Tag Archives: Healthy

Losing the Baby Weight

I ran a 5K race this past weekend and got 2nd place in my age group!

I ran a 5K race this past weekend and got 2nd place in my age group!

Baby weight is always a hot topic during pregnancy…and afterward.  I can’t tell you how many times I got asked by moms and moms-to-be “How much have you gained so far?” while I was pregnant.  I was guilty of asking my fellow pregos the same question.  I think in a way it’s to comfort ourselves knowing that there’s other women out there who have gained just as much as we have.  Suddenly the fact that all I ate was Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Swirl Bread & Cap’n Crunch cereal during my 1st trimester seemed justified at the sound of other prego’s similarly unhealthy cravings.

Post-pregnancy, people want to know how much weight you gained…and if they can’t tell, they want to know if you’re losing any of it.  So far I have managed to lose my pregnancy weight and then some…and people have noticed.  And they often say, “Oh, breastfeeding makes the pounds just fall off of you.”  To that I say, “Yes…and no.”  Yes, it does burn calories and cause your uterus to contract to shrink back to regular size quicker.  However, I’d like to take a little bit of credit for losing the baby weight because quite frankly, I’ve worked hard.

The point of this post is to remind people that “fit” people don’t get fit by sitting on the couch and eating whatever they want.  Fit, healthy people get that way by working out and eating a balanced diet.  I used to always envy people who looked so fit and toned.  I still aspire to be as fit as I can be, but I’m not envious anymore because I understand that they work hard.  They make fitness a part of their daily life and it shows.Fitness Quote

This blog post is to tell you that whether you’ve been pregnant or not, if you want to get healthy then you can.  But you have to put forth effort.  I started working out once a day doing Jillian Michaels’ workout DVD’s.  Then I started a DVD program through Beachbody called PiYo – it’s a mix of Pilates and Yoga.  I LOVE it.  It’s a combination of strength and stretching and I noticed that my body was totally getting toned as well as more flexible.  Then I began running  3 days a week in the mornings.  It’s not always easy to get up…especially because Thomas wakes up sometimes 3-7 times a night (teething is killing me!), but I drink a vitamin-filled energy drink called Advocare Spark that wakes me up and helps me feel great right before I run.

On top of all that, I noticed what really helped me shed those pregnancy pounds was when I started snacking on more fruits and veggies.  I do not like vegetables much…I’d rather eat some sort of bread because who doesn’t like bread?!  But if you’re looking to lose weight, you can’t just go to the gym for 2 hours and then get a venti frappucino from Starbucks everyday because guess what?  There goes your 2 hours at the gym in calories.  Eating a balanced diet is super important if you’re looking to get healthy.

Now, I’m not saying to do anything extreme and go vegetarian or quit eating bread (I still am a STRONG supporter of bread!  After all, Jesus makes a lot of references to himself being the “bread of life” and I know I need Jesus in my life.  I’ll take spiritual bread & physical bread, please!)  And I’m not saying that you can’t drink Starbucks anymore…I could never give up my Pumpkin Spice Latte’s.  But I get those once a week…it’s a treat.  Eat balanced.  Not extreme.

Maybe this will be the first of more blog posts on being healthy because quite frankly, I’ve never been this healthy in my life.  I’ve been “skinny” before…but that was thanks to youth and good genetics.  I was filling my body with junk food and not working out.  Now, I’m not the skinniest that I’ve ever been, but I’m definitely the healthiest.  And it feels good!

 

So the next time you look enviously at someone who looks “fit,” remind yourself that they probably work hard to be that healthy.  Remind yourself that you’re totally capable of being just as fit.  And as NIKE says, “Just do it.”  If you have any questions about the PiYo workout that I do or the Spark energy drink that I take, feel free to fill out the Contact Form in this post.  I’d love to tell you more about them and get you connected with my Beachbody coach or my Spark salesperson 🙂

Nicoise Salad

I often wonder what it would be like if I happened to be a married woman in the time era of “B.P.” – which, in case you are wondering, stands for “Before Pinterest.”  I plan all of my meals for the week either on Saturday or Sunday so that I can go grocery shopping for the week and (hopefully) not have to go back to the store until the following Saturday or Sunday.  Plus, it helps me keep track of the food items that are in my pantry and refrigerator because I buy specifically for the upcoming week’s menu.  Anyway, whenever I plan my meals for the week I go straight to Pinterest for guidance.  It allows me to be creative with trying new things, and it usually gives me a pretty picture to look at so I have an idea of what it should look like when I set the meal on the table.

Many times I pick a meal because of it’s “pretty factor.”  I’m very much a person who looks at aesthetics of things, especially my food.  Even if something might not taste good, if it looks pretty, the odds of me trying to recreate the recipe go way up.  Such happened with the following recipe that I found from The Gouda Life…it was pretty.  It tasted pretty good, too!  But it reeled me in with its pretty factor.

nicoise

Nicoise Salad – Serves 2

adapted from The Gouda Life
2 big handfuls green beans, trimmed
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
2 cups boiled baby potatoes (red)
1/2 cup Nicoise-style olives
hard boiled eggs
2 cans white (albacore), water packed tuna, flaked
Romaine or Boston Lettuce

So, the original recipe is for 4, but since I just made 2 salads, I changed the recipe up a little bit.  I also left out certain things that she put in her salad, mostly because I had no idea what the ingredients were!

First you’ll boil the green beans for about a minute until they turn bright green.  Then, drain the green beans & pour them over ice in a medium-sized bowl.  Let them sit there to cool. 

Then boil baby potatoes until cooked.

Place a handful of lettuce in the middle of a plate.  Surround the lettuce with olives, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes & eggs.  Place 1 can of tuna in the middle, on top of the salad.  Top with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  Enjoy!

A side note is that this is probably one of the most filling salads I have ever eaten in my entire life!  You will definitely not be hungry after this.

Signature Final

Avocado Banana Bread

I found this recipe while browsing Pinterest for a Banana Bread recipe.  I knew that I had a couple of more-than-ripe bananas at home, so I figured I might as well use them!  During my perusal, I came across a recipe that was titled “Avocado Banana Bread.”  At first I thought to myself, “That sounds really weird.  I like banana bread, but…avocado? And then another thought flashed across my head, “Wait…I have a bag of avocados that need to be used up sooner rather than later…maybe this isn’t such a bad idea after all!”

Besides, it had quite a few repins on Pinterest, so I figured that if enough other people thought that the recipe looked like a good idea, I might as well give it a whirl.  I couldn’t find my bread pan, so I made the batter and poured it into muffin tins, and then proceeded to top the batter with more than enough chocolate chips.  Voila!

avocado banana

The avocados make the bread extremely moist, and once you get over the fact that the inside of the bread has a green-ish tint to it, the bread really just tastes like a deliciously moist, toned-down banana bread topped with chocolate.  Last time I checked there was nothin’ wrong with that combination!

I suggest you try the recipe for yourself!  You can find it over on Crazy for Crust’s blog.  (Avocado Banana Bread)

Signature Final

Unswayed by McDonald’s Calorie Count

McDonald’s has jumped on the band wagon.  The band wagon that I’d like to call, “Americans acting like they want to know more about their food, but really they don’t give a crap.”

Go ahead, gasp if you want to.  Tell me I’m full of it.  But quite frankly, I think that this whole thing is stupid.  I think it’s stupid because a small portion of America is creating chaos for farmers & food companies alike, while the majority of average-Americans could care less about what they eat.

Earlier this week, McDonald’s announced that it would begin to post caloric counts on all of their menus as well as add a couple of healthier options to their menus.  Maybe I am speaking for myself, but when I go to McDonald’s, I don’t go there expecting to get a healthy meal.  I also know that I should not make eating at McDonald’s a regular habit because NEWS FLASH: it.is.not.HEALTHY.  

However, every now and then, I crave McDonald’s.  And when I crave McDonald’s, I don’t crave a chicken salad, I crave a Big Mac or chicken nuggets.  I crave a medium french fry.  I crave a Dr. Pepper, and perhaps even a mini-sized Oreo McFlurry to top it all off.  Every now and then, childhood memories of McDonald’s cause me to just…want to eat McDonald’s.  And sometimes, a long day, or hormonal imbalances due to PMS syndrome, cause me to crave french fries and a McFlurry.

But I tell you what, no matter how large they post the caloric numbers on McDonald’s’ menus, when I go there once or twice a year, the calorie count will not sway my decision-making.  If I wanted a meal of nutritional value, I’d make it for myself.  No, when I go to McDonald’s, I’ll continue to stuff my face with all things unhealthy off of their menu along with the majority of American consumers who find their way into their local McDonald’s.

Bon apetit, America.

Beefy Recipe: Grilled Beef Kabobs

If anyone were to ask me, “Bri, what’s your favorite meal?”  I would tell them, “steak and potatoes.”  Now, that’s the specific answer.  If I were to give them a general answer in regards to my favorite food, it’d probably be “beef.”  So I’m happy that this month is beef month.  Why wouldn’t I be?  It’s a party month for my favorite food!  So throughout the month I’ll be focusing on some beefy recipes to share with you and today is the first Beefy Recipe!

I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen and it was tasty!  The recipe calls them “beef AND chicken” kabobs, but I just bought extra beef and no chicken.  Trust me, I have nothing against chicken, but for the sake of properly celebrating beef month, I felt it was necessary to only use beef for our kabobs this time around.

I marinated the beef the night before.  The only thing I changed up for the marinade is that I used A-1 Steak Sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce because I realized I left my W-Sauce at my fiance’s house.  Since I had never made this recipe before, I didn’t feel like there was a missing piece to the marinade by swapping Worcestershire for A-1.  So, all was right in the world.

Tasty steak bites soaking in marinade

Try saying “Worcestershire” three times fast…  Was anybody else disappointed by the fact that “Worcestershire” isn’t as difficult to say three times fast as you thought it would be?

So, the marinade was made the night before.  Fast forward to the day of.  I chopped up the veggies for the kabobs.

Vegetables are just so photogenic, don’t you think?

Once the veggies are chopped, place them in the marinade with the steak for about 10 minutes.

Meat & vegetables joining together in unity.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Once 10 minutes…or 15 have passed, it’s time for some kabobin’.

And then these beef kabobs are ready for the grill!

I’m extremely thankful that Phil (my fiance, for any newcomers here) is a talented griller.  ‘Cause I don’t got much grillin’ skillz!  So basically, our kabobs would not be grilled to perfection if I didn’t have Phil in my life!

Please excuse the paper plate.  I cooked this meal at a house of 3 men.  We can’t expect them to always have clean dishes, now can we?  I think not.  Don’t worry though.  I ran the dishwasher, so we should have regular plates to eat off of next time!  🙂

Throw the kabobs on some rice, pour on some soy sauce, stir-fry sauce, A-1 steak sauce, BBQ sauce…whatever sauce your heart desires!  We had pineapple for fruit and we realized once we sat down to eat, grilled pineapple would have been a good addition to the kabob itself.  But we just kept it fresh this time around…maybe next time we’ll grill up some fruit!

And that was that!  Easy peasy.

Beef Kabob Recipe Card

Secrets to Eating Cheese & Being Thin

I’d say I’m a pretty regular girl.  I don’t diet.  I don’t count calories.  Every time a New Year comes around, I find myself making a resolution to drink more water and less soda (pop, whatever you want to call it).  I like butter.  I like salt and I like sugar.  For the most part, I eat whatever my heart desires.  I’ve never been overweight, but I have had moments where I find my jeans not buttoning with as much ease as I’d like them to.

Fortunately, I have grown up in a place where I have been surrounded by a community of people whom are most commonly referred to as, “farmers.”  I don’t know all of the specifics of the agriculture world, but I know enough to know where my food comes from & to know that the farmers behind my food and clothes work really hard to feed & clothe me and you.  So naturally, you can imagine my frustrations when I continue to see report after report and advertisement after advertisement try to attack my friends and their families for producing food for their country.  The problem isn’t the food and product that is being produced, but rather the habits of the people consuming the food.

I’ve grown up eating food from both organic and conventional farmers.  I’ve tasted both raw milk and pasteurized milk.  I’ve eaten cheese, butter, huge steaks, chicken, fish, vegetables, fruits, pasta & gluten.  Milk used to be the only beverage that I would drink.  I’ve always been in the “suggested” weight range for my age and height and I’ve been healthy (unless you count the time when I was 3 months old, had the real measles and almost died).  So, here’s my secret: I eat in moderation.  And I try my best to stay active. 

Moderation is huge.  As is, cooking home cooked meals.  People say that cooking things like beef or chicken is more expensive than eating out.  Have you eaten at McDonald’s lately?  (I eat at McDonald’s sometimes-I like their chicken nuggets.  I blame my mom from my childhood days.  Love you, Mom!)  It’s pretty expensive for “fast food.”  So don’t tell me it’s more expensive.  Maybe by a little bit, but the biggest thing that fast food chains have going for them isn’t necessarily cost, but rather it’s ease.  We live crazy lives here in America & when we’re tired from working 8 hours a day and have to go home to a hungry family, it is much easier to go through the drive thru.  I know.  Been there, done that!

In fact, there was 1 month in particular where I started a new job.  I had an hour commute to work, and an hour commute back.  I was gone from 6:30 am until 5:15 pm.  I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was cook a meal and then have to do the dishes.  Want to hear something disgusting?  I gained 15 pounds in 30 days.  It was awful.  I felt gross & tired all of the time.

To combat this problem, I began working out for just 20 minutes a day and eating at home.  I ate little snacks throughout the day instead of three huge meals & I dropped back to my normal weight in 3 weeks.  It wasn’t easy.  I had to wake up earlier to fit in workouts.  I had to do dishes after I cooked.  But my energy came back to me & I felt so much better.  Not only that, but I fit in my jeans again!!  Because that’s what really matters, right?!

I still ate chocolate chip cookies & cooked with butter.  I ate cheese & drank milk, but I did everything in moderation.  Don’t stuff yourself.  Don’t eat until you’re so full that you feel sick.  Here’s another trick of mine: eat slower.  That’s easy for me because I’m a naturally slow eater (ask any of my friends who have had to wait for me to finish my food).  Eating slower allows your body to process the fact that it is full before you are able to get up to retrieve seconds or thirds.

Now, one more time, disclaimer:  I’m by no means a nutritionist.  I don’t count calories or research nutritional values.  Maybe someday I will, but for now, I’m just a regular girl who is pretty bothered by these accusations against agriculture.  Take responsibility for your health and wellness.  It’s your body – no one else can hurt it, but you.

I’ll be providing recipes for breakfast, lunch & dinner for 5 days of the week.  The weekends mean “rest” when it comes to cooking in my house.  So that means leftovers for lunch on Saturday, cereal for breakfast, eating dinner out, etc.  And that’s okay too!  I’m not saying “nay” to one thing and “yay” to another.  It’s all about MODERATION.  Dinner out every night of the week…not okay; dinner out once or twice, okay.

Recap of some secrets:

  1.  Everything in moderation.
  2. Cook your own meals.
  3. Take time to enjoy your food & eat a bit slower.
  4. Try to avoid seconds or thirds.
  5. More snacks, less large meals.
  6. Be active!
  7. Remember that you’re responsible for your body’s health & wellness.
  8. I didn’t say this earlier, but… EAT BREAKFAST!  And no, a cup of coffee doesn’t count.

Stay tuned:  Tomorrow I’ll be talking about the items I’ll be using for my at-home workout and I’ll also be sharing Week One’s Meal Plan.