Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Should My Food Processor Smoke Like That? Plus, This Week's Workout Schedule

My food processor in it's pre-smoking days.
This past weekend I was happily making my kids' snacks when smoke started coming from my food processor. I quickly unplugged it, and smoke continued to roll out of the motor area. This was a whole new take on my saying that dinner just isn't done until I set the smoke detector off!

"Is it on fire?!" My kids wanted to know. "I don't think so," I reassured them. Though I wasn't entirely sure.

It eventually cooled down and stopped smoking, but now I'm afraid to use it. I mean really: should my food processor smoke like that? I'm thinking not... 

I use my food processor a lot. Like, a lot a lot. From energy bars (and balls) to nut butters to Paleo Pops to making my own nut flours in a pinch, I really do put it through its paces and can't imagine not having one!

So, I need recommendations. What's a good food processor that will stand up to my foodie blogger ways??

Onto this week's workout schedule...

HOW is it the end of July?? I'm seriously freaking out about that. Stay just a little bit longer summer... Anyway, last week I did not get any of my scheduled runs in. UGH. This week I'm making that a priority. Someone hassle me if you don't see a post-run instagram on Thursday!

Anyone else feeling like they need to DO ALL THE THINGS before summer is over?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Paleo Iced Protein Mocha

I'm mildly obsessed with frou-frou iced coffee recipes right now. For 3 reasons:
  1. It's hot.
  2. It's an awesome thing to be able to treat myself in the afternoons without having to leave the house!
  3. It's hot.

This recipe is not only Paleo-friendly, but also has the added bonus of some extra protein. With my current lifting schedule I'm all about sneaking in protein wherever I can. 

1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze
1/2 Cup Mocha Chameleon Cold-Brew
2 Tablespoons Collagen Powder
1/2 teaspoon Organic Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon Organic Grade B Maple Syrup (optional)

Blend all ingredients well (I use a Blender Bottle for this) and pour over ice.

Mmm, Taaaaasty.

What's your favorite fancy iced coffee drink??

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weigh In Wednesday + This Week's Workout Schedule

No, not twerk. WERK!
I promised 2 weeks ago to post my before stats, weigh in, and workout schedule for the Kelly Coffey-Meyer 30 Minutes to Fitness DVDs I was sent...

Well, oops, I got distracted going through and trying out the DVDs to see how I wanted to set up my workout schedule. Then, I looked at the calendar and realized we have exactly 6 weeks until our homeschool year starts again. Perfect timing!

I have to say so far I'm very impressed with these. I'm looking forward to the next 6 weeks! 

My main focus will be on doing something different and shaking things up with my plan; my body and my mind could definitely use it. I'll also be focusing on lifting heavy and really pushing it on the DVD workout days. I've been coasting lately. Enough of that. My motivation is high and I have more time on my hands for the rest of summer break. I plan to take advantage of that! Also, I'll be slowly building my runs up again since my hip is finally feeling better.

Days will alternate between weights and cardio. This week's calendar (I started Day 1 on Monday):

My 'before' this workout rotation stats:
Weight 184.5
Bust 42
Waist 34
Hips 42

Time to WERK!

How may cardio days do you schedule per week?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Energy Balls

This post is sponsored by Puritan's Pride.

Post-workout, fueling a long run, or just something quick and easy to throw in my diaper bag for a long day of shopping with my kids: this recipe is perfect. There are only 4 ingredients and these are beyond easy to make. Plus, they are Paleo, vegan, 100% real food... and? Delicious!

Paleo Chocolate Energy Balls
1 1/2 cups All Natural Pitted Dates (about 35-40 dates)

Add all ingredients into your food processor and blend 3 to 5 minutes on low (until smooth).

Scoop out 1/2 Tablespoon portions and form into balls. (For snacks for my kids I usually do 1 Tablespoon size.)

Makes about 32 - 1/2 Tablespoon sized balls.

If you need an even denser source of fuel (if you want to carry less or are training more intensely, etc) you can add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of Raw Organic Honey to this.

What's your favorite real-food run/workout fuel?? Let me know if you try these!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: Caveman Cookies

Disclaimer: I was sent the following product by Puritan's Pride. As always opinions are 100% honest and my own. Ingredients and nutrition facts are taken from the packaging I have. As such things can change be sure to read your own labels. 

Ok, so cavemen did not likely have cookies, but folks following the Paleo diet sometimes get a hankering for something sweet and cookie-like. When I saw these I had to try them.

I'm a firm believer that Paleo treats should be just that: treats. That said, treats like these definitely have a place in my family's pantry.

These range from 130 to 150 calories for 2 cookies and 10 to 14 grams of sugar.

From my most favorite (the top 3 are pretty much tied for most-favorite) to least:

Ingredients: maple syrup, organic honey, almond meal, pecan meal, dried cranberries (cranberries, apple juice concentrate, sunflower oil), pumpkin seeds, spices
Ingredients: organic honey, almond meal, walnuts, raisins, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon
Ingredients: honey, almond meal, brazil nut meal, chopped almonds, dried cherries (cherries, sunflower oil), nutmeg, cayenne pepper

Ingredients: almond meal, organic honey, unsulfured coconut, macadamia nuts, ginger
Ingredients: organic honey, almond meal, raw cacao powder, cashews, chia seeds, pure vanilla extract, cinnamon, chili powder
Ingredients: organic honey, hazelnut meal, almond meal, ground carob
My Thoughts
I liked these. Make no mistake, these do not taste anything like a traditional cookie. But if you're Paleo and craving something sweet I think you'll appreciate the taste and the clean ingredients. To me the first three taste like a cross between a chewy oatmeal cookie and a larabar-like concoction. The Tropical taste like a chewy coconut cookie. The Mayan and Alpine I can't quite explain...

I madly loved the New World, Original, and Rainforest. I liked the Tropical and Mayan. The Alpine weren't a favorite.

My only complaint would be they are a bit too sweet. Now, that's me and my sugar-detoxed taste buds. Just be aware that honey or maple syrup is the first ingredient in most.

Overall, I loved them, my husband loved them, my kids loved the first three kinds I listed...

We'll buy them and I would recommend them as a Paleo treat.

Have you ever tried these?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Vanilla Maple Iced Coffee

It's no secret that I'm madly in love with coffee. Hot coffee, iced coffee, plain coffee, flavored coffee, espresso, latte, cappuccino... you name it I want to marinate in it.

People often ask me if coffee is Paleo. My answer: maybe not strict Paleo, but I. Don't. Care. Cavemen did NOT drink coffee some declare. To this I reply: I am convinced that cavepeople of my ancestral line were roasting beans, crushing them, and pouring hot water over them thousands of years ahead of their time. 

OK, but seriously, I am Paleo because of the benefits I have seen eating this way. My food choices are more about how a food affects me than whether or not a caveman consumed it. Also, generally speaking, I think most people drink coffee on Paleo.

Whether or not coffee itself is Paleo, the things we add to it can be absolutely NOT Paleo. I am definitely known to splurge on a (non-Paleo) Starbucks now and then, but most of the time I prefer to keep my coffee concoctions Paleo. 

This iced-coffee recipe is my new obsession. It's not only delicious, but Paleo-friendly, and only about 50 calories!

1/2 Cup Vanilla Chameleon Cold-Brew
1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze
1 teaspoon Organic Grade B Maple Syrup (optional)

Pour all ingredients over ice and stir.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Do Something Different

I think this was FitBloggin '11?
I love this time of year. Fitbloggin season. While I was unable to attend this year I still loved following everyone's instagram and facebook feeds, but most of all: I love the aftermath.

So many people on fire again. On fire for their blogging, fitness, and general healthy living. On fire for each other and this awesome community. I love watching people connecting and reconnecting with blogging friends. There's so much support, encouragement, and just I-get-you understanding. It's a great atmosphere to be a part of.

I've been perusing post-fitbloggin posts. Fitbloggin recaps as well as many posts on accountability, tough love, new starts, re-committing to their goals...

I love this time of year. It always inspires me to reignite my passion for blogging, fitness, and healthy living as well. 

I've been struggling since finishing the 21 Day Fix. It sort of messed with my mind a little. Brought back a bit of the old obsessive feeling. I took some time off, dealt with some life stuff, back-slid a little, and well? Enough is enough.

Time to do something different.

What I've been doing since finishing Ultimate Booty Workouts is not working for me. I took a hard look at what I have been doing and started searching for something different. I found Kelly Coffey-Meyer's workouts and was impressed. They are just the something different I was looking for!

I reached out to Kelly (something I don't often do these days, that's how smitten I was with the You Tube previews) and she sent me these DVDs.
I'm putting together a 6 week calendar of the 30 Minute to Fitness DVDs, plus some runs, and will start today (no more waiting for Monday to start!). I'll share my workout calendar and 'before' stats next week for anyone interested. My focus will be weights and of course consistency. That is what I've lacked the past few weeks.

As far as my eating goes, it's been OK, but not where it needs to be for me to see the results I want. I contemplated doing a Whole 30 or a 21 Day Sugar Detox, but decided I wanted to try something different here as well. What I need most is, again, consistency. As well as accountability. I'll be keeping it clean Paleo, but my main focus will be on sharing my food choices on instagram more. I think it will be an easy way to keep myself on track and accountable. (Call me out if I start slacking! #justtrollin #tribelove)

I'm excited for something different. Changing things up is always a good thing!

PS Fitbloggin is in DENVER in 2015!! Who's coming to hang out with me??

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Paleo Banana Bread Recipe + A Paleo Baking Essentials Giveaway!

This post is sponsored by Puritan’s Pride.

There is just nothing like the smell of banana bread baking. It smells like home to me! I have such fond childhood memories of my mom’s fresh baked banana bread. She made the. Best. Banana bread. Ever.

When we went Paleo I was pretty apprehensive about tackling a banana bread recipe. I just didn't think I could do it justice. But I missed it, and so I set to work at converting my mom's recipe to being Paleo-friendly.

If I do say so myself: it turned out pretty tasty...

Paleo Banana Bread
2 ½ cups Natural Almond Meal (You want unblanched. Yes, it makes a difference.)
2 Eggs
3 medium, very ripe Bananas
1 Tablespoon Raw Organic Honey
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
Pinch Sea Salt

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 inch bread pan heavily with coconut oil.

Beat the eggs. Next, add in everything but the almond meal and mix with a hand mixer for about a minute, or until smooth and well combined. Stir in the almond meal.

Transfer batter to your greased bread pan and bake for about 55-60 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean).

**If you are a banana nut bread fan (it’s OK, we can still be friends) you can add in a ½ cup chopped walnuts when you stir in the almond meal.

Let me know if you try it!

I know first-hand that Paleo baking can be a challenge when you first start out, but I have found that having the right products in my pantry is key.

Win my favorite Paleo baking essentials from Puritan's Pride!
  One lucky entrant will win:
Organic Ground Ginger
Ground Nutmeg
Coconut Oil
Ground Cloves
Organic Saigon Cinnamon
Organic Cocoa Powder
Natural Almond Meal
Organic Raw Honey
Almond Flour
Vanilla Extract

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 19, 2014

My Thoughts on Beachbody's 21 Day Fix

I must confess: I've never met a Beachbody program I wasn't head over heels in love with. Until now...

The 21 Day Fix was a big thumbs down for me.

I'm not going to share my before and after pics for this program, because you can tell no difference. I lost 2.5 pounds. To be fair it's only 3 weeks. One should not expect miracles for that amount of time (even though it does seem to be marketed that way). I'm perfectly happy with 2.5 pounds. If I chose to stick with this program I could see myself losing a pound a week on it.

But I just don't love it enough to stick with it! I'm honestly glad to be done.

What I loved:

  • The trainer. I really enjoyed Autumn Calabrese as a trainer. 
  • The modifier. Seriously, can we have the modifier of these workouts do a beginner set? Loved her. I would say one upside of these workouts is that they are completely beginner accessible because of the modifications shown.
  • Several of the individual workouts. I loved a couple of the individual workouts (especially the extra DVD Plyo Fix) and can see myself doing them regularly in the future.
  • The focus on building healthy habits. The program is designed to be 3 weeks of building the habits of working out and proper portions. LOVE that.
  • Random, but the way Autumn explained a sumo squat finally clicked for me. I've been doing them slightly wrong!

What I didn't love:

  • The built in commercials. There's a commercial for Shakeology, or their multivitamin at the beginning and end of every workout! You can skip past them (thank goodness), but still annoying. They also display Shakeology and talk about it in most of the workouts. Call me crazy, but if I pay for a workout that's just too much advertising!
  • The way the workouts were scheduled. I hurt my shoulder by day 3. I'm in no way blaming this program for my injury, these things happen. I'm an experienced exerciser, but day 1 you do cardio holding handweights and day 2 is upper body?! I tweaked my shoulder and had to modify the entire rest of the program and it still hurts. Just not a fan of the way the workouts are set out for this program.
  • The lighter weight, higher rep workouts. For most of these workouts you will do reps for 1 minute. I'm just not a fan of these type of workouts in general. It was probably good for me though, to shake things up. However, I prefer to go heavier with weights and lower on reps.
  • The calorie burn for the workouts. Of course everyone is different, but I like to see at least 300-400 calories burnt per workout for workouts of this length. For me these came in at 200-250 most days. In fact, the 400 calorie burn per workout they have you use in your calorie calculations is super high for me. Only in 1 of the workouts did I even top 300 calories burned (and that was the Plyo Fix extra DVD).
  • The food plan. I think it's great in theory, but in practice I hated it. It wasn't enough fat or protein for me and I was hungry and cranky. In fact, even though my calculations set me at just under 1700 calories I found upon tracking days that I often wound up at 1250-1400 calories. It's very easy to come in too low in calories depending on what you fill your containers with. I did not expect to need to count calories/track food on top of this. I wound up adding 1 or 2 proteins and a fat per day. It also turned out to be pretty inconvenient. I just didn't like it.
  • The cost. I really thought it was a decent deal if you bought the challenge pack, but after doing this program I've changed my mind. I definitely would not buy this again.
  • Not 100% related to the program, but the 'faked' before and after pics that are everywhere for this program. They're driving me nuts! I've seen 2 types: 1. The before pic where the person is hunching over and poking their tummy out and then the after pic the person is standing up super straight, shoulders back, and sucking their tummy in. 2. Where the person has clearly done several round to get their results.

I just didn't enjoy the program as a whole. Completely personal preference. It seems like a good solid program and I think it would benefit some people, but I personally just didn't like it.

So, hype or help? I'm going to have to say there's some help in there, but it's layered under a whole lot of hype! Bottom line: there are better programs out there. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Body After Baby Update! 10 Months Postpartum

I wanted to do a quick update for those following along with my Body After Baby series. I'm updating per program now, but wanted to talk more generally about the whole losing the baby weight process for me.

What a process it's been!

3 weeks postpartum
It was very strange being back at the beginning of a weight loss journey again. It was much more taxing mentally and physically than I'd anticipated. "Pffft, I've got this. I've been here before. No big deal!" I thought. Ya, not so much. I found myself battling old demons like negative self-talk and emotional eating. What the?! Oh yes, and sleep deprivation messed with me way more this time around!

With fitness, I must confess: I went in circles the first 7 months post-baby. I'd try the same tough/intense workouts I loved pre-baby (tabata, HIIT, plyo, sprints...) only to realize my fitness level wasn't there yet. Then, I'd get frustrated and quit. Around and around like that I went. 

My eating was always Paleo, but I did terribly with my portion control. Yes, you can eat too much good Paleo food and thwart your fat loss efforts!

Around and around I went. Up a few pounds, down a few pounds. Completely lacking in consistency. 

Finally, I woke up and realized that I needed to do 2 things: 1. take baby steps back with my fitness and 2. focus on consistency

Searching for more beginner level DVDs I fell in love with Leslie Sansone DVDs. I made myself build my fitness level back slowly. I also made myself suck it up and dig out my lighter weights. It was tough! But it was exactly the right thing to do.

7 months postpartum
It took a while to build myself back to the heavy lifting and intense cardio that I love. But it was worth it! All those stops and starts were definitely never going to get me to my goal. 

Once I had a bit of my fitness built back I wanted to feel strong again! I started Ultimate Booty Workouts and focused on being consistent with my workouts and eating. Consistency paid off...

10 months postpartum

So, here I am. Almost 11 months postpartum and I'd hoped to be 'done' by a year postpartum. Ah well, I'll get there...