Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wholesome Media

There is a lot of misleading information regarding proper nutrition within the media, and major media journalists are using proper nutrition as their go to topic. It is great to see major media outlets, like the New York Times, have a blog dedicated to wellness. Their wellness blog focuses on the many things we can do to improve our overall health. Their blog offers up a decent amount of healthy recipes containing many nutritional ingredients. The New York Times and other major health-focused media outlets are great sources when trying to find good-clean recipes. These types of media outlets are typically focused on overall health which makes them a wonderful go-to health and nutrition source. These major media outlets do not look at nutrition as the forefront of media but they do recognize proper nutrition as an important and somewhat popular topic. When looking for proper guidance with nutrition make sure to research and read up on the foods that benefit our bodies.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Moderate Media

The media outlets that do encourage proper nutrition refers to healthy eating as a "diet". Major media outlets need to start referring to these "diets" as lifestyles. That is the only way people will see any change with their weight or health, when they quit the diets and begin the lifestyle. Most of the big media outlets provide decent and adequate nutrition information and tips but they have yet to fully embrace nutrition as a major topic. Fox News has a good amount of nutrition focused articles. Their posts are great and provide wonderful diet and nutrition information, but they tend to be vague when more details can be provided. In their The Perfect Diet article, they focus on the proper balance of carbs, fats and proteins. While this article is great it could have held more water. Fox News, being one of the major-media outlets, is slowly beginning to draw attention to proper nutrition. They just need to start promoting the lifestyle rather-than the "diet".

Mistaken Media

Our lives revolve around social-media. Majority of people read and browse the local news-station websites as their go-to source of up-to-date and helpful information. It is sad to see journalists writing generic content that they do not even fully understand, and most of the time the content they are covering is nutrition. In recent years health and fitness has become somewhat of a trend, and finding accurate information through the internet is the hardest part. Many people do not even know where to begin so they turn to their local news station for health and diet tips. This can lead to mistaken health and diet tips because media has yet to turn the focus to proper nutrition segments. Even the Tampa Bay Times is guilty. In their 25 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work they provide 25 "healthy" lunch ideas. This sounds great for that person on a budget or the busy business man that is trying to slim down, but there are far and few proper health and nutrition tips in this article. The article mentions juice or soda for some of the "healthy" drink choices. The article mentions chips, mayonnaise, baked potatoes and the list goes on. Plus there are no recipes provided so potion control is out the window. Sooner or later, proper nutrition is going to become a major forefront in people's lives. If the media does not change and improve their articles and segments focusing on nutrition they risk losing their audience.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Healthy Donuts?!

Everyone loves a donut, even if they do not go out of their way for one everyday, but when presented with a box of fresh donuts anyone would oblige. I personally love donuts but I cannot tell you the last time I had one. I cut donuts out of my everyday diet way before I began trying to loose weight, I knew donuts were one of the worst things to put into our body's so it was best to cut them out completely. The other day I was at Target and I stumbled across a donut-baking tray, almost like a cupcake tray but for donuts. I did not even hesitate, once I saw it I knew I had to have it. Of course I had to make donuts as soon as I got the chance because I was curious to see if this tray would even work.

1 tbp of coconut oil
1 tbs of cinnamon
3 tbs of truvia
3/4 tsp of baking powder
3/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tub of Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 cup of perfect fit (any protein powder will work)

You should get a fluffy constancy once you mixed all ingredients together.

1 tbs of honey
1/2 tbs of truvia
1/2 tbs of cinnamon
1 tsp of vanilla extract

These donuts are great for breakfast or a sweet afternoon pick-me-up. They have a bonus healthy factor by not being fried, so you do not have to feel guilty when reaching for seconds!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Healthy Fall Cocktails

Holiday cocktails are a must but healthy festive cocktails are always the better alternative. It's great to indulge in meals or drinks every now and then, but holidays seem to be the time of the year where people over-indulge with the meals and drinks. I like to maintain a happy medium-sized indulgence around the holidays. Here are some healthy holiday drink recipes that will warm any old scrooge up.

Whiskey Autumn Delight: *SERVED WARM OR CHILLED*
2 oz. of whiskey
6 oz. of organic apple cider (or apple juice if you're not a fan of cider)
A dash of cinnamon
Garnish with an apple slice or a cinnamon stick

Autumn Apple-tini: *SERVED CHILLED*
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. whiskey
1/2 oz. of grade A maple syrup
2 oz. organic apple juice (freshly juiced if you have a juicer)
Garnish with a dash on cinnamon on top

Sizzling Sangria: *SERVE CHILLED*
1 cup of brandy
1/3 cup of triple sec
1 cup of grand marnier
1 bottle of red wine
2 apples and 2 pears diced
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
*OPTIONAL* you can add club soda if you want the sangria to have a spritzer feel to it

Thanksgiving Cider: *SERVE OVER ICE*
2 oz. vodka
3 oz. apple cider
1/2 oz. of grade A maple syrup
Splash of club soda
Garnish with cinnamon or an apple slice

Pumpkin Delight: *SERVE CHILLED*
2 oz. of pumpkin puree
2 oz. of spiced rum
1/4 cup of milk
1/3 cup of half and half
Garnish with a dash of cinnamon
*If served in a martini glass, rim with brown sugar*

I hope some of these festive drink options will make the holidays more warm and enjoyable. Let me know if you will be giving any of these fall drink recipes a shot.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Healthy Thanksgiving Soup

I thought I would share some of my healthy thanksgiving recipes throughout this week just incase anyone wanted some healthy meal alternatives. Since the fall is here and winter is right around the corner, comfort food becomes essential during the cold months. A great comfort food for when it's cold is sweet potato and pumpkin soup. This soup is perfect because it is a blended soup, it is made with only vegetables and spices, and it's very nutritious. 

What you will need
  • 1 Pie Pumpkin
  • 1 Large Sweet Potato
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tbs of minced garlic
  • 3 tsp of red pepper
  • 2 tsp of pepper
  • 1 tbs of ground coriander
  • 3 tsp of oregano
  • 1 pinch of salt
Start by setting your oven to 400 F degrees and begin washing and chopping up your pumpkin and sweet potato. 

Then you want to wrap the chunks in foil and drizzle on some olive oil and close the foil wrapping. Then place them in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, once they are tender you can remove them. While their baking start buy adding 1 table spoon of olive oil, 1 table spoon of minced garlic, 3 teaspoons of red pepper, 2 teaspoons of pepper, 1 table spoon of ground coriander, 3 teaspoons of oregano, and 1 pinch of salt to a medium sized soup pot. Let the spices simmer on low heat while you wait for the pumpkin and sweet potato.

You will then add your chopped green pepper and the chucks of pumpkin and sweet potatoes to a blender or food processor, blend till smooth. 

Once you have the soup pureed to your liking, you then want to add the puree to your soup pot that has been set to simmer.

Once you have added the puree you then want to mix the soup on low heat. If you prefer a creamier texture you can add in 1/2 cup of almond milk.

This is what the finished product should look like. It is a very tasty soup and it only took me a little over an hour to make. Be on the look out for more recipes this week!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Being a girl, I am prone to spontaneous food cravings. When these cravings hit they are usually for something specific. I have a massive sweet tooth so if I get a craving it's typically for some type of dessert. This week I had a craving for carrot cake. I don't know why I had such a craving for it, because whenever I'm at a party and there is carrot cake for dessert I snub my nose to it. I found it quite odd that I had this craving, I thought maybe I was low on my vitamines A, E and K so I decided to get creative. Instead of buying an actual carrot cake I opted for the homemade protein pancake version. I talked about how I make my protein pancakes in an older post of mine. This recipe is basically the same but with carrot puree and carrot juice added.

The Recipe:
  • 2 cups of egg whites
  • 3 carrots (juiced or pureed) *you can use a blender for pureeing*
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 3/4 cup of muesli
  • 1 scoop of protein powder of choice
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of truvia sweetener
After your carrots are pureed, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. I did not want to blend-up any of the ingredients because I like that carrot cake has a texture to it and I wanted these pancakes to have a simular texture. I then took a tablespoon of coconut oil and pan-fried the batter into pancakes. You do not have to use coconut oil and you also do not have to pan-fry like me, because these recipes are just here to encourage all the possibilities when it comes to healthy cooking. I also made so copy-cat healthy "frosting" for the pancakes because I just could not see syrup going well with these. I made the frosting with some plain greek yogurt and mixed in some cinnamon, truvia and almond extract. It was delicious and guilt-free so of course it made the meal exceptional.

These pancakes were great and took care on my unwanted craving for carrot cake. Like I have said before, all of these recipes can be tweaked. These recipes are here to show the ratio of proper ingredients and how to incorporate the beneficial food and ingredients into our daily meals. This coming week I will be share some deliciously healthy thanksgiving dishes so be on the lookout.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Turkey, not just a holiday meal.

Any time I see turkey being prepared it is always around the fall holidays. I find that somewhat odd because turkey is a great meat source of protein. Just like chicken, turkey serves an import part in diet as well. I typically buy the ground turkey breast meat because the meat from the breast is white meat and we all know white meat is the best meat to put into our bodies. I buy the ground meat because I find it easier to cook and integrate into other recipes other than a whole turkey breast. Like I said, turkey is very simple so I encourage everyone of you to try a non-holiday dish incorporating some turkey.

The turkey dish I decided to make was a sautéed ground turkey with veggies. It was very filling and the recipe made enough for two plates. I thought it turned out delicious and now turkey is my meat of choice.

The recipe:

1/2 lb of ground turkey breast
1/2 of a small pumpkin (skinned and cubed)
1 cup of kale leaves
1 cup of mushrooms
1/2 cup of broccoli and cauliflower
1/2 cup of celery
Onion powder (to taste)
Cayenne peper (to taste)
Topped with pine nuts

Hope you all enjoy this recipe and try incorporating some turkey in your non-festive meals till the holidays.

Pros and Cons: When cooking without oil.

Cooking without using any oils sounds nearly impossible, but using no oil tends to be much easier than your standard cooking methods with oil. Using other ingredients that will substitute for the oil opens numerous healthy-cuisine possibilities.

First let's cover the pros when cooking without oil. There are numerous cooking oils out there, but not all are good for our bodies. Oils can clog our arteries, can cause cravings, usually leads to feeling sluggish, and it can pack on some serious pounds. So an advantage for cooking without oil is an providing overall health change for your body. Like I said above; cooking without oils opens your eyes to the numerous recipes when using oil-free ingredients. Let's move on to the cons. First con is for anyone trying oil-free recipes for the first time, more than likely it is not going to be what you expect. Anyone switching from 100% oil usage to no oil is going to experience a bitter taste and the food won't taste or feel as smooth. This happens because our bodies get accustomed to what you put into them daily. Greasy foods alter your taste buds to like sugars and fats, thus leading you to ungodly cravings throughout the day. The best way to ease into oil-free cooking is by using vegetable or chicken broth, the food will be rich with flavor so it would be hard to taste a significant difference without the oil. The next con of cooking without oil is not getting enough healthy fats. Yes oil is terrible but there are a few oils that are very beneficial to our bodies. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthy oils to use while cooking because it is a healthy fat. Now a little goes a long way, so don't over do it. Try sticking to 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon, but do not exceed a tablespoon. The is one of those health topics where people can lean towards either side because both sides are good and bad. The trick to maintaining healthy oil consumption is balancing by balancing out your usage and learning what your body needs verses what it wants.

Now onto the interesting part of this post, the oil substitutes. These food items can be used in various way when cooking oil free dishes. These ingredients are typically very moist which is what makes oil-free cooking possible.

  • Bananas
  • Tofu
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Pumpkin Puree (basically any fruit or vegetable puree)
  • Applesauce
  • Vegetable/Chicken Broth
  • Coconut Oil
  • Water
  • Olive Oil (in moderation)
  • Milk (of any kind)
These are the typical ingredients used for oil-free cooking, let me know if you try a recipe with any of these substitutes or if you know of any other substitutes for oil-free recipes.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cheating Made Easy.

This may be a little odd but during my challenge I did not step on the scale at all, mainly because I did not want to psych myself out by just seeing a number change, I wanted this challenge to mainly focus on the progress picture because then you are seeing results first hand. A few people were curious to know how much weight I lost during the challenge, even after the challenge was completed I refused to step on the scale because weight in my mind it is just a number and we should never let it control our healthy habits. Even with a couple people still hounding me about weighing myself I could not escape the scale at my doctors office. As I sit in the lobby I think of what the scale will say my weight is, I know I have nothing to worry about because I have lost weight and majority of my clothes are baggy now, but it's the fact that I am stepping on the exact scale that read my highest weight to me back in 2010. I was 179.6 pounds back then; that is the time where I ran into a few health problems and those being combined with my horrible eating habits just became a recipe for tremendous weight gain. The doctor calls me to the back room to take my weight, I stand with angst as I wait for the scale to calculate my current number that defines my bodys current state and just when I felt like it was not going to be a drastic change the scale read 142.3 pounds. I was ecstatic, I could not believe I lost almost 14 pounds during this challenge, since I weighed myself a few weeks before this challenge and I was at 156 pounds. I thought that was a great way to end the 30 Day Challenge with, I know this challenge was the best decision I have made for my health and body in awhile and now it's not only a challenge but a lifestyle.

The 30 Day Challenge is completed, and now I just want to eat any cheat meal I can get my hands on. For the last 3 days I have found myself wanting to eat something bad but when it's right in front of me is when I now no longer want it, I just can't seem to even stomach the idea of eating something that is unhealthy for my body, yet I still wanted a super sweet treat. Just this week I came across an email from the Tone It Up girls, it was about a 3 ingredient cookie. I didn't open the email because of course it was going to be a healthy recipe and at that time I was really wanting a normal dessert and not a healthy dessert. After a couple days spent having no sweet treats I decided to open the email and try their cookie recipe. Boy was I missing out, these cookies hit the sweet tooth spot and I felt awesome while eating them because I know that they are 100% good for you. The 3 ingredient cookie recipe can be found here.

I followed their recipe when I made them and it made 11 huge cookies, I might make the cookies a little smaller next time and I plan to use pumpkin purée instead of bananas. You can also add in some other fruit to the original recipe, just remember to always play around with healthy clean-eating recipes because you will always end up with a better version (your healthy rendition) of the original. I'm glad this 30 Day Challenge altered my previous eating habits because a lot of people were warning me about if I binge right after the challenge then I will gain everything back plus some more. Ironically I think by making myself stay committed to this challenge for 30 days change my habits and now I can't even stomach the idea of processed and unhealthy foods.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The end is always a begining.

The 30 Day Challenge has come to an end, I cannot believe that it's already November! The challenge is completed and I feel like a new person. Although, since the challenge is over this does not grant me the privilege of going back to my old eating habits. Typically it takes around 20 to 30 days to make or break a habit, this challenge has not only helped me get into shape it also changed my eating habits for the better. The only difference is now I will allow myself one treat day out of the week, this "treat day" will consist mostly of healthy treats and of course the normal holiday treats coming up because everyone should enjoy food on the holidays. Anyways I figure it's time to put my month where my mouth is, so here's my before and after picture for the 30 Day Challenge.

I feel great and 90% of my clothes are a bit baggy now so I decided I would treat myself with shopping trip for some new fall clothes. I encourage anyone who wants a jump start with getting in shape to challenge yourself by cutting one thing or a few things out of your diet for one month, your whole outlook on food will change (As well as your eating habits). Stay focused, believe in yourself, and don't give up after one week or a small slip up.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dyeing to be Healthy.

Hair dye is always a fun way for anyone to change up their look or style. Being a girl hair dyeing is just accepted as being normal, almost every girl has dyed their hair once in their life. Now I was a pretty regular dyer when it came to hair, every month or two I would get highlights and lowlights added to my hair. This of course is not good for your overall health since most hair dyes contain harsh chemicals to make the process faster or shinier, exedra. I decided a couple months ago that I was no longer going to dye my hair anymore and just stick to my natural color, the only problem is the strict process it takes to color your hair to your natural color, especially since I'm a blonde. I had my hair dresser dye my hair brown 3 months ago then the brown really faded to where you could still see my roots. I decided to try an all natural dyeing method since I am trying to slowly stop ever dyeing my hair with salon chemicals. I found that henna is great for dyeing hair and there are natural ingredients used to prepare the henna mixture. 

What I used to mix the henna dye:
1 container of Rainbow Henna
3 Tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar (I only used this to help the dye soak into my blonde hair)
3/4 cup of boiling water
1/4 cup of brewed black coffee

Mix all the ingredients until you get a dark green creamy paste. The process was simple and very easy to apply, just be careful because it stains and make sure you clean up right after you wrap your hair up to cure. The process takes around 60 to 75 minutes depending on how rich you want the color, if you have a heat lamp to stand under the process would be around 45 to 55 minutes. 

Also don't forget to coat the outline of your face, ears, and neck with Vaseline so the henna does not leave a funky line of dye on your skin. So, that is what everything should look like once mixed and now you apply and wait. I was kind of nervous when I was washing it out of my hair because it was hard to get all of it out so it took me awhile and I was not sure if I got all the hair coated in it or if it did not turn out the way I wanted it. Once I finally succeeded in getting all the henna out of my hair, I added some hair oil to my ends and brushed it out. 

Once dried the final result was this, I love it and it looks like I had nothing to worry about after all because I think it turned out great. This picture is of it without me using any heat to style it, I just let it dry on its own to assure that the color would be set. The Rainbow Henna that I used was really affordable, works great, and comes with detailed instructions. I surely feel like my 7 dollars was well spent and I think if I ever dye again I will make sure to use henna.

Drinking Made Healthy.

Ever wanted to loose weight but not give up drinking? I know that drinking is typically a social setting kind of thing and most people in their early twenties to mid thirties are found in the nightlife scene. Drinking was a big thing for me to give up during this challenge since I'm at the age where all my friends want to go out and party on the weekends and of course I did not ever want to be the friend who says no to going out for a bit while on a diet. The trick is to set a number a number for how many nights you are allowing yourself to go out an have few drinks with friends. I decided to choose three nights during my 30 day challenge. I chose three because I had my boyfriend's birthday weekend during this month as well as Halloween, and drinks were allowed on those days only. The other trick is to stay healthy with your drink choices. Mainly you want to stick to clear liquors since they will have the lowest sugars, you also want to avoid any flavored liquors because those tend to be distilled with sugary flavor syrup which is not good while dieting. If you really want flavored liquor start your research and look up the nutrition fact for whichever liquor you desire, if that liquor is not the healthiest choice then pick a different kind. If you want to see results you will really need to commit to little to no alcohol because even if the alcohol you choose has low sugars your body will still convert that alcohol into sugar, that's why people typically are bloated after a night of drinking.

It wasn't until recently where I discovered healthy drink recipes because typically I just stuck with vodka and soda water or tequila and soda water. Those drinks are pretty bland but very low in calories and sugars. One day I stumbled across a Tone It Up post that focused on drinking healthy. Their post includes what you should and shouldn't do while out drinking. They give great tips on how to keep everything healthy and nutritious for your body. The Tone It Up post can be found here, make sure you print their recipe card out and read all of their drinking tips. I enjoy all of their drink recipes and I have concocted a few of my own. I am a big tequila fan, I prefer clear tequila, so margarita's are typically my drink of choice. I also like to have vodka in any of my fruity drinks just because vodka is a lot smoother than tequila in some cases. I have been juicing a lot and I have used some of my juices as the mixers for my vodka drinks, this is a better alternative to store bought juice since you know all the ingredients in your juice.

Margarita Recipe:
1 shot of clear tequila
2 table spoons of lime juice
2 table spoons of agave nectar
A splash of water or soda water to make it less syrupy
Some stevia to taste and garnish with a lime

Vodka Drink Recipe:
1 cup of your juice of choice (I chose homemade pear juice)
1 shot of vodka
*Optional* Garnish with whatever fruit you prefer or muddle up some mint or strawberries and enjoy

Soda Water Recipes:
1 shot of vodka or tequila
1 cup of water or soda water
Garnish with a lemon or a lime

Irish Coffee Recipe:
1 cup of black coffee
1 shot of whiskey (since whiskey is also low in calories)
Unsweetened almond milk to taste and some stevia to taste
*Optional* serve in a martini glass and use coffee beans as the garnish

These were just a few of my favorite healthy drink options. Remember going out to drink is just like going out to eat, if you order what is on the menu it will have a lot of calories but if you know what your doing and order smart you will be able to avoid all those unwanted calories. Most bars already have the healthier options so do not be afraid to ask for these "bizarre" drink choices.

Week Four.

Whoa this challenge is almost coming to a close! I am pretty surprised at how fast this month went, and I only have four more days till it's completed. For this blog entry I did not want to bore anyone with an update post on how the challenge is going, I am sure all of you understand how I operate now on a daily basis with this challenge. The challenge is still going great and these upcoming three days will be intense and will most likely go by fast.

Have you ever tried to go on a diet and you are the only one on the diet thus making the diet extremely hard right from the start. That is how most diets play out for people, one person wants to change their eating habits and the other person does not find any need to change their eating habits. This usually results in the person on the diet giving up on the diet or just cheating on their diet any chance they get until they are no longer focused on their diet. I was the only one who chose to do this challenge; my parents, boyfriend and friends thought I was crazy when I first told them about it and as much as a challenge it was for me, I know it was also a slight challenge for them as well. I'm sorry for my parents since they had to put up with me using my loud juicer everyday and for putting up with my diet meals that they would always claim "stunk up the house". Also, sorry for my boyfriend having to deal with me eating like a bird and ordering non-existant items at restaurants just so I could go out to eat with him while I was still committing to the challenge. Also a big sorry to my friends having to put up with me turning down eating out and going out with them during this challenge, and I am grateful that they stayed by myside and supported me throughout this challenge. Most times during this challenge I was grumpy and tired, I stayed really focus to this challenge and I know it's not easy to deal with someone altering their diet entirely so I appreciate everyone who stood by my side and put up with my antics during the challenge.

I also want to thank everyone who's been keeping up with my blog postings during this challenge, and sorry for not posting more towards the end of this challenge. I know I could have posted way more content for my readers but this challenge on top of school and work made it pretty difficult to keep daily content on the blog. I just want to give everyone a big THANK YOU for all of your encouraging words and feedback throughout this challenge, it seriously made this challenge go by a tad faster and even made it easier for me to complete. Thank you all a ton and keep a lookout for the final challenge blog that will be up on the 31st!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week Three in a Nut Shell.

Wow, I cannot believe it is the last part of October. This month has truly flown by especially this last week. I wish I had a better reason as to why I have not posted in lately but I was just tremendously busy with family and school. It was my boyfriend's twenty-second birthday yesterday and I took him to an awesome Italian Steakhouse called Iavarone's. The food is to die for and the atmosphere is perfect plus it is not that expensive if you want to go out to have a nice dinner. For my meal choice I stuck with a salad, chicken with sautéed spinach, we had bruschetta for our appetizer (I only had 2 out of the 6 on the plate), and I also had a glass of wine. We were stuffed so there was no birthday dessert, ironically my boyfriend does not really care for desserts or sweets so avoid that kind of stuff is super easy when I am out with him. Dinner was moderately healthy but I almost considered that a cheat meal because I had more carbs than I planned on eating. I did not beat myself up about it since we had tickets for Howl O'Scream  at Busch Gardens. It ended up being so packed since it is getting closer to Halloween and it was a Saturday so we ended up just walking the whole park and did all the scare zones and road a few rides. By the end of the night we were both so beat because not only did we walk the whole park twice but we also walked back to our car since the line for the tram was way too long. Boy were we tired once we got home, I am pretty sure all those carbs I had at dinner were put to good use while we were at Busch Gardens. The other four days went great as well, I have had no slip ups and I am going to kick it into high gear for this last week. I plan to make sure that at least 90 minutes of exercise is done everyday, the only carbs that I will be consuming is the carbs from fruit or vegetables. I will also make sure that I am juicing daily to keep my cravings at bay. I cannot wait for this fourth week and I cannot believe that I have almost completed this challenge. Only 10 more days until the before and after picture, and I have a few interesting blog posts that will be posted this week so be on the lookout.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Days Fourteen, Fifteen and Sixteen.

"To know what has to be done, then to do it, compromises the whole philosophy of practical life." - Sir William Osler
Week three is off to a great start, I have been juicing quite a bit and I am incorporating a few superfoods that I am currently reading up on. For this post I want to focus on how to eat smart when you're eating out. This week is my boyfriend's birthday so that means I have quite a few birthday dinners to attend and more than likely they will all be at restaurants. Always keep a positive outlook when planning on going to dinner because it is not the end of the world, you just have to keep yourself focused and you'll be fine. Keep reassuring yourself of your ultimate goals while you are waiting to be seated. Once the menu gets placed in front of you, make sure you look for clues on the menu like hearts or stars indicating if the meal is heart healthy or low calories. Once you found the few select items narrow it down to the choice that sounds the most filling with mostly vegetables as the ingredients. Also, most restaurants will modify a meal for you and even if they won't just say your allergic to said ingredient(s) then it should not be a problem. I have done this a few times during this challenge so I could still go out with my friends and family for dinner and still stick with the challenge.

Here are some of the meals I have opted for while going out to restaurants during this challenge.
Taco Bus:

Poblanos Mexican Grill:

As previously posted, Oxford Exchange:

Eating healthy and smart while eating out is solely a personal disciplined choice but I promise you will not regret the switch once you stick to it.

On the other hand here is a picture of my juicer:

I adore it and I am so glad I made the purchase because it has made a huge difference with my cravings. My cravings are basically nonexistent now and if I do get a craving I just pour myself a glass of juice, so simple! My recent juicing recipe is 1 to 2 carrots, a pear, 2 to 3 apples, and a handful of kale leaves. This recipe makes enough juice for one day and the juice is deliciously sweet, great for the sweet tooth cravers out there. I have also played around with many other recipes and found some that I can't stand and others that I can't seem to get enough of. Let me know if you would like to see a post covering some juicing recipes and the benefits; stay healthy and take care everyone.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Past Four Days.

You know those whirlwind days where everything is just a blur and you only made it through the days because you we're simply going through the motions, well this past week has been that and a bag of rock on the side just to drag me down. This week has been something else since it's midterm week, and it just so happened that my Internet was down for the past few days so daily blogging was not an option. Besides all the hoopla going on with college right now, my diet and exercise has stayed on track and I'm still going strong. Week three of the 30 Day Challenge starts tomorrow and I am stoked! Mainly stoked because I know I'm only a couple weeks away from reaching my goal and I'll finally be able to eat what I want again. Not like I am going to go order a massive greasy burger with soda and fries, but I have been missing my oriental foods and I will make sure that fine asian cuisine is the first meal I have after the 31st. Also during the jumbled mess, that was the last four days, I ordered an actual grade A juicer and it arrived Wednesday. Let me just say that I have been juicing everything in my line of sight, I am obsessed with it and I have completely abandoned my blender. For the last four days my mid-morning and mid-day snacks have all been the juice I made that day. All the juices have tasted great and I have not experienced any hunger cravings after drinking whichever juices I made. I don't know if I could ever do a juice fast though, it seems pretty challenging to stick with just juice for 7+ days. As far as my workouts go I have been incorporating quite a bit of yoga and pilates into my normal workout routine. I can tell that my stomach and upper thighs seem to be tightening up ever since I started the classes.

My meals for the past four days.

Day 10:
Breakfast- black coffee and some Greek yogurt with local honey.

Snack- freshly made juice

Lunch- glass of water and an arugula and goat cheese salad

Snack- freshly made juice

Dinner- more water and sautéed vegetables

Day 11:
Breakfast- black coffee (fasted cardio)

Snack- juice

Lunch- egg whites omelet with vegetables

Snack- juice

Dinner- two chicken breasts sautéed with peppers and garlic

Day 12:
Breakfast- black coffee and a cup Greek yogurt with muesli

Snack- juice

Lunch- salad and some more juice

Snack- cup of Greek yogurt and with muesli and a teaspoon of organic blackberry jam, topped off with some peanut butter mix with coconut oil for the "syrup"

Dinner- salad with grilled chicken and shrimp with vinegar and a teaspoon of olive oil for the dressing

Day 13:
Breakfast- black coffee and some juice (fasted cardio)

Snack- rest of my juice and water

Lunch- seaweed salad with a cucumber, avocado and carrots in a lettuce wrap

Dinner- water with grilled chicken, sautéed vegetables and grilled vegetables

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day Eight & Nine.

Temptations are everywhere since the holiday season is right around the corner. The trick or treating candy is out, everything pumpkin is in reach, and candy canes are on the horizon. How is it even possible to stick to a diet with all of these treats right in front of your face? Well it's all about planning, try to have prepacked snacks where ever you go in case you get a craving, if you don't have time to prep every snack your little heart would ever desire then try to stay smart while snacking out. Last night my boyfriend wanted to go to Starbucks and of course I just wanted to run and hide since tea is the only thing that has no sugars or carbs. If it was my choice I would have completely avoided it all together but since we went I decided to play it smart with my drink selection. Typically I order an unsweetened tea but this time I was really craving a pumpkin spiced latte, but that is not on the diet menu. Instead I opted for a grande iced black coffee with one small pump of the pumpkin spice syrup, this way I am fixing my pumpkin spice craving yet avoiding all the calories with whip cream, milk, sugar, and syrup. Now I know most people do not like their coffee that plain and strong, my advice is to try to tweak their original recipe to whatever you think would be the tasty healthier version.

That was the sum of how my night went last night, I am glad that I stayed smart with my Starbucks drink choice but I am not pleased with the amount of sugar cravings that I am experiencing today because of that drink. That one pump of artificial syrup totally sent my body into overdrive on how much it wants to devour a whole cake but I need to stay strong and fight through this phase since I just need to wait until the "fake sugar" is out of my body again. The reason why diets fail is because we justify that bad thing we just put into our body and then we follow up with "Well I already ruined my diet for the day, so I might as well eat whatever I want now." This is the flaw, never let yourself fall into your own self destruction. Whenever you have these doubts then just remember to remind yourself why your doing this and what your ultimate goal is.

As far as my meals went, these past two days, it was pretty good but like I said now its tough cause im dealing with cravings. On day eight I have some muesli with some Greek yogurt and black coffee, for lunch I had tuna salad with Greek yogurt, onions, mustard/hotsauce, purple cabbage, and some goat cheese on top.

For dinner that night I sautéed a chicken breast and cooked up some broccoli with fetta cheese.

For day nine I had a cup of Greek yogurt with cinnamon for breakfast, I then made protein pancakes for lunch, and I made sautéed mushrooms with cabbage and broccoli for dinner. Week two is going by pretty fast and hopefully I'll get my secret package in the mail tomorrow, take care everyone.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day Six & Seven.

Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get close to them. - John Shirley
I can't think of a better quote to describe how this weekend came to pass. It seems like it was just Friday and now everyone is gearing up for the start of the second week of October. This is good news to me because that means I have completed Week 1 of the 30 Day Challenge. Looking back at this week I am proud to say that I did not slip up one bit and I stuck to everything, even thought it was a challenge at some times. The main struggle I am facing is posting everyday, it's becoming very tedious and time consuming since I have homework, work, gym, cooking, and family to contend with as well. I figured I would try a grouped post on the past two days to see how everyone feels about it, I find it easier and a lot less time consuming. So just for future reference, you guys might be seeing more of these grouped postings.

Now onto my meals and daily workouts the past days. Yesterday (October 6th) my boyfriend wanted to take me to this new place in Tampa called Oxford Exchange; and I know what you're thinking, oh my she's going to go eat out and actually have a cheat meal. Well yes many would think that, because when we go out to eat we tend to let our diet fly right out the meal but making up excuses like: there is nothing healthy on the menu, well I'm eating out so I might as well eat whatever I want, etc. These are excuses and need to stay that way, we are not making anything about eating out justifiable if anything we need to become more strick on ourselves WHEN we eat out. I would also like to say that eating smart when choosing to eat out is about 70% important then the last 30% is making the right choices once in the restaurant. My boyfriend picked Oxford Exchange because it is a brand new Tampa restaurant and its main focus is serving food that is healthy, organic, and all grown local. So if you ever wanted to go to a restaurant where you are having a meal made with local Florida ingredients then I say check it out! I ended up getting a Mediterranean Sea Bass dish with sautéed vegetables.

This meal was delightful, and it was packed with ingredients that I can have while I am on this strict diet. I also ordered an unsweet blueberry and hibiscus green tea for my drink. As you can also see, my boyfriend opted for a burger and fries. This lunch filled me up so much I did not even need a midday snack before dinner. As for dinner I cooked up a very simple dish since parents when out to eat and my boyfriend and I decided to cook for ourselves since we did not want to eat out twice in one day. I made my lemon basil chicken with brown rice and some sautéed vegetables.

This meal is very simple and I have the recipe for the chicken in Day Two's blog. After dinner I made some green tea and just relaxed for the rest of the evening.

As for today, day seven, I decided to start off my day with some more protein pancakes. This time I made them without the banana and I only used a table spoon of honey for my "syrup" since I wanted to make these pancakes with the lowest carbs as possible.

This version tastes the exact same and they are not dry tasting without syrup so that's a plus. These pancakes really filled me up and held me over till my midday snack. The snack I ended up making was greek yogurt with peaches, muesli, cinnamon, and coco nibs. I also took a 1 Tbs of coconut oil and mixed it with 1/2 Tbs of honey and drizzled that over my cold greek yogurt. The magical thing behind coconut oil is that it has all the properties of that Shell Chocolate Syrup for ice cream, just it's all natural. If you wanted any type of syrup for your treats or snack just mix some healthy ingredients with coconut oil and voila you have yourself a healthy syrup. I also had my midday snack with some chocolate coconut water which surprisingly tastes just like chocolate milk.

Woohoo and now we're on to dinner, I kept this dinner quite simple as well since I was not feeling that hungry. I just made a huge vegetable medley with some seared salmon strips.

Tomorrow is the start of week two! I cannot be anymore excited and I have a surprise that will be revealed in Wednesdays post, take care everyone!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day Five.

You know it's always the days where you have nothing to do that suddenly become the most unorganized chaotic mess of a day. It never fails, I have yet to see a day where I don't have anything coming up for me to do. I actually planned to have a relaxing day today but that's another story, this low carb day wasn't that bad since I've been swamped with things to do all day and I've had very little time to eat. Days like this are bitter sweet because if you keep you calorie intake really low you force your body into ketosis.

Ketosis is the secrete key to carb cycling, you want to keep your body in and out of ketosis through out the day. In this article, they talk about how carb cycling is the best diet when trying to loose that last little bit of stubborn fat. They point out that this diet will work on anyone if they are willing to stick to it. They also talk about how ketosis is the major benefactor here since your body switches to a fat burning state when it is in ketosis, verses a carb burning state which is normal for our bodys. Basically ketosis is what makes eating disorders so extreme, by girls/guys starving themselves they are putting their bodys in this ketosis state. Their body starts eating at their fat cells to keep energy levels up but once all the fat is gone ketosis will begin depleting nutrients from your muscles. Ketosis is a great trick of the trade when it comes to fast diets but it is also a very dangerous way to diet if you are not educated on the allowed food plan for this diet. I recommend checking out the article and looking into ketosis if you are really interested in loosing those last 5 to 10 pounds.

My morning breakfast was very simple and great for an energy boost midday snack if you'd want. I used fat free Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup of muesli and a table spoon of organic blackberry jam. Mix all together and let sit for softened oats or eat instantly for a little crunch to your yogurt. I didn't have anytime for mid morning snack and lunch but I did have an organic PB&J on an egg based "bread" for my midday snack. For dinner I just had a salad with beets, feta cheese, red peppers, and wasabi dressing. I missed the gym today since I was helping out my parents with stuff around the house all day, so I burnt some calories but not as much as I would with my normal workout. So tomorrow I am getting up bright and early to do my leg workout and end with some yoga.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day Four.

Don't you just love it when you wakeup and you know almost instantly that it is going to be a great day? That's how I felt this morning because the first thing I thought to myself this morning was, "Heck yes, today is low to normal carb day!" So when I woke up this morning I jumped out of bed and ran down stairs to cook up some protein pancakes. I also knew it was going to be a great day because my pancakes turned ended up being the best protein pancakes I have ever made. These pancakes are sugar free and all the ingredients used are beneficial for your body.

The ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup of Egg Whites
  • 1/4 cup of Almond Milk
  • 1 cup of Natural Oats
  • 1 Tbs of Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tsp of Almond Extract
  • 2 Tsp of Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs of Flax Seeds
  • 1 scoop of Protein Powder
  • 1 Banana
  • 2 Eggs
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or a blender. Then mix all together then pour into a pan and begin making your pancakes. Cook on low heat for the best results, it may take longer but you won't end up with scrambled protein cakes. This recipe usually makes 6 to 7 small pancakes.
For the "syrup" I just took a cup of frozen strawberries (you can use any frozen fruit you prefer) then microwave it for 2 minutes for a natural strawberry jam syrup. Then drizzle over pancakes and you have a tasty nutritional breakfast. 

 For my mid morning snack I had a small handful of almonds with half a handful or sunflower seeds. Then for my lunch I just had the 2 left over protein pancakes. Dinner is where I wanted to incorporate protein into my meal and I had chicken with more vegetables.

The ingredients:

  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • 1 leaf of Purple Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Handfull of Sunflower Seeds
  • Garlic and Red Pepper for seasoning

Tonight's workout is focusing on back and abs.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day Three.

Today was a low carb day so my energy levels have not been treating me well, as far as today goes. Besides that little bump in the road currently, today was great and successful just like the rest. For breakfast I had the same thing I did yesterday, which was muesli, but instead of jam I did a scoop of peanut butter with half of a banana. For my midmorning snack, which ended up being after my workout, was plain fat free greek yogurt.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 cup of Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 of a Banana
  • A handful of sunflower seeds (raw/unsalted)
  • Cinnamon to taste
This "snack" also doubled as my lunch since my workout today took up my whole midmorning/midday. I figured it would be fine since today was ment to be low carbs and lower calories are never anything to complain about when dieting. My workout today was pretty intense and was 90 minutes long. I spent an hour on my legs then spent the last 30 doing some HIIT. This workout was really draining because I plan to do my cardio every morning so I will not feel so worn out when I finish lifting later in the day (basically maintain the same energy level throughout the whole day). Basically what I am trying to get at is do not do this workout in one sitting while you're carb cycling, I felt very drained and almost in complete haze throughout the rest of the day. Luckily I had nothing to do for the rest of the day so I spent those lovely hours just laying around the house relaxing. 

Now it's time for dinner and tonight ended up being a sautéed vegetables with a side salad. I chose to prepare this for dinner since it is the easiest to make and it does not require much of your energy or time for the finished meal.

The sautéed vegetables:
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cashews
Combine all ingredients to a pan, use 2 tsp of avocado oil OR olive oil then flavor with whatever seasonings you desire. Sauté them for 10 minutes on a low to medium heat so the vegetables don't end up burnt or soggy.
The salad:

  • Spring Mix
  • Fresh Strips of Salmon
  • Wasabi Dressing 
This dinner was great and made full, I also had some black coffee right after dinner which provided me with enough energy to make this post then head right to bed. So goodnight everyone and I'll see you tomorrow. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day Two.

Day two went well but boy oh boy am I tired. This morning was difficult since I was really tired from studying for my French midterm the night before, and since I felt like I did not fully know all of the course material I only did a 15 minute workout in the morning before I had to leave to get to class. These are the days I was referring to when I said not everyday is going to follow the exact schedule shown. Regardless, I got a morning workout in which is vital for jump starting your metabolism.

For breakfast I had some muesli with some organic blackberry jam and almonds added. This is a great breakfast option since muesli is organic uncooked rolled oats and nuts. It is packed full of fiber but since it's oats, that means it contains carbohydrates. Now, these carbs are good for you and your body will utilize them for fuel. Just remember we are carb cycling and since today is a low carb day you do not want to ingest anymore than the muesli.

After my French midterm, it was time for my mid morning snack. I was slightly rushed since I had to get to my midterm but I packed my water and a banana. A banana was the perfect choice since I am slightly sore from my workouts and I wanted to keep my calorie intake low when dealing with mid morning snack. I got home around 1 PM from my midterm and I had enough time to cook a vegetable medley for my lunch.

This meal was perfect it was a very lite meal but packed full with energy enriched nutrients to hold me over. Once I got home from my afternoon classes, I made one of my smoothies. I only an 8 ounce smoothie this time, unlike my typical 14 to 16 ounce ones. Even though it is only 8 ounces, it is a great choice when looking for in between lunch and dinner snack. I actually opted for this since my parents are snacking on chips and dip before dinner.

The ingredients for this smoothie were:
  • 10 Frozen Strawberries
  • 1 Tsp of Flax Seeds (milled)
  • 1 Tsp of Chia Seeds (milled)
  • 1/4 cup of Coconut Water
  • 1 cup of Papya Juice
  • 1 Tbs of Coconut Oil.
Finally, it's dinner time! This diet is making me appreciate eating by having to wait for specific times to put nutrients into my body. I now have to contiously avoid snacking whenever I'm bored or stressed. Regardless, this diet is still really hard and challenging for that matter. When you restrict yourself from just eating whatever you want whenever you want, things get a little intense while waiting for the next time you can eat. A figure model, that I follow, said this before: "The sooner I go to bed, the sooner I'll be able to eat again." I could not agree with her more since I am now on the same eating schedule. Since I am working out after dinner my meal will include protein to keep me attentive during my workout. Tonight I decided to have lemon-pepper chicken with a side salad.

This recipe is very simplistic:
  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • 1/2 of a Lemon (juice)
  • 1 Tsp of Garlic
  • 1 Tsp of Basil
  • 1 Tsp of Cracked Pepper
Combine all ingredients into a bowl or a ziplock bag (which ever you prefer) and rub the ingredients into the chicken breast. One you are done with that, let it maranade for however long you prefer; I just waited 15 to 20 minutes. Now cook which ever way you prefer your chicken. For the salad I just mixed some wasabi and avacado oil together and used that as my salad dressing.

My workout was only an hour long tonight. I worked out my arms then did a 40 minute sauna. My workout for tonight looked like this:
Shoulder Press (front and back) - 40 lbs 3x8
Deltoid Raises - 20 lbs 3x8
Bicep Curls - 30 lbs 3x8
Tricep Pulldown - 30 lbs 3x8
Skull Crushers - 30 lbs 3x8  

Monday, October 1, 2012

So It Begins.

Today marks the first day of the 30 Day Challenge, needless to say this new scedule I created is keeping me busy from sun up to sun down. My day started off by waking up at 8 AM, I woke up on time today so I made some coffee (black) then started my morning cardio at 8:30. This is a great first start to this challenge, I plan to start my morning cardio around 9 AM since it will last 45 mnutes, but I am all about getting a headstart in the mornings. The workout I did was Crunch & Burn on the Nike Training Club app. This is a 45 minute cardio workout that encourages maximum and explosive reps for each exercise.

Once cardio was completed, it was time to make breakfast. Since today is the extremely low carb intake day, I decided to make a "banana split". Now this isn't your typical banana split, this one is packed with nutrients to refuel our body from that intense workout.

The recipe for this low calorie breakfast is:
  • 1 Banana
  • 1/3 Cup of Fat Free Greek Yogurt
  • Cinnamon (as desired)
  • 1 Packet of Truvia
  • 1 Tsp of Chia Seeds
  • Raw Cocoa Nibs (as desired)
  • 1 Tsp of Local Honey
 Once I finished breakfast I began to prepare my preworkout drink and my mid-morning snack to take with me to class. Today I decided to try a new preworkout drink called 1MR, I had the watermelon flavor and it tasted just like the Watermelon Dum Dums. I also liked that it did not make me shake or feel like I was out of breath, which can be common when dealing with preworkouts. The mid-morning snack I chose was a small bag of trail mix that I put together. This trail mix is full of healthy fats that will keep our metabolisim level throughout the morning.

In this trail mix is:
  • 10 Almonds (raw/unsalted)
  • 5 Cashews (raw/unsalted)
  • 5 Walnuts (raw/unsalted)
  • Handful of Sunflower Seeds (raw/unsalted)
  • Handful of Raw Cocoa Nibs
Once class was over with, I headed off to the gym to do workout my legs using free weights. Using weights is esential when trying to loose fat by carb cycling. I you lift weights you will be lean and toned by the end of this challenge, if you choose to only do cardio you run the risk of being "skinny fat" by the end of this challenge.Now that we understand the importance of weight lifting, below is my leg workout for the day.

Leg Press - 140 lbs, 3 sets of 8 reps (3x8)
You do 3x8 with your feet straight, then 3x8 with your feet pointed in (pigeon toed), and then 3x8 with your feet pointed out (sumo).

Calf Raise - 140 lbs, 3x8

Deadlift Rows - 50 lbs, 3x6

Squats - 50 lbs, 3x10

Various ab exercises for cool down and I ended my workout with a 30 minute sauna.
When I got home I quickly made my lunch to refuel my muscles. I decided to cook some chicken and have it with a spring mix salad on the side.

This recipe includes:
  • 1 Chicken Breast (chopped)
  • Dried Mushrooms
  • 2 Tsp of Minced Red Peppers
  • 1 Tsp of Garlic
  • 1/2 of Lemon
  • Avocado Oil
  • Any Salad Mix
In one bowl combine chicken, 1 tsp of minced red peppers, 1 tsp of garlic, and 1/2 of lemon's juice. Let the chicken marinade for however long you would like (I only waited 10 minutes since I was starving) then throw all contents of the bowl in a skillet and add the mushrooms, cook for 10 minutes and you're good to go. For the salad, just mix 1 tsp of minced peppers with 3/4 avocado oil for your salad dressing. You can do more to the salad if you prefer.
After I had my lunch I made sure to work on my huge pile of homework for the night before I needed to cook dinner. I decided that I would just do an egg whites only omelet with a salad and beets on the side.

I am now currently relaxing with my cup of green tea before I go bed. I hope everyone had a great first day of October and I will talk to you tomorrow.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Plan of Attack

Hey everyone, so last post covered all the food that will be allowed during this 30 day challenge, and now I will cover the weekly workout schedule. I think it's safe to say that people know if you want to be healthy you have to workout 3 to 5 times a week. This is true but we are not just going for healthy, we are going for the lean and cut look which will require 90 minutes everyday for 6 days a week devoted to working out. These workouts will require weights and there will be a good amount of cardio throughout the week as well. This fitness website (Simply Shredded), that I read daily, has vast amount information regarding diets and different training methods. The best thing about this website is the fact that it is for both men and women, and they post articles about the science behind the diet, figure and fitness model routines, workouts for specific body areas, and bodybuilding techniques. (I always recommend this site to anyone that asks me for training tips.) Now, I don't focus on the bulking and bodybuilding part of the website because that will never be a physical goal of mine but if that is what you are aiming for then go for it!

The articles from Simple Shredded that I reread today to get myself organized for my upcoming daily routine for the next 30 days were about carb cycling and the female training guide. These articles are definitely worth the read, because not only are they packed with information but they will motivate you like no other. After reading these articles I am stoked to start this challenge Monday, it will be very difficult but I know it will pay off in the end.

Here is general outline of my schedule for the next month:
Monday: Extremely low carb intake
9 am - black coffee and 45 minute cardio
10 am - breakfast
12 pm - pre workout drink and snack
1 pm - 1 hour weights (legs)
2 pm - lunch
4 pm - snack
7 pm - dinner
9 pm - cup of green tea 
Tuesday: Extremely low carb intake
9 am - black coffee and 45 minute cardio
10 am - breakfast
12 pm - snack
2 pm - lunch
4 pm - snack
7 pm - dinner
8 pm - 1 hour weights (arms)
11 pm - cup of green tea 
Wednesday: Low carb intake
9 am - black coffee and 45 minute cardio
10 am - breakfast
12 pm - pre workout drink and snack
1 pm - 1 hour weights (legs)
2 pm - lunch
4 pm - snack
7 pm - dinner
9 pm - cup of green tea 
Thursday: Low carb intake
9 am - black coffee and 45 minute cardio
10 am - breakfast
12 pm - snack
2 pm - lunch
4 pm - snack
7 pm - dinner
8 pm - 1 hour weights (back) 
Friday: Low carb intake
10 am - breakfast
12 pm - pre workout drink and snack
1 pm - 1 hour of HIIT (cardio)
2/3 pm - lunch
5 pm - snack
7 pm - dinner
9 pm - cup of green tea 
Saturday: Extremely low carb intake
9 am - black coffee and 1 hour of HIIT (fasted cardio)
10 am - pre packed breakfast at the gym
12 pm - lunch
3 pm - snack
7 pm - dinner
9 pm - cup of green tea 
Sunday: Refueling day, moderate carb intake
11 am - breakfast
1 pm - lunch
3 pm - snack
7 pm - dinner
Now this is just a very basic schedule of events for this coming month, I understand things may come up or times may change etc...., but this is the set schedule that I am sticking to in order to reach my ultimate goal by the 30th. Just incase anyone was wondering, my goal is to get down to 135 pounds and I am currently between 145 to 150. I think with this diet and exercise plan, dropping 10 to 15 pounds should not be a problem but remember weight is just a number and we are aiming for a figure  transformation. Each day I will do a post covering what my meal plan for that day was, what workouts were done and when I completed them, and whatever new readings/findings I came across throughout my day. By the end of this month I hope to have reached my goal and I will post a before and after picture on the 30th of October.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend and I will talk to you soon!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

30 Day Challenge: Food Items

Hey everyone! I have compiled a list of superfoods that will be essential during this challenge. I am going to list these foods out so if you wanted to just print the list off to use as grocery list for this next month.

Fruit- Now do not go overboard with the fruit because fruit are filled with sugars and carbs, but they are allowed in moderation.
And whatever other fruits you desire
Vegetables- Now veggies are your best friend during this challenge so stock up!
Spring Mix
Purple Cabbage
Green Beans
Meats and Protein- Keep these in moderation, they are beneficial in small amounts.
Veggie Burgers
Lean Chicken Breasts
Nuts/Oils- These are packed full with nutrients so stock up on these too.
Flax Seeds (milled)
Organic Peanut Butter
Raw Almonds (unsalted)
Sunflower Seeds (unsalted)
Cashews (unsalted)
And any other nuts you may want just make sure they are raw and unsalted.
Canned Items- Canned is never the best choice because it is never the freshest choice, but when it comes to these items you'll be fine.
100% Natural Pumpkin
Red Kidney Beans
Black Beans
Chicken or Vegetable Stock (no added sodium)
Dairy- These items are fine in moderation and are very beneficial.
Unsweetened Almond Milk
Egg Whites
Fat-Free Cottage Cheese
Non-Fat Greek Yogurt

These are the foods that I will be sticking to during the next 30 days. There will be no exceptions for cheat meals or cheat days. Also this 30 day challenge will also exclude drinking since alcohol is just liquid sugar. Coffee is allowed but no sugars or creamers, try to drink it black. Throughout this challenge I will be posting daily about my meal plans and daily workouts so be on the lookout.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The 30 Day Challenge

So October is only a week away, which means Halloween is right around the corner. Halloween happens to be my favorite holiday because you get to dress up and do scary/fun things throughout the night. So in order for me to be in tiptop shape for Halloween I am going to do the 30 day challenge, this challenge will be very strict challenge consisting of 100% healthy nutritious meals and daily workouts. I want to share my experience daily on my blog and the final post on October 30th will be a picture of my results.

The main goal, for this upcoming series on my blog, is to motivate and show people that anyone can get in shape if they just apply themselves. All of the posts will be about what I ate throughout the day and what workout(s) I did during the day.
If anyone is interested in doing this challenge with me, I am more than happy to have you join in!

The tools you will need:
Nike Training Club (iPhone users)
Access to gym equipment

I will post another blog in a few days about what food items you will need for this challenge and I will also compose a weekly grocery list as well. I hope some of you join in with me for this challenge!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Squash the Carbs

Who doesn't enjoy a nice plate of spaghetti, I know I sure do! Although I can tell you the one thing I don't like about spaghetti is the fact that it is packed full of unwanted carbs. Back in high school I ran in track and field and the night before every meet the team would have a spaghetti cookout night, basically carb loading for the meet. So not only would my mother cook spaghetti or some type of pasta every other night but I also had my coaches trying to get me to carb up, which is never the best approach to loosing weight. Carbs are mistaken for being the one food that will boost your energy levels almost instantly, but there are many other healthier food options that will give you instant energy and also help maintain your energy levels.

My take on carbs is you just have to play it smart. I strive to eat clean carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, or steel cut oats. Those types of carbs are the good carbs that your body will process for energy, just remember to keep all carbs in moderation because abusing carb intake will just result in stubborn weight staying around.

Now onto the recipe! You will need a spaghetti squash, olive oil, and whatever else you desire for your spaghetti squash noodles. Now take your spaghetti squash and cut it in half vertically. Now that you have it halved you want to take a spoon (I used an ice-cream scooper) to scoop out the insides and the seeds. Don't scoop too hard, treat it like you're cleaning out the inside of a pumpkin.

Now that you have your squash all cleaned and ready to go, take some baking paper and line your cooking sheet with it. Take your olive oil and drizzle about 1 to 2 tsp on the inside of the spaghetti squash, then place the two halves open side down and bake for 45 to 60 mins at 375 F degrees.

Once the time is up take your squash out and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then you want to take your scooper again and start scraping at the inner sides of the squash. You will begin to notice noodle like pieces pulling up as your continue to scrape. Hollow out both halves of the squash and place in a serving bowl where you can add whichever other ingredients you wish! I made one serving just plain with sautéed mushrooms mixed in and another one with organic marinara sauce on top.

Spaghetti squash is super delicious and good for you! Plus it has minimal carbs since it is a vegetable. This is just another healthy food alternative that I make sure is a part of my everyday clean eating routine.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pumpkin Spread - Fall Foods

As fall begins to creep up on us I begin making all of my old fall recipes, and today was pumpkin cream cheese spread. This spread is a great fall food because it can be added to almost anything to make it a festive meal. I usually use this spread on toast, pancakes, in yogurt, and as dip. This spread is not only delicious but it is nutritious! The ingredients are: 1 can of organic purée pumpkin, 1 packet of fat free cream cheese, grade A maple syrup, truvia to taste, and cinnamon.

All of these ingredients are natural and healthy for your body! And it's super easy to make.

You just add all the ingredients to the bowl and you decide how much maple syrup, cinnamon, and truvia as you like. I try to keep it simple and light for my mid-day snacks so I will still have enough energy until my next meal. Well this will be my afternoon snack, a nutritious fall flavored afternoon pick me up is just what I need.