|March 25, 2016|
Going out to eat is one of my favorite things to do. Most people have a weak spot for a particular food or place; my weakness is restaurant dining in general. But when you’re on a diet, eating out can be devastating to all your hard work if you don’t make the right decisions.
This weekend I tried the new CUT Fitness Menu at Bluewater Grill in Tustin, CA. The menu was designed in partnership with Tamra Judge from Real Housewives meant for the restaurant diner looking to order something that fits within their personal diet or fitness goals.
Before any food ordering comes to play, we ordered drinks. Sure the healthiest drink is water, but if you’re trying to have a fun cheat day, what’s the harm if you don’t overdo it? Just know that cocktails are usually higher in calories than a beer or wine, and a blended drink is usually higher than cocktails.
I ordered the cucumber mojito. What caught my eye was that it’s made with VeeV Açaí Spirit. If you haven’t heard of Veev, it’s a spirit made of the Açaí berry which is thought to be one of the world’s super fruits with an incredible amount of antioxidants. Are those same antioxidants present in the spirit? I don’t know, but if there’s a chance this alcohol is better for me, I will happily order this over another drink.
The cucumber mojito was so light and refreshing! It wasn’t overly sweet and you could barely taste the alcohol. Also, how could you resist anything served in a mason jar with the lime and cucumber on top? It was picture perfect.
My boyfriend ordered the bloody mary. Since Bluewater Grill is known for their seafood, having it garnished with a shrimp was the perfect touch. Personally, I hate bloody mary’s… sorry world. So yes I tasted it; but no, I will not tell you what I thought because my answer will be the same same for all of them: gross.
But the shrimp was good! It was a cold cocktail shrimp. Also, my boyfriend is a shrimp nazi; aka prior to eating any shrimp, he inspects the hell out of it to make sure it was cleaned properly because the vein grosses him out. He said it was the cleanest shrimp he’s ever seen! That means a LOT coming from him.
Looking at the CUT Fitness menu, the first thing I noticed was the way they added commentary-type descriptions to the food. They didn’t focus on the calories like other restaurants. They listed “Good For: …” This made it really easy to order. For example, I eat a balanced diet of carbs, fats, and proteins; so anything that said “Good For: Low-Carb Diets” I stayed clear of.
Between my boyfriend and I, we ordered:
- Appetizer: Oysters on the Half Shell – “Good For: An Aphrodisiac”
- Appetizer: Ahi Poke Lettuce Wraps – “Good For: Building & Repairing Muscle”
- Entree: Herb Free Range Chicken Breast – “Good For: A Well Balanced Diet. Proteins, Carbs & Healthy Fats”
- Entree: Grilled King Salmon – “Good For: Strength & Muscle Building. High in Protein”
Oysters are a great appetizer option because even if you add the sauces to them, they will always hands down be better for you than any dip or creamy soup. This is one of those things that people often buy when they want to “splurge” because yea, a cup of soup might be cheaper. But by “splurging,” you’re actually ordering healthier. So indulge away!
When you order this at Bluewater Grill, you can pick what oysters you want on the platter. We ordered the sampler which had two each of Hood Canal from Washington, Chef’s Creek from British Columbia, and Sol Azul from Baja. The Hood Canal oysters were my favorite. They was the largest of the oysters and had a mild flavor. They weren’t overly fishy or briny. The Chef’s Creek oysters were my second favorite. They were very similar to the Hood Canal except they were slightly sweeter. If they were larger, those would have been my favorite… I like them large, haha. The Sol Azul oysters were more briny than I would like.
The Ahi Poke Lettuce Wraps were amazing. One bite and I was sold on these. They were a little messy… but they did give us chopsticks and we completely forgot they gave us those. They used romaine lettuce as the “shell” of the taco. It had ahi, avocado, cucumber, and cilantro inside. Ginger, sesame oil, and Bragg’s aminos were used to create the sauce. It was mildly sweet with a salty kick. The flavor was less intense and had more depth than a soy sauce. I could eat those all day! I’m definitely going to re-create that sauce and use it in my own cooking.
The chicken was recommended to me, which I why I ordered it. I was a bit hesitant initially because Bluewater Grill has so much great seafood, I didn’t really think chicken was the way to go. I was also hesitant because if you follow any meal prepper on Instagram, you’ll notice chicken with herbs is a stable. Why? Because chicken is high in protein, low in fat, and generally inexpensive so you can make it in bulk for cheap. It’s a go-to “diet food.”
But I gave it a shot and boy did I have it all wrong. First-off, this chicken was free-range which is not the cheapest chicken in the market. It was juicy and the herbs added so much more flavor than I’ve been able to accomplish in my meal prep.
It was served on top of a bed of locally grown spaghetti squash and sautéed brussel sprouts. I was shocked when they said it was local. I can expect a small one-location restaurant to use local ingredients, but I didn’t expect it from Bluewater Grill. I was pleasantly surprised.
As far as taste, I don’t know what they did to that squash but it was amazing. If you overcook spaghetti squash it can get mushy and be very watery. If you under cook it, it doesn’t come anywhere close to pretending to be real noodles. Not only was it cooked perfectly but the sauce or seasoning they had on it was rich and exquisite. The brussel sprouts were also heavenly and bursting with flavor. I cleaned my plate for all it was worth.
The Grilled King Salmon was what my boyfriend ordered. It was served with quinoa, asparagus, and a lemon that was grilled with paprika and some other form of sorcery. Again, if you’re a meal prepper or follow any on Instagram, the ingredients are pretty identical to what those body builders might eat. What made this stand out from what I would normally make when I’m meal prepping is the flavor. That lemon… the magic that occurred in the kitchen to that lemon was the key to this dish. Next time I’m going to ask for an extra lemon. Whatever they did to it, it was slightly sweeter than a normal lemon and it really was the cherry-on-top to the salmon. A good salmon doesn’t need seasoning or a dry rub. If made right, all it needs is some salt and lemon. It was textbook perfect and definitely the star of the dish.
Lastly, we finished off with some dessert. They did offer fruit and whipped cream if we wanted a lighter dessert… but I figured since we made good choices for the rest of the meal, indulge! Start my meal off with a cocktail; finish off with some dessert. The basic structure of a perfect cheat day.
We ordered the Chocolate Lava Cake which was served warm with a molten chocolate center that oozed out when we cut into it. It was plated with a berry drizzle that wasn’t listed on the menu, but a great addition.
Overall from this experience, these are the things I learned:
- Bluewater Grill has officially been added to my list of favorite places to dine out. Their regular menu is also pretty diet friendly since you pick the fish you want and how it’s prepared.
- When I meal prep, I need to channel my inner Bluewater Grill and step it up on my seasonings.
- There is a lemon god and he wants me to grill my lemon with paprika and put it on everything.
- Brussel sprouts can taste good if you prepare them right.
Things for you to remember when you eat out and want to eat healthy:
- Calories aren’t always the answer. The quality of ingredients used are just as important. Pay attention to the descriptions.
- Sometimes the items often overlooked are the healthiest options. Oysters at a seafood restaurant; ceviche at a Mexican restaurant; etc.
- If you order drinks or a dessert, just be conscious of your decision. Don’t go with the flow and let your regular restaurant routine take over. Think about your choices. If you choose to go for it, enjoy it! By thinking things through, you won’t regret the decision you make.
- Look over the menu before going to the restaurant. Take mental note of the healthier options so once you get there, you can easily decide what you want based off the list you mentally prepared.
|March 4, 2016|
I rarely go out during the week. My life is pretty much work and gym. The idea of going out during the week seems pretty crazy to me. (I feel so old!)
I love aerial and stunt type shows so when I was invited to see Cavalia’s Odysseo, I couldn’t say no. I’ve seen billboards and ads everywhere for it and I was so curious to see what it’s all about.
When we got there, we headed strait to the VIP tent (after a selfie of course) and then feasted our eyes on the food after getting a drink at the bar. They had a decent selection of hosted drinks at the bar including wine, beer, champagne, juices, soda, iced tea, coffee, hot tea, and more; they had me at champagne.
The buffet was a array of dishes from different cultures. They had a pretty amazing hummus, fresh ahi poke, gazpacho, dolma… while many of the foods were inspired by cuisines of different countries, the one thing they all had in common was that they were all very fresh, light, and perfect for a pre-show dinner. Nothing too heavy or greasy.
What I liked most about the buffet was that everything was small enough that I could (almost) fit everything on my plate. I hate going to a buffet and having to commit to only a few items because the portions are so large. All the dishes were portioned in small servings…. but I still filled my plate to it’s rim (and got seconds).
My favorite was the skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. The meat alone was juicy and flavorful, and then topped with the sauce put me in heaven. If I took a bite out of a garden, that’s what the chimichurri sauce tasted like — Only better because it involved steak.
When we were waiting for the show to start, they displayed random facts about the shown projected onto the curtain. Did you know?
- Odysseo features 65 horses of 11 different breeds including the Arabian, Holsteiner, Lipizzan, Lusitano, Mustang, Paint Horse, Portuguese Cross, Quarter Horse, Selle Français, Spanish Purebred and Warmblood. (I know nothing about horse breeds; but I do know if you pronounce this bullet point with an English accent, you will sound very impressive.)
- There are 350 costumes and 100 pairs of shoes and boots in the show. (That’s a LOT of shoes!)
- Some costume changes give a performer only 30 seconds to change between numbers. (Can you get dressed that fast?)
- Above the stage hangs an imposing technical grid capable supporting 80 tons of equipment, including a full-sized merry-go-round. (That merry-go-round was beautiful!)
During intermission, dessert did not disappoint! We were treated to a plethora of sweets including fruit, cheesecake, cookies, tiramisu, tarts and truffles. My favorite was the tiramisu. Conveniently, all the desserts were served in small enough portions to be able to try nearly everything, just like dinner was, with the exception of the tiramisu. You bet I finished that entire slice of tiramisu!
The show itself was spectacular! I have seen a lot of the aerial shows in Vegas. I’ve also had my fair share of the circus. This was by far the best marriage of all the bests. Odysseo marries equestrian, stage arts, and theatrical effects that go above and beyond anything I have seen before.
The horses are beautiful. They also have so much grace and poise. I promise you after watching the show you will want a horse or want to volunteer where you can spend time around horses.
The performers were amazingly talented. One stunt specifically stood out to me in the “Nomads” act. Performers rode in on stunning horses into a ring and performed a variety of stunts and tricks with their horse. One particular performer rode in and started climbing off (around?) the horse. They climbed head first to the ground underneath the horse with the intention they would get back up on the other side of the horse WHILE IT WAS RUNNING! My head was screaming, “OMG he’s going to get trampled on.” My jaw was on the floor. Every logical bone in my body was on edge. Of course, he didn’t get trampled on and he climbed underneath the moving horse and circled back around until he was back on top, sitting upright, safe and sound like it was no big deal; of course the crowd was going wild, myself included.
The “Village Celebration” performers were also extremely impressive (and RIPPED)! Did you play with Barbie and Ken dolls when you were little? Imagine 40 or so Ken dolls in real life, running around shirtless doing crazy flips in the air for 10 minutes straight. Yes… there is a heaven. Cheerleaders have nothing on these guys. Not only did they do a ton of tribal inspired gymnastics, but they also got the crowd engaged and cheering with them, not just for them.
The sets were gorgeous. Each set had a very different feel from the previous one and they utilized a variety of effects to trick the eye like projecting grass or water on the sand to change the feel. I had two standout favorites. One set slowly dropped down from the ceiling. It was a carousel that spun like one at a carnival. The way they lit the carousel made it feel like a dream. The performers rountine was ballet inspired with a mix of crazy pole aerial stunts like “the human flag.”
My other favorite set was the finale set. They filled the stage with water and the horses ran though the water. The way they use the lighting to make the water look deep was really beautifully done and realistic looking. It also made the white horses look even whiter, enhancing their beauty.
After the show, we were invited to see the horses up close and personal… my boyfriend can tell you about getting personal, haha. They were not afraid to show their personality. I loved this about them. Taking a photo with the horses was not your average horse photo experience. If you’re like me, your experience with horses is limited to petting the ones at Disneyland or the county fair. Every time I’ve been near horses, they just stand there because that’s what they are trained to do. These horses wanted to cuddle and move around. We were cracking up at how they were so lively. But what do you expect from a horse that runs and jumps and does cool tricks for a living? Of course they have personality!
Walking on the stage made it seem even larger that it looked like from our seats. The tour guide informed us that the dirt on the hill part of the stage is actually different than the dirt on the ground level of the stage. This is because the final scene when they flood the stage with water, they need a dirt that could drain easily andt also not get muddy. And the top of the stage where I stood needed to keep its shape through all the trotting and galloping going on. The dirt on top felt like the fake sand you can buy for little kids that sticks to itself to reduce the mess of traditional sand. The dirt on the bottom felt like normal (wet) sandy type dirt to me. I may or may not have just bored you with this little known fact, but I thought it was really cool!
We left the big white top around 11pm. YIKES! I had work the next morning; but that night was worth every second. The whole experience made me forget about adulting (verb: the act of having to be an adult). The show brought me to a place of imagination, wonder, and awe. Thank you Cavalia for treating me! Odysseo was one of the best shows I have ever seen.
Here’s a trailer (but honestly, the video doesn’t do the show justice). If you want to experience the magnificent spectacle yourself, purchase your tickets for Orange County at www.cavaila.net/live and use the promo code “SocialOC” for 10% off!
*VIP ticket holders experience all the same excitement as I did with the exception of the stage tour and getting up close encounters with the horses. VIP ticket holders have access to the stable tour and a meet and greet with the two legged performers inside the VIP tent.
*VIP tickets were provided to me by Cavalia. All opinions are my own. Copyright images and videos used with permission.
|November 1, 2015|
Hello fit foodies. I’m sorry I’ve been so MIA. I was falling into a downward spiral, resorting back to my old ways. This year, I gained 15 pounds…. It may not sound like a lot but when you know how hard it is to work off weight, 15 pounds is a lot. I would eat healthy one day, and the next I’d be driving through In’N’Out getting my burger and fries. I wasn’t making it into the gym and honestly, I wasn’t really even trying.
While I was enjoying all the fun, I lost my motivation to be healthy. I was still posting on Instagram but I felt disconnected from blogging. I felt like I should practice what I preach. I made a few dishes that I could have posted but I felt like a poser. I didn’t want to post something healthy and share it with all of you and the next day eat exactly the opposite of what I cooked up. It just felt wrong.
Let me recap this crazy busy year of mine…
I was maid of honor (MOH) for TWO weddings! One of which was my one and only sister’s which meant that in addition to being MOH, I was sister of the bride which has a whole other list of responsibilities. Of course, I had a blast being MOH! But it’s time consuming (and expensive!).
In addition to my happily ever after duties, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, the largest sporting event in LA since the ’84 Olympics took place. Since I work for Special Olympics, you can imagine how busy I might have been throughout this whole process. Juggling work life and MOH life and gym life while trying to eat healthy.
My foot problems was also finally diagnosed correctly! The foot pains I have been having is a result of Morton’s Neuroma. Since being diagnosed, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Knowledge is the real power. When I feel pain, I know why. ‘Why’ is the best cure for anyone’s sanity in my opinion. Having doctors play trial and error is not fun and I feel so blessed finally knowing what the problem is.
Since I missed a bunch of stuff, I’m still going to post it all and back date it (with a note on the post that it was backdated). Here’s all the links so you can read up on everything I haven’t told you: (Bullet points will be hyperlinked as I post them. If they are not linked right now, check back in a week to see which new posts have been added.)
- Adventure Is Out There – Morocco
- Surf City Half Marathon – The Ups and Downs of 13.1 Miles
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Planning a Memorable Bachelorette
- Confessions of a Maid of Honor
- Tinker Bell Half Marathon & My Two Cents on Race Superstitions
- The 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles
- The 10th Anniversary of the Disneyland Half Marathon & Overcoming Excuses
Now let me get back to the present. I feel like my normal self again. My house is finally getting purged of pink tulle and leftover pizza boxes and it’s starting to look more like a place I live in – fridge stocked with my healthy foods; clean blender bottles stacked up; and my gym doesn’t have a wanted sign with my photo on it.
It’s important to understand that everyone falls down. Only the lucky people can breeze through life without set backs. But the important thing is to not give up. While on this unhealthy hiatus, of course things ran through my mind like “will I always be this heavy?” or “maybe I should just accept that I’m larger than I want to be.” But you can’t give in. It took me 9 months to pick myself (and my lifestyle) back up – and it was hard. I was torn between wanting my carefree lifestyle back where I could stay out late and eat what I felt like and my healthy lifestyle where my evenings consist of a date with the gym and slaving in the kitchen to make my healthier dinner. But ultimately, I feel most like myself when I’m on the healthy track. I’m not hiding certain pieces of me or feeling any regrets.
|October 1, 2014|
This weekend I turned 25: my quarter life crisis; my quarter of a century celebration; my half way over the hill mile marker…
This year, I like to think I took the famous words of Lesley Gore to heart – “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.” Or should I say “it’s my birthday and I’ll run a half marathon if I want to.”
Yup. That’s right. Even knowing that the chances were pretty high that I’d be running alone, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than going for a long run and getting a medal at the end. (Because running and not getting a medal just isn’t the same…)
I will begin my story most other epic birthday stories begin – we drove to Vegas.
Saints & Sinners Half Marathon Race Recap
The morning of my birthday, my alarm went off before dawn and I anxiously put on my birthday sash and Sparkle Skirt. My normal pre-race breakfast was waiting for me on the dresser of our hotel room – a slice of wheat bread, some almond butter, and a banana.
Traffic from the strip wasn’t bad at all on the way to the start line. But what was bad was the wind once I got there. Wearing a tank top and a skirt, I had no protection from the cold. Luckily, the closer we got to the race start, the more people arrived. And the more people that arrived, the easier it was to use them as a wall of protection against the wind.
When the race started, I can’t lie and say I was super pumped – because at that point I was freezing. But once we got to the first fueling station, I was pretty stoked.
The reason why they call this race the Saints & Sinners Half Marathon is because along the way they, the fueling stations have tempting snacks and goodies to help you determine if you’re a saint or a sinner. Along the course they had an array of things like brownies, donuts, and marshmallows for the sinners. For the saints, they had a variety of fruits.
As the race went on, the wind died down and the temperature settled around mid 70s. The sun began to peek out from the clouds and the weather was beautiful. I probably could have gotten a better time if I didn’t stop to take so many photos.
The closer I got to the finish line, the more beautiful the race became. The finish line was at Lake Mead so with every mile, we got closer and closer to the water’s edge. Around mile 7, we were actually running along the edge of the cliff that overlooked the lake.
The course itself, while mostly downhill still had it’s challenges. When we were on that cliff side overlooking the lake, we were in a prime spot for the wind to pick up (and it was blowing directly at me giving me more resistance). Those few miles were also on a gravel/dirt trail which I have absolutely no experience on which slowed me down.
Finally coming to the end, there were two finish lines to cross. I had to make a choice – am I a saint? Or am I a sinner?
Having PRed on my birthday AND I didn’t touch a single snack from the Sinner’s side, I definitely earned that medal crossing the Saints’ side.
Race Recovery – Vegas Style
After crossing the finish line, I snacked on some of the goodies they had for us in addition to demolishing my beef jerky waiting for me at the car.
Once we headed back to the hotel, this is what I should have done… I should have eaten lunch right away. For lunch, I should have eaten a sandwich or wrap (my usual go-to meal after a race). Then I should have taken my cold shower and changed into some clean clothes, including my compression socks. The rest of the day should have been relaxing with my feet up and occasionally going for a short walk.
Instead, after getting back to the hotel, I showered first because I wanted to look presentable. It is Vegas after all… Then I walked around for about an hour trying to figure out what I wanted to eat because the buffets were calling to me but my conscience was telling me not to. The struggle was real. After finally deciding on a place to eat (possibly the most fattening meal I’ve had all year), we headed off to the pool. We spent a few hours at the pool, enjoyed some mojitos, and then off to Pink Taco for dinner.
…We were in bed by 10 p.m. I’ve never gone to bed that early in Vegas but all the excitement from the day was finally hitting me. And the next day, the lack of my usual race recovery routine also hit me. I was hobbling like a penguin. One thing I know for all my future races is NEVER skip my post-race recovery routine.
Cheers to being 25!
|July 14, 2014|
I love meeting new bloggers and reading other blogs. But lately, I find myself browsing Instagram a lot more than I do the web. That’s when I found Lauren Lives Healthy. Her Instagram is very similar to what I post: yummy healthy food & fitness.
Lauren nominated me for the Liebster Award! What’s that you ask?
Liebster – adjective: meaning dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant… (I think you get the idea that it’s pretty flattering to be nominated)
The Liebster award is an award BY bloggers, FOR bloggers. It’s a way to get to know other bloggers and a way to share the love and let them know, “I think your blog is cool.”
Lauren asked me to answer 10 simple questions. Here’s a peek into me and my current favorites:
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose to live and why?
I would love to live in Hawaii. I used to go there every year as a kid on vacation and I have some family out there too. I wanderlust over the photos they post sometimes. A lot of people say I’d get island fever or get bored but everything I enjoy is there in abundance. I love to swim and hike and kayak… I would miss my regular trips to Disneyland but with a backyard that’s the ocean, I wouldn’t complain.
What’s your favorite website right now?
Oh Pinterest. How did I ever live without you?
Could you ever go a month without your phone and internet?
Yes and no. I would love to go on a month long vacation and purge myself of all outside connections. I’ve done it for weeks at a time. But as long as I’m home and everyone around me is using the phone and internet, I think this would be very difficult to do and I probably wouldn’t last more than a few days.
What’s your all-time favorite meal?
All time favorite meal is hands down the old fashioned burger. If you hadn’t noticed, I LOVE burgers. Sure, I could eat sushi for breakfast, lunch, and dinner … and I crave pho on a daily basis. I have some pretty tough competition for my favorite food, but at the end of the day, the nostalgia of a good juicy burger is always welcome to my tastebuds. I know it’s not the healthiest, but it’s sure tasty! (ps. Did I make your mouth water?)
What is your favorite quote and by whom?
“You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” -Annie, the broadway musical
It was the quote I put next to my picture in my high school year book and it’s still relevant. I just love to smile, but more than that… when I’m happy I feel so good about everything in life. I feel like I can do anything. I make better diet decisions. I am more social. I am overall a better person. Smiling and happiness come naturally to me. I hope its true that smiling is contagious 🙂
If money were no object, what would you do all day?
If money were no object, I’d move to Hawaii and buy a house with plenty of yard space to raise chickens and grow my own vegetable and fruit garden. I’d wake up and hike in the mornings, tend to my garden and house during the day and go for a swim in the afternoon. Then cook dinner with my freshly harvested veggies and read a good book next to the fire. Sounds like a dream. Hopefully when I retire, I can make it happen.
What’s been the biggest challenge since you started blogging?
Balancing time. Between working full-time, blogging, going to the gym, regular house chores, friends, family… my schedule is fully booked. I’m often blogging at midnight after my long list of to-dos is done.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be and why?
I would love to play the piano. I have always loved singing and there’s something magical about singing with a piano. I’d love to play and sing along all day. I actually took lessons when I was younger but was never serious enough to practice. I recently started picking it back up in hopes that I might be able to teach myself.
What’s your favorite way to unwind?
A bottle of Stella Rosa and a good book. Bonus points for a view of the ocean added to the mix, but there’s no drinking at public beaches in SoCal so that only works when I’m on vacation.
Describe your personal style in 3 words.
Casual. Comfy. Athletic.
Now it’s my turn! I am nominating: Alanna (Eats Real Food), Lindsay (Lindsay Living Vegan), Erin (The Almond Eater), and Parita (My Inner Shakti) for the Liebster award. I can’t wait to get to know you more! Here are my questions for you to answer:
- What are your top 5 workout playlist songs?
- What’s one food you wish you could learn to like?
- Your biggest pet peeve.
- Your go-to snack.
- Your favorite quote.
- What is one thing you try to do every day?
- Name one TV show you feel guilty or embarrassed to admit you actually like.
- How and why did you pick your blog name?
- What is your favorite workout? (Running? Yoga? Crossfit? Kettlebells?)
- Who inspires you?
|February 13, 2014|
Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Have you gotten your loved one a gift yet?
It’s pretty standard to buy a girl flowers and chocolates. For me, of course I like the flowers, but when I get chocolates I say, “thanks, yum” but I’m really thinking, “I won’t be able to eat these.”
For all those guys out there, do a girl a favor. Don’t give them something they can’t eat. I complied a list of great ideas for those last-minuters. So instead of turning to the nearest 7-11 to pick the shelves clean of the left over reject chocolate boxes (because by now the good ones are gone), head to the sporting goods store. I promise they won’t be sold out.
- I’m nuts about you – While a box of chocolates is traditional, a package of nuts is far more enjoyable for a health nut. Even chocolate covered almonds is more likely to get eaten than traditional chocolates. I’d eat nuts. If they were covered in chocolate, I’d just pace myself. Just don’t confuse a chocolate truffle with a whole almond with a chocolate covered almond. Still two completely different things.
- You got me all shook up – Can you really have too many Blender Bottles? I only have one, so maybe someone that has 5+ might tell you something different. But I keep loosing mine or forgetting it at the office. To me, I could definitely use a few extra bottles. Might as well get some in a few colors and sizes too 🙂
- I like how you roll – Having a good foam roller is good for any fitness junkie. Foam rolling is a sweet treat for your muscles. There are a TON of foam rollers and other similar products, everything ranging from $5 to $50. It does make a difference to have a good foam roller. Sure my black PVC pipe does the job, but having the actual thing would be a nice gift. I’ve borrowed the RumbleRoller from my trainer and I can tell you for a matter of fact – it works better than my PVC pipe.
- Your pace or mine? – What girl doesn’t love a new pair of shoes? And when they’re a dedicated gym goer or regular runner, getting new fitness shoes is a treat. If your Valentine is a runner, steal one of his/her running shoes and take it to the store with you. Tell the staff that you are looking for a shoe that has a similar amount of cushion, stability and motion control. If they are not as experienced in shoe fitting for runners, you can pick a shoe out and just keep the receipt. Pictured are the new Reebok ZQuick. Aren’t they cute?
- You get my blood flowing – Compression socks help improve blood flow, resulting in better, more consistent performance with less fatigue and faster, more efficient recovery. Not to mention you can get some really cute colors and designs. I picked up a pair of Pro Compression Marathon Socks from an Active.com deal and have been in love since. I’m looking forward to adding more colors and designs to my sock drawer. Compression socks are the way to go … especially for long distance runners.
- You’re whey out of my league – Whey … It’s pretty much a standard. Just like anything in the cupboard, it eventually runs out. I’m nearly out of my vanilla whey. But it could be cute to get chocolate and do a play-on-words with that … “whey better than a box of chocolates.” I had trouble with my last whey powder clumping when I used my blender bottle so I’m on the prowl for a new brand. My trainer Emily recommended I get Gnarly, so that’s why this one is on my list. Hoping to try this one next.
***All opinions are my own. I was not compensated by any mentioned brands.
|January 28, 2014|
So I finally broke down and bought a juicer. I love my Vitamix but some times you just want a juice. There are definitely pros and cons on both sides of the juicing-blending spectrum. Since I bought my juicer, I really can’t say which one I like better.
Blending vs. Juicing
When you juice, most of the fiber is stripped from the fruit. However, with the lack of fiber, fresh juice requires minimal digestion giving the digestive system a break. The concentrated form of nutrients can be more quickly absorbed in the body. That being said, that also means the natural sugars from the fruit and veggies will also be absorbed quicker and can cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Blending only breaks down the fruit you put in so all the fiber is left in there for you to drink. It’s still in a liquid form so it still delivers nutrients faster than eating the whole fruits would be, and without significantly spiking blood sugar levels due to the high fiber content. However, if you’re comparing how much fruit and veggies yielded one cup of your drink, juicing uses more fruits and veggies, packing in more nutrients. And when blending things like carrots, it is very unlikely you will get a juice consistency without watering it down.
Having now been juicing for a week (supplemental to solid foods), I do think despite the fact that juice is not rich in fiber like smoothies are, it does not mean it won’t “clean you out.” Haha! So really, it’s personal preference and up to you to do your research. There really isn’t and answer to which is better for you because our bodies all take what we eat differently. But I CAN tell you I am kinda addicted to my juicer now. It’s super fun! I already have some more juice recipes planned for you all 🙂
Orange Carrot Juice
Macros: Fat 1g, Carb 56g, Protein 4g
- 2 oranges (peeled)
- 4 large carrots
- 1 apple (cored)
- 1 cup fresh spinach (or one large handful)
Follow your juicer’s instructions and juice those babies! Feel free to try different apples and figure out which is your favorite. I personally went the cheap route and bought a bag of whatever was on sale. Recipe should give you 2 servings as a snack or one serving if you’re having it as a meal. (Macros were calculated on the whole recipe, not by servings.)
And if you’re new to juicing, my friend Catherine from Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth wrote a great post called “Juicing for Dummies.” It covers everything from shopping for your fruits and veggies to cleaning your juicier.
Note: Some say it’s ok to juice whole apples because the seeds don’t have enough cyanide to be harmful. I decided why even eat ANY cyanide at all when it only takes a few seconds to core it. But if you core it you might not get as much juice because you’re wasting some of the apple. It’s up to you.
|January 2, 2014|
I know I have been a little MIA the past few months… let me explain. The past few months I have been on a roller coaster. One minute I am super motivated and eating right and the next I am picking up old habits and saying things like “tomorrow I will go to the gym” and “tomorrow I will be more strict on my diet” … but waiting until tomorrow is the oldest cliche in the book.
Yes, every day is a new day and new opportunity to start fresh and make good decisions, but every time you take another bite is a decision. You don’t have to wait until the next day to make a change. Why not start (or re-start) with the next fork full of noms?
I know very very well how temping the gooey artichoke dip can be or happy hour at the local sushi place. Trust me, I will admit that in the past 3 months I have gained 10 pounds. I felt like I couldn’t preach to the blogging world about my weight loss journey when all I was doing was gaining – sitting on my couch while eating Thai take-out. That’s not a positive journey at all – a journey to the dark side. I was feeling so guilty about my new habits but didn’t have the motivation to do anything about it. Even my trainer started to get more on my back about what I ate and my lack of exercise because it was noticeable.
So what happened? I had the right mindset and I was on top of my game…. life happens. No one said it was easy. If it were easy, there wouldn’t be so many people out there struggling with the same things I am. You have to make time for your goals because no one is there to micromanage your every decision.
I was talking to a friend of mine on new years eve who recently lost 50 pounds. There are no miracle diets or workouts any one person can do that works for everyone across the board, but the true secret to her success was and is her mindset. I know it sounds cliche but even I have said that in the past (when I was on my weight loss streak). She told me that every day she took some “me” time to keep her on track, just thinking about the future.
This leads me to my new year’s resolution:
I will wake up every morning and stretch. Side Tangent: I am not a fan of yoga. I’m going old school with traditional stretching because if your muscles are tight, you have a far higher risk of injury when working out. While stretching, I wont think about my scary long to-do list. This time is for reminding myself who I want to be. Where do I see myself next year and how do I get there? I am the only one holding me back from my goals. This year will be a year of change.
Also, from now on I am counting macros (macronutrients). So all my new recipes will have the fat, protein, carbs and fiber listed (throwing in fiber for good measure). My trainer Emily Mraule thought it might be easier for me and my creative cooking to calculate my macros rather than just tell me what to eat. So I am keeping a food journal to keep me on track. Too bad I didn’t get that food scale I wanted from Santa this year, haha.
Did you make a plan-for-sucess to keep you on track for your new year’s resolution?
|July 23, 2013|
We all need a cheat day in our lives every so often. I’m not going to lie and say I ate healthy at the OC Fair. And while I thought it would’ve been a cool idea to scope out the healthiest fair food, let’s be honest – when you go to the fair, you want to eat those once-a-year treats. (And I sure did enjoy the occasion!)
While I’m not going to preach to you about eating healthy at the fair, I’ll give you some other great tips about cheat day survival at the fair. And of course – what I ate!
Firstly, if you haven’t been following your eating plan very well, it may not be the best time to put the OC Fair cheat day into your week. Before you nom on all the fair goodies, prepare yourself by strictly following the diet or eating plan you’re on and be sure you didn’t cheat on your fitness regimen. I would also not suggest doing any sort of juice cleanse to prepare either. Just stick to your normal diet. If you try a cleanse leading up to the cheat day and then feed your body the absolute opposite right after, you might end up with an upset stomach and it’ll ruin your day.
Next thing to do is get your metabolism in check. It’s always good to start the day off with a little fitness, but on a cheat day it’s necessary. You want your body burning all day to minimize the damage to your your dieting efforts. Wake up and go for a run or hit up one of the classes at your gym.
Now for my cheat day! The OC Fair has a “Rise and Shine” discount for $3 entry before 11am on Saturdays and Sundays, which I took full advantage of. The fair can get expensive when you add it all up. If you don’t work Fridays, they have a “Taste of Food” promotion from noon to 4pm where many of the food vendors offer a smaller portion of one of their menu items for $2. This would have been a great way to sample everything. I did this last year and would highly recommend it.
If you are like me and can’t make it out for Friday lunch because of work, what my boyfriend and I did was share everything. Every drink to every meal – this is how you can try more food places without eating 6 different meals in one day.
We started off with the FryBQ Ribs from the diet-ruining-famous Chicken Charlie’s. I had been wanting to try these forever! They were very good. You’d think after being fried that the meat would be pretty tough, but it was surprisingly tender. The sauce was also good. It had a little more tang to it than other BBQ places at the fair, similar to a St. Louis sauce. Really, my only complaints are that you can’t order the ribs by themselves. You had to buy them with the fries which puts you over $10. Also, the sauce was like finger paint on your hands. It dyed them red like Flaming Hot Cheetos do.
We walked around a bit after foodie adventure #1. There are a TON of great things for foodies at the fair. This year there were so many more demos and chefs to talk to and watch. We stopped at Chef Ray Duey‘s booth where he was demonstrating fruit carving. There wasn’t an official demonstration time because he was just there for the majority of the day so you could walk up and just start talking to him while he carved. (Hopefully he was carving a new food fountain because the one on display was starting to stink.)
Next up we stopped for some drinks (shared of course). We ordered the Lime-A-Rita at a small beer stand. It was $12 and much larger than the sugary frozen margaritas near the Hanger. Still pretty sweet so if it’s sugar you are trying to escape, good luck.
We made our way to the farm animals which was a slight disappointment for me. There were so many animals and competitions but they had signs everywhere that were “farmer’s market” themed. So the whole time I was there I was thinking I was going to get to meet some farmers and network some contacts that I might be able to purchase grass fed beef and pasture raised chicken. Wrong! Wishful thinking. Shows you were my mind was… burgers.
We played some games (which are harder than they look) when I saw someone walk by with chicken teriyaki served in a pineapple. First thought in my mind was, “I need that!” So of course, we scoped it out and found Pineapple Express. We came to find this lovely cheat day item was also owned by Chicken Charlie’s. They originally gave the pineapple to us in one of those flimsy paper nacho cups but we lost a huge chunk of chicken on the ground. When we went back and told them we dropped a bunch of chicken, so they gave us more chicken (how nice of them!) and they put our pineapple in a larger brown box so if anything fell, it fell into the box. But I wonder why they didn’t serve it like that in the first place… The chicken was way too salty for my taste but I am not sure if I just had a bad batch or if it’s consistently just a salty recipe. I wouldn’t order that again.
Although I personally opted for the less healthy options and ate the greasy foods, if you’re looking to enjoy the fair in a healthier way, try some of these items. These are general items you can find at almost any fair.
- Grilled Kebabs
- Giant Pickles
- Corn on the Cob (skip the butter)
- Frozen Bananas
- Fresh Fruit
- Peanuts and Jerky
After the pineapple, I was on a mission. Whether my boyfriend knew it or not, the whole day I had plans to hit the Vitamix booth. Slowly but surely, we went from building to building with the intention (or my intention) to end at the wonderful world of blending. We got there and I got straight to it – how much does it cost? what are the specials? Being the foodie that has watched their demos with googly eyes time after time for years, they didn’t need to sell me. I think my mind was already made up before I even got there, although I did take time to walk around the building again just to be sure. It is a pretty pricey blender after all.
Comparing their deals to the ones you normally see at Costco – they were similar. At the fair they were only selling the 5200 classic model but said you can pretty much order anything with them. What I DIDN’T know was that you can buy reconditioned models. The reconditioned models are the blenders that have been used for demos at expos, fairs, and Costco locations, etc. so they have not been used for more than a month or so but many have only been used for a few days straight. Also, they gut the whole blender so really the only used part is the motor. They also offer an extended warranty, more than the online reconditioned warranty. (Yes! You can buy the discounted refurbished ones online too!!!)
Obviously, with all my refurbished Vitamix excitement, you can probably tell that’s the option I went for. But other deals that were special to the OC Fair (and probably your local fair if they are there) is they offered the Dry Grains container free as a bonus with your purchase. This offer wasn’t valid for the reconditioned buyers, like myself, but it was a very tempting offer. Also, whether you are buying a recon or a new one, they offer a 5 month payment plan. The interest only came out to about an extra $20 bucks for me. That alone was well worth it. Especially because at Costco you have to purchase it using a debt or cash which is definitely a damper on the wallet. I’m a credit card girl all the way.
Anyways, on my way home I stopped by the market and decided to BLEND EVERYTHING! So expect a bunch of smoothie, soup and sauce recipes from me 🙂
PS – No really. I even thought about blending the tamales we have and making tamale soup. Let my Vitamix addiction begin 🙂
|June 18, 2013|
I’ve never really felt comfortable or confident enough to show a side-by-side before and after photo. I think it’s because I was ashamed of how I looked in addition to not being happy with where I am right now. I am definitely not ready for a before and after photo yet. But I am finally feeling comfortable to show a side-by-side.
I refuse to call it “before and after” because it’s not. After insinuates that I am done and I am where I want to be physically, and that’s not the case. And before insinuates that there is one point or one photo that symbolizes before you began to get into shape and show progress. Well, I have had ups and downs my whole life when it comes to weight loss. Of course there were times that I was at my heaviest, but there were also times where I was almost at my goal weight. Right now, there is still a lot of body fat to lose and a lot more toning to get done. But honestly, I feel great right now and I think I look pretty good too. (Photo below is a year’s progress)
One of the biggest struggles I’ve had to overcome is to let go of the past. It’s hard to see yourself overweight and actually wanting (or willing) to share any of those photos. But the truth is, those photos exist and I can’t change that, nor would I want to. All my photos have some great memories attached to them. It’s only been recently that I can look at those photos and think to myself, “wow, look how big I was“ – versus, “wow, look how big I am.” I don’t think I will ever look at old photos and see only the good memory and not see overweight girl in addition . But the important thing is that I can recognize that it’s past. I see that I’ve changed, both physically and mentally. I’m not the person in those photos. I am much more confident, driven, and overall much happier.
Losing weight is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. Our bodies can achieve so much more than we think they can. I gave up alcohol for about 5 months just to prove to myself that I could do it (and I love my happy hour.) You have to test your limits and then try to break them and climb higher and higher every time.
I used to only have my long-term goal for what I hoped to look like after losing all my weight. Now I constantly set new short term and long term goals that really don’t have much purpose or reason other than to test my limits. Currently, my goal is to do 10 pull-ups by July 4th without any resistance bands or help up from my trainer. Why did I set this goal? I just wanted to see if I can do it – and I know I can with hard work.
I won’t ever say losing weight is easy. If it was, I wouldn’t still be trying to get there. But once you learn to embrace the mental game and are willing to challenge everything you thought you could do, it will get easier.