Friday, November 30, 2012

20 health questions {survey}

Today...something out of the ordinary. A blog survey inspired by one of my favorite blog friends, Amanda

20 health questions.

1. What did you eat for breakfast? Cereal. Always and forever. Specifically, a bowl of Arrowhead puffed wheat, All Bran, cinnamon, a sliced banana, and cow's milk. 

2. How much water do you drink a day? I just bought this 2.2L jug (as inspired by Amanda - I promise I'm not thaaaat creepy) to ensure that I meet my daily water quota. I drank this throughout the day along with 3 pints first thing in the morning and a pint after my run.

3. What is your current  favorite workout? Running. Simply, running.

4. How many calories do you eat a day? Not sure. I try to keep away from keeping detailed calorie counts, although I do aim for ranges for meals - mainly to make sure I'm getting enough to fuel my workouts. I would say I probably do 1,700 - 2,000 depending on my daily acitivity.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks? Apples + nuts; Greek yogurt + cereal; cereal in any form; carrot sticks + peanut butter.

6. What do you usually eat for lunch? Salads, salads, and more salads.

7. What is your favorite body part to strength train? Shoulders. 

8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train? Legs. With all the running I do, lunges and squats are painful.

9. What are your “bad” food cravings? For the record, I don't really like to label food good or bad. Chocolate is the best thing in life. Oh, and beer. 

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements? Fish oil.

11. How often do you eat out? Once a week for dinner, sometimes. Eating out is tough with my soy intolerance and I enjoy cooking most evenings. Every now and then I'll go out to lunch with co-workers.

12. Do you eat fast food? No.

13. Who is your biggest supporter? My family. Hands down. I am nothing without my family.

14. Do you have a gym membership? Yes.

15. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? I try for 7-8 hours. My usual bedtime is 10 PM. I wake at 6 AM. 

16. Do you have a “cheat” day?  On weekends I drink alcohol and tend to indulge a bit more than during the week. 

17. Do you drink alcohol? Yes, I believe I already mentioned beer? And wine, mostly red.

18. Do you have a workout buddy? I run solo. Me, my shoes, and the pavement. I do group fitness classes at the gym - so I consider all my gym friends workout buddies. 

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle? I am in the best shape of my life. My body responds positively to healthy, whole foods. Becoming healthier has revolutionized the way I think about how I fuel my body.  

20. What was the last healthy thing you did? Finished off my 2.2L water jug and set out a piece of cake for dessert. Health is all about balance, after all. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

what i ate wednesday: issue 60

Can you believe it? This is my 60th WIAW anniversary. Here's to many more...

 Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl of Kellogg's All Bran, Arrowhead Mills puffed wheat, cinnamon, a sliced banana, and cow's milk. This is my new favorite breakfast cereal combination.

Figure 2. Mid-morning snack: homemade peanut butter granola.

Figure 3. Lunch: a green leaf lettuce salad with 2 hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, veggies (raw zucchini, red onion, carrots, tomatoes), and dressed with red wine vinegar, brown mustard, and paprika.

Figure 4. Afternoon snack #1: carrot sticks and peanut butter with a side of course prep.

Figure 5. Afternoon snack #2: 100 calorie pack of popcorn and a berry-flavored sparkling water.

Figure 6. Dinner, courtesy of the boyfriend! seared chicken with herbs, steamed green beans, and roasted sweet potato fries with a side of ketchup for dipping.

Figure 7. Dessert: my usual, a dolce de leche sugar-free pudding topped with cool whip.

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Tuesday, November 27).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

the fitness class experiment: RIPPED

A class called RIPPED? I mean, right? Your mental conversation on deciding whether or not to attend this class should go something like this:

Do I want to be ripped?
Why yes, yes I do.
Then I should go to RIPPED.

See? Simple.

I have been taking RIPPED regularly for more than a year and absolutely love it. Here are all the details (see this post for my experiment introduction) to entice you into giving this class a try.

Results. R.I.P.P.E.D. is a 'total body, high intensity style program' that uses free weights, resistance, and body weight to scorch 750-1,000 calories in 50 minutes. Each section is devoted to a particular type of workout that allow you to experience a variety of moves to banish boredom and challenge your body. 

Here is what you can expect:
  • Warm-up. The warmup is the same moves despite what season of RIPPED the teacher is using.
  • Resistance. This section focuses on smaller muscle groups (triceps, shoulders, biceps) and works them using free weights and resistance bands.
  • Intervals. This is a cardo-based section that uses athletic drills and alternates between high intensity intervals (e.g., jumping jacks, 'fast feet') and active recovery.
  • Power. This strength training section focuses on the larger muscle groups (legs, chest, back). This is the hardest section, in my opinion, and uses a lot of body weight exercises (e.g., pushups, squats, burpees) to make your muscles burn and will most certainly make you sweat.
  • Plyometrics. Plyometrics is another cardio-based section that uses explosive and dynamic moves to get your heart rate up. This section is fast-paced, includes a lot of hopping and jumping, and always a lot of fun!
  • Endurance. This is one of my favorite sections. This cardio-based section uses mixed martial arts moves (e.g., jabs, hooks, front kicks) and is a bit longer than the other sections. It requires both physical and mental endurance as you will have to concentration on proper form.
  • Abs.
  • Cool-down & Stretch.
The D stand for the special RIPPED diet and nutrition plan that you can access here.

Our instructor changes up the order of the components, which keeps things exciting and creates a serious challenge. In fact, my instructor has written her own detailed summary of RIPPED that can be found here.

(picture courtesy of my RIPPED instructor, Courtney)

RIPPED is a smorgasbord of moves and intensities. This may make your first few times challenging, but remember this is also how we change, challenge, and shape our bodies. After 2-3 classes, you will begin to grasp the choreography and really notice a change in your abilities and physical performance. Checkout this video to see RIPPED in action.

Compared to the other group fitness classes in the experiment so far, RIPPED offers both an intense cardio and strength training impact, without requiring too much in terms of coordination or rhythm. Like most pre-choreographed classes, the more you attend the more familiar you become with the moves. This class is tough, but before you know it - you will be....RIPPED.

In conclusion, RIPPED is a unique class that combines strength training and cardio for a complete body experience that holds up to its slogan, The One Stop Body Shock. 

Check out my other fitness experiments here.

(images 1, 2, 3)

Monday, November 26, 2012

weekend review: post-thanksgiving meals

Figure 1. Thanksgiving spread. Check out this post for the details on what we ate.

 Figure 2. Saturday night's dinner: salmon paprika (I cook mine in a pan, 4 minutes on each side on medium-high heat. This is a great stand-by salmon recipe with a solid 8/10 tastiness rating), a warm spinach and broccoli salad (the boyfriend even raved about this and we finished off the entire bowl in one sitting; 9/10), and leftover roasted butternut squash.

Figure 3. Out of the oven: skinny tuna noodle casserole.
Figure 4. Sunday night's dinner: skinny tuna noodle casserole (this casserole took my back to my tuna helper days and I loved every moment of it!; 9/10) alongside my another favorite standby, a lemony arugula salad (7/10).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

what i ate wednesday: issue 59

Please enjoy these pictures of what I ate on Wednesday (Monday), while I bake pies and anticipate my Thanksgiving feast and take the rest of the week off from blogging. Family (and food) first.

 Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl (x2) of Kellogg's All Bran, Cheerios, cinnamon, a sliced banana, and cow's milk.

Figure 2. Lunch: a spinach salad with a sliced Gala apple, granola, peanuts, balsamic vinegar, and agave nectar.

Figure 3. Afternoon snack: carrot sticks with peanut butter and two Wasa crispbreads.

Figure 4. Dinner: leftover homemade PF Chang's lettuce wraps and roasted green beans.

Figure 5. Dessert: chocolate Chex <3.

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Monday, November 19).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

my thanksgiving table to be

This is what will be in my belly on Thursday:

Roast turkey from Mom

Simple stuffing with white bread, celery, and onions from Mom (family recipe)

Green beans with pecans and maple vinaigrette from Real Simple
Traditional mashed potatoes from Mom and mashed by my brother (family recipe)

Roasted butternut squash with rosemary and balsamic vinegar from Kalyn's Kitchen

Corn casserole (family recipe)


Citrus cranberry relish
from Taste of Home

Canned cranberry sauce (because even though it is a bit disturbing, it is delicious)

Hawaiian rolls (family tradition)


Chocolate cream pie
from Real Simple

Traditional pumpkin pie with a homemade crust

Salted maple pecan pie bars from Pinch of Yum

Let's do this. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

weekend review: meaty

I usually try to cook at least one vegetarian meal during the weekend. I'm not a vegetarian, but I do try and limit my meat intake. When meal planning for this weekend, all the recipes that spoke to me had meat. Eh, I'll consider it training for Thanksgiving...

Figure 1. Friday night's dinner: crockpot cheddar beer chicken tacos (7/10; delicious and easy) and spicy roasted cauliflower (9/10; one of my favorite ways to cook cauliflower).

Figure 2. Saturday night's dinner: crispy pork medallions (7/10), spiced pumpkin cornbread (10/10), and creamed spinach and mushrooms (6/10; I always pile my creamed spinach on top of raw spinach for volume). This was my boyfriend's favorite meal of the weekend.

Figure 3. Sunday night's dinner: homemade P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps (10/10; this meal was AMAZING! I raved the entire time. You must make this if you enjoy PF Chang's wraps), rice, and broccoli and cauliflower roasted in chili oil.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

what i ate wednesday: issue 58

I apologize for a series of semi-gross looking food photos. Despite their appearance, my meals today were all delicious. Promise.

 Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl (x2) of Kellogg's All Bran, Kashi Honey Puffs, cinnamon, pumpkin puree, and cow's milk. Looks gross, tastes great.

Figure 2. Post-run snack: an oatmeal peanut butter ball.

Figure 3. Lunch: a spinach salad with slice red pear, granola, goat cheese, and almonds drizzled with agave nectar and balsamic vinegar.

Figure 4. Afternoon snack: carrots sticks, two Wasa multigrain crispbreads, and peanut butter.

Figure 5. Dinner: bunnies & eggs (i.e., Annie's man & cheese + two hard-boiled eggs) and a side of roasted green beans.

 Figure 6. Dessert: pudding (dulce de leche) drowned in whipped cream.

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Monday, November 12).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

a serious interjection: on disappointment

I had the best intentions.

Saturday was my boyfriend, M's, birthday. I had grand dreams of creating him a luxurious layered birthday cake. My very first layered cake.

He requested a coconut cream cake. We recently ate the most decadently wonderful coconut cream cake together at a farmer's market and have been drooling over its memories ever since. After careful consideration and consultation with M, I chose to make what seemed like a laboriously wonderful recipe, Bobby Flay Throwdown's toasted coconut cake with coconut filling and coconut buttercream.

Preparation began days in advance. I read and re-read the recipe and made a list of ingredients. I had to buy a new cake pan. I had to hit the liquor store for coconut rum. I had to track down vanilla beans.

Saturday morning (birthday day) I was at the grocery store and home toasting coconut by 9:30 AM. I worked on this cake until 7:00 PM. Not constantly, but I was more or less was mixing, cooling, baking, assembling, or thinking about some cake related detail this entire time.

First, I toasted coconut to pat on the outside of the cake.

Next, I made a coconut-infused simple syrup to brush on each cake layer.

Then, I made a coconut custard to incorporate into the filling and buttercream.

I made the cake batter and baked off two cake layers.

The day progressed and after the custard cooled for 2 hours, I incorporated it into the coconut filling

and the coconut buttercream.

Finally, I assembled what I anticipated to be the most magical birthday cake M or I had ever experienced. Magical because I had created it and magical in its deliciousness.

After dinner, M and I returned home from a nice dinner out, where we happily resisted the dessert menu in anticipation of the homemamde cocnonut cream cake awaiting us.

Candles were lit, the cake was cut, and slices were served alongside cool glasses of milk.

I shoved a piece in my mouth with a smile and paused. This cake, my creation, it wasn't great. In fact, it wasn't even really good. It was too light, a bit bland, not sweet enough, the buttercream was too buttery, and the filling wasn't at all what I had thought it would be. 

I kept eating. I even went back for a second sliver. I kept waiting to be satisfied. It never came. The cake just wasn't what I wanted it to be. Disappointment washed over me.

M understood, he had seen all of my hard work. Of course I'm sure he wished it was more like the cake we of which we had both imagined, but it was what it was, and he was satisfied. He kissed me, thanked me, and he told me he had a wonderful birthday.

This morning, I've moved on. Well, after I clean up that mess in the kitchen, I will have moved on. And maybe, just maybe I'll take the leftover cake outside and smash it on the pavement and scream, with a smile on my face (mind you), what the f*#! Bobby Flay! What the f*#!.

A Serious Interjection: Sometimes, despite hard work and planning, disappointment strikes us down. It's ok to be hurt for a moment (or two). But, don't forget to pick yourself up, smash a cake on the ground, and start over with a smile on your face.


Previous serious interjections: