Monthly Archives: February 2013

Workout Wednesday: Post New Year Blues

Are you getting them? The feeling at multiple points in the day of “Ugh, I just don’t want to get out of bed, or make the drive to work, and now I have to workout?!”

Yes, yes. I’m right there with you. After so many wonderful holidays for the last 2 months, reality is hitting hard. My day-to-day life is actually pretty awesome. I’m fortunate enough to have a comfortable and interesting existence, but sometimes I just don’t want to get out of bed!

Then I workout. My energy comes back, my mood is lifted. And I get to dance around in my pajamas for my warm up. And all that mood-boosting only take 16 minutes. So I will now post this workout and go do it! The blues only get you down if you let it happen.

Beginner through intermediate (12 minutes)

– 20 seconds on/ 20 seconds off

– each exercise 3 times in a row

Advanced (16 minutes)

– 30 seconds on/ 10 seconds off

– each exercise 4 times in a row

Exercises:

High Knees

1. high knees (advanced: higher knees, quicker steps)

SquatSideKick

2. squat kicks (advanced: with weight held over your head)

RussianTwist

3. russian twist (beginner: with feet on ground)

Fire Hydrants

4. fire hydrant (switch sides half-way through each interval)

Lunge

5. speed lunges (small, quick bends w/ feet locked in place. switch sides halfway through interval)

plank(better)

6. plank (with kicks if you can)

Let me know how it goes. I hope you’re having a wonderful day 🙂

 

Tasty Tuesday: Gran’s Veggie Soup

Have you ever tried to make soup? The ingredient list can be long but the process is so easy! Soup is delicious (especially in the winter), freezable, and cuts way back on the dishes. I encourage anyone with a big pot and cutting board to try it. This specific recipe is from my Gran.

My Gran is incredibly healthy. She could kick my tail in the gym and sticks to eating mostly veggies and other deliciousness that keeps her immune system rock solid. She’s definitely an example for me and where I want my health to be over the next couple decades.

A few weeks ago she sent me this recipe. It’s for a low-heat Veggie Soup. It doesn’t look that yummy but I made a massive batch and Mike and I have been guzzling it down. So tasty!

Gran’s tips: If you can, buy organic pre-cut veggies or bring in some extra help (in the form of a boyfriend or husband?); the chopping can take a long time. Cook a double batch and freeze the extras for soup next week!

So without further ado, here it is:

VeggieSoup

Gran’s Veggie Soup (6 servings)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups veggie or chicken stock
  • 2 lbs broccoli
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/8 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 5 oz spinach, fresh
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom (only buy what you need, it’s $79 a lb!)
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Chop up the onions, carrot, broccoli, and tomato into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Cook water, onions, carrot, and garlic in a large pot over low heat for 10 minutes, until wilted.
  3. Add the stock, broccoli, tomatoes, and parsley. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach and all spices. Cook for 1 minute then remove from heat.
  5. Let cool for 5 minutes then blend/puree everything.
  6. Return it to the pot. Add lemon and serve it warm.
  7. Enjoy!

Thanks for this one Gran! Everyone else, let me know how it goes 🙂

 

Marvelous Monday: Hot Dogs, Museum, and a Luxury Hotel

Living in a relatively small city immediately after graduation was (and still is) a big shock to me. It’s not because of the different types of people and it’s not even because I’m far from home, it’s the lack of variation! I realized it when I was walking around Chicago this weekend. No one stares at me because I have short hair and am wearing a gorgeous red coat. I know this sounds hyperbolic but I’m totally serious. I’ve found myself toning down my level of “urban” and it wasn’t until this weekend that I fully realized it.

Needless to say, it was wonderfully liberating to be in Chicago again this weekend. I met my best friend in the entire world, Sarah. She flew from North Carolina to meet me and, of course, it was epic. Somehow, when we get together, we manage to find the most incredible deals on some really swanky experiences. So instead of writing it all down, I’ll show you some photos!

*Credit to Sarah for most of the photos. Pick them out by spotting the good ones.*

Day One:

858717_10100863993292329_723608124_o^ This restaurant is called the Pump Room (in the Public Hotel). Before we got here, Sarah found a voucher for a gourmet meal on GiltCity.com. Mixology cocktails, tuna tartare, apple and brie toast,  lobster ravioli, and a caramel corn salted sundae. We ate until midnight and then collapsed in our hotel room.

Day Two:

We obviously had to see The Bean (cloudgate). This is by far my favorite monument in any city that I’ve seen. It is really a gorgeous shape and it brings together every view of the inside of the city. Also, it’s REALLY fun to take pictures with it.

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We both felt like absorbing a little culture (and keeping out of the freezing weather outside) so we checked out the Art Institute. The building was very beautiful and the exhibits were right up our alley (they even had one of Studio Gang Architects).

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Then we ditched the cultural stuff and headed about 15 minutes outside the city to Hot Dougs. This place serves the most unbelievable hot dog I’ve ever seen. We checked out the reviews online and decided on the following: Duck dog with foie gras and truffle aoili, rabbit dog with ricotta cheese and raspberry preserves, 2 normal dogs with all the toppings, and cheese fries.

We had to wait outside in 20°F for ONE HOUR to even get inside this place. It was packed. But once we did order, it was pretty affordable and the dogs were to die for. The only time Sarah and I are ever quiet is when we are hungry and when we are mowing down food like this.

IMG_1022 ^ We even got to meat (haha) Doug himself!

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That night we stayed in and enjoyed our most luxurious hotel room and some deep dish pizza.

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This hotel room needs some further explanation. As I mentioned, Sarah and I find the most amazing bargains. I found this hotel room at Swisshotel (they are usually upwards of $200) for $110 a night on Bookit.com. It was SO worth the effort. This place was so nice that we WANTED to stay in and enjoy it. I took photos of the tiny details so you would understand.

IMG_1030 ^ Bedside table: light switches for the whole room, an alarm clock AND ipod player, and outlets on the lamp. Perfection.

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^ A CLEAN tub and a shower. Also, please note the phone next to the toilet. If you’re wondering, of course I used it.

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^ When the maids came in, they straightened up our shoes and toiletries and the room was sparkling.

IMG_1031^ There was a Keurig coffee maker with free K-cups. And wine glasses and bottle openers. These people knew we were coming.

We spent Sunday chatting and doing some shopping (aka bargain hunting) before Sarah had to fly out. It was MUCH too short of a stay but absolutely wonderful all the same. There’s nothing like the company of your best girlfriend 🙂

Faulty Friday: Fallen Off the Wagon?

Nows the time. January is over, you’re vacationing for entire weekends. You’re eating whatever the heck you want and not exercising. It doesn’t matter if you had a New Years Resolution or not, you’re starting to pack on the pounds. I’ve heard this from several patients over the last few days so let me ask you a few questions…maybe they will help you jump back on the wagon.

WeightGain

1. Weekly Vacation Days: When do you allow yourself the freedom to entertain all those cravings? Is it whenever you crumble under the pressure (which is getting more and more often)? Or is it a designated day of the week in which you except that you will be bloated and feel crappy?

It should be the second option. Pick a day each week that you feed on your cravings. On that day, eat whatever the heck you want. Personally, I have half a large Dominos pizza and half a box of cinnasticks. I love those foods but man they’re bad for me. So I eat them once a week and pay the price for 24 hours afterward.

The awesome thing is that, if you eat healthy the rest of the week, your body recognizes a problem with the pizza and voids it pretty quick. As in, you’ll be on the toilet a lot the next day. But isn’t that cool? You’re body will learn how to purge a bad thing?

2. Write It Down: When are you binge eating? When are you ditching your workout? Pinpoint your problem areas and write down your plan for them. For instance, I have terrible trouble limiting my evening eating when I’m at home. I just pile snacks into my mouth like the world is ending.

However! When I go through periods when this is especially bad, I write it all down. Before I start eating, I write down (on a list in my phone) all the food and amounts I’m allowed that night. I give myself some leeway and add in small desserts like 2 gluten-free cookies and some dried apricots, or several squares of dark chocolate. I’m just limited enough that I can pace myself throughout the night and still feel satisfied when I go to bed.

So plan through your worst habits and pull yourself out of them.

3. When on Holiday, Be on Holiday: When you’re away from home and eating out for most meals, do you feel guilty? Do you look at the meal in the beginning and giggle with joy, then look at the empty plate you devoured and feel like a beached whale? Stop it! Take your holiday as an extended Vacation Day (see #1) and enjoy your food! If you do this though, you just have to accept the reality that there might be a few extra pounds on your belly. You’ll have to be VERY good when you’re back home.

A good way to make less of an impact on your waistline is to bring with you a standard meal. I bring along a sandwich bag of my Grainless Granola and grab some milk at a convenience store wherever I’m going. Try to make sure you eat healthy for at least one meal a day.

Also, when you are eating out, eat the veggies instead of the fries. Try to incorporate veggies into every plate of food. It will fill you up with the good stuff and will provide some much-needed support for your digestion and  immune system.

Confession: I will admit that I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit in the last 2 or 3 weeks. But this happens to healthy people! We can’t have rockin’ bods every day of the year. So I will be living by these rules and trimming back that waistline until I’m happy looking in the mirror again.

I hope you’re all having wonderful Fridays. The weekend is here! And today I will be traveling up to Chicago to meet my best friend for a weekend of shenanigans. 😀

 

I Have A Happy Heart

Heart

Mom and Dad,
Nicola, Makenna, and Cam.
Has there ever been a time,
When we haven’t been an awesome fam?

Vegas was epic,
Just like all our holidays.
We manage to break the rules,
And have fun in our weirdo ways.

Seven years
Is WAY too many days.
Navigating life without you around,
Is like finding my way out of the toughest maze.

So on this day,
When I can’t see all your gorgeous faces,
I’ll think of the next time,
We can eat, drink, and laugh in crazy places.

ps.
This ode should include,
Some love for my Gran and Chuck,
Without your unwavering support,
I’d be s**t out of luck.

Gran’s weekly phone calls,
Chuck’s endless flattery,
Pulls down my walls,
And keeps me going like an Energizer battery.

I love ALL of you. My readers, my family, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, my new family (the Farrar’s!), my coworkers, and my closest friends.

Whether you’re single or taken, just make sure you give at least one person a hug today 🙂

 

Workout Wednesday: Simple Tools

These workouts I post are amazing. I have to be a little conceited in this because I’m making them for other people. You! They are literally 12 minute workouts that can build muscle and burn fat for at least 24 hours (more like 48). I thought it was a crock of you-know-what until I actually factored them into my workout schedule. And now I can tell you from experience, THEY WORK.

The best part is that you don’t need a gym. Or weights, or resistance bands, or a fitness ball. You just need a timer and a clear spot on the floor (and maybe a yoga mat if you have hardwood). Oh yeah, and you need some will power.

A patient did ask me the other day what I use to time my workouts. Why an interval timer of course! You can find free ones on the internet and run it off your computer or, if you have a smart phone, there’s an app for that. Just search “interval timer” and voila! It should be free or at most $1. So worth it.

Beginner through intermediate (12 minutes)

– 20 seconds on/ 20 seconds off

– each exercise 3 times in a row

Advanced (16 minutes)

– 30 seconds on/ 10 seconds off

– each exercise 4 times in a row

Exercises:

Side Hops

1. side hop (jump fast and high)

GoodMornings

2. good mornings

LegLift

3. leg lower (lose the ball on this one)

Swimmers

4. swimmers

DiamondPushup

5. diamond pushup (do this on your feet, knees, or standing against a wall)

SitAndPray

6. sit & pray (get low and put your weight in your heels)

How did it go?

 

Thankful Tuesday: Back to Real Life

WineforDinner

I had an incredible weekend. It was full of family and friends that I haven’t seen in a long time. But also lots of rugby, gambling, no exercise, and eating and drinking whatever my heart desires. Mike and I went to Las Vegas for 3 days to meet my family and watch the Rugby Sevens tournament. I went last year too and plan on continuing the tradition for as long as possible.

When I go on vacation, I go all out (yep, wine for dinner was a reality this weekend). It gets all the bad habits out of my system and lets me return to real life thoroughly exhausted and ready to be 100% healthy again.

So obviously I don’t have a new recipe for today since every meal I ate for the last 4 days was from a restaurant but I would like to bring back Thankful Tuesdays.

So on this lovely day in February, I am thankful for:

  1. A job that earns me enough money to travel to places like Vegas for the weekend but also gives me the flexible schedule to do it.

Vegas22. The family that makes a priority out of traveling to meet each other and party.

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3. The boyfriend that comes with me and makes it all even more fun.

Instead of having holiday blues, maybe I’ll try to remember how amazing it is that I have these experiences in the first place. You think?

What are you thankful for today?