Monday, April 29, 2013

Training for Life

102 was the high today and I'm thinking it feels a little too early to be that hot. I can't believe summer is already approaching and we haven't replaced our air conditioners yet. (They are awfully old and one is leaking so it actually doesn't work...)

Today, I chose to workout at 6am instead of 9:30am and I was happy I did. The sun was already out and shining bright but there was still a nice cool breeze to keep me cool while I ran.

We did three separate circuits today, rotating through each of them twice, with a running lap in between. After taking a few days off towards the end of last week, today's workout was just what I needed. It was hard enough to make me sweat but not so hard that I couldn't get all of my reps in. I worked out with a new girl today and the highlight of my workout was when she said, "Wow! You are in really good shape, what are you training for?" My reply? "Life."

I have been waiting a long time for someone to ask me that so I could respond with "Life."

Who is it that has led so many people to believe that working out, eating healthy and staying fit has to be because you are "training for something"? I feel that if everyone would eat healthier, exercise and educate themselves on proper nutrition we might all be happier! I know for me, when I eat really well and workout, I am flying high. It's my drug and I'm addicted. When I don't get it, watch out.

Lately I've been asking myself what are my goals. At one point I thought that I might want to be brave enough to train and enter a fitness competition. Not necessarily fitness, but maybe bikini. I'm not sure how much support I'd have and I really don't know that I can (or have) get together enough money to pay for all that is involved in doing a show.

I had the goal of running a half-marathon, well, I've done two now.

I had the goal of participating and finishing Tough Mudder, well, I did that and have plans to sign up again next year.

So, what exactly am I "training for" now? Life. I want to feel good and look good. Inside and Out. I want people to ask me, not "what am I training for" but "what are you doing? How are you so happy and healthy?"

I'm working on a list. Maybe a couple lists. The foods I am cutting out, the new workout routines I'll be doing, some certifications I'd like to get and goals I have for my family in general. I'd love to share them with you all when I get them finished! I am excited for new things, the new doors that have been opened to me and I can't wait to look back on this post knowing that I set goals and achieved them.

The highlight of my night? My push-up and plank challenge that I did with my husband. It was fun and now I'm determined to keep up with him. He beat me by one push-up (20-21) and I beat him with a 3:10 plank. (his was 2:45). Who knows, maybe we can start incorporating this little challenge before bed every-night?

Monday, April 22, 2013

ABC Juice

The last few days were somewhat of a blurrrr...

I had plans to run the 4.2 Annual Pat's Run on Saturday morning with my husband but those plans changed after I spent most of the day Friday in the Emergency Room. {insert mad gruntle}

I don't like doctors, I don't like going TO the doctor and I always try to diagnose myself instead of relying on medicine. I exercise, I eat pretty healthy and usually don't get sick.

I was feeling "off" on Thursday night, low-grade fever, chills, and dizziness. Went to bed hoping I'd feel better in the morning, especially since I had my six month dermatologist checkup. That went well, she made notes on a few more of moles, took measurements and will recheck them again in another six months. She did find one on my back that she removed for a biopsy and I received the happy results this morning that it was precancerous but she removed it all. Happy Dance!!! I was getting really scared that it might be my melanoma showing it's dirty devil face again.

My husband was home for the day since I wasn't feeling well and to help with Travis while I went to my appointment. After we ate lunch I laid down on the couch because I was feeling nauseus and crampy. I started having excruciating pains in the right side of my stomach and they weren't going away. After about an hour I asked him to take me to the ER.

They were concerned it may have been my appendix or my ovaries so they ordered a ct scan so they could see all of my organs with one sweep.

After a long day (6.5hours) in the ER and treatment room, an IV of fluids and a paramedic student failing to give me a proper IV they sent me home...

My appendix appears to be fine, however they saw several cysts on my ovaries and moderate inflammation of my distal ileum, (small intestine). Sigh. It could be either and they left me with instructions to follow up with a GI Specialist because the inflammation most likely shows that I have Inflammatory Bowel Disease or something like Crohn's Disease. While I am thankful it was not my appendix, I am frustrated that I now have other questions unanswered. I don't want to go to more doctors, I don't want to have tests run, BUT the pain in my stomach was horrendous and something just doesn't feel right.

I know that when I eat 100% clean, I feel great. It's when I slip up and eat processed food and or lean meat that I end up with a bloated stomach or stomach pains. So is this something I can treat on my own? Do I really need to go see more doctors? The stomach pain lasted all weekend and was mostly a dull ache. Today, I feel fine.

On a food note, I wanted to share the new juice that I tried yesterday!! I had bought beets at the store the other day with hopes of juicing them. I have never had beets that weren't in a can {yuck} so had no idea what to do with a fresh beet. I trimmed the top, peeled the skin like a carrot and ran it through my juicer, along with 1 green apple and 1 cucumber.

It was AMAZING!!!

So, now that I have had it two days in a row, I am already addicted. It's veggielike, sweet and goes down so smoothly! It might even make great popsicles! This afternoon I may try pairing it with something else, such as a grapefruit or substitute 1/2 of the cucumber for some celery. We'll call it ABC juice: Apple, Beet, Cucumber. 

ABC Juice:
1 Green Apple 
1 Beet
1 Large Cucumber 

Put all fruits and vegetables through juicer and enjoy! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

For The Love of Bread

In an effort to eat "healthier" over the past couple of years, I have cut several items from my diet.

When I was pregnant with Travis (23 months old) I stopped drinking cow milk and went to strictly almond milk. It was a bit of a transition and an acquired taste, but now I can't live without it. I can't say that I have cut dairy out of my diet because cow milk really is the only thing I've been able to say "no" to 100% of the time.

Cheese, yogurt, ice cream and some of those snacks that come in boxes or a bag (that contain dairy) are the ones I am having a hard time with. And cookies, don't forget cookies. It IS getting easier though. What really opened my eyes was when I had given birth to Travis and he had an extremely sensitive tummy, gastritis and severe food protein allergies. I had to do a total elimination diet (which you can read about HERE or HERE) and really learned how many of the processed foods have dairy, soy, wheat, eggs and are manufactured near in factories with nuts! I was amazed! It truly is what started to open my eyes.

As of now, I have gone from eating yogurt and cheese daily to eating a yogurt *maybe* once a week and stealing pieces of cheese squares from Travis' lunch or dinner plate. It has been hard, and I miss my smoked gouda cheese on crackers with apple slices!

My efforts to change my diet don't solely surround weight. I do feel blessed in the body I was given and I thank my excellent genes that I haven't ever had to battle with weight issues that so many women my age do. I have a fast metabolism and always have. Has it slowed down? Yes, but it is still fast.

I am changing the way I eat because I am trying to get the crap out of my refrigerator and pantry. I don't want my children growing up on crappy sugary cereals (that we all love, including me) and I want them to eat real, natural, not made in factories food. I can't call myself a vegetarian, yet, nor can I call myself a vegan. I just have goals to eliminate certain foods, one at a time. None of this cold turkey crap in my house. (Yes, I am an addict and I AM addicted to ice cream)

Each week I am trying to make a few subtle changes.

This week, instead of purchasing Dryers Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream at the grocery store I replaced it with SoDelicious Almond Milk Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream and I am making every effort to not eat bread. No PB&J's, toast or bread and butter. I had the ice cream last night and it was just as good as "cow-milk" ice cream so that was an easy no brainer.

Today, after my workout at bootcamp, I was craving protein but did not want my usual chocolate or vanilla protein shake. Instead, I was craving (yes, craving) eggs. Egg salad to be exact, so I grabbed two hard boiled eggs, mashed them up and drizzled yellow mustard on top to mix it in. I used both egg whites, but only the yolk from one of them.

It was tasty. Since I am making every effort to cut out bread, I went to my hydroponics garden out back and picked some fresh butter-crunch lettuce leaves to substitute as bread. Who would have thought that egg salad lettuce wraps would be so good!? They were delicious and so easy to make. I added a few stalks of celery to my lunch to give me the crunch that I crave and I had the perfect healthy bread-free lunch I was hoping for. 

Easy Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps:

2 eggs (hardboiled, 2 whites, 1 yolk)
Yellow mustard, to taste
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Any leafy greens that can be used to sandwich the salad 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


A few months ago my dad told me about his new method for growing lettuce in his garden & greenhouse. He said that he wasn't using soil to grow the plants but water! This method, called Hydroponics is a popular way to grow crops and I had no idea! Plants absorb nutrients from water and really don't need soil to grow at all, if done properly.

Being in Arizona, I have always wanted a garden but I am the last person to know how to keep my vegetables alive, let alone even get it started. I had no idea that in just 4 short weeks, I'd be picking kale daily for my juicing and smoothies.

My dad came to visit last month and brought all of the supplies that I would need to start a few plants growing. He even brought the starter plants!

He basically just used one of those plant starter kits that you can purchase at any local hardware store, such as Home Depot, Lowes or Ace Hardware. He planted the seeds and in just a couple of weeks they had sprouted and were ready for their transplant into their new hydro-home. 

He had already purchased the paint buckets and lids from Ace Hardware and drilled the small holes in the tops so that the baskets would fit perfectly. 

He wasn't sure which plants would survive or which ones I'd eat the most, so he brought me Spinach, Butter-crunch Lettuce and Kale. He pulled each of the plants out of their soil and washed them off so that we could then place them in the small baskets (which were purchased at a hydroponics store and can also be purchased online). The clay rocks help to protect the delicate roots from the sun and help to stabilize the plant. 

[Butter-crunch Lettuce]



Once the plants were delicately placed in the little baskets we added water to the buckets and enriched it with "MaxiGro-Plant Food for Vigorous Growth" which we purchased at a local Hydroponics store but can be found HERE on Amazon. 

We bought two cement blocks and a piece of wood to place the buckets on to keep them off of the ground. We placed them in my backyard in a spot that receives a lot of morning sun and shade in the afternoon. I live in Arizona and we didn't want the water in the buckets to get too hot. Normally, they would do fine in a very sunny area. 

After just 1 week in their new hydro-home, look how much they have grown! 

And after 4 weeks....

I've just been harvesting the plants as I need them, which is daily. I use the Kale and Spinach for juicing, smoothies and salads and have used the Butter-crunch for ground turkey breast lettuce wraps and egg salad wraps. There is nothing more delicious than to be able to have fresh lettuce right from your backyard! It tastes wonderful and it's so fresh. I am going to be adding more buckets of Kale once I see how it does during our hot summer months. 

**Items you will need to get started:

Seeds of whatever leafy greens you want to grow
Seed Starter Kit
Paint Buckets & Lids, 2 Gallon size is what I used
MaxiGro (Plant Food)
Round Net Pots
Clay Pebbles 

Please share with your friends and leave comments or questions! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Post Yoga Quinoa Salad

Friday is yoga day. I love yoga day because I get to stretch and hydrate my muscles. They are fatigued from cardio and circuit training all week. Usually, after a workout I come home and have a protein shake to curb my dinosaur like hunger that hits. On Yoga days, I like to cook more of my "normal" lunch foods. It's always a good day to make a quinoa (pronounced KEEN - WA) salad so that I have leftovers ready to be eating throughout the weekend. I made 1 C of quinoa as my base. It's so easy to make and a heck of a lot quicker than making brown rice or something like nasty Kraft Macaroni and Cheese!

All of the ingredients that I put into my Post-Yoga Quinoa were items that I already had on stock and I  had just picked some fresh kale from my garden this morning, perfect! Other items were a tomato, an avocado, 1/4 of a red onion, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper and some cilantro to give it a little more flavor. 

I chopped everything up while my quinoa was cooking. Once it was nice and fluffy to my expectations I mixed everything together, seasoned with a small amount of salt & pepper, juice from one lemon and topped with freshly chopped cilantro. 

It was the perfect lunch to follow an amazing yoga flow class! I feel amazing and am ready for the weekend!

1 C Quinoa (cooked w/ 1 1/2 C Water)
1 Tomato
1 Avocado
1/4 of Red Onion
1 Lemon
Handful of Kale
Handful of Cilantro
Salt & Pepper to taste

**I'll post how I cook my quinoa in a different post!**


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Two months later...

Today is exactly two months from when I wrote my last post about PPD. I was feeling very down and thankfully because I recognize it, I can help myself to get better.

February came and went with a blurrrr... dinner with friends for my birthday, a visit from my favorite cousin and more smiles from my two growing boys.

February also brought Tough Mudder. What an experience!! It was both mentally and physically challenging. With the help of my friends and loving husband I even faced my biggest fear. There were tears involved but sometimes that's what helps me conquer something.









If I said I wasn't tired after all of the obstacles and the 12 mile run I'd be lying. My body hurt, everywhere but my spirits were flying high. Knowing that I set out to face the obstacles and the challenge and accomplished it was SO rewarding.

And.. if I wasn't crazy enough to do that, one of my really great friends and I had signed up to do another Half-marathon together, THE FOLLOWING WEEKEND. Crazy.

We did it and we did it with smiles.


Even though it was the dear husband's birthday he brought the boys out so that they could meet us at the finish line. THAT was my smile for the day!


I took about a week off after both of those events and then started right into my bootcamp 4-5 days a week. I can't stress enough how much exercise helps me. It truly is my drug and I choose to keep it my drug. I don't want to be on Zoloft or Prozac or whatever else there is out there, I want to stay healthy, active and enjoy my life medicine free.

Since I've gone back to bootcamp, I've started doing Boxing/Kickboxing as well which is AMAZINGLY therapeutic. I go at least once a week and for the last three weeks in a row I've gone twice. Making kickboxing my 2nd workout of the day on Wednesdays. I am learning so much more about my body, my core and my inner strength. I can't wait to see what magic it has done for me after a couple of months!!