Post Workout Smoothie Goodness!

Hey everyone!

I just did my Backyard Spartan exercises and I made myself such a yummy simple milkshake/ treat that I wanted share with you all! It’s a little sweater and more caloric than my usual smoothies (I guess it’s really actually a milkshake) but after all, it is National Ice Cream Day! 

Ingredients

  • one banana
  • 1/8 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 scoops Shaklee 180 protein (or whatever protein you generally use)
  • some ice cubes

Put it all in the blender until it’s smooth in consistency.

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Enjoy!

Nutritional Info

  • Calories: 580 kcal
  • Protein: 25 grams
  • Fat: 22 grams
  • Carbs: 64 grams
  • Sugar: 44 grams
  • Fiber 9 grams

Have a great day!

Cottage Cheese

Hello everyone!

In my ongoing quest to boost my protein intake, (visit the Protein Push post), I’ve had to become more creative than the usual chicken/eggs/bison combo- how many days can someone go before that gets really boring?! Personally, it was getting boring fast and I found myself gravitating towards cottage cheese. For anyone who has any texture issues when it comes to food, I totally hear you out, but sometimes you just have to start experimenting and you’ll find a modification that is right for you.

My mom is always raving about how much cottage cheese helps her in a bind at work, so I pulled up the nutrition info for Cabot’s No Fat Cottage Cheese (what we usually stock in my house- other brand nutrition info may vary)-

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Nutrition Facts

Ingredients: Pasteurized skim milk*, nonfat dry milk*, grade A whey, salt, titanium dioxide(color), guar gum, carrageenan, citric acid, locust bean gum, cultured grade A skim milk*, lacticacid, phosphoric acid, natural flavoring, potassium sorbate (to maintain freshness), Vitamin D3, Vitamin A palmitate, milk*, modified cellulose, enzymes. *adds a trivial amount of fat

Serving Size: 1/2 cup (113g)
  • Calories: 70
  • Calories from Fat: 0
  • Total Fat: 0
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Cholesterol: 5
  • Sodium: 410
  • Total Carbohydrate: 5
  • Dietary Fiber: 0
  • Sugars: 4
  • Protein: 13
  • Vitamin D: 20%
  • Calcium: 10%

Information provided by Cabot

With the nutrition info and texture issues in mind, I started to try out my own recipes and here is my go to:

Taylor’s quick fix cottage cheese lunch

 -Ingredients: 1/2 avocado, 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, two hard boiled eggs
– Mix/mash all ingredients together
– Eat!
* This meal is 327 calories, 26 grams protein, 20 grams fat, 11 grams carbs, 4 grams sugar. Not to mention its actually wicked filling. *
If this doesn’t sound like something you’d dare to try, there are many other ways to incorporate cottage cheese into your daily life.
  1. Use it as a salad dressing
  2. Substitute cottage (or ricotta) cheese for fats and milk
  3. Use it in a smoothie!
  4. Blend it into a homemade mac and cheese classic
  5. Make the most delicious pancakes ever. EVER. These pancakes are so yummy!! I ordered them out one time and I still dream of them. I will be trying to recreate the recipe soon and I will update this post to tell you of my cooking adventure (because it’s always an adventure when I try to cook).

If anyone else has texture-smoothing recipes, please feel free to share!

Have a wonderful day 🙂

Daring Smoothing Concoction

Hey folks,

A few weeks ago, the yoga studio invited a couple to come teach us about Ayurveda-more specifically Marma (which is essential Ayurvedic acupressure). They discussed yoga, body types, diet, massage techniques, and so much more. It was all so fascinating! I could share all the notes I took, but we’ll save that for another post.

Okay, so what does this have to do with a smoothie adventure?

One of the biggest things emphasized was digestion. Not just physical digestion of food, but digestion of the total self and others around you. How can you digest your giant breakfast, your own life, and anyone else’s life all at once?

On top of that, they also discussed when/ what to eat during these times depending on your body type. Food consumption between 10am and 2pm- especially in the summer- should be as liquid based as possible. It is the hottest time of the day for the human body internally, and a solid meal at this time will take more energy to break down, leaving the individual slower.

Well, this was interesting. I have been dealing with a weird heat rash that appears every summer right on my stomach. I was told it’s because I am very sensitive to this heat fluctuation of my core temperature. Interesting, no?

I wanted to see if this “liquid lunch” would make a difference for my heat rash, so for the past two weeks I’ve been having very light lunches or smoothies.

Today, I was really struggling. What I call a “two-cup-of-coffee” kind of day and thus this daring blend was born.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ozs of coffee (any flavor-but I chose columbian blend)

I’m not even joking about the next ingredients.

Let me just say though, I was trying to think about blending flavors while still getting benefits and was prepared for something lacking in flavor but bursting in nutrition:

  • 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 2/3 cups of fresh kale
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 medium sized banana
  • ice

I know, I know. I was kind of terrified too.

I had to try it.

Funny thing is, it just tasted like a sweetened coffee! If I had a better blender I wouldn’t have even known kale was in it! The best name I can come up with is the Caffeinated Kale Smoothie… I’ll work on the name a bit.

The product of this smoothie came out to something quite similar to this.

My Fitness Pal logged the nutrition as-

  • Calories: 423
  • Sugar: 44 g
  • Protein: 23 g
  • Carbs: 74 g
  • Fiber: 13 g
  • Fat: 4 g

Try it out… if you dare!

DIY Face Masks

Hey everyone,

Working in a gym environment can be pretty dirty. With all the cleaning, teaching, and people germs around, it’s hard to stay clean. As a trainer, my body is my true advertisement. People look at you to see see what success can look like (to a degree).  It’s difficult to convey physical benefits of healthy living when you’ve got acne. It’s the woorrssstttt. It’s not that I eat poorly, or have bad hygiene habits. It’s just a combination between sensitive skin and hormonal issues.

Proactive. Murad. Neutrogena. Clean and Clear. Clinique. Aveeno. What do these things have in common? They stopped working after a few months of use.

I’m a little tired of the expensive product lines and rashes, dry skin, red blotches, and any other side effect. I’ve been trying out a lot of different home remedy things and here are my four favorites so far.

1. Egg Mask

One egg, some water, mix it and apply! Personally, I use this every so often because it mimics a chemical peel. Your skin will feel tight and the dried solution will literally peel off. This treatment is helpful in removing the top layer of skin which is mostly dirt and dead skin cells from other layers.Start with rinsing your face off with warm water to get any dirt and help open the pours. Keep it on for 5-10 minutes (try 5 minutes to start). Peel what you can off, and use warm water for the rest.If your skin is feeling dry or looking red, use a non scented cream.

2. Baking Soda

Again pretty simple. Even mix of baking soda (not powder) and water. This mask is pretty messy to put on, and cracks as it drys, so keep a towel nearby. Apply thoroughly and keep on for 5-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and moisturize if needed. The baking soda acts more like a “pulling to the surface” face mask. If you’ve ever used a face strip for blackheads, its the same concept. I like this one every once a week or once every two weeks.

3. Honey

I’ve heard really great things about honey as a face mask. Honey has a lot of all natural healing properties that can be used for more than just acne. All you need is raw honey, nothing but honey in the ingredients. I used about a tablespoon and applied it directly to your face. Apply and rub in for about a minute and then let it sit for up to 15 minutes. One woman said she washed her face twice a day with it, leaving the mask on for a minute or so. My first attempt was only for 5 minutes right before my shower. I really expected it to be a lot more messy than it turned out to be. It also come right off in water.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

Recently I’ve run into more and more people who have had success using this product as a toner. I made the mistake of literally applying it right to my face and it burned my skin. After more research I found a lot of people do a 1:3 ratio with water. Some people even put in some essential oils to make it smell nice (because it smells wicked strong no matter what). The nice part is, you only need a few drops. I made a 3 oz container and used maybe 7 drops of each. The only flaw of this mask is that I can smell it when I sweat. But if it helps my acne then I’ll deal. Be sure you get all natural vinegar. If it says “with the mother” it means its all natural. It has those weird floaty bits in it.

Hopefully anyone out there who needs help finds these helpful… and that it helps me with my damn acne!

I’ll keep you all posted »♥«

A Cup of Tea

Hey everyone!

Working at Teavana has been pretty cool. There are all sorts of gadgets and tea sets that really turn a cup of tea into a cultural and scientific experience. The other really great thing about working here is that I get to learn about the serious benefits from drinking tea, and what different teas do for your health. Since cold season is upon us, I’ve been drinking 5-6 cups a day!  It’s really been helping me, my cough, and my immune system!

I thought I would share/remind people how to make a really good cup of tea to unleash it’s true potential. Maybe you all can avoid getting sick like I am.

I know, I know. This will probably come off like a sales pitch since I work there, but it’s not!

Working at a loose leaf tea shop has changed my idea of tea from a simple, non-coffee, warm beverage to a cup of health boosting, beautifully hand crafted drink that should be made with care for the best effects. Each tea blend really has it’s own scent and many combine well with others for plenty of variety. I’m always trying different combinations. It’s nice to look into the tea bin and recognize tea leaves, fruits and other spices- a natural looking product that doesn’t have any weird or chemical sounding names. The loose leaf teas have a shelf life of up to a year if you keep them sealed tight and out of sunlight (probably closer to two years if you keep really good care) . I believe tea that comes in a bag is also good up to two years since it is boxed and vacuumed sealed in the individual bags.

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Loose leaf tea comes in a variety of colors and shapes. Some are hand rolled, or flattened while others are exposed to different amounts of lights.

What tea, green tea, black tea, and oolong tea (at least at Teavana) are derived from the Camellia Sinesis plant. The difference is how they are harvested- resulting in varied health effects. The tea with the highest amount of antioxidants is the white tea, because it is not exposed to oxygen or sunlight for very long. Black tea has lost of caffeine but low levels of antioxidants because it is left out to dry in the sun. That’s why it looks black. Fun fact: real; herbal tea is technically “fruit infused hot water”. Teavana’s herbal teas contain fruits and spices- not tea leaves. that means herbal tea is much harder to burn! Since the leaf (in whatever state) is so fragile, it’s crucial to be meticulous about the cooking temperature and the brewing time. You can burn white teas, green teas, oolong teas, and other types if you’re not careful of these two important factors.

tea
The Youthberry Wild Orange Blossom is great hot or cold.

 

Making White Tea

what you’ll need:

  • Tea. I really like the Youthberry Orange Blossom mix that is usually on the sample cart.
  • a tsb or an 1/8 measuring cup (more tea= more flavor)
  • a strainer with tiny holes
  • a cup
  • a pot filled with water
  • ice cubes
  • a timer

Instructions

  1. Turn the stove top on and bring the water to just boiling- when the bubbles just start to rise. It’s easier to see this happening than in a teapot.
  2. pour water into the cup, but leave room for the strainer’s water displacement *hot teal always goes in the cup first, if you pour hot water over the strainer, it does not allow the tea to unfold naturally*
  3. throw in 1-2 large ice cube, or 2-4 small ones. You want the water to be about 175° degrees. If you aren’t sure, throw in another ice cube- you can also put sugar in if you wish. It’s always better to be a little colder than a little hotter.
  4. put the Orange Wild in the strainer and place the strainer in the cup for at least 3 minutes. Then, add theYouthberry white tea and steep for no more than 2 minutes.

Enjoy!

These directions can be found on the back of any paper bag from Teavana for any type of tea they sell. I have just elaborated on them. 

 

Aroo!

Hey readers! So much has been happening!

First off: Saturday was my first Spartan Race!!!

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This race I really focused on prepping my body. I had no idea what I was in for, so I decided to focus on eating good fuels and drinking water!

The race in itself was AMAZING! I highly recommend it- as long as you have prepared your body and mind for it. It tests you on all levels. But the end result is crossing that finish line and feeling like you really done something amazing.

The other thing that went on was my very first demo interview!!! The gym I had talked to last week asked me to come back and give them a show of what I know. I worked with a nice woman who worked at their customer service desk for 30 minutes where I performed some physical assessments for posture and stability/ mobility along the body. Following my assessment, I performed a demo workout to show her what it would be like to work with me.

Now let me tell you- I was really nervous. I’ve made like two training plans for my friends to do unofficially so this was legit. I think it went okay. It was nice to know the guy observing knew that I have a limited amount of knowledge and that he was trying to see my potential. Its nice when people notice you have potential! Anyways, he said he really liked my demo and that he would contact me in a few days. I honestly couldn’t tell if I got the job or not, but that doesn’t even matter. The point that I did this (and did it to the best of my abilities) is a huge accomplishment.

Here is my demo! The woman I worked with was fit, but you can adjust the weights to whatever is best for you.

Exercise Sets Reps Weights Notes
Step ups 1 15 each leg  none Cardio
Squat medicine ball press 1 5, 4, 3, 2, 1  6 lb medicine ball Squat and push the ball out 5 times, stand and repeat for 4, etc.
Hammer Curl 1 12  15 lbs
Back step Lunges 1 12  7 lbs press the same arm as the leg you lunge with
Bosu Push ups 1 5-10  none  flip the boss over and out your hands on the platform
One Leg Weight Balance 1 10 each leg  10 lbs  stand on one foot and bend with a weight
Side Plank 1 30 seconds  none Side Plank progression

Hope you all like it!

I’ll keep you updated with the results and such!

Kombucha

Hello dear readers!

I was on a Pinterest binge the other day when something quite peculiar caught my eye. Curiously, I clicked on the link underneath the following picture. What is this weird goo?! It turns out I stumbled upon a recipe for homemade Kombucha!

Kombucha at beginning and end of fermentation

I have never heard of this foreign science experiment before, so I decided to do some research: First off, its a drink (yes, it’s eatable). Kombucha is created by fermenting tea with pancake-like live cultures of yeast and bacteria called “Kombucha” or SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). During the fermentation, there are a few by products: alcohol, acetic acid, lactic acid, and others. The first bottle brand I tried, I could actually smell a bit of alcohol but its very small amounts (less than .5%). So, what’s the hype? Kombucha, also known to the Chinese as the “immortal health elixir” has reported health effects, such as:

  1. A great detox for your liver
  2. helps prevents all arthritis
  3. aids in digestion and gut health from the high amounts of probiotics
  4. Boosts the immune system
  5. various vitamin B’s

I decided to test it out! When I was a kid, I would always have stomach issues and my doctor finally prescribed probiotics. Since then, my stomach has been able to figure itself out and I haven’t felt as sick. Yeast, probiotics, vitamin B are highly promoted for a happy digestive track. This is even better! They are all combined into one drink! My local health food store provides a few different brands, so here is my chart comparing them. I also recently found a few brands in my local Hannaford’s! I’m glad this drink is becoming more mainstream!

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This is probably what more people are used to seeing.

This tea’s potential health effects sound amazing, but has not been very scientifically explored. The American Cancer Institute has an article online about the harmful side effects of drinking Kombucha (please note this is an extreme case and not a scare tactic). This tea has caused hospitalization and even one death. My speculation is that these individuals’  trouble came from daily consumption and home brewing rather than the drink itself. Remember, too much of any vitamin is harmful. Too much vitamin C will develop scurvy (as well as too little). If you flood your intestine and wipe all your natural flora, you actually have to have some put back in- you do NOT want to know what that means. Moderation is key across all boards!

After my research and sampling a few brands and flavors I’ve come to several conclusions:

  • I don’t like the chai flavors. Chai is supposed to be great for you! But drinking it? It’s a very slimy texture. Do I chew it or just swallow it?
  • My favorite brands are Synergy, Organic Raw Kombucha, and Reed’s. Reed’s has the most ginger-influenced flavor (ginger ale/candy/ naturally flavored things are a really great alternative to nausea medicine)
  • Calories. Depending on the flavor, your calories per bottle can range from 70-200. Its just something to note
  • I’ll drink maybe two bottles a week. Again, moderation for those vitamins!
  • I will never make this at home. Its too much of a gamble with not having proper sterilized equipment and proper cooling/ heating techniques.

These are just my opinion from evidence I interpreted from research, if you have more questions, I suggest further exploration and/or recommendations from a physician should be pursued. 

Sources: Wikipedia, Food Renegade, and American Cancer Society 

Started my half marathon training last week and did a hilly 5 miles this morning. Getting ready for my Spartan race this upcoming Saturday- August 9th in Amesbury Mass! I also finished that book I was telling you all about, Born To Run. It was great! I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in running whether you’re running 1 mile or 20.  It’s a really wonderful reminder that running isn’t anything more than you and the trail.