Saturday, May 2, 2009

Black Bean Avocado Salsa Recipe

I love to cook. I do it as often as I can and use the freshest ingredients possible. I am a decade long time subscriber to Cooking Light magazine and more recently I love Vegetarian Times magazine. I am a little challenged on how to cook with agave nectar and other "different" ingredients and I find Vegetarian Times to be a great resource for me.

My favorite store is not a clothing store or a shoe store, it's WHOLE FOODS! Everything is healthy and I don't have to spend time reading labels that are designed to trick you into thinking their product is oh so good for you. The produce aisle is just beautiful to me!

Anyway, to the recipe......About 6 years ago I went to a barbeque and there was this delicious black bean salsa. The hostess wrote the recipe on a little card for me and over the years I have memorized it because it's so simple and delicious. Bring this to your next barbeque so you have something healthy to snack on! This recipe makes alot so you can just cut it in half if needed.

-2 cans organic black beans drained and rinsed
-1 can organic corn drained
-2 large tomatoes seeded and chopped
-2 avocadoes, diced (get avocadoes a little firm to the touch)
-1 red onion finely chopped
-1/4 cup cilantro chopped (or flat leaf parsley if you aren't a fan of cilantro)
-Juice of 2 or 3 limes
-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

Combine all the ingredients except avocado and use the juice of only 1 lime. At this point, I like to let it sit overnight to join the flavors. Just before serving I like to add in the avocado and the juice of 1 to 2 limes.

This is amazing by itself, with chips, over egg whites, and over a grilled chicken breast. Here in NJ we get alot of fresh tomatoes and Jersey corn so I like to use those fresh when they are available. Amazing!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Workout and Meals for 4/30/09 & 5/1/09

Can't believe it's May 1st already! This week turned out to be a little crazy for me so I had to change my schedule a bit. Instead of taking Saturday off for a day of rest I took Thursday off. This morning I opted to do a spin class instead of running because I just wasn't feeling up to it. I am surprised I even made it the gym at all. I did feel better for going though I will say. Anyway, I will now do weights tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it. My body had a nice chance to rest. Also, it turns out we're taking my sister out for japanese hibachi for her birthday and singing happy birthday to her over her favorite cake - cheesecake! So I will get a tough weight workout in and then enjoy my evening with moderation of course. Works out better I think : ).

Meals for 4/30/09 - no workout

1. syntrax nectar protein drink w/1 tsp glutmine. green drink with organic kale, collards, spinach, celery, parsley, apple, ginger, lemon juice, apple juice, a scoop Macro Greens and a tablespoon flax oil, green tea

2. 1 cup pomegranate kefir with a scoop Miracle Reds, a serving of nut and fruit crunch

3. 2 egg white, 1 egg, green pepper and feta omlet, a pear

4. snack pack cottage cheese, veggie fries

5. leftover dinner from last night - shrimp veg curry over 1/4 c rice

6. syntrax nectar drink, nut and seed crunch bar

Workout and Meals for 5/1/09

a.m. - kick ass spin class
syntrax nectar protein drink on the way home from the gym

1. green drink, see above and green tea

2. vanilla greek yogurt, serving of fruit and nut crunch

3. leftover shrimp curry with 1/4 c rice

4. cottage cheese snack pack, veggie fries

5. 3 oz chicken breast, roasted asparagus, 1/4 c rice

6. syntrax nectar, nut and seed crunch bar

Thursday, April 30, 2009

In Memory of Kashi

Kashi was a chinese shar-pei that I got as a 21 year old. I lived in an apartment on the first floor with lots of windows and I slept better at night knowing that she was there to protect me and she had a mean bark. She was a loyal dog that was with me through my dating years, then marriage, moving homes, and even two pregnancies. She welcomed my newborns home. She even tolerated when my sister got a dog and was here to visit a few times a month. I am sad that she is no longer here but she lived a long life for her breed and she is in a place where she can run free. RIP Kashi.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Workout and Meals for 4/29/09

Very tired this morning but got up, got to the gym and got it done! 3 long miles. Of course it started raining on the way to the gym and when I got there it was muggy and the air wasn't on. So I was being tortured pretty much. Feeling a little sore from yesterday's workout but I feel tight. This is what I love about lifting. If I was just running I'd feel skinny and who wants to feel skinny? Certainly not me!!!!

Lower on carbs for the meal plan today because the workout was cardio only. Here it is!

a.m. - run 3 miles

1. syntrax nectar with glutamine on the way home
then my usual "lots O greens" green drink ; ) and green tea

2. plain greek yogurt with a scoop of Miracle Reds and a serving of nut, fruit crunch.

3. 2 egg white, 1 egg, omlet with feta cheese, green pepper and leftover steamed broccoli from last night, green tea

4. raw broccoli, cauliflower, and green pepper with 3 tablespoons hummus, green tea

5. thai shrimp curry, basically coconut milk w/spices, green beans, peas, bamboo shoots and approx 3 oz shrimp over 1/4 c rice
and coming up soon -

6. syntrax nectar with glutamine, nut/seed crunch bar

The plan for tomorrow is to sleep in a little bit (or as much as my husband and kids will let me) and get my lifting done in the late afternoon. Hoping to feel super strong. Love afternoon lifting!

Hope you are working toward your goals!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Workout and Meals for 4/28/09

It's already Tuesday. I had a great night's sleep last night and was up and ready to rock this morning.

Here was my workout:
5 minute bike warm up, followed by pop squats to warm up legs/glutes

Barbell squat 1x8, 4x6 - 45, 55, 65, 70, 70

incline bench press - 1x8, 4x6 - 35, 45, 55, 60, 65
dumbell walking lunges - 8, 10, 12, 15, 15
standing db shoulder press - 10, 12, 12, 15, 15
burpee/push up combo - 5x8
seated cable row 1x8, 4x6 - 60, 70, 80, 80, 90

DL 1x8, 4x6 - 45, 55, 65, 70, 70
threw in 3 sets of farmer's walks in between holding 35lb db in each hand

Decline sit up 3x8 - 8, 10, 25
Plank - hold 30 seconds for 3 sets

5 minute bike after + stretching

After workout - syntrax nectar protein with a teaspoon glutamine, rice cake
1. green drink with kale, spinach, collards, ginger, parsley, celery, apple, lemon juice and a little bit of apple juice & macro greens powder and flax oil

2. chobani vanilla greek yogurt, and a serving of Mrs. Mays cranberry, blueberry nut crunch (pistachios, cashews, sesame seeds)

3. thrown together "fake" chili. 3/4 cup chickpeas, 1/4 cup rice, 3 tablespoons salsa, some fresh diced green pepper and 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (I like things spicy!)

4. cottage cheese snack pack, veggie fries, a pear

5. 3 oz salmon, 1/4 cup rice, steamed broccoli, small piece dark chocolate

and next meal coming up....

6. syntrax nectar protein with a teaspoon glutamine, nut and seed crunch

Plan for tomorrow. Running at a steady pace for 3 miles. Thrilling!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tips for Starting a Fitness Program

Like many of you, I have started (and stopped) so many different fitness programs and eating plans. I have to admit, I am a recovering diet book junkie. Starting a fitness program can be tough but it doesn't take long for it to become a habit. Make fitness a prioirity in your life and you will be happier and live longer because of it. Here are some of my tips for starting and sticking with a fitness program:
  • Goals - Pick a goal and follow a path to obtain those goals. Fat loss, building strength, being able to do pull ups, running a 7 minute mile. Once you achieve that goal, pick a new one. Constantly challenge yourself.

  • Be consistent - How can you judge what is working for you if you haven't given it enough time? Give it at least a month and make changes where needed. Usually the changes have to come from your diet or intensity of exercise.

  • Motivation - Find something that will help keep you motivated. Whether it be looking great for an upcoming event or vacation, some great music to get that cardio in, a picture of what you'd love to look like, or another person's blog to inspire you (hint, hint).

  • Accountability - Whether this be to a friend, a family member, or the public. You are more likely to follow through if you put your goals out there and are expected to follow through.

  • Measure your progress - I would suggest measurements and pictures. Don't obsess about a certain weight or clothing size. It's just not as important!

  • Mindful exercise - Focus on the task at hand. Don't think about all the things you have to do when you are done and please don't read a magazine while doing cardio. Exercise time is not a time for multi-tasking. Taking an hour to yourself without multi-tasking is not a terrible thing. I don't even take my cell phone in the gym with me.

  • Realize that exercise is hard work - You will sweat and you will be out of breath. If it was easy everyone would look fabulous. I remember starting out and being amazed that I am a person that sweats profusely and my face turns purple when I'm out of breath. This has not changed at all over time! Get over it! Bring a towel and some water and get it done.

  • Forgive any slip ups - I'm as dedicated as they come but from time to time you just have to put that workout on the back burner or you ate a piece of cake and you're feeling guilty. You are not perfect. Forgive yourself, let it go, and move on! Don't obsess over it and don't let it turn into a bad day, week, month, or year.

  • Positive thoughts - Always think positively and surround yourself with people that are going to support your goals. What you put out will come back to you so put forth some positive energy and you will attract people with the same!

  • Self sabotage - Be aware of self sabotaging thoughts. We all have these thoughts. Well I'm too tired I'm not going to workout. If you say you're tired 10 times in a day you REALLY start to feel that way. Try it one day and see what I mean. Instead, say you are tired but you'll catch up on sleep the next night and then just let it go. Don't think about it again.

  • Visualization - This really does work. Imagine yourself running that race, imagine the muscles being used for those lunges, imagine looking in the mirror and seeing the image you are visualizing!

  • Don't be a Monday starter - I know you've heard this before or are guilty of it yourself. I'm going to start eating right and exercising on Monday. Until then I'll just eat this cheesesteak and drink a ton of beer. What is wrong with all the other days of the week? There is no time like the present!

And with that, carpe diem or seize the day my friends!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Update on Progress and Goals - Week of 4/26/09

I would like to start by saying that at 5:30 pm when I was due to take measurements and pics there was a ton of stuff going on in my house. My husband was hanging a light in the kitchen, I was making dinner but I made everything stop for 5 minutes to get this done and I am glad I did. Some good progress!

I ran 3 times last week and I can honestly say that I just don't enjoy running at a steady pace. I used to but now I'd much rather run my sprints and be done with it. Quick and highly effective! I did circuit training last week as my weight sessions. My thought was keeping the weights lighter and reps up, doing more bodyweight exercises than I usually do and focusing on the running. Not feeling that at all! Going back to focusing on full body straight set/superset combination for 2 days next week and see how that goes!

After looking at some other progress pics of different people, I'm going to change it up a little bit. Adding 2 additional pics. Also, an additional measurement for flexed bicep. I'm not looking to lose inches or pounds necessarily. Just looking for a leaner look.

Last week's stats (this week):
Height 5 ft 6 (same height LOL )
Weight 134 (132.5)
Bodyfat 22% (21%)
Waist 29 in (29)
Hips 36 in (35 1/2)
Right arm 10 3/4 in (10 1/2)
Right bicep flex - just added this week 11 1/4
Right thigh 21 1/2 in (21 1/2)
Right calf 15 1/2 in (15 1/2)
Chest (at largest part) 33 1/2 in (32 1/2)
Chest (under) 28 1/2 in (27 15/16)

Last week my hair was down, this week in a ponytail. I can't notice much of a change. I will say one positive thing here. I think my flexed back looks pretty damn good! Also, note to self....try not to make such strange faces when taking progress pics ; ).

My Meal Plan:
Eat more fruits and vegetables, of course! Purchased organic grape tomatoes, broccoli, avocados, pears, green peppers, baby carrots in addition to my regular greens and apples.

In place of kefir on my cardio only days, I'm going to try some greek yogurt. Chobani brand plain greek yogurt has an amazing nutritional profile. 100 calories, 7g carb, and a whopping 18g of protein!

Also new to the plan, wild caught sesame and ginger encrusted ahi tuna. A great find (at Coscto). You simply thaw, slice and enjoy. No cooking required! No artificial ingredients AT ALL. Per 3 oz serving, 100 calories, 3g carb and 23 protein. I would have probably a 3.5 - 4 oz serving to get closer to 30g of protein in that meal.

Going to be sure to add glutamine to my protein shakes this week for maximum muscle recovery.

My Training Plan:
Sunday (today) - Lift + sprints 2 miles
Monday - Spin
Tuesday - full body lift (straight/superset combo)
Wednesday - Run - 3 miles
Thursday - full body lift (straight/superset combo)
Friday - Run - 2.5 miles with intervals
Saturday - OFF
Sunday - Run - 4 mile trail run

Foam rolling every day and plenty of quality sleep (or as much as you can get with a toddler and a teething infant)!

I am thinking about doing posts on the days I lift so you can get a better idea of how I set up my program. Hope to see some more great changes next week in addition to being a little more prepared for this 5 mile race!

Have you set your goals for the week?