Motivation Monday/Week 6

My Motivation Monday for you is my 6 week shred recap and my thoughts on my progress…

I may not have achieved the 6-weeks later Allison I had in my head BUT I still achieved A LOT...

I may not have achieved the 6-weeks later Allison I had in my head BUT I still achieved A LOT…

Wow I can’t believe week 6 is over. If I am completely honest, which I try to always be with you all, I did not achieve the goals that I had set for myself in these 6 weeks. AND to be completely honest I know this is 100% MY FAULT. The challenge did not fail me; my adherence to the challenge is what limited my ability to meet my goals. However, no failure occurred!

My motivation MONDAY today is ME. I am proud of my progress even though it is not where I wanted to be I HAVE come a long way in these 6 weeks.

Weights – When I started the shred I was able to lift moderate weights, and in MOST every workout my starting weight now is almost my ending weight from the first weeks. It is really nice to see the weights stack on the bar and feel good about getting a weight I never thought I could get up UP!

Gym-Esteem – my confidence in the gym has definitely boosted!! I have used some equipment that I had never used before and now that my weights are higher I feel more like I belong there with the boys.

Spotting – Brent will tell you I am a horrible spotter. I get too nervous or distracted and really do suck at it. BUT I have improved in the past 6 weeks and am definitely getting better.

FORM – okay I am a STICKLER with form on my patients && want to have the best form I can when I workout. I have monkey arms which means when my form breaks down my elbows are almost ALWAYS the. Luckily with my increased strength I have been able to begin to overcome my monkey-arm issue.

Overall I really did enjoy the Shred. Like I said in last weeks recap the nutrition component for the last 3 weeks really had a negative effect on both of us. Week 6 we returned to the phase 1 food plan and I LOVED the way my body felt. I had increased energy for activities and NEVER felt hungry or deprived during the day. I also REALLY loved the incorporation of cardio with lifting. It was a really nice combination and a nice change of pace.

Progress

My progress was definitely NOT a straight line, but from day 1 to today there has definitely been a change…                                  The future never looked good! 

The challenge was ON POINT and I was seeing AMAZING results up to week 3, when the nutrition was stable and our focus was 100% on the challenge, then we let loose a little and started enjoying the weekends with our friends & family {{& I am GLAD we did}} which in combination with the nutrition change really caused me to rebound. ONCE I returned to the ORIGINAL nutrition plan and concentrated on the movements & my form, not just the repetitions/cardio I started to see increased gains and return of the shredded muscle mass I yearned for.

I cannot wait to start incorporating the lifting series that I have learned during this 6 weeks along with other exercises I have been ITCHING to get at! I hope you all have enjoyed my 6 week shred recaps. I wish I could show you some AMAZING transformation from week 1 to week 6 but my reality is I was already FIT and LEAN when I started the shred, my body responded GREAT when I stayed on point but 4 weeks of wavering diet and slacked exercises at times resulted in my results.

Weekly Progress... I am PROUD of my progress & progress is a HUGE part of the process...

Weekly Progress… I am PROUD of my progress & progress is a HUGE part of the process…

I AM PROUD of where I came, I can see the strength gains in the gym and I know that 6 weeks is just the BEGINNING of hypertrophy. Results don’t happen over night they happen over time & six weeks just isn’t enough time. I love looking at my progress pictures, even if I feel silly taking them, they really make me see my hard work and realize that my hours in the gym add up!

I hope my story helps to Motivate you on this Monday… Stay Positive & Stay Active!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ What is your current gym accomplishment? Do you take progress pictures?

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Wellness Wednesday Blueberry

Happy Wellness Wednesday!!

WellnessWednesdays

I don’t know about you but the only thing blue I can think of that is natural to eat are blueberries or blackberries! I LOVE both, they are probably two of my favorite berries and you can do so much with them.

I found this really fun fact sheet on blueberries from the Blueberry Council’s website.

Did you know Blueberries were this great for you?

Did you know Blueberries were this great for you?

One of my favorite bloggers is @powercakes, I know I have linked back to her before but she has a lot of great information, workouts and recipes on her blog. She is quite inspiring! When I first stumbled upon her blog I saw this recipe & the video she made to go with it! It seemed too easy to be true (and good), so obviously I tried it myself, LOVED IT, and then like all good recipes I make, I forgot about it… OOPS! WELL its back! And I am soooo glad I remembered it because with fall peaking around every corner it is the perfect complement to winter treats!

Mixed Blackberry & Blueberry Chia Jam!

Mixed Blackberry & Blueberry Chia Jam!

Berry Chia Jam!!! This homemade jam is the BOMB & super easy to make. It seriously takes under 10 minutes to make!

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I made an extra big batch and was feeling super lazy so I just tossed a full bag of mixed berries and the remainder of my bag of chia seeds (probably 4tbsp or so). I had some of these cute pint sized mason jars which I stored it in!

Chia Berry Jam on a PUMPKIN spice english muffin!!! YUM

Chia Berry Jam on a PUMPKIN spice english muffin!!! YUM

Be sure to check out Kate’s post over at the JuiceJunky. Have a wonderful Wellness Wednesday!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ Whats your favorite Blue food? Do you have a favorite blueberry recipe?

Cardio Mix-Ups!

Happy Tuesday!!!

During my week 5 recap I was telling you about the cardio mix-ups I did! I am really excited to share them with you guys, hopefully they will give you some inspiration to try something new the next time you’re at the gym!

Sunday I did shoulders and I will tell you my shoulders were feeling it after the 3rd set of the FIRST exercise. I knew I would be in for a long tiring workout and so decided to utilize the BOSU ball for my cardio accelerators, so I could give my shoulders a break and mix it up.

A BOSU ball is a half-stability ball with a flat hard top, you can use it with the ball portion on the ground OR with the flat surface on the ground, and each way provides a different challenge! I LOVE using the BOSU ball with my patients; it is so versatile and can make seemingly simple activities so much more difficult.

For my three exercises I used the BOSU ball three different ways.

BOSU Challenge

BOSU Challenge

FIRST I had the ball side DOWN and did some single leg balance for 1 minute/leg, I challenged myself by changing the position of my non-balancing leg (forward, backward, alternating) and could really feel the burn through my quad and gluts.

SECOND I put the ball side UP and did a RUFF UP on it. A ruff up is basically a sit up and then you stand up, it’s a nice way to change your ab workout and also incorporate your legs!

LASTLY I kept the ball side UP and did marching planks with my elbows on the ball. Having your elbow on the ball side changes the stability and makes you use your core extra, then adding a march with your feet (lift toe then tap & switch feet each time) you have to utilize your core AGAIN to ensure you don’t fall or loose your stability through your arms. If regular planks are getting easy and you don’t have a BOSU ball adding a lower extremity march or a lower & upper extremity march (R leg, L arm at the same time) really gives you an extra challenge!

After my arms I hit my legs, first I did hamstring curls and then went to the leg press machine. I was pretty beat by the time I got to leg press but still wanted to get my cardio in, so I decided to combine the two.

The machine I used was a column machine, the seat slid back and the footplate stayed stationary; (NOT A FREE WEIGHT PRESS) the machine controlled the motion. I knew I wanted to do a single-leg press & for an extra challenge I decided to add a jump. I knew my machine would be SAFE to do this explosive motion I went a head… PLEASE don’t try this exercise on a machine that would put you in danger OR would break/injure the machine.

Here’s a really shaky video of both variations. Sorry for how all over the camera is, I was holding my phone while doing the workout and it was HARD trying to hold it steady. I hope you’re able to get a good idea of what’s going on!

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Two variations of the single-leg press hop:

  1. Both feet meet at the bottom to regroup, drop one leg and explode with the second
  2. Push off with one leg (second leg is already dropped off), and then switch feet prior to landing back on the press base.
  3. **My recommendation is to start with the TWO-foot approach and then try switching to the single leg mid-air approach!

Make sure you focus on a soft landing through the ball of your feet, try to land consistently each time with good alignment between your ankle & knee. You can see at times in the video I landed too far down on the platform making my knee go over my toes, you want to try to keep your knees & toes in line and not let your knees go beyond your toes. I also did not come down into a deep squat each time it was more of a quick bend at my knee and then explosion back up.

This was a great exercise, my legs were burning and my heart was PUMPING during each rep. I have strong legs and started with LOW weight, since this is a more ballistic activity I knew going heavy and high rep would increase my risk of injury.

I hope you all enjoyed my new cardio exercises and the video!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ Have you ever switched up the “typical” way of using a machine to make it more fun?

 

 

 

 

 

Motivation Monday

Hey Guys!!!

Hope you enjoyed my week 5 recap! I know I am feeling the burn from my workout this weekend! More on that later this week =) I also wanted to let y’all know I have updated my About Me & added My Story, so please go check those out too.

SPambassador4

Today I am super excited to announce that I AM now a Sweat Pink Ambassador! Sweat Pink is the motto for Fit Approach whose mission is to build a healthy community one pair of pink shoelaces at a time! I love Pink (my patient Friday mentioned that I wear pink almost everyday, something on me is pink!) and OBVIOUSLY have a shoe obsession so what better fit for me is Fit Approach!

My favorite thing about the community is everyone has a different approach to how they #sweatpink whether it is bootcamp, running, yoga, lifting or a combination of them all there is no right or wrong way to sweat pink you just have to start moving and doing what YOU LOVE most!!

I am really excited about being a part of this community, both to network with the other SPA’s and to continue to have a community that will inspire me! I hope to be able to help make the Fit Approach a little better with my knowledge, workouts and recipes! I cant wait to get my pink shoelaces and SweatPink tank to start rocking at the gym!

Today IS motivation Monday and I wanted to kick today off with a quote from Fit Approach! I honestly read this and was hooked on the website & community.

Motivation Monday!

Motivation Monday!

 

Go out and Kick some ASS today, just make sure you are doing it in some pretty shoes!!!

My favorite way to sweat pink is constantly changing; I used to sweat pink through kickboxing and boxing, then through group circuit training and most recently through this 6 week lifting challenge. Each exercise challenges me in a different way, and I honestly cannot wait to find my new FAVORITE way to sweat pink!

I hope you have a wonderful Monday! Be sure to use the link in the sidebar to check out Fit Approach!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ How do you sweat pink?

 

Week 5

 

Week 5

Week 5

I hope you all had a great weekend! We ended up having a pretty full weekend of meeting up for a friend’s birthday and then some of Brent’s family that came to town. It was nice getting out of the house and getting to know more people here in Rockford. Week 5 overall went GREAT! We accidentally really did week 6 (oops) so we did 3 heavy lifting days and 3 endurance-lifting days, just like week 3. It was again the best of both worlds as Brent likes to lift heavy and I would prefer to lift lighter and higher reps. I am starting to enjoy the heavy lifting days though!

Happy Week 5!

Happy Week 5!

Monday – Wednesday were our heavy days and we adapted the workouts so we could complete them. This meant instead of doing the cardio-accelerator between each set (super-setting) we used that time to rest and reset our weights. This was a GREAT change, I was able to focus on my lifts and Brent was able to give me tips on how to lift better between each set. I often focus on the cardio component and rush my lifts & I really benefited from the extra time to regroup!

CHECK OUT THIS VIEDO OF BRENT!!

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He saw someone in the gym do this & decided during our daily pull up practice (I am determined to get one!!) he would learn how to do it! After a few attempts he made it!

Thursday and Friday we ended up taking off. I had a networking event after work on Thursday, which didn’t get over until late so we had planned to just rest and make up for it on the weekend. Friday night we ended up going out with some of Brent’s coworkers for a drink as it was one of the girls birthdays. I had a small internal battle with myself as I REALLY wanted to go to the gym, but also wanted to meet new people. I hate obsessing over my workouts but I know at times it takes control over me. My coworker looked at me, when I was telling her this, and said “Allison, sometimes you just have to LIVE your life! The gym will be there tomorrow.” This is SO true!! I am very glad we went out because if we were in the gym I would have missed this GORGEOUS sunset!

Sometimes you just have to LIVE your life!

Sometimes you just have to LIVE your life!

Saturday was the beginning of the endurance-lifting series. We had to do 21-30 reps of each exercise and WOW does that get tiring QUICK! It is kind of a ego-killer when you go from heavy lifts down to 5 pounders and have a hard time finishing the set with that weight. I LOVE to feel the burn and I welcomed it back with FULL FORCE!

We reintroduced our cardio-accelerators during the endurance phase since we didn’t have to focus so much on getting heavy weight up & Brent was able to give me tips during each set as the weight wasn’t so heavy. We both woke up this morning feeling the residual burn from Saturday’s workout! I LOVE IT!!!

This morning I hit the gym solo so Brent could get some studying done. I have said it before but in the past 6 weeks while we have been doing this challenge we both have done our workouts together. This is only the second time I have gone and lifted without him and it is really strange. In some ways it was nice, I was able to challenge myself with the cardio components of the routine, which we had been slacking on. In others it was sad because I do enjoy having a workout partner. Since I was there alone I was able to play around with different cardio workouts that I knew Brent wouldn’t like! I can’t wait to share those with you later this week!

I am excited for week 6 (again)!! It’s going to be a great week, enjoy your LIFE!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ Have you ever had to make the decision between gym-time and fun-time? Do you get anxiety about missing your regular workouts?

Some photo’s from this week for your viewing pleasure!

Wellness Wednesday GREEN!!

Happy Rainbow Wednesday Guys!!

WellnessWednesdaysI hope you all enjoyed yesterdays stuffed squash!! I told you I would be eating the leftovers in a “deconstructed” stuffed acorn squash fashion and that’s just what I had Monday night for dinner!! It was just as great as the first night!

Deconstructed stuffed squash... used carnival squash for my base, then piled it up with the leftover filling and quinoa from the stuffed squash I made earlier this week!! YUM

Deconstructed stuffed squash… used carnival squash for my base, then piled it up with the leftover filling and quinoa from the stuffed squash I made earlier this week!! YUM

Todays wellnesswednesday has had me excited since I started this whole series. I love GREEN foods and all of the health benefits they provide. I have to say each week it is hard to pick a food to feature but this week was especially difficult. To give you an idea I went from brussel sprouts ( a new found favorite food), spinach, kale, zucchini, broccoli, then back to KALE!

I have to admit my first trip down Kale-Lane was not a pretty one. I remember hearing SO much about it, and thought “HECK I CAN EAT THAT especially if its good for me!”… so I prepared a kale salad of sorts for a week of work… Monday came I tried the salad and HATED IT, I took one bite and spit it out, in this recipe I did not cook the kale rather it was supposed to break down in the lemon, WRONG, it definitely didn’t and this was the dinosaur variety kale which in my opinion has the strongest taste. Needless to say I tossed this salad, made something else and put kale on the backburner for a few months.

I then experimented with baby kale, the thinner leaves and less developed flavors really helped me get a good taste for this superfood! I have since branched off to other kale-varieties and can eat the dinosaur kale again (cooked or raw) with continuing to love it. So my recommendation take BABY steps into the wonderful world of kale! The recipe I am going to share with you today will be a GREAT first kale recipe with any type of kale!

((side note how cute are these mugs I got for $4 each!! I am completely in love with them!))

((side note how cute are these mugs I got for $4 each!! I am completely in love with them!))

Some health benefits of this super green include:

  • VITAMINS!!!! Vitamin A – 206-133% Vitamin C – 134% Vitamin K 684% of your daily requirements in ONLY 33 calories/cup!!! woop woop!! (Percentage varied based on sources)
  • Antioxidants & fiber to help decrease risk of heart disease – ESPECAILLY if kale is cooked not raw!!! Win one for cooking kale!
  • Immune system boost – has more IRON than beef which helps bring more oxygen to the blood and helps anemic!
  • Healthy balance of omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids for a stronger body, hair, skin & nails!
  • VITAMIN K (again) this vitamin helps prevent cancers, bone health, stalling osteoporosis effects, & blood clotting

OK my kale recipe was again hard to pick! I love Kale Chips, Kale in smoothies, kale in salads (I eat kale every day in my lunch salad!) but my favorite kale recipe is KALE PESTO!!!

Lemon Kale Pesto!

Lemon Kale Pesto!

Holy yum Wellnessland this pesto is great for kale lovers and kale-questioners alike! I made this for the first time last winter and really loved it, the flavors are amazing & it really is good on ANYTHING!!

I adapted my kale pesto recipe slightly from THIS recipe.

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I made this pesto with my roasted spaghetti squash in mind!

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Kale Pesto on spaghetti squash & side of chicken breast!

However this is great on ALL noodles, would be great on grilled chicken or even just a cracker! It is seriously great!

For my Kale Pesto Spaghetti Squash… I took a cup or so of previously roasted squash, added some spices ((dill, Italian seasoning, pepper and parsley)), and smooshed it into a pancake. I put my pancake into a sauté pan to heat through, then topped with approx. 2 tbsp of kale pesto covered and let it start to heat up. THEN I ate it! I had some baked chicken leftover from lunch prep so I had ½ of a chicken breast too!

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It was SQUASHTASTIC!!! I felt like I was eating pasta with all the benefits of kale & squash! Brent’s commentary on dinner “I love that each bite has a different flavor, one is green & leafy, the next is lemony, and then you get an earthy squash flavor, I LIKE IT!”

I hope you enjoyed my rainbow Wednesday kale edition & have a fantastic rest of the week!!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ Whats your favorite green food? Have you had any bad first time experiences with a food but fell in-love with it later?

Squash-a-holic

Hi Wellnessland!!

I am sure by the end of this week, and then maybe the fall, y’all are going to be SQUASHED out! But seriously I am addicted to the stuff and love how versatile it is. You can throw it in anything and be reassured that not only will it taste GRET but you’ll be getting a bountiful amount of vitamins & minerals in each bite! I mean what else can you ask from these earthly gourds?

My first memories of eating Acorn Squash was at my grandmas house where we would have it as a desert/side in the winter and THE ONLY way I would eat it was filled with butter and brown sugar (YUM!!!) I can still remember thinking it was weird people would eat squash WITHOUT brown sugar on it. I am so glad that my grandma introduced us to squash as kids, even if it was piled with yummy brown sugar, it opened the door and my mind to this food!

When Brent & I first dated back in Texas there was a cold fall day & a pinterest recipe for stuffed acorn squash, which resulted in a Midwest-transplant-dinner on my “kitchen” table (really a bar top with a leg bolted to the wall, thank you reserves apartments!)… I used the wrong kind of sausage & it not only took forever to make but it was a MESSY process. BUT Brent loved it! I am not sure if it was just real food and he liked that OR if it was flavors of fall and reminded him of home. Regardless he remembered me making this meal and has often brought it up. This was the reason I went to the squash bin with the intention of buying ONE squash (and came home with 5!).

Roasted Spaghetti Squash White Acorn Squash Acorn Squash Roasted Carnival Squashes

Roasted Spaghetti Squash
White Acorn Squash
Acorn Squash
Roasted Carnival Squashes

My inspiration for this stuffed squash bounced between southwestern and Italian, & ultimately was decided because my sausage was mild Italian seasoned. I found a recipe online which I used as a veryyyy loose guideline for this stuffed squash recipe. I have to say this dinner really came together seamlessly, during the time it takes to roast the squash you can have the quinoa cooked, the veggies chopped and the filling made right in time for the squashes to come out of the oven!

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These are the amounts that I made for this recipe but please know you WILL have leftover filling!! This is not a bad thing in my mind as I eat leftovers regularly and can see a deconstructed “stuffed” acorn squash for dinner in the very near future. BUT if you would like to make this for more people the amount of filling in this recipe would likely fill 6 “normal” sized acorn squash halves (or 3 squashes for those mathematically impaired like me!).

Needless to say Brent enjoyed this acorn squash enough to forget how much he liked the first one! GIRLFRIEND WIN!!

I truly hope you all enjoy this recipe! Please know that the vegetables and spices can easily be interchanged with your favorites. I love the versatility of the stuffed squash! Stay tuned tomorrows wellness wednesday has yet another great use for squash!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ Whats your favorite squash? Have you ever made a meal that was as impressionable as my original acorn squash recipe?

Motivation Monday #5

Hey Guys!!!

My motivation for today is not so much fitness related but life related. And lets be honest my life is not 100% fitness or healthy foods, its about trying to live the healthiest LIFE I can live which is mind, body and spirit. I eat healthy foods to not only fuel my workouts but to fuel my mind.

Have you ever had a greasy, salty, fatty meal and then tried to study for a test? I have, and let me tell you I was not nearly able to concentrate and focus on my studies as I would’ve been if I had consumed a fresh, unprocessed, whole food meal. I know both sides of this statement; I have studied on the processed loaded tastesogoodbutisntgoodforyou food and the healthy choice of unprocessed, whole, plant-powered and lean protein meals. And I can tell you not only is my gut happier because it can process “real” foods so much better, but I feel energized and motivated to do better. I don’t get that bloated gross feeling that “I” often get from eating processed foods, but that is a personal statement based on my medical and intestinal history. {{more on this another time}} I choose to eat healthy clean unprocessed foods to fuel my MIND.

Why do you workout? I workout to make myself feel better, because it is something I LOVE & because I am a fitness professional. As a physical therapist I preach to patients on a daily basis how important different strengthening motions are, how important exercise is and how important living a healthy lifestyle is. If I was sitting there on this PT pedestal talking about how to live a healthier life, and didn’t have a gym membership or workout on my own I would just be a blatant hypocrite, and that’s NOT ME! I want to be the example of health and wellness so my patients WANT to get better and WANT to learn how to live a healthier life; even if that means just changing one thing. I eat clean food to fuel my MIND just as I workout to improve my BODY.

My spirit is another story. I think I have strong moral beliefs and try to maintain positive about all situations. I may get flustered and annoyed but negativity and pessimism is only harmful and never helps to accomplish anything. I love motivation Monday because I get to look up a bunch of different quotes and motivational sayings to not only help inspire you all but to help start my week right and inspire me. I usually hit pinterest and find a TON of different quotes on different topics. Some I just love to read but others really hit home, that’s this one today.

Motivation Monday #5

Motivation Monday #5

I know the battles that I have fought personally, and the battles that others I know are fighting & how we all try to protect ourselves from others by putting up a defensive front or being cold. Have you ever wondered when meeting someone whose so rude if they are fighting a battle of their own. Maybe they are going through a painful separation between their spouse, maybe one of their loved ones is sick in the hospital, or maybe they are missing a fallen friend. They could just be a rude person but I have the faith that most people are truly good and have good to them.

Just a couple weeks ago I was calling the Illinois State Board, trying to find out the status of my license. I was “greeted” with a very rude man who seemed to care less about me or my desperate need to learn the status of my license; his rudeness really bothered me and it caused me to react in a rude way as well. The next day I called the same number again {{hoping to get the other lady in the office}} and was greeted this time with the same man. This time he was kind, generous and interested in what I had to say. I told him my problem and with genuine enthusiasm he told me my license was in the mail! Looking back I wish I had not reacted the way I had initially. I wish I had understood that he had likely been dealing with many angry PTs/PTA/soon-to-be-PTs and probably didn’t even realize his tone was rude. I needed to remember he was fighting a battle too & my battle was only ½ of the problem!

Be positive & strive to see the good in others! And when the good is hard to find, remember they are probably fighting a battle of their own! Fuel your spirit just as you fuel your mind & body

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I’d Love To Know ~~ how do you react to seemingly rude people? Are you good at seeing the good in others? I know I could be better!

Week 4 Re-Do & Recipes

Hey all,

Well fall is “here”… I don’t know about you guys but the weather in Rockford has been mighty crazy this week. We had two really hot days followed by a big cold front & my sinuses took a big hit from it.

I told you at the beginning of the week that Brent and I were going to Re-Do week 4 of our 6 week shred. We both felt drained after the weekend in Ann Arbor but were ready to take on the next week. Our diet was pretty close to what the given diet plan was and our workouts were good but something was off. I don’t know if it was that neither of us were feeling great & were still drained or if we weren’t getting enough nutrients but something was off. My energy was low and sluggish & I know Brent mentioned the same thing more than once.

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Striving for PROGRESS not perfection means repeating week 4, rather than brushing it under the rug and starting week 5.

About Thursday I decided I needed veggies & MORE from this nutrition plan. I think guidelines are great but obviously my body was not happy with what was going on and the guidelines needed to be altered!

Powerplate lunch!  Bed of spinach, with a little leftover couscous, green beans, black beans, corn, 1/2 avocado, green apple, sausage & topped with pumpkin seeds.. Dressing was lemon juice & balsamic vinegar, then dotted with Siracha!

Powerplate lunch!
Bed of spinach, with a little leftover couscous, green beans, black beans, corn, 1/2 avocado, green apple, sausage & topped with pumpkin seeds.. Dressing was lemon juice & balsamic vinegar, then dotted with Siracha!

Friday after work I pulled together a power packed salad filled with everything I like, and even though my sinuses were still angry I definitely felt a surge of energy. My workout still seemed to lag at times but it was likely the best workout I’ve had in the two week 4’s. For dinner I made these POWERPLATES for the #powerbowlchallenge which had cherry bbq chicken, couscous & a corn-blackbean-greenbean-pesto-salad! YUM!

Powerplate so powerpacked that even Brent said to take a picture!! You know it was good!!

Powerplate so powerpacked that even Brent said to take a picture!! You know it was good!!

For the salad I took a can of each veggie & rinsed it out, then added 1tbsp prepared pesto, lemon juice & olive oil to the top, mixed it all together and added some pepper. It was a great cold side to our chicken dinner & definitely made it feel fresh and healthy!

This week at the grocery store we decided to take the meal plan more liberally and adapt to US and how we work best. We are eating all these “extra” meals to give us more energy but both feel sluggish. So I made sure to pick up some SUPERFOODS to reenergize our bodies & minds.

Considering the fall weather SQUASH was definitely in order… I had intentions of only buying A single acorn squash, but ended up buying a spaghetti squash, two carnival squashes, an acorn squash & a white acorn squash! I grew up eating acorn squash and remember dousing it in butter and brown sugar!! Now I love eating it plain after roasting or stuffed with deliciousness… Spaghetti squash is another go to favorite it takes on the flavors of everything else and is a great spaghetti “noodle”…

Roasted Spaghetti Squash White Acorn Squash Acorn Squash Roasted Carnival Squashes

Roasted Spaghetti Squash
White Acorn Squash
Acorn Squash
Roasted Carnival Squashes

I have never tried Carnival squash before so I sliced it up and threw it in the oven with the spaghetti squash to roast (400deg for 25minutes, add an extra 15 for the spaghetti squash) && it is amazing! It has a heartier taste, but is still sweet; Brent said it tasted like sweet corn. I think it is more a mix of butternut squash & a new potato. I guess you just have to try it for yourself since our descriptions were so different!

Yesterday we ate it straight from the pan, rind & all (I washed them really well before baking & the skin was thin like a potatoes). This morning we made a breakfast scramble & threw some of the carnival squash in with our eggs and sausage!! It added a great sweetness to the slightly spicy sausage.

Carnival Squash & Sausage Scramble

Carnival Squash & Sausage Scramble

I also whipped up these Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cups, inspired by Alesha’s recipe.

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They are super easy to whip up and you can easily change the ingredients to match your preferences or what you have in your cabinet. I used pumpkin because I had it & because its fall and goes along with all my squash!  The next time I make it I will add more liquid so the chocolate is thinner it was a little over powering on the bottom, but still delicious!

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Yesterday all our sluggishness definitely caught up to us, we went to grab a beer and watch the Alabama game then came home to take a “quick nap” which turned in to a 4 hour nap, then 2 hours of watching tv, followed by another 8 hours of sleeping. I guess our bodies needed the rest, and I am definitely feeling better today.

I woke up this morning and made this carrot-ginger-orange juice, which has been said to help with sinus colds. I don’t have a juicer so I chopped my carrots small, and chunked the orange up, then sliced the ginger too so my bigbadninja didn’t have to do SOO much work. I ended up blending, scraping the sides, blending, scraping, blending (&added a little water) until it came to a liquidy consistency. THEN I broke out my mesh strainer and took the very orange mixture and pushed it through the strainer so I had juice in my cup & pulp in the strainer. It definitely took a little MUSCLE power but I was pleased with the consistency and that I could make juice at home, though if I continue to want to juice I am going to have to find a faster way to do it!

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2 large carrots – chopped
1inch nub of ginger — sliced
1 orange – pealed and quartered
1tbsp orange rind chopped

 I definitely feel like it helped boost my energy and start to kick whatever is in my system. Ready to take on Week 5, with a new take on the nutrition plan and a definite attitude adjustment!

 I hope you guys are enjoying your weekend and have experimented with new food!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ Have you ever had Carnival Squash?? What is your go-to cold buster? 

LEMON Yellow WellnessWednesday #3

Hey Wellnessland HAPPY Wellness Wednesday!

I have to admit as much as I didn’t want to wake up this morning I was really excited to share this weeks wellness wednesday with you

First off my friend & sorority sister Kate who blogs at @juicejunky is joining us for our #wellnesswednesdays and is going to bring her take on the rainbow too!! Kate is a veganista and her stories always make me want to throw the chicken out the window & eat more veggies!

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This week’s rainbow Wednesday is YELLOW… I was talking to Kate about what we should do and we both agreed on LEMONS because they are absolutely amazing for you & taste even better!

Here are some quick tips on the health benefits of lemons:

  • Antioxidant & Antibiotic Effects – like most of our other superfoods lemons are a good source of antioxidants! The flavonoids in the lemon can help stop cell division in different disease states including cancer!
  • Vitamin C – one of the most important antioxidants are packed in these little yellow gems! Vit. C is able to travel through the blood neutralizing free radicals, which interact with health cells in the body, and damages them. This damage causes inflammation & painful swelling.
  • Vitamins & Minerals – beyond vitamin C lemons are PACKED with other vitamins & minerals, which are essential for bone health, digestive health and aid in healing autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

If you want to read more on the health benefits of lemons check out this and this website.

What about Lemon Water???  I know Kate is going to talk about lemon water today as well so go check out her blog for more information. I did find THIS article from vega about the 5 health benefits of lemon water and wanted to share a couple with you!

  • Aids in digestion – I know we ALL can use a little help in this department, some days more than others, and lemons are believed to stimulate and purify the liver, & support digestive acids in the stomach to further aid digestion.
  • Support Immune Function – the winter months are coming and that means COLDS… lemons are high in those antioxidants which support immune function, and they contain saponins which have antimicrobial properties that may keep those bugs away!!!

I wanted to share a recipe with you that was out of the LEMON ordinary. We all throw lemons in deserts or with a marinade which is AWESOME but have you ever roasted a lemon??

Well I found this recipe and thought 1. This is easy, I can throw that together 2. Hmmmm that sounds GOOD! 3. Roasted Lemons??

Obviously those three thoughts left me running to the store getting lemons & pesto and totally excited & inspired.

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EDIT::: this lemon salsa has great flavor however if you have thick skinned lemons you will not like it… our lemon rind was too thick so even when processed it was thick & bitter which really ruined the flavor… I will still make this again but I will peel a portion of the rind away before roasting… 

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I WISH I had grilled some plain chicken last night during my #tuesdayfoodprep since we missed food prep Sunday because this salsa would’ve been GREAT on top of some chicken. But since I don’t have any protein to throw this on, I decided to whip up a batch of tortilla chips because salsa is best on chips!

Roasted Lemon Salsa before sitting over night

Roasted Lemon Salsa before sitting over night

For these chips I used the same tortilla recipe I have shared in the past but added some Lemon zest (from the lemon I used in my warm lemon water this morning) and tossed in some ground fennel & dill to season them up! I popped them in the oven at 355deg for 10 minutes and they came out firm but still soft, more on the Pita chip side of chips.

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Morning Lemon Water — AHHH my stomach has been a little upset the last two days {{likely from the football food}} so this calming water definitely hit the spot!!

I topped one with the salsa for my morning {{snack}} and it was DIVINE… now if you are only slightly fond of lemons you may want to add some other flavors to this “salsa” because it is 100% lemon but like I said would be GREAT on top of chicken, steak or pork chops!! If I was going to make it again for a party I’d probably add some other traditional salsa flavors & less roasted lemon just so everyone would gobble it up!

Morning snack of lemon salsa!

Morning snack of lemon salsa!

Hope you all have a WONDERFUL Wednesday!!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ what is your favorite YELLOW food?? How do you enjoy lemons best?

Don’t forget to check out Red & Orange editions!