Smooth Operator: the time I discovered smoothies

Hi Everyone! Hope you’re all having a fab week!

Yesterday Chris and I met with our OB and she reiterated how ridiculous active and uncooperative our baby is…which isn’t all that surprising considering his/her parents…Everything was healthy and perfect, though, so it was a nice meeting! I also had my glucose loading challenge test yesterday. I had to drink a whole bottle of orange stuff (akin to flat orange Fanta on steroids) and then have my glucose level checked 1 hour later. I’ll get the results today. However, it reminded me of a time in grad school when I volunteered for an eating disorder study for individuals who had recovered (I definitely had not recovered at that time). I was made to drink a giant beverage and told it contained 900 calories. They then measured my level of anxiety based on report and took blood. I lied and lied and lied saying I felt fine and had no problem with the calories. I had a relapse that very day. This time was obviously much different: I drank the drink, had my blood drawn, ate lunch, ate dinner, moved on. Ta-Da! It certainly feels a lot better this way.

Anyway, I know I’m late to the game, but as of this week I am WAY into smoothies. I’ve been having a hard time eating vegetables lately with my heartburn and little bouts of nausea, and chicken salad and pasta really isn’t fulfilling my healthy food quota each day (although delicious). I’ve never really liked smoothies. I really prefer to chew my food, but since I’m having a hard time doing that, smoothies seem to be the most logical solution at the moment. Here is my fave recipe that I’m currently loving for it’s nutritional stats, taste, and ease:

Green Protein Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • .5 medium banana
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • Ice

Add all ingredients to blender, whirl, inhale.

Here are a few more that I’ve tried and really enjoy:

I really prefer smoothies with fruits and veggies, since it gives you more nutritional bang for your buck. Plus they’re green…which really adds to the “Suburban Mom” vibe that I’ve been riding: designer handbag, big sunglasses, SUV, green smoothie, resting bitch face, 7 months pregnant. Try it out 😉

Oh, and this is the little single serving blender that I bought:

Blender

That’s it for me! What kind of smoothies do you like?! Let me know in the comments!

xoR

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HIIT and Pancakes: A Weekend in the Life

Hi everyone! Hope everyone had a fab weekend! We had a super busy couple of days with two nights of Passover and Easter with our families. So fun, so full, feelin’ great!

With the eat-a-thon we experienced this weekend, I was looking for some quick, full-body sweat sesh’s to ward off that icky sloth feeling. No, these weren’t workouts to make excuses for eating, these were workouts to help me stay on track and feel my best! The following is an awesome Full-Body HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) that I did on Sunday  morning before eating my body weight in stuffed shells:

Full Body HIIT

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This workout was modified from THIS Buzzfeed article. I also added a warm up and cool down from FitnessBlender.com, which are not only fun, but super important to avoid injury!

I also wanted to share my new favorite pancake recipe, modified from This Foodie Fiasco post. These bad boys are grain free, gluten free, low sugar, and SO FREAKING DELICIOUS I WANT TO EAT THEM ALL DAY!

Blueberry Coconut Pancakes

IMG_5552Ingredients:

  • 2T Coconut Flour
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Egg Whites or 1/4C liquid egg whites
  • 1/4C Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/3C Blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add whisked eggs and almond milk to dry ingredients and mix until completely combined. Batter will be thick. Add blueberries and additional almond milk if necessary (I usually do!). Spoon 1/3C into pancake shapes on griddle, frying pan or pancake pan. Cook 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Serve with fruit, syrup, nuts, peanut butter…whatever you want!

Let me know how they turn out! Sometimes I sub the blueberries for banana and they’re also super yum!

Have a fab week!

xoR

Grain Free Lifestyle: the new me

Hello! Happy Monday to you 🙂

I have made a bit of a diet change, and I want to share my thoughts with all of you. I’m going grain free. As someone in recovery from an eating disorder, cutting a whole food group can be problematic…as in, disordered. For example, before Chris and I got married, my trainer that suggested trying a Paleo/grain-free diet (Hi John!) . To me, that meant “NO MORE CARBS!” so I cut all resemblance of carbohydrates from my diet. No grains, no starch, no fruit. Just protein and veggies. I was miserable, weak and mean. I was very much NOT in recovery at that point in my life, so this lifestyle change did not go over well. However, at this point in my recovery, I am able to see that reducing one food group (not cutting entirely) can be beneficial for my overall well-being, and also means I can add more of another food group (like fat or protein).

Grain free diets are certainly controversial and there is a TON of misinformation going around out there. First of all, the word “grain” refers to wheat and wheat products. It does not refer to “gluten”, which is a protein, or “carbohydrate”, which is a macronutrient. Reducing grain, for me, means cutting down on bread, cereal, baked goods, etc. It does not mean reducing starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and corn. I am also not referring to this diet as “paleo” because I am still eating legumes and dairy.

That being said, you might be wondering why I’ve made this decision. Well…a couple of reasons.

1. I’m at a fitness stalemate. Abs are made in the kitchen, and while I’m not on a quest for the proverbial 6 pack, I am on a quest to increase strength, muscle tone and general feeling of goodness. A diet change can be pivotal to change physique.

2. I’m having some (ahem) skin issues. OK, I realize I’m probably have a standard “I’M ABOUT TO TURN 29 AND I HAVE ZITS and WRINKLES!” meltdown, but something needs to change. According to a few different sites, acne can be aggravated by inflammation, which apparently can result from consuming grains. Listen, I know it’s probably wacky science, but I’m really ready to do anything.

3. Grains may be inflammatory. Some studies show that consumption can increase inflammation in the body. Some say they don’t. There’s lots of back and forth, but I’ll tell you this: my belly feels better when I don’t eat a ton of grains. Maybe it’s placebo, but I’ll take it while it works.

SOOOO. Here I am. Grain free. I will say, another huge benefit of a diet change is that I’ve been cooking every day! I love cooking and had sort of lost all motivation. So, here’s a sampling of some new, grain free, delicious recipes I’ve made so far:

So that’s it for me! Check out my Food and Recipes page on Pinterest for more delish ideas!

xoR

Affirmation Situation: positive thinking and home workouts

Welcome to Friday! We made it! I was trying to think of words that rhyme with affirmation, and all google could come up with was “constipation” and “filling station” I just thought you should know that.

This week was long and we don’t have cable in the new house…so…there’s that. Chris and I are settling into our new house and are feeling at home, despite all the upcoming projects. Our home gym is looking awesome and we’re psyched to start using it regularly!
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In the mean time, I did the following resistance band workout earlier this week and I’m still sore! Those suckers always give me a way harder workout than I anticipate!

Resistance Band Full Body Circuit


Complete each exercise for 45 seconds. Rest 15 seconds beforeoving to the next exercise. Rest 1 minute between rounds. Complete 3 rounds.
You’ll need a medium to heavy weight resistance band, a step or chair, and an anchor point (I used a beam in the basement)

-Resistance band squat
-Step up
-Reverse fly
-Mountain climbers
-Chest press
-Plank shoulder taps
-Bicep curls
-High knees
-Over head tricep extension
-Power punch
-Lateral raise
-Lateral hops
-Plank
-Bicycles

I’ve been enjoying figuring out at home workouts with limited equipment, but I’m pretty excited about our new bench set and suspension system. Keep an eye out for more workouts that force me to be a bit more creative based on equipment and space.

One other thing: this week I was forced (once again) to determine what was fact and what was my own interpretation of fact. I often misconstrue feedback into “I’m not good enough” or “I’m doing it wrong” or “I’m bad at this”, when really people are often offering me help or constructive criticism. In my support group this week, we each made a mantra to help us through tougher situations. The ladies all thought of super awesome, positive and powerful mantras. Mine is “you’re doing the best you can right now”. All we can do is our best. And sometimes just getting by is what we can do. And that’s ok too. I challenge you to think of a mantra or affirmation to help you through tough situations. The only rules are that it needs to be short and positive. Here’s a a great article to get you started!

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Have a super fab weekend!
xoR

My Top 5 Foods

Hello! Happy Tuesday. Since I’m following a workout plan that I did not write, I figured I’d talk to you about my second love: FOOD. With that, here are my top 5 foods, without which I’d drop dead (or possibly something less dramatic).

1. Oats

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I eat oats pretty much every day. My breakfast is almost always the following:

  • .33 cup rolled oats
  • .66 cup water
  • .25 cup liquid egg whites
  • .5 banana
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

Cook oats in water in microwave for 1 minute. Whisk in egg whites, zap for additional 30 secs. Top with banana, PB, and chia seeds.

Oats are awesome because they are a good source if soluble fiber, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure. That fiber also keeps you full longer than other cereals, plus it tastes damn good (in my bumble opinion). Source

2.  Speaking of peanut butter: Peanut Butter:

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I’ve raved about the benefits of this delicious butter of the gods, but in case you forgot:

“Each 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains more than 8 grams of protein, nearly 2 grams of dietary fiber, 208 milligrams of potassium, more than half a gram of iron, 24 micromilligrams of folate, 188 calories and 3 grams of sugars. The fat content is 16 grams per serving, but only 3 grams of those are saturated. The rest of the fats are mono- and polyunsaturated, which have proven benefits for heart and muscle health. While the amounts of protein and fiber are not large, every bit counts when managing your macronutrients.” Source

3. Coffee:

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Real talk: I’m addicted to coffee. Not even good coffee. Just any resemblance of coffee-like drink will do. I’m no snob (although I would never say no to coffee!). I start every day with my eggy oats and exactly 2 cups of black coffee. My brain doesn’t function otherwise.  Caffeine is a stimulant, and there have been numerous studies confirming the benefits of coffee from increased energy to lower risk of Parkinson’s! Check out this article for more! (You can trust HuffPost. They only publish really awesome articles by very good looking people ;))

4. Hummus:

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Ok, I know this makes me a total #basicbitch, but if I had to marry a food it would be hummus. I eat it by the bucketful.

A 2-tablespoon serving of hummus contains 50 calories, 2 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat and 4 grams of carbohydrates, including 2 grams of fiber. Only 0.4 grams of fat is saturated. This combination of protein and fiber will help keep you feeling full for longer than a high-fat dip that doesn’t contain much fiber, such as a full-fat ranch dip. Source

5. Champagne:

Some say there are health benefits to champagne. Honestly, I don’t care. I just wanna drink bubbles all day, everyday.

xoR

Curls for the Girls: drop sets, super sets, and fish tacos.

Morning! It’s Wednesday, which means we’re halfway to the weekend!

This weekend is particularly special because it is the NEDA Walk, Boston, hosted by MEDA! I’ve decided to volunteer with a few other group leaders this year, so it should be a good time! The walk is happening at Newton North High School and the goal is to raise $90k. It should be pretty incredible, so come on down if you’re in the area! (I still think it’s really weird that NEDA hosts walks to raise ED awareness…like what a great opportunity for compulsive exercisers to shine! Oy. Oh well).

So far this week HAS been pretty quiet, which is a change for me. I’m loving that the weather seems to be improving and I have some free time to enjoy it. Yesterday, I did the following back and bicep superset workout. This workout features super sets and drop sets. Super sets are two exercises (of opposing muscle groups) performed back to back with no rest. Drop sets are performed after the last heavy super set, where the weight is dropped to about 50% of your max and performed until failure. Drop sets cause muscle fatigue by engaging slow and fast twitch muscle fibers and are thought to increase muscle mass (aka strength and definition!)

Sorry, but my photographer was unavailable again. Just know that I was wearing my favorite wedgie shorts.

Back and Bicep Drop Set Burner

Perform each super set 3 times, with 8-12 reps per exercise (12 on the first round, 10 on the second, 8 on the third, with increasing weight). Follow the third super set with an immediate drop set. Rest 1 minute between sets.

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You probably know most of these exercises by now. The only newer one is the “reverse curl”. I didn’t actually do a reverse curl, but I’m not sure what I did is called. Start by doing a standard dumbbell bicep curl, then when you reach the top, flip your hands toward the ground and descend slowly. This targets the brachioradialis, which is located in the forearm. I’ve never done this exercise before, and I was amazed by the weakness in this area! Hello forearms!

This workout was deceptively hard! My arms were dead at the end due to all those drop sets! I texted Chris halfway through saying I was ready to quit and he sent me this picture:

IMG_5172He knows me so well.

After my workout, I was starving and threw together some fish tacos. YUM! And so easy!

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Recipe:

Serves 3-4

  • 4 Tilapia filets
  • 2 cups broccoli slaw
  • 1 medium avocado, chopped
  • .5 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 tbsp Mrs. Dash no-salt seasoning
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas (I used Trader Joe’s low carb version)
  • hot sauce to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. To prepare fish, pat dry with paper towels (otherwise they get mushy!) and season with Mrs. Dash (or what ever kind of seasoning you like!). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until fish is flaky. Then go to town with toppings! I like to eat mine warm with a handful of raw broccoli slaw, avocado, and goat cheese, and top with a ton of Cholula hot sauce. I ate 2 tacos and served them with a combo of black and garbanzo beans that I warmed in a pan. A note about toppings: Tilapia is a very lean protein. This meal requires some fat to make sure your body absorbs the nutrients of the fish and veggies. So while avocado and goat cheese are on the more fattening side, they are really important in order to make this a balanced meal. Plus, they taste damn good.

Also, notice the glass of wine. Chris and I had decided that this week we were going to detox from booze…then he came home with this bottle claiming that wine doesn’t count. I mean, he’s a scientist…so he’s probably right 😉

That’s it for me! Have a spectacular day!

xoR

Boot Camp and Peanut Butter. My life in a nutshell.

Hey! I’m coming to you live from the glass replacement shop! Thank goodness for free wifi, amiright?!

I was just talking to the glass replacement guy (I’m sure he has a more official title, he’s a very nice man!), and he explained that the fabulous human that broke into my car probably used a screwdriver to pry open the window, which just caused it to shatter without even triggering the alarm system. He also said that he’s replaced no fewer than 6 windows today alone with the same damage. I am feeling SUPER weird and nervous now…and sort of want to just keep all of my possessions on my person from now on.  OY!

Anyway, this morning I did a KILLER boot camp workout at the gym. I came thisclose to making myself barf…maybe I need to take a step back…maybe not.

This workout consists of 2 circuits: 1 lower body/core circuit, 1 upper body circuit. If you don’t have access to kettle bells, you can definitely use dumbbells instead. I let my photographer sleep in this AM, so there are some videos linked below. Also, I was wearing my “I have tiger blood” tank top, if you need a visual.

Killer Boot Camp

Complete 5 rounds of each circuit with 10-15 reps per exercise. Rest 30-60 seconds between circuits, rest 2 minutes between circuit 1 + 2.

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plank ski jumps

plank thrust

single arm KB high row

med ball slam

V-up

Last night I made a super yummy dinner made from whatever I found in the freezer. It came out pretty good so I figured I’d share with you! There’s a surprise ingredient that makes this dish extra amazing.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken sausages, sliced into .25 inch pieces
  • 1 package Trader Joes frozen brown rice, cooked per instructions
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • .5 cup Baby  Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • .5 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter <–surprise!
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Sesame seeds

Start by thawing veggies in the microwave. I usually just zap them for about a minute. Heat a large frying pan with cooking spray and add mushrooms. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until tender. Add sliced sausage, cook for another 2 minutes. Add vegetables and cook until heated through, about 3 more minutes. Incorporate cooked rice. Create a reservoir in the middle of the pan and add peanut butter, soy sauce and vinegar. Allow to heat a bit, then stir continuously until peanut butter has melted. Top with a few shakes of sesame seeds. Devour.

I’m realizing that it’s really hard to describe how to cook a recipe when I literally just throw everything into a frying pan and hope for the best. This dish was vaguely Asian/Thai inspired, but none of that was planned until I realized peanut butter was the only available “sauce” like substance in my house. Experiment a little, these types of dishes are super hard to mess up.

A word on peanut butter. I L-O-V-E peanut butter. Like, so much. So much it hurts. I would name my first born Peanut Butter if I didn’t think my mother would have me committed. Peanut butter can only be described as magical in my mind. But for you neigh sayers out there: peanut butter actually has a lot of health benefits, and you should start eating by the spoonful right now as well.

Each 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains more than 8 grams of protein, nearly 2 grams of dietary fiber, 208 milligrams of potassium, more than half a gram of iron, 24 micromilligrams of folate, 188 calories and 3 grams of sugars. The fat content is 16 grams per serving, but only 3 grams of those are saturated. The rest of the fats are mono- and polyunsaturated, which have proven benefits for heart and muscle health. — San Francisco Gate

ALSO! The carbohydrates and amino acids in peanut butter can help increase the production of seratonin, a neurotransmitter that improves mood and calms anxiety. Like seriously, is there anything this voodoo food can’t do?! C’MON!

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Ima go eat a jar of PB now. BYE!

xoR