Those Last Ten Pounds

Looks like I made it through a whole week without a post.  I did, however, have PLENTY of sleep deprivation…and I wonder why I have been having more difficulty reaching my health and fitness goals these days!!!  I learned at General Conference that

Being in good physical condition comes at a price, and that price is dedication, perseverance, and self-discipline.

I know, maybe not spiritual, but maybe it IS because our bodies and spirits are connected!  So it is time for me to step up my perseverance and wanted to invite any of you to join me.  I have been haphazardly working out and haphazardly eating healthy, but I need some more structure and definitely more accountability.

So I am going to officially start the Beachbody Challenge and hope some of you ladies will do it with me.  I am thinking about Insanity, but am up for your suggestions.  Then we can have a Facebook fitness group where we can keep each other motivated by sharing our workout experiences and healthy recipes.

motivational_words_decide_commit_succeed_postcard

So comment, email, text me whatever if you are interested and we can help each other meet our goals!!!

P.S. Sorry if you got a message on Facebook and here and feel stalked, but I am ready to get going on this (maybe November 4th??) so talk to me soon.

 

Advertisements

Conquering Cravings Part II

Did you know it is National Women’s Health and Fitness Day today??  Since I am a woman blogging about health and fitness, I figured I ought to at least commemorate with a post since my workout today consisted of a half a dose of yoga and a walk with the kids.  I am taking a little workout break to heal my little tummy separation.  While doing that I decided to give Beachbody’s expensive little shake a try.
shakeo-2

 

Let me tell you, I am LOVING it!!!  I was working out for about six weeks and lost 10 pounds, which I thought was awesome.  But then when I switched to very low intensity workouts like I mentioned above and added Shakeology, I have lost 5 lbs in 2 weeks!!!  And beyond that, It has actually helped me get in control of those sugar cravings I always seem to be talking about on this blog.

I made Nanaimo Bars for youth group last night and I didn’t even want to eat one?!?!

I took a bite partly out of habit and partly some strange sense of obligation and thought it was too sweet?!?!

I find myself wanting to snack on fruits and vegetables now?!?!

And beyond that, there are so many amazing ingredients in there…it is like a superfood smoothie and a protein shake rolled into one!  shakeology_vanilla_supp_facts

When Aaron first became a beachbody coach I wouldn’t let him buy it because of the price, but now that I have tried it I am seriously loving it and thought I would share it here in case you have been looking for a quick and easy way to supercharge your health.  They even have a 30-day money back guarantee if you try it and don’t love it so it is a win-win.  Let me know if you want to check it out.

Better than ?? Cake

This dessert has many names.  A walnut shortbread crust. Creamy layers of cream cheese, chocolate pudding, and whipped cream.  In my house growing up, we called it “Chocolate Wonderful.”  I know, doesn’t it just sound like something that will make your day better??  I decided to try a somewhat healthier take on it to take as my dessert contribution for family dinner while we are trying to eat healthier.  I can’t say that anyone liked it better than the original, but it was all gone by the time we got home!

Crust

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup walnuts
1 cup softened butter

Give those a whirl in the food processor until combined and bake in a 9 x 13 pan at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes.  Let cool.  Then this is where we get a little crazy.  Instead of pudding, I made this recipe from Averie Cooks for the next layer!  Except I doubled it for extra goodness.  I know what you are going to say…Avocados??  In mousse??  What the heck?  I promise you it is so good and you can’t taste the avocados.  They just add all their healthy fat into the mix to make it rich and creamy without actual cream.

September 2013 053.

Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Combine in Vita-Mix or Food Processor until smooth
2 ripe avocados
1/2 c agave
1/4 c cocoa powder
Dash Vanilla Extract

September 2013 054

Then I finally tried my hand at coconut cream.  Have you been salivating over the pictures on pinterest like I have?  Have you tried it yet?  Basically you take a can of full-fat coconut cream and put it in the fridge overnight.  Then you take the solids from the can and whip them as you would whipping cream!  Add a bit of sweetener and vanilla and it was so yummy!  The best explanation on how to do it is at Oh She Glows.

Crème_Chantilly

I wish I had seen that before I attempted mine, because one of my cans failed and my whipped cream layer was far too skimpy.  Yes, get two if you are going to try this.  Guess I forgot to take a picture of the final product, but to make it pretty I took a chunk of my Trader Joe’s 72% Dark Chocolate Bar and made shavings to top it off.

Guess that gives me an excuse to make it again soon!

If you think you don’t like beets…

I used to think that myself.  But remember when I was reading this book and I learned about all the “superstar” foods??  Well that book reminded me of a recipe from a cookbook of my dads that I first made last summer and we absolutely loved it.  When we made it again this summer, I was reminded I never shared it with you.  If I shared all the reasons it was good for you, we would be here all day, so let’s just focus on the beets.

beets1

 

Here are a few reasons to love them:

  1. They lower cholesterol
  2. Increase exercise endurance
  3. Anti-imflammatory
  4. Anti-cancer Effects
  5. Immunity Booster
  6. Reduce the risk of birth defects
  7. Rich in essential minerals
  8. Oh yeah, and they taste delicious!!!

So try this salad while the beets and kale are still fresh and your farmer’s market.  Or share with us YOUR favorite way to eat beets.

Beet Kale Walnut Salad

Ingredients

Salad
3 to 4 beets, peeled and cubed
1 bunch kale, rinsed and chopped
1 cup raw walnuts, lightly roasted
½ cup organic feta cheese (optional)

Dressing
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or coconut oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil, optional
1 teaspoon wheat-free tamari or ¼ teaspoon sea salt


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the cubed beets into a steamer basket. Steam for about 15 to 20 minutes or until tender*, place into a bowl to cool. Place chopped kale into the steamer basket and steam for 5 to 10 minutes until tender but still bright green. Place into bowl with beets.

Place walnuts into a small glass baking dish and roast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely. Place into the bowl with beets and kale.

In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for the dressing. Pour** over beets, kale, walnuts, and toss. Top with feta cheese and freshly ground black pepper if desired.

*Don’t know if it’s me, my beets, or my steamer basket, but usually this takes twice as long for them to get tender.

**I didn’t need to use all of the dressing on this one, so start sparingly and get it to the consistency you like!

Eight Months Pregnant

So I haven’t posted anything since last July.  That is a long time.  I know, a really long time, especially in the world of social media.  I have many many excuses, but I don’t think you really care.  You probably have forgotten completely that I even had this blog…most days I have forgotten too!  But since we have a baby coming in a month, I wanted to hop back on here and recommit myself before things get even crazier.

This pregnancy has wiped away my strong commitments to healthy living that made me start this blog in the first place.  But now that I am large to the point of being ready to burst, I am coming back to the blog to hold myself accountable to the best decisions health-wise.  In the next month I hope to do some catch up, maybe even some back posting if I get really crazy.  Then after the baby comes we will hopefully get even crazier as I share my efforts to burn that baby weight so we can all help keep each other in line.

prego cartoon

The Daily Smoothie

If you are my friend and you read this blog, then you know Aaron and I are very proud Vitamix owners.  If you haven’t heard of these, then perhaps you are not as addicted to Costco (samples) as we are.  We always most looked forward to Costco trips when the Vitamix salesmen were there and always lingered long enough to taste the soup, the smoothie, and the sorbet.  Aaron would always dream about getting one, but could never bring himself to swallow the $400 price tag for a blender.

But last year on his birthday my whole family very generously went in together and got it for him, and let me tell you it’s true what they say at Costco…we wonder how we ever lived without it!!  We have probably used it every single day in that almost a year that it’s been since we got it.  Since people have been asking about our smoothie favorites, I thought I’d share a few here.

My All Time Favorite:

1.5 frozen bananas*
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
3/4 cup soymilk**
(also delicious with 1 TBSP peanut butter added, of course!)

Simple Variations:

1 frozen banana
5 frozen strawberries or 3/4 cup blueberries
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
3/4 cup soy milk

Aaron’s Special:

.75 frozen banana
.5 fuji apple
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 TBSP almond butter
3/4 cup soymilk

Tribute to my Favorite Juice:

.75 frozen banana
.5 naval orange
.5 cup pineapple
small container vanilla Greek yogurt***
If you have a high-powered blender, like the Vitamix, please feel free to add a handful of spinach or baby carrots or both to any smoothie above for a nutrient boost without dramatically altering the taste.

*As mentioned in a previous post, we keep a lot of bananas on hand.  When they get a good shade of brown that makes them nice and sweet, I peel them and freeze them.  Then your smoothie will have a thick milkshake consistency without needing to use any added sugar…my secret to delicious healthy smoothies.  If you hate bananas, then you’re on your own!

**I prefer Unsweetened Silk Soymilk due to my lactose semi-tolerance and my unappreciation for added sugar in unnecessary places, but you can use any kind of milk you prefer.  I do think the soymilk gives it a creamier, less frothy texture than milk, but that’s totally my opinion!

***I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice the influx of Greek Yogurt to the dairy aisle, but be careful to read the labels…they are not all created equal!!  After a lot of reading and tasting, I was surprised to have a preference for the Fred Meyer store brand, which is great because it’s also the cheapest!  It’s vanilla flavor only has 3 more grams of sugar per serving than its plain variety, compared to some which have upwards of 20 grams more!!!  May as well have a cookie.

What are your favorite smoothies to whip up at home?

Life Without Cheese

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that food allergies seem to be taking over.  When I was in elementary school, we all ate peanut butter sandwiches pretty much everyday, but now many kids aren’t even allowed to take them to school because of the severe allergies of kids in their class.  Labels throughout the grocery stores boast of their gluten-free status, and almond, coconut, soy, and rice milk are taking over the “dairy” aisle.

What’s going on?!?!

Well it’s now going on in our home as well since Aaron, born and raised on a dairy farm, was diagnosed with both a dairy, and an egg allergy.

I know it’s very sad.

I’m no stranger to allergen-free cooking, with a sister & brother-in-law that eat gluten and dairy-free, and now a dad that has become vegan after someone suggested it would help his heart.  But that is still not to say that it’s been an easy transition.  A main concern he has is getting enough protein at breakfast and snack times (we try to eat 5 – 6 small meals throughout the day).  So I found a decent recipe for vegan protein bars that have helped fill in that void but I will say they are not definitely not as good as the milk-ridden kind!!

Any of you have favorite books/websites for cooking without dairy, eggs, or gluten?  What struggles and success have you had in allergen-free living?

VEGAN PROTEIN BARS

  • 1 cup dairy-free soy protein powder
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup wheat germ
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • ½ t. salt
  • 2 cups chopped dried fruit, such as raisins, apricots, berries
  • 1 cups plain, unsweetened soy yogurt
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 2/3 cups natural unsalted peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
  • 1/4 cup Egg Replacer mixed with 1/2 cup hot water

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a 9” x 13” baking dish.

2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the protein powder, oats, flour, wheat germ, baking powder and salt. Mix in the dried fruit until evenly distributed. Set aside.

3. In another mixing bowl, mix together the soy yogurt, maple syrup, apple juice, peanut butter and Egg Replacer mixture using an electric hand mixer until well combined. In 2-3 additions, add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combined spread into the prepared dish and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before cutting into bars.

NUTRITION: Calories 254 / Fat 7g / Carbs 36g / Sugars 18 g / Protein 14 g / Fiber 4 g