Thursday, April 23, 2009

Iced Green Tea Recipe

So, the weather is getting warmer and you still want to drink your green tea. Why not make some iced green tea?

Here is a great recipe someone gave to me and it's impossible to mess up.

What you'll need:
12 - 15 green tea bags
a few lemons
superfine sugar or splenda to taste
medium pot with lid
drink pitcher

Take a medium pot and fill it water. Bring to a boil. Shut the stove off and add the tea bags in a bunch. The size of the pot and how strong you like your tea will determine how many tea bags you use. Let the strings hang over the side of the pot. Put the lid on it.

Let it steep until it's cool enough to pour into a pitcher. Fill the remainder of the pitcher with cold water. Add the juice of about 2 lemons. I serve it in a glass with some sliced lemon and I like to serve the sugar and splenda on the side.

Also try this recipe with flavored green teas. I once used a pomagranate green tea and it was delicious!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Meal Plan

I really dislike the word diet. Diet indicates that I'm depriving myself of something. Meal plan sounds better to me. This is why I don't count calories. I know it sounds crazy. My reason is because I became obsessed with it and used to log everything I ate into That's not a way to live. Because I was logging in my food all the time, all I could think about was food and my next meal!

Food is fuel and nothing more. You need to fuel the machine with quality whole foods if you expect to perform at optimum levels. It really is that simple.

Now if I wasn't getting results for some reason I'd definitely have to monitor the diet more closely. I've been doing this meal plan for a few years now. The only difference is that I would often go for seconds at dinner and I'd eat more nuts and snacks because I'd just be grabbing them ALL the time.

The only guidelines I follow are:

  • Get enough protein. Anywhere from 0.5 to 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight is recommended for an active person but I seem to do well with about 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.

  • I try to buy mostly organic produce and food. I am fortunate enough to have a local organic farmer and I shop there every week and make dishes based on what is abundant.

  • I eat more carbohydrates and more in general on days I lift weights. The only things I measure are carbohydrates, protein, and nuts. A serving of carbohydrate or beans is typically 1/2 cup. I stick to about 3 - 4 oz of chicken, fish, or shrimp when I eat it. Nuts are easy to overeat so I am just careful about that.

  • I don't do liquid calories other than an occasional glass of red wine. No sodas or drinks with sugar (or high fructose corn syrup as they use these days). I'd much rather eat my calories.

  • I try to limit artificial sweeteners. I stick with green tea or water with a squeeze of lemon.

  • I avoid wheat and wheat containing products. A few years ago I noticed I had alot of inflammation in my body mainly my left knee. Also, I could not lose weight at all for a period of time and even had problems with swelling after exercise. I read somewhere that wheat can be hard to digest and if you eliminate wheat and give it a month it can relieve those symptoms. I could not believe it actually worked! That's when 20 pounds just came off. That was 2 years ago and I haven't looked back. I'm not sure if I'm wheat gluten intolerant but in any case I feel great. I do want to add that I will eat bread or pasta on a special occasion or something and I can feel a difference pretty quickly.

Here is what I eat on a typical day:

a.m. - workout

Syntrax nectar protein drink - 23 grams protein
Green drink - Organic vegetables - kale, spinach, collard greens, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, ginger, juice of a lemon and some apple juice. Blend in a high powered blender and add 1 tablespoon flax oil, mix and enjoy. If you add enough lemon and ginger it's delicious!

1 cup Lifeway Kefir (cultured probiotic yogurt drink) with a scoop of Miracle Reds mixed in. 1/4 cup dry roasted almonds

This is usually leftover dinner from the night before or a salad with 3 - 4 oz of chicken, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. It may include a carbohydrate if I did weights in the morning.

Cottage cheese snack pack or mozzerella string cheese, about 2 cups of veggie fries

4 oz wild salmon, 1/2 cup rice, asparagus, piece of dark chocolate

Syntrax nectar protein drink with a nut and seed crunch bar

Lots of water and about 3 - 4 cups of green tea daily. I take a multivitamin, calcium/magnesium supplement and fish oil. Occasionally I will add glutamine power to my protein drinks for muscle recovery. I allow myself a meal a week to relax a bit which is usually sushi and seaweed salad on Saturday nights. I don't go crazy because honestly I just feel sluggish after eating most "regular" food.

The things I would like to improve:

  1. Find a better protein powder that does not contain artificial sweeteners. Syntrax Nectar contains sucralose which is Splenda.
  2. Include more fruits and non green vegetables in my diet. Obviously I get enough greens.
  3. Eat a wider variety of foods in general. I am one of those people that can eat the same things day in and day out but I'd like to add some different meals in there. Maybe experiment with different grains and protein sources.
  4. Include more nut butters because they just rock!

In my next post (Sunday), I will be updating stats and pictures!

The Moment of Truth

In my last post I talked about ultimate accountability and what I mean by that is I'd be more likely to make excuses to myself or to good friends than to make excuses to the public and not follow through. Who wants to do updated pics and measurements and have them be worse? Talk about embarrasing!

Here are my starting stats taken on Sunday, April 19th:

Height 5 ft 6
Weight 134
Bodyfat 22%
Waist 29 in
Hips 36 in
Right arm 10 3/4 in
Right leg 21 1/2 in
Right calf 15 1/2 in
Neck 12 1/2 in
Chest (at largest part) 33 1/2 in
Chest (under) 28 1/2 in

Here are my photos also taken April 19th:

I want to add here that I really thought I looked good in the mirror. Taking the photos is eye opening for sure. I'm looking forward to taking pics and measurements this Sunday to see if there are improvements.

In my next post I'll be talking about my meal plan and dietary guidelines I follow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

This is Where I'm Starting!

This blog is being created for accountability and to share and hopefully inspire someone who may be in the same situation. I recently read something about creating accountability for yourself and the ultimate accountability is public accountability. So here I am!

My journey to fitness started in my twenties after hours of commuting and a desk job caused me to put on more than just a few pounds. I had not a clue where to start since I'd always been a thin kid and was a junk food junkie and not really athletic at all. Probably like most people looking for information I turned to fitness magazines for workouts, tips, and inspriration. Over the years I've followed the fads, low fat, no fat, low carb, no carb, high reps, low reps, diet pills etc. I did all the "6 weeks to abs" workouts and there were some changes but nothing close to those fitness magazine models!

Eventually my metabolism and immune system suffered and I had to make a clean slate for myself. Turning to organic greens and fruits, legumes, green tea, and occasionally hormone free chicken and wild caught fish, I was able to lose 20 pounds in a few months. I excluded any processed foods, breads, and wheat sticking mainly to rice (white and brown), quinoa, and potatoes for carbohydrates. I felt good and my body never functioned better but I was still looking to change my body composition. Mainly to increase lean muscle and reduce bodyfat.

When I least expected it I found out I was pregnant with my second child and went through the pregnancy relatively healthy. Once I had my daughter which is now 8 months ago, I decided this was going to be the time I was really going to do it. Stop lying to myself and making excuses and commit to something that was going to be good for me.

In 6 months I was able to lose 22 pounds and 8% bodyfat using the following protocol:

  1. Spinning - 2x week
  2. HIIT sprinting - 2x week
  3. Full body weight training using compound movements and bodyweight exercises - 3x week
  4. At least 1 day off per week for full rest
  5. I did not count calories but rather ate portion sizes of whole foods.
  6. Listening to guided meditations in the evening before bed for relaxation and to focus thoughts.

I am so happy about how far I have come but the changes in my body are so small at this point I'm finding it hard to gauge how it is truly going.

My goals and plans in the short term are:

  1. Increase running to do a 5 mile race on May 23rd while maintaining my strength gains
  2. Take measurements and pictures at the same time every week to compare
  3. Weigh myself at the same time every week using a bodyfat scale to monitor bodyfat (Bodyfat scales are not the most accurate way to measure bodyfat, however I started to measure it this way and will continue this way for consistency.)

In my next post I will include measurements and possibly photos (still thinking about that one) in addition to more information on my meal plan.

I am going to be accountable, are you?