October 18, 2012

OHhhhhhh Boy: Blog is MOVING SITES!

I have been in BLOGGER TROUBLE the past few days trying to figure out what to do.  To spare you the gruesome details, I am changing to a new site (same title).  Here it is:  grow2eat2play.blogspot.com

I have moved over all of my posts, but it may take a little time to make it look pretty.

Again, there will be no more updates to this blog and eventually will be deleted.

SORRY!  I am so technologically UN-savvy...please forgive me!

Once again, move over to THIS SITE. Thanks!

A Bunch of Food Ideas!

Good Morning!

Man, yesterday was great.  It was a good day at work and then I truly just relaxed and enjoyed the day until spin class (6:30pm--which I also loved!), and then had a lazy evening watching Modern Family and reading up.  Here were my eats:

Breakfast:  one whole batch of sourdough pancakes (check comments for a simple version), 1 T peanut butter, and 1/2 cup cottage cheese (split between waking up early and after a few sessions)
Lunch: 2 oz. beef from the crock pot and a big chopped cabbage salad (recipe follows)
Dinner: (yikes) **same thing as lunch!  (normally, I wouldn't eat the same thing twice, but after spin class, I didn't want to make anything else! Just a wee bit of beef...)
Snacks:  Apple, hard-boiled egg, another pancake and 1/2 T almond butter, chocolate mousse (recipe follows)

Here's what I love about this salad recipe:  it is not a wilt-y salad, in fact, it might even be better when the dressing juices are soaked up, so enjoy as many a left-over!

Chopped Cabbage Salad

1/3 of a red cabbage (about 2 or 3 cups chopped)
1 big carrot, sliced (so that they are rounds)
1/4 cup chopped onion, yellow
parsley or cilantro, chopped (to taste)

1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
olive oil to 'thin out' the flavor
         **I always approximate the amounts and it turns out really, really strong, so I just add olive oil and water until it smoothes out.  It should have a kick to it nonetheless...

Pour dressing, toss salad, and eat or return to fridge to eat later!

Chocolate Mousse

1 serving plain greek yogurt (I don't care if its non-, low-, or full-fat!)
1 Tablespoon vanilla protein powder (or to taste-the more powder, the sweeter)
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

Mix it all up and enjoy as dessert!  It was my snack while watching Modern Family!

This morning, I decided to break out of my 'diet' (see this post) to try some oatmeal.  The weather is chilly this a.m. and it made me crave warm oatmeal.  So I tried this recipe for baked banana oatmeal.  Katheats.com also has a pumpkin version here.  I just didn't have pumpkin on hand--bummer.  Next time!

It turned out great!  The only changes I made was a sprinkle of cinnamon, unsweetened almond milk (regular milk doesn't do my stomach any good...) and no brown sugar at the end.  Bananas are sweet enough!

Before baked:

After baked (extra YUMMY!!):

And topped with almond butter and a dollop of greek yogurt.  I tell ya, the greek yogurt addition was excellent.  Very reminiscent of cool whip ;)

The recipe serves 4, so here is the nutritional facts per serving for my version:

230 kcals, 4.7 g fat, 42.2 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 8.8 g sugar (just bananas!), 8.4 g protein
      **almond butter and yogurt not included

I DO have to say that after eating this and now digesting it, my stomach is making all sorts of weird growly noises, as in it is telling me that it doesn't remember or doesn't like digesting it.  Hmmm...but it was SO TASTY!

I have a cycle class at noon at Highlands Ranch.  COME OVER!

October 15, 2012

'Slow Food': How it Can Help Your Health

There is a lot of hype (at least in Denver!) in regards to healthy, local, organic food.  The hype seems to be truer and truer as we find that harsh chemicals may cause early puberty; that the fresher the food, the better and more available the nutrients; that gas-guzzling trucks and freezer burn does not win over our friendly farms' dedication to growing heirloom varieties.

There are many facets to the term 'slow food', but I like to think that this idea can benefit your health as well as others and your environment.  If you want more info on the organization, click here.  My thoughts do not follow all of their tenants, although they are awesome!  Here is my list of 'pros' to the concept:

1.  No more fast food!  It seems kind of obvious, but the definition of 'slow food' cannot ever possibly include fast food.  It can't!  Fast food is so detrimental to your health.  I just don't need to go there.  Don't eat it.

2.  Farming is really cool and not just what your grandpa did.  Farming is a lost art that so many people can be a part of (maybe in a slightly smaller scale...).  My 'mini mini' farm has helped put a dent in my grocery bill and made me feel like I had to eat plenty more veggies because it was RIGHT THERE!  Sure, there was some hard labor and dedicated time spent towards farming, but it was SO worth it!  It gave me a hobby to be outdoors and learn more about plant life.  And it wasn't even as much as I needed to know to grow even a few vegetables!  Try it :)  Even extra herbs help!

3.  Slow down your day.  Eating the 'slow' way makes you have to prepare and plan for a day of food.  Hopefully this will involve others, but even if it doesn't, getting in touch with cooking and finding creative recipes to use that local produce is fun.  Fresh foods also tend to make delicious food, in which you should slow down the chewing and enjoying process--which happens to be a healthy habit (that I definitely have to work on!  I'm a wolf!).

Hopefully some point in here will help encourage you to slow down.  It starts with the first point: no fast food!

Debrief on the day:

I had the afternoon free, and it turned out to be gorgeous, so I headed up Mt. Falcon.  I'm obsessed!
Thankfully, I started the day with a mug muffin and ate 'light' and healthy the rest of the morning: two hard-boiled eggs and a nut/fruit bar (waking up at four makes me extra hungry!).  So, I knew this trip up was already better than the last!  Time: 41:30 up, 26:30 down!

 Snowy peaks in the distance...

Made it to the top! How gorgeous is this day? Mid-October and in a tank!

A view of Red Rocks Amphitheater from the trail.

After my run, I was ravenous.  I inhaled some sweet potato fries that I made yesterday with some almond butter.  De-licious!

Dinner was a new recipe from this blog.  I had cod in the freezer and am HORRIBLE at cooking fish.  But this turned out great!

White Fish 'en Papillote'

1 fish fillet
1/4 of an onion, cut in rings)
any combo of sliced fruit (lemon, lime, orange)
spice/herbs (cilantro, garlic, parsley, ginger, rosemary, thyme, dill)
salt and pepper (after baked, to taste)
10-12 inch piece of parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 375.  Place the fish on top of onion, fruit, and herbs and wrap it up so that it steams the fish.  When the oven is ready, place parchment on a pan and put in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  Mine took 15+ a little, but I don't think it was fully thawed.

Such an easy and tasty dish: quick prep and cleanup.  Fish is high in protein and low in fat and has other great nutrients like B vitamins and iodine--good for you!  Enjoy!

October 13, 2012

How NOT to Fuel for a Workout (and a High Tea adventure!)

Yesterday, I ate leftover chili for a late lunch.  As I was sitting at home working (and drinking mug-fuls of tea), I realized it was pretty nice out and I wanted to go trail run.  I had just bought new trail running shoes (since my regular running shoes wanted to slip right off my feet the last time...) and I wanted to test them out!  So, I hopped out of my chair, changed and was ready to run in 30 minutes, on a trail in the foothills (Mt. Falcon, once again!).  My time to the hiker/biker crossing: 24:10 (round trip in 40:00).

However, there were several things, I noted very quickly, that 'ruined' my run! Here is my list so that you don't make my same mistakes!

1.   Don't eat anything with beans before you run.  Just don't!

2.  Don't eat something that is heavy, hard to digest, and protein heavy either (just DON'T go for chili...).  This is a great example of how QUICK carbs like a banana, apple, piece of toast, and some protein, is a much smarter choice.  I like banana and nut butter in a mug.

3.  Don't drink 3+ cups of tea.  I definitely had to use some boulders to shield myself...TMI, I know!

4.  DO workout (especially cardio) even when you are sore, you can do it, even though you feel like you SUCK!  You feel better after...

5.  DO fit in a run outdoors with ensuing weather, unless you think you hear thunder...it sure got close to a downpour on me!  Here is a 'view' of the foothills (basically, it got so windy, the dust covered any mountain view...)

Here are my new shoes!

I'm a happy camper after I run.

Today, I went to High Tea at the Brown Palace Hotel, the oldest hotel in Denver!  It is very famous and beautiful.  I have had high tea two times before, but I was able to enjoy it with my mom and best friends' Vince and Victor's mother, Melinda.  How wonderful was our time together and delicious the scones, sandwiches, and desserts!  So filling!

 **Note our personal pianist behind us!  He was wonderful to listen to :)

**I chose the Black Currant tea, full of dark and fruity flavors!

I'm off to do my 'cardio', SALSA DANCING!  Have a fabulous weekend!

October 12, 2012

Salads to Chili: Rollin' with the CO weather!


The weather has been STRANGE and I love it!  It's cool and crisp in the mornings, with a bright sunny promise.  It usually warms up to about 75-80 degrees, with a day or two of cool, rainy weather to break it up.  It has been a lovely pattern for fall!  So, that means that some days, I crave a summery salad and others, warm soups!  

This morning, I made up my pumpkin yogurt.  I just made this up this week, but didn't have much time to write about it!  Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Yogurt:

-1 cup plain, nonfat greek yogurt (I'm partial to Fage or Chobani)
-1/2 cup pumpkin puree 
-1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Mix and enjoy a protein filled yogurt that tastes like pumpkin pie filling!

For lunch, I enjoyed this salad with spinach, red bell pepper, poblano pepper, 2 tablespoon walnuts, and two hard-boiled eggs.  A splash of balsamic vinegar for dressing.  Yum!  (see the sunlight?)

But then it got rainy and dreary and I got hungry this afternoon, so I enjoyed a leftover cup of crockpot chili from last night.

Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili:
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
1 lb ground turkey, cooked
2 shredded carrots
1 diced onion
1 small sweet potato, diced (it is my new favorite addition to chili!)
1 serrano pepper **if you like a little spice!
1 T. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
salt/pepper to taste

Mix together in crock pot and enjoy about 8 hours later!  I love chili, but just to prove this recipe is delish, the people I had over last night LOVED it.  Enjoy!

Tonight might be chicken leftover.  I've been enjoying putting things in the crock pot so that I save time to do other things (like trail run and shop!), so earlier this week I put 4 chicken breasts in a crock with almost 1 jar of salsa, diced red onion, and a serrano pepper.  It turned out amazing!

Sorry I have been a little MIA these past few days and I have no excuse except for trail running and shopping with my mom!  Shopping is ok, but when you grew up with a SUPER HELPFUL mother to shop with, it can handicap you from doing anything on your own.  I feel like I bought the store, but I haven't really purchased things that I need for months years...yikes!

Enjoy the new recipe ideas!

**to update my diet adventures:
I've been on a roll with my mainly veggie and protein diet, although there have been a few slip ups.  Saturday is always a day off...and that day landed on a birthday party which was perfect.  However, I had leftover homemade brownie (from the party) lying around, which happens to be my absolute fave, so it might have been nibbled on.  Plus, there was ice cream at the dinner last night...
The funny thing is, I am sticking to eating no fruit and no granola VERY well, which was my main downfall.  Those are both fairly healthy foods, but I may have had granola and fruit over a veggie choice too often.  This simple swap is making my veggie intake skyrocket!  I feel great, less weighed down by too many sugars (natural or not)!

October 9, 2012

The Lost Art of Doing What You Love to Do

The theme of my week has been in understanding motivation, goal-setting, and being happy content as you go about it.  I've had a few situations with members at 24Hr in the past week, as well as in personal life, that have made me think about why it is we try to achieve these things in our society that will potentially make us happy.  Sometimes we make our goals and sometimes our goals are too hard to reach.  But in either case, achieving them or not does not make us feel the way we thought when we set our goals in the first place.

This is a great theme to discuss for fitness and weight loss.  I feel like anyone can relate to this topic, whether you are 140lbs trying to lose a stubborn few (or gaining muscle!) or 400lbs and trying to figure out where to even start because the task seems too great.  I've seen many a gym member in my day (love you all!) to see this theme come to life.  So many people are fit, healthy, and motivated.  But I would bet that they are in the gym mostly because they fear what could happen if they stopped working out.  Let the battle of the bulge begin!  Many people work out because they are in the process of losing weight (after how many days of beating yourself down, I wonder?).

My point is, it is NOT about working out to achieve a physical status that you are HAPPY with.  That will keep you at a stagnant feeling of hatred towards fitness and your body.  You hate your body because it makes you have to spend hours at the gym, when you could be doing so many other things.  Too many people I've seen have reached their weight loss and body image goals and then they feel lost because they don't know how to stop or because they feel pressure to keep their new weight.

This is where goal re-shaping needs to come into play.

I just read (this morning!) an article from my favorite fitness blog by Charlotte Hilton-Anderson called, The Great Fitness Experiment, that is all about HAPPINESS.  And then it struck me just how important happiness is for everyone to achieve, but unfortunately it is simply a wisp of wind we cannot catch.  Her article talks about intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation.  Are you trying to achieve your goal because of wealth/status/perception or because it is simply 'inherently satisfying'?

A great example is running.  Do you run to lose weight or do you run because you love the feel of the wind on your face and the exhilarating challenge?  I ran the Platte River Half Marathon last April, and swear that I had an 'inner smile' the WHOLE way.  It was the hardest I've run, but I inherently LOVED every second of it.

What are you fitness goals?  Really?  Deep down, why do you do what you do?  Is it because you love doing it?  It makes you feel good?  Do you feel more energetic and maybe more put together throughout your day?  Or is it because you fear the pressure of looking good?  Maybe you think that you have never achieved that 'look' you see in your head?  Maybe you have given up?

My hope and challenge to everyone reading this, is that they find what intrinsically makes them happy AND helps them achieve their goals.

I love hiking and trail running.  It makes me happy.  It helps me feel strong, sexy, and alive in this world.  I don't have pressure of NOT attaining that perfect body or being the fittest person in the gym (which I will tell you is the biggest struggle as any trainer would tell you), because I can reach this point of contentment and pure thrill and happiness when I run in the beautiful foothills of Colorado.  I am content.

Ask yourself the hard questions of why you are motivated and how you can be motivated toward the right things, things that bring you peace and contentment, not false happiness.  Don't fake it.  Find purpose in what you do!

Here was the first image I saw when I googled "contentment":

October 7, 2012

Party Weekend!

An excuse for a party is always fun, especially if it is for your own birthday!  My parents and two brothers (and family friend, Frances!) came up from the Springs, and joined my dearest friends who are living in Denver!  This small house packed plenty of people. Me and the brothers at the party:

Since Saturdays are my days off any sort of diet plan, it was easy to enjoy the day of good eatin' and boozin', but I have to tell you, I felt pretty awful by the end of the night, and I feel like I didn't eat much of anything 'bad'!  I started my morning before work with pumpkin pancakes as a birthday treat, packing in a full 20 grams of protein from greek yogurt and egg.  I was filled for a while!  At the party, caprese salad, cheese, wine, and chicken with ginger were all great.  The beer, chips, and brownies were the wreckers...but soooo tasty!

Today,  I got back on the wagon (after more pancakes for breakfast, oops!) with this WONDERFUL lentil soup I made up.  Lemony AND spicy, who would have thought!  Here it is:

Spicy Lemon Lentil Soup

1 cup lentils, cooked in 2 1/2 cups water
2 cups sauteed kale
1 serrano pepper
1 red pepper
1/2 habanero pepper
1 tsp bouillon paste (may need more, or just swap water for veggie/chicken stock)
1 can kidney beans
1 tsp lemon flavored olive oil (1 fresh squeezed lemon will work!)
lemon pepper (spice combo from Savory Spice Shop)

Saute kale and peppers in a pan with olive oil.  Cook lentils, then add to a big pot.  Add veggies, kidney beans, and bouillon with water (at least three cups**).  Add lemon (oil/juice/pepper).   Let it simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, then serve!
** I did not add enough water, hence the stew look...

Also, this doesn't LOOK tasty, but nothing with lentils looks good to me.  The flavor is so worth it!

SO many layers of flavor.  The spice + lemon was a great combo and it was very clean and light beyond that.  I am pretty good at adding everything in my fridge, but I think the simplicity of the ingredients made it uncomplicated so that the spice and lemon was not understated.  If I had yellow onion, that would be my only amendment.  Try it out!  Would be great with some warm sourdough bread :)

Later, I tried out my new teapot and Earl Grey Lavender tea, a birthday gift from dear friends Sarah and Chris.  Thanks you two!

October 4, 2012

New Micro Muffin Recipe!

I accidentally came up with a new spin on my favorite breakfast recipe!

Due to my new diet plans, I decided to find a new way to make the pumpkin puree and egg stick together to form the dense muffin consistency.  I came up with flax seed and a dash of vanilla protein powder.  The result wasn't the same, but it was more of a pumpkin custard-delish!  Enjoy the new flourless pumpkin recipe:

Pumpkin Breakfast Custard

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 T flax, ground
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1 T vanilla protein powder (feel free to omit if you don't want that flavoring...I liked the sweet vanilla!)

Add in a big mug, stir, and pop in the microwave for 3 minutes on high.  Top with almond butter!

I went to Colorado Springs (hometown, baby!) to help my family unpack their house.   On the road, I came across this Sprinter that was LOPSIDED!!!  I had to take a pic (while driving, I know...) because I couldn't believe my eyes...this is looking at it straight on, and you can see the front right wheel is TO THE LEFT of the back right wheel.  That is just not right!

After the unpacking process, lunch was a salad with bell pepper, deli turkey breast, covered in salsa.

And for a special treat, my mom and I went over to Monument to enjoy tea and treats at the Wisdom Tea House.  I ordered their 'egg bake' which included roasted poblano peppers, some cheese, and lemon peel!  It was absolutely delicious with the lemon!   I almost devoured it before I took this pic:

And that brown 'hunk' of food next to it is their Pumpkin muffin that Mom ordered and I tasted it :)

The Wisdom Tea House lets you pick the teacup you want to use.  Here is my pretty pink cup of a creamy black tea:

For dinner, I ate a salad with hard-boiled egg, spinach, peppers, avocado, and a big dollop of cottage cheese.  Dressed with balsamic, lemon olive oil, and lemon pepper from Savory Spices!  I love eating salads and avocados all the time ;)  SO tasty and I feel amazing.

Have a happy Friday!

Aminos and Fat-burning Exercise!

Tuesday turned out to take a toll on my body!  I was feeling great IN class, but after 3 classes, Wednesday was tough.  I decided to try out Anabolic Amino Rush, which is an Apex product sold at 24 Hour Fitness (click here for $4 shipping or I can get it to you with a discount and free shipping!).  Here's what it does and why I decided to try it: 

In your body, amino acids that are either produced in your body (non-essential) or are needed in your diet (essential) to be used as the 'building blocks' or proteins and for metabolism.  Basically, they control every cellular process that goes on in your body.  What an important role!  Specifically in regard to exercise, your body needs those amino acids to help repair what you have 'broken down' in your workouts.  

This is where Amino Rush comes in to play.  This powder has a great ratio and just the right amount of aminos to help your body repair.  Leucine, Iso-leucine, and Valine, are all vital in that process (Leucine being the MOST important).  Leucine is essential and we can get it through our diet*, but it would take a lot of dietary leucine to do its job effectively.  As you work out, your body breaks down glucose in your muscle tissue and creates the byproducts pyruvic acid and NADH (electrons).  Leucine binds with pyruvic acid to reform properties in your muscle tissue.  So, instead of your body having to clear away that byproduct, leucine helps reuse it to repair the muscle damage faster.  What is even cooler, leucine is able to do this process in adipose and muscle tissue!  

Since I have been doing a lot of exercise through classes, I wanted to see if it would help reduce muscle fatigue and increase my strength over a prolonged period of time.  Basically, I don't want to feel like I got whiplash every Tuesday!  I'll keep you updated :)

*some dietary sources include:  fish, peanuts, wheat germ, soy beans, and beef 

On to another study related to exercise!  Have you seen this music video? 

 I love that they used treadmills :)  

Freemotion Fitness, a company that produces and sells great exercise equipment, has a research link that I have found interesting.  They are 'famous' for their incline trainer, which makes the average treadmill look lame.  Their trainer can take you on inclines as high as 30, where a normal treadmill goes to 15...

Here is a synopsis on their research

As a trainer, I take different energy systems into the equation when helping someone to their goals.  The most common goal is weight loss, so I often turn to High Intensity training to help them burn the most calories and gain muscle under a short period, but also tell them to use this tool to stress a different energy system.  Let me back up...

Here are your three energy systems, or rather, how our body uses energy in any activity:  ATP-CP, glycolysis, and oxidative.   Although all are used at any given time, one of them will be stressed and used more than another.  The oxidative process is what I want to look at here for fat burn.  

Oxidation takes a slow and steady rate of exercise and produces enough energy to keep you going through oxygen (hence the name!).  Walking is a great example.  

However, it takes a VERY long time to burn lots of calories.  And how do we burn calories?  We use as much muscle as possible.  This is where the incline trainer research is great!  They took the need for a slow oxidative exercise while increasing muscle being used and found that walking at a very steep incline reaches that need!  Their studies found that walking at an incline anywhere from 18-24% and at a speed of 2-3mph activated more muscle and utilized more fat as energy.  

If you want to use this in your fitness regime, walk more than 30 minutes at an incline of at least 18% at 2.4 mph and you will use 6 cals/min of fat versus a meek 2 cals/min of fat at a flat 6mph jog.  Have fun inclining!  

October 2, 2012

New Diet Experiment Update

Hi All!  Happy Tuesday!

Loving my 'new' diet :)  I feel like I've just made small changes (no granola or fruit, sadly), but I actually feel even better...breakfast was two hard boiled eggs and black beans over spinach with some avocado.  Not your typical breakfast fare, but it tasted really good!

I haven't been hungry in the morning, which is odd for me, since breakfast is my favorite and I'm usually starving!  So I had to wait until the very last minute to stuff this in before work!

Also, I fudged the meal plan a touch already because I had a Zone bar for a snack...it was all nut and dried fruit, but fruit is a no so, I need to come up with a better snack idea!  I'm still keeping my protein powder in since it noticeably helps my body recover from multiple classes taught in a day.  **Although, I will say that this "perfectly simple" Zone bar is great and filling-cheap and whole ingredients!

Roasted veggies made up of red onion, sweet potatoes, beets, and purple carrots are for another snack before my next class!  Just tossed veggies with garlic cloves (in chunks) with olive oil, salt, and pepper and put it in a pan in the oven at 400 degrees until they crisp up.  Yum!

October 1, 2012

A Nutrition Experiment: Learn Through my New Plan!

*My last pear (from our tree)!  

Today, I started an experiment.  And when I say experiment, I really do mean a diet, although I am more interested in its effects on me to help with my clients.  I am perfectly content with my body and the way that it functions and looks and diets are not a part of my life motto, BUT... I want to see what I can do with small and healthy changes that will only support my holistic and healthy habits, not create a monstrous diet fiend.  The end goal should be some fat and weight loss...at least, that is what I am expecting!  My fitness routine will not change much (mainly for experimental purposes ;) ).

My new plan:

A la Tim Ferriss, my recent health and fitness fave, I am giving up a few foods and following Ferriss.  In his book, The Four Hour Body, he has 4 rules to live by:
#1 No white carbs(mainly flour and processed junk)
#2 Eat the same few meals over and over (proteins, legumes, veggies)
#3 Don't drink calories (just water and red wine!)
#4 Take one day off per week (this would take a lot of time to explain, but he thoroughly explains it in his book)

I am going to follow this and add a few rules of my own:
#5 Fermented foods are ok (although, I probably will not be adding cheese, since I'm not much of a fan anyway...)
#6 No Fruit: just to clarify, this is a part of Ferriss's rules, although I think I eat WAY more fruit than veggies, so I am going to adhere to that rule for the most part.  VEGGIE UP!

THANKFULLY, my birthday lands on Saturday this year, which means it is my day off and I get to enjoy whatever I want!

As I go through with this experiment, I plan to document how I feel, what I am eating and how my body is changing.

So far today, as my first day: I ate cottage cheese for breakfast and Chipotle chicken salad with guac for lunch!  No snacks are needed for now.  This diet has kept me full!