Sunday, July 31, 2011

Love What Is

I cannot lay claim to the title of this post - it's actually from the September 2011 issue of Yoga Journal. This is called a 'centering practice'. I thought it would be great to share with friends - you don't have to have ever done yoga to benefit from taking a few minutes to do this - take the time to appreciate the moment in which you live. Find a quiet space and follow this practice:

Love What Is

Take a very deep breath in and a very slow breath out.

Sit up very straight. Notice that as your spine lengthens, your heart opens.

Now breathe into the space o an open heart - feel into the space of an open heart.

A heart that is empty, a heart that holds the whole world.

Breathe into a heart that can hold the whole world.

Feel into a heart that can hold the whole world.

Breate into the sweetness of this moment.

Feel into the sweetness of this moment.

Allow yourself to be wholeheartedly alive and well in the life you have, now.

by Rolf Gates

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Humor isn’t always the best medicine!

Tonight I went to the intro seminar for this Women’s Adventure Boot Camp that I’m doing in August. The first hour he talked about nutrition. I was a little concerned after reading some of the emails the trainer had sent prior to this meeting – a sample 1300-1600 calorie diet that included processed foods and low fat this or that – things I would never find myself eating anymore – and calling it healthy?  I will admit it is how I had dieted time and again for the past dozen years or so – but not at all how I eat today with whole foods, very little processed/packaged anything, tons of veggies and fruits and healthy whole grains and good for you fats in my diet. I went into the seminar though with an open mind, wanting to hear his philosophy and recommendations.

Apparently the two women sitting behind me had no such plan! Almost everything the trainer said was followed by whispered quips, criticism and commentary between them. Not exactly the best way to start a program that is intended to help you make positive changes in your diet and your body. He had a lot of great information to share, and I’ll even say I’d agree with 90% of what he said (minus his recommendations of casein and whey proteins, soy products and promoting Isogenix supplements and meal replacements!). While his emailed materials had me a little concerned, in person he promoted eating whole foods, eating organic, talked about healthy fats/omega 3s, eating 3 meals plus snacks, the glycemic index, etc. and really seemed to know what he was talking about. Anyway, you know how something comes to your mind and you think about exactly what you’d LOVE to say to someone but you’re too polite to do so? Well I held my tongue (although I DID turn around and look at them which at least got them to be quiet for awhile). Instead, I’ll tell you what I would have said to them: “You’re already sabotaging your success by ridiculing what the trainer is saying instead of having an open mind to consider that he might have a lot of experience and knowledge you can learn from. Do yourself a favor and have an open mind, you might just find something that will spark your success.”  I really mean it coming from a place of having been there before. It’s so easy to use humor and camraderie to make light of something, thereby giving you permission to not take it seriously or work at it – lowering your own expectations as well as trivializing those others may have for you. And so they’ve already failed before they’ve begun.

I think using humor in this way is actually something we learn to do at a young age. It’s a method some use to ‘make’ others like us. My sister in law and I were just discussing it when I was in Florida last week, because she finds my niece Avery doing this. She will do something silly – whether making a funny face, saying or doing something – thinking it will make other kids laugh and they’ll like her. She’s only 5!

So, the 40 something year old women behind me have probably had years of practice in using humor to bond with one another, even to their own detriment. I just wish more women could learn that instead by being more open to the possibilities, they could ‘bond’ based on a shared goal and interest and cheer one another on to reach it instead. That IS what I thought this boot camp’s attitude was supposed to be – so I sure hope I find more like-minded women there who are open for a new experience like I am!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quinoa Berry Salad

Thad is out of town for 10 days and so I’m on my own for meals. So I decided to make life easy and whipped up a big batch of quinoa a couple days ago to mix in with things all week. I’ve made two different lunch salads with quinoa and fresh veggies and herbs from the garden, and this morning I just chopped up a bunch of berries to make this quinoa berry salad I saw on the Oh She Glows website. I can’t wait for lunch – I have both a quinoa cannellini bean salad and this berry salad waiting for me! I must admit I’ve already had a big spoonful of the berry salad and it was delicious! So delicious I knew I had to blog about it so the recipe would not be forever forgotten.

Quinoa Berry Salad

serves 2 as a side

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1.5 cups sliced strawberries
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup cherries, pitted and sliced
  • 1 TB pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 TB lime juice
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup almonds chopped

Directions:

  1. Chop fruit and place in large bowl
  2. Mix dressing ingredients (maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, salt) in a small jar
  3. Fluff quinoa, add to large bowl of fruit and combine. Pour on dressing and mix well. Serve immediately or chill in fridge until ready to eat.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Potato Broccoli Frittata

We had this for dinner last night (and for breakfast this morning). Delicious, definitely on the list to do again. From Fresh & Fast Vegetarian.



Potato Broccoli Frittata
serves 4

Ingredients:
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 lb red skinned baby potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 broccoli stalk cut into 1 inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup jarred piquillo peppers, drained, patted dry and chopped
4 large eggs
2 large egg whites
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat nonstick skillet over med-low heat until hot. Add oil. When hot enough to sizzle a piece of potato, spread potatoes in the pan. Cook, turning them occasionally with a wide spatula, until they are evenly browned and crisp, 10-15 min. Add onion and cook, stirring for 3 min. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and smoked paprika.
  2. Precook broccoli (either boil in pot or in microwave). Drain, rinse with cold water and shake dry. Add broccoli and peppers to skillet, distributing evenly on top of potatoes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, 2 TB water and a grinding of black pepper until frothy. Pour the eggs over the veggies. Sprinkle cheese on top.
  4. Cook over med to med-low heat, tilting the pan to allow the uncooked eggs in the center to run under the set eggs around the edges, for 5 minutes. Cover and cook until eggs are evenly set, 3-5 min more. Cut into wedges and serve.

Chickpea Salad with Celery, Lemon and Herbs

This was a great salad! From my current favorite cookbook - Fresh & Fast Vegetarian.



Chickpea Salad with Celery, Lemon and Herbs

Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 TB lemon juice
1 TB finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 TB finely chopped fresh basil
1 TB finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp coarse salt
generous grinding of black pepper
2 cups shredded romaine leaves, mixed salad greens, or torn spinach leaves

Directions:

  1. Rinse and drain chickpeas, spread on a folded towel and blot dry
  2. Combine chickpeas with celery, red onion, celery leaves, olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper
  3. Add in the romaine/mixed salad greens and toss to combine

Trying new things

I always wanted to do fun activities, things other people took for granted being able to do and perhaps simply chose not to be adventurous, and now I can! Thad and I have been talking for awhile about wanting to go kayaking. We went a couple weeks ago at Kensington for an hour on a shared kayak - next time we'll each get our own - it was so fun!

Today I did something I've been seeing featured in fitness magazines for the past year and really wanted to try someday - stand up paddle boarding! Last Friday when we were at the beach we saw people with rented boards. Debbie and I made plans to do it today - and we did! It turned out to be a gorgeous day at the beach too - clear calm water for most of the day. We each rented a board and paddle for 4 hours and hit the beach. It was a lot harder to get the hang of staying up balanced on the board, but once I did I was able to paddle down the shore and back without falling off. Turning is fairly difficult and in one direction I kept having a hard time keeping from heading into shore. Once the water got a little choppier it also made it harder to stay up as long. The kids tried it out too - we put two on each board and guided them around for awhile. They had so much fun with it. I feel so empowered that I did this today, even though my arms are tired and I'm maybe a little sunburned, I feel amazing!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fun at the Beach

One of my favorite things to do when visiting my family in Florida is to head to the beach! We've gone twice since I've been here, the last time even Brian was able to come and my Dad as well. We rented skimboards for the kids to try out. Brandon got a little frustrated that he didn't master it right away, Avery on the other hand kept trying and trying..and trying! That girl is nothing if not determined!













video

Friday, July 8, 2011

Slowly but Surely!

So, here's my halfway through 2011 update:

In the past 6 months:
  • I've lost 21 lbs
  • I've gone from a size 12/sometimes a 10, to a size 10/often an 8!
  • I've lost 1.5" in my waist, 1.5" in my hips, 1" in my thighs, 1" in my upper arms
That brings me to a grand total of 141 lbs LOST in the past 18 months. I'm now just 11 lbs away from being in the so-called 'healthy' BMI range.  I do start to feel a difference in my clothes and how I feel with every few pounds lost now, which is motivating!

Definitely a lot slower than I'd hoped for the past 6 months, so I'm going to try to mix things up a bit more for the next several months. I have plans for more barre classes this month, an insane 5:30am women's bootcamp 3x/week during August, and who knows what September will bring! I'm also being more mindful about my meals and snacking - I've been eating very healthy as always, but I think I've had too many treats here and there or too many snacks that are contributing to my slower weight loss the past 6 months. I actually decided to do a bit of a green smoothie diet/detox this week and am feeling pretty great. I'm doing a green smoothie for breakfast, a healthy snack late morning, a smoothie for lunch, an afternoon snack and then a healthy dinner.



 In other news, I got my hair cut yesterday on a whim by my cousin Kelly. Love how light it feels and how healthy it looks. I went in not really sure how short I wanted to go, but I knew I wanted a change. Love this cut!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Enjoying Summer and life updates!

Time seems to slip away and here I am almost a couple weeks since my last blog post! Summer has finally truly arrived in Michigan and we've been enjoying it, yet I already see how quickly it is going to slip away. I've actually been working a lot the past several weeks at a few different communities, so it has been 'new' for me to work things into my schedule that I find important - yoga, walking/biking, laundry, shopping, cooking, time with Thad and Izzie, and seeing friends. I am starting to see what life could be like working full time again but living my life in a new healthier way than I ever did before. I do like the 11-6 hours I have working at the model homes, but don't like the weekend days so much. I still don't know what I want to do when we move to California, but this job has been perfect for now and what I need.

Speaking of California - we should have some news in the next couple weeks about where Thad's company would like us to move to and a better handle on planning for when. He told them our preference is October. Going back to Oceanside is looking likely. I still have dreams of living in walking distance to the beach (and walking distance to the commuter train for Thad) - plus just give me a nice kitchen and a good location for Izzie and we'll all be happy. October will roll around before we know it and so I've been starting to put items on craigslist and ebay that we need to get rid of and started pricing things for an August garage sale. It is a little overwhelming as we have so much to find new homes for. We both really want to minimize what we take and enjoy the freedom of living more unencumbered by the 'things' in our lives. So, lots to do in my off time going through things!