When I woke up feeling like absolute junk on Monday, I decided it would be the perfect deload week. A deload week is basically a week where you take it easy, and I’m in serious need of one. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been go-go-go, working out at least once or twice a day, and I think it’s finally catching up with me. I’ve been sore all over, my knees have felt absolutely terrible (I’ve never even had knee problems before), and I don’t feel nearly as mobile or light on my feet as normal.
I have to travel for two of the days this week and I won’t be able to make it to the gym on those mornings anyway, so I’ve decided I’ll probably take them off completely. I need a little bit of a recharge, and I’m sure it’s going to make a world of difference!
I almost didn’t make it to the gym on Monday or Tuesday either, but in the end, I decided to go and just take it easier than normal before a couple of days off altogether.
Monday’s workout was two quick WODs with some light back squats in between:
- Warm-up and stretch
- 10 min AMRAP (I got 9):
- 5 pull-ups
- 10 push-ups
- 15 air squats
- 7×7 Back squats @ 85#
- 5 rounds:
- Run 3 laps
- 15 OH squats @ 35#
And Tuesday’s workout started out fun and ended with light deadlifts and another quick WOD:
- Prowler pushes: Short distance, add a plate every time until failure: I did 12x and got up to 117#
- 12 @ 35#
- 12 @ 55#
- 12 @ 75# x2
- 12 @ 55#
- 12 @ 35#
- 21-15-9 plus Run 1 lap in between:
- Thrusters @ 55#
- Hollow rocks
This morning I had to leave at 5am for work travel, so it’s not like I get to sleep in or anything instead of going to the gym, but I still think my body will be thanking me after a couple of easy days!
In other news… I wish I could bring my camera to work and take really good pictures of my food all day long. I love my iPhone and all, but the not-so-great camera combined with the fluorescent lights over my desk and the less-than-appealing plastic containers I eat 75% of my meals out of just does not do my food justice.
Take Monday’s breakfast, for example:
Those berries are supposed to be bright and flavorful looking, but yeah… not so much. Instead, it kind of looks like the Chobani container threw up a little. (Sorry.)
But it gets worse.
Monday’s lunch was actually really delicious – I had a green salad with spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, green peppers, chicken, and balsamic vinegar, plus some of my aunt’s leftover watermelon, basil, and feta cheese salad, but again, the taste far outweighed the quality of the images.
(I have to get the recipe from her for that watermelon salad to share. Don’t be swayed by the picture; it was really awesome.)
Unfortunately, I don’t get paid to photograph my food all day, so I have to make due with snapping a picture as fast as I can in between projects during the day. But at night, I’m free to snap 1,000 pictures of my food until I get it just right… and that’s often what I do. Last night for dinner, I baked a chicken breast, butternut squash, and green beans in the oven, and then topped the chicken with a little bit of honey afterwards.
Much more appealing, no?
And for dessert: a delicious bowl of wonderful.
Breakfast and dinner were repeats yesterday, but for dinner last night, I made jerk chicken lettuce wraps.
I cooked a chicken breast in a pan on the stovetop with jerk seasoning and chili powder and then rolled it up with a sliced tomato in a piece of lettuce. Quick, easy, and delicious! (And much better looking than the other meal pictures from the day that I didn’t share…)
Have a great Wednesday!
Last week I saw this guy I work with drinking a Naked Juice, and I got a little too excited over the fact that he bought it in our very own cafeteria. They are my favorite but I never think to buy them in the grocery store (plus they are too expensive so I usually skip right over them), but on Thursday, I needed a little pick-me-up with lunch so I decided to grab one. I didn’t think I’d ever tried this Green Machine version until I looked it up, but I’m not surprised because (like all the others I’ve tried) it was totally awesome.
I know I’ve said this before but I love that the bottles list all the ingredients and their proportions, so now that I actually have my own juicer, the plan is to save the bottles so I can recreate them at home.
But that’s my old obsession… my new one is with Larabars.
Have you tried these things?
If not, you must because they, too, are totally awesome.
I don’t usually eat any kind of bars, which is probably why I’ve never tried them before, but I read somewhere the other day that they didn’t have any artificial ingredients and I was a little bit intrigued. The website says:
LÄRABAR® is a delicious blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices. Made from whole food, each flavor contains no more than nine ingredients. Pure and simple, just as nature intended.
I decided to check them out in the grocery store a couple days later, and honestly, I was blown away. Aside from chocolate chips (which are made from a couple different things but I’m okay with eating them occasionally), the ingredients are all things that I could (and probably do) have at home. For the ones I’ve tried so far:
- Banana bread = Almonds, dates, bananas
- Cashew cookie = Cashews, dates
- Chocolate chip brownie = Dates, chocolate chips, almonds, walnuts, cocoa powder, sea salt
- Chocolate chip cookie dough = Cashews, dates, chocolate chips, sea salt
- Peanut butter chocolate chip = Dates, peanuts, chocolate chips, sea salt
- Peanut butter cookie = Peanuts, dates, seal salt
Get the picture?
Some of them are sweetened with fruit juice (and clearly dates), but I haven’t seen any with added sugars (besides in the chocolate chips), which is pretty cool. And because the ingredients list is so minimal, they end up being gluten-free and dairy-free too, which is extra cool.
The only downside is the price: $1.49 each. Between the $3.50 for the Naked Juices and the $1.49 for the Larabars, I could end up blowing my whole food budget in just a couple of days!
Luckily, I am an expert at trying to be a copycat chef, and the very first thing I did after seeing the ingredients lists was Google “homemade Larabars.” Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea, and there are all kinds of recipes out there, but the basic premise is to take the ingredients you want in the bar, mash them up in the food processor, mold it into a somewhat appealing shape, and eat. I can totally do that!
They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, so I hope Naked Juice and Larabars will take my attempts at recreating their masterpieces at home as a compliment.
I’ll keep you posted on how close I get to the originals.
Have you tried Naked Juices or Larabars?
What foods/recipes do you try to recreate at home?
Sometimes I love weekends where I have absolutely nothing to, and sometimes I love when I’ve got a schedule packed with fun things. This weekend was definitely the second kind.
I was up early and decided to make breakfast for my mom and I. I brought a couple of near-death bananas with me just for this purpose, so banana pancakes it was! (Every time I say banana pancakes, I think of this song. Anyone else?)
Into the food processor went 2.5 bananas, 4 eggs, 3 tablespoons almond flour, and 1 tablespoon coconut flour, and after passing through the hot griddle, out came three little stacks of silver dollars.
I also brought all kinds of berries with me (my mom’s fridge is always fully stocked with food but I always end up bringing the whole grocery store with me anyway) so we had quite a few toppings to choose from.
There’s not much better than a stack of hot, healthy, sweet, syrupy pancakes and bacon on a sunny Sunday morning!
After breakfast, I was feeling a little restless, so I decided to head to the Y for a workout to burn a little energy. Since I am a member of my local YMCA, I can go to any Y in New England for free, and I take advantage of that every time I’m home. But right before I got there, I decided it was way too nice to be inside, so I made a detour to my old junior high school instead. (I tried the high school first but there was a track meet going on.)
When I got there, I pretty much made a workout up as I went, but it ended up being a pretty good one. After a little running warm-up, I would do something halfway down the football field, drop for 25 crunches, run to the end, and then do something else on the way back.
Here’s what it looked like:
- Walk .25 mile
- Run .5 mile
- 50 yds Walking lunges + 25 Crunches + 50 yds Run
- 50 yds Side low shuffles + 25 Crunches + 50 yds Run
- 50 yds Bear crawl + 25 Crunches + 50 yds Run
- 50 yds Crab walk + 25 Crunches + 50 yds Run
- 50 yds Grapevines + 25 Crunches + 50 yds Run
- 50 yds Broad jumps + 25 Crunches + 50 yds Run
- Run .5 mile
- Walk .25 mile
I’ve always wanted to be able to do handstands (but never could) so at the end, I practiced them for a little while, and let me tell you, that may have been the hardest part of the entire workout!
After a shower and a quick trip to the grocery store, my mom and I headed over to my ant and uncle’s house to help set up for my cousin’s high school graduation party. My aunt is an awesome cook and she had so much food for everyone to enjoy.
I filled my plate up (a few times) with chicken, buffalo chicken, pulled pork, a delicious watermelon/basil/feta cheese salad, green salad, and those amazing sweet and spicy meatballs.
After we were all stuffed with good food, of course out came dessert.
I had my fill of truffles… and the huge slice of the amazingly sweet chocolate cake that I was apparently too excited about to even take a picture about… so I was just hoping not to slip into a sugar coma as we all chatted the afternoon away.
It’s hard to come back to work after a weekend like that, but I guess it has to be done… Have a great Monday!
PS – Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, but especially mine, the best one of all… Love you, Dad!!
I always love coming home to see my family, but this weekend was especially packed with fun.
Yesterday morning, I took my mom to get a massage for her birthday. It was only my second time ever getting a massage, but I don’t think it will be my last. I had two huge knots in my back that seriously hurt coming out, but overall, it was quite the amazing hour.
After we were all relaxed, we picked up my cousin and headed to Panera for lunch. I got the strawberry poppyseed chicken salad with chicken, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, Mandarin oranges, pecans, and poppyseed dressing and it was absolutely delicious. My cousin made a comment about how he would never think to mix fruit and veggies into one salad and I agreed that I never used to either, but now I love doing that. The sweet fruit is such a good addition and I’d definitely get this one again.
On the side, I also had chips, a tropical hibiscus iced tea…
And of course a chocolate chip cookie.
After lunch, we went back to my mom’s house to make some food for my other cousin’s graduation party. I was asked to bring Oreo truffles, so I decided to give them a little school spirit and decorate them with purple paw prints.
After we were finished cooking, we hit the party store for balloons and stopped by the grocery store for some dinner ingredients. We were all craving Mexican (obviously), so we decided to make our own at home instead of going out. I did the cooking and made tacos with all the toppings plus chicken and cheese quesadillas.
I had a couple tacos with ground beef, lettuce, and salsa, a couple quesadilla slices, and a whole bunch of sautéed red peppers. It was a seriously filling meal and we all pretty much agreed that eating it at home was even better than going out.
After dinner settled, we headed off for dessert (obviously, again) in the form of ice cream. I got orange sherbet in a chocolate dipped waffle cone with chocolate sprinkles, and it was pretty dang awesome. My sister and I (and my cousins, mom, and aunts…) worked at this ice cream place in high school and college, and they never had chocolate dipped cones when we worked there, but they’ve been getting more and more creative over the years.
As a chocolate-lover, their innovations make me pretty excited.
Time to get ready for the graduation party… Hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!
What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Have you ever gotten a massage?
I did not want to get out of bed yesterday. In fact, I was really close to just sleeping in. My friend had a Lia Sophia jewelry party Thursday night and I had a long week anyway, so by the time Friday rolled around, I was beat. I felt like one second I was closing my eyes to go to bed, and the next second, my alarm was going off. I guess that means I slept good, at least?
I did drag myself up and out the door in the end, but I’m honestly surprised I didn’t fall asleep on the bench at the gym. Wouldn’t that have been interesting for everyone?
I didn’t really have a plan for my workout (plus, I doubt I would’ve wanted to do it anyway) and every muscle in my body was sore, so I kept things pretty short and sweet. It always feels good to break a sweat, but it wasn’t anything to write home about yesterday:
- Warm-up and stretch
- Row 1000M
- 12 Bent-over rows @ 45# + 12 Bench presses @ 45#
- 12 Behind the head, wide grip shoulder presses @ 35# + 12 Close-grip chest presses @ 25#
- 12 Bent-over front raises @ 35# + 12 Chest flies @ 20#
- Workout (4x):
- 75 yard (1/2 lap) farmer’s carry @ 50#
- 25 Air squats
- 75 yard (1/2 lap) farmer’s carry @ 50#
- 25 Crunches
- 10 Box jumps
- 25 Pull-ups assisted at 40#
Sometimes I don’t get a chance to eat my breakfast right away because I’m so busy in the mornings at my new job, but I always bring it anyway. Friday, I brought the rest of the plain Chobani (who has time to wash extra dishes these days?), added a little bit of cinnamon, and topped it with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and apricots. It doesn’t look that glamorous but it was like fruity heaven, with a surprise in every bite.
For lunch on Friday, I had leftover steak and asparagus with carrots on the side:
Plus the last of my first batch of Larabars:
(I bought seven on Tuesday and they’re all gone. More on that tomorrow…)
After work, I headed home to my mom’s house for the weekend. It was her birthday yesterday, so I asked to take her out for dinner to celebrate, but what she didn’t know is that I also asked my aunts to join us. It’s not often that all the ladies in my family can get together, and even though my cousins and sister couldn’t make it, it was still great to be able to get my mom and all her sisters in one place.
We sat out on the deck at the restaurant, and the weather was absolutely perfect. I scoped out the menu ahead of time so I already knew what I was going to order, but I guess I should’ve planned a little better because it ended up being pretty much the same thing I had for lunch. I got the NY sirloin (probably my favorite cut of steak) with the garlic green beans and asparagus, and it’s a good thing I love steak and green veggies because there was certainly a lot of it going on yesterday!
Two of my aunts each got flatbread pizzas, and I had a slice of each. One had olive oil, garlic, mozzarella cheese, sundried tomatoes, black olives, spinach, and feta cheese, and the other had grilled chicken, basil pesto, tomatoes, and mozzarella. I really liked both of them, but my hatred of olives probably gave the non-olive one the edge, even though the first one was still good after I picked them off.
We sat around chatting for quite a while and at some point it got dark, but once everything digested, we all seemed to find room for dessert. (I always have room for dessert, let’s face it.) As a dessert-loving family, it took us all of about three seconds to decide on some options, and we ordered two different things:
A slice of the Kentucky Pie, which was a cookie dough pie in a flaky crust topped with chocolate sauce, ice cream, and whipped cream…
And a slice of mud pie, which was an Oreo, coffee ice cream, and chocolate layered frozen pie that was about as big as my head.
No really – I even made my aunt hold up her hand to show just how big that “slice” was. The five of us ate from it, and she still had a huge chunk to take home to my cousin.
I’m not a big coffee fan, so even though the Oreo crust was awesome, the cookie dough pie stole the show for me. Basically anytime you combine cookie dough flavored anything and chocolate, I’ll be sold. My aunt and I were supposed to share that one, but I’m pretty sure she had a hard time getting her spoon past me to get a bite. As for anyone else at the table – well they just didn’t move fast enough to get a bite. Sorry, guys!
This morning,, my mom and I are off for birthday massages. She gave me a gift certificate for a massage for my college graduation and I’m just using it now… womp womp… but at least it means we get to go together!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!
This week has been really tough, yet really rewarding in the gym. Monday and Tuesday’s workouts were serious business right from the get-go – with burpee box jumps and push press PRs – and things have continued that way through the week. I’m definitely sore and a little tired from it all, but it’s also really awesome to challenge myself and see what I can do.
So often, I’ll see a tough workout and start out thinking ‘there’s no way I can get through that.’ But then, somewhere, that transitions into ‘that wasn’t so bad…’ (Sometimes it’s more like ‘holy crap, thank gosh I didn’t just die.’) But it’s such a mental game of finding, pushing, and passing your own limits, and even though I sometimes work out with other people, the only competition I ever really have is myself. Every time I hit a new benchmark or do something a little better/faster/stronger than I did last time, it’s a great feeling.
During Wednesday’s workout, there were two things I was proud of myself for:
- Not putting the bar down between the front squats and push presses
- Using almost the prescribed weight for women
Before we started, I tried to come up with a game plan for how I’d attack the workout. Knowing that I could put the bar down to rest between the front squats and push presses kind of gave me peace of mind that I’d be able to get through it. But once I got going, I didn’t stop to put the bar down once, and that felt awesome. With that said, the prescribed weight for women was 95# and I was a little nervous about that number at first, so I used 75# instead. Looking back though, I felt pretty comfortable with 75, so I think I definitely could’ve gotten through it with 95. Next time!
- Warm-up and stretch
- 1 prowler push lap – 1 Burpee and 10 push-ups every time you stop (I stopped once)
- Workout 1 (5x):
- Run 3 laps
- 10 Front squats @ 75#
- 5 Push presses @ 75#
- Workout 2 (5x):
- 10 Deadlifts @ 85#
- 5 Power cleans @ 85#
- 25 Pull-ups assisted at 40#
- Cool down
On Thursday, I was feeling pretty sore and tired, so when I heard the workout, I just about died. It was already a scaled back version of the original, but there once was a day (not too long ago) when I
couldn’t wouldn’t even do 5 burpees… let alone 30 in a row. But regardless of how I felt about it mentally, I flipped the switch and off we went, and before I knew it, it was over. It definitely wasn’t easy, but I made it! And going from absolutely hating burpees (and running, for that matter) to completing this WOD was pretty cool.
- Warm-up and stretch
- Front squats:
- 15 @ 45#
- 10 @ 55#
- 8 @ 95#
- 4×5 @ 135#
- Workout 1 (10x @ 85#):
- 3 Deadlifts
- 3 Power cleans
- 3 Front squats
- Workout 2:
- Run 1/2 mile (6 laps) with med ball
- 30 burpees
- Run 1/4 mile (3 laps) with med ball
- 15 burpees
- Run 1/12 mile (1 lap) with med ball
- 8 burpees
- 10×5 Hanging knee lifts
- 25 Pull-ups assisted at 40#
- Cool down
My meals over the past couple of days have felt a little sporadic. But when I really think about it, I wonder if what “sporadic” means to me is what it would mean to other people. For me, it basically means I haven’t eaten what I planned, when I planned, how I planned… But I’m pretty sure it’s not that serious for most people. Oh well.
Wednesday meant eggs, peppers, and spinach for breakfast…
And the last serving of turkey meatballs, peppers, spinach, and carrots for lunch.
For dinner, I remembered I’d bought some vegetable soup that they made at the grocery store, and since it was cold and rainy, I figured it was the perfect night for it. I heated it up along with a toasted gluten-free Trader Joe’s English muffin – which was surprisingly good. I guess when you don’t eat bread very often, even the g-free stuff tastes pretty delicious!
And dessert was one of my favorites: g-free ginger snaps, dark chocolate, and grapes. Perfect!
When/how do you push yourself?
What’s something you thought you’d never be able to do that you do now?
Call me a nerd (it wouldn’t be the first time), but one of the things I really like to do is watch documentaries. There are so many good ones out there, on all different topics, from prisons, to life in Alaska, to how factories work, and I find them really interesting. Not only do I like to know what I’m talking about when I talk to other people, but I also just find it fun to learn about the world around me.
Obviously, some of my favorite documentaries to watch center around food, the food industry (farming, manufacturing, distribution, the use of chemicals, etc.), and health, and the other day I heard about a new one called King Corn, which was all about corn farming.
King Corn follows two guys from Boston who move to rural Iowa to farm corn, and it’s really interesting to see how it goes from seed to plate. I knew corn was in pretty much every single thing we eat, but I never really knew the specifics behind it. Did you know you can’t even eat corn straight from the field anymore? (Or wouldn’t want to, anyway.)
Farming has evolved in so many tremendous ways over the last century, which is great in some respects; we can now produce food for way more people in way less time and with way less resources. But at the same time – did you read the part where I said that the corn is inedible right out of the field? It has to be processed into compounds that we can eat, and then it’s added to pretty much every packaged food in the grocery store – often as sugar. And it’s fed to most of the animals that you buy in the grocery store too. So you may not think you eat a lot of corn… but you probably do.
And maybe you’re thinking: so what’s the problem? Corn is a vegetable; it’s good for you.
Well, that’s debatable.
Most corn produced today is genetically modified and pumped with all kinds of chemicals that allow it to grow as fast and as easily as it does. It’s cheap to process corn into sugar (like high fructose corn syrup) and other additives, and its cheap to make soda and snack cakes and other junk food that contains these corn by-products. In turn, that means it’s cheap to buy these products, so people do. Take your typical meal from McDonald’s: hamburger meat is highly-processed meat from corn fed cows, French fries are often fried in corn oil, and soda’s main ingredient is high fructose corn syrup.
The problem is, like one expert discussed, we’ve come a long way with so called “advancements” in the food industry, but when we genetically modify crops to maximize efficiency, we eliminate the nutrition. High fructose corn syrup has virtually no nutritional value, and yet it’s in practically every [processed] food we eat. (Check out this article if you want to see all the things corn is found in. I bet some of them will surprise you.) With that in mind, is it really any wonder why the rate of diabetes is so high in this country?
But the problem is not just with the food; there is a much larger issue as well. Government subsidies fund the surplus production of cheap corn by paying farmers to produce it. So basically, that means we subsidize Happy Meals, but we don’t subsidize healthy ones.
Back in the day, people paid twice as much for their food as we do now. So it’s easy to see why they dedicated their lives to making food production easier and cheaper. But it used to be a family operation, and now it’s a commercial one. We spend less income on food than any generation in history, and fewer people are needed to produce it, but we’re also the fattest, sickest, unhealthiest generation yet. Sure, we live in the age of plenty, but we might live in a time where abundance actually brings too much.
So what’s the point of all this?
I’m not saying don’t eat corn.
Let’s face it, almost all of the food we eat now has been genetically modified from it’s original form to make it cheaper, easier to produce, and better tasting, and most vegetables are sprayed with chemicals. We need to be able to feed a lot of people, and we can’t all afford to eat local, organic foods 100% of the time.
But what I am saying is: do your research. Know what you’re putting into your body, where your food comes from, and the impact it has on your own well-being and the world around you.
Read the labels, and if you don’t know what the ingredients are… put it back.
When you know better, you do better!
What are your thoughts on all of this?
What are some of your favorite documentaries (food or otherwise)?