Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Food * Family * Love


It may be Halloween, but I'm already thinking about Thanksgiving and all that I am thankful for in my life.  Here's looking forward to the holidays!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Live Fit (WEEK 7) Recap

Ah, these workouts are getting harder!  But I think it's because I'm working full-time now, so just getting the workouts in is a challenge.  I'm determined to stick with it though.  Week 7 was the worst week as far as food goes.  On Wednesday (the day before I went to Dallas to visit Cassie and Courtney), I went out to eat and got a big cheeseburger and skipped the gym.  In Dallas, I didn't work out, so on Sunday, I had to fit in two workouts (back and the second leg day).  Also in Dallas, I really splurged on drinks and food.  Saturday night, I shared nachos with Cassie and was dipping mine in queso and sour cream.  I still think my body is responding though. 

Day 43: Arms + 20 minutes cardio (stair mill, alternating between 60-75)

Day 44:  Legs + Abs + 10 minutes cardio (stair mill, alternating between 60-75).  This leg workout was a KILLER.  The walking barbell "double" lunges were so hard.  I had to stop and take a breath after 10 reps.  My favorite leg exercise is the barbell leg squats, where you put one leg on a bench behind you while holding a barbell behind your neck and you squat down.  This are great for your quads.  

Day 46: Shoulders + Abs + 20 min cardio (stair mill, alternating between 60-75)

Day 47/Day 48: Legs & Back (No Cardio or Abs) 

I have a hernia (I think) that's been bothering me recently, so I'm not doing abs since Thursday.  I'm going to go to the doctor to get it checked asap. 

I didn't get photos from Week 1, 3, or 4.  I'm so ready to see what's in store for the rest of the program.  I just had to start calculating calories for Week 7, so I'll share that with you next week.  I keep thinking I will be SO READY come bikini time next summer. :) 

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Monday, October 29, 2012

What NOT to Eat & the Healthy Alternative

Sometimes it's easier to avoid the foods that are easily identified as "bad" for us and replace them with something nutritious.  Foods I rarely eat or avoid altogether are:
I never drink soda.  I guess, lucky for me, I never liked it that much.

Example:  I remember hearing Dr. Oz say on Oprah that if a person who regularly drinks soft drinks stopped, in a year they would lose 15 pounds!

Healthy Alternative: I keep my water bottle with me at all times and don't buy any soda at the store.  If I want a cold caffeinated drink, I drink iced tea and sweeten it with half a Splenda (I know there is a lot of controversy regarding sugar and sweeteners, but I still use Splenda in my tea).

As you know, frying is a cooking method where the food is submerged in fat (oil) at a high temperature and cooked quickly.  Just the thought of that turns me off, but I admit I like french fries, so I will eat those sometimes.  I notice I don't feel that good after I eat fried food though, so I usually avoid it altogether.

Example:  One fillet of battered or breaded and fried fish contains 210 to 270 calories and about 11 grams of fat. Of those calories, 124 consist of added fat, according to the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

Healthy Alternative:  Whatever is on the menu as fried, I will just order it grilled or sautéed (without butter).  If you want to taste something fried, ask someone you're eating with if you can have one bite of theirs (assuming they ordered something fried and assuming they are happy to share).  

A single fillet of baked fish contains about 140 calories and about 4 grams of fat. 

In college, I loved fast food like Taco Bell, McDonald's and Burger King.  Now it kinda grosses me out, even though I know many fast food chains now offer salads and such.

Example:  You can go HERE to see a chart that compares the nutrition information for many items of most fast food companies.  The calories, fat, and sodium are so high!

Healthy Alternative:  I prefer to keep a protein bar or bag of nuts in my purse for those emergency hungry times that might entice you into the drive-thru.

A handful of nuts (about 10) has 170 calories; 15 fat grams (2 grams saturated); 50 grams of sodium; and 5 grams of protein.

Go HERE to see the nutritional content of your favorite bar or candy.

Healthy Alternative:  I love chocolate, but opt for a couple of squares of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa is preferred) instead.  Hershey's Special Dark Nuggets with Almonds (4 pieces):  180 calories; 13 grams fat. 

Dr. Oz has been boasting the benefits of dark chocolate for years.  He says chocolate is good for your heart and your blood vessels. People who eat chocolate experience less heart disease, less heart attacks, and less strokes.  He also cautions not to "overdo it."

Do you have foods you avoid too?  What's your alternative?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Egg Scramble

Lately, I've been working out after work, then come home and drink my protein shake.  About 45 minutes later, after I've showered, I like to eat this Egg Scramble.  It's also great in the morning since it cooks fast and is filling.  

I spray Pam in a skillet, add a small chopped slice of turkey ham, bit of diced onion, a few cherry tomatoes, and a bunch of spinach.  After the spinach cooks down a little, I add one egg and about 1/2 - 1 cup of All Whites (depending on how hungry I am).  I just keep stirring until it's all cooked, then, off the heat, add some low fat cheese.  Mushrooms would be good in this too.  

I really like All Whites for their convenience.  They are 100% liquid egg whites.  But, I think that Egg Beaters are weirdly yellow and have a funny texture.

I use Jennie-O Extra Lean Turkey Ham, but be careful, it's got quite a bit of sodium.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Live Fit (WEEK 6) Recap

Week 6 of the Live Fit Challenge was hard because I'm lifting heavier weight, and because I started a new job, so keeping up with 5 workouts a week was a challenge.  Most days I went after work, but one day, when I had after work commitments, I got my arse up at 5:30 a.m. to get that workout in.  I'm sore!  But not so sore that I can't move.  

Now that Week 6 is over, I'm halfway there. :) I'm scheduled to complete Week 12 on December 1!  I think this will keep me motivated to enjoy the holiday food and desserts, but not completely go crazy.  

I feel like my face is thinning some, which is a result I didn't anticipate.  I like seeing my cheekbones!  I'm really digging starting to be able to see more shoulder definition too.  Because I am seeing results, it's helping me stick with the clean eating.  It's really like clockwork now.  I prepare meals on Sunday night and Wednesday night for the week- some people have asked what my husband eats, and he's doing the same thing so it works for us for now.  Saturday night is eating out at a restaurant and getting to indulge.  

Week 6 is days 36-42.  I'm doing 20 minutes of cardio at the end of my workouts and incorporating abs between the last sets before cardio.  For cardio, I do the stair mill at intervals between 60-75.  

You have to go to the Live Fit website to print out the workout logs for each day. 

Below is my progress in the last month.  I can tell my arms are more toned, but it's hard to tell the progress in my legs since I'm wearing capris in the last two photos.  

Please know that I am reading EVERY comment and email, but I haven't had a chance to respond.  I plan to get back to it this weekend.  Thank you so much for reading and sharing in this journey with me. 

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Daily Time Management Routines

Once you proactively DECIDE that you're going to start working out on a consistent basis, the next logical question is WHEN?  There is so much we have to get done in a day that it can make our heads spin and utterly exhaust us.  Did you see this on Pinterest?  

That totally feels like me some days.  I am back to work now, so time management is especially important these days.  I'm going to share some time savers that I've been employing lately in my quest to make time for the gym.

Television is the first thing to go and I find it's the easiest to cut out.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still watching every episode of The Voice, but I used to keep the t.v. on all the time, even as background noise when I was blogging.  Now, I find I really prefer the sound of silence and then I can concentrate and give my full attention to what I'm doing.  

Pre-bed preparations are the checklist of things I do before going to bed that help ensure the mornings run smoother and more efficiently.  Some of these things are "little" but, when you're rushing around trying to get out the door in the morning, it all helps.  The list includes:
  • Doing the dishes and quickly wiping the countertops in the kitchen.  It's so much nicer to wake up to a clean kitchen and empty sink.  I feel that when I get up in the morning to be greeted with a sink full of dirty dishes, I'm not starting my day off with the best energy.  

  • Laying out the dishes and utensils we will be using in the morning (plates, forks, cups and the syrup for our pancakes).  Our kitchen is large, and if I don't do this, I feel like I'm opening 15 cabinets and walking back and forth to get everything we need for breakfast. 
  • Setting the coffee to brew (essential).

  • Packing my son's lunch.
  • Laying out my son's clothes (I actually set out 5 outfits for the week).

  • Laying out my clothes (and accessories, if necessary) but I usually wear the same watch, ring and earrings everyday.  
  • Paperwork/necessities ready and in the car.  I go ahead and load up my car the night before so I'm not busy packing up in the morning.  For instance, sometimes I'm bringing my laptop somewhere, James' freshly washed blanket and pillow to school, or 5 rolls of paper towels that need to be brought to the classroom. 
  • Packing the gym bag.  In mine, I always have my iPod, workout worksheet and pen, gloves, and water bottle.  But if you are going straight from work, obviously pack your gym clothes or leave a few sets in there - and don't forget the shoes and socks!  

If I know the morning is going to be especially tight (or I just know I need a little extra sleep), I wash and dry my hair the night before and put it in a pony tail or wear it half up/half down the next day.  Styling my wet hair (drying + curling) takes a good 30 minutes.  You can also just shower at night and skip it in the morning, but I find I need to get at least a quick shower in the morning to help wake me up.

I've mentioned this before, but allowing some time twice a week to prepare several meals in advance is a life saver.  Since I'm eating several small meals a day, I couldn't do without it.  I pack my lunch and snacks for work the night before and bring them with me.  But, there are other food preparations I like to do to save time as well.  This includes washing my fruit and vegetables and portioning them out when I get home from the grocery store.  It's so much easier to eat some carrots and hummus when the carrots are already washed, peeled and sliced.  

We often feel that there just aren't enough hours in the day, and truthfully, some days there aren't.  I hope these tips help you find some "extra" time in your day.  Do you have tips you can share? 

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Butternut Squash and Lobster Brown Rice Risotto (via The Chronicles of Home)

I'm giddy typing this next sentence- contributing author, Jennifer of The Chronicles of Home, is back with a beautiful, healthy recipe that features one of my favorite indulgences- lobster!  

Risotto doesn't usually come to mind when brainstorming healthy recipes - starchy white rice, lots of cream and butter - delicious, yes, but not what you want to consume on a regular basis when trying to eat healthy.

So here's what's different about this risotto.  There is zero cream or butter in the recipe, but pureeing some of the butternut squash still gives it a rich and creamy texture.  Lobster is a bit of an indulgence but a great low fat protein.  I also made this risotto with short grain brown rice to reap all the health benefits of a whole grain rice.  The short grain is important though - long grain rice will give you a rather dry risotto.  

Now let's talk a bit more about that butternut, which is the real health superstar here.  Butternut squash is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, low in fat, and delivers a hearty dose of dietary fiber.  It's a great source of potassium, vitamin B6, folate, carotenoids (shown to protect against heart disease), beta-carotene, and vitamin C.  And it's delicious!

The only knock on this dish is that it's not a quickie.  You'll need to stay nearby durning the second half of cooking and stir it occasionally but you can be doing other things in the kitchen simultaneously.  And the rich, decadent taste wrapped up in a healthy little package make it all worthwhile.

2 c. short grain brown rice
small butternut squash (about 2 cups), peeled and cut into 1/2" chunks
1 tbsp. olive oil
medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
6 oz. cooked lobster meat, cut into small pieces
8 c. chicken broth, divided

Bring the rice and 4 c. chicken broth to boil in a medium saucepan.  Lower heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes to partially cook the rice.

Boil the butternut squash in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain and cool slightly then puree 2/3 of the squash in a food processor until smooth.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  

Pour the partially cooked rice and any liquid remaining in the saucepan into the pan with the onion and garlic.  Add the thyme and bay leaf and stir.  

Add the remaining 4 cups of broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally each time until the broth has been absorbed before adding another 1/2 cup.

Spoon the pureed squash into the risotto and stir to combine.  Add the diced squash and lobster and stir gently.  Season worth salt and pepper and serve hot.

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Thank you Jennifer!  I cannot wait to try this and I-don't-mind-if-I-do drink a glass of wine while I'm stirring!  If you're new to Jennifer's blog, The Chronicles of Home, you can follow her HERE. - Megan

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Self Tanning Towelettes

I'm in the camp that believes that my body looks better with a tan.  I've still got some residual color from the summer, but it's fading.  I went to an event a few weeks ago at Nordstrom and they gave out a swag bag that contained Kate Somerville Tanning Towelettes.

In the past, I've always used a self tanning lotion or gel (I like Loreal Sublime Bronze okay), but I tried the Kate Somerville Towelette earlier this week and really liked the resulting color.  I think it looks very "tan" and natural.  Each package contains one towel (like a baby wipe) that you wipe all over your body.  I did notice that funny tanning smell, but it went away with the next shower.  

If you want to try them, you can get them at Nordstrom here.  They retail for $48 for 8 or $75 for 16.

Do you have a self tanner you like? 

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Sharing the Love

I wanted to take a moment to give a big ole thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word about my new blog.  It means so much to me to have your support.  If you have posted about Honey We're Healthy or put my button on your blog, please let me know so I can return the love here.  

*Click the picture below to visit the website*

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