What is this “Clean Eating” you Speak of?

veggiesDid you know that you don’t have to diet anymore? Dieting is SO last decade. Seriously though…just eat clean, whole foods and combine it with some phyical activity at least 3-5 times/week, and that’s IT! So easy!

Want to know what I’m always talking about when I say “clean eating” this and “eat clean” that? Watch this quick little video that I made to get an idea of how to eat, without dieting, and still get the results you want.

TEN Steps to Get BACK on TRACK!

Did you get off track a little over the holiday weekend? It is such a challenge when you’re traveling, visiting friends and family, and eating food that you wouldn’t normally eat. On top of that, maybe you were away from your fitness gear, your gym and your routines. Luckily, it just takes a Monday to get back at it.

I went shopping last night…Costco, where else? My refrigerator is FULL of fresh fruits and veggies for the week. My pantry is stocked with whole grains and organic staples. I love that Costco has such a huge variety of organic, clean-eating foods! The last thing you should do is starve yourself in an attempt to make up for overdoing it. You have to feed yourself the right foods (5-6 small meals per day) to give your body the nutrients it needs to power your workouts, help you recover and especially to keep your metabolism going strong! Starvation DOESN’T work, in fact it can have the opposite effect! Your body can start storing fat! NOOOO!!!! We don’t want that. 😉

I’ve got my workouts scheduled for the week. It always helps me to see them, know what’s coming, and check them off as I go. Every little bit helps. Give yourself movement opportunities whenever possible. Too busy? Break up your workouts if you have to! If you don’t have a solid hour to commit, than try two 30 minute sessions sometime during your day. One hour is 4% of your day. No excuses.

You indulged over the weekend…SO WHAT! You’ve got the plan to get back on track, put it into action today! And if you’d like a little more accountability and help from me in December, join me on Facebook for a 30 Day Challenge  www.facebook.com/angieinprogress. We’ll workout, eat healthy foods and keep each other accountable, all via a private Facebook group. It’s AMAZING how much better you’ll eat and the kind of results you can get in this type of challenge. 😀 You can do this, and I can help!

When in Doubt, Add Butter!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. We spend so much time preparing for the day: make a shopping list, go shopping, freeze the turkey, thaw the turkey, brine the turkey, rinse the turkey, chop the veggies, peel, peel, peel the potatoes…and on and on. I am always struck by how quickly the meal itself is over. After days of preparation and hours of cooking, it’s over in the blink of an eye!

I had the privilege of making rolls with my grandma the day before. These rolls are legendary. There are stories about these rolls that go back decades! They’ve been at every Thanksgiving that I can recall. We used to sneak them into our sleeping bags after dinner when we were kids so that we could enjoy a late-night snack. My uncles have been known to hide them in their pockets before leaving. All of this trickery has led to the occasional ‘pat-down’ before being allowed to go home. It’s all part of the tradition in my family.

My grandma has arthritis now. These rolls are very labor-intensive! A few times now I’ve gone and helped do the heavy work while she sits and tells me what to do. There is no recipe to pass along, you just have to experience it. She cooks purely from instinct. I feel so lucky to be able to share this experience with her. We talk about so many wonderful things; she shares stories and memories of the past. I take all of that with me, as well as a crazy-sore deltoid muscle! You wouldn’t believe what a good workout it is to stir, mix, knead, and smack dough around!

This recipe literally starts and ends with butter! It’s the first ingredient in the bowl, it’s used throughout to prevent the dough from sticking, and it’s the final step, that gives them their beautiful, buttery shine. 🙂

Of course, they’re not the cleanest, most healthy food you could eat, but with that much love and history, it’s gotta be good for us, right? It does our hearts good to carry on the tradition within our family. We couldn’t conceive of a Thanksgiving without them actually. I hope this tradition carries on through the generations.

So this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my big, wonderful family. I’m thankful for tradition and a day spent  with my beautiful grandma. She is the one who started this family after all. And while the food is top-notch, just plain AMAZING…the company is what makes the day. It’s the people I look forward to, not the food. I love the stories, the memories and the traditions more than the potatoes, the pies and yes… even the rolls.

All of the preparations and work that goes into the day is absolutely worth it! The meal is just what brings us together with our loved ones, if even only for a day, to remember and be thankful for what’s truly important.

12 weeks, 2 programs, BIG success!

  I am less than 2 weeks from finishing my 12 week hybrid of ChaLEAN Extreme and Turbo Fire. I could not be more amazed with the results I’ve been able to accomplish during this time. As soon as I finish my very last day, I will post my overall results and pictures. Until then I wanted to show the people who have been asking me, what I’ve used for the last 10 weeks that has given me such awesome results. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth far more than that! I have so enjoyed these 2 programs together, I will most definitely draw from them in the future and add them into my routine. Check out these videos and let me know if you’d ever like to know more about them, or any of the other programs that are available. *You will have to copy and paste into a new browser window.

http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/AngieInProgress?bctid=25219364001

http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/AngieInProgress?bctid=75304674001

I’m Rubber,You’re Glue

A few days ago our son approached us about a friend who had called him “fat”, and said that it hurt his feelings and he wondered what he should have said or done. Now, this is almost as ridiculous as it is mean. This particular son of mine just happens to be in about the 25th percentile in weight for his age. So…you can see why maybe this particular insult was misinformed. But, it hurt his feelings just the same. So we chatted about kids and how sometimes they can say and do things that make us feel bad. We taught him some good old-fashioned comebacks…just for fun: sticks and stones, rubber and glue, pants on fire, etc…they all still apply. The sad thing is…adults are just as guilty of this bad behavior as kids.

In one of my challenge groups we were talking about the nay-sayers we face in our own families and circles of friends. You know, the ones who would mock, make fun of and belittle someone’s health and nutrition efforts. Why would anyone do that? Well, my explanation to my son about his friend was that sometimes a person doesn’t feel very good about themselves. Rather than changing what they don’t like, they attempt to build themselves up by tearing other people down. I think the same holds true for us grown-ups. Shame on us!

When we see someone pouring themselves into something we don’t quite understand, we should ask questions, express interest, or keep quiet.  We should not insult or belittle. What could be better than someone trying to be their best self, inside and out (to borrow a phrase from my friend Carrie)? But I get the eye-rolls, and the comments, too: “I would only run if someone was chasing me”. If I had a nickel for every time I heard that one! “Do you enjoy that bird food you eat?” Actually I do! Because it makes me feel good! You would never hear me mocking someone’s lack of exercise or greasy cheeseburger “value” meal! But what if I did? I could say something like, “Wow, looks like you haven’t worked out in a while!” or “Hey, I see you don’t give a crap about what you eat. Think there’s enough grease in your meal to clog ALL your arteries? ”. Nope, I wouldn’t do that. So why would anyone feel that it is ok to mock healthy lifestyle choices? I don’t get it.

Here’s my public service announcement: Choose your words wisely. Don’t insult what you don’t understand…yet! Ask questions. Express interest. Learn more about people! The more we learn about each other, the more we understand, experience and GROW! If you cannot act your age and refrain from negativity, than bite your tongue and listen. You might learn something without even trying. We’re all on our own journeys in life. We’re finding our ways, learning about the kinds of people we want to be. We tell our kids to be nice to each other:  “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”, right? Let’s practice what we preach. Teach by example. Be excellent to each other. 😀

A Tiny Little Art Lesson

I’m reading a really good book right now called “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson. It has me thinking about the little things and the bigger picture. What are the little things? The little things are small little every day efforts, or non-efforts, that either doing or not doing make no significant difference in the course of your day, but add up over time and either turn you into the person you want to be, or defeat you and your bigger picture. We paint our bigger picture with each tiny little brush stroke we make. What do you want yours to look like?

We all know how to be healthy right? Eat fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and limit red meat, alcohol, processed foods, etc. Oh, and we all know that we should fit some physical activity in at least 3-5 times per week, right? These are not new ideas. They’ve been around for quite a while actually. They are easy enough to do…but they are easy enough NOT to do, too! And therein lies the problem.

We are such an instant-gratification, need-results-now, kind of society that when we don’t get an immediate return on our efforts, it’s easy to disregard their importance. You worked out today…GREAT! Do you see results yet? NO! You chose the apple instead of the bag of chips…can you feel your heart getting stronger and your waistline getting smaller right now? Not likely. The same holds true for almost every aspect of your life. Saving a few cents today won’t mean anything until it’s done over and over again and eventually someday…down the road…your savings adds up to a nice retirement. These are all little things that go largely unnoticed in the short-term. However, all of these seemingly small efforts compound over time and lead you to the bigger picture. What is your bigger picture? In order to see it, you must pour yourself into the little things, the smallest details, and paint a little at a time…every day.

The opposite is true for NOT doing the little things. You won’t likely have a heart attack today, right after you eat your drive-thru lunch.  However, that choice, made again and again will eventually have a negative effect on your blood pressure and your cardiac health. You won’t gain five pounds today if you decide against working out, but a daily sedentary life will have a progressively negative effect on your overall health. Spending too much money today won’t likely land you in the poor house, but that trend will eventually contribute to your debt and your chances of retiring with a healthy nest egg. What will that picture look like? Is it unfinished? Would you want to hang it up for everyone to see?

I know that people can sometimes feel defeated if they didn’t make the right choice today, but you get a new shot every day to get it right. You can paint over the mistakes that you’ve made until it looks just right. The more you focus on the little things, and see success in your smallest victories, the more progress you will make toward turning those little things into a big and beautiful picture.

Fall Food: Stuffed Squash

I have almost a dozen squash to figure out what to do with! I spent the day yesterday scouring the internet for just the right recipe. I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I made up my own. As my friend Julie would say…I “scratched” it up! And the finished product was…

Lean Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Squash with Apples and Cranberries

Ingredients

3-4 squash (depending on size and variety) – cut in halves

1 T. olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

1.25 lbs extra lean ground turkey breast

1 C. quinoa

1 C. broth + 1 C. water

1 t. olive oil

1/2 onion – diced

2 stalks celery – diced

1 apple

1/3 C. dried cranberries

1/2 t. sage

1/2 t. pepper

1.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees & prepare squash halves for baking: brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake for 50-60 minutes.

2.   Cook quinoa in broth and water per package instructions (apx. 15 minutes)

3.   In 1 t. olive oil, cook onion and celery until tender, apx. 5 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until browned.  Add diced apple and cranberries, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, season with sage, and ground pepper and salt to taste. Add cooked quinoa to the pan and toss together.

               

4.   Heat oven to 350 degrees. Stuff the squash halves with turkey, quinoa mixture and return to oven until heated through 15-20 minutes.

Done & Delicious!

🙂

Friday Fun…Be a Good Tree!

Here’s a little Friday Fun.

My mom actually owned this album back in the day. She would put the record on and attempt to do the exercises that Jane was describing, without actually being able to see her. My good friend Jenelle and I stumbled upon one of these “workouts” one night and decided to join the fun. For giggles, we took everything Jane said literally. She would say something like,”Lift your right leg, raise both arms, now twist, twist…” It ended up being much like a game of workout Twister which eventually ended when we collapsed in FITS of laughter! I guess if nothing else, we all got a pretty decent ab workout. 🙂

After that, my mom was an avid Jazzercizer! She would don her most fabulous Jane Fonda-inspired workout attire, and head to class with her towel and her water bottle, and sometimes, me. Jenelle’s mom even started up a Junior Jazzercize program and we would meet at her house and workout together with our friends to all the latest and greatest hits of the 80’s! The Pointer Sisters come to mind. I remember ‘jumping for my love’…in leg warmers. What a blast!

Times and workouts have changed a bit since then. For one, I can actually SEE what Chalene Johnson would like me to do when I’m working out, which is awesome! I don’t own a pair of tights OR a leotard…which is a good thing for EVERYONE! I still think leg warmers were kind of sweet, though totally useless; I have fond memories of my exceedingly warm ankles. 😉

So here I am…in this new and exciting fitness business. How did I get here? It’s becoming plainer and easier for me to see every day. This has ALWAYS been a part of my life. I didn’t realize it then, but my mom-who we’ve already established was a health nut before it was cool-was a fitness junkie, too! She still is, in fact. In her 60’s now, she is still an active runner, competing in a few 5 K’s every year. She also just finished “Slim in 6”, and loved it! But she is always looking for MORE! She is definitely my inspiration.

The lesson to learn here I guess is that apples don’t fall far from trees. Be a good and healthy tree, and your apples will take seed, and grow up to be just like you!

I love you Apple Tree!

Always,

Your Apple

30 Day Results Are In!

There are some excellent results coming from my October Challenge Group!  With 5 challengers reporting so far…check this out…

In 30 days they have lost:

5.1 pounds and 6.25 inches

9 pounds and 6 inches

3.4 pounds and 6.5 inches

8 pounds and “I lost my before inches number, but it must be less now”

5.6 pounds and 9.5 inches

Five of the participants so far have reported losing a total of 31.1 pounds  and 28.25 + unknown 🙂 inches !!!  And more importantly…they’re still in it, pressing forward and committed! We are all using programs such as ChaLEAN Extreme, Turbo Fire, Yoga Booty Ballet and Tony Horton’s 10 minute Trainer. You don’t need a gym to get results like these! The participants were all able to accomplish this while working out in their own homes, and eating well. Most importantly, we keep ourselves accountable and provide support to each other along the way! I cannot wait to see how we all do over the next 30 days.  I love my job!

Also…want to see how I make my Shakeology every day? It’s quite possibly my favorite meal of the day. I actually start looking forward to it the night before. Is that weird?

Eat Your Veggies?

Remember before you had kids you would say things like “I would never let my kids act like that”, or “I would never let them get away with that” or “I would never let them EAT that”!? Oh yeah, I said it all. And here is the lesson I learned about that: NEVER say never.

Here I go sounding like an old lady again, but ‘when I was a kid’…my mom made one dinner and we ate it, or went hungry. Mostly we ate it though, whether we wanted to or not, sometimes after hours at the table, through tears…but we ate it! I don’t know if it was all that bad, but I do know that I had to at least TRY a food before I committed to not eating it.

When I was a babysitting teenager, I would babysit these kids that would only eat 3 things: peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, and fast food. I thought it was ridiculous! So my mom’s approach to meal time was to be my plan as well, it’s what I knew, it seemed appropriate. I would make one dinner, and my kids would EAT it! Right?! Well, in the time it took me to grow up, get married and have children, a lot changed in the grocery stores, and in the towns where we live. Processed and fast food became readily available, beautifully packaged and marketed like never before. This was going to be an uphill battle.

I was prepared for the battle though…until my first child was born, 15 weeks early, and weighing less than 1 pound. Needless to say, she spent a long time in the NICU, 5 months to be exact. She underwent multiple surgeries. She was intubated (on a ventilator) for about 2 months, and that was going to put a huge wrench in my plan. When we brought her home, we faced many challenges. She did not know how to eat. She had been on an IV and tube feedings for much of her hospital  stay, and was very late to the bottle, which meant her oral motor skills were not what they ought to have been. She was given speech therapy, feeding therapy and other therapies as well, but it was a struggle. She didn’t experience ‘hunger’ until she was almost 3 years old. Her brain had ignored the feeling of hunger for so long (because of the IV, etc) that she learned to ignore it. She had extreme textural issues; there were certain foods that she simply couldn’t eat. As a result…I was cooking 2 meals, every day. So right away, my plans had to change.

Fast forward to child number 2, 3 and 4. How do you explain to them that one child is allowed an alternate meal, but they are not? Ugh…this has been a daily struggle for me. I so badly want them all to eat what I am making, but the precedent has been set. I will say, that 2 out of 4 will generally eat what we are eating, it’s the other 2 that are in cahoots to thwart my plan. But for how long? With the unhealthy, fast, over-processed and attractive alternatives, that are so readily available to them…will they ever grow out of picky eating?

So, your circumstances might be different, but I run into a lot of parents who have very different approaches to this issue. Do you make them sit at the table until they eat what is served? Does that form a very negative association with mealtime, and food? Do you make them eat one bite, and then they’re excused, but go hungry, and no snack later? Or do you make them take a bite, and then allow them to get something for themselves that they WILL eat? Or do you just make 2 dinners every night so that everyone is happy? You’ll see, I have no answer here. I personally do a little bit of all of the above. I haven’t found one approach that works for me…yet.  But I’m open for suggestions. 🙂