Eat Right!

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It is important we be critical of what we put into our bodies. No amount of exercise can compensate for inadequate nutrition!

 

Kicking off summer!

 

 

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Have you ever had a crumpet before? This morning I was able to try one and they were absolutely delish! Now I am trying to come up with a healthified version of them, if that is possible. Maybe with plantains? My hamster is rolling!

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We’ve started off this summer one of the best ways possible: family coming to visit! My parents came to town and you can see by the grin on his face, this boy was thrilled to see them. It’s always a party when Grandma and Grandpa come visit. It’s been a week filled so far with swimming lessons, feeding ducks, riding horses, splash park; needless to say, he has had the best time. They also brought him a huge stack of games, legos, and little toys- little boy heaven!

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Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffins

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These muffins were amazing. They are supposedly a knock-off of Whole Food’s Chocolate Chunk VitaTop Muffins which are $6 for four muffins. I was kinda skeptical they would work to be honest. But I made the batch and gave them to my taste testers. Logan downed the suckers. He ate one with me and then snuck two more later. Thinking I wouldn’t figure it out… I’m onto you mister! I stuck the rest in a bag and froze them, thinking we can just throw them on the counter and let them defrost overnight when we know we’ll be eating them for breakfast the next morning. I calculated the nutrition for these because I used agave nectar and they ended up being about 100 calories a muffin. Which is pretty dang good for a muffin! Add some fresh fruit in the morning and you have yourself a great way to start the day!
Ingredients:
1 3/4 c oats
3 egg whites
3/4 c unsweetened cocoa
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 1-1/2 Tbsp. vinegar)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c hot water
8 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
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Isn’t he cute! Chocolate smeared face and all!
This awesome recipe was adapted from here.

Bulgur Breakfast Cereal

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One of my favorite childhood memories was waking up to the smell of bulgur cooking in the crockpot. It smelled like heaven. Little did I know how healthy it was for me! Thank you, Mom!

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To make this cereal, you add 1 part bulgar to 3 parts water. Then crockpot overnight and you have the most amazing cereal in the morning. One cup of bulgur makes about 3 servings. You can drizzle honey on top and add a little fruit. I love adding blueberries. It is heaven.

 

Ratatouille Deliciousness

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Today I let my little man help me make ratatouille! We had so much fun making this easy dish together!

Ingredients:

1 eggplant

1 yellow squash

1 zucchini

1 red pepper chopped

1 chopped onion

5-6 cloves of minced garlic

1 can organic diced tomatoes

3 twigs of thyme

1/2 cup water

4 tbsp organic olive oil

First, set your oven to preheat at 375 degrees. Combine tomatoes, minced garlic, onion, water and 3 tablespoons of oil into a large pot. Stir. This will be your sauce. Next take your washed eggplant, squash, and zucchini and slice into very thin slices. Then chop the red pepper. This is where I let Logan, my 4 year old, jump in. I told him to make a eggplant-squash-zucchini sandwich, taking one of each and stacking on top, and then place it in the pot. When you are done arranging, it should look something like this:

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Sprinkle the red peppers on top and then drizzle the last tablespoon of oil. Remove the fresh thyme from twigs and sprinkle over vegetables. Place in the oven and roast for about 60 minutes. This serves about 5 people and is about 160 calories per serving. My family loves this dish and was asking for second helpings, to which I said, “Of COURSE!”

 

Getting Healthy

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As much as I prefer talking overall health, not focusing solely on weight-loss, I think it might help someone to hear my story. Being a healthy weight really is very important. Being overweight can carry numerous health consequences such as high blood pressure, joint pain, fatigue, etc.  Both pregnancies I’ve had, I’ve gained about 50 lbs. I get extremely nauseated and then eat, thinking it will make me feel better, but it never does. I just gain weight. So both times post-partum, I had a long journey ahead of me.

This was taken a few months before I got pregnant: (You can’t see my whole body, but I was at my healthiest weight.)

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This picture of my adorable family was taken when I was about 10 weeks pregnant:

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This was about a year ago, after my second pregnancy:

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This is me, taken about 10 minutes ago:

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After my first, I lost all the weight, plus some and have done the same after my second.

Bottom line, my story is this: it can be done! I have done it twice, and I am proof it can be done! When you gain whatever amount of weight, for whatever reason, you can lose the weight. You can become fit again. You can be healthy. Not all is lost, even thought at times it may feel like you were just meant to be a “bigger person”. That isn’t the truth. The fact is that our bodies were meant for physical labor, and for most of us that means daily exercise. We weren’t meant to sit around all day. Biologically, we are built to be active. When we aren’t active, our bodies accumulate weight and store it for a rainy day that most likely will never come. We were also built to consume whole, nutrient-dense foods, and not the high-calorie, empty-nutrient foods that stock most grocery store shelves.

One of my core beliefs when it comes to being healthy is you must to pay your dues. You have to exercise and you must have good nutrition. Having the right diet takes educating yourself on what is healthy and what isn’t. There are so many things out there blabbing to us that this is healthy and this isn’t, you really have to research and figure it out for yourself. There are many products on the market that claim to be healthy and are really horrible for you. You have to read labels and do research. You have to eat right. You have to put your time in exercising. You have to pay your dues. It can be done! And you CAN do it!

Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. So when I found this recipe, I decided to create my own little dairy-free variation of it. My kids LOVED it. My baby was even licking the crumbs off her high chair! (Good thing it was clean!)

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Ingredients:

5 c of whole wheat bread cut into small squares (it ended up being 5 slices for me)

5 free-range egg whites

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 c organic almond milk

1 large organic apple, peeled and diced

1 1/4 tbsp organic blue agave nectar

Turn oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together egg whites, vanilla, cinnamon, agave and almond milk. Slowly stir in the bread, making sure it becomes saturated. Cut and add the diced apple. Grease dish with coconut oil and pour mixture into an 8×8 casserole dish. Top the casserole with a sprinkle of organic brown sugar and bake for 30 minutes. This makes about 5 to 6 servings and is approximately 230 calories per serving.

This delicious recipe is an adaptation of Fruffins from super mom Lisa at Wine and Glue. The muffin idea she had is genious! I just got lazy and dumped the whole thing in a casserole dish! Ha!

 

Now Go Run!

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Sometimes we all need a little extra motivation to get out there and run. I have been having problems the past few days with waking up at about 5 am, expecting my kids to need me, and they are sound asleep. It’s kinda awful. This morning, I felt totally no energy to run. Reading this NY times article became my major motivator today.

It discussed a study done by Berkley Lab, published last month in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, that came to the conclusion that greater weight loss will result from running rather than walking. Now what really sparked my interest was this study (this is probably the molecular biologist coming out in me) revolving around the discussion of greater peptide bond formation resulting in higher concentrations of two gut peptides, PYY and GLP-1, that control appetite satiation. They found increased levels of both PYY and GLP-1 right after running BUT that only PYY was elevated after walking. They explained that this could possibly be due to “the greater energy cost of the run, which was ~37% greater than the walk.” Basically, all this means is that running will stave off your appetite more than walking. Running is the way to go! And I went on my 5 1/2 mile run.

 

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day + Strawberry-Lemon Facial Mask

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After busting my buns with a 6 1/2 mile morning run, we went up to my in-law’s house for a little picnic by the pool. I made the pictured above bowl of fresh fruit that I got that morning from the market. It consisted of watermelon, strawberries, grapes and mango- which is nothing special but I let it sit in the fridge and soak for a while before serving and the mango infused into the rest of the fruit giving it the awesomest taste! It was delish.

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Today, I was able to go to a youth group activity for my church. We gave the younger girls in the group facials and painted their nails. They absolutely loved it. The mask we used consisted of 1/2 c strawberries, 3 tbsp cornstarch, and 1/2 tsp lemon juice. (Some of the girls may or may not have been sneaking licks of the mask here and there!)

Mediterranean Lentil Salad (Trader Joe’s Recipe Review)

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Sometimes Trader Joe’s will come out with a recipe that I just have to cave in and try. This lentil salad contains 3 easy ingredients. One package of organic cherry tomatoes, one container of mediterranean greek yogurt dip, and one package of steamed lentils.

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All you do is toss into a bowl, mix and you are on your merry way! This recipe is 200ish calories per serving with 4 servings per recipe. It is uh-mazing. Like I wanted to eat the whole bowl amazing. I absolutely love it and the added bonus is all that protein you have packed in there. Lentils are 30% protein and they fiber filled, making this the perfect low-fat, high-protein lunchtime salad! Great job Trader Joe’s! This kind of creativity is why I love them!

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