week one recap

Week one of my challenge is coming to an end and I can most definitely say it will be continuing. Was I perfect this week? Nope… a glass of wine yesterday, a VERY delicious piece of Upper Crust’s Carrot Cake at my cousins baby shower yesterday and few stolen french fries off the girls plates today.  But, I think that’s part of life and how you make it a healthy lifestyle (clean, paleo, weight watchers, atkins, whatever…) rather than a extreme diet for a few months.

I am not a nutritionist nor do I have the scientific research to back up what I am going to say (and we are only talking one week of trying this) but I swear I had less cravings of the sugary/carb loaded stuff I could normally overeat on.  Perfect example:  Friday night I was coming home late and we decided to just grab a Papa Murphy’s pizza since I wasn’t going to want to cook and I couldn’t talk my family into eating the leftover spaghetti or split pea soup for about the 3rd night this week. I don’t know if it was because I told myself I wasn’t going to have any or because I wasn’t starving since I’d snacked on cashews and an apple on the way home or what it was but I didn’t eat a single slice of the pizza and instead ate a bowl of split pea soup and strawberries while they munched away on their Canadian bacon pineapple cheesy deliciousness. But you know what? I didn’t really miss it. Let me say that again just to really hear it again myself –  I didn’t really miss it. This is coming from someone who could put away 4 pieces of pizza no problem. I don’t know if it was that I was all caught up in the idea of the challenge and trying to stick with it or that since I was eating less of the sugars/carbs I could easily turn them down when they were right in front of me. I don’t know if it’s true the less you eat of something the less you miss it and more importantly could that really be the case after a few days? I don’t know but I’m interested to see if it continues.

All in all, it was easy for me to transition to this style of eating. My energy levels were great all week and I never had that I’m-so-starving-I’m-going-to-eat-whatever-I-can-find feeling since I was making an effort to eat every few hours. Next week I am going to work on increasing my protein (thanks for the tips, Blaire) and I still need to keep the glasses of water going during the day.

And in case you don’t believe that you can still make delicious and healthy treats here’s a very yummy “clean” peanut butter oatmeal cookie recipe I made with the girls tonight.

Recipe adapted from The Gracious Pantry.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C peanut butter
  • 3/4 C agave (or honey)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour ( I realize mines says white whole wheat flour and I’m not exactly sure that that is – I just had to go with it since that’s all I had)
  • 1/2 C oats

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until well combined.

Scoop and drop the cookies onto cookie sheet ( I sprayed mine with olive oil using my misto sprayer, you could also do parchment paper) and bake for 10-12 minutes. You might need them to go a little longer if they are thicker – just check them and see.

Delicious! And the perfect way to end our Sunday.

day 1 of clean eating challenge

Don’t worry – I’m not going to be posting my play by play of clean eating; I just wanted to share what day 1 looked like for me and how truly do-able it is to make small changes and incorporate healthy eating into your life without sacrificing flavor and still feeling satisfied.

Here’s what today looked like:

Breakfast:  A bowl of oatmeal with banana and milk and sprinkled with lots of cinnamon and a few splashes of vanilla extract (check your vanilla — most have high fructose corn syrup; again something I was surprised by!) I wish I could take awesome food photography – it’s a talent I just don’t have. This does not look as appetizing as it actually was; trust me.

I enjoyed my coffee with fat free milk and nothing else – no fake sugar or creamer to sweeten it like I normally would have.  I felt like quite a grown-up having just milk in my coffee and it wan’t too bad. It’ll take some time to get used to actually tasting the coffee and not the overly sweet way I used to make it —  i/e a little coffee with my sugar/creamer.

Morning snack:  (remember they suggest eating ever 2-3 hours) A bowl of fresh raspberries and a handful of almonds.

Lunch:  Split pea soup with turkey (I made a big pot last night from The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook to eat for lunches all week) and a spinach salad with strawberries, feta, almonds and my favorite Lucero Balsamic Vinegar & Basil Olive Oil.

Afternoon snack: Brown rice cakes (found them at Trader Joe’s and learned they are made locally in Richvale right outside of Chico – yeah for eating locally too!) and almond butter.

Dinner: Skillet turkey spaghetti, roasted broccoli & sliced strawberries

Winner, winner spaghetti dinner! This was such an easy spaghetti recipe and the fact it’s all cooked in one pot was the most amazing idea I’ve ever heard of! No boiling the noodles separate – they boil in the tomato sauce liquid. I’ve never heard of such a thing! Great flavor and the girls and hubby scarfed it up. Regardless of clean eating challenge I will make this again for sure. This recipe made a ton — there will be plenty of leftovers for snacks, lunches and another dinner for sure.

Dessert:  Honey Apple Crisp I think I was expecting this to taste exactly like my favorite apple crisp recipe and I should have  known better since the  topping is made with whole wheat flour, oatmeal, flax seed (I replaced wheat germ with this), honey and butter. And while it wasn’t nearly as sweet and buttery as my old recipe (with brown sugar, white sugar, white flour, and butter) it was surprisingly really good and definitely satisfied my sweet tooth I get in the evening. The homemade honey whipped cream was a delicious way to top it and gave it the creamy feeling of having ice cream on top with just a little dollop. The girls gobbled it up just as quickly as they would’ve gobbled up the old recipe which goes to show you that our kids will eat healthy foods that aren’t loaded with sugar.  I will definitely keep this recipe in my roation and will play around with some different variations — want to try pears next and peaches this summer! My pictures did not turn out of our yummy dessert; they were all out of focus and fuzzy for some reason. Oh well. If you check out the link you’ll see her awesome pictures and recipe.

I’d say Day 1 was a success and not that much different than I normally try to eat — a few tweaks here and there and a little more time looking at labels at the grocery store but all in all do-able.

Now on to Day 2. 🙂

clean eating challenge

Hi. My name is Lindsay and I am a sugar/carb addict. Can anyone relate?

I’ve always considered myself a fairly healthy person and eater. We always have plenty of veggies and fruit around our house, I stick to low-fat milk  and I try to snack on yogurt or almonds during the day. Try would be the key word there; there are also days where I snack on a nice plate of homemade nachos or graham crackers with peanut butter dipped in a glass of milk, seriously yum but probably not the best on the waistline or my heart. Then if you take it one step further and  really look at the labels in many of the easy go-to products you’ll see the crazy amounts of hidden sugar and other additives to make them low-fat or last longer. Maybe this doesn’t matter to you and for the most part, I’ll admit it doesn’t matter that much to me, usually I’d rather just stick my fingers in my head and say, “la, la, la, I can’t hear you” and pretend that it’s not bad for me. Just looking at the box of graham crackers for example: the first ingredient listed (meaning it is the biggest one) is unbleached, enriched flour and farther down the list is the big no-no partially hydrogenated oil.  How they can say they are “whole grain” when the first ingredient listed is white four and farther down the list is whole grain wheat flour I don’t know.  So, I’ve decided I want to try to make a big change and see if I notice a difference in energy and overall health and go without the pre-packaged stuff and all the sugar. I am setting small goals first – 7 days of eating clean and then hoping to make it to 30. Baby steps, folks. If it seems to be working and fitting in our lifestyle then I hope to just continue.

Will there be days where it doesn’t happen perfectly? Absolutely. That is part of life and I think looking at everything I’ve read about Clean Eating is that it’s a lifestyle rather than a diet (I hate that word anyway) and the goal is more to eat clean 80% of the time and then leave 20% of the time for goodies that aren’t necessarily “clean”. I bought two new books to help me in this process:” “The Idiots Guide to Clean Eating” (the highest reviews on Amazon.com for Clean Eating cookbooks) and “The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook” by Tosca Reno. So far I’m impressed with both – very easy to read, lots of valuable information on why Clean Eating is so good for your body, and the recipes look fantastic! Between those two books I’ll have plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner inspiration. I’ve also found thegraciouspantry.com as another online resource.

There is so much information out there that it’s hard to decide what’s right/wrong and good/bad and I went back and forth between trying a Paleo Challenge or a Clean-Eating Challenge. In the end I decided I liked that Clean-Eating has whole-grains and dairy included in it and thought it will be an easier transition to just work on cutting out the over-processed and refined foods (white sugar, white flour, white rice) at first and then if we want to cut the others out we always could. For the most part my kids are going to eat clean right along with when it works. I am not going to throw out all the graham crackers and gold fish (thank you, Costco) just yet but as we finish them I might look for alternatives from Trader Joe’s.

These are the Clean-Eating Principles:

  • Eat a small meal every two to three hours (5 to 6 small meals per day total) to keep blood sugar level and prevent hunger
  • Combine both protein and complex carbs at every meal (*Proteins are meats, cheese, beans, legumes, and nuts. Complex carbs are fruit, veggies, breads and grains)
  • Avoid ALL over-processed and refined foods (especially sugar, white rice, and white flour)
  • Avoid saturated and trans fat, instead consuming healthy fats (like avocados and olive oil)
  • Avoid ALL sodas and other sugary juices and drinks
  • Choose organic food whenever possible
  • Avoid high-calorie, zero nutrient foods (i.e., junk food)
  • Eat meals with proper portion sizes
  • Drink at least 8 cups of water every day

I’ve seen alcohol as something to stay away from while eating clean and I’ve also seen the occasional glass of red-wine as ok (antioxidants and all I guess). These seem doable to me. Now, keep in mind I read my “Complete Idiots Guide to Clean Eating” with the leftover bag of candy from Powells Candy Shop this afternoon — can you say oxymoron? So, I have a feeling it will be easier said than done but I like the principles. I liked reading all the recipes and knowing everything in them and thinking how fresh and delicious they sounded. And I’m interested to give it an honest shot and see if I feel a difference in energy and mood, according to many of the blogs I’ve read they do and that’s why they continue to eat clean. I know right now I will not be making a huge effort to purchase everything organic. If the price seems decent I will, but I am not going to break the bank to buy all our produce and meat organic.

Take a look at this . . .

This is the amount of food I should throw out/donate since it does not meet the Clean Eating requirements. The doors on my fridge look empty.

And this is from the pantry:

I couldn’t stomach the idea of throwing out that much food (and my husband would probably kill me) so I made a pile of canned goods I could donate and got rid of things that were almost gone and that we really hardly ate (all the salad dressings, syrups etc.) and the rest I’ll keep and we’ll use here and there. Does any of it surprise you? It was interesting reading the labels — did you know horseradish has high fructose corn syrup? I did not. I’ll admit this kinda felt good – my shelves are a little emptier and my fridge isn’t loaded with all those condiments taking up space.

Meal planning and grocery shopping this weekend and my goal is to start my challenge Monday. Here are some great ideas for what a day of clean eating might look like.

Anybody want to join me?

at-home workout #4

Here’s another workout  you can do at home. This one might need a little more space, but if you want to make it work at your house you will find a way to. I’m giving lots of notes below on ways to modify it since you most likely will have to. For this workout you’ll go through the exercises listed doing 20 of each as many times as you can in 30 minutes. It is a short workout – but you should feel the burn if you push yourself. End with a little stretching and then some crunchies or plank to work your core.

Remember do at least a 5 minute warm-up that includes movement (high knees, jumping jacks etc.), stretching (lunges, squats) and a few push ups for good measure. 🙂

*Inchworm is basically moving like an inchworm. Keep your body low, feet together then walk your hands out to a push up position do a push up then feet walk back in, walk hands out to pushup. Aim for 10 of these. Here’s a good description with pictures.

*”Flys”  You can do them laying on the floor.

*For the “sprint” I’d modify that if your space was limited with 1 minute of high knees, butt kickers, jumping jacks something to get your heart rate up .

* For the moving lunges – use your weights and do a shoulder press when your feet come together. If you are doing this workout at home you’ll have to get creative to be able to do 20. I’ve done lunges down my hallway and into the kitchen before to get all the reps in.

*For box jumps – You are trying to jump and land two-footed on something. I have a low brick fireplace that has a bench I can use perfectly. If you can’t jump then step up, up, down down. If you don’t have a space or something to jump on then do 20 squat jumps.

If you’ve done any of these workouts let me know how they worked for you!

at-home workout #3

Here’s another at home workout you could complete with just a set of handweights.  Since you might not have the option to run liners in your living room (and if you do I’m jealous!) I’d just suggest adding some sort of cardio – jumping jacks, high knees, butt kickers, jog in place, etc.  in between the sets when it calls for cardio.

Do a quick 5 minute warm-up:

  • 1 minute -jumping jacks
  • 1 minute – high knees
  • 1 minute – butt kickers
  • 1 minute – alternating lunges
  • 1 minute – jumping jacks

**Do each circuit the set number of times and do 1 minute of cardio in between each set, then move on to the next circuit.  There are 5 total circuits.  For example, for the first circuit you’d do all four exercises 20 times then do 1 minute of cardio and start over again at the top and continue to repeat 3-4x. It’ll be your choice to decide how many times you want to repeat the circuit. **

#1  Do 3-4X  with 1 minute of cardio between before starting over again.

  • Squats – 20
  • Pushups -20
  • Crunchies- 20
  • Burpees – 20

#2 Do 2-3X  –  20 of each exercise, 1 minute cardio before starting over again.

  • Skater Jumps 20 reps (Channel your inner Apollo Ono: you are jumping from side to side, landing in a lunge and your back leg goes behind you. Click on the picture for a better description.
  • Upright Rows – 20 reps

  • Jump Split Squat – 20 reps (Lunge right foot forward then jump to switch landing with left leg forward.)

#3  Do 2-3X – No cardio.  20 reps of each exercise.

  • Scissor abs

  • Russian Twist

  • Mountain Climbers

#4  Do 2-3X with 1 minute of cardio between each.

  • Wall Sits – 1 minute

  • Side Lunge with a Toe Touch – 20 reps

  • Jumping Jacks – 20X

#5 Do 2-3X with 1 minute of cardio between each.

  • Tricep Extension 12-15 reps

  • Bicep Curl  12-15 reps

  • Shoulder Press 12-15 rep

Stretch and enjoy how your body feels! Will be back next Monday with another at home workout.

at-home workout #2

Here’s the second workout in the at-home workouts series; grab a set of handweights and you’ll have all the equipment you need. This is a simple concept: start with 1 exercise 10 times and build to 10 exercises 10 times. Sounds easy but you will feel the burn — after all you’ll have done 100 squats when you’ve finished it!

For our warm-up in class they did 4 laps around the gym: walking, jogging, shuffle, jogging.  At home I’d suggest jumping jacks, high knees, butt kickers, etc. just to get your heart rate up for a few minutes.

10X10: 

Do each exercise 10 times. Rest as needed.

  • Squats
  • Squats, Lunges (alternating legs)
  • Squats, Lunges, Dead Lifts,
  • Squats, Lunges, Dead Lifts, Upright Rows
  • Squats, Lunges, Dead Lifts, Upright Rows, Calf Raises (weights on shoulders)
  • Cardio (do whatever you did for your warm-up)
  • Squats, Lunges, Dead Lifts, Upright Rows, Calf Raises, Bent Over Rows
  • Squats, Lunges, Dead Lifts, Upright Rows, Calf Raises, Bent Over Rows, Bicep Curls
  • Squats, Lunges, Dead Lifts, Upright Rows, Calf Raises, Bent Over Rows, Bicep Curls, Tricep Extension
  • Cardio (same as warmup again)
  • Squats, Lunges, Dead Lifts, Upright Rows, Calf Raises, Bent Over Rows, Bicep Curls, Tricep Extension, Pushups
  • Squats, Lunges, Dead Lifts, Upright Rows, Calf Raises, Bent Over Rows, Bicep Curls, Tricep Extension, Pushups, 1 min. Plank

Stretch & feel good about what you just did for your body!

SQUAT

LUNGE

DEADLIFT

UPRIGHT ROWS (IGNORE THE BAND)

CALF RAISES (WEIGHTS LIKE THIS OR ON SHOULDERS)

BENT OVER ROWS

BICEP CURL

TRICEP EXTENSION

PUSHUP (KNEES DOWN IS FINE TOO)

PLANK (KNEES DOWN IS FINE TOO BUT KEEP BUTT DOWN)

at-home workout #1

“Get Moving” is going to be for you the next couple weeks. It is going to be at home workouts you can complete in under an hour and with just a set of handweights. A friend that is taking my fitness class suggested I post the workouts on my blog and I thought it was a great idea. So, be looking for ways you can “Get Moving” here. Now the easy part will be reading it, the harder part will be making yourself do it. Don’t make excuses, don’t say you’ll do it tomorrow, just do it – you’ll feel good and probably have more energy that you did when you were sitting thinking about it.

Workout #1

Go through the sets consecutively with no break 5 times, then move on to the next set. Do the third set (abs) 6 times.

#1

  • Jumping Jacks – 20
  • Squats –  15
  • Burpees – 10 (Squat down, feet jump out to push up position, feet jump back in to squat, jump (or stand up)

  • Push Ups – 5

#2

  • High Knees (in place) – 20
  • Alternating Lunges  – 15
  • Jump Squats – 10
  • Push Ups – 5

#3

  • Bicycle Crunch – 20
  • Russian Twist – 15 (Sit with knees bent and feet on floor – twist side to side and touch floor by outside of hip. To make it harder – lift your feet off the floor)
  • Table Top – 10  (Lay down on floor, legs extended to 90 degrees. Alternating dropping on leg to the ground almost (but not) touching the floor and pull leg back up to 90 degrees. To make it harder – do both legs together).
  • Side Crunch – 5 (each side)

color path

Only one “Get Moving” today – this weekend was really busy and a very late night last night kept me moving pretty slow this morning.

I’ll just give you another reminder to get outside and move with your little one — walk, ride a bike, run, whatever you choose get out and let them move! Our forecast is still scarily dry and while the weather is gorgeous and nice to be outside so much in January I know how much we need the rain for our cattle and I can only hope we are cooped up inside due to rain very soon. This would be a perfect activity to do if you were stuck inside with a busy toddler.

Color Path:

This is a great activity for color recognition, balance, jumping and following directions.  I  used some construction paper we had laying around but you could also use any other colored paper or kitchen hand towels you have and lay the paper out of the floor (you could put a small piece of tape on it if you are worried about them slipping) making different color patterns and paths.  Norah worked the hardest on just staying on the paper without touching the floor — we pretended there were tigers on the carpet that would get her toes if she fell off. For some reason, both girls have an obsession with tigers;  I don’t know where it started but they will yell, “Tigers” and then bury their face and try to hide, or they’ll peek over the couch looking for them. It’s actually pretty cute and was an easy way to try to make them balance and stay on the paper.

I just laid the paper in a straight line and close enough for Norah to successful be able to jump from one paper to the next.  Then I started adding new challenges to try: jumping on one foot (not very successful but she balanced pretty well before putting both feet down to jump) or jumping over one paper to the next in line (she was awesome at this and loved it). Stella was pretty happy just running up and down the line of papers and getting in Norah’s way. When they’d meet in the line face to face one would turn around and go back where they came from.

After a while with it in a straight line I had Norah help me make a circle with the papers. From here she jumped around in a circle landing on the paper and then it just evolved into my calling out colors and their running to stand on the appropriate color I called out (Stella just followed her big sister but I’d like to think it was still working on color recognition a little). Then I started adding silly things to do on the colors, “sit like a frog on the green paper,” ” lay down on the red paper,” “do downward facing dog on the blue paper.” and they’d run around looking for the colors and trying to do what I’d asked.

         

All in all it was a good time killer and used some energy with all the jumping and changing direction they did.

I’m sure there’s much more you could do with this and that’s the fun part is seeing how it evolves with your child and asking questions to keep them trying and moving new ways.

cotton ball & spoon

Cotton Ball & Spoon

When I was teaching PE we would end the school year with the “Fruit Bowl Olympics.”   I’m not quite sure where the name came from but the tradition of the Fruit Bowl Olympics has been around for at least 15 plus years at the school and students would talk about it and look forward to them almost all school year. They’d get quite competitive with musical paper plates (no way we could round up enough chairs for 80+ girls), potato drop, beach ball pass and others.  I don’t know what made me think of them and the silly, relay games we would do but when I thought of the cotton ball relay with a spoon I knew I wanted to try it with the girls and modify it to make it work for toddlers.

You don’t need much to do this:  cotton balls or those little small puff balls for crafts and spoons of different sizes — we  used regular spoons, mixing spoons, mixing cups, and even a ladle.

Assuming I had cotton balls I went to get them out and realized we had none – so Plan B of using the small craft puff balls was what we moved on to. I would actually recommend them if you have them — they were colorful, perfect sized for little fingers to work on picking up and putting on the spoons, and they could pack a handful of them into a measuring cup easily. It also evolved beautifully into matching with Norah and she was putting all matching colors together.

  We experimented with how far they could walk and keep their cotton ball on the spoon without it falling off.  When it would occasionally fall off Norah would let out a little squeal, pick it up and put it right back on and keep going.   She was way more into it than Stella and tried all the different utensils I brought out. Stella had fun just playing with the little puffs and filling the measuring cup with as many as she could hold; a  few times she would walk and hold the spoon but with much less purpose than Norah.

I gave Norah different destinations to walk to, “walk to your bedroom and touch your door, ” “walk around the kitchen table and touch the fridge.”  We also talked about how using two hands made it easier than one and how you had to hold the spoon level so they didn’t roll off.  We played around with carrying it high and carrying it low; she walked backwards, forwards, or sideways and even did  a little squat down to pick something up off the floor – and managed to keep her puff on her spoon! This is great for balance, hand eye coordination and their fine motor development to name a few.

         

Get Outside & Go For a Walk/Hike

This is just a reminder/motivation for you to get outside and take your kiddos on a nice long walk or hike and explore around where you live.  Kids need plenty of time outside to run, climb, hike, fall, and get dirty.  We started of 2012 with a hike up to the top of the butte on my in-laws property. I was a little nervous navigating the hike up the hill with rocks and plenty of obstacles that could have sent myself or my 3 year old rolling down the hill but she was a determined little girl and held my hand and kept plugging away.  We made it to the top and grabbed a seat up where we could overlook Black Butte Lake.  I forget and take for granted how close we actually live to this little lake — what a view!   December and January have been extremely dry (we need the rain to come!) so I’m trying to take advantage of getting some outside playtime in before the rain hopefully settles in for a nice, long stay.

Picture #1 for Project 365

lean & mean


LEAN & MEAN

Start 2012 off on the right foot!  Build lean muscle, get your heart rate up and have fun!  A combination of resistance training and high intensity cardio intervals will be used to make you “lean and mean.” All levels are welcome as you’ll set your own pace and no coordination is needed.  Please bring 5-10 lb. hand weights and water.  Come prepared to sweat and feel the burn!


Monday/Thursday starting January 2nd for 8 weeks from 5:15-6:15 p.m.
 at the Orland Rec Center

Instructor:  Lindsay Reimers

$40 including childcare
$30 without childcare

You can sign up early at the Rec Center or the first night of class.  Make checks payable to Orland Rec Department.                                                        
 Call 865-1630 for more information or to sign up.