Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Excuses. Excuses.

Lets talk about excuses.  

We all have them.  

There will always be a reason as to why you can't start making better choices when it comes to your health.  There is never a good time to do an elimination diet, there is never enough money to buy healthier foods, and of course there is never enough time.

So how can we overcome some of these excuses and move forward on our journey to being the healthiest we can be?

1.  Not Enough Time

            How much TV do you watch each week?  Maybe cut out 1 hour of TV 1 night a week and cook food to have for the next few days.
            Are you planning?  Find 1 day a week that is best for you (maybe Saturday or Sunday) and plan your meals for the week/pack up a few lunches/cut up veggies/cook a tray of chicken thighs/hard boil a few eggs.
            Get a crock pot.  Meat/liquid/veggies/seasoning, cook on low overnight = lunch/dinner is ready by the morning.
            Cook in bulk.  Leftover dinner = lunch

2.  It Costs Too Much

            If it is a priority you will find a way.  We find money to pay for  iphones, cable, netflix, going out to eat on weekends, the fast food drive-through, going to the movies, getting manicures, and buying music for itunes.  None of these things are bad, but maybe cutting back on one of these non-essentials will give you a little extra to put towards healthy food.
           If your car was broke you would put money into fixing it.  If your body is ‘broke’ you may need to put some money into what you are feeding it.
           Pay now, don’t pay later.  Is that extra $10 - $20/week in groceries worth it for your health?  Think about medications you won’t have to pay for, Tylenol you can stop taking on a regular basis, not having to call out of work sick, having a little more energy, living free of chronic sickness/disease.  Is it worth it?

3.  I Don’t Want To Give Up Foods I Love

            You are the only one responsible for your health.  Is it really that hard?  No.  Quitting smoking is hard.  Getting chemo treatments is hard.  Taking medications for the rest of your life is hard.  Not eating cereal for breakfast or sugar in your coffee…that’s not hard.

4.  I Don’t Want To Offend People When I Am Out To Eat/Too Much Pressure From Friends

           No one is forcing food down your throat.  You are an adult, start taking responsibility for your  own health.  Stop trying to blame other people for your current health status.  Everything you eat is your choice.  And everything you eat is either  making you healthier or less healthy.  No middle ground.
           Sometimes it’s okay to offend people when it comes to your own body.  You are the only one responsible for your health.  So, saying no to dessert or pizza is OKAY!  I promise you will still have friends.
           If you are going to a dinner party/bbq bring something to share that you know you can eat and maybe eat a little something before hand so you are not starving when you arrive.  No excuses.

I understand, these are legitimate concerns and rightfully so.  But the more we come up with excuses instead of doing what we can, the longer our health will suffer.  So instead of coming up with excuses, start thinking of what you can do to make a difference.  Even if it is one change a month.  Make a healthier breakfast.  Get rid of fast food for a week.  Add one more serving of fruits and veggies to your day.  Don't buy that bag of chips or candy bar.  JUST DO SOMETHING!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Two Of My Fav's Mixed Together

Sweet Potatoes and Almond Butter are two of my favorite things, combine them together and whoa delicious.

Here is a little mixture you can try if you are like me and love these two food items. 

1/2 baked sweet potato
1 Tbsp. Almond Butter or other nut butter you prefer. (just remember peanuts are not a nut)
Dash of cinnamon
sprinkle with Coco Nibs and unsweetened coconut flakes

Basically heat the sweet potato and mash it in a bowl with a fork.  Stir in the almond butter and cinnamon until blended.  Sprinkle with coco nibs and unsweetened coconut flakes. Then eat up!

This would be something good to eat post workout (preferably within an hour of workout) or on a day with multiple workouts, just make sure you have about 30-60 minutes to digest before the next workout. 

You can find coco nibs in the bulk section at Whole Foods, they are sun dried coco and are unsweetened.  They can have a slightly bitter taste but they are crunchy and are a fun topping for things like almond butter and fruit, if you eat yogurt they are good mixed in that or on top of fruit with coconut milk. 

I am trying to cook up what meat is left in my freezer to prepare for the cow share delivery next week (more on that later).  I cooked up a pack of chicken thighs, they are always convenient to have in the fridge. 

I also threw a beef brisket in the crock-pot with carrots and celery.  I let it cook over night on low, and it came out perfect.  I added about 1.5 cups of water to it as well.

What are some of your favorite real foods?  Can you combine them to make it even more awesome?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mental Prep & Competition

One of my favorite performance coach blogs to follow is Fletcher Fitness.  She is all about the mental prep for competition as well as a day to day healthy lifestyle.  She is a strong believer that "the same way you cannot out train a bad diet, you cannot out train a bad mindset."

We all have had those days in a workout when we just mentally were not there and it makes a huge difference.  Whether you are going for a big lift, or a slow strong yoga practice focus is key.  If your mind is wandering, or you go into your training/practice/competition already defeated then you probably are.

Here are her 5 Powerful Mindset Tips:

1. Be a constant optimist full of possibility
*rid complaints, negative words/thoughts/actions

2. Focus only on what you can control
*don’t spend energy on factors out of control

3. Meditate
*simply spend quiet, alone time sorting through your thoughts & emotions or being still in prayer

4. Surround yourself with people who really encourage you towards your goals.

5. Have fun, be fun, implement fun… very often.

Much easier said than done, but trying to implement these on a daily basis.

In other news... hard to believe that its been over a week since my team crossfit competition.  Test your metal was a great event.  My team placed 3rd after 3 WOD's.  The top 5 teams went on to compete in the final championship round where we finished 4th.  Not too bad for our first team competition.  Everyone from crossfit aspire did amazing, it was a great community atmosphere, everyone cheering each other on, and seeing so many people do things that they didn't think they were capable of.
 Go Team BEE SPIRE!  This was right before the start of our 4th WOD (Championship Round)

Prepping for another competition this weekend, Crossfit Summer Classic in Philly.  Looking to go have a fun time hanging out with other crossfitters/friends why we exercise and watch other amazing exercisers :)  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't Fear FAT!

Here is just a quick list of fats that you can reference...

Okay first lets talk HEALTHY FATS

Which to heat (saturated fats): 
These are non-animal sources of fat, go for organic and unrefined forms when possible
Coconut Oil
Palm Oil

These are animal fats.  Try to go for pasture-raised/grass-fed & Organic sources when possible.
Schmaltz (chicken fat)
Lamb Fat
Duck Fat
Full Fat Dairy
Eggs, Meat & Seafood

Which to use cold (unsaturated fats):
try to go for organic, extra virgin, cold-pressed forms

Olive Oil - best choice
Sesame oil
Nut oils (walnut, pecan, macadamia, almond)
Whole Nuts & seeds (including nut butters & seed butters)
Flaxseed Oil (try to keep this limited)

these are man-made aka not real food

Saturated (unhealthy) Fats:

Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
Man made trans-fats (things like "buttery spreads" example: Earth Balances, Benecol and I Can't Believe Its Not Butter)

Unsaturated (unhealthy) Fats:
highly processed and oxidized by either light, air or heat.  It is never healthy to consume oxidized oils

Canola Oil (also known as Rapeseed oil)
Corn Oil
Vegetable Oil
Soybean Oil
Grapeseed Oil
Sunflower Oil
Safflower Oil
Rice Bran Oil

For a really cool chart on Fats that you can print out and keep handy check out Balanced Bites Useful Guides




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Paleo Pantry (Part 1)

When I switched to a real food diet (paleo) I noticed that my fridge and freezer were packed and my pantry was almost bare.  Previously my pantry was filled with oatmeal, flax seed, chia seeds, organic canned soups, cans of beans, rice, olive oil, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, grain or rice based cereals, amaranth, brown rice pasta, whole grain pasta, nutritional yeast and I am sure other weird "healthy" things.  After cleaning out my pantry of grains and processed foods and replacing it with things that I would use on my real food diet the shelves looked empty. 

This is actually a good sign.  We should be eating foods that do not have long shelf lives because of added preservatives or a refining process.  Real foods usually need to be refrigerated or frozen and need to be eaten much sooner than "fake food" like things I mentioned above.

However, there are a few things that you should keep on hand in your Paleo Pantry, here are a few that I usually keep stocked up on...

Coconut Oil: (obviously) good for sauteing/roasting veggies, topping on sweet potatoes or even adding to coffee :)

Coconut milk (this is the whole foods brand): add to coffee, use for baking (takes the place of milk), topping for fruit (paleo ice cream), or throw in the crock pot with any kind of meat you choose and mix it with Curry paste (pictured below)

 like i was saying mix this little jar with a can of coconut milk add meat and put in crock pot, cook on low for about 6 hours = amazing! (check ingredient labels, stick with Thai Kitchen brand)

 Canned salmon and sardines from Trader Joes.  Wild caught, add to salads, use to make salmon cakes, or eat for breakfast with sauteed spinach.  Try to aim to eat some type of seafood at least 2 times a week!  Omega 3!  

 I sprinkle this on eggs or veggies usually at least once a day, great source of iodine!  

 Some great seasonings: No-Salt Seasoning from Costco, 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joes and Everyday Seasoning from Trader Joes.  They are all a great mix of seasonings that can be added quickly to any meal for flavor.  Add to chicken before grilling, throw on top of veggies before or after cooking.  Mix in with Olive oil and vinegar for a great salad dressing.

What are some staple items in your Paleo Pantry?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Demystify Paleo

There are some myths out there about what exactly a Paleo Diet is (if you want to call it a diet, because we all know diets don’t work)  So lets get a few things straight when it comes to this idea of “Eating Paleo”

1.  No one is trying to make you into a caveman.  You can still drive a car and use your iPhone!  Okay so maybe cavemen did not have a long lifespan but that is not because of their food choices it is because of their lack of antibiotics, harsh living conditions, and abundance of predators.

2.  This is not a carnivorous diet.  Yes you will be eating high-quality sources of meat, but you also will be eating a TON of plant matter both veggies and fruit.

3.  Paleo diet is high in fat!  The fat you eat will NOT clog your arteries because fat all by itself is not the culprit of clogged arteries.

4.  You don’t have to be carb-phobic.  You will have adequate sources of carb’s needed for a healthy lifestyle. 

Paleo is not that radical.  UNLESS you consider eating nutrient-dense, unprocessed food radical? Which might just be the case in today’s packaged, processed, microwave dinner, drive-through, low fat, chemical enhanced, fake food era.  (now that sounds more radical to me)

(reference It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Garage Games 2012

Last weekend I participated in my first Crossfit Competition.  Whew was I nervous.  But I think my nerves actually helped me out, adrenaline kicked in and somehow I made it through.

It was a long day, woke up at 5am and didn't get home till almost 11pm.  But really glad I did it. There were 4 of us from Crossfit Aspire who went to compete and our buddy Eric came to cheer us on!

The Whole Gang...

The day consisted of 3 workouts:

Workout 1:
7 min AMRAP
1000m row
with time left 95lb squat cleans

Workout 2:
5 min AMRAP
75lb Overhead Squat
25lb Weighted Sit up
75lb Sumo Deadlift High Pull

Workout 3:
10 min AMRAP
10 Bar Hop Burpees
25 Double Unders
10 Thrusters (65lb)

I was not as prepared with food and water as I should have been for the actual day.  I did't realize how long the event would be, I should have eaten more.  By workout 3 I was drained.  Lesson learned for next time.

Time to train for the next event: Team Competition July 22nd!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Prep is Key!

I knew going into this week that things were going to be busy. I took Sunday afternoon and did a bunch of food prep for the week.  Its never good to be left searching for food while on the run, (although it is possible to still make healthy choices on the go) it is always better to be prepared ahead of time so there are no excuses.

When all else fails these are some of my go-to recipes and foods to stock up on:

Breakfast - its always easy to throw together an egg type casserole, this is one of my favorites and will last me almost a whole week!  Savory Breakfast Casserole  (I have even substituted the chorizo for ground beef when that was all I had)

For lunch dinner (or both) this is another fav of mine and I also tend to add a little extra of everything (not exactly doubling but making some extra) Balsamic Winter Throw Together Bake I know its not winter but you HAVE to make this.  Also, if you cannot find butternut squash at certain times of the year you can use sweet potatoes or any other root veggies you like.

What else is in my fridge/pantry for this week:
Coconut Milk
Canned Salmon
Canned Tuna
Carrot Sticks
and of course Coffee :)

When is your food prep day?  If you don't take time to prep you should try it, makes life much easier when things get busy.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Few Updates!!

This is going to be a random mixture of a post.

#1  Crossfit Regionals - Boston!  Whoa, was that fun?!?!  Lots of amazing athletes, intense workouts, great friends from crossfit aspire, and the Wodify booth!
       Saturday - A few of us did Fran at the spectator workout area (21, 15, 9 = Thrusters and Pull Ups) (tore my hand open on pull ups, awesome.
       Sunday  - We did Grace (30 Clean and jerks for time)  Got a PR, which was crazy considering I hadn't slept much.

It was so much fun to be in "crossfit world" for 4 days, it felt totally normal to wear leggings, sports bra & cut-off T's (which happen to be my outfit almost ever day anyway) Fun workouts, fit people, paleo food = good times!

This is Rachele, Alycia and I just hangin around at regionals!  

#2 I won these cool socks from Nom Nom Paleo!!!  Have you read her blog?  Her recipes are Ahhhhmazing!  She is so creative, whenever you are feeling bored with your food, just shoot over to her blog and you are bound to find something new and delicious to try.
The actual socks are from Gumball Poodle go like their facebook page!  I am thinking mixing the socks up, and as one friend suggested BACON-NERD is going to have to happen!

#3 and FINALLY... tomorrow I am participating in the Crossfit for HOPE WOD.  Crossfit gyms all over the world will be participating in the exact same workout (obviously can always be scaled) the workout is being done to raise money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

The workout will be very similar to a Fight Gone Bad
1 minute of each of the following movements:
Box Jumps
Chest to Bar Pull Ups
Power Snatch (75lb/55lb)
Thruster (75lb/55lb)
Rest 1 Minute... and repeat 2 more times
Total of 15minutes of work with 2 minutes of rest.  You are scored by total # of rep's completed.

Guess what I ate for breakfast today?  
A hamburger (no bun) and a sweet potato w/ coconut oil.  
It's True.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Yoga for Kids with Autism

This is just a quick happy story about helping kids with autism learn to become relaxed, calmed and focused using yoga postures.

There is a great video on the page as well.

Happy Friday. Enjoy.