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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A Tool to Stretch Your Produce Dollar

8 10 2009

The “dreary” is upon us in Colorado today!  I am so grateful that we had a beautiful day yesterday because I really did get outside to enjoy it and store up some extra Vitamin D. 😉 It may be a number of days before I see sunshine again!  33 degrees and rainy out now, no blue to be seen anywhere – only gray!

But the good news is:  It’s FRIDAY-EVE!!  And it will be great weather for ‘must see TV’ night on NBC.  It’s the big wedding on The Office tonight – Jim and Pam!  Think it will actually happen, or will something stand in their way yet again?  🙂

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Today I wanted to share with you another of my favorite kitchen ‘tools’:  my FridgeSmart Tupperware containers.  (And no I’m not a Tupperware lady – so I’m not trying to sell you anything!)  😉  

These containers have paid for themselves many times over (I’ve had them for about 7 years.)  Since I am essentially the only one in my household that eats a large amount of veggies regularly, I need a way to make my produce last long enough for me to eat it – especially when buying things in bulk saves money.

The containers have ridges on the bottom to keep allow the moisture to collect and keep the produce lifted away from that moisture. 

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They also have little air buttons on the front that you can adjust for high/medium/low moisture.

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This chart that comes with it shows which produce needs which buttons opened for maximum freshness. 

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I don’t think you want to know how long I’ve been able to keep spinach, celery and broccoli ‘alive’ in these containers before.  It might gross you out.  🙂 (Sometimes 3+ weeks!) I realize that the longer I keep my produce, the less nutritional value they have.  But when we are all shopping on tight budgets, I have to make the money I do spend on produce stretch as much as possible.  Having to throw out bad produce on trash day just kills me. 

Do you have any special tricks or tools that you use to prolong your produce?  Please share in the comments section so we can learn from each others’ experiences.

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On to Wednesday feats and eats…

My Wednesday smoothie was extra-green tasting!  I guess I didn’t get as much fruit in there as usual.  Plus I added a new-to-me sprout.  This mix had:  mung bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, celery, spinach, 10 pineapple chunks and half a banana.  It smelled like fresh-cut grass, which was fitting since Wednesday is my YARDIO day!

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I’ll be out of my wrap-rut for a bit because I am out of tortillas… so instead I used whole wheat “sandwich thins” (which are kind of like a ‘thin crust hamburger bun’) with Tofutti spread, pepitas, mung bean sprouts, spicy mustard, tomato, cucumber with a sprinkle of pepper:

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On the side, I ate leftovers from Tuesday night’s Pesto Gnocchi w/ Veggies.  I ate it cold like a pasta salad and it was even better than it was WARM!  I think I’ve found a new dish!

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Shortly after lunch, I decided to go get in a mini-hike.  Just a quick 30 minutes in the area they consider “the backcountry” by my house.  Just look at the sky!  So blue.  It was breezy and around 70.  Perfect! 

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And to make it an even MORE perfect afternoon, I added a tall soy chai latte to the mix…

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 With a side of Larabar…. the one that tastes like a brownie to me.  Can healthy eating get any yummier?  I think not!  🙂

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Dinner was random.  In my continued quest to eat ‘new-to-me’ veggies, I purchased some golden beets.  But I just could not make up my mind what to eat them with.  So I just roasted them and ate them with a side of green beans.  Having only ever had pickled beets before, I must say I do like beets this way too! 

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Beets-n-beans alone weren’t enough to fill me for the night, so later I had “dessert” which was a decaf coffee and 1/2 of a Jocalat Larabar (Chocolate Orange flavor).  This bar has some INTENSE orange flavor, like an orange peel or maybe an orange liqueur.  A little of this bar goes a long way.  I cut the half-bar into pieces & put it on a wasabi dish… we eat with our eyes!!  If it looks fancy, it will taste fancy, right?  

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Movement for the day was the aforementioned yardio and hiking, along with a Lower Body weight training session full of lunges and squats.  🙂  I think a rest day may be on tap for this cold Thursday – we’ll see!

Have a TERRIFIC Thursday!  See you again soon!

–Shari B. =)





Sippin’ for the Cure

6 10 2009

Ahhh I’m soaking up the sunshine today after a very dreary Monday.  The sky is SO blue today!

Monday started with a solid upper body workout that I’m definitely feeling today!

Weight Training (Chest/Back/Shoulders):

  • TM Warmup 5 minutes, arm circles for some blood flow
  • DB Chest Press/Flye Combo (incline) 4 working sets of 12+12, 12+12, 10+8, 12+12 reps per set
  • DB Row (face down on incline bench) 4 working sets of 15, 15, 15, 12 reps
  • DB Pullovers on Ball 4 working sets of 15, 8, 15, 12 reps
  • Overhead Shoulder Press 4 working sets of 15, 14, 8, 7 reps
  • Rear Delt DB Flyes on Ball 3 sets of 15, 15, 12 reps
  • Chest Stretching for a few minutes at the end

My bis and tris got some love on Sunday so I didn’t work them again this time.

Then I had to run to the kitchen to take care of my craving!  Green smoothie time!!  First the basics:  water, spinach, cucumber, celery, sprouts.  Then the accessories:  pineapple & cantaloupe, plus some hemp oil and vanilla rice protein powder. I usually buy flaxseed oil, but decided to switch it up this time and try the hemp oil.  It’s pretty darn good!  And a very pretty green!

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I bought some pineapple to add in to my smoothies for this week because I’ve been quite the klutz lately and have little bruises to show for it!  When that happens I bust out the pineapple juice and chunks for some extra BROMELAIN.  🙂

Mid-morning and it was still chilly, so some tea was in order with my Pecan Pie Larabar.  And in honor of it being October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, I used my “Sip for the Cure” Pink Grapefruit Green Tea.

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Lunchtime was quite the assortment of veggies!   Greek-ish salad (spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, zucchini ribbons, Greek vinaigrette) with a few slivers of goat cheese and Mary’s Gone Crackers on the side.  Then in the Mickey-Mouse ears of this photo, we have leftover mashed fauxtatoes (mmmm warm and comforty on a cold day) and the rest of my tasty kale chips!  It was GREAT lunch!
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By mid-afternoon, I was chilled to the bone. It was in the 40s and raining (brrr.)  I decided to warm up with some heaven-in-a-bowl (oatmeal!) topped with raisins, almond milk and slivered almonds. 

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For some reason that didn’t fill me up (I really think I’m hungrier when I am cold…) so I sliced half a banana into my bowl with a small smear of almond butter and a squeeze of raw local honey.  

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Adding the banana definitely worked because then when dinnertime came around, I just wasn’t that hungry.  MSP had a grilled white cheddar cheese sandwich dipped in tomato soup, and I had to have another pita pizza because it totally rocks!!

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A few pieces of candy corn for dessert and that was the end of the Monday eats!

So today’s question, since it is Breast Cancer Awareness month:  Have you ever participated in a Race for the Cure or an Avon Walk for the Cure?   I have been lucky enough to participate in both.  Denver has a great turnout for the Race for the Cure, which just took place this past Sunday. There were almost 54,000 participants!   (Go Denver!)  A few years back, a good friend and I also did the 39 mile Avon Walk for the Cure.  What an empowering and uplifting event!  It was so well-organized and you just felt an overwhelming  sense of camaraderie with everyone!  Tell us about YOUR race or walk experience in the comments section!

Have a great rest of your Tuesday friends!  See you next time!

— Shari B. =)





Kale Yeah!

6 10 2009

Good morning!  The sun is shining today which means I’m in a BUENO mood!  (I’ve decided I really do run on solar power…)  It’s chilly, but I’ll take it as long as I get my Vitamin D fix 😉

I wanted to get the ‘recipe’ out here for you all on how I made the crispy kale because it was AWESOME and is an EXCELLENT way to get even more greens into your day.

As I’d mentioned, I purchased some kale to put into my green smoothies and salads.  While I used to really like kale in my salads, something must have changed in my tastebuds because I picked all around it the other night.  I recently received a gift subscription to Woman’s Day magazine, and happened across this blurb in the November issue (which I’d gladly link to if they’d have the recipe on their site, but as of yet I can’t find it.) 

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Their recipe was my initial inspiration (using just olive oil and some kosher salt) but I wanted to take it up a notch.  So here’s how I TWEAKED mine:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Wash and pluck all the leaves off of a full ‘bunch’ of kale and allow to drain/dry well.   Make the pieces small (the bigger the leaves, the more ‘chewy’ they are after baking so next time I’ll definitely be making my leaves all small.)
  • To a one gallon ziploc bag, I added about 1/2 a tbsp of olive oil, a couple shakes of garlic salt and a small palmful of grated parmesan cheese.   Then I added the kale and gave the bag a good long shimmy & shake!

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  • I put down a piece of parchment on my baking sheet (again, I’m a lazy cook and like a FAST cleanup) and spread the coated kale pieces all around.

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  • Bake for about 15 minutes (check them often – there is a fine line between crispy kale and charred kale)  🙂
  • Put in a bowl and devour

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I’ll be back later with the Monday Feats & Eats recap!  Hope your morning is off to a great start!

— Shari B. =)





Pick Your Pizza

5 10 2009

As promised in my earlier blog post today, here are the ‘assembly instructions’ for building a super-fast, super-tasty, super-healthy Personal Pita Pizza!  For this recipe, I’m rolling with a Mediterranean/vegetarian feel on mine, while for MSP likes a BBQ Chicken flavor. 

Start with whole wheat pita bread.  I chose Food for Life 7 grain.

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I prefer a thinner crust, so I slice mine through the middle into two circles.  (MSP prefers his ‘crust’ a bit thicker so for his I use a whole pita pocket).

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheet with parchment paper if you like easy clean up as I do.  🙂

My veggie pizzas are on the right, MSP’s meaty ones are on the left.  I smear mine with extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic.  MSP’s side shows a layer of BBQ sauce, a layer of 2% Italian Three Cheese, and shredded rotisserie chicken. 

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Next on my vegetarian side, I sprinkled a coating of nutritional yeast and then added thin slices of heirloom tomatoes.  MSP’s assembly is now complete on the left after having added fresh chopped cilantro. (If you like red onion on your BBQ Chicken Pizza, add that too!)

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Next, to my side I add zuchinni ribbons (using a potato peeler), kalamata olives pieces, sundried tomatoes, red pepper flakes (for heat!) and a very LIGHT sprinkling of the 2% Italian Three Cheese blend.

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Bake for 12-15 minutes, keeping an eye on them to be sure your ‘crust’ doesn’t burn.  Plate and enjoy!  Buon appetito!

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Serve with a HUGE salad for best results.  😉





Mashed Faux-tatoes

30 09 2009

Hey everyone! 

Well, my quest for finding a fun new veggie didn’t turn up anything.  King Soops only had ‘normal veggies’ so I at least bought a veggie that I haven’t had in a long time:  cauliflower.  (Looks like a trip to Whole Paycheck Foods is in order to find the fun stuff!  Better leave the credit card at home…!)  

Back when the South Beach Diet first came out, there was one recipe that quickly became ‘famous’ from that program and that was using cauliflower to create a dish that resembled mashed potatoes.   The ingredients in the South Beach version include a couple of dairy products, and while I don’t shun dairy completely, I will find ways to minimize or avoid things made from cow’s milk when I can. 

Here is my twist on the original recipe of what I like to call Mashed Faux-tatoes:

  • 12 oz package of cauliflower florets
  • 2 tbs MimicCreme
  • 1 tbs nutritional yeast flakes (approximate – use to your own taste)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Steam the cauliflower until tender (I used the steamable microwave bag, 3-4 minutes on high). Place steamed cauliflower in a food processor and begin pureeing.  Add the MimicCreme and continue pureeing until you have the consistency of mashed potatoes (a few minutes max).  Add nutritional yeast, sea salt and pepper to taste then run the processor for a few seconds more to thoroughly mix all the ingredients.

This makes a pretty small batch (essentially a single serving) since I am the only one in my house that will eat cauliflower. Adjust your batch size as needed if you have veggie eaters in your house.

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Before my trip I’d ordered the MimicCreme to have on hand when I returned.  I’d planned to use it in my coffee but learned that it can also replace cream in most recipes, which is why I’d decided to try it in the faux-tatoes before giving it a thumbs up or down.  I’ve been searching for something to use in my daily coffee other than fat-free liquid Coffeemate and thought this might be the solution.  I tried it for the first time yesterday.  I had to use a fair amount to get the level of lightness in my coffee plus a full pack of Stevia as this ‘cream’ is unsweetened.  It does give a very creamy taste to my coffee and it worked great in the cauliflower, so I’d say it’s a definite thumbs up!  Which is good, seeing how I had to order a package of SIX from Amazon!

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 My Tuesday started with my Denver mug, in honor of being home!

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I woke up hungry so had 1 cup of Kashi GoLean cereal with some almond milk. 
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Then I took the dogs out together for their wog.  We did 2.5 miles – Riley got really tired right at 2 miles and kept stopping to lay in the grass, so we cut the loop really short.  I’d been aiming to get them out for 4 miles but I need to remember that in dog years she’s like 70 and so I need to take it easier on her.  That was the extent of my ‘planned’ exercise and the rest was running stairs from the 2nd floor to the basement floor with laundry and massive unpacking!

After wogging I had a scoop of Chocolate Vega mixed with almond milk.  
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For lunch I was in the mood for a veggie wrap.  This one started with a warm whole wheat tortilla, smeared with Tofutti.  I sprinkled pepitas on, then added sliced avocado, sliced tomato, alfalfa sprouts, sea salt and pepper.  For crunch I added a few Baked Lays on the side.  It was so good… I might have to have another one for today’s lunch too!  But maybe with some fauxtatoes on the side.  🙂

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Afternoon snack was a delicious lemon flavored Larabar.  And some hot green tea.

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For dinner I ate my leftover Chipotle bowl (rice, black beans, fajita veggies, pico de gallo, and corn salsa) with a spinach salad on the side.

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I’m working on getting the recipe page going since I had a few requests for that before I left for my trip, so you should see that coming soon

Have a WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY!  Still looking to hear some comments on your favorite interesting veggies or a veggie you’ve never tried but wanted to!  I like to eat pickled beets, but have never tried them any other way, so that’s one that I’d like to purchase and prepare myself to see how it goes.  My most recent new veggie was fennel, which I tried because I heard that it tastes like licorice and it actually kind of does!

— 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. =)