, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, antioxidants, immune system support, cardiovascular disease protection, promotes optimal health, prevents kidney stones, anti-cancer, prevents ulcers, lung protection, arthritis protection

Peanuts (Available every month but Dec) -- Folate, heart healthy, antioxidants, reduces the risk of stroke, anti-cancer, gallstone prevention, brain health, lowers risk of weight gain

Radishes -- Detoxifier for liver and stomach, urinary tract health, weight control, cancer prevention, helps skin, helps liver, reduces swelling, controls fever, respitory tract health, protects gallbladder

Snap Beans/Green Beans -- Vitamins, Fiber, antioxidants, folate, cardiovascular health, anti-inflammatory, diabetes prevention

Squash -- {Winter} Vitamins, fiber, potassium, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, promotes optimal health, regulates blood sugar, cardiovascular health

Strawberries -- Vitamins, Fiber, cardiovascular health, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, lowers blood sugar, anti-cancer, brain health, digestive health

Sweet Corn -- Fiber, Various vitamins, antioxidants, digestive health, blood sugar regulation, potentially anti-HIV

Tangerine -- 

Tomato -- Various vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, cardiovascular health, bone health, anti-cancer, lycopene


Most of the information found on this site was obtained from WHFoods
WikiNut

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Warm vs Cold


What do y'all think?  This is Mr. Amazing's rough draft of my new logo!  I'm so excited to finally get a logo.

When I was in Virginia, in subartic conditions [going from a state that's 75 to one that's 25 should be considered cruel and unusual torture!] I started to think about how exercising in the winter (or cold weather) differs from exercising in the summer (or warm weather).  I already know that your body works harder when it's cold because your body is trying to stay warm.  They even say that it's better to swim in a cold pool rather than a warm one.

According to Montana State University-Bozeman, since we need to maintain a body temperature of 98.6 our bodies work harder.  But, "sever and moderate cold can adversely affect the performance of activities that depend on high levels of anaerobic power."

On the opposite end of the season spectrum, in a trial published by the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 9 cyclists cycled for 90 minutes in temperatures of 14, 32, 50, and 68 degrees.  They found that the subjects burned MORE fat calories the warmer it was.  0.15 grams per minute at 14 degrees and 0.4 grams per minute at 68 degrees.

Thefactsaboutfitness.com also talks about how LPL (an enzyme that promotes fat storage), cortisol, serotonin, and testosterone levels change with the seasons.  All of these chemicals affect how your body loses and gains weight.  

Oddly, I've been reading people say that they GAIN weight in the summer.  I know I personally have no issue atleast maintaining, if not losing weight in the summer.  But, at the same time I spend atleast 3 hours a day at the pool, beach, or park during the summer.  

What about you?  Do you lose or gain weight in the summer?  What about in the winter?


University of Montana - Bozeman
The Facts About Fitness

Friday, January 4, 2013

Name Changes

So, all my girls decided that they don't want the nicknames on my blog anymore.  They say that they're "grown up and want to be called by their normal names.  So, I willl.  And I'm not going to lie, keeping up with the names I had chosen for them was getting a bit difficult.





I'll be back in the next few days with a normal post.  We're leaving Virginia today and should be home late Saturday so, I'll be back with my normal content.  New recipes, workouts, and health tips!

Happy Friday!  What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Traveling

Doesn't everyone start their year off with a 1000 768 mile road trip?  That's how I started mine! 

New Year's Day I left for Virginia for an appointment.  This is the first roadtrip longer than 3 hours long that I have taken in since we moved here in 2010.  I decided that I would pack all the snacks, lunch and dinner for the trip.  This way I won't be tempted by gas station food and we can cut some time off our trip by not stopping as much.  

I have to say that you CAN eat healthy at a gas station.  Fruit is sold at many gas stations these days and there are other healthy snack options.  It is difficult and there are many tempting unhealthy items alongside them.  

I made lunch sandwiches and dinner sandwiches for Mr. Amazing and myself.  I packed apples, bananas, squeeze fruit puree, and some homemade pita chips for me.  Mr. Amazing got Wheat Thin and Ritz crackers, and Slim Jims.  I packed a container of Mio and some bottled waters, and a few sodas. 

I used the Korean BBQ Rub that I found at BJ's. 

Pita Chips
1 package White or Onion Pitas (They have the least amount of fat, 0.5 grams per loaf)
Pan Spray
Seasoning of your choice

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut pitas into 8 pieces.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with non-stick spray
  4. Lay the pitas on a single layer on the baking sheet, spray them with non-stick spray and sprinkle with you favorite seasoning
  5. Bake for 7 or 8 minutes until crispy and browned
We were supposed to leave at 8 yesterday morning.  We ended up getting out of the house at 9.  It was a lot harder to say goodbye to the girls then I expected it to be.  This is the first time we’ve been away from Baye for more than a few hours. 

We stopped for a few minutes for gas in Georgia, and South Carolina.  By 6:00, 2 ½ states and 7 ½ hours of driving Mr. Amazing and I were exhausted.  We ended up stopping in Smithfield, NC [I wonder if the ham and the town are related.] We ate our dinner sandwiches in a seedy motel.  For the rest of the nite we watched TV and I learned that when there is DEFFINATELY nothing else to do I munch.  I am going to have some serious work to do when I get home. 

I ended up waking up before 6 [damn earlybirdness].  You never realize how hard it is to be quiet until you’re stuck in a hotel room trying to let your husband sleep.  I did manage to get in 150 situps (the quietest exercise I could think of)  Another thing I realized is that daylight comes later in the North.  At 7 in the morning Florida is atleast slightly sunny.  North Carolina was still pitch black.  So needless to say we didn’t get up and out as early as I expected. 

But, we finally ended up getting to my mom’s at 1:30 after a brief stop at our storage room and Target.  We stayed just long enough to drop off our bags and change and then headed for the grocery store.  I have learned that there is one perk to winters in Virginia.  When you need to make a stop and have groceries in your car you don’t have to worry about how long your other stop is.  It’s 40 degrees out so your groceries will be perfectly fine in your cold trunk!

Luckily my mom’s house is stocked with the staples so I only needed a few things to tide me over while I’m here (soy milk, bananas, etc.)  Here’s my haul:


The local Korean store, Grand Mart, was pure heaven to Mr. Amazing and me.  Imagine giving your child a green light to buy whatever they wanted at the toy store.  That was us here. 

We picked up a bunch of banchan for dinner.  There's Kimchi, bean sprouts, tofu, japchae, fishies, seaweed, radish kimchi, and black beans.  

All we needed was a big pot of rice and dinner was ready!

Well, I’m going to go relax.  It’s nice to be somewhere comfy.  


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!!



By the time you read this I'll be at least half way to Virginia!  I just wanted to wish you all a happy new year.  I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating and I'll be back tomorrow with a normal post for y'all!