The Great Debate: Pre-Workout Fuel

16 10 2009


Good morning FitFeat friends!  Are you so excited that the weekend is upon us once more?  I am ESPECIALLY excited because this weekend they are forecasting some 70+ degree weather and sunshine!  More chances for me to get some Vitamin D action!  😉

What a week it has been.  Have you noticed what’s been missing this week?  WOGGING!  My poor dogs.  They haven’t been out on a walk since Monday evening.  I’m a bad puppy-mommy this week!  I’ve had daily “social-cizing” plans and the rest of the time I’ve been glued to my PC in preparation for the upcoming blog move. 

Maybe yet today I’ll be able to get them out.   

Check out my new breakfast creation:

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Now I know what you’re thinking:  “OMG what IS that?  It looks disgusting!”  But let me tell you this was one delicious little pre-workout fuel!  It is toasted Ezekial smeared with coconut oil (in lieu of vegan butter) and then smeared again with a MEDJOOL DATE!  Mmmm coconutty-datey sweetness!  Brendan Brazier (professional Ironman triathlete) says that coconut oil and dates are great exercise fuel:  the coconut oil has MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) that are more easily converted to energy by the body, not to mention easily-digested simple carbs in the form of the date. 

I often will eat half of a Coconut Cream Pie Larabar for pre-running fuel thanks to Brendan’s info.  That particular Larabar contains dates, coconut and coconut oil. 

I met up with my friend (and fellow personal trainer) at The Bluffs yesterday morning for a hilly run.  Wendy is a serious running pro, let me tell you.  She’s a multi-time marathoner (including the BOSTON which one must qualify to enter).  The only reason I’m able to run with her currently is because she is nursing a foot injury.  Notice I’m not saying “keep up with her currently” — because she still could have TOTALLY left me in the dust yesterday, I know it.  🙂 

We got in 3.62 miles of hills and dales.  It was a BEAUTY of a morning!  And I felt fantastic afterward.  Wendy, thanks for a great time – I’m looking forward to going again soon!

After that I hit up Starbucks to catch up with another friend and her adorable son, where I had a grande SOY STEAMER.  (Essentially that means I have Starbucks heat me up a nice cup of soy milk, with no coffee or flavoring, and then pay them probably 3 times what a whole container of soy milk would cost!)  Ahhh gotta love th SBUX.  (Thank you Magen for treating — that was very sweet of you!)

Riley never gets any photo love since Rascal is the ham of the family, so I had to get her in the shot.  See what she’s saying with her eyes?  It’s “why haven’t you walked me today, ya big jerk!”  🙂

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Lunchtime meant it was time for me to get my major veggie fix.  I still don’t think photos do this salad bowl justice.  It is HUGE.  I measured yesterday and it is 11″ in diameter.  🙂  This one was chock full of spinach, heirloom tomatoes, yellow pepper, dulse, avocado, zucchini ribbons, kalamata olives, nutritional yeast, and pepper.  Dressed with extra virgin olive oil.  I ate every last bite and had a few baked potato chips on the side. 

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A little Pecan Pie snack in the afternoon: 

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And leftover “Lazy Girl Dinner” from the other night whenI had Amy’s Organic Southwestern Vegetable soup.  I had it in a mug with a  little raw goat cheddar and Mary’s Gone Crackers on the side.  Right back to the PC I went…  MSP had his last softball game of the season, so I was right back to the PC to get some more blog work done.

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I did need an evening snack since my soup didn’t keep me full very long, so I made a bag of homemade microwave popcorn (1/4 cup of plain popcorn kernels in a brown lunch bag, fold up the top, microwave for up to two-and-a-half minutes or until the popping sounds are far apart).  No fake butter flavor, no crazy chemicals, no fumes that allegedly cause lung cancer.  Sprinkle with some sea salt and/or nutritional yeast, and munch away!  

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I fell asleep while watching “The Office”.  Lame.  All the social activity of the day combined with a whole lot of sitting at the computer made Shari very sleepy…


So for today’s discussion, I’d love to hear how you fuel your workouts
Are you an “empty stomach exerciser” or a “fully fueled exerciser“? 

I definitely vary, depending on the situation.  For running, ideally I get it done first thing in the morning after just a cup of coffee (and maybe a bite or two of Larabar at the most).  I feel lighter on my feet and don’t experience ‘side stitches’ when I don’t have food in the system. 

But sometimes when I meet up with running buddies, it’s usually a little later in the day and I don’t like to go that long without food.  So I’ll try to eat something about 90 minutes prior to the outing (usually anything sooner and I get severe side cramps during the run).  Yesterday’s toast with the coconut oil and date worked perfectly.  I had some simple carbs, some complex carbs and the coconut oil.  The date gave me some quick energy and the sprouted grain toast gave me some sustained energy.  It was plenty for my run and held me over for about 3 hours until it was time for SBUX. 

Other forms of exercise (like my weight training and hiking) don’t cause me to have to overthink the food situation as much.  Weight training is usually first thing on an empty stomach.  For hiking I eat about 90 minutes for hitting the trail, then bring a Larabar in case I need it on the trail.

There are a lot of schools of thought as to whether you should work out on an empty stomach vs. being ‘properly’ fueled.  Some say that if you exercise on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, you’ll burn more fat (still burning the same number of calories, but because your glycogen stores will be lower first thing in the a.m. you potentially dig into fat stores sooner.)  On the other hand, there are those that say if you exercise without properly fueling for it, you will be causing a bit of catabolism of the precious muscle tissue we all work so hard to keep.

My opinion is this is highly individualized from one person to the next.   Feeling crampy or nauseous during a workout from a belly full of food isn’t something that will keep you coming back for more.  But feeling lightheaded or dizzy from not eating enough and hence lacking energy isn’t good either.   Base it off of how long or how intense the workout will be.  Common sense applies here.  Listen to your body and take note of how you feel so that next time you can make the right ‘tweaks’ to feel FANTASTIC during your workouts. 

Isn’t that really what it’s all about anyway?  🙂  I’d rather feel great during my workouts (which means I’ll be more inclined to do it again tomorrow, and the day after that, etc.) than be too focused on what percentage of the calories burned are from fat.  (Been there, done that…!)   Overall if you are moving your body regularly and eating nutritious foods, you’ll get where you want to go.

Let us know which side of the fence you’re on — drop a comment!

Alrighty friends, I’ve got a LOT on the plate today so I’m gonna get cracking!  Have a FAB FRIDAY! 

If all goes as planned today I may be back later on with the last notice before the blog moves.  If not, you’ll know I hit an speed bump… 😉  

See ya next time! 

— 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. =)

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.  =)

Green Smoothie Foundation

1 10 2009

Happy October! 

It certainly FEELS like October this morning.  The sun is up but it’s only 41 degrees outside right now, with an expected high of 55.  Brrrr!  But luckily, in usual Colorado style, it’s still GORGEOUS to look at:  blue sky and puffy white clouds. 

Since I’ll be posting the new page (tab) soon that I mentioned yesterday, I thought in honor of that I’d make this post about how I build my own green smoothie base.  I’d been asked in the comments section a while back, and the ‘recipe’ I use is was in the reply rather than in an actual post that I can link to for readers who would like to give green smoothies a try.

Because I like this one so much, I don’t deviate from it very often.  The only real change I make is selecting the fruit choice for the day, or whether I’ll add in some sort of protein powder or essential fat.  But the green part usually starts the same.  Here’s how I build mine…

  • I start by putting 8 oz water in my blender jar. 
  • Then I add peeled cucumber (half if it’s a large cucumber, or whole if it’s a small one.)
  • Next up is one or two stalks of celery (which I do cut into smaller pieces before adding to the blender.)
  • I then grab a handful of alfalfa sprouts and a large fisful of spinach.

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  • After my “green foundation veggies” are in, I select my add-ins.   Sometimes it’s half of a pear, some cantaloupe, or a mango.  Sometimes it’s clementine oranges and/or carrots.  On this particular day, I chose a whole banana and a kiwi.  And since it was a postworkout shake, I included a scoop of vanilla rice protein powder.

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  • Once all the ingredients are in the blender jar, I press the “whole juice” button and plug my ears!  (My blender is CRAZY loud!) 
  • This one has a preset blend time (when I was using my mom’s Osterizer, I would blend for about 90 seconds to 2 minutes) 
  • Pour into a glass of your choice, admire all those nutrients in your concoction and enjoy!  My version ususally makes one full drinking glass plus another half.

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So there you have it – a base recipe to begin building your own green smoothies!

My smoothie was my breakfast for the day.  I spent a little time catching up on some of the blogs I follow and two of them were discussing one of my favorite drinks, Kombucha tea.  So naturally I started craving one and had to pick one up when I was out and about.  I only buy these puppies when they are on sale for $1.99.  I refuse to pay $2.99 for one for some reason.  Then I only drink half and save the other half for the next day (be sure to refrigerate it.)  My two favorite flavors are Divine Grape and Gingerberry.   If you’ve never had one, they are very tart and tangy, almost with a bit of vinegar flavor, and they are naturally fermented so they are VERY fizzy when you open them.  You DO NOT want to shake it up before opening or people will think you are doing the Mentos/Pepsi experiment.  Kombucha has live active enzymes and probiotics in it, among other things that are good for us. 

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At lunchtime, I had another veggie wrap like the one from Tuesday.  This time I’m giving you a close-up:

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It’s a whole wheat tortilla, with a smear of Tofutti “better than cream cheese” spread, sprinkled with pepitas and toasted sesame seeds.  I added sliced avocado, tomato, sprouts, and spinach, then wrapped it all up.  I ate Mashed Faux-tatoes on the side.

In the evening we had some errands that had to be done, so we picked up dinner out at Tokyo Joe’s, one of my favorite ‘fast food’ places because they are very healthy.  I had half of this Boulder Veggie Bowl (with grilled tofu, brown rice and mixed steamed veggies) and “spicy-yaki” sauce on the side to drizzle.

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I made the mistake today of not eating enough early in the day, and so was totally famished in the evening.  I baked a partial package of these “Immaculate Baking Co.” cookies for MSP and I to share as a nighttime snack.  While they aren’t healthy or low sugar, at least they are without transfatty acids and HFCS.  I made a cup of decaf coffee to drink with them, while we watched another taped episode of Hell’s Kitchen. 

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As far as FEATS for the day… it was time for some strength training! It felt so good to use my real weights and be in my home gym again.  Here’s the workout I did:

Weight Training (chest/bis/shoulders):

  • TM warmup for 5 minutes plus arm circles
  • Smith Bench Press 4 working sets of 12, 10, 9, 7 reps
  • PecDeck 4 working sets of 15, 12, 12, 10 reps
  • Standing DB Bicep Curls 4 working sets of 15, 10, 10, 7 reps
  • Side Lateral Raises 4 working sets of 15, 12, 10, 10 reps

Ahh, home sweet home.  🙂

— Shari B. =)

Edited at 9:47 to add: 
p.s. OK folks, the blog updates are made!  I’ve added the “Build-A-Meal” tab to start placing links to recipes I make (thank you Carrie and Joan!)  I’ve also added a SEARCH widget at the bottom of the right sidebar so that if there is something you’d like to search for on FitFeat, now you can!  Have a great day everyone and thanks so much for reading my blog!

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

17 09 2009

Hello blog friends!

Wahooo Thursday is here!  Travel day!  (woot woot!)  I am very excited to see my family tonight when I touch down in Michigan.  I’m also ready to just get out the door today and off to the airport so I can STOP THINKING I’m going to forget something.  I am an insane traveler, I swear.  I spend more time planning, packing, preparing and overthinking than I actually spend on any trip.  Even for short ones.  Do any of you do that too? 

I have been particularly overthinking this trip, as I will be spending a full week of my vacation in an RV and nowhere near a Whole Foods market!  And since I have been loving all the positive effects of the great nutrition plan I follow at home, I don’t want to miss out on that while travelling.  In the past, I have seemed to catch some sort of cold every time I’ve been on a plane.  So to a certain level, I feel I am kind of ‘testing’ my current food plan to see if it has boosted my immune system!  🙂

I have vacuum-packed rice protein powder, Vega whole food optimizer, Amazing Meal, and nutritional yeast.  I have purchased what looks like a year’s supply of Larabars.  I’ve packed olive oil, almond butter and agave nectar into small containers, then vacuum packed the containers so they (hopefully) don’t leak.  I have Mary’s Gone Crackers, pepitas, sundried tomatoes, raisins, stevia.  If the plane crashes on a desert island a la “Lost” I’ll be SET! I am taking a small suitcase (besides my big suitcase) just for food and running shoes.  Am I crazy?  Maybe.  But no one can call me unprepared!

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Normally I’d just go on vacation and eat what everyone else is eating.  This has always led to severe bloating, cramping, gas and other unmentionables which seem to impact my fun.  Being in an RV with paper-thin bathroom walls is plenty of motivation to be a little freakish about packing my own food this time around.  😉 My brother has already been informed that we are going directly from the airport to the grocery store so I can stock up on green smoothie fixins for the road. 

I’m also very excited to get on the plane today because I’ve loaded the new Dan Brown book onto my Kindle and I’m itching to read it!  It’s been WAY too long since he released the “DaVinci Code”.  I hope this one lives up!

Yesterday’s feats & eats:

Weight Training (Legs/Shoulders):

  • TM Warmup + Ball Squats to get the blood flowing to the leg muscles
  • Side Steps with Exercise Band around ankles 3 sets of 30, 40, 40 reps
  • Weighted Step-Ups  3 sets of 15 reps per leg
  • Overhead Shoulder Press 3 sets of 15, 12, 12
  • Weighted Static Lunges 3 sets of 15 reps per leg
  • Single Leg Lying Hamstring Curls 2 sets of 15 reps per leg
  • 1-Arm Overhead Shoulder Press 3 sets of 15, 10, 15 reps per arm
  • Bicycles for Abs 3 sets of 30

Lots of hamstring and hip flexor stretching between sets this time too.

I got the dogs ready to go out for their ‘wog’ and made the mistake of taking them together.  We made it .12 mileThat decimal was not in the wrong spot.  We literally went 12/100 of a mile.  They were crazy beasts so we turned around and came back, lest I ‘accidentally’ unhook their leashes while near some open space and let them find their own way home.  It was that kind of morning with the spazoids.  I don’t understand how little creatures who can be so cute can drive me so absolutely up a wall sometimes!  🙂  Moms out there, how do you do it with REAL kids? 

I had my JOE in my Denver Starbucks coffee mug this time, since it was my last full day here for awhile!

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Breakfast after my workout was a green smoothie with my diminishing stock of produce.  8 oz water, scoop of rice protein, 1/2 banana, 1/2 pear, one clementine, BIG fist o’spinach, 1/2 cucumber and 2 romaine lettuce leaves.  I think my pink cup makes the green smoothie even greener!

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Midmorning I was in the mood for something savory, so I plated up some Mary’s Gone Crackers and herbed goat cheese.

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For lunch I continued to clean out my fridge of leftovers, so this was the last of my Whole Foods Thai Lime Shrimp.  Although, there was no shrimp left so this was essentially flavored noodles 🙂  I added zucchini ribbons to bump up the veggies a bit.

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Afternoon snack was an unpictured small bowl of dry Mom’s Best Naturals cereal during my packing frenzy. 

Dinner was MSP’s favorite:  Chipotle.  He could eat there every day and never tire of it.  I like it once in a blue moon.  I ordered the veggie bowl with rice, green peppers & onions, black beans, salsa and guac.  At home, I plated some of it, and surrounded it with some Baked Tostito Scoops for the guac.  And sprinkled it with nutritional yeast for some cheesy flavor.

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Later in the evening I had a cup of herbal tea and half of a “Simply” chocolate chip cookie from a batch I made for MSP to snack on while I’m gone. 

* * * * *

When I had originally planned to start my blog, I figured I’d begin in October right after I return from my trip.  But because accountability is something I feel we can all benefit from in our health & fitness endeavors, I decided that blogging DURING this road trip would be the ultimate in accountability so that you the reader can see how I (attempt to) keep up with healthy eating and exercise while on vacation.

I hope to maintain my same blogging schedule while I’m “on the road” – it will be dependent upon internet and cell phone access.  I hope you’ll ‘join me’ as I take FitFeat on tour.  It should be interesting if not comical!

Thank you to everyone who has been reading the blog so far and thank you for commenting!  Keep spreading the word so we can get that first giveaway going when we have comments from 30 individuals!

Have a GREAT Thursday everyone and I’ll be back with an update from the road the first chance I get!

— 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! 


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. =)

“His-n-Hers” Lasagna

12 09 2009

Wahoo!  Saturday!  Love Saturdays!  And I have a BIZ-EEEE one ahead of me.  Lots of catching up with old friends (all former coworkers) today.

Well, as I suspected, my Back/Tri workout was not up to par.  My grip was really weak from the shovel and spade work the day before.  But I got it done – even if it wasn’t my strongest.  My workout partner (MSP) also abandoned me decided to stay in bed for the morning, as he hadn’t had a great night of sleep.  I don’t blame him – been there done that about 600 times myself!

Here’s the Friday recap:

Weight Training (Back & Triceps)

  • TM Warmup followed by arm circles to get the blood flowing to the muscles near my shoulders
  • Close Grip Pulldowns 4 working sets of 11, 10, 9, 12
  • Barbell Rows 3 working sets of 9, 14, 15
  • TRX Row 3 sets of 10, 11, 10
  • Overhead Triceps Extension 4 sets of 15, 15, 8, 9
  • Hyperextensions (low back) on Ball 3 sets of 15

Then I took the beasts dogs out for their wog session (together this time) because I wanted them to get some extra mileage  – it keeps them a little calmer during the day.  I’ve recently started taking them one at a time because together they are a LOT to handle for one human arm that likes to stay in its socket.  Separately they each behave much better.  Together, they turn into disobedient little freaks!  I think it’s because they know that they can overpower me when they are together. 🙂   I had planned to take them for 4 miles but I go SO tired of being yanked around like a rag doll I shortened the outing to 3.  They’re lucky they’re so cute – it’s impossible to stay mad at these cuddlebugs:

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Friday coffee was my holiday peace dove mug.  It was a chilly windy morning that felt like fall (even had to wear my sweatshirt outside) so I figured I better start preparing myself for summer to be over…. waaaaahhhhhh!  (Can you believe HALLOWEEN stuff is out at the stores now??  It kills me.)

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Between weights and dog wogging, I was crazy hungry, so I mixed up a partial scoop of Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer with a cup of almond milk. 

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I figured I’d eat something more substantial when I got back but I wasn’t really hungry at that point and was busy doing my ‘chores’.  I had to run to the library and grocery store late morning so I went to the Target SBUX.  Holy moly what a RACKET they have going at that particular Starbucks.  You don’t get to use your registered SBUX card rewards (which in my case this day would have been free soy ‘upgrade’ and free syrup squirt).  I ordered a tall decaf soy latte asking for just ONE pump of pumpkin spice (since it was such an autumnal day!).  Guess how much that tiny cup cost me?  $4.01.  Ex-SQUEEZE me?  For a TALL?  I had to look at the receipt because I thought she must have charged me for a Grande.  They now charge 50 cents for the soy (is this everywhere I wonder or just Target?)  It used to be 40 cents, but I always use my registered card so I haven’t paid much attention I guess.  So no more going to the one at the Target.  OK, sorry for that, just had to get that off my chest.  (I may have to rebel and start going to DazBog instead!  😉 )

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Lunch was my SAME-O SAME-O salad.  I know you guys must get bored with my salads having a rotating set of the same ingredients!  I can’t help it!  Don’t fix it if it’s not broken, right?  They’re so good that I just don’t want anything else at the moment.  Maybe I will broaden my SALAD HORIZONS someday soon!  This had spinach, zucchini ribbons, yellow tomato, red pepper, dulse, pepitas, sea salt & pepper, HB egg, and olive oil w/ balsamic vinegar.  Oh and a few sundried tomatoes and sprinkle of nutritional yeast, I almost forgot!

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Afternoon snack (not pictured) was 1/2 a Larabar and a square of dark chocolate.

We jokingly refer to Friday as Pasta Friday in our house because for a long time we noticed were having some sort of italian meal every Friday night.  Since I had some free time yesterday afternoon, I figured I’d try to make lasagna for MSP as a little surprise.  I’ve never made lasagna before and I love to eat it at restaurants.  (And you KNOW when you eat it out, you’re probably getting 3 days’ worth of calories.)  Well I found a recipe for tofu “ricotta” and thought I’d make that to then put into my own attempt at creating a lasagna recipe. 

I have all of my ingedients gathered to make the tofu ricotta (I felt so “FoodNetwork” taking this pic!)  Tofu, basil, sea salt & pepper, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, & olive oil.

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I began building the layers into my lasagna.  I made a vegetarian half for me and a meaty side for MSP.  This is the middle layer.  My side has mushrooms & sundried tomatoes, MSP’s has italian chicken sausage.  My next layer has spinach & artichoke hearts, while MSP’s next layer has…. more sausage.  🙂 

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My side has a very light sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top and his side has loads of 2% Italian ‘Three Cheese Mix’.

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After I put it in the oven I noticed that a cooking bomb had gone off in my kitchen – look at this mess!

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And after some serious dishwashing and cleanup:

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Ahhh, that’s better.  I can’t stand a messy kitchen!

So here is the lasagna after cooking.  It looks really done, I know!  I should have left the foil on until just at the end because MSP’s cheesy side went a bit past ‘golden brown’ and maybe more toward ‘burnt brown’  😉 
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 And after plating (on the side is Genesis sprouted grain bread with a smear of pesto & a sprinkle of parm, then into the broiler very briefly):

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 And no Italiano dish is complete without a small glass of this:

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You know, the lasagna wasn’t too bad at all!  I didn’t add a lot of seasoning because I didn’t know how strong the fresh basil would be.  Next time, I’ll add more seasoning to the tofu “ricotta”.  But I liked it!  Which is a good thing, because I have a TON left over!  Dessert was a cup of Teeccino (herbal ‘faux coffee’): 

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And I was again hungry right at bedtime so this little snack was a scoop of raw almond butter with a squeeze of raw honey, about 1/2 cup of almond milk.  I don’t know why I’ve been getting hungry at night, so I think I’ll eat a bigger dinner for the next few days to see if it makes a difference.  I don’t have any qualms about eating right before bed – but it DOES make me wake up ravenously hungry which is why I’d rather not do it.

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Today’s question is:  Do you have housemates or family that eat completely different than you?  Do you find it difficult or have you  gotten into the groove of working around it?  I was a little worried at first that when I went meatless it would really add to my cooking workload, but it’s actually been fun to find ways to have us eat essentially the same meal but with a few adjustments.

OK, blog buds!  My tummy is growling, so I need to go get some breakfast started!  Have a MARVELOUS Saturday and I’ll see ya next time!

–Shari B. =)