June Foodie Pen Pal!

So Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean has this awesome program called Foodie Pen Pals.  When you submit your information she randomly pairs you with one of the 1,000 participants to become Foodie Pen Pals for the month.  It’s a way to introduce some of your favorite foods to others and, in turn, be introduced to the favorite foods of others! Basically, you just send and receive a food care package every month.  My mom is pretty against the whole concept because she thinks I’ll be murdered or something, but getting a box of cool stuff once a month is SO worth it!  This was my second month participating, and I have to give a huge thank you to @cjwoodard from Wild One the Third for my incredible box of treats 🙂 Everyone is really awesome about considering different dietary needs and preferences.  I told Cindy that I eat clean and she sent me some delicious new snacks that I’ve never tried and probably wouldn’t have treated myself to.

YUM!

Tomato Basil Rice Cakes are my new favorite! I’ve always preferred sweet over savory, but these were so flavorful that it really made the rice cakes much more enjoyable without having to add anything extra.  They really came in handy when we went on a spontaneous beach trip and I needed healthy carbs for the road!

Salsa Fresca RiceWorks Chips are gluten-free, whole-grain, brown-rice chips that don’t taste like cardboard at all! I know you were thinking it 🙂  I’ve never seen this brand before, and I’ve been taking them to work for my afternoon snack of a healthy carb and the lime chicken that’s served!

Rhythm Superfoods Zesty Nacho Kale Chips are the perfect Dorito substitute! I’ve never really been a big chip eater so I haven’t eaten chips in a LONG time, but now that I’ve been introduced to these I am so in!  I’ve made my own kale chips before, but it’s really difficult to get them perfectly crispy without scorching them.  These are also vegan and gluten-free 🙂

-I was so excited to see Santa Cruz Organic Fruit Spread in my box!  Their juices are awesome and it’s actually somewhat-kinda-sorta-ish local for me 🙂  I’ve mostly used it in pb&j overnight oats and to brighten up my first powercake that I made last night.  It’s great to use post-workout when I actually want some sugar.

-The yogurt raisins have become my guilty pleasure! Every afternoon at work, things get slow and I just need a palmful of almonds to keep me going.  Adding just 2 or 3 of the yogurt raisins makes this little pick-me-up more exciting!

-The two bars that Cindy sent, Kashi Dark Mocha Almond and Nature Valley Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate both saved me when I was unable to get a meal!  I stuck them both in my purse right away because sometimes you just need a little more than some almonds to tide you over.  I don’t know how she knew about my love for peanut butter AND dark chocolate, but these were both so delicious!

-And of course, the Chocolove bar.  Long story short: I had a bad day, ate the whole thing, and it was freaking great.  Just because I don’t plan off-meals doesn’t mean I don’t have them 🙂

I encourage you to check out Lindsay’s blog and sign up for Foodie Pen Pals!  I have few loves in this world, one of them being seemingly free “sh*t”.  Ensuring that you get a “free” box of gourmet food at your door every month is  kind of better than EBT, in my opinion.  Obamacare is out, BBB 2012.

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PB & Banana Ice Cream

The best part about discovering clean eating and working out correctly is that you get to eat, A LOT.  I spent years trying to eat “healthy” , when really all I was doing was keeping my body in starvation mode.  Being ever so dedicated to keeping me alive, my body would then hang on to any fat I had to sustain itself.  Realizing that your body needs a large amount of nutritious foods is the first step.  Isn’t it great to get quality AND quantity? 🙂 Typically, people think that all I eat is boiled chicken and steamed broccoli.  While I would  never turn down a big plate of broccoli, my diet is actually pretty flavorful and quite exciting!  I’m definitely someone who can go weeks eating the same thing every single day, but lately I’ve been trying to spice up my menus to keep myself from veering off my plan.

When eating clean, it’s important to be aware of how food is prepared.  This way of cooking and eating is simple and most often involves minimal ingredients that carry a lot of flavor.  That’s why it’s so easy to stick with it!  Some random staples that I have come to use almost daily are:

Cinnamon

Don’t underestimate this spice!  I’m kind of a cinnamon freak and throw it on everything from overnight oats to toast to protein shakes to chicken.  I try to make it pretty versatile:)  Cinnamon can also lower your blood sugar and is a great antioxidant.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

This stuff is AWESOME.  I recently started using it to sauté veggies and once to fry up some clean chicken fried steak (recipe here).  It gives whatever you’re making a sort of nutty-sweet flavor.  Olive oil is still a great choice, but the benefit of coconut oil is that a little bit of it goes a long way so you don’t have to use as much of it.

PB2

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am addicted to peanut butter.  I’m not proud of it (okay maybe a little bit), but I do absolutely love natural peanut butter.  I’ve been known to grab a tablespoon or two from the cafeteria at my school and eat it straight with a little jam:) Fortunately for PB freaks like me, there is PB2!! At the height of modernization, man has finally invented a low cal/low fat peanut butter option.  The cool part is that it’s powdered so it’s easily added in to shakes or oatmeal or anything to peanut butter-ize it!

Whole Flaxseeds

I first looked in to flaxseeds when I was a vegetarian and didn’t want to cave in to taking fish oil pills.  Flax oil seemed like a better option, but I wanted to try the whole foods version first.  Now, I love sprinkling a tsp or two on to salads, eggs, sandwiches, or in recipes that don’t require cooking.  Cooking the flaxseeds diminishes the nutrients and that would be kind of pointless.

There are obviously a ton more that my fridge has to be stocked with weekly-egg whites, almond milk, oats, spinach, lean chicken, ezekial bread, and of course lots of fresh veggies!

One of the new components of the program that I just started is a late night meal, about 30 minutes before I go to sleep.  Since I work out in the morning, I try to avoid carbs later in the day which rules out my very favorite: overnight oats:(  If I had to eat one meal for the rest of my life, it would definitely be peanut butter overnight oats!  Anyways, I’ve been trying to make different variations of protein ice cream (since the whey protein that I use has more carbs than I need), and finally found a winner!  It involves cottage cheese and I usually have to balance out the disgusting flavor/texture of cottage cheese with whey so I was a bit skeptical.  It turned out great, however, and you don’t even know it’s protein packed from the cottage cheese!

Peanut Butter and Banana Ice Cream

Makes 1 serving:

1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese

1/2 of one small banana, sliced

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 packet of Stevia

1/2 Tbs. of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbs. PB2 or Natural Peanut butter

The makings of a delicious nighttime snack!

  1. In a blender combine the cottage cheese, banana, vanilla extract, and almond milk until the cottage cheese is smooth.
  2. Then add the Stevia, cocoa, and PB and blend until smooth.
  3. Freeze for 1-2 hours, stirring every half hour to make it creamier.
  4. Heat an extra Tbs. of natural peanut butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds and drizzle over ice cream once frozen.

I know it’s not chocolate cake or a banana split, but trust me you will enjoy it! For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the kid with the insatiable sweet tooth.  I really don’t think I’ve ever uttered the words “that’s too sweet” or “that’s too rich”.  So if I, the Queen of Sugar, can do this then so can you.

MY Rules

These basic principles of eating clean and maintaining health and fitness with confidence are called MY Rules* because they are ones that align with my lifestyle and goals.  They are pretty general, but if one of them doesn’t seem applicable to your life then don’t feel as if you need to rearrange everything just to stick to these.  That being said, you won’t see changes in yourself without altering your daily life.  You’ll do anything to look like a Victoria Secret model huh?  ANYTHING, except eat healthy and exercise.

1. Food is FUEL

Want to gain muscle? EAT. Want to lose fat? EAT.  Okay so it’s not as simple as that, but the point is that in order to be a healthy and active person, you need to eat!  It’s really easy to have a bad relationship with food in general.  Before learning about clean eating, I felt like I was the Bachelorette and food kind of just hung around for most of the season because it was hot and had a cool job, but I didn’t really want it on my journey.Food is energy so that when you’re lifting big and tearing your muscles, you have the nutrients to build them back even bigger!  Eating a balanced, CLEAN diet is what is really going to give you that six-pack. As annoying as it is, abs really are “made in the kitchen” with success being 80% nutrition and 20% exercise.  I love eating and lifting, so if I’d could just sit around with a bowl of buttercream frosting all day or, even better, do some curls with the massive bowl I would be one happy camper.  Since that isn’t really the best option, I’ve decided to live my life according to a few simple guidelines regarding food (okay more than a few, but I can’t share all of my secrets yet).

-Eat every 2-3 hours, six times a day, and include a protein, complex carb, and a healthy fat.

-Have a pre- and post-workout meal!  You want to fuel that workout right?  I’d just LOVE to see you drive a car on empty.  (You’re not a hybrid)

-Don’t skip meals! Depriving your body of nutrients is just going to piss it off, and there will be no mercy.

-Follow the “5 ingredient or less” rule.  Choose whole foods instead of over-processed junk, and if you can’t pronounce the ingredients then it probably isn’t the best choice (unless it’s keen-wah 😉 ).

-Go organic!  I’ll admit that I don’t always buy organic when I should, I’m just a bit too cheap still being a struggling college student and all.

Here are some awesome websites if you want to learn more about Eating Clean:

http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/

http://www.eatcleandiet.com/

http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/what-is-clean-eating/  <–a real person who successfully makes clean, delicious meals for her family!

2.Plan, Plan, Plan!

Living the fit life isn’t the easiest thing to do.  It takes a lot of time, effort, and preparation to be ready to eat six meals with enough calories to get you through the day.  I have a love/mostly hate relationship with inspirational quotes, but one that runs through my mind every day is:
 “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Cheesy, but when you’re starving at 3pm wondering what to eat, you won’t be laughing at my little sayings!  I try to prepare all my meals for the week on Sunday night, and then have everything ready the nights before weekdays so I don’t have to think about putting it all together.  So what if you’re the weirdo whipping out a Tupperware (or worse, Ziploc as I’ve been known to do) of chicken and sweet potatoes?  At least you’re prepared!  I ALWAYS carry a bag of almonds in my purse or backpack, just in just in case of a healthy fat emergency.

Travel Almonds!



3. Exercise Smart
If you are one of those people who walks in to the gym, hits the recumbent bike for 40 minutes, uses the hip abductor/adductor machines, busts out some crunches, and  leaves without wiping off any of those often unused machines then I am shaking my head at you.  Hard.  Of course, this is a judgment-free environment so go ahead with your “plan” if you want to continue not seeing results.  If you’re serious about being a fit and healthy person then make sure you are actually exercising in a way that helps your body, not just being active in a way that tires you out and makes you sore.  Training smarter, not harder is the key to a strong body.  If weight training isn’t your thing, then try something different!  You wouldn’t  expect to get a good workout from doing yoga if you didn’t know any sun salutations, so why would you walk in to a gym if you didn’t know any exercises?  Educate yourself on what YOU need and stick with it!
I realize that this is a lot of info that I’ve hurled at you, but hopefully you find a way to do something with it and start planning for tomorrow:)
*I’m not a professional and this is all information that I’ve gathered on my own and through my experiences so far.

Hello, finally!

Hi! My name is BBB and I am a clean-eating, gym-going, fitness enthusiast.  Fitness is constantly on my mind and I love sharing new things that I find with others, so I’m going to try to keep up with this.  Thanks for reading!

I’ve always been pretty active, as a dancer and gym rat, but never really saw any progress with my fitness.  I’ve had goals to be able to do a perfect push-up, pull-up, dip; and I’ve never been able to reach them.  I’d go to the gym, use a couple of the machines that targeted my problem areas, and then run for miles.  I also gained the dreaded Freshman Fifteen when I went to college and became a little too obsessed with the gym and running.  I loved working out, but wasn’t getting the results that I was looking for and I could tell that my health was starting to suffer from not eating well enough.

Around the same time that I began to realize I needed a change, a friend of mine competed in a figure competition. I’ve always been intimidated by the sculpted look of bodybuilder and fitness competitors, but she looked completely normal and quite awesome! After doing some research (okay, I used “find a plan” on bodybuilding.com) I decided to start Jamie Eason’s Live Fit program and I’ve never looked back!

This is me just doing my daily fire jump

I’ve followed the program pretty strictly and the results have been incredible.  Using the tools on the website, I figured out that I ate about half the amount of calories that I need just to get through the day! Also, I was a vegetarian so almost none of it was protein.  I recently finished Jamie’s program, and have just started James Wilson’s Body Earned Program.  I really feel that all my hard work has paid off and showed, and am excited to keep going!  I used to think that once I had my ideal body, that everything would be downhill from there.  Now I know that it’s an endless journey of protein powder, eating clean, and ass-kicking workouts! I’ll be sharing clean recipes, my favorite workouts, and tips that I’ve picked up along the way.  Let me make the diet fumbles and break the secret gym code so that I can help you stay on the right track.  We all know one wrong move at the gym can feel like a world of embarrassment, so allow me to take care of that for you 🙂   I can’t think of a better way to live my life and I hope you’ll be able to see the benefits of this lifestyle too.