Tailgate Challenge: Mediterranean Dip

With layers of hummus, couscous, tomatoes, cucumbers,
onion, olives & feta
this 7 layer Mediterranean dip will leave
you satisfied and your tastebuds BUZZING!!! 

Hey Hey!!!

It’s time for another delicious tailgate recipe… In case you haven’t been tuning in to my weekly recipes check out these posts too!

Tailgate Challenge

Tailgating Challenge: To bring something healthy to each tailgate all season to help fuel myself and my friends with some sort of healthy nutritionally rich food! I’m not following any diets or sticking to 100% clean foods just making a healthy option for everyone.


Last week we were in Michigan for the game against Northwestern & our first afternoon home game of the season. I was thrilled that we got to sleep in a little bit & go to the farmers market to buy fresh produce before the game.

Mediterranean Dip Mediterranean Dip

Our tailgate theme was Kebabs and things that go with them. I decided to make a dip of sorts to complement the kebabs. When I think kebab I think Mediterranean flavors and lots of fresh veggies so I decided to go with those two ideas into a blended delicious dish!

Kebabs before they hit the grill!

Kebabs before they hit the grill!

I wanted to do a little more than just hummus and veggies AND I wanted to stay away from a yogurt/cream layer since we were going to be outside all day and I didn’t want it to warm up too much. So I beefed up the dip with a layer of Israeli Couscous & it was a brilliant idea.

Mediterranean Dip

I mean look at all those layers!

I mean look at all those layers!

Starting with Sabra original hummus I layered everything in a high-walled baking dish, I think mine was a 8×11 dish with 3in walls.

 

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Nothing like trying a new recipe on a bunch of people & not knowing how it would turn out…

pin me for later!

pin me for later!

This dip was a HUGE hit! It was so fresh and seriously delicious. I thought it was good & my dad said it was good but he is always going to complement my food, well almost always, but when 4-5 people came up to me and said they really liked it… Then I knew it was a success!

I cannot wait to make this again for the next party that I have to bring a dish to pass. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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2015… Setting Intentions

Happy New Year!!

I really cannot believe that it is 2015 already! I feel like for so many years my life was waiting for 2013, the year I graduated from PT school, and now two years later it is 2015 and so much has changed.

In 2014 I made a list of things that I wanted to achieve in 2014. While that list was great, I did not reference back to it hardly at all, I did on occasion mentally but never looked to it when I was trying to make my next goal or pursue the next thing in my life. 2014 handed me a lot of adversity, a lot of stress and a lot of excitement. I moved 2 times in 3 months, changed my fitness from GPP to running to crossfit, changed clinics and job titles (a few times) and found that at the end of the day amongst all the uncertainty I will still have the love of my life at home to give me a big hug when I need it most.

I had zero intentions of writing a 2015 Resolution or Goals post today because I felt that my 2014 post was a hoax of lies and deceptions (and I hate failing) so I was just going to skip the whole thing and resolve to have a new year full of new experiences rather than expectations. Then I went to a Bikram Yoga class yesterday.

I have never been to a true hot yoga class before and was invited by a coworker to start the new year with one. So I went & at the beginning of the class the instructor took us through a New Year Meditation. At the end of the meditation she said to set an intention for 2015. Set something, a word, a phrase, a goal, anything. Commit to something to make 2015 the best year, give it intention to live by.

I sat there breathing in, repeating her mantra and then I set my intention to the first thing that popped in my head…

To be honest I was shocked that this is what came to me. I have an extremely hard time with connecting to meditations, connecting to intentions and connecting to the “light” during spiritually guided practices but at that time and during that moment my body 100% connected and committed to my 2015 intention.

2015 Intention

In 2015 I intend to practice more Self Love

Self Love is rather all encompassing, and in my mind can include all those typical new years resolutions. It will adapt to what the year has in store for me and will allow me to take a step back and reconnect with myself.

I have a lot of goals for this life and I have a lot of goals for the near future but putting a label on them and a timeframe right now is not the ideal for me.

So rather in 2015 I will practice self love. I will love my body, my mind, my soul & my life with every fiber of my being. I will work on my self and let 2015 provide me with the growth and maturation to become the best version of me.

Heres to 364 days of love!
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Set an intention & share it with me! 

January 5th… Are You Ready!?

When I think about the holidays the first thing that comes to mind is the feasting that occurs between Thanksgiving and New Years. With work parties, gifts from patients, family gatherings and holiday parties with friends November and December are surrounded with food and sweets.

While I love my sweets & all the delicious foods and by no means want to wish this season of love, adoration and preparation away I can’t help but yearn a little bit for January 5th. No not because it will be the 1st Monday of 2015, not because it will mark the first Monday of the last year I will be a Guttman, and not because it means that my Birthday is just over a month away but because it will kick off the biggest (& best?!) AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge of the year.

AdvoCare Jan 5th

Guys we are talking hundreds of people in our Facebook group kicking off their New Year with optimal health on their minds; by focusing on themselves for 24 days and detoxing from all the love that they ingested over the Holidays.

For some our goals at the start of a new year is to help shed that extra weight that has been holding us back from our goals and dreams. For others kicking off the new year means achieving some goals that we didn’t achieve in the year prior and making this year the year of change. For others the new year means a time to make more time for our loved ones and have the energy and strength to spend the time with our family at our best. AdvoCare can help with ALL of these goals & more.

The 24 Day Challenge was initially designed for the goal of Weight Loss, lets be honest when we look at our nation weight loss as a goal is something more than two-thirds of us could benefit from. However, the 24DC is more than just a weight loss plan & works for everyone!!!

The 24DC will help YOU find more energy.
It will help YOU prepare your body to optimize nutrient absorption
It will help YOU shed those extra pounds or define those strong muscles
It will help YOU become physically and financially fit (if you chose it to)
and It will help YOU the best YOU in 2015.

Whether you want to lose those first (or last) 10 pounds…

AdvoCare Jan 5th

Meet my girl Lauren. She has experienced SERIOUS gains since starting AdvoCare… Would you believe that this extremely fit lady has 2 sweet little goys at home?!

Shed some baby weight…

AdvoCare Jan 5th

Are looking to tone & define the muscles that you have already developed…

AdvoCare Jan 5th

OR are looking to modify your diet and find healthier way to eat and prepare foods without depriving yourself than the 24DC is for you!

Okay now that I have got you sick of hearing the word YOU… I feel like one of those Army Reserve commercials… I really just wanted to tell y’all that the 24DC is for everyone of all fitness & health levels and January 5th is the best time to start!

No commitment is needed today, you’ve got some time to think about it…and maybe ask Santa for a challenge for under your Christmas tree… but I wanted to throw it out there so if you’re interested & want to chat more than shoot me an email and we can chat.

If you know that its for you than head over HERE and buy your challenge pack today & it will be at your door in a shinny box ready for you to change your life. Once I see your order go through I will add you to our FB group for the extra support and community that makes the challenge 100x more do able.

AdvoCare Jan 5th

So what-cha think? Is 2015 your time to invest in yourself?

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"What Are You Training For?"

As a disclaimer I am not putting anyone down, belittling or discouraging having a training goal, I am rather just sharing an empowering moment in my life during a time where I am not training for a specific goal. 

Something crazy happened a week ago.

I was shocked, searching for words and finding the best answer I was able to think of, little did I know that this answer would be a very defining one.

A week ago after a workout and a Pose training session with a friend a random gym-goer asked my friend and I a somewhat shocking question.

“What are you training for?”

My friend answered honestly and proudly “A marathon” (her 11th!!).

He smiled and said “thats awesome!! What are you training for?” Looking at me square in the face obviously waiting for an answer.

I flubbed and somewhat sarcastically said “life!” I laughed a little, slightly unsure of my answer until it hit me, “I am training to do whatever the hell I want, I am training for life!”

The guy laughed and said “thats awesome, a great answer”

What are you training for

That morning I had caught myself comparing myself to the other ladies around me. I found myself thinking positive and negative thoughts about myself and my fitness level along with feeling encouraged and discouraged about the path that I am currently on.

I find myself striving to reach sooo many goals and feeling extremely torn between them all. In the past week my goals have floundered between becoming a better runner through Pose, lifting heavier weights, being more dedicated and strict with GPP, finding a yoga practice… and the list goes on.

But in that moment I realized that I don’t need to be a bodybuilder or a marathon runner, I don’t need to be the “best” GPPer or a yogi to be the best me! 

My definition of health is not a number, an achievement or a measurable outcome rather my definition of health revolves around the way I feel and that is truly all that matters.

Yes, I strive to kill it in the gym each day.  Yes, I try to eat healthy and clean. I am not training to be a fitness model, marathoner, bodybuilder, or olympic athlete… While I think having muscles are cool, I really am training to live the best life I can and if being the healthiest me is going to help then you are damn right thats what I want.

Why do I have to train for a marathon, half marathon or body building competition to be training. Cant I train for life and take those other opportunities as another hurdle?

Thinking-Out-Loud

Linking up with Amanda for some thursday training thoughts!

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How do you define health?
What would your answer be to “what are you training for?”

Locker Room Talk on Weight

I work out in the morning and have become friends with the other ladies in the locker room. I have become good friends with most of these women and they all completely inspire me in different ways.

Mostly the ones leaving when I arrive…
yeah those ones really inspire me 😉

One thing that I hear wayyyy too much in the locker room is this talk about weight. I realize that we are at a gym and most people there are looking to shed a few pounds, change this, or tone that, but I cant help but cringe when I hear these conversations.

LOVE not Scale

It seems the worst at the beginning of the week, especially Mondays. I am not sure who made the rule but it definitely seems that everyone weighs themselves on Monday. I guess its better than weighing yourself everyday but why pick Monday? I do know I hear a lot of sighs after these beautiful women step off that scale. 

This “weighing in” inevitably turns into talking about how they have gained weight or had no change in weight since the previous week, or how they haven’t had any change since the previous day.

Since we are a supportive morning bunch the talk generally turns to one that is supporting “you look great, ______! I don’t know what you’re talking about” or one of self-bashing “oh I no, this shirt or these pants are fitting tighter today…”

Friends don't let friends..

The conversation that started with 2 people has now ballooned to 80% of the locker room and I generally am biting my tongue. I see so many of these beautiful people telling each other very honest real things such as:

“I just don’t feel good about myself, I ate too much this weekend and have gained weight… sigh now I have to work soooooo hard to get it back down” i.e. Me 😉
Or
“my weight is completely my determination of my health” i.e. weight=health
Or
“I am doing the ‘best’ that I can but then I go home and I eat something crunchy or salty and its all ruined” i.e. health=forbidden foods

Since when did it become ritual that women believe these things? A day does not make your diet and a day does not break your diet. Consistency is the key and truly the only way to live.

Now there are exceptions to the rule but by putting a rule on yourself just makes the exception feel “wrong” and “bad” and then we are putting rules on each action & reaction.

how I exercise - cupcake

I would be 100% lying if I said that these thoughts didn’t go through my head on a regular basis. I have had the weekends where I felt that I over ate, ruined my diet, ruined my hard work that I had previously done and had gained 100 pounds from it all.

I also (used) to believe that the number on the scale was the only thing that mattered. The number is what told me if I was healthy, if I was doing what I needed to be doing in the gym and if I had reached my potential.

I hated living or dying by the scale and can tell you with 100% confidence that I have never felt stronger, more confident, more beautiful or healthier than I do right now.

Live your Life

I am not perfect, I am not where I want to be and I do have a lot of work left but I also know that I wouldn’t want to be at any other point because that would mean I haven’t experienced personal growth.

These beautiful women are beating themselves up over the weight on the scale or the indulgences that they experienced over the weekend. It is OKAY & healthy to live your life, that is what we were put on this earth to do.

These statements are not only coming from my ladies who are trying to lose weight but also from my girls who are elite athletes. Women who are running marathons for recreation and consider a ½ marathon an easy feat (ummm hello sub5k-club!) are talking about how they are over/under or disappointed with their weight.

This all just reminds me how focused our society is on weight, especially female weight. I have been there, am there, return there, frequent there, and try to run as fast as I can AWAY from there before it sucks me in. It is a dark hole of negativity and I truly try to think of all the positive HEALTHY things that I am doing for my body when I go to the gym and the positive healthy things that I do for my body when I put food in my mouth.

Loved getting this sweet message from my girl Keri earlier this week. PERFECT timing :)

Loved getting this sweet message from my girl Keri earlier this week. PERFECT timing 🙂

So my advice to all my locker room buddies near & far is to love who you are, be happy with what you have accomplished and drive to succeed further, but stop judging and criticizing the beautiful staring back at you, and step away from the scale.

Mondays (& all days) are for motivation not detonation, let yourself walking into the gym be the motivation you need to keep you going and walking RIGHT PAST that scale that’s trying to detonate you with it.

Stay Healthy & Happy my Friends!

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What do you hear in the locker room?
How do you stay positive when going to the gym?

Fueling Your Future

Female Athlete Triad – Part 1

Last week I spoke at an area high school to the female athletes about fueling their futures and the Female Athlete Triad. I wanted to share with you all about my presentation because I truly think its important for every one of all ages.

Female Athlete Triad

As a physical therapist serving many of the area school kids I was excited (and nervous) to present to this group of kids. As a high school athlete I got very little education on how to properly fuel my body and know many people who poorly or improperly fueled themselves for their athletic performance.

I tell my kids in PT often “if I only knew now what I knew then I would’ve been a top athlete, rather than just a good one.” I honestly believe this, when I was a high school athlete we would “fuel” with huge meals between matches, sweets after practice, and often a pre or post practice run to a fast food restaurant. While the majority of my teammates and myself were not acutely aware of what we were putting in our bodies we also were not deviating extremely from the “norm.”

As a high schooler & in general I think it is important to just eat!! Your body needs energy and energy comes from food, and once you focus on only eating certain foods or counting calories you risk a bigger problem than just eating the food you enjoy. Being mindful of moderation and portion control, the two things which I did not have in high school and hardly thought about.

Then & Now

As athletes we are exposed to a greater risk of social pressures and societal norms for the sport which we play and the athletic performance we wish to achieve. These pressures can monumentally impact growth and maturation of the female athlete.

Females are susceptible to what is called “The Female Athlete Triad” and what I think had a bad rap for being a huge scary thing. When really it should be discussed with each female sports team (and honestly male sports team even though the impact is different) because it is not as scary at it sounds.

Female Athlete Triad is the combination of three factors which exist on a continuum of severity 1. Energy deficiency with or without eating disorder 2. Menstrual disturbances/amenorrhea & 3. Bone loss/osteoporosis.

Female Athlete Triad

I spoke mostly on energy deficiency as I believe this is the biggest component of the triad and honestly the conduit to the other two components. While they can all exist exclusively they all can co-exist and this coexistence is a result from a cascade of responses.

Energy deficiency is defined as “Not having enough energy available” and is due to under-fueling and caloric deficits. It can lead to disordered eating but does not have to, and the result is not always a diagnosed eating disorder. Energy deficiencies can be unintentional and often occur within the exercise community.

Have you ever gone to a workout or sporting game and forgot to eat something before you went? How did you feel after the first 10minutes or 1 hour of full exertion exercise? not great right?

This is unintentional energy deficiency, some people think they perform better with fasted workouts and some do not, a fasted workout or state of unintentional energy deficiency puts your body in a “temporary state of female athlete triad” but if you replenish your fuel sources and continue to eat & fuel normally and healthily you are okay!

The Problem comes with sustained disordered eating, not just one day of poor eating or unintentional deficiencies. When you are in a sustained disordered state your body goes into starvation mode and stores each morsel of food. Since our body is a lot smarter than we are it knows that we are in a constant calorie deficit and so it stores all our food to use for energy to survive.

Female Athelte Triad

With sustained energy deficiencies our body searches for other areas to leach energy from so it can take that energy for vital processes such as thinking, digesting, sleeping, walking… This leached energy often comes in the form of discontinuing the normal menstrual cycle, or amenorrhea (absence of menstruation). While we all would love to not have our monthly visit from Aunt Flow it is an important regulatory function for females and vital part of our life.

Secondary Amenorrhea is defined as the “absence of menstrual cycles for 3 or more consecutive months or < 3 cycles/year” this is the amenorrhea that we are concerned about. This means your body has stopped menstruation for an important reason, typically the result of chronic energy deficiency. Prolonged or long-term secondary amenorrhea can lead to difficulty getting pregnant, infertility, pelvic pain and

… osteoporosis due to low estrogen levels. (perfect segue ay?)

Bone loss is no joke my friends and bone health is predominantly impacted by genetics (60-80%), exercise, hormones, nutrition and toxins. While we have little impact on our genetics we definitely have the ability to positively impact the other 20-40% of our bone health.

Starting to see how it all works together? Nutrition and poorly fueling our body leads to hormone imbalances which can negatively impact your bone health leading to weak or brittle bones and increasing your risk for osteoporosis and bone disease. Severe undernutrition impairs reproductive health and skeletal health resulting in low bone mineral density.

Female Athlete Triad

The POSITIVE is that exercise and physical activity positively impacts the bone builders and should improve bone mineral density.

Ok so now you know the gist of Female Athlete Triad. Tomorrow I will share more about how to properly fuel and recognize energy deficiency plus some personal stories on unintentional deficiency.

Questions and comments welcomed.

Fuel safe, perform strong, stay healthy.

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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?

#wellnesswednesday Rainbow Red

Hi Friends!

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the phrase “Eat The Rainbow” before but it may be one of my FAVORITES! I love COLORS, it doesn’t matter if the color comes in the form of bright tops, bright shoes, lots of shoes J or in my food, I WANT everything to be in pretty colors! But did you know that each color has a different nutritional value and the MORE colors the MORE nutrition you’re getting??

Well this morning while getting ready there was a GMA piece on school lunches and how you should get away from eating GRAYS and BEIGE and get more toward feeding yourself & your kids COLORS! And how you should EATARAINBOW!

I had already had plans to start a “Wellness Wednesday” series about different foods that I enjoy and the nutritional benefit or WHY I choose to eat those foods. So to start this series I am going to start with the RAINBOW and the colors we find in the rainbow R.O.Y.G.B.I.V!

Today is RED and goes perfectly with my newest love and adoration the BEET!

a bundle of beets!!

a bundle of beets!!

Here are some fun facts about this root vegetable:

  • Beets are high in vitamins & minerals – potassium, magnesium, fibers, phosphorus, iron, vitamins A&B&C, beta-carotene, beta-cyanine, folic acid… the list could go on
  • CLEANSE the body – a tonic for the liver, purifier for the blood, and can prevent various forms of cancer ?!! SAY WHAT FULLCIRCLE?
  • Help Mental Health! – the betaine in the beet is the same substance that is used for certain treatments of depression!! Tryptophan is a relaxer for your mind and creates a sense of well-being. &&& they can help lower your blood pressure!!
  • BOOST energy levels – contain a significant amount of carbohydrates that provides fuel for energy and prolonged sports activities ((FUEL YOUR WORKOUT!!!))
  • HEART health – beet fiber helps to reduce cholesterol & triglycerides by INCREASING the level of HDL cholesterol
  • Your HEART also loves this red vegetable!

    Your HEART also loves this red vegetable!

**Check out these THIS article & THIS article for BEET love**

My CURRENT favorite way to eat beets, as I have not attempted to buy raw whole beets & prepare them myself, is BRADS RAW FOODS Beet Chips! HOLY YUM guys these are amazing. If you aren’t sure about Beets these little crisps have a mild after taste of beet but aren’t super strong.

You must try these!! Little bites of heaven and a snack that makes you feel GOOD about snacking!

You must try these!! Little bites of heaven and a snack that makes you feel GOOD about snacking!

They are also packed buckwheat groats, flax & other healthy NATURAL ingredients, the ingredient list is not very long and almost ALL of the ingredients are organic. I have tried Brads Kale Chips before and LOVED THEM but these have more of a typical CHIP texture and less of a kale/vegetable texture.

RED rainbow contributor is this health blaster vegetable the BEET

RED rainbow contributor is this health blaster vegetable the BEET

So there you have it. R is for these red beet bad boys, and all of the AMAZING health benefits that they have! I am so glad that I have started to eat more beets & cannot wait to try my hand at preparing them myself & making my own twist on this POWER food!

Off to find some ORANGE Wellness to add to our adventure!

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I’d LOVE to Know ~~ what is your favorite RED food to eat? Do you like beets, how do you prepare them?