R.A.C.K. to Christmas!

How’s everyone doing with the squat-a-thon? Feelin’ the burn yet?  I know I am, especially on leg days! I’m a sucker for challenges though so I’m loving it.

Another way that I have challenged myself this December is by doing a R.A.C.K (Random Act of Christmas Kindness) every day as a Christmas countdown! Someday they will invent super clean chocolate advent calendars, but until then I’m just going to go out of my way everyday to do something nice.  It’s been a really fun experience, and it can be incredibly fulfilling to just do something that will make another person feel great during the holiday season.

Now I’m going to challenge you to R.A.C.K. your city in these final days before Christmas!

It doesn’t have to be some grand gesture, I’ve realized that it’s the little things that can really make someone’s day. Some ideas are:

-Donate clothes/toys/canned food to those in need

-Volunteer your time at a homeless shelter, or for a fun run in your community, or the SPCA

-Leave an inspiring note on a random car

-Do your roommate’s dishes (without complaining)

-Bake clean Christmas cookies for your neighbors and give them the recipe!

-Offer to help someone with their groceries

These are just a few of the actions that will take you 5 minutes-tops, but will have a lasting effect on others.  So get in to the Christmas spirit, and remember that it isn’t about the new lifting gloves or protein powder that are waiting under the tree.  It’s about the hope that maybe someday we’ll all be on the nice list;)

While you’re going on a Christmas walk to admire the lights, warm up with this clean peppermint cocoa!

Peppermint Cocoa

photo-1

-1 peppermint tea bag

-1/2 tbs cocoa powder

-2 drops stevia

  1. Fill a mug with hot water and prepare the peppermint tea
  2. Discard the tea bag and add the cocoa powder and stevia

So simple, but so decadent!

Share your squat progress or R.A.C.K. ideas with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (BBBHealthy)

Procrastination is okay if you’re working out right?

Those moments when you’d rather do anything than homework…for me, anything includes lifting, running, stretching, cooking, or eating:)

That’s right about now for me.  I killed my shoulders and abs today, but would do anything to ditch this paper and go for a run!  I haven’t been able to run for a few weeks because I hurt my foot (and because I’m trying to keep my hard earned muscle, not burn it), but am missing it so much.  My runs have been replaced with stairs and speed walking on an incline, woo.

So even though my cardio work at the gym isn’t the most fun, I’m actually enjoying my work in the kitchen.  We all know that the kitchen is where the hardest work goes down.  Sure, I’d love to be able to bench a couple of plates, but I’d much rather have the lifelong strength to PUT DOWN THE COOKIES! So far, I’ve been doing pretty well with it:)  It’s a been a whole week without cheats and I feel awesome.  I love how great eating clean can make you feel.

I’ve been inhaling chicken, brown rice, steamed, veggies, protein powder, and cottage cheese like no other.  Seriously though, I went through 5lbs of chicken this week.  I’m pretty sure that I’m very close to turning in to a chicken, just waiting for that first cluck.  Since I have been trying to spice up my standard diet, I’ve got a new recipe for you!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Shake

-1/2 cup cold coffee

-splash of almond milk

-1 tsp. pumpkin spice

-1 drop of liquid stevia or 1 packet of stevia in the raw

-1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)

  1. Add ice and blend:)

**If you want to make this a meal on the go, add some pureed pumpkin!

What is one type of exercise that you hope you’ll never have to stop doing?

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter:

BBBHealthy

@BBBHealthy

Helpful tools…and a milkshake!

A few months ago, I received an email from SlimKicker.com about trying out a new product.  The website is an interactive way to track EVERYTHING in your life that is related to fitness.  It makes it easy to stick with your personal fitness plan by having a food, exercise, AND challenge log!  I’ve used a few tracking websites, mostly myfitnesspal.com, but I’ve never had such a simple way to manage all aspects of my fitness.  The layout of everything is pretty easy:

At the top there are links for Nutrition, Body, Challenges, Groups, Friends, and Blog.  So you can also use the site for social media and blogging! I wish I would have known about this earlier because it’s a great way to build a network for your blog.  I don’t usually enter what I eat everyday because I don’t really change my macros.  I just enter everything that I plan to eat for an entire week and use it as a reference.  So once a week, it’s very helpful!  The challenge section is my favorite because you can choose goals that others have submitted or ones that you create yourself.  Right now, my goal is to do a bodyweight exercise a day.  I just started using it, and already I can see that 14% closer to completing my goals! I’ve been doing push-ups like crazy. I even have a little motivational picture to keep me going!  I’m staying strictly clean for the next few months except for 3 or so planned indulgences on holidays.

SlimKicker is planning on launching a physical tracker early next year.  It will be similar to a FitBit and will track activity along with a mobile app to track nutrition.  I’m really excited to receive the tracker, but for now I’ll just utilize the website for all of my fitness needs!  I suggest that you try it out, and add me as a friend, BBBHealthy of course:)

If you follow me on Instagram, @BBBHealthy, then you would have seen my #plantPOWER Chocolate Power Shake!  I love that it’s protein powder free.  It’s perfect for an easy, nutrient-packed snack.

Chocolate Power Shake

-1/2 cup greek yogurt

-1 cup chopped, frozen spinach

-1 tbs. cocoa powder

-1tbs. natural peanut butter

-a couple drops of stevia

-ice

  1. Blend everything together and add ice until it’s the desired consistency!
  2. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or unsweetened coconut

I’ll be posting a dinner recipe tomorrow!

A Teeny, Tiny Confession

I’m postponing Insanity. I know, I said that I wasn’t a quitter, but I realized that it’s just not the right time for me to dive in to this program.  Logistically,

-I live in the top floor of my building so I can’t be bouncing around all the time

-I’m already paying for a gym membership through my tuition

And I also had a mini-revelation:

I LOVE lifting weights.  I say it all of the time, but it really is just so much fun to me.  I remembered a post I did during the summer, you can read it here, where I listed everything that I love about this lifestyle.  Reading over those reasons really got me motivated, and reminded me how at home I feel at the gym.  It’s my happy place and I am not ready to go without it for 60 whole days!  So for now, I’ll be pushing back my Insanity start date until June (so I don’t have to buy a summer gym membership), and I want you to hold me to that!

I feel a little bad for only completing one day, but I don’t regret it at all!  I was so happy to put on my gloves and pick up a dumbbell!  I’m going to do Jamie Eason’s 12 week fat burning program (I’m a program freak) with my mom.  It seems like I’ve learned a lot about building muscle, and I’m excited to learn how to lean out safely so that I keep my muscle!

I’ll keep you updated:)  Let me know if you’re doing any type of exercise plan!

Also, if you follow me on Instagram @BBBhealthy, you would have seen my post about the best sandwich ever! I promised you the recipe, and here it is:

Cinnamon Apple Melt

-2 pieces of Ezekial or whole grain bread

-1 tbs. natural peanut butter

-1/2 of a medium apple

-cinnamon

  1. Cut the apple in to cubes and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste
  2. Microwave the apples for about 30 seconds, or until warm and soft
  3. Spread the peanut butter on the bread and lightly toast
  4. Top the pb bread with apples and enjoy!

I’m a cinnamon addict so i also put a little on the bread before toasting:)

Have a great weekend! I’ll be back on Monday probably.  I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon on Sunday, wish me luck!

August Foodie Pen Pal

If you haven’t signed up for Foodie Pen Pals with The Lean Green Bean then you are CRAZY.  With over 1,000 participants, I have no doubt that you’re going to get some awesome food while being introduced to some awesome people.  This month I sent a package to Amanda at http://www.semihealthyblog.com/ and received THE BEST PACKAGE EVER from Valerie at http://www.thatswhatwedid.com/.  I think they just get better and better every month though:)  Check out one of her many blogs!  She’s into some bada$$ workouts right now that are pretty interesting:)

Valerie was nice enough to accommodate my super clean eating habits, and also sent along a couple of treats for which I am VERY thankful for:)

1. Roasted Plantain Chips and Local Hot & Spicy Peanut Butter

It took all of my willpower to not rip open that bag of chips and dip them in the peanut butter!  I’ve mentioned quite a bit on here that I’m sort of obsessed with peanut butter, but this stuff is like Pad Thai (another one of my food love affairs) in a jar.  It’s PURE GENIUS.  By the way, plantain chips are even better than potato chips:)  I don’t remember the last time I ate a chip, but I know the next time will be one of those babies!

2. Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute

This little jar packs a ton of citrus-y punch, with no salt!  I seasoned some salmon with and it was the perfect complement to lemon-steamed veggies:)  I’m always looking for new, clean spices and this one is a hit!

3. Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper

I made some classic lemon chicken with this the other day.  My dad used to make it all the time when I was a kid, and this sparked the memory!  Valerie is really helping me build up my spice cabinet:)

4. Zico Coconut Water

So I have to say that I’ve never really been a fan of coconut water, but I realized that I’ve only tried the flavored kinds.  Natural is so refreshing!!  It’s perfect for rehydrating after an intense workout.

5. Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar

This stuff is so good!  I’ve been making a dressing using it, just mix:

1 tsp pomegranate balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup greek yogurt

3 drops liquid stevia

juice of one lime

It’s perfect on spinach salad loaded with fresh veggies:)

6. Freeze Dried Blueberries

Trader Joe’s really is a miracle.  Freeze dried fruit doesn’t taste as sickly sweet as dried fruit and is crunchy so I’ve been putting a palmful on my salad!  It gives that little extra texture and flavor so I don’t get boring eating the same thing every day for a week:)

And it was all wrapped up in a cute little summer towel and accompanied by a very nice card!  Don’t you want to get a box full of awesome next month?  Read the rules below and go check out Lindsey’s blog, maybe we’ll get paired up!!:)

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your pen pal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your pen pal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your pen pal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

I’m BACK!

Hello Everyone!

I’m finally back to my blogging ways:)  It’s been a real rough August. I tried to make her my b*tch, but she just wasn’t having it!  Unfortunately, a few major events got in the way of Operation Hot Body Challenge:( I didn’t cheat though! I just couldn’t follow my plan exactly.  It was New Student Orientation at my school (and that’s a BIG deal in my life) so I had to survive on a lot of granola bars to get through the 14 hour days.  It wasn’t an ideal situation and I knew that OPHBC had already gone down the toilet, so I allowed myself a couple treats while I was on vacation with my family last weekend.  We all have our weak points!  Mine happens to be large quantities of fruit (fresh picked California grapes!) and Trader Joe’s gorgonzola crackers:)

I started this week off strong though and I’m trying to lean out like I did at the beginning of the summer.  This means more cardio (or just actually doing it, whoops) and a little nutrition tweaking! Yay!  I’m not totally sure how I want to go about changing my diet, but I’m going to change a couple of things and see what works for me.  This week I’ve introduced more sweet potatoes and even MORE veggies, instead carbing up with oats or Ezekiel bread.  I’ll let you know how it goes!  Maybe I’ll just post a picture of my six-pack…HA, someday right??

With all the exceptions that I’ve had to make, I’m definitely not progressing like I’d hoped.  It’s a little disheartening, but it really just encourages me to work that much harder at the gym!  As for in the kitchen, I’ve been enjoying a ton of delicious and nutritious meals as always:)

Like this oven baked citrus salmon with steamed veggies….

And my new favorite bedtime snack: chocolate omelette topped with greek yogurt and a little natural peanut butter…

So easy to make! Just pop it in the microwave:)

I also want to say thanks to everyone who reads this blog!  It’s been great hearing from people that they actually enjoy it, and are motivated to do SOMETHING to change their lifestyle.  The next step is just actually doing it!

July Foodie Pen Pal

WOW.  I cannot believe that July is already over.  At the beginning of the month, I saw a picture that said, “Make July your b*tch.”  Though I haven’t been the cleanest or strictest with my diet, I do feel that July was mine.  I enjoyed every last bit of my summer in DC, right down to the last bite of burger or delicious homemade oatmeal cookie, and I don’t regret a second of it! It’s great not feeling the guilt that I used to associate with eating something that may not be the healthiest.  I don’t feel anxiety when I can’t get to the gym and I don’t think the world is going to end if I eat a piece of cake.  I really think it’s important to indulge and have those off-meals because nobody is perfect.  I know that it’s hindering my progress, but I’m also really happy with the progress I’ve made and where I’m at right now.  I’m so ready to keep pushing myself harder once I get back in to my routine though! Just because I’m not at the gym doesn’t mean I don’t miss it!

It’s important to decide whether or not your goals allow for little cheats like I’ve taken.  I know that once I get back to my diet and exercise plan that I’ll be on my way to reaching my goals.  I’m not afraid of falling completely off the wagon; I’m just stopping it for a little bit!  If you’re the kind of person who can’t limit yourself to just a one cookie, then you should definitely assess your own choices when it comes to off-meals.

The end of the month also means that it’s Foodie Pen Pal time!  My June Foodie Pen Pals were Jocelyn and Judy.  Check out what I sent at Jocelyn at her blog: Peace Love Nutrition.  Judy sent me some unique items, from her hometown in Oklahoma, that are also clean!  I was so excited to see local brands in the box, and Judy actually knew some of the owners.

-Taboli Salad Mix: This bag of dehydrated bulgar, parsley, and onions doesn’t look like much, but it seems to be one of the best kept Oklahoma secrets to me!  A restaurant in Bristow, OK sells these bags of their taboli salad to mix with fresh vegetables.  Tabbouleh is one of my favorite Mediterranean dishes and I’m so excited to try this super healthy carb!

-Nature’s Bakery Whole Wheat Peach Apricot Fig Bar: I am a super fan of Fig Newton’s so this was a perfect on-the-go snack for me:)  The short list of natural ingredients was very exciting because it’s hard to find bars that actually taste good and are clean without making them yourself.

-Whole Foods Parmesan Crisps:  Okay, I may have had a small bingefest with these on my last night in Virginia, but at least they are clean!  I’ve made Parmesan crisps at home before (it’s SO easy and they look so fancy to me!), but mine are never this thick and crispy.  We were sure that there had to be some bread crumbs or something involved in these, but after checking the ingredients we were surprised to just see good ol’ cheese on there!  Whole Foods never failsJ

-Eden Organic Wild Berry Mix: I have to admit that I was kind of worried about this.  Only because I am a HUGE lover of trail mix and can tend to go a bit overboard at times.  I’m also trying to cut down on sugar, and dried fruit packs a lot of sugar in a little tiny piece.  However, not only has my will power increased, but this stuff is awesome!  It’s not too sweet and just a palm full gives me that little boost of energy I need on my way home from work.

-The Prairie Gypsies Blackberry Sage Jelly:  Haven’t had a chance to try this yet, but anything with fruit and herbs sounds good to meJ

I hope you all made July your b*tch and are ready for August!

What I Ate Wednesday

This week has been absolutely CRAZY at work.  So crazy, that I actually missed a meal yesterday!  It was just awful.  I went immediately in to b*tch mode, of course, and scrambled to find something to eat in the empty cafeteria.   In addition to running around at work, I’m on Week 5 of James Wilson’s Body Earned Program and it is killer!  My whole body feels tired all of the time.  The upside of this week is that I got to see Wilco last night. I hadn’t really listened to them before, but it was still a great show and I’m going to be downloading their stuff soon!

For breakfast I had the usual: Egg whites with genesis toast on the way to the bus stop in my red solo cup!  Today’s variation was summer squash and cherry tomatoes:)

Meal 2 was a little tweaked because I just got a new protein powder and needed to increase my carbs! My MRM Dutch Chocolate came yesterday so I had cottage cheese with the MRM, a quarter of an overripe banana (ew), and another piece of toast!

Meal 3 has been my favorite every day this week:)  The cafeteria has a little pre-made tray of a mixed green salad with no dressing (I squeeze a lemon on top), smoked salmon with capers, potato salad, and a brownie.  I toss the potato salad and brownie to add a hard boiled egg+one hardboiled egg white and brown rice sesame chips!  Smoked salmon is my new obsession so I’ve been pretty stoked!

Meal 4 is boring old grilled chicken with a little feta thrown on top, the rest of the gross banana, and a tbs. of pb2!

For Meal 5 I made Little B’s coconut chicken with a side of squash, bell pepper, and onion sauteed in a little olive oil 🙂  It was so great!  I’d definitely try the recipe if I were you, you can find it in her notes here.

Meal 6 is probably going to be a cottage cheese/protein powder shake because it is SO HOT:)

Let me know what you ate on this lovely Wednesday!

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.

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.