To Sprout or Not To Sprout?

14 10 2009

Good morning blogosphere! 

Thank you so much to those who shared their own sprouting experiences – I appreciate hearing from all of you! 

Upon reading some of the comments as well as websites discussing the toxins and bacteria potentially in sprouts, I will confess I’m torn. On one hand I hear experts touting sprouts as being the king of nutrients and digestability.  Then at the other end of the spectrum you have experts telling you to pretty much avoid them (especially alfalfa).  And I’ve been eating alfalfa sprouts EVERY day for months now, in smoothies, sandwiches, wraps. 

I feel at this point I’ll continue to eat sprouts in moderation.  I think, at least for me personally, the benefits outweigh the risks.  That may change as I continue to read up on the topic.

Therefore, my sprouting (ad)venture has commenced… but I think this first attempt isn’t going to go all that well.  We’ll see.  Not that I’m trying to send negative vibes out into the universe or anything 😉 I am starting with millet because that is what I happened to have on hand.  Reading into the instructions of sprouting millet, I learned that tray-style works better for this particular grain using 100% cotton cloth above and below it, as I’ve done here.

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The issue I think I will run into is the rinsing and draining.  Once you get little shoots they say to be very careful because they can break easily.  Not sure how I’m going to manage rinsing and draining from this pie plate without moving the little buggers around!  I also read that some of the millet might ferment rather than sprout.  Plus I’m not even sure if what I have is hulled or unhulled millet.  And I’m quickly realizing in this dry climate that my cloth dries out CRAZY-FAST so I think I need something thicker like a washcloth. (Overthink things much, Shari??)  🙂

Time will tell!

What I DO know is that the sprouts I PURCHASE cost me about $1.99… so if I spend too much time on this experiment, I’ll be sticking with store-bought!  🙂

On the subject of millet, I did cook up a big batch of it to keep in the fridge.  So for breakfast yesterday I had a bowl of warm millet with almond milk, some raw honey and raisins.  It was a nice change from oatmeal.

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It made for a perfect post-run meal after a chilly and VERY dark outdoor run.  MSP and I went out for three miles at about 6:20 and it was still pitch black out when we left.  I can be wide awake when I leave the house and then get out into that darkness and it’s like my body floods my system with melatonin because I get really sleepy again until the sun comes up.  Thank goodness for electricity or I’d be sleeping 16 hours a day during winters!

Midmorning I had half of a Cashew Cookie Larabar.  

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I’ve had a small box of Sunshine Falafel ‘burgers’ in my freezer waiting for me to try.  Since I bought a huge tub of roasted red pepper hummus, I decided I’d break out the falafel burger for lunch before the hummus is gone!  (It doesn’t last long in this house!)  I used half of a sandwich thin as the base, with a schmear of hummus topped by a slice of heirloom tomato.   The Sunshine burger acted as the bun lid.  For some reason this picture makes it look like an Egg McMuffin, doesn’t it? 

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It was definitely tasty.  A little drier than I imagined but that worked perfectly for a TOPLESS sandwich!  🙂

And of course, my large salad to go with my meal!

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I spent most of Tuesday glued to the computer, working on and reading about taking my blog self-hosted this weekend.  I needed a snack that would allow me to still type, so just a quick handful of Mary’s Gone Crackers and the rest of the morning’s Larabar.

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I made a hamburger potato casserole for MSP’s dinner which did require a little kitchen time, so when it came time to decide what to make for moi, I wasn’t feeling in the mood to cook anything.  Lazy Girl Dinner would have to suffice.  A can of Amy’s Organic soup.  Folks, let me tell you that these soups are pretty much the reason I have yet to actively seek out recipes for soup.  Amy make’s a kick-a$$ soup!!  Look at how chunky this soup is!  This one was Southwest Vegetable.  Even the little pieces of corn had grill markings on them.  🙂 I will definitely be stocking up on cans of this particular ‘flavor’.  I almost ate both servings, but decided to save some for another meal.  On the side was a piece of toasted Ezekial, with Earth Balance vegan butter and a sprinkle of garlic salt.

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Sometimes cooking is just overrated when you can heat up an insanely quick dinner like this.  🙂

And last, my evening dessert:  in concept I thought this would be such a cute photo.  It SO did not turn out that way.  In my mind I was thinking “banana sushi rolls” with almond butter as my ‘wasabi’.  It didn’t plate up that well though and I got quite a laugh out of it.  For any South Park fans out there, I’ll just say that this picture brought to mind Mr. Hanky and leave it at that!

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It did TASTE great though, with cinnamon, raw honey drizzle and the almond butter.  😉

If you are in the mood for a giveaway, hop on over to The Fitnessista’s blog where you can enter to win free VEGA Sport items.  She will announce the winner on Thursday morning so you have all day today to get your entries in.  You know I love my Vega products, so I’ve used up all of my three ways to enter that contest! 

OK, blog buds I have plenty more to say today but feel like I’ve borrowed enough of your time as it is so I’ll save it for another post!  I’m heading out to get my HIKE ON. 

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Just another reminder for those who may not get to read daily:  FitFeat will be going self-hosted over this coming weekend (provided all goes well when it comes time to ‘flip the switch’!)  If everything goes as planned you should be able to find me at the same address I can be found at now which is www.fitfeat.com.  Currently that redirects you to this wordpress dot com blog location.  Over the weekend it should redirect you to the new location.  If you have any trouble finding the blog or notice something that doesn’t seem right, please email me at shari@fitfeat.com.

— Shari B. =)

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What Does Being Fit Mean to You?

5 10 2009

Happy Monday friends!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend – it went by too quickly as usual! 

As I mentioned yesterday, I was saving the current FitFeature for a weekday since the blog is a little slower on the weekend.   I’d like to start a discussion on what fit means to each of us.  Being fit and aiming for good health is a very personal experience, so I’d love to hear what being fit means to you!  Post your thoughts in the comments section.

My personal definition of “fit” has evolved over the years.  Currently, being fit to me means:

  • Being active most days of the week, doing something I enjoy like running, walking the dogs, hiking or lifting weights.  I no longer participate in any kind of exercise I don’t like “just because that’s what other people do” or because that’s what other people think I should do “because I’m a trainer”. 
  • Eating foods that are healthful and nutrient-rich that taste good to me and are nice to my digestive system.  
  • Not being restrictive for the sake of “dieting”.  I will eat occasional treats, or I’ll have days “off-the-wagon” if that’s what I chose to do.  When I choose not to eat something, it’s because it’s full of processed ingredients or because I know it won’t make me feel good after I eat it (but NOT because “I’m on a diet”.)
  • Regularly feeling energized after a workout instead of completely zapped.  I believe in having energy left over for living life. 
  • Listening to my body.  If it tells me it’s not the right day to push hard, I don’t.  If it tells me that it doesn’t agree with a certain food, I avoid it the next time.
  • Exercising to be injury-free now, and functional in my “golden years”.  I don’t subscribe to the ‘no pain, no gain’ philosophy. 
  • And yes, being fit to me also means staying trim.  Not solely for vanity’s sake. I’ve just learned that when I look good in my clothes, I feel better about myself overall and it does affect my mood.  If I feel uncomfortable in my clothes or in my skin, I’m just not going to feel good.   Period.   

How about you?  What’s important to you on your fitness journey? 

Speaking of … did anyone exercise during football commercials yesterday?  I did!  During the Broncos game, for the first quarter and part of the second.  (Then we got hungry!)

Here are the exercises I chose — most of the commercial breaks were 90 seconds to 2 minutes:

  • Squats to the Couch (or cOUCH squats)  🙂
  • Mod. Pushups / Tricep Dips / Crunches
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Donkey Kicks
  • DB Hammer Curls (biceps)  
  • Static Wall Squat (Can I say BURN here!?)
  • DB Row (lats, 57 reps!)
  • Overhead DB Shoulder Press (72 reps, then switched to side raises!)
  • Plank
  • Calf raises on the stairs

I got a very effective full body workout that primarily hit my slow-twitch (muscular endurance) fibers.  It was surprisingly painful!  🙂  Reminded me of when I used to run outdoor circuit “BOOTY CAMPS”.

Now on to Sunday’s Eats:

I was in the mood for a savory breakfast, so I made scrambled eggs with a side of Ezekial toast (and Earth Balance vegan spread) with a side of goat cheese.  My eyes were bigger than my stomach because I couldn’t finish the eggs.  It was 2 whole eggs + 2 whites, whipped with a pour of MimicCreme.  Toward the end of cooking, I added nutritional yeast flakes to the eggs for some cheese flavor.

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Mid-morning we snacked on some Halloween fare:  CANDY CORN!  I’m starting to get in the mood for fall… but am dismayed to see CHRISTMAS displays already in the stores.  Can’t we get through Halloween first, before we are bombarded with Christmas music?

After my football workout, it was time for some football food:  PIZZA!  This was definitely a winner in the ‘recipe’ department – it turned out SO GOOD, I know I’ll be craving this a lot!  (I’m going to put out a separate blog post so that I can link it to the “Build-A-Meal” tab.  You have to make this one!)

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Alongside my super-healthy pizza I made some crispy kale.  I bought the kale recently to put in my smoothies and salads, then found that I didn’t care for it as much as I thought I might.  Lo and behold, this month in “Woman’s Day” magazine, there was a recipe for crispy kale, which I tweaked a bit to my own taste/liking.  I’ll soon add that recipe to the new “Build-A-Meal” tab as well.  It looks a little scary, but it really tastes great!

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My late afternoon snack was the last of the Immaculate Cookie Co topped with a squirt of chocolate syrup and a spoon of raw organic almond butter.  Scrumptious!

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And then my “Lazy Girl Dinner”:  leftover Amy’s Organics Split Pea Soup, with a big spoon of leftover rice mixed into it.  I wasn’t in the mood to fix a dinner and we were just vegging on the couch by this time.  It was perfect for a slightly chilly evening.

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Well friends, off to tackle the Monday To-Do list which is quite lengthy!  Have a Marvelous Monday and I’ll see ya next time!

And be sure to leave your comment about what being fit means to you!  We’re still aiming for the 30 comments to get the GIVEAWAY going!  (see the right sidebar of the blog!) 

— Shari B.  =)





Chew It Like Your Mama Told Ya!

15 09 2009

Hi friends!

If you’ve been following along with the blog, you know that digestion is a topic near and dear to me when it comes to health and fitness. 

When food doesn’t digest properly, your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs.  If it doesn’t have the nutrients, systems aren’t going to function optimally.  This includes recovering from your training.  And recovery from training is just AS IMPORTANT as the training itself.  Digestion of food begins in the mouth, both from a chemical standpoint and from the signals it sends to the rest of the digestive tract.  You need to give it the time it requires to get this intricate process underway.

Are you a food inhaler?  Do you eat without thinking much about it?  Do you eat when you are in a hurry, like between meetings, in the car, or at your desk?  (If you answered yes to any of these questions, are you also carrying any stubborn pounds that you feel you aren’t able to get rid of?)  

Whether it’s training recovery or weight loss that concerns you more, if you’re ready to get started on the road to better digestion, start following what your mama told ya: Chew your food!

Benefits of thoroughly chewing your food go well beyond better digestion.  It will force you to slow down a bit, think about what you are actually eating, and allow you to be more aware of your hunger signals.  If you consume your food too quickly, chances are you will also take in more calories than you need before your body has the chance to realize satiation.  Not only can this hamper your weight loss efforts, it can even put you on the fast track to weight gain.

Bloating, indigestion, and gas are just a few others on a long list of issues associated with eating too quickly. 

If you’re not sure whether you are chewing enough, start by counting to 30 chews with each bite of food.  Take a bite.  Put down your utensil.  And chew away to 30.  Repeat.  It seems really awkward at first, but it will definitely show you if you’ve been consuming your food too quickly.

So at your very next meal, start counting! Then drop me a comment and let me know how it’s going! 

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On to yesterday’s feats & eats:

Weight Training (Chest/Biceps/Shoulders)

  • TM warmup plus arm swinging, self-hugging and shoulder circles to get the muscles warm!
  • DB Bench Press 4 working sets of 12, 9, 9, 8 reps
  • Tubing Chest Flyes 4 working sets of 15 reps
  • Upright DB Rows 3 working sets of 12 reps
  • EZ Bar Bicep Curls 4 working sets of 12 reps
  • Side Raises 4 working sets of 12, 10, 10, 12 reps
  • External Rotation (rotator cuff) 3 sets of 15, 20, 20 reps

I included a lot of chest stretching between sets. 

The morning just seemed to need the DIVA mug:

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Breakfast was Genesis toast with a drizzle of flaxseed oil and raw honey, with a side of Ezekial cereal crumbs, since that’s apparently all I left in the box from the last time.  If you like “Grape Nuts” try the Ezekial cereal (from sprouted grains).  It’s great with some almond milk (or milk, soy milk, whatever you like) poured in and then heated in the microwave just long enough to soften.  Eating it like cold cereal seems to just be asking for a broken crown…

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No midmorning snack this time.  Breakfast stuck to my ribs pretty well and I was busy, so I had a hefty salad at lunch to make up for no green smoothie!  And a side of veggie lasagna that I am STILL working on eating up after Friday’s dinner!  That turned out to be quite the economical dinner!  I still have one more sliver left!

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My midafternoon snack was almond milk and a scoop of Vega Chocolate — shaken not stirred.  😉

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With a side of bite-sized chocolate:

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Dinner was leftover Thai Lime Shrimp stirfry from my Sunday Whole Foods Adventure.  Holy burn my mouth spicy!  The thai peppers must have had a party in the to-go box overnight because this was crazy spicy reheated.  I’m talkin’  “make your eyes water and face sweat” hot!

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That was the sum of my Monday!  It was a great start to the week:  good intense weight workout and mighty tasty (and healthy) food.  Hope that your week has started off even better! 

Have a GREAT day!  See ya next time!  (And remember to chew your food!)

— Shari B. =)