My Journey

Follow me on my journey to be the best me possible

April 2013 Fitness Challenge March 26, 2013

Filed under: Exercise,Food — healthylivingamysway @ 9:58 pm

The month of March has flown by and during the past week I have been fighting a cold.  I am happy to say that I only had 3 days of real suffering.  I look at this as a win because this time last year I ended up at the doctor on antibiotics and was out of commission for 3 weeks.  I attribute my speedy, doctor free recovery to the healthier lifestyle I have adapted over the past couple of months.  This realization has motivated me to plan and execute a “Fitness Month” for April.  Technically, I try to eat well and be fit every day but for my Type A, easily distracted personality it helps to set short term goals.  After doing some research on types of exercises I picked 5 basic exercises which I know how to do correctly and will challenge a variety of muscle groups.  I have also signed up for a 5k in May so I have added running to my challenge in order to prepare.  I set it up so every 3 days I have to run a distance, this will give me 2 rest days and also allow for flexibility depending on the weather and how quickly I recover.  Below is the checklist I will be using…

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In addition to using this chart I plan on attending 10 yoga classes throughout the month.  I am not setting specific dates because I work retail and I don’t know how my schedule will look.  However, I have 8 days off a month, so I can guarantee going to class those days and then I will work at least 2 shifts which will allow me to attend class after work.

Finally, this month I am going to challenge myself to drink a yummy Isagenix Isalean shake every day.  (This is more of a treat than a challenge and should be an easy win).  This will ensure I am getting the proper nutrients in my diet and the protein will support the added workouts.  –If you have never tried Isagenix I would encourage doing some research, my website is Amyatkinson2.isagenix.com.  I have been using the products for several months now and love the results.

April will definitely be an exciting month and I am hoping this challenge will prepare me for bikini season!  If anyone else is interested in participating in parts or all of the challenge let me know and keep me posted on your progress.  One of the best ways to accomplish your goals is to have a support system and I would love to lend my support.

Have a Happy, Healthy Day!

Note: I have no medical training and this plan is not intended to be used without consulting a doctor.  Never do anything which causes pain beyond normal muscle exertion.

 

Family Dinner February 25, 2013

Filed under: Food — healthylivingamysway @ 3:01 am

So last night I was having my in-laws and my husband’s best friend over for dinner.  I was determined to make a delicious vegetarian meal to remember!  After spending over an hour in Giant looking for all of the ingredients and then a quick stop at Food Lion for some sriracha I was ready for business.  I piled all of the ingredients on the kitchen counter and immediately the thought of cooking exhausted me.  I looked at the clock, I had 2 hours before everyone arrived, plenty of time…After 30 minutes of mentally preparing myself I re-entered the kitchen.

First item on the menu; beet chips.  I got out my new slicer thingy and after peeling the beets and dying my fingers a pretty pink  I sliced them super thin and in a Ziploc bag tossed them with olive oil and sea salt.  In only 45 minutes I would have sweet and salty healthy snacks for my guests.  As the beets baked I started on my date and chick pea brownies.  I got this recipe from the book, “The Healthiest Meals on Earth,” by Jonny Bowden.  (If you are interested in healthy living this book is MUST HAVE, great recipes and very doable for the working woman/man).

I go to put these in the oven and realized I completely forgot about the beets!  Only half of them are brown but the other half are perfectly crispy.  Of course I have to try them out first and before I know it every single chip was gone.  CRAP, appetizer one has disappeared.  Now I need to start another one.  I got a great idea from Pinterest, cucumber/hummus cupcakes (originally from creativekidsnacks.com).  These are super simple to make.

  1.  Peel cucumbers
  2. Use a fork to scour the outside of the cucumbers, this makes them look like cupcakes
  3. Cut the cucumbers into bite size pieces
  4. Scoop out insides
  5. Fill with hummus (I put the hummus in a plastic bag and cut off the corner to squeeze into cups)
  6. Top with a sliver of red pepper and/or carrotImage

The inside of the cucumbers were put in my salad.  As I am finishing this I look at the clock and realize I only have 1 hour to go and I have not started the sweet potato patties.  To make a long story short I completely screwed up this recipe and it ended up in the trash.

Moving onto the peanut pasta.  (Recipe below).  I added asparagus, broccoli, and tofu which enhanced the flavors and added a nice crunch.  Finally, I whipped up a salad with romaine, cucumbers, carrot, feta cheese, and walnuts.  The dressing was one part balsamic vinegar, one part olive oil and a dash of sea salt.

The bad news was that dinner was an hour late and I made a mess of the kitchen, the good news was that everything tasted amazing.  I think the thing I was most excited about was the peanut sauce.  Sriracha is actually really easy to find (it is in a plastic container with a green top and a picture of a rooster on the front).  I plan on making this to put on my veggie dishes too.  In the documentary, “Hungry for Change” it talked about your mentality when starting a healthy lifestyle.  It is all about adding things to your life, not taking them away.  This meal made me realize that there are tons of new foods I can explore as a vegetarian.

Peanut Pasta Recipe

6 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
1 package (10 ounces) frozen broccoli florets
1 cup baby carrots

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce (Thai hot sauce, available in the Asian food aisle)

Pre-cooked protein of your choice:
2 cups shelled edamame
12 ounces cooked chicken breasts, chopped (calculated in the nutrition info)
12 ounces cooked tofu

Cook the pasta and broccoli according to package directions. Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, and sriracha in a small bowl. One minute before you drain the pasta, add the carrots to the pot. Drain and add the pasta, vegetables, your choice of protein and sauce to the pot. Heat through and serve.
Makes 4 one cup servings.

Source:  http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1355626

 

Juicing February 23, 2013

Filed under: Food — healthylivingamysway @ 4:00 am

In my opinion juicing is one of the healthiest habits one can do.  It is the easiest and quickest way to load your body with necessary nutrients.  I first became interested in juicing after reading Kris Carr’s Book, “Crazy, Sexy Diet.”  After several weeks of research I decided to buy an Omega 8006 which at the time cost around $280.  I remember thinking; this is it, the beginning of a healthier, sexier Amy.  I was pumped and went out and bought a ton of vegetables: beets, carrots, cucumbers, kale, spinach, ect.  As their nutrient filled juice poured into my cup I was convinced that my first taste would be sweet and delicious.  Well, let’s just say during those first few days I learned a few things.

  1.  Do NOT juice mustard greens: Accidentally grabbed those instead of kale and the juice was unbearably bitter.
  2. Proportions are important:  Do not load your cup with beet juice and then expect it to taste sweet.  If the veggie is not sweet the juice will not be sweet.
  3. Cucumbers make an excellent base to any juice, because they are light and sweet.
  4. Don’t juice mushy fruits (ie papaya).  My little apartment smelled like overripe papaya and I was drinking mush L

Once I finally understood these core principles my juice began to taste pretty good and I noticed a change in how I felt and looked.  My skin cleared up, I felt light and had more energy.  I was hooked.

I began to learn some tricks of the trade which made juicing less of a hassle.

  1.  Once I bought the veggies I washed them and prepped them immediately, so they were ready to use when I wanted to juice at 6am before work
  2. I would take the small plastic bags I used to buy the veggies and put it in the container which caught the dried out excess.  This way I just tossed the bag and all the scraps didn’t clog my sink
  3. I would make enough juice to fill a Ball Canning Jar, squeeze in some fresh lemon and then have juice for the whole next day (Note: I have found that fresh veggie juice will only last one day, it begins to stink after that)
  4. I usually add an apple to each juice to add a touch of sweetness
  5. Some of the veggie scraps can be recycled.  The dried apple pieces can go in muffins and the beet pieces can be mixed in with Bisquick for hot pink biscuits.

Like most things in my life juicing faded in and out but I always came back to it.  Earlier this week I broke out the juicer for the first time in months (it had been packed up during my move and I had lost track of it).  I made the following recipe.

  1.  3 sweet delicious apples
  2. 5 fist fulls of spinach
  3. 3 cucumbers
  4. A bunch of parsley
  5. 2 handfuls baby carrots

This made enough for 3 glasses and it reminded me of how much I enjoyed the taste and benefits.

At an Isagenix meeting the other night, the presenter made an excellent point.  We are all about habits, if we can manage to make it a habit to stop at Wawa and get a cup of coffee every morning we should be able to establish healthy habits too.  My goal for this year is to juice three times a week.  If you have never juiced before I would recommend giving it a try and if you decide this I something you want to integrate into your life invest in a high quality juicer which does not heat up too much during processing (heat will break down some of the nutrient).  I hope this post provides some insight into the wonderful world of juicing!

 

Freezer Meals February 16, 2013

Filed under: Food — healthylivingamysway @ 4:04 am

I will be the first to admit that I am all about convenience.  I have a lot going on so after a long day at work, yoga class, feeding the cats, and cleaning up the house the last thing I want to do is cook.  The end result is a lot of Panera and Wawa subs; neither healthy or inexpensive.  This month I decided to prepare all of my work lunches for a month and then freeze them.  For $90 I bought all of the ingredients for the lunches and some extra items for dinners.  This month I cooked wild rice patties, black bean/quinoa/sweet potato chili, vegetable chili, bean soup and veggie soup.  I did some research and talked to my mom (basically the most amazing woman in the world who holds answers to all of life’s questions) and learned that some things do not freeze well.  For example: white potatoes, zucchini, or any other veggie with a high water content.  In addition, I did not add any spices because those will be added during the defrost process because freezing tends to alter them slightly.  (Added bonus: You can change the flavor of each meal by adding different spices.  If I am craving something spicy I will add hot sauce to my veggie soup, or if I want an Italian flare I add garlic salt.)  After 6 hours of veggie chopping, scrubbing, simmering, and stirring I had separated the 4 soup dishes into 16 Rubbermaid freezer safe bowls and the patties went into a freezer safe bag. (Make sure to let the items cool before sealing them and putting them in the freezer).  I was totally worth all of the work because for the past week I have brought my lunch to work everyday, and saved money and calories.  I have enough food to last me another 3 weeks and  I am already down 3 more pounds!  In addition to the frozen meals I picked up 3 apples and after rinsing them in vinegar I sliced them, squeezed some lemon juice over them and put them in baggies in the fridge for a quick healthy snack.

For anyone living a hectic lifestyle I would highly recommend they try making their own healthy freezer meals 🙂

Lunches for Work

Lunches for Work

Links:

http://www.thekitchn.com/vegetarian-recipe-black-bean-sweet-potato-and-quinoa-chili-166739

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-wild-rice-burgers-157678