Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Vintage Chain: {GIVEAWAY} $50 Gift Certificate

The Vintage Chain: {GIVEAWAY} $50 Gift Certificate

Check out this link to the Vintage Chain. They have beautiful hand-stamped necklaces, great for you or a Valentine's Day gift. My favorite is the Domed Name Charms with Birthstones, hint, hint!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My First Official 5k Race & Day 6 of Purification

I ran my first official race on Saturday, Oct 29 and I did awesome! It was the Gary Burns 5k benefitting Frisco Education and I ran my best time yet (37.03 minutes). The weather was great for running...a little cold while standing around waiting for the race to start.

Although I didn't have the same problems as one of my friends that went with me, I did see a lot of bodies falling from being tripped by dogs on leashes and teenagers from several sports teams cutting corners, taking up the majority of the path walking next to each other, and zig zagging thoughout the group for a short sprint.

Other than that, it was a great race! I can definitely tell that I was motivated to run when someone older or a kid under the age of 7 passed me :-)  I was not having that! It was a fun competition and I really enjoyed it.

Jennifer, Me, Jenn

I have already signed up for my next 5k race called Believe in McKinney on Nov 26, then the Frosty 5k in Frisco on Dec 10.

I was on Day 3 of my Standard Process Purification Program when I ran the race. I had organic celery sticks and my shake (whey protein, whole food fiber, flaxseed oil, water and fruit) for breakfast before the race, then an organic apple and water directly after the race. I didn't have any problems and I felt energized!

The SP Purification Program has been going really well so far. My only problem is that on Day 2 I got a migraine and had to leave work an noon to go home to lay down. I didn't think it would be that bad without caffeine because, about six months ago, I had switched from black tea to green tea. Anyway, that was my only day with a headache. I was able to suffer through it without taking any medicine (it is a purification program, so no medicine allowed if not a prescription, if I can do it). I feel the toxins leaving my body as we speak :-)

I even made it through Halloween trick-or-treating last night without sneaking candy from my kids' Halloween baskets.

Melanie was a Bat and Madison was Sleeping Beauty.

So, back to my purification process....I am on Day 6 today. I have two more days on my Cleanse supplements, then I change to the Green Food supplements for the rest of the 21 day program; still drinking the Whey Protein and Whole Food Fiber shakes.

Besides that, I have been eating different organic fruits (mostly in shakes and snacks) and different organic vegetables. This is my first time to try lentils. I use them in my salads and by themselves....taste like beans. I have made my own Balsamic Vinegarette salad dressing with the SP recipe and it is really good and easy! I am going to bake some eggplant and cauliflower tonight. Great thing is that my kids eat all the vegetables as a side with their dinner at I am not cooking two meals.

My advice today: If you just make one change toward better health, choose to buy organic apples and organic celery. These foods are the top 1 and 2 spots on the dirty dozen of having the most pesticides and other chemicals that are harmful to our bodies.

Well, until next time, I am going to keep running and feeding my body organic, healthy foods.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Purify My Body, Lose the Toxins

It is about time that I add an update to my blog. It is hard for me to find extra time since I have been going to bed early in order to get enough sleep to keep my body healthy. No more staying up until midnight catching up on things!

My running has been going pretty well. I have not been running every morning like I would like to...getting up at 5:00 a.m. is really difficult. My first official 5k race is this Saturday and I am really looking forward to it. My goal for this first race is not to come in last :-)  I will update later about that experience. Then I will look to my next 5k on December 10th.

Today is the start of my body purification program for 21 days using Standard Process Purification Program. My goal is to get the toxins out of my body that affect my liver, kidneys, small intestine, and large intestine. There are hundreds of chemicals in our bodies that can disrupt our immune, endocrine, nervous, and reproductive systems. My areas for improvement are (1) emotions (2) headaches (3) skin and (4) weight. Some of our toxins are from external factors, but most are from what we eat. Eating clean foods during the program (and all the time) are key to getting rid of a lot of the toxins in my body.

I start days 1-7 with shakes, whole food fiber and cleanse supplements. Days 8-21, I continue the shakes and whole food fiber, but stop the cleanse and add the green food supplements. I can eat as many fresh organic vegetables and fruit as I want, plus lentils and 4 T healthy oils. I can add free-range, hormone-free organic chicken on day 11. No alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, nuts/seeds, dairy, grains (except wild rice), and no processed or refined foods. No medicine, so I will try alternative methods if I get headaches from lack of caffeine...which should be minimal because I switched from black to green tea a few months ago anyway.

During my program I will blog about how I am doing and how I have been experimenting with new vegetable recipes. I am making my own salad dressing today for lunch on an endive salad (organic balsamic vinegar, flaxseed oil, organic Dijon mustard and water - forgot my fresh garlic today).

I have been drinking a lot of spring water (not tap) and adding fresh organic mint leaves for flavor. It makes the water look so pretty and inviting too :-)

So Day 1 is underway...more to come soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Running at 5:00 a.m.

Oh yes I did!!! I stuck to my commitment for my first day of running! I was out the door at 5:20 this morning and ran/walked until 5:55 a.m. I even woke up at 5:12 a.m., 3 minutes before my alarm was suppose to go off (sure husband appreciated that).

Last night, I downloaded an app for my iPhone called iMapMyRUN (thanks to the recommendation of a friend). It is a great app! It tracked my route and gave me my time, average pace per mile, and miles traveled. Today I ran/walked 30 minutes for 2.09 miles, average 14.24 minutes per mile. Not bad for Day 1.

There are pros and cons to running outside in the early morning hours.

Con - still dark. I ran to the end of my street to turn left toward the park and I noticed it was pitch black, no street or safety lights; so I turned right and ran toward a main street with lots of businesses that were already open....plenty of street lights and lights from the stores. Oh and, yes, I had a small hunting knife clipped to my waistband in case I had a visitor (human or animal)! My mom suggests wasp spray for better distance from the 'visitor'. Don't really see myself running with a can of bug spray; I would probably spray myself :-)  I did feel like I needed to stop and get sick at one point, but I figured that was my body wondering what I was doing out of bed at that time of the day and why I was sweating! Reminds me of my girls' first day of kindergarten as their new alarm clocks started beeping at 6:00 a.m. "Mommy, why is my alarm beeping in the middle of the night?" "No, honey, that is what 6:00 a.m. looks like!"

Pro - so much cooler at that time of day! Husband is home (asleep) with kids; I didn't get to run last night because he was not home until 9:45 p.m. My motivation and energy levels are much higher in the morning than at the end of the day when I just want to sit on the couch and relax after homework, dinner, baths, cleaning the kitchen and putting kids to bed! It does feel really great to be in the office and know that I have already done my workout for the day; plus it gives me more energy to do my work (we will see if that holds up around 3:00 or 4:00).

So Day 1 was successful! It feels great to mark something big off my to-do list before I even head out of the house to work. Now I have my new t-shirt, new shoes and new app, PLUS I registered for my first official 5k race today. It will be on October 29th, so I have plenty of time to prepare! I am very excited and I hope this excitement sticks with me and does not fade away like new things usually do! My usual commitment drop off date is about 2 weeks, so I need to make it over that 2 week marker! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Getting Back on Track

Hello, Blog! Oh how I have missed you! We had a great summer, didn't we?! We spent a lot of time together. My kids didn't have any special activities; we just relaxed and tried to do a lot of swimming when the pool water wasn't boiling from the Texas summer heat (miserable). I was able to work from home 3 days a week, which allowed me to start preparing and cooking meals earlier in the day AND allowed me to run up to the gym for an aerobics class and not have to worry about getting a shower and rushing back to the office. I was able to focus more on my weight loss journey and make those 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning Weight Watchers meetings. It is true that attending meetings or being part of some kind of support group really works better and keeps you on track and motivated.

Well, this week is starting the 5th week of kindergarten for my twin girls and back to the office 5 days a week for me. I have missed my Weight Watchers meetings on Saturday mornings each of those weeks because I want to sleep in after having to get up everyday at 6:00 a.m. to get ready and make lunches for school/work.

My days are so busy with school, work, activities, homework (me and girls), soccer practice and games, some kind of social life, my spiritual life, my "me" time, and of course keeping the house clean and laundry washed. With my husband working days, leaving the house at 7:30 a.m. and getting home around 8:00 p.m., it is basically like I am a single, working mom. So to fit in the exercise time is difficult.

However, with this new schedule, I have gained back about 8 lbs of the 24 lbs I had lost this summer. I am back to that point where I say to myself, "I will not gain back the weight I have lost AND I will continue working on my healthy, fit self, no matter what it takes."

Yes, I want to be skinny again so I look awesome in a bathing suit in the summer time, but I also want to be healthy in order to feel better and have more energy. Most importantly, I want to live a long, full life and see my kids grow up with their families AND set a good example for their healthy habits (good food choices and daily exercise).

Kids follow the parents and they are ALWAYS watching you. If you eat french fries or chips with your meal and put broccoli or asparagus on their plate, they are going to look at you like you are crazy; then say, "can I have some of your fries." I make one healthy meal at each mealtime and we all eat it. If I try a new food and it wasn't the best, I just don't make it again or use it in a different way, in a different recipe.

It is the same concept when kids are learning to read (like mine are doing right now). We tell them "ready is fun", but we never pick up a book in front of them for our own reading time. Instead, we plop in front of the TV. Then we wonder why they would rather watch TV than read a book. I try to limit my TV time to one hour after they are in bed each evening (9-10:00 p.m.). Unfortunately, my reading time is after they are in bed too (8-9:00 p.m.). So I just try to talk to them the next morning what I was reading about or I make sure they see that my reading material is out and ready to go after they are all tucked in bed.

So this healthy lifestyle is for ME and for my children!

I borrowed this quote from another blogger. This quote is going on my bathroom mirror tonight for me to read every morning. This is what is going to get me back on track.

"Weight loss is about truly being honest with yourself and committing with your whole heart, mind and body to an extraordinary journey which will benefit your life in so many more ways than just your health and body image issues."

I have to be 110% dedicated to this lifestyle and stop making excuses. I was reading a weight-loss blog earlier today and she was talking about all the same stuff that I do..."Do I have this problem?" "That is not me!" Oh yes, it seems I do.

I am the one that says "Monday is the day I will start, just let me get through this weekend." "I am going back to my Weight Watchers meetings this Saturday, but wait, I am going out of town in 2 weeks for work, I will start then." I use the throw pillows on the couch, like she does, so that people don't notice that I don't have that flat belly. "I don't have time to exercise." Next thing I know it will be, let's just enjoy the holidays and I will start on January 1st." I don't want that to happen to me! I don't want it to take a doctor telling me I have cholesterol problems, or your knees hurt because you are carrying too much weight, or anything that I can prevent now. I AM DOING THIS! Now how do I get started? :-)

EXERCISE: Well, I bought new running shoes and a motivational t-shirt to get started (pictures below). Now I just need schedule some time. I get everything else done because I schedule time for it, why not schedule exercise or meal planning? I am starting TODAY!

My options are: (1) Run from 5:15-6:00 a.m. (still dark outside, so not sure); (2) Run from 8:00-8:45 p.m. (dark at that time too); (3) Renew my gym membership and go from 5:00-5:50 a.m. When the time changes, I will be able to go outside in the mornings for sure.

My 2 Week Plan:
Plan for 9/20 - Run this evening 8:00-8:45 p.m.
Plan for 9/21, 9/22, 9/23 - Run in morning 5:15-6:00 a.m.
Plan for 9/24 - Run after 10:00 a.m. soccer game
Sunday is my day of REST (spiritual dedication)
Plan for 9/26, 9/27 - Run in morning 5:15-6:00 a.m.
Plan for 9/28, 9/29, 9/30 - (Traveling) Run treadmill in morning at hotel
Plan for 10/1 - Walk the entire DC Mall and Museums with my friend
Sunday is day of REST (and travel home)

I think mornings will be better for me (even though I am not a morning person), because when I am getting ready for work, I am thinking that I wish I could go to the gym. When I get back from my work trip, I will reevaluate if I want to renew my gym membership and do the treadmill or class at 5:00 a.m. or continue running outside for now. Also, I am signing up for the 5k run on October 29th! OK, I have a plan for exercise!

MEAL PLANNING: I will start by tracking every piece of food I put in my mouth so I know what I am eating each day and don't have to wonder where I went wrong. I will be using my WW app on my iPhone (easy and no excuses there). I go to the grocery store every Saturday so I will do weekly meal planning on Friday nights, so I know what meals I want to cook and what I need to buy at the store on Saturday.

THIS WEEK: Since I have already gone to the store for this week, I will look at what I have already bought and come up with lunches and dinners for the remainder of the week.

FOR NEXT WEEK: Then on Friday, I will plan for meals on Saturday - Monday since I am traveling Tuesday - Sunday next week. I will purchase food for my family and post a list of easy meal possibilities on the refrigerator. For my meals on Tuesday - Sunday, I will plan three meals a day, plus snacks on my flight. I am staying in a suite with a kitchen, and my office has a microwave to heat up my lunch if needed, so I don't have any excuses.

FOLLOWING WEEK: The week I return is a late Sunday night flight, so meal planning for that week will be tricky. I will do my meal planning on the flight home Sunday night, then I will have to go to the store on Monday night after work and dinner.

Now that I have a plan, I am going to execute and stay on track. I will use my Blog (hopefully daily) to hold myself accountable. I also welcome anyone that has other advice or words of encouragement for me. I will remind myself I am human and it ok to have a bite of chocolate and is ok to have a portion-controlled pasta meal, but I just need to remember to track what I eat, watch my portion sizes, and choose healthy foods 85% of the time.

Looking great and feeling great should be my best reward for myself!!!! Really? Get real! I want a reward!!! My reward will be a massage, facial, or pedicure for every 10 lbs I lose.

READY, SET, GET HEALTHY (with a plan of action)!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Meatloaf & Kale Chips

Dinner tonight was meatloaf...reinvented! My mom passed me her meatloaf recipe, which I have made before and it was delicious! However, my husband doesn't like anything crunchy in his foods like meatloaf. My mom's recipe includes onions and green bell peppers, so I had to search for something new. I took ideas from about three different recipes and came up with my own.

Preheat oven 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1.5 lbs grass fed 96% lean ground beef, 15 crumbled Back to Nature Stone Ground Wheat Crackers, 1 egg, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, 1 cup Horizon low fat organic sour cream, 2T worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp onion powder. Mix well together and put in a loaf pan sprayed with non-stick olive oil cooking spray. Pour 4 oz tomato sauce on top and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add 4 oz more tomato sauce on top and cook 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 c shaved parmesan cheese and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle with fresh chives and serve.

This week was my first encounter with kale. I found a recipe for Kale Chips, so I modified it to my taste and tried it out with the meatloaf. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut leaves off of the thick stems and tear into bite-size pieces; spread on a cookie sheet. Whisk together 2T olive oil, 1T white wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp sea salt, and 1/4 tsp onion powder. Drizzle over the kale chips. Cook in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until edges are slightly brown and leaves are crunchy. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Napa Cabbage & Chicken Salad and Choosing Healthy Foods

This Napa Cabbage salad was today's lunch and my girls and I ate it all up!

I am so proud of my girls (5 year old twins) and how well they eat. When given a choice of what to eat, (most of the time) they will ask for salads, fruits, nuts. It is so much easier to get your kids to eat healthy when you start from the beginning of life.

We try to eat "clean" at least 85% of the time. We still love our chicken nuggets and waffle fries from Chick-fil-a, but we limit that to about once a month. I also have to squeeze in my cheese enchiladas about once a month too!

The best thing to do is to make the healthy foods very tasty, fun, and appealing so kids (and adults) will choose the healthy option. My goal is to do that with my cooking and plating of our family meals. These days, we are challenged with making foods, like cabbage, appealing to kids while competing with gummies and cereals that have prizes inside or cartoon characters on the outside.

An example of how to avoid the character cereal and gummies is to tell my kids "instead buying foods that just have a picture of the characters on the box, which will be tossed in the trash when it is gone, lets buy a coloring book for hours of activity fun." Then I can give them fruits, cheese, pretzel sticks, nuts, or air popped popcorn for snack. They appreciate the coloring book or even a little toy from the $1 section better than starring at a picture on a box. Now this doesn't happen all the time, so I don't mean go buy a toy every time they ask for junk food at the store, but it helps in moderation, then just say 'no' the other times.

Back to the salad above...In a large mixing bowl, whisk 1T lime juice, 1T lemon juice, 2 tsp dark sesame oil, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper for the dressing. Toss the following ingredients and coat well...5 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage, 1 lb shredded cooked organic chicken breast, 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots, 1 medium red bell pepper, and 3T scallions. Once tossed and coated well with the dressing, top with 2T fresh blue cheese crumbles. Enjoy!

Fast, Healthy Breakfast for kids and adults

Waffles with Organic Plain Yogurt, Organic Honey, Organic Strawberries and Almond Slivers....yummy breakfast!

This morning, I thought I would treat my little girls to something other than their normal organic cereals or eggs. We had Waffles and Yogurt.

I like the all natural Van's line of frozen waffles when I am in a hurry. I like the multigrain with blueberries or just the plain multigrain.

Toast 1 waffle, top with about 1/2 cup of organic PLAIN yogurt or Greek yogurt. The sugar in this dish mainly comes naturally from the honey and the strawberries, so do not buy the flavored yogurt for this meal....that is too much sugar in the morning (or anytime)! Drizzle about 1 tsp of natural organic honey over the yogurt and waffle. Top with strawberries (or any kind of berry or sliced bananas) and a few (1 oz) almond slivers.

My girls loved it and it is a great meal to start the day! I also like making this for myself. If I am running late, it is something that I can assemble at work (since we have a toaster) and eat at my desk if needed. With no butter or syrup, this is a healthy alternative to the usual pancakes! Enjoy!

As always, comments, feedback, and different ideas are welcome when trying these dishes!

Zesty Zucchini Pasta - this one has a kick!

This is a great vegetarian dish and I love zucchini! Beware, this one has a little kick!

My girls and I really loved this husband probably would have preferred it in a smaller portion as a side to a steak or even add some grilled chicken to the dish.

Cook 12 oz of spaghetti (no oil or salt added), drain. Remove 1 chile from a 7 oz can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce and mince. Reserve 1T of the adobo sauce too. Store the rest of the can.

In a skillet, heat 2 tsp olive oil; add 4 minced garlic cloves and the minced chile and adobo sauce; saute for about one minute. Add 4 cups of shredded zucchini and 1 medium chopped red bell pepper; cook about 4 minutes stirring frequently. Add about 1T fresh lemon juice and stir. Toss the pasta and the zucchini mixture together in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper and 4T shaved Parmesan cheese. For a little crunch, add 1/4 cup almond slices. I served this dish with whole grain toast triangles.

Pasta Salad with Arugula & Raspberries

I may have posted this one before, but it is a great pasta salad if you want something light, refreshing and quick. I made this pasta salad after church on Sunday for lunch and we didn't need a nap afterwards!

One of my good friends gave me some of her arugula she purchased from a local farmer here in town and they were beautiful and fresh! Thank you Deborah!

The Pasta Salad with Arugula is very diverse because you can use which ever fresh fruit is in season...raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries...any kind of berry would work. Even chopped grapes or honey dew would probably work too.

Toast about 2T of chopped walnuts in a skillet for about 1 minute stirring frequently; set aside. Cook any kind of pasta you would like (about 6 oz uncooked)...bow ties, penne, spirals. Barilla has a great whole grain pasta with omega-3. Once the pasta is cooked, set aside 1T of the pasta cooking water for the dressing later. Drain the pasta and toss immediately in a large mixing bowl with 2 cups of arugula (stems removed). Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow arugula to wilt with the hot pasta for about 6 minutes. Stir in 2T of fresh, chopped chives and 1-2 cups of your fruit of choice (raspberries for me).

In a separate small bowl, whisk together 1T white wine vinegar, 1T extra-virgin olive oil (for dressings), 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Pour dressing over the pasta mix and toss well. Sprinkle with 4T freshly crumbled blue cheese. 1 1/2 cups per serving.