Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Try Something New

"Everyone has a 'risk muscle.'  You keep it in shape by trying new things.  If you don't, it atrophies. Make a point of using it at least once a day." 
~Roger Von Oech

I'm a fan of trying new things... new food, new movies, new music, new workout routines, etc.  You never know if you are going to like something until you give it a try.  So in the spirit of being adventurous, I wanted to tell you about a few new things that I have tried lately.


In the evening, about an hour or so before bed after my dinner has settled and right when I'm starting to crave something sweet, I have a cup of tea.  I just realized... does that make me sound old?? Oh well, I like it, and it works. :)

It's so soothing, and I know I will love it even more as it starts to get cold outside.  It just warms your belly and makes you sleep like a baby! And a bonus... it totally kicks any sugar craving you have.  If you still want something a little sweet, you can add a dash of milk (I prefer almond milk) and agave nectar or honey to your tea.

As a result of this new thing, I just had to organize the tea drawer. Check out some of the teas!

Aveda's Comforting Tea is one of my favorites.  Yes, Aveda the salon, and where I get my hair done.  I know you wouldn't think to get tea there, but they actually have a lot of really good organic products and their tea is one of my many favs!  The tea is 100% organic and you can buy it loose leaves or in tea bags.  It has a hint of licorice flavor.


Another new thing, is my love for the foam roller!  I finally bought my own foam roller to have at home. My muscles are always craving a good massage to release the tension, BUT I am definitely not going to pay for a massage once a week... which is why spent $15 to get a foam roller!  I should just call it my masseuse from here on out.  It's my on-call 24-7 masseuse... how nice is that! This video shows you the great ways you can release tension using the foam roller.  It really is like a deep tissue massage.  

When I was trying to find an instructional video, this was the first one I clicked on... and you will not believe who is in it... Katrina from Tone It Up!  It's from 2007, so it was before her Tone It Up days.  She goes through all of my favorite positions with the foam roller.  And speaking of Tone It Up... have you checked out the Tone It Up Fat Burning System yet?? I have been incorporating a lot of things from the plan into my lifestyle, and I'm loving the results.  


For the first time, last week I tried SUNFLOWER SEED BUTTER!  Oh wow.  I never thought to look for sunflower seed butter instead of just your regular peanut or almond butter, but I have seen it mentioned a few times on other blogs so I had to give it a whirl.  And I'm glad I did! It's superb!  On toast, by itself, on top of a rice cake with honey, or my favorite... with a banana.  Sunflower seeds are loaded with benefits so I definitely recommend adding this one to your repertoire of nut butters.  But, as with any nut butter, 1-2 Tbsp is an appropriate serving.  It has good fats that your body needs, but it is still fat, so don't go crazy.  Here is the brand that I found near all of the other nut butters at Central Market.


My new workout shoes! I wanted something that wasn't very constricting on my feet.  The whole "running barefoot" movement with the Vibrams has taken off, but I just can't go there yet.  I have read about a lot of injuries from people doing too much too fast with those shoes.  But I do believe, that a less constricting shoe (a shoe that provides you with free movement) helps to build the muscles in the foot.  After suffering from an ankle injury and surgery a few years ago from playing basketball, I am still trying to rebuild those muscles in my feet.   So I opted for the Nike Free Hyper TR.  So far, I love them!


With my full-time auditing career about to begin in 7 days (still cannot believe that!), I had to re-evaluate my workout routine.  It needed to be fast, but effective.  I wanted my to get my heart rate up but also build muscle too.  So this week, Sam and I started CrossFit.  What is CrossFit?  

I have only done 2 workouts so far, and I love it.  I'm so sore today after yesterday's workout, which was 30 clean and jerks as fast as you can.  That doesn't sound like a lot, but wheww... I was sweating and my muscles were dead afterwards.  It only took about 45 mins with the warmup, workout, and a little extra abs.  Exactly what I was looking for!  There are many CrossFit websites that will give you a WOD (workout of the day), which tells you what to do that day.  If you can find a CrossFit gym in your area, that is what I recommend.  I would liked to have joined one of the CrossFit gyms nearby, but the times just didn't work out my work schedule.  So we just do the workouts at LA Fitness early in the morning, and sometimes we have to adjust the exercises if we don't have the proper equipment.  But, the CrossFit main website is really helpful in that it provides you with substitutions if you don't have the necessary equipment.  I'm really excited to see the results from CrossFit, so I will keep you updated!  I have to show you this other CrossFit video too... it's really motivating.

That's all I have for today!  I know it's been a while since my last post, but guess what... my LAST CPA exam is THIS Friday!  Ahhh, I thought it would never get here.  Let's just hope it goes as well as all of the others.  So you probably won't hear from me again until after that.  In the meantime, have a great week and if you're feeling up to it... try something new, you never know what might come of it. 

With Love, Health, and Happiness, 

*** One last thing!  Remember my post about Healthy Living Blogs, which is basically a directory for healthy blogs all over the world. Well, they just started a segment called "Friday Features" where they feature a few of their blog members.  AND I was one of them!  They asked me several questions you might be wondering, like how did I come up with the title of my blog, what is something "shocking" about me, and more.  Go here to check out my interview with Healthy Living Blogs. It was very exciting to be featured on such a great website.  Thanks Healthy Living Blogs!  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Jumble of Healthy & Happy Thoughts/Tips

Good morning!

I hope you enjoyed your weekend! I mentioned in my last post that I have a few stories/ lessons to share with you from my weekend in Boston, MA.  So let's just cut to the chase shall we... but a couple pics from the trip first...

I made a new friend.  :)

Our view overlooking the bay.  So pretty! Just begging to be run on. 

Me and Sam!  Yes, my shirt says "made with love"... like this blog! 


1.  A great way to explore a new city is to run/ walk through it for your morning exercise!  

Our hotel was right along the Boston shoreline so what better way to check out everything along the pier than to just run all around it.  We ran Saturday morning, and we had a Texas size Boston dinner the night before, but that wasn't stopping me from getting in some morning exercise and sharing it with my Mom & Dad.

We stopped for a photo op before the run... I promise we got sweaty. 

My Mom with a glamorous finish! 

2.  You have to live life.  Allow yourself to experience the culture's cuisine (even if it's not on your diet).

Speaking of our Texas size dinner on Friday night... we went to this teeny tiny authentic Italian restaurant.  I kept it vegan for my main course which was spaghetti with marinara and grilled veggies but I did enjoy some seafood for the appetizer.  Sam indulged and ordered a whole grilled lobster.  I wish I would have taken a pic of that thing, it was huge.  For dessert, I allowed myself to enjoy what is apparently a Boston classic called Mike's Pastry.  Oh my gosh, so worth it.  You have to see some pictures of these pastries... out of control. Keep in mind we had several desserts from which I took a couple sample bites of each... these aren't all mine, haha.

There was a line out the door!

Holy Cannoli!  That bite you see in the pic... that was mine. :-)

Not your ordinary lobster tail.  Pastry filled with fluffy creamy goodness. 

Now that you are probably drooling, back to lesson #2.  During the weekend, I also indulged with a few bites of New England clam chowder and some fried calamari.  But, my favorite thing by far was... the lobster roll that I mentioned in my last post. Apparently, the lobster roll is a New England thing, and it's good thing I don't live there b/c I don't think you could keep me from eating it.

To sum it up, you can still experience the culture without having to feel miserable at the same time.  Just be aware of your portions and what you are eating.  I tried only a bite of a couple different pastries, I split the lobster roll with my mom, I didn't eat the whole bowl of New England clam chowder (only a few slurps), and I had probably a handful of calamari.  During breakfast and lunch, I kept it vegan with a bar from home or a banana and peanut butter, and I always had my stock pile of snacks on hand.

My Traveling Snacks

A sweet trail mix (sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds & dried berries)
A salty trail mix from Costo (rice crackers w/ nuts) mentioned in this post 
Amazing Grass Amazing Meal Chocolate Infusion To-go Packets
Packages of Plain Instant Oats (you can always find hot water somewhere) 
The nut butter packets are my life saver! There are 8 different flavors.  You can get classic peanut or almond butter.  Or you can go crazy, like me, and get honey almond, maple almond, non-dairy chocolate almond, hazelnut, or peanut butter! One of these little packets and a banana and I'm good to go! Thankfully, you can find bananas at most hotel continental breakfast or a Starbucks.  With the packages of oats, you can just let them soak in hot water for a few minutes.  You can find hot water on the plane, in your hotel room if it has a coffee pot, or at the continental breakfasts.  Then you can top your oats with some sweet trail mix and maybe mix in a little peanut butter for some flavor... there you go! 

3.  Bad sugars really are addicting. 

Even though I allowed myself to enjoy the pastries and some wedding cake and maybe a couple other sweets that I wouldn't normally eat at home, I still paid the price.  I'm not talking about gaining weight or anything like that, I'm talking about the relapse of my sugar addiction.  I LOVE sweets.  But after going cutting out refined, processed, unnatural sugars over 7 months ago.... my sugar cravings were practically gone.  I could look at luscious dessert and not even crave a bite and if I did take a bite, then I just needed one or two and then the craving was gone.  But after just these few days of eating processed sugars, my craving was back and I brought it home with me, and now I'm trying to detox my body of all those addicting sugars.  I don't regret trying the sweets at all.  It's just that this weekend proved to me that bad sugars really are addicting.  If you are curious about the effects certain types of sugar have on our body and if you want to know the difference between a "good" and a "bad" sugar, then check out one of my first blog posts... Sugar Isn't So Sweet.

4.  Don't stress about not being able to work out for a day or two.

I have to remind myself of this one a lot when I'm traveling or when things just get really busy.  Working out is one of the best stress relievers.  However, if it stresses you out trying to figure out when and where you can work out while you are traveling, or if you get even more stressed trying to squeeze a workout into a busy day... then you are just defeating the purpose.  You should be relieving stress with your work outs, not causing stress.  So just allow yourself to miss a day of exercise and relax.  Just try to be more conscious of what you eat during that day (watch your carb, sugar, and fat intake) and push yourself extra hard during your next work out. 

So those are just some things I thought about while on my trip that I wanted to share with you.  

In other exciting news, I must share with you one of my new favorite things... CHEESY OATS!  Sam ate these 2 days in a row last week.  They taste like creamy mac n' cheese and only take 15 mins to make!  You can have them plain or put fun toppings on them like salsa, avocado, veggie burger, chips, etc. Check out the recipe and topping ideas at Oh She Glows.   

Not the best pic in the world, but I wanted to show you how cheesy they look! 

And one last health tip for you before I go...

High-Fructose Corn Syrup might be rebranded as "Corn Sugar." Makers of HFCS are currently working with the FDA to allow the name change.  I'm not sure when or if this will actually be allowed by the FDA, but just in case, watch out for "Corn Sugar" and "High Fructose Corn Syrup" when reading food labels. For a little more information check out this article at MindBodyGreen.

Things are picking up for me as my LAST CPA exam gets closer, only a couple more weeks.  I haven't been able to post as often as I would like, but my goal is at least once a week so hang in there with me!

Have a great day!

With Love, Health, and Happiness,

Thought of the Day: Try something new for your cardio session this week.  I did basketball court suicides yesterday for my cardio.  I haven't done those since high school!  It definitely got the the heart rate up and a sweat going.  What do you like to do for cardio?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Healthy Living Blogs & A Healthy Tip

I have to tell you about this amazing resource! Healthy Living Blogs is a website that provides you with a list of blogs from all over the word that promote healthy living.  

So what kinds of blogs can be a part of the website?  Any blog that focuses on health! So whether you are a blog reader or a healthy living blogger you can benefit from this site!  Blog readers... you can easily find healthy living blogs in your city or any city that interests you.  Healthy living bloggers... add your blog to the list simply by following these few steps to become a HLB Member.

My blog was just added to HLB (check it out!), and I am so excited to be a part of this great website!  I have really enjoyed searching around the site.  I have found so many other amazing healthy living blogs to follow, and I hope that you can find other blogs that interest you.  There are so many bloggers out there that can provide you with healthy recipes, exercise tips, inspiration, and much more!

On another note, how was your Labor Day Weekend??  Did you do something active and fun?!  I can't believe summer is almost over, but I'm excited to pull out my fall wardrobe with scarves and sweaters and start enjoying some of those yummy fall foods!  As you know, I was in Boston, MA for Sam's sister's wedding this weekend (Congrats Sarah!).  It was such a great weekend, and I have a couple little stories/lessons from the weekend to share with you in my next post.  So stay tuned!  Here's a little teaser...

Let me introduce you to... the lobster roll... I ate it, and I loved it.

I was writing this post while watching Jackie Warner's new show on Bravo, Thintervention.  It's one of my new favorite shows!  I definitely recommend adding this to your list of "shows to TiVo."

So while watching this show and writing this post, Jackie reminded me of a great health tip that I must share with you!

Add a dash of lemon juice to your water.
It's that simple!  By doing this you will burn 
75-100 more calories a day since it speeds up your metabolism, helps detoxify 
your liver, and aids in digestion. If you have morning tea or coffee, instead opt for 
hot water + lemon juice

So to wrap it up... check out Healthy Living Blogs, try adding lemon juice to your water, and tune in to my next post!

Happy belated Labor Day!

With Love, Health, and Happiness,