Whole Life Challenge ~ Results & Passing the Torch …

Posted by on June 6, 2009 | 10 Comments

Two weeks ago I pledged to join in on the Whole Life Challenge, created by Maggie at Say Yes to Salad. And, I am happy to say, that while I didn’t do a daily blog of events, it was quite successful. Here were my results:

wholelifechallenge

  • Drink More Water – Not only do I have trouble remembering to drink an adequate amount of water, but I also live in a dry climate and exercise regularly, exacerbating the problem. In the winter, I at least drink a lot of herbal tea to fill in the gaps, but with the current hot weather I am constantly dehydrated. I did manage my first baby step – starting each day with a big glass of water. On days when I remembered to add some lemon/lime to the water, I drank more … more appealing I guess … so I need to make that more of a habit. I am also going to work on that trick of filling up a bottle a few times a day and having it on my desk as a next step. 
  • Get Walking – For the past few months, exercise has not been a problem. My husband and I have been doing an hour+ a day of cardio and/or strength training … but, I seem to be in all or nothing mode. Once I get beind my computer, I forget to even get up for hours on end. I decided to make a conscious effort to get moving more throughout the day on top of our workouts. Most days (all but two actually) we added a walk of sorts into our daily routine, but beyond this I worked very hard to get up at least once an hour and take care of a chore that didn’t involve sitting. This is something I plan to keep working on!
  • Adventure New Meals – I often have trouble relaxing and just creating in the kitchen. I am by nature a baker (love measurements) not a cook (throw what together?). So I tried to let go of my preconceived notions about my kitchen skills and just have some fun with it. I was definitely happy with the results, and so was my hungry husband. I came up with some new recipes that I will be posting about soon, including Mexican Meatballs in Romaine Boats, Orange-Sesame Dressing / Salad, Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers, and Slightly Spicy Puttanesque-a. I also made a fantastic Chicken and Broccoli stir-fry (if I do say so myself!) that just needs a few tweaks to reach perfection (the sauce was a bit runny), and I trialed out three healthy bar recipes from the new Enjoy Life Cookbook. I will post one of my variations soon. So I did surprisingly well in this category!
  • Soak Up Some Vitamin D – Referencing the above walking comments, I have trouble remembering to get out and soak up some rays before it is too late. This is the one challenge I definitely failed on. The only days I got Vitamin D were the days we went outdoors for those walks, otherwise, I completely forgot to get outside. I guess accomplishing too many goals at once can be overwhelming, but this one is going at the top of my list for improvement! After all, how hard can it be to get just 30 minutes a day?
  • Add Green to My Morning Smoothie – The funny thing is, I have added spinach to my blueberry smoothies for years. You really can’t taste it. But whenever I wasn’t making a blueberry or chocolate smoothie, I omitted it, as the green color is really what turned me off. I know, I know, silly hang-up. So I got over my fear with some vibrant green smoothies and some muddy looking ones too (actually tasted the best!). They didn’t look great, but they were still of course delicious! The one problem is, I still stick with spinach; I need to venture kale and other nutrient rich greens. Oh, I did use Amazing Grass (berry-flavor) for some of my green smoothies (especially when I was out of spinach), which really is amazing!

Thanks Maggie for the Excellent Challenge! I am going to keep it up with the above challenges rather than adding in new ones so soon, as I think I need to continue with these to really make them a part of my life.

I encourage you all to join the Whole Life Challenge too! I would love to hear some things you are hoping to improve on, so please do tell …

amazinggrasssmoothie

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Taking the Whole Life Challenge

Posted by on May 22, 2009 | 12 Comments

Maggie at Say Yes to Salad has proposed a Whole Life Challenge, an opportunity to add one healthy new habit into your lifestyle each day. I wasn’t sure if she meant pick a different one each day, or just pick one of them and do it each day … so I will improvise. Since I might be cheating a bit with a few of her items (I already stick to organic greens, for example), I have built on her suggestions to create a customized “Challenge” list.

  • Drink More Water – Start each day with a nice big glass of filtered water with lemon or lime. There is no better way to start the day, but I always forget.
  • Get Walking – Add 20 minutes of walking to my exercise routine. This could be around the neighborhood, treadmill-style if the heat is overwhelming, or simply doing some stairs!
  • Adventure New Meals – Try at least 1 *new* meal recipe each week – can be for lunch or dinner. Hmm, I may even shoot for 2!
  • Soak Up Some Vitamin D – Get at least 20 minutes of unadulterated sunshine per day.
  • Add Green to My Morning Smoothie – Eeek, green, my biggest beverage fear. I can’t do the green oats, but I will go for the morning shake.

No worries, I won’t bore you all with my daily log, but will let you know the results. I think this idea is fantastic. Just picking one thing a day takes away the overwhelming nature, but allows you to make real, lasting strides. I encourage you to join Maggie’s challenge too! Use her list, my list, or make your own choices toward a healthier lifestyle and try to do just one thing per day!

wholelifechallenge

For those of you who read this post about getting healthy, I shall reward you with some giveaway links and a note that I have some great recipes coming up on the blog very soon, and a fantastic giveaway starting on Tuesday that you won’t want to miss. Here are some fun bloggie giveaways going on right now …

Have a fun Memorial Day Weekend!

Homemade Strawberry Julius … The Ultimate Workout Reward!

Posted by on May 1, 2009 | 16 Comments

 

Whew! 5 days into the new fitness program and it is definitelly kicking our butts. Thank you all for your inspiring comments the other day, we are keeping motivated!

Thus far my husband and I have done three days of 90-minute cardio-type weight and muscle training (can we say torture?), an hour of some serious cardio, and 90 minutes of the hardest yoga I have ever done. I am trying to add in some walking along with that to keep these stiff muscles moving! Did I mention we signed up for two-hour long tennis lessons. Call us insane, but we are actually enjoying it … that is, now that the initial bout of cripling pain is wearing off.

So, with this new fitness routine comes an amped up diet. More calories (yes, I said more!), more protein, less sugar, and less fat. The two aspects that are hardest for us are the protein load (to be addressed in another post) and the less sugar. We are sugar addicts around here. Pretty much the only sugar found in the meal plans is slated for post-workout.

Okay, I must admit, that part is genious. Think about it, you can have that wonderfully sweet and thirst-quenching drink and delicious bar … AFTER you finish your workout. Can we say motivation?

strawberryjulius2

The recommended post-workout drinks contain milk in some form or another, so I have had to invent my own. Needless to say, I have spent all week perfecting this post-workout beverage to get the biggest enjoyment bang for my buck. The most important aspect is that the drink have a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. Surprisingly, that means a lot of wonderful sugars in the form of fresh fruit and sweetener.

Since I am using Egg White Protein Powder (but you can use another type if you wish), the famous “Julius” immediately came to mind, and since it is officially strawberry season … well, need I say more? Of course, this is a versatile, easy little recipe that you can use as a recovery drink, for added protein (say for those little ones), or as a dessert … just see my notes below. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Rewarding Strawberry “Julius”

This recipe is optional vegan, optional egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free

  • 2 Cups Strawberry Halves
  • ½ Cup Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey or Agave Nectar or 1/4 Cup White Sugar (I use honey)
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch Salt (optional)
  • 2 Cups Ice
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Egg Protein Powder (or enough of your favorite protein powder to equal roughly 16 to 18 grams of protein OR if you aren’t seeking a big protein boost, use 1 large egg white)

Combine the strawberries, water, honey, vanilla, ice, and salt (if using)  in your blender and blend it to a nice smoothie consistency. Add more water or ice as you see fit. Add in the protein powder and just give it a few quick pulses to blend it in.

A Few Quick Notes:

  • If using egg protein powder, it will nicely foam up like a Julius very quickly. I can’t say for other protein powders since I haven’t tried them, but the taste should still be excellent. If not using this for a protein drink, you can also use 1 large egg white (3 T pasteurized egg whites) in place of protein powder.
  • If you aren’t looking for a 4:1 ratio in particular, feel free to reduce the sweetener to your taste. 
  • If you want lower calories, reduce both the sweetener and the protein powder in half (but for optimum indulgence, I don’t recommend it!).
  • If you just want a dessert, go ahead with the protein powder or sub in a pasteurized egg white, or unsweetened milk alternative in place of the water for more of a strawberry smoothie.
  • As is, each serving has about 10g of protein, just under 40g of carbs, and is so incredibly yummy!

Yields 2 yumilicious servings

strawberryjulius

Blog Events: This recipe was submitted to the Strawberry Feast at My Kitchen Treasures.

 

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