Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy Christmas!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

See below for a photo of Mike, my ridiculous siblings, and me. We are sitting in front of an atrocious yet awesome number of gifts. I can’t tell you how overwhelmed with love and appreciation I feel on this day. I hope all your days are/were equally wonderful.

321149_10152351078890258_302537771_n^ I’m the one in the back in the red sweatshirt. I was doing the true ugly face that I was taught by my best friend šŸ™‚

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Monday Advice: Enjoy Your Holiday Meals!

Alright ya’ll, listen up! For the next 24 hours, do everything you try not to do on a regular basis.

For example:
– Don’t exercise just sleep in instead!
– Keep on your pajamas for as long as possible.
– Eat that cheese and chips and stuffing and dessert!
– Just enjoy the holidays.

The catches (you knew there’d be a few):
– Note how your body feel before the crappy food and after. Remember that feeling.
– Try to throw in some veggies (raw if possible) even if it means sneaking a salad in the middle of the day. Remember how good you feel after you eat those.
– Go on walks! Walks any time of day any weather during the holidays are wonderful. Do it with a loved one. Just take a quiet break from all the shenanigans and get your blood pumping.

That’s pretty much it. I’m getting my routine check up at the doctor right now. After this, let the relaxation begin!

One more thing, make sure to thank all those people that have to work today and tomorrow. There’s a lot of people that have given up their holiday to make sure the world keeps turning. Thank you guys!! Hopefully you get some time to rest too.

Much love and Merry Christmas Eve!

Friday Design: Christmas Cards and Snow!

I haven’t mentioned Christmas much in this here blog. That’s because everyone celebrates different holidays in different ways and I want to continue to deliver information for health no matter what the season. However, today I am just TOO excited! In fact, it’s 6 am. I’ve been awake for an hour. After 5 hours of sleep, I woke up and can’t force myself back to bed. Thank goodness for blogs! A few reasons I can’t sleep:

  1. The world didn’t end, so that’s cool.
  2. Mike and I leave for San Diego today.
  3. I get to see my family for the first time in 6 months!
  4. This will be Mike’s first time meeting my very rambunctious siblings and my wonderful Gran and Grandpa. Should be interesting.
  5. I haven’t packed yet and still have a full work day ahead of me.
  6. We had a blizzard in Peoria yesterday and the city is so beautifully coated with snow (see below). I am SO thankful, though, for the dedicated people that wake 5 hours before me to plow and shovel it all out of our way.

FirstSnow^ check out our back porch.

Ok so! This year I decided that I wanted to do some Christmas cards. Somehow I have managed to live my life in a such a way that a lot of my very closest friends and family are scattered all over the world. China, Britain, and every corner of the US. How do I tell them I love them without spending a fortune? Handmade Christmas cards!

ChristmasCard

These babies took me about an hour each. I made 13 of them. [I’m not sure these have reached everyone yet so if I love you and you haven’t gotten one yet, hold tight] Aside from the card, I also wanted to give them a gift. Something that everyone could use, something healthy, and something easy. Mulling spices! I made my own mulling spices, packaged them up, and put a satchel in every card.

I love these cards. I put a lot of heart and effort into making them. But JEEZ they took a long time. Also, they ended up being rather expensive to mail because they count as a “package” rather than a “letter.” Obviously my loved ones are worth it but they may be getting something a little less bulky next year.

Anyway, that’s my story for today. I’m completely exhausted but totally giddy. I get to see my family today!! I hope you all have wonderful weekends planned. Keep on smiling, they’re even more contagious this time of year šŸ™‚

Throw-It-In-Your-Bag Thursday: Homemade Trail Mix

I’ve been getting a little fired up in my posts the last couple days. Warning, that trend is about to continue … I’ve been getting it from patients and friends: I just don’t have time to eat healthy! I have so many presents to buy and still have to work my job! OH-EM-GEE guys. This is not an excuse, it just means that you have to be better planners for the few weeks that your schedule is tight. If you can learn to do it now, imagine how many busy times it will help you through.

Here’s what most people do when they don’t have time to pack a lunch: eat fast food or don’t eat at all (less likely but the healthier people think this is a better option). NEITHER of these is ok. You MUST eat multiple times a day to give your body the nutrients it needs to function properly, you’re not going to get those nutrients from fast food. End of story.

Now that we have that established, how the heck do you bring enough food to last you an entire busy day??

Well, you can make a smoothie (recipe for an awesome one is on its way), make a healthy sandwich, bring a couple pieces of fruit and….drumroll please…make your own trail mix! YAY!

photo 5

The trail mix has to be homemade because packaged and pre-made mix usually has quite a bit of sugar in it. Sugar coated dried fruit, nuts roasted and nutrients killed, or just plain chocolate chunks that pretty much cancel the goodness of the other stuff. I’m lucky enough that my grocery has an awesome bulk section (see above) but you can buy packaged raw nuts and seed too. No excuses.

A Few Rules:

  • no roasted nuts
  • no sweetened dried fruit
  • no chocolate unless it’s unsweetened
  • NO SUGAR

Trail Mix Possible Nuts:

  • almonds, raw
  • cashews, raw
  • walnuts, raw
  • pecans, raw
  • pistachio nuts, raw
  • brazil nuts, raw
  • macadamia nuts, raw
  • Any other nuts you like but NO PEANUTS! The processing of those hasn’t been so great lately.
  • sunflower seeds

Trail Mix Possible Sweetness:

  • raisins, unsweetened
  • dried cranberries, unsweetened
  • dried apricots, unsweetened
  • dried mango, tough to find unsweetened but so tasty when you do
  • chocolate morsels, unsweetened (aka. bittersweet chocolate chips)

Instructions:

  1. Buy a few bags of whatever ingredients you like and keep them handy.
  2. Throw a couple handfuls of each into a resealable plastic bag whenever you need and throw them in your backpack, briefcase, or car. Make enough to last you a few days.
  3. That’s it!!

TrailMix1-Published

I made this mix while writing this post. It took me a total of 2 minutes and 39 seconds. Just kidding, I didn’t time myself. But it was really quick!

Anyone else have mix-in ideas?

Workout Wednesday: Don’t Stop Now!

Yes yes, I know, “It’s the holidays, I spend all my time Christmas shopping, I don’t have the energy to think about myself, there’s too much bad food around, blah blah blah.” THERE ARE NO EXCUSES. If you read this blog, you probably interact at least a little bit with other health conscious people and, right now, they’re all giving you some wonderful information. It is possible to still enjoy the food, just load up your plate with vegetables before you add anything else. Plan your gifting so you can knock it all out in one day. Focus on yourself for a half hour a day, that’s all it takes!

I don’t care what life situation you’re in, it is ALWAYS better to care for your own health before that of others. You know in the airplane, how you’re supposed to “secure your own oxygen mask BEFORE assisting others?” I know it’s hard but it makes sense. If you’re unhealthy/can’t breathe, you’re unfit, unenergized, or dead before you can even help one other person.

Good thing I’m here for you huh? Because there are these awesome 12 or 16 minute workouts I talk about a lot. Maybe you’ve heard me once or twice? They’re all you need during the holidays. Just do this a few times a week, load up on those veggies, and TA DA! You emerge in January looking and feeling just as svelte as you did in August.

Today’s workout:

Beginner through intermediateĀ (12 minutes)

– 20 seconds on/ 20 seconds off

– each exercise 3 times in a row

AdvancedĀ (16 minutes)

– 30 seconds on/ 10 seconds off

– each exercise 4 times in a row

Exercises:

LowJacks1Ā LowJacks2

1)Ā Beginner/Intermediate- side to side step/ jumping jacks, Advanced- low jacks

PlieSquat

2) Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced- plie squat

ToeTaps(High)

3) Beginner/Intermediate- floor toe taps,Ā Advanced- high toe taps

GoodMornings(hands behind head, no weight)

4) Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced- good mornings

WindshieldWipers

5) Beginner/Intermediate- bent-leg windshield wipers,Ā Advanced- straight-leg windshield wipers

MountainClimber

6)Ā Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced- mountain climbers

plank

Bonus)Ā Beginner/Intermediate- elbow and knee plankĀ Advanced-Ā hand and toe plank

Let me know how it went!

Ps. We’re getting SO close to the weekend/holiday/sleep in time. Hope you’re all having happy Wednesdays šŸ™‚

 

Tasty Tuesday: Meal Planning and Taco Night

A common excuse for why people don’t cook for themselves is that it takes too much time. To these people I say, “NO!” If you want to be healthy, you have to figure out how it works into your schedule. Of course, I can help you with this.

My Solution: Cook three times a week, the nights you have a bit more time. Easy meals that take no more than 30 minutes. Cook double and eat leftovers on nights you really don’t have time to cook. However, make sure that you are reheating the leftovers in the oven and on the stove top, microwaves are BAD. Let the 7th day be your meal vacation day and get a pre-cooked pizza or order in.

This strategy means I only grocery shop once a week and it’s only for the three meals I need to cook plus a little breakfast and lunchtime stuff. And now nothing goes bad either!

So this week one of the three meals was make-your-own tacos. YUM. It’s cheap and so incredibly delicious.

photo 1

photo 2

Make-Your-Own-Tacos

Side Ingredients (mix or match with whatever you have, and organic is best)

corn tortillas

refried beans

no sugar salsa

cucumbers, chopped

guacamole

pecorino cheese, grated (< hard sheep’s cheese, like parmesan but without the lactose)

Taco Meat Ingredients

ground turkey or chicken (< very important that it’s organic)

1 onion, diced

1 Tbsp coconut oil

garlic, 2 cloves minced or 2 tsp powder

1 Tbsp cumin

salt and pepper

optional: portobello mushrooms, other soft veggies

Instructions

1. Cook the taco meat. SautƩ the onion and garlic in the coconut oil on medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Add the ground turkey/chicken, spices, and veggies. Set to medium-low heat and cover. Stir occasionally while heating side ingredients. Cook for a total of about 15 minutes.

3. Heat refried beans in a pot on stove. Stir frequently.

4. Heat tortillas in oven on lowest setting for 5 minutes. While you’re plating the sides.

5. Put it out all nice and pretty and let people serve themselves! Enjoy.

Hope you’re all having wonderful Tuesdays šŸ™‚

 

Very Last Monday(?): Bucket List

Well as everyone knows (unless you’ve been living in a hole for the last 10 years) the Mayan calendar ends on Friday. Obviously this means that the entire universe will coming to a grinding halt and … what is supposed to happen? Are we all gonna blow to smithereens? Will we just freeze over and die slowly? Hmmm. Not something I like to really think about but I do find it really fun to think about just how ridiculous this end of the world thing is.

Anyway! In light of the projection of the world ending, and also because of New Year’s coming up, let’s share some of our bucket lists. Only the fun stuff though. I don’t think we need any more negative than we’re already getting this week.

My Bucket List (only the fun stuff):

1. smash a guitar – Something about the big clang and splintering of wood sounds so satisfying to me.

2. mud wrestle – I love an excuse to get muddy. The wrestling part is just my competitive side coming out because I WOULD win.

3. hang out of Cirque du Soleil performers for a day – I’ve seen 7 Cirque shows to date (yes I’m really flippin lucky) and I’ve always wondered what type of person it takes to create such a performance. I’d love to see their pre-show warm ups, how they wind down at the end of the night, and how they interact with each other.

4. attend a Rugby World Cup Final – Preferrably in Millenium stadium in Wales. I’ve been to a few rugby games and get drunk with the energy of the place (maybe the beer helps a bit too). My dad and friends tell me that the World Cup final is completely overwhelming and wonderful. I just want to do it.

5. visit every continent – this started as every country but that’s just FAR too many that I don’t care to visit. The continents that I have not been to are Antarctica and Africa but there are still lots of places in the other 5 that I’d love to explore.

6. make out under a waterfall – Not a fake, man-made waterfall. A real one. In a tropical place somewhere (Hawaii?). And not technically under it but BEHIND it. I don’t want to drown in water.

7. get in a fist fight – It takes a lot to get me angry but once I’m there, I’m a pretty little ball of rage. One day I would like someone to make me mad enough that I can pound on them a few times. Again, I WOULD win.

There are a few more but 7 is a good number so I’ll stop there. Also, upon inspection, it’s really interesting how many of these are violent and competitive. Just don’t get me mad people!

What’s something on your bucket list?