Monthly Archives: October 2012

Wednesday Workout: Let’s Walk Down This Path

I led another awesome workout session last night. We’ve been running them for 3 weeks and I’ve seen people come once and not again, but I’ve also seen people come back, and that’s what I love. Mike comes to the workouts and I grill him for criticism and advice every Tuesday night. This week I realized how nervous I am that not everyone is getting sucked into the atmosphere of exercise. He grabbed me by the shoulders and injected this little wisdom nugget into my head:

I can’t force people to change, I can only give them the knowledge and lead them down the right path. In the end, they have to move their own two legs to walk that path.

Isn’t he smart 🙂 It’s so true. There is a certain switch that has to trigger for someone to truly educate themselves and make the gargantuan effort to stay healthy. Because it is NOT EASY. Compared to unhealthy living, it’s expensive, time-consuming, and takes some major will-power but it’s so worth it.

So here I am, leading you to the path. Keep following me and I’ll try to make it less expensive, less time-consuming, and maybe a little more fun.

Today I challenge you to actually do this workout! I have a feeling that you just scroll through these Wednesday posts without a second glance. JUST TRY IT. It’s 12 minutes. What do you have to lose?

– 20 seconds on/20 seconds rest

– each exercise 3 times

– total of 12 minutes

– if you don’t push yourself, this doesn’t work. if you do, holy cow it’s amazing!

1) high knees

2) russian twist – use weight and/or lift your legs off the ground.

3) calf raises – use weight or not! hold on to a chair if you need to.

4) plié squat – if it’s easy, do it faster and/or use weight.

5) tri dip – if it’s easy, lift one leg up or stretch both out in front.

6) mountain climber – fast or slow

photo credit: 1 2 3 4 5 6

So how did it go??



Tuesday Recipe: Halloween Treats?

Halloween can be a daunting time for us “healthy ones.” Luckily I don’t have to worry about taking kids trick-or-treating this year but a lot of our patients and a lot of my readers do so here’s a quick guide to help limit the sugar in your kids’ systems:

Set an example by handing out “healthy candy.” However, DO NOT be the house on the block that gives out carrots or raisins. Some ideas for treats most kids love:

^Popcorn Balls – you do have to cook for this one but it’s really easy and they’re delicious.

^ Fruit strips – made of dried fruit and a replacement for fruit roll ups, they can be bought at pretty much any grocery store.

^Cocomels – from JJ Sweets, they are healthy and yummy. A bit expensive maybe to give to all the kids but a great idea for your own or even for Christmas gifts.

^ String cheese – what kid doesn’t love string cheese.

^ Natural Gummies – Surf Sweets sells a great version of natural gummy treats in the shape of spiders! But any natural gummi treat will do. I know this was one of my favorites when I scored on these as a kid.

^ Trail Mix – make your own with your choice of almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. Be sure to throw some chocolate in there (dark is best) so the kids don’t feel like they’re totally deprived!

^Crispy Rice Treats – click the link to find a great recipe from a fellow blogger. However, I highly encourage you to use healthy marshmallows with less sugar and cereal without any kind of ingredient with -ose on the end (ie. fructose, sucrose, etc).

Note: If you’re making the treats yourself, include a note to the kids parent’s of the ingredients so they don’t think it’s spiked.

Now, it’s inevitable that your kids get your hands on a fair amount of candy this time of year but how do you keep them from riding that sugar high for 12 weeks afterwards? I do not have kids so I really have NO IDEA, but I do have a couple of suggestions!

1. Give them a vacation night. Let them eat the candy. Let them work themselves into a sugar-induced coma. But while they’re there, ask them how they are feeling. Make them realize that the candy is making them sluggish, over-full, and cranky with a headache. Don’t harp on them, but for 5 minutes just try to help them realize the effect of the candy.

2. After their coma, give them incentives to “trade” the candy. For every 10 pieces, they don’t have to do their chore for the day. Something like that.

3. Ask them if they’d rather spend some time with you, cooking something else delicious that won’t make them feel like crap. Then proceed to make an awesome, fun desert (like the popcorn balls or crispy rice treats listed above) to make them feel that this is so much better.

Ok those are a few suggestions from a child-less 24 year-old. I hope they help a little bit! And I hope you all have an awesome Halloween!

What will you and/or your kids be dressing up as?


Amusing Monday: why did you get out of bed?

Merry Monday everyone!

Last night I had some horrible nightmares about death and screwing up at work. Haha. Not quite the same severity but they shook me all the same. You know when you half wake up after a nightmare and don’t want to go back to sleep because it will just start over again? Well that explained my last hour in bed. AND it’s still dark outside! I’m not talking sunrise gray, it is PITCH BLACK outside. AND I have to be at work an hour and half earlier than normal. Let’s just say it was very hard to roll out of bed this morning.

So what are the reasons I rolled out of bed?

1) to end the string of stupid nightmares

2) to go make some money so I can keep cutting up credit cards

3) to meet all the new patients that I signed up over the weekend, time to get some more people healthy!

4) to share this lovely joke with you folks:

Two brooms were hanging in a closet and, after a while, they got to know each other so well they decided to get married.

One broom was, of course, the bride broom, the other the groom broom.

The bride broom looked very beautiful in her white dress. The groom broom was handsome and suave in his tuxedo. The wedding was lovely.

After the wedding, at the wedding dinner, the bride-broom leaned over and said to the groom-broom, “I think I’m going to have a little whisk broom!”

“Impossible!” said the groom broom…

“We haven’t even swept together!”

Bahahaha! Thanks for that one Gran!

^ And if you do get tired, you can just follow this genius’ lead.

Also, the few of you that keep up with me daily may have noticed that I did not post over the weekend. I’ve decided to change the format of my wee blog. No more weekend posts. This is not only to preserve my sanity but to better the content of the posts. I can now plan them out a bit and make sure that I’m giving you the best reading possible! Anyway, feedback on this change over the next few weeks is welcomed!

So why did you roll out of bed this morning?

No matter the answer to that question, I guarantee smiling will make it an easier day. 🙂 

Freedom Friday: Axccepting Imperfecshuns

I was talking to a patient the other day and, after reading my blog for a few weeks, she told me a that she is a perfectionist like me. I had always thrown that term around loosely, knowing that I have a tendency to focus on things that cannot be fixed, but I’d never truly thought about it. Being a perfectionist means never accepting when you’ve made a mistake or can’t do something as well as you’d like to. Boy am I a perfectionist! But it wasn’t until she pointed it out that I realized how useless it is to be this way.

The truth is that none of us are perfect. Stop. Think about it. Really think. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT. None of us are even close. Everyone has their cravings and addictions. Everyone has an area of life that they wish they could be better in. I am terrible at being single (I need love 24/7) and I can’t locate Hong Kong on a map for the life of me. Some people need to eat fries on a regular basis, others can’t compute the square root of 144. It’s ok!



^ There it is! (photo credit)

You can’t overcome your fear of imperfection until you understand it. So next time before you start beating yourself up for doing something silly, catch yourself and think, “It’s ok, no one is perfect.” Once you have a list going of things you would like to make better, pick one and concentrate on it. And this is where the baby steps come in. Take baby steps. Right now, I’m taking baby steps to eat much less sugar and to get off of my evening-time addiction. Each goal could take me months but it will probably take years. That’s ok, as long as I recognize it, and have a plan to progress. To reach the next place in my life as an even better person.

One more thing, sometimes the imperfections turn into happy things! Like the fact that I’m terrible at dancing and have learned to just not care. How liberating and fun! It means that my dancing makes people smile and maybe do their terrible dancing right along with me 🙂

Ok, that is all. I hope you have a great Friday and a wonderfully imperfect weekend. 🙂

Now tell me: What is one of your imperfections?


Thursday Recipe: Sugar, Gluten, and Dairy Free Chocolate Macaroons

Macaroons are one of the most deliciously allowable foods for those of us that are gluten, dairy, and sugar challenged. I have yet to really explain to you all why I try to be sugar-free but you’ll just have to trust me on this one, sugar is really not good for you. You can substitute Stevia or Xylitol for sugar but sometimes it can taste a bit wonky. In this recipe, it just works!

So I made these macaroons and they are so flippin’ delicious. There are a few more steps than I’m used to but SO worth the brain power.

Chocolate Covered Macaroons

Cookie Ingredients:

4-5 egg whites

14 oz of unsweetened coconut, shredded

2 Tbsp butter, melted

Xylitol or Stevia to taste

Chocolate Ingredients (this chocolate covering is optional):

3 squares unsweetened chocolate

2 Tbsp coconut oil

2 Tbsp butter, melted

Xylitol or Stevia to taste


^ Beat egg whites until frothy.

^ Stir in coconut, butter, and sweetener.

Roll into tablespoon sized balls and drop onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes. Cool in fridge until firm.

The chocolate is optional but SO good, just do it:

^ Melt chocolate, coconut oil, and butter together. Add sweetener. Dip macaroons in chocolate. Cool on wax paper. Keep refrigerated.

Like an idiot, I got so excited to eat these babies that I didn’t take an after picture. DOH! But you can imagine how pretty AND tasty they were. And so easy to make. Try it, you will amaze yourself.

Does anyone have plans for a nice meal this weekend?

Who are you gonna smile at today?

Wednesday Workout: Two Things to Remember

Well hidey ho there blogosphere neighbors! Yesterday I led another great workout class. It was a 12-minute workout, just like last week but I remembered to tell the class about my Two Basic Rules.

Rule #1- BREATH. I learned this from lots of weight training and lots of yoga. Make sure you establish a breathing rhythm right along with your perfect form. If an exercise is a huge challenge for you, focus on (imagining) that you’re breathing into that part of you body. Better breathing means more oxygenated blood and muscles=better workout.

Rule #2-BRACE. Ok, put your hand on your lower belly, now flex it. Flex it so that you feel like it’s reaching back to your lower back. It should sorta feel like you’re (excuse my language) pooping. If you can hold this position throughout your exercises, especially when they get really difficult, then it will support and strengthen your back, belly, and the entire rest of your core.

Now that we have those out of the way. Here was the workout we did yesterday.

– 20 seconds on/20 seconds rest

– each exercise 3 times

– total of 12 minutes

– if you don’t push yourself, this doesn’t work. if you do, holy cow it’s amazing!

1) Side Hop – jump over something, or just step side to side as fast as you can.

2) Good Mornings – do it without a barbell, just with your hand on your head

3) Push Ups – plank position or on your knees or even on the wall if you have shoulder problems

4) Crunches – don’t bend your neck! Just lift your head and shoulders towards the ceiling

5) Plank – with speed kicks if you’re extra awesome

6) Frog Squat

‘Twas another great workout with so many people! I beginning to love teaching this class.

What workout will you do today? 



Thankful Tuesday: My Material Things

All of us “righteous hippies” out there tend to shrug off our material blessings. We focus all our energy into ignoring our urges to buy silly things that don’t have any real value. But sometimes, just sometimes, isn’t it wonderful to sit amongst all your “stuff” and relish in the life you have made for yourself?

Everything you surround yourself with is there for a reason. Either by your own choice or the fact that someone else thought you might like/need it. Whatever the case, be thankful for what you have!

^ Just watch it, it’s only 1 minute long. Maybe it will change your day.

So today, 3 things I’m thankful for:

1) Our awesomely large 2 bedroom apartment. It has a bedroom just for our bikes and working out. And a deck! And a pool! It’s just large enough for all our things but small enough that it doesn’t take forever to clean.

2) My computer. I bring this thing everywhere with me. I toss it around and then bring it out and expect it to work like clockwork. And it does. I’m very thankful that I had the money to buy a Mac so that I don’t have to worry about viruses or what to do if it breaks.

3) Our double recliner couch. We got it at Habitat for Humanity for $50 but it’s one of my favorite pieces of furniture. It means that we can relax in front of our awesome TV and snuggle up together.

There is so much more but if I just pick 3 then I get to focus on them. Yay!

What are your three things this week?

And please, just don’t forget to smile. Who knows if you will smile at the right person, at the right time, and change their day.

Motivational Monday: Your Personal Victories?

Well good Monday to you my friends. I woke up about a half hour ago. Mike had already left for work and it was still dark out. GROSS. However, sitting here writing this post, I’ve realized that when you wake up in the dark, you get to watch the sunrise. PRETTY.

Yesterday was a very emotionally balanced and content day for me. I had a few personal triumphs and learned some new things about myself. I hope to carry this feeling with me throughout the week. If I can, I know my confidence and happiness will radiate off me and maybe help make someone else’s day. So here’s a list of what I’m happy about:

1. My 5 year old hardy favorite leather belt is officially TOO BIG! I hate scales so I never step on one. I just try to eat and live as healthy as I can and hope that maybe my body will follow. Well it is! I have lost some significant weight since I moved to Peoria and started living right. I’m stoked 🙂

2. I closed out one of my three credit cards today! YES! I have some major credit card debt and have been plugging away at it since I entered the working world. Today I finally got to see some of the fruits of my labor. 1 down, 2 more to go.

3. On Friday, I got my haircut altered a bit. It was feeling very 90’s soccer mom so I went in and asked for something edgy and fun, but also classy. She gave me a faux hawk! I love it so much and it’s helping me overcome my insecurity of having short hair. Only a really awesome, really fun chick can have a haircut like this so I’m just trying to embrace it. And it’s working!

Anyway, those are my personal victories to carry through the week. What are some of yours?

Recipe Sunday: Healthy Fried Rice

Hey All. Sorry about the late post but Mike and I have had such a busy and relaxing (awesome combo) kind of day. Earlier this week I tried my own healthy fried rice and it didn’t come out so well. I only post delicious recipes so I retried it last night and it ended up being so good!

Healthy Fried Rice


brown rice (cooked)

3 or 4 eggs (beaten)

veggies (I used red pepper, spinach, and broccoli)

liquid aminos (the healthy soy sauce, I use Bragg brand)

meat (optional)

little bit of sunflower oil for cooking


^ Saute all the veggies on low heat. If you are using meat, cook with the veggies. When it’s all cooked through, add the beaten eggs. Stir as it cooks to coat everything in egg. When egg is cooked, empty it into a bowl.

^ Add the rice to the empty pan and spray some liquid aminos on there (it has a very salty taste so make sure not to use too much). Just until it has the “fried” brown look. Cook until heated.

Add the veggie/egg/meat and mix it all together. Enjoy!

Ashley life Update: Last week, Mike and I decided that we were starting to settle into a very sedentary life. Unacceptable. So today, our day off together, we went for an awesome pancake breakfast and then to a GIANT antique market about 40 minutes away. We didn’t have long at the market but we saw some really beautiful stuff and I bought a cast iron skillet, yay! I’ve been wanting one for a while because they’re such a healthy, non toxic way to cook and they last forever. Got an 8″ pan for $14 (I’m a great haggler). It was a wonderful day with my man 🙂


I hope your Sunday was as great as mine! If not, tomorrow is a new day, so smile 🙂


Environmental Saturday: Natural Disinfectant

I have realized that I have a series of “life rules” that I strongly believe in and have already accomplished or am working on implementing into my everyday life. Most of them have to do with what I talk about here: health, wealth, and happiness.

Rule #2 (Rule #1 will be explained at a later date) – remove the toxins from your life. I mean this in an literal physical sense as well as an emotional, perceived sense. But today’s lets talk about how to literally start removing toxins from your life.

One incredibly easy and CHEAP way to do this is by clearing out your cleaning supplies. Get rid of the window cleaner, disinfectant, surface cleaner, etc…and replace it with vinegar and water!


This natural disinfectant of 1 part water, 1 part white vinegar functions now as my cleaner for every situation. The only thing it can’t do it the bathtub and toilet (I’m working on something for that). It makes house cleaning much faster and simpler but it’s also very cheap. I grabbed a spray bottle at the hardware store and vinegar at the market and, voile! I have enough cleaner to last me at least a year.

Disclaimer: it does smell a little odd but the smell fades almost immediately. If it really bothers you, stick some lemon/orange rinds in the bottle and placate the odor. Yay!

Ashley Life Update: Last night Mike and I had a “family dinner.” What started as a casual invite to a few people on Monday turned into a full on party of 17ish people. I cooked for everyone and we all hung out and ate and drank for several hours before heading out on the town. I let loose for a much needed night and I wake up feeling a little foggy but so happy. I feel like we’re finally starting to make friends!

Anyway, I hope you’re all having relaxing Saturdays. I’m off to a screening at the super market. Time to help more people get healthy!

Smile 🙂