Monday, April 23, 2012

Motivation Monday: Body Biased Fat Loss

Don't get discouraged when you realize you've been working out super hard, but still don't see a major difference in your six pack area. Every body responds differently exercise and stress.

Personally, my belly is the last to most people. But why? First I notice my face thinning out, then in the following order: arms, legs, butt, boobs, stomach. My stomach, where I hold my stress, worries, insecurities, and waistband, insists on holding onto every last ounce of fat before letting go. My arms are toned. My calves are poppin'. My butt is smaller. And my breasts are firmer. My stomach is finally flatter, and gaining some tone on the top half, but the pooch refuses to surrender it's insulation. This is understandable to me because I know about cortisol, but I think most people exercising will wonder, "What the heck is going on?"

When we stress, cortisol (a stress hormone) is released, keeping us from losing that bottom layer of fat. The best we can do is eat 4-6 meals a day, keep our anxiety to a minimum, take rest days after hard sessions, and focus on the positive. Focus on how toned your other parts are becoming, and your tummy will follow suit soon. The most important thing to focus on is your diet

As I'm sure you've heard; abs are made in the kitchen. Get skinny with healthy food, get fit with the gym. So eat smaller meals more often to keep that fire kindling in your body. 

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) (Insanity, sprinting, etc.) also helps burn fat faster. The upside to the rest of your body getting toned is that your body composition is changing. The more muscle you have elsewhere, the more calories you are burning. So even though I don't have ridges down my front, the ridges down my back are helping them come out. 

Last Monday I challenged you with a 30 second plank. Today I challenge you mentally to look at the good, and believe the "bad" will be the good soon. Check out your guns, your calves, your face, whatever part(s) of you is the best, and savor all the hard work you put in.  

Hello Bicep :) 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Journey to Your Pot of Gold

There are specific skills one needs to live a healthy life; knowledge of quick and healthy recipes, an exercise routine, a stress-reducer, a motivator, social support, emotional support, etc.You might think it's just diet and exercise, and most of the time it is, but it takes a whole lot more to lead a happy life than simply losing weight and feeling sexy.

We all have boundaries and road blocks that keep us from living the life we truly want. 

Do you even know the life you truly want? Do you know your goals? A part of you might, but you may not fully be aware of it as you should be. That's why someone or something that comes along always wakes us up from the wool that has been over our eyes. We need to be autonomous of ourselves to really take charge and live our life. The one we see in our dreams. The one we draw in our doodles. The one we cut out of magazines. The one we pin on pinterest. The one we falsely update in our status message. The one we portray in our Facebook photos. But what's happening behind the scenes? Behind the social media screen?

My goal is to be that clout that slaps people awake and makes them achieve what they've always wanted. Let it be a healthier body, a happier soul, a dream job, or so on; I want to help you get there.
Of course, I'm on my own journey as well riding the colors of a very long double rainbow, but by helping others jump on their yellow brick road will help me reach my pot of gold.

What does your metaphorical "pot of gold" look like right now? Is it empty...?

Or are you jumping in head first?

Today I want you to think about what your dreams are. Truly think about it. Don't just pin it. Don't just Facebook it. Think about it away from your computer, Iphone, and Ipad. Look up at the sky, the sun, the moon, wherever you are. And start trying to make it happen. If you put the positive thoughts out there and set that world into motion, your goal will be closer than you ever imagined.

"I Can Do This!"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

12 Quick, Easy, Cheap and Healthy Meals

Many of these recipes will be semi-homemade and include products from Trader Joe's. I find TJ's to be one of the cheapest and best grocery stores around. And I'm sorry if you don't have one near. Many of these are made with a George Foreman grill (GF), toaster oven, and/or microwave. So grab one from Wal-mart and get cookin' healthy! *denotes vegan/vegan option.

  1. Chick(e)n PizzaDilla (dee-yah)*
    1. Heat a nonstick pan with 1 Tbsp Earth Balance. Place one whole wheat tortilla down. Cover with grilled chick(e)n and Daiya/light cheese. Spice up with oregano, garlic, and onion. Place second tortilla on top and press down with spatula. Once cheese is starting to melt, flip the dilla. It's done when crispy and melty. Cut into 6 pieces. Place a 1/2 cup of marinara on a plate and dip that hot thang!  Enjoy with a cup of spinach/fresh veggies on the side (cold or cooked).
  2. Chick(e)n PitaDilla*
    1. Cook up some Gardein chik'n scallopini or regular chicken on your GF grill. When that's done, heat up your Mediterranean Pita (90 calories each) until pliable. Place chick(e)n, 3 Tbsp hummus, a handful of spinach, and handful of Daiya or light cheese on one side of the pita. Fold in half and press down grill. It's done when the cheese is melting out and there are grill marks on your bread. 
        1.  I make many versions of this, using whatever I have on hand. If I don't have one thing, I switch it out for another. No chicken? Use tofu/tempeh/mushrooms. No spinach? Use romaine/kale. No hummus? Use light mayo/sauce.
  3. Veggies and Hummus*
    1.  Heat up 4 mini-whole wheat pita pockets (TJ's) in toaster oven or GF grill for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, chop up: 1 bell pepper, 1 cucumber, & a handful of organic baby carrots. Enjoy with a 1/2 cup of organic hummus.
  4. Miso Soup and Brown Rice*
    1. Microwave a frozen rice packet (Trader Joe's has brown and wild mixed rice) for 3 minutes. Set aside. Place a cereal bowl in the microwave filled 3/4 of purified water for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, chop a green onion stalk into small rings. Square a half cup of tofu (preferably silken soft). Drop a tablespoon of miso paste in hot water and stir. Add in  tofu and green onions. Enjoy 1 cup of rice on the side with 1 Tbsp Earth Balance or mix it into the soup if you like it that way. 
  5. Tofu Scramble*
    1. Place chopped veggies such as bell peppers, green onions, tomatos, and mushrooms on a heated nonstick pan. Saute with a tsp of Earth Balance until soft. Spice up with garlic, onion, and paprika. Add in one box of silken soft tofu. Add one handful of Daiya cheese or light mozzarella/cheddar. Stir until cheese is melted throughout. Enjoy with a banana or chopped strawberries on the side. This meal is good anytime of the day! 
  6. Tofu Edamame Nuggets
    1. Buy frozen from Trader Joe's. Cook one serving in the toaster oven, on a small foil-lined pan for 5-8 minutes (or until cooked through). You will see them start to brown, and you'll know they're done. You could also cook these on the GF grill for less time. Enjoy with honey, ketchup, or your favorite "nugget" sauce. Have a salad on the side with a low-fat dressing. 
  7. Spicy Arrabatia Pasta*
    1. Buy frozen from Trader Joe's. Cook on stove top for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toast up some fresh sourdough bread. Cover with 1 tsp organic Earth Balance, and a dash of each: garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.  
  8. Chick(e)n Spinach Salad*
    1. Grill up/heat up some Gardein/grilled chicken on a George Foreman or stove top. Place 2 cups organic spinach in a bowl. Top with chopped cucumber, bell pepper, and dried cranberries. Place cooked chick(e)n on top. Drizzle with favorite low-cal dressing. I use brown rice vinegar and miso paste, plus S+P. 
  9. Wheat-Free Waffle Breakfast*
    1. Buy frozen from Trader Joe's. Toast. Cover bottom one with a layer of sliced bananas.  Cover top one with organic Earth Balance and agave/maple syrup. Have yogurt and fresh fruit on the side. 
  10. Black Bean Enchilada*
    1. Buy frozen from Trader Joe's. Microwave for 4 minutes. Have a salad on the side.
  11. Vegan Chick'n Parm*
    1. Grill/heat 3 crispy chick'n strips. (I use my George Foreman grill) After crispy, but not cooked all the way through, take out and put on a plate. Cover with a handful of Daiya/light mozzarella and some organic tomato basil marinara. Cover with paper plate and microwave for 1 minute (or until cheese is melted). 
  12. Thai Gyoza Miso Soup
    1. Microwave a bowl of purified water and 3 Veggie Thai Gyoza for 3 minutes. When done, take out carefully with rag/oven mitt and place a Tbsp of miso paste. Stir. Optional: Add chopped tofu.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Motivational Monday

I'm taking my test next week to become a Certified Personal Trainer. I've been studying since last December and am really excited to finally take this exam. The knowledge has accumulated in my brain and I'm ready to start sharing it with you, if that's okay.  

What is Motivational Monday? I want to motivate you to get up and do something. Move your body. Dance. Lift. Squat. Sit. No wait, don't sit unless it's a wall sit! I know you're sitting now reading this, but when you're done, try something with your body. 

Today's challenge is a:
 30 Second Low Plank
Looks easy enough right? 
Once you lift up, count 30 potatoes and rest by placing your knees down. Make sure to tighten your butt and pull your belly button towards your back (drawing in). If this is too easy, try raising one arm or one leg. Then try raising the opposite arm and leg at the same time! 

This exercise targets your local core stabilization muscles. These control posture and balance, along with the rest of your core. Best of all facts is that this exercise beats crunches. You are drawing in and tightening your whole body, challenging your balance, and activating 66% more muscle fibers. 

If you're truly motivated now, get up and go work out. Turn on some music and start moving your toosh. Have a great week! 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Vegan "Hershey's Cookies N' Cream" Bar

I've always loved white chocolate. I remember going to Trader Joe's as a kid and picking out these hunks of white chocolate amongst milk and dark. My favorite candy bar was the Hershey's Cookies N' Cream. It's white. It's creamy. It's oh-so-delicious. When I became lactose intolerant at 15, I could no longer have my precious ivory delight...until now! I came across this recipe on Pinterest and immediately ordered all the ingredients from amazon. After I made my first bar seen below, I knew I had to add oreos to make my childhood delight. The very next day I got a pack of Trader Joe O's and made this wonderful bar! And now I must restrain myself from making this all the time.  

This is the magic ingredient that makes this bar possible:

Cocoa Butter. 
Some use it as a moisturizer but it's the main ingredient in this candy! Of course this brand is certified food grade. Once you open the jar, you smell the sweet memorable smell of chocolate. 

I was surprised at how easy it was to make this! After gathering all the ingredients from Amazon and Mother's Market (the soy milk powder), I got to working. 

Here are the simple steps: 
(!Read all the way through before attempting!)
  1. Use a fork or knife to break out 1/4 cup of cocoa butter. 
  2. Microwave it in 45 second intervals until fully melted. Use a fork to stir it when you stop at each interval. It will take about 2-3 minutes to completely melt into a yellow oil. 
  3. In the mean time, measure out all the ingredients like the picture you see above. (The vanilla bean paste, the milk powder, and the powdered sugar are all measured out.)
  4. Once the oil is melted, use a sifter to quickly incorporate the powdered sugar into the oil, stirring the whole time and scraping down the sides. 
  5. Add in the milk powder. 
  6. The vanilla bean paste is cold so it will make the oil clump up. So make sure you VERY quickly stir it in LAST and then scrape the smooth mixture into the molds. The recipe only makes one bar, so double it if you want to fill your whole double-bar mold. 
  7. For the Cookies N' Cream Version: Scrape the cream out of the middle of 2 oreo style cookies and place the sides in a ziploc bag. Crush the cookies into crumbs. Sprinkle some into the mold, place some of the white chocolate down, and then sprinkle some more. Don't stir it in because it will turn the bar brown. Use a butter knife or your finger to smooth the bottom of the bar.
  8. Cover with parchment and foil and let sit in the fridge for two hours to firm up. 
  9. Enjoy alone to get the best of the flavors, or use like you would any other white chocolate or candy bar!