Monthly Archives: September 2012

Thursday Recipe: Build-a-Salad

 

*to those interested, birthday update at the bottom of the page

Whenever I mention healthy eating, people’s automatic reaction is, “I hate salad.” Let me share something, me too. The typical restaurant salad is cold, unsavory, and wholly unsatisfying. But I’ve recently determined that they’re doing it wrong. As I’ve mentioned before, my current lifestyle goal is only eating grain for lunch and restricting carbs at dinner. This is not to lose weight but to prevent a haphazard insulin spike right before bed. So “salads” have become my go to dinner options and I’ve realized, they’re not all that bad!

To build a great salad just replace whatever carb you were going to use (pasta, rice, potatoes, etc) with dark leafy greens (I prefer spinach). This means that you get the healthy without sacrificing the hot and savory.

Recently, in the vain of cooking a big portion of one thing, I made cooked a big batch of lentils and steamed some extra veggies I had lying in my fridge. Here is the result:

^ Start with the leafy green base. Don’t worry, it will be covered up soon.

^ Add whatever warm veggies you decided to cook. I have zucchini, red bell peppers, and eggplant.

^ Pile on whatever protein you want. I made lentils but you could do any kind of meat or legume.

^ Top it off with a healthy fat like goat or sheep cheese (pretty much lactose free) and some oil based dressing like balsamic or italian. And enjoy!

* Final note: My birthday ended up being quite wonderful. My coworkers remembered and even gave me gifts. I got so much love through this blog and facebook and texting and phone calls. AND Mike came home from his business trip early! He surprised me at work with flowers, a bottle of wine, and a Gap coat that I’ve been eyeing for months. What wonderful people I have in my life. Thanks everyone 🙂

Today, just smile.

 

Thankful Wednesday: Who Loves You?

Well, today is my 24th birthday. Growing up, birthdays were such a huge deal. My parents and siblings would wake me up with a cake, singing the birthday song. For lunch, my mom would buy all four of us a Lunchable (the only 4 days a year that we each got to eat unhealthy lunches), and for dinner we would have whatever my favorite meal was. Then would come the presents and cards. Everything in that day was my choice and it was pure bliss.

The first month of college was kind of a shock. Everyone eats junk food all the time and no one celebrates birthdays?!?! What the heck is going on?? It was a kind of depressing birthday for me but my friends soon got the picture and have managed to make each once since then very very special (Thanks Tish). But this is my first post-college birthday and I’m not sure what to do with myself. Mike had to leave town for work so my closest friend isn’t here. And I’ve only just started making friends in Peoria; I don’t want to call them up and say “Hey it’s my birthday and I’m lonely, wanna get a Wednesday night drink?” Hah.

So I’ve decided to bury myself in work for most of the day and stop every couple hours to remember the people that love me. Thankfully social media has me covered on that one. It’s only 7:45am and I already have 13 “happy birthdays!”

People love me. Lots of them. I am not being boastful but reminding myself and everyone reading that people love you too! There are too many times in life that loneliness can overwhelm a person. To dig yourself out just think of how many people love you. I could try to list them all but that would take forever and no one wants to read that. So just trust me.

Today may be a little less celebratory than I hoped for but I’m going to drag the celebrations into this weekend. Friday I will finish work early to get a massage and then Mike and I head to Chicago for a few days to celebrate some more. So for now, I will keep my chin up and remember…

And now, a photo montage of my 23rd year. Finding these photos made me cry.

*Scroll left and check out my comments.

I love every single person in these photos and they love me back. I can only dream that my 24th year will be as good as my 23rd. Hope you all have an equally happy day!
🙂

Workout Tuesday: Dance Like No One’s Watching

Yes, you should dance like no one’s watching. To encourage you, I’ve decided to make a complete fool of myself and dance while everyone’s watching.

For the last several years there has been a long and arduous debate about warming up before a workout. Some studies show it’s good, some show you’re fine without it. Whatever the case, I know that my body needs to warm up to a workout otherwise I will twist or strain something. But traditional warm ups suck! So I dance!

Dancing at 7am is not only incredibly energizing but it puts you in a great mood for the rest of the day. So just put on a great song (see below) and loosen up. Dancing alone means you can do whatever weirdo moves you want.

I find that this is great dancing AND workout music:

And this was the workout I did with Zuzka today:

And finally, the piece de resistance, my ridiculous dance moves, published and open for laughs. Now you have NO EXCUSE not to dance!

You also now have no excuse not to smile. Have a happy day!

You Are In Control

I keep this written on a couple of post it notes next to my makeup so I see it whenever I get ready for a long day.

We tell ourselves that life will be great when we can buy a more luxurious car, get a better job, buy nicer clothes, or whatever.

The truth is that there’s no better time to be happy than right now.

Your life will always be full of challenges. It is better to admit as much and decide to be happy in spite of it all.

I talk to SO many people who make the excuse of, “life will be great when…” Including myself! Until I started writing this blog, I didn’t realize that every single one of my days holds something awesome just waiting to be recognized. So you better recognize!

Please, everyone that read this post, comment what your happiness is/will be today!

And have a happy Monday 🙂

Braving a World of Junk Food: Packing a Lunch

As I last posted, I’ve been working the Morton Pumpkin Fest for the last several days. If any of you know of the festival, you know it’s full of some seriously delicious junk food; including but not limited to: pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin funnel cake. Everything delicious, in pumpkin flavor!! It’s my own personal temptation hell.

However, it’s so important to learn how to brave these situations and so that you can join the rest of your community celebrating awesome things like Fall!

Some Tips:

1. Choose one thing to treat yourself to and wait until the end of your trip to do it. The buildup will make sure you don’t violate your own rule.

2. Make sure, before you leave the house, that you eat a big, healthy meal. Being full means you’ll be less tempted by anything other than your planned treat.

3. Bring some snacks! This is where dinner leftovers make things quick and easy.

 

Here was mine for an 8 hour shift at the fridge:

– Sandwich – gluten-free bread, sunflower butter, and blackberry jam we found at the farmers market.

– Smoothie – coconut water, 1 banana, handful of frozen fruit, handful spinach, scoop of protein.

– Salad – whatever is in your fridge. Mine was tomatoes, spinach, pinto beans from the chili last week, and humus.

Tools that make it easy:

– Resealable container like a Tupperware.

– Blender bottle for the smoothie. It’s not only easy to drink out of but it has a little spring ball that you keep in the liquid and when you’re ready to eat you just shake it all up.

– Lunch box/ bag keeps things cold or hot and easy to carry.

^ My handy dandy lunch box.

I was full and happy with my lunch and this morning, as a treat for resisting for 5 days, I had a giant pancake breakfast!

Enjoy your Sundays. Don’t forget to smile!

Produce: Where and How…

Happy Saturday! Holy Bajolies this week has been crazy. I seriously can’t believe it’s Saturday already. Saturday morning is my grocery shopping time and I have a full day of work this afternoon so I woke up bright and early (and not too happily), did a quick spot of yoga to loosen up my stiff joints, and headed across the street to Peoria’s best farmer’s market.

 

A few awesome things about farmer’s markets:

1. You know exactly where everything comes from.

2. It’s all fresh.

3. It’s mostly organic too, although you have to check on this one.

4. You’re supporting the local farmers and keeping out the unhealthy, mass farms.

5. You get outside and interact with your community.

6. The food is SO much tastier than the grocery store produce.

7. You’re eating seasonal which varies your diet and provides inspiration in the kitchen.

Some things to be cautious of:

– Keep an eye on pricing, sometimes one or two items can be very expensive.

– Don’t over buy. It can be tempting with all the beautiful colors in front of you. But here’s a tip, go with a certain amount of cash (I take $25) and leave once you’ve spent it.

– Scan the whole spread of vendors before choosing the stands you will buy from, you may get to the end and realize one was much better than another.

Other than that, enjoy! I buy 50% of our fridge stock from our market and it’s made our diet so much better. I’ve come to look forward to it every week.

Check this site out for almost all the markets in the US: http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/

For those outside the US, just google “Farmer market [name of your town].”

^ pretty!

don’t forget —>  🙂

Riddle Me This

As I’ve mentioned before, I work for a health center; our health center is based on chiropractic and we build from there. We help strengthen your nerve system (the spine/center of all that goes on in your body) and then help our patients with nutrition, exercise, and a healthy mind. We have helped so many people in just the few months that I’ve been there and it just gets me more and more excited about my job. A huge part of my day-to-day is getting out in the community and finding people that want help getting healthy but don’t know step one. Easy right? WRONG.

^ (Sweet T-shirt huh? Thank you Martha Stewart Pintrest.)

Riddle me this: why do people who know they need help resist it in every way possible? Granted, there are people who come along, tell us they have one or two annoying symptoms and then conclude that they don’t have the time or money to get them fixed, fair enough. But there are others, so many others, who come into our little booth with daily headaches, crippling back pain, and joint pain so bad that they can’t work. We talk to them, prove that there’s something going wrong by giving them an inflammation scan, and then offer them care at a very low cost, very. They look at me with pain in their face and say, “can I take a business card, maybe I’ll call you later,” then they never do. WTF mate?? I just don’t get it.

Why do some people not get help when an obvious solution is shown right to their face? I understand, some people are looking for “the catch.” But what would it hurt to just come and see what we can do? If you don’t give anything a chance then you’ll never get fixed! This applies not only to our little booth but to every person out there who reads this blog or another blog multiple times and thinks, “hmmm, nope that’s still too hard.” Or the people that make the step to get gym memberships but then never hire a trainer or establish a routine for themselves. Or the people that know fast food is terribly terribly terrible for you and they continue to stop at McDonald’s instead of swinging by the grocery store. It’s intimidating and maybe a little expensive at first but so are heart attacks and kidney transplants. Stop living in pain and discomfort and do something about it!! Your body is designed to heal itself as long as you take care.

Ok, that is my Friday rant. To all those that read this and nod their head and then put on their gym clothes and get in that workout that they SO don’t want to do this morning, NICE WORK. Go get ’em! Keep that body and mind fit so that you can do all those other wonderful things in your life.

So today, I will head to Morton Pumpkinfest and smile my warmest smile. I will try to help people that are scared and clueless to start the first step. I will smile my warmest smile.

Low Grain, High Protein, Gluten Free Breakfast!

Low Grain, High Protein, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free, and Raw. I realize it sounds pretty gross but I’m telling you, this “granola” is DELICIOUS. When I’m not home to cook, this is what Mike has for dinner. Haha.

I started making this stuff when I started my new goal of less grain/carbs for breakfast and dinner and much higher protein. Granola is my #1 choice for breakfast but I can be kind of picky. That’s why I was so surprised that it is SO GOOD. It’s a twist on another recipe from the awesome book in this post.

Ingredients:

1 cup pepitas, aka pumpkin seeds (they’re really high in protein and so yummy)

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup brown rice protein, OPTIONAL

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup raw almonds, slivered or sliced

3/4 cup raw walnuts, in pieces

1 cup dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries, or a mix!

1/2 cup GF oats

Instructions:

Grind up pepitas, sunflower seeds, and coconut. I use a tiny food processor I got at Goodwill. You could do it in a blender though, or just leave everything whole. Pour all that into a gallon ziploc bag. Add all other ingredients. Shake it all up. Scoop out 1/2 to 1 cup, pour some almond or coconut milk over it. Enjoy!

This is possibly the easiest all-at-once breakfast I’ve ever made. It takes about 10 minutes to make a batch to last 2 or 3 weeks. And, because it’s so high in protein, it keeps me full for hours.

Another tip, keep the granola in the gallon bag with a 1/2 cup measuring cup in there. This way you can ration your supply saving you money and preventing over indulgence.

 

Smiles are contagious, plant one right on your kisser and keep it there all day 🙂

Workout Wednesday: I Dare You

Oh Boy. I did NOT want to workout this morning. Rolling out of bed lately has been extra difficult. Again, who wants to wake up at 6:30 instead of 9 just to workout?!?! No one. But then I remember that awesome post workout feeling when I could go about my day standing a little straighter and feeling a little more awesome.

So I worked out with the lovely Ms. Zuzka Light. I’ve been following her workouts for about 5 years now and she’s never let me down. But today’s was a doozy. It was like she knew I’d be lagging. So here it is:

I dare you to try it. Seriously. I ended up doing four rounds for time instead of the 15 minute limit. 4 rounds took me 20 minutes and 25 seconds.

Note: If you don’t have weights, use full water bottles or cans of food. If you don’t workout regularly, do the workout with her so that you can keep the right form.

I can’t believe I pushed my body that hard! And so early in the morning. Yay for me! This day will be that much better.

Enjoy yours too. Don’t forget to smile!

Thankful Tuesday: The Ability to Recognize Trouble

For some reason, over the last few days, I’ve been on the brink of breaking down. I realize that the title of my blog is “Happy Lass” but part of my ability to be a generally happy person is allowing myself to have bad days and then sitting down and figure out what’s causing them. Sunday and Monday were bad days.

I have had no routine lately. Meaning that everything I do must be self-motivated. Everything including work, working out, eating healthy, and even waking up in the morning. That is SO hard! I’m really motivated but who wants to wake up at 6:30 am when they can wake up at 9am?? No one. So I solved that problem by going into work yesterday and figuring out a work routine. It’s going to take a few days but I’m excited about starting the process.

Next, I have no friends in Peoria. This may seem melodramatic, and I guess I have some work friends and some friends through Mike, but I don’t have anyone I can just call to get a coffee. I have a few amazing girlfriends but they’re spread all over the world (Colorado, California, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and China) and I need someone here! Someone to talk to about girl stuff. I find it hard to make female friends because of their tendency to be over dramatic, catty, and much too into their appearance. But it’s time to start the search. My hope is that now that I’m out of high school, it won’t be so hard to find someone calm, sensible, and fun!

So today I’m thankful for my ability to recognize when I have a mental issue and to set about fixing it. I didn’t overcome anxiety and depression just to lapse back into it. I’m happy for the long run baby! And I’ll do whatever it takes to stay that way. Even if it takes some bad days to snap me back into place.

Thanks for reading ya’ll. Have happy days and don’t forget to smile! They’re contagious.