5 Ways to Stay Healthy, Even at Your Busiest

I feel like I say this every time I’ve written lately, but life has gotten really busy.

I thought that cutting out a night of dodgeball each week would free up extra time in my weeknights, but in true Katie fashion, I’ve really just used it as an excuse to take on more non-dodgeball activities. My evenings seem to fill up with meetings, appointments, trips to my parents house to do laundry…..and sometimes a girl just needs to hit up happy hour after a long day.

Between work and after-work meetings (slash the aforementioned happy hours 😉 ), I often find myself arriving home after being out of the apartment for 10-12 hours and immediately plopping down on the couch to zone out while staring at the wall to give my brain – and body – a break. Ain’t nobody got time (or energy) to make dinner after a day like that!

Don’t get me wrong — I love my job and I love being busy. However, I also love feeling good about my body and what I’m putting in it. And to be honest, I don’t know that I can say I do right now. I’ve been struggling to find a balance between the two — being busy and being healthy — and I think my lack of substantive updates on the blog probably reflects that struggle.

To give myself some credit, I have been keeping up with my workouts – I still run 3x per week and ran 70 miles in April (which was the same # of miles that I ran in January and February, when I was training for my half marathon). I do strength training 1-2x per week, and I’ve been organizing weekend practices with my Ultimate Frisbee team…

However, I’ve also eaten cheese & crackers and/or french fries for dinner most nights this week.

In the spirit of keeping myself in check, and inspiring others to do the same, I’ve come up with a list of 5 tips for surviving the hectic workweek while still keeping a healthy lifestyle. As always, I’m hoping that writing this down for the world to see will help me be inspired to practice what I preach. That has yet to be seen, but at least I’m trying, right?

1) Break up the day with an actual lunch break

This is one that I could definitely work on. On the days these past weeks where I actually exit my office for at least 30 minutes for some kind of break in the middle of the day, I always end up feeling the most energized. That 2pm feeling of dread and desperation for coffee doesn’t exist on days that I actually see some sunlight or take a walk in the middle of the day. And chances are, if I’m not feeling bored/exhausted, I’m not as likely to dig in to the snack cabinet in the kitchen for a pick me up, either!

2) Eat 3 full meals

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Actually making sure you have 3 solid meals throughout the day is a big help in keeping you energized and also ensuring that you’re taking care of yourself. Of course, for me this is easiest when I do meal prep on the weekends (see above) and have stuff to grab in the morning for nutritious breakfasts and lunches. But making sure you don’t skip a meal is so clutch! I might try to rationalize a crackers & cheese meal as “hey I’m getting my protein AND my carbs!”….but we all know that’s a stretch 😉

3) Get up and move when you can

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I get it…Not everyone is gonna wake up at 6:30am to run 5 miles (and of course take a pre-run #workoutselfie that they then snapchat to all their friends).

If you can, great. But if not, there are other ways to stay active throughout the week that don’t involve your typical workout: Bike to work! Take a break to walk around your office building. Walk to lunch! I always feel like I’m more active on the days I walk to work, even if biking is a “tougher” workout. If you have the option, it’s nice to be able to spend your commute taking a relaxing walk and listening to music instead of struggling to get through traffic. That’s gotta be a good thing, right?

4) Swap out the junk food for healthier snacks

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If you need snacks to get you through the day…Make sure they’re good ones! Luckily, my office keeps some pretty healthy snacks in our breakroom. Pretzels, cashews and almonds…not too shabby! However, I’m pretty sure even the healthy fats in cashews and almonds lose their nutritional value when you have 5+ handfuls throughout the day. I try to buy baby carrots and other random fruits to snack on instead of fatty nuts. BUT I do love me some cashews…old habits die hard.

5) Most importantly….Don’t beat yourself up if you have an off day.

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If you have a rough ass day at work and you want to just come home and have a drink with some chocolate and cheese…Then by all means, just do it. If you snoozed through your workout this morning after yesterday’s stressful late night at work, don’t turn down pizza night with your friends because you can’t afford the calories today.

Being hard on yourself just contributes to the stresses of life. Of course it’s great to have a regular fitness routine, and eat healthy…but we often forget that treating ourselves right emotionally is just as important.

It’s all about finding a balance.

Have a great weekend! Check back next week for a budget update 😀

 

How do you manage stress at work/school? I like taking at least one day out of the week to clean my room and paint my nails – those are my 2 relaxation activities!

What is an indulgence you never feel guilty about? I think having a glass of wine or 1 beer at the end of the day is one of the best things about being a working adult.

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Confession Time: Why the Scale Sucks

Today I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons and her Thinking out Loud link-up!

Rather than simply thinking out loud like the topic suggests, I am taking a page out of my dear friend Becky’s book and using the link-up as an opportunity to reveal a confession or two.

My confession: I am insecure about my weight.

When I started running in January 2011 (just 1.8 miles 2-3 times per week, mind you!), I was unknowingly embarking on a ~1 year long weight loss journey. That increase in cardio activity, paired with calorie counting/nutrient tracking, was definitely the key to my weight loss success.

I reached my ideal weight a little over a year ago. When I say ideal, I mean it was the weight I was at when I realized I had lost 2 pants sizes and was truly happy with how I looked (and more importantly, how I felt!). Starting at 136 pounds and a size 8, I plateaued at about 119 pounds and a size 4 sometime in 2012 and stayed there for most of 2013. I was coo with that, and I feel like it’s a pretty good size and weight for my body type. (P.S. Here’s my before and after pics just for funsies!)

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at the color run in august 2013 looking quite svelte!

Since so much of my weight loss success was tied in with my running, when I decided to run a half marathon a few months ago, I figured, if anything, I’d lose some more weight.

WRONG!

Over the past 3 months, I’ve gained about 8 pounds. For those of you keeping track at home, that would mean that I have gained back half of what I lost after college. At first, this felt like a huge setback. Some part of me (brainwashed by society, no doubt) kinda liked the fact that I was under 120 pounds. Anything with a ‘teen’ in it sounds skinny, right?

But the reason I decided to run a half marathon was not to lose weight. Upon further reflection, the main reason I signed up to run the half was to feel strong. The question I’ve found myself asking myself is: What makes me feel stronger: a number on the scale, or being able to run 11 miles without stopping?

after my sub 60 min 10k!

after my first sub 60 min 10k!

Um, NO BRAINER people. I feel like a bad ass any time I run for over an hour. Every hill I climb, every curb I hop over, and every mad dash to the end of my run…makes me feel amazing.

One of the most recent times I was able to weigh myself, I looked in the mirror first. Was I happy with what I saw?

fun story: i took this picture last thursday, then took a picture of the picture on saturday to send to my BFF and pretend i wasn't on a plane coming to see her!

fun story: i took this picture last thursday, then took a pic of the pic on saturday to send to my BFF on snapchat to pretend i wasn’t on a plane coming to see her! #SNAPCEPTION

The answer was still yes. Since I don’t have a gym anymore, I do a lot of ab work. My legs are freakin’ tight and lean from all that climbing, hopping, and mad dashing. I proceeded to step onto the scale, see that I was still 8 pounds heavier than “normal”, and….did not really care.

The problem with relying on the scale to track my progress is that as my mileage increases, so does my muscle mass. Most of my weight gain is muscle. The only clothes that fit differently are my jeans around my thighs — which are HUGE and hard as rocks now, by the way.

What really put everything into perspective was the realization that even though I am only about 8 pounds away from my 2010 weight, I am still 2 sizes smaller. Basically, all of my weight is compacted into a smaller package than before, even though I weigh more now than I did 4 months ago.

There are other added benefits to building muscle that outweigh any disadvantages (pun intended). According to a recent issue of Women’s Health, one of the biggest misconceptions about women and building muscle is that if you stop weight training, it turns into fat. The fact is, muscle tissue and fat tissue are two completely different kinds of tissue: muscle by nature requires more energy to metabolize, meaning the higher ratio of muscle-fat your body contains, the more energy (calories!) it will have to expend to keep things running.  Sounds like a good thing, right?

This is a big reason why, though I still track my food pretty often throughout the week, my focus is less on calorie counting to lose weight and more on replacing all of the calories I lose on my workout days with calories from healthy protein sources. I am trying to teach my body to run 13 miles at once…the least I could do is properly fuel it!

So that’s my confession: I am not always happy with the number I see on the scale. But I am happy with what my body is capable of, and I feel so great physically most of the time that it is hard to let a big little number keep me down. 😉

How do you track your fitness progress?

Have you ever experienced muscle weight gain?

Fitness Friday – New Years Resolution Check In!

Hey all! First of all, thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my Treat Yourself birthday post. It’s reassuring to hear that so many of you are going through the same quarter life crisis ~struggle~…we’re all in this together, right?

Today I’m here to check in on some of my Fitness Goals for the year. They were pretty much my version of New Years Resolutions this year…I haven’t checked in on my progress since March, but I am actually pretty happy with how much I’ve accomplished exactly 6 months later!

Fitness Goals
  • Run a 5K race
  • Start weight training again (and eat more protein!)
  • Be able to do a 2 minute plank and 2 minute leg lifts
  • Run 25 miles in a month (several times if possible)

Let’s see how I’m doing….

  • Run a 5K race

I’ll see your 5K race…and raise you a 10K!

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Earlier this month, I ran the Run to Remember 10K in 1:02:27. I’ve been consistently keeping up with my long distance runs on the weekends, running 4-5 miles every week since! I also ran a 5K in March in 28:54. Fun fact: I ran 5K for speed on Wednesday and accomplished a new PR- I improved my time to 27:11! That’s faster than 9 minutes per mile! I’m looking forward to running more 5Ks and 10Ks to improve my speed.

  • Start weight training again (and eat more protein!)

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My gym FINALLY reopened on Monday! They moved all the equipment into a much larger and more spacious suite in the building.

I was actually pretty consistently doing upper body and ab/core workouts from Women’s Health and GPP Fitness before I broke my thumb in July. I obviously then had to take a break from lifting…but I have gotten back into it since I got my cast off a month ago! I’m still pretty frustrated at how little I can lift (5 pound dumbbells are too light, but 10 pounds too heavy), but I am trying!

baby musclesMy muscles really aren’t that big…. I feel like there’s some shadows helping me out here haha.

As for protein…this is always an area I could improve in, since I don’t buy chicken and turkey too often. I have started incorporating a lot more cheese into my diet for calcium’s sake, so I’m hoping that’s helping with the protein too!

  • Be able to do a 2 minute plank and 2 minute leg lifts

I don’t do leg lifts anymore, haha…But I have gotten pretty close to a 2 minute plank. I think my longest is about 1:45! I’ll get there!

My new favorite ab exercise is definitely V-ups. I can tell my form is improving every time I do them, and I love that they get your lower abs too! I try to incorporate planks and V-ups into every workout, including runs.

  • Run 25 miles in a month (several times if possible)

FINALLY accomplished!!! I ran 24.75 miles in August.. SO close! But I wanted to accomplish this goal for real!

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Hard to see, but I’ve run 32.19 miles so far this month.

With at least 1 more run on the horizon, I seriously knocked this goal out of the park this month. I’ve ran more in September than any other month since 2011. The crazy thing is, I accomplished it even though I usually only run twice per week! There have been a couple of months where I exceeded 25 miles, but I was also running 3x per week.

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Next month, I’ll also be able to track how many miles I’ve traveled- I got a Fitbit Zip for my birthday! (Thanks Mom and Dad!) Side note…me from 3 years ago would totally look at this picture in disgust that my booty has disappeared. #thanksalotRUNNING

So all in all, I am very happy with my progress this year! Can’t wait to see what the next 3 months hold…Time to start thinking about new goals I’ll make for myself next year!

Do you make New Years Resolutions, or do you have any fitness goals at the moment?

How do you get your protein?

Do you have a pedometer? How many steps per day do you average? My highest so far is 10,010 steps! Hard to get very many when you work an office job…

New Obsession: MixMyOwn Muesli

Did you eat breakfast daily as a kid?

My brother and I sat at the table and eat cereal every morning throughout my childhood. Usually it was something “healthy”, (are Frosted Flakes considered healthy? 😛 ), but every so often we’d get treated to Lucky Charms or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Unfortunately, Cookie Crisp never found its way into our pantry. Thanks a LOT, Mom!

When I hit high school and started taking a 7am zero period sophomore year (which I then continued, in addition to a full course schedule, through senior year…seriously, who was I?!), breakfast took the back burner. As anyone in my family can tell you, it takes a lot to get me out of bed in the morning, and I usually prefer to set the alarm as late as humanly possible, then rush out the door. I need my maximum possible amount of sleep!

As you can imagine, the no-breakfast habit continued into college for the most part. My meal plan included 14 meals per week, which allowed for lunch and dinner every day. Sometimes I’d treat myself to breakfast at the dining commons and grab lunch at a cafe on campus, but I by no means ate breakfast regularly.

In France, my breakfasts were usually a coffee and chocolate covered gaufre (waffle) from the vending machine at the university that I snacked on during class. (Oh my god, I miss those!) When I lived in an apartment senior year, my breakfast usually consisted of some kind of chocolatey Pop Tart, or a Luna bar.

Long story short: I had a very unhealthy relationship with breakfast for a long time 😉 Suddenly, I no longer wonder how I weighed nearly 20 pounds more than I do now just 3 years ago when I graduated!

When I moved home after college, to deal with being unemployed and bored, I got myself into a little routine: I started each day with a small breakfast and a workout, followed by a bigger breakfast/lunch. I forced myself to like bananas, because they were the easiest pre-work out breakfast option.

Nearly 3 years later, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t eat breakfast. During the colder months, I eat a lot of oatmeal. During the summertime, I usually have Greek yogurt and some kind of granola bar. This summer’s obsession was toast + Laughing Cow wedges. But when I went to Blend Retreat back in May, I tried overnight oats for the first time made with muesli…and I was hooked. It was basically like cold oatmeal, but tasted soooo much better than that sounds 🙂

In the middle of my recent toast and Laughing Cow breakfast kick, I was contacted by Klara from MixMyOwn Healthy Breakfast, who offered me a free sample of their product. Fresh out of muesli (thus the reason for the toast and Laughing Cow kick!), I jumped at the opportunity. MixMyOwn has a few muesli mixes they create themselves, but the coolest thing about the site is that you can create your own cereal/granola/muesli! And what really appealed to me was that they use all natural ingredients:

By offering nearly 100 responsibly chosen ingredients, including a variety of 100%
natural, unprocessed, organic, non-GMO, preservative free and sugar-free options,
MixMyOwn provides an alternative to processed cereals and snacks.

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So I went to work and Mixed My Own personal muesli…and it was amazing!

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I had no idea where to start…just check out all these options:

“A customer can choose from 31 types of dried fruits including 13 types of freeze-dried fruits, 20 types of nuts and seeds, and other healthy ingredients to add to the bases.

MixMyOwn offers 8 premixed breakfasts, as well, including: Kids Mix, Fitness Mix, Gluten-free Mix, Antioxidant Mix, Tutty Nutty, Very Berry, Strawberry Almond Mix, and Classic Mix, and even these can be adjusted to suit the customer’s unique needs”

I knew I wanted to make my own, rather than going for a premix. So I decided to go for a tropical theme! In addition to oats and various grains, I added: flaked coconut, dried mango, dried papaya, chia seeds, macadamia nuts, and because I still had a little bit of extra $ left, I splurged on a vanilla bean.

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Oh my gawwwd. SO good. I love the variety of textures, and you could tell that all the ingredients were high quality. I’m glad I went with the coconut (even though I’m not a huge fan)… I have always disliked shredded coconut, but I’m now sold on flaked coconut!

I also love that they include the nutrition stats for your mix:

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Look how low in sugar it is! Just 2.5g! I mix about one serving/half a cup of muesli with a cup of almond milk and a few more chia seeds, store it in the fridge overnight, and VOILA! Amazing breakfast.

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I definitely recommend trying out MixMyOwn! Especially if you’re picky about your oats 🙂

PLUS from now until the end of September you can get 20% off your order with the code HEALTHYBREAKFAST. Perfect timing, since I’m about to run out of my mix!

As I mentioned, I received my MixMyOwn mix free of charge…However, all opinions are my own!

What’s your go-to breakfast?

If you eat oatmeal/overnight oats, what’s your favorite combo of ingredients?

Peel’d Juice Cleanse Day 3 + Recap

Hello from foggy San Francisco!

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I finally escaped the wicked heat of Sacramento and escaped to the permanently chilly City by the Bay for a quick day and a half. I hope you all had a safe 4th of July- mine involved BBQing in the park with my friend Meghan and her law school friends, then reminiscing over drinks with my old college roomies, Tyler and So-Ky, later in the evening. This may be the first year ever that my 4th did not include some kind of fireworks! We couldn’t see any from downtown when we were having drinks, and its illegal to light off your own in SF. Regardless, it was a good time and a much needed escape. Spending time with college friends and re-telling the same old stories over and over from the glory years is always a great pick me up 🙂

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Now I’m back in Sac and here to finish off my chronicle of the Peel’d Juice Cleanse!

Day 3

Since I had trouble falling asleep on Tuesday night, I wasn’t as well rested, but I woke up with a flat stomach again on Wednesday. Since I was at my parent’s place where they have a reliable scale, I also realized I had dropped a couple of pounds from my normal weight (last time I weighed myself on my gym’s *inaccurate* scale, I was 2 pounds above my normal weight midday, but I’m not sure what I was on Day 1 of this cleanse). This is a little worrisome since I have been trying to maintain weight and not lose any, but at the time I figured the weight loss probably wouldn’t be permanent.

Breakfast (9:30 am)

Smoothie (celery, oranges, pineapple, ginger, almond milk, protein powder)
Also ate: A banana and handful of nuts

The verdict: Kind of a weird smoothie, I was definitely chewing my way through it with the celery. Still tasted OK though!

How I felt: I have a bit of a headache that morning, probably because of lack of sleep. In general I’m not feeling extremely different than usual.

Lunch (1:30 pm)

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Bittersweet Cranberry (Cranberry, celery, green apple, oranges)
Also ate: Half a bell pepper, remainder of my summer squash, cherry tomatoes & cilantro sauteed in coconut oil with salt & pepper. And of course…more nuts 🙂

The verdict: I could have sworn this juice was grapefruit! I loved it.

How I felt: I started getting really hungry around 4:30pm, so I had my dinner juice early. I was feeling really weak, and like I wanted to just give up and have a normal dinner. I think realizing that I had possibly lost 4 pounds made me feel like I was depriving myself a little bit too much.

Dinner (6:30pm)

Green Goblin juice
Also ate: Went out to dinner and had a salad with roasted red peppers, olives, marinated onions….and chicken & feta. Oops 🙂

The verdict: same green juice from the first 2 days.

How I felt: I decided to just go for it and not omit the cheese and meat from my salad. I was feeling pretty weak and started second guessing my choice to do a cleanse. And guess what? I didn’t feel awful afterwards. It was still a pretty clean meal.

Post-Cleanse Thoughts

So I think the Peel’d cleanse is great. I like that you can eat any fruits or veggies you want, because I think everyone should eat more veggies 🙂 I think its an excellent quick fix if you’ve been having tummy problems or want to realign your diet and adopt some good habits. I would have probably benefited more from the 5-day cleanse than I did from the 3-day cleanse because frankly this was pretty close to my normal diet, just gluten free (I don’t eat meat or dairy more than a couple of times per week)…so I didn’t see a huge difference after 3 days. I base a lot of my meals around veggies as it is. But the added nutrients from the juices did help me feel healthy! Who needs a multivitamin when you’re getting so much good stuff in the form of juice?!

But to be completely honest, I don’t think I was in the right place to be doing a cleanse this week. For me, the cleanse ended up being my regular diet minus 1/3 the calories, maybe even half. Long story short, I’m currently going through a breakup and I started to realize that the cleanse was kind of becoming a justification for eating less, and though I don’t think I can say I was starving myself, I was definitely not in a healthy place emotionally. Being depressed messes with my appetite as it is. Let’s say I’m already a dramatic emotional mess and likely to not eat as much, then you give me a diet plan where all I eat are low calorie fruits and veggies….you’re pretty much asking for trouble. This is part of the reason I broke the dietary restrictions on Wednesday: I recognized that what I was doing might not have been my healthiest choice.

So that’s that. For anyone in the Sacramento area looking to learn more about Peel’d, check out their website. I actually think if you’re going to do any juice cleanse, doing one like theirs is probably your best bet! Any juice cleanse where the #1 rule is to not starve yourself is a good thing in my book. They also sell their juices every Saturday at the Midtown Farmer’s Market! I actually really liked all of the juices I had on the cleanse. Perhaps the purchase of a juicer is in my future 😉

Hope you all had a great 4th of July! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Peel’d Juice Cleanse – Days 1 and 2

After hearing good things and seeing Peel’d at the Farmers Market selling their juices every weekend, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and do the Peel’d juice cleanse. Peel’d creates fresh juices every morning that they deliver not only to people wanting to detox, but also to people who “simply want to supplement their current lifestyle and diet with nutrient rich juices”. Something that I like about Peel’d’s detox program is that, in addition to the allotted smoothie and 2 juices per day, you are allowed to eat as many fruits and vegetables as you want (raw or cooked). It isn’t an all-liquid diet, like many cleanses are.

In fact, the first rule of the Peel’d cleanse is: “DO NOT GO HUNGRY. This process isn’t about depriving yourself, but feeding yourself large amounts of foods that will nourish, support and heal you.”

Foods not allowed on the detox are:

  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Refined Sugar
  • Soy
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Beans
  • Nuts (large amounts)

Peel’d also recommends snacking on olives, avocados, and small amounts of nuts as a snack.

No hangry Katie? I definitely like that approach. Normally, the Peel’d program lasts 5 days: Monday through Friday. I was unsure about jumping into the 5-day plan, since it seems kind of drastic, especially for someone who likes to exercise throughout the week and needs a lot of protein as a result. When I saw that they were offering a special 3-Day Independence Day program for $66, I decided to go for it.

Included was:

3 smoothies and 6 fresh juices
Daily menus
An intro email with a meal plan, including snacks and awesome soup/salad ideas for dinner

For an extra $10, I could have also gotten the juices delivered to my apartment each morning. However, I opted to just pick them up on the way to work.

Before the Cleanse/Why I Did It:

You’re supposed to cut out caffeine and alcohol before the cleanse to “prepare”, and I can say I cut out caffeine, but alcohol…certainly not. I had at least 2 beers a day Wednesday-Sunday (plus more on Thursday and Sunday because of dodgeball and kickball), and some pretty non-clean food, thanks to a summer BBQ, froyo with the roomie, and some post-kickball chicken fingers. As a result, I didn’t fall asleep until 4:30am on Saturday night and was up for an hour at 3am Sunday night feeling hot, bloated, and nauseous. Of course, there are many factors playing into that, including but not limited to: 105+ degree weather, increased beer consumption, and some emotional stress I’m going through right now. That being said, I felt like a cleanse was probably a good idea, especially if I have more fun on the horizon with the 4th of July coming up.

I recently read in Women’s Health that cleaning up your diet for several days before a vacation or expected period of unhealthy choices will set your body on the right path and prepare it for that period of time. It seemed like a fun experiment, and the shortened 3 day length didn’t seem too intense.

Day 1

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Breakfast (9:15 am)

{Though some of the guidelines suggest splitting up the smoothie, I decided to have the whole smoothie with breakfast, since I’m used to having a large breakfast.}

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Strawberry Smoothie (Spinach, Strawberry, Banana, vegetable protein powder, Almond Milk)
Also ate: white nectarine…and about 3-4 glasses of water throughout the morning.

The verdict: Delicious! Tasted a lot like my own strawberry & banana smoothie. I didn’t even realize there was protein powder in it until I read the daily menu e-mail Peel’d sends out.

How I felt: The smoothie was filling enough that I didn’t feel the need to raid the breakroom jar of mixed nuts every 30 minutes like I usually do. I did start to get a bit of a headache, which could be attributed to several factors (didn’t sleep well, no caffeinated tea in the morning, been crying a lot lately)…My stomach started grumbling around 12:30, so I grabbed a couple of walnuts and left for lunch at 1 instead of my usual 1:30 or 2.

Lunch (1:30pm)

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Blueberry Juice (Celery, blueberry, green apple, lemon)
Also ate: Zucchini, pattypan squash, & green bell pepper stir-fried in coconut oil with s&p.. and a handful of nuts. A couple more cups of water.

The verdict: WHEW, now I know why Becky doesn’t like juice with celery in it. Luckily, the tart lemon + green apple kept this juice pretty tasty.

How I felt: I went home for my small stir-fry lunch and had the juice after I came back, thinking it would delay hunger for a while. It worked! My headache definitely dulled a bit, but stuck around.

Dinner (6:30-7pm)

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Green Goblin Juice (Kale, cucumber, celery, lemon, lime, apple, ginger)
Also ate: cauliflower, green beans & peas steamed with garlic & ginger. I was satisfied, but decided I probably should also have a salad. Made one with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and half an avocado with simple balsamic vinaigrette (balsamic, garlic, dijon, and olive oil). Had another glass of water and dandelion tea.

The verdict: Pretty good for a green juice! I’d had it before at the farmers market, so no surprises there.

How I felt: I had the juice right when I got home around 5:45 so that I wouldn’t be starving while I made dinner. After and during eating, I was so surprised I wasn’t more ravenous. I think I was right to fix up a salad even though I wasn’t hungry for it, because I probably would have gotten snacky later if I hadn’t.

Day 2

I fell asleep early (at 11:30pm) and woke up naturally around 7:30am, 10 minutes before my alarm went off. Amazing. I also woke up with a flat stomach – something that hasn’t happened in weeks! A welcome reprieve from the bloating I’ve experienced lately.

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got too excited biking on Tuesday and a bunch of the smoothie & orange juice spilled 😦

Breakfast (9:15 am)

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Green Smoothie (Cucumber, kiwi, mango, almond milk, veggie protein powder)
Also ate: half an avocado and a handful of nuts…and about 2-3 glasses of water throughout the morning.

The verdict: I was leery because it smelled like celery (apparently that was cucumber!), but there was an awesome vanilla flavor from the protein powder that made this green smoothie delightful!

How I felt: I got hungry much quicker after this morning’s smoothie (probably because I spilled part of it on my bike ride and had part of an avocado instead of the more filling nectarine), but after a handful of nuts, I easily made it to 1pm again. No headache today!

Lunch (1:30pm)

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Green Goblin Juice
Also ate: Summer & pattypan squash, green bell pepper, & cherry tomatoes stir-fried in coconut oil with s&p and fresh basil. Another handful of nuts (Starting to fear I’m having too many, but it’s the only acceptable snack in our office!) and another glass or 2 of water.

The verdict: Already had this juice 🙂 It was definitely more lemon-y today which I loved!

How I felt: A little bit of dry mouth…maybe this 5th day of 100+ heat is finally catching up with me.

Dinner (Juice at 5:30pm, Dinner at 7:30pm)

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Orange Juice (Pineapple, yams, lemon, green apples)
Also ate: My mom made Pasta with Giardiniera Sauce and I had a bowl of the sauce (basically, a ton of veggies). Also some broccoli, a banana, and salad (chard, mushroom, carrots, olives, fennel, and a simple vinaigrette of apple cider vin + dijon + olive oil).

The verdict: This was the best juice yet!! It mostly tasted like pineapple.

How I felt: Great most of the evening! If I ever felt snacky I just grabbed a glass of water or some olives. I started feeling nauseous around bedtime, I’m not really sure what that was about. Possibly the heat again…

Sooo that’s it for days 1 and 2!

I’m already 1/3 done with my last day, but I figured I’d break it up little bit since this is already a really long post.

So far, I feel good on this detox but not OMG AMAZING. I think that’s partly because I’m not doing the full 5-day cleanse, and partly because I already eat pretty healthily…Unfortunately, I’m noticing that my appetite is already pretty low because of the aforementioned heat and emotional stress, so I’m predicting the biggest results I’ll get from this experience are a flatter stomach and a couple of pounds lost…which I’m not really looking for. But I do feel better than I did this weekend!

Stay tuned for more!

Have you tried a juice cleanse or a detox program before? How did you like it?

Enjoy your 4th of July! What are your plans? I’m heading to San Francisco to escape the heat 🙂

Lunch Lately & A Super Easy Taco Bowl Recipe

Before I get to pictures of my lunches lately, a few PSA’s:

I announced a winner of my Food Should Taste Good giveaway! Was it you?

Remember my Muesli Protein Bars? They were selected to be a finalist in the Muesli Fusion Recipe Contest! Please click here to go to the Facebook Poll and vote for me! All you have to do is click “Muesli Protein Bars — Blonde Ambition Blog”. First place AND runner up get a prize! Thank you so much to everyone who has already voted!

Ahem. Back to our regularly scheduled programming 😉

Last month when I went to Park City to attend Blend Retreat, I often found myself the recipient of the question, “So what is your blog about?” In fact, I get this question a lot in everyday life. I think most people expect me to say that I think I’m some gourmet foodie, or that I make really elaborate dishes. The truth is, this blog is about making healthy living seem more accessible to busy twenty-somethings (or even just busy people in general!).

Now, I get that when I say “healthy living”, the image that comes to mind is someone who must be 100% preservative-free, organic-only, homegrown, or following the ever so trendy gluten-free diet. (“I’m pretty sure gluten is just anything that is bad for you” hahaha Seth Rogen in This Is the End) But I know that’s unrealistic for most people, myself included.

For me, one of the most important aspects of healthy living is limiting my meals out each week — especially lunch. There aren’t a lot of healthy options close to my work, and salads get old fast. So I aim to prep food on Sundays, or even throughout the week when I have time in the evening, so that I have quick grab-and-go meals to bring for lunch. On days that I’m not working out at lunch, I sometimes have time to bike home and cook a quick meal. I suppose that’s a luxury of living only 7 blocks away from my office 😉

But there are plenty of days when I have to grab an “emergency” burrito out of the freezer, or grab a salad or sandwich from La Bou. And that’s okay! I try to abide by the 80-20 ratio…80% good healthy eats, 20% indulgence. So if I go out to eat or mack on a frozen burrito one day out of the week, that’s not so bad.

Here’s what I’ve been making lately!

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My Lemony Rice & Spring Veggies – perfect for a non workout day, but could work for a workout day too…just add chicken!

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There was one week where I spent about 20 minutes on Monday night cooking up a few sausages and peppers, and had lunch for 3 days. One day I ate them on a tortilla with broccoli, another day with bread like a sandwich. Very versatile!

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Salad is super quick to put together either the night before or in the morning. This one had romaine lettuce, beets, broccoli, and bell peppers…I think some pinto beans were hiding in there too. Make or store your dressing in a mason jar and add when you’re ready to eat!

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You wouldn’t think so, but pasta is actually a great quick meal to make in the morning to bring to work…Especially if you use spaghetti (which cooks quicker than most pasta). Just cook the spaghetti, toss in some veggies like broccoli and kale, plus a squeeze of lemon and some parm…And you have a perfectly portable meal! Plus, the hot spaghetti will wilt the veggies.

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On days when I have time to go home and make lunch, my meals typically look like this. A bunch of sauteed veggies with a side of avocado toast. Can you tell there were beets in this stir fry? Haha.

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evol Burritos are probably my favorite frozen burrito. It doesn’t hurt that Grocery Outlet has been selling them $1 off for a good 2 months now 😉 They are a little heavy on the tortilla, but I read that evol recently took that feedback and changed their recipe to include smaller tortillas. This must be why Grocery Outlet has so many – getting rid of the old product! My favorite is the Bean, Rice & Cheese.

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Now that I’ve totally inspired you to make your own lunch everyday… 😉 Here’s a recipe for an easy lunch (and what I’ve been eating for lunch this week! These Chicken Taco “Bowls” are easy and quick to put together (you basically just layer the ingredients in a bowl/tupperware) and are a really hearty meal. They’re easily customizable, too, so if you don’t like the ingredients I included, sub in whatever you want! I made these Monday night in about 30 minutes, providing me with two grab and go lunches this week!

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Chicken Taco Bowls
makes 2 bowls (but is easily doubled!)

1 large chicken breast
juice of one lime
salt & pepper
chile powder
cumin
garlic powder
oil, for sauteing

1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup black beans, drained
1 small summer squash
1 handful baby kale (if you use regular kale, you will probably want to cook it a bit with the squash. Baby kale is much more tender)

Combine chicken breast with lime juice and spices in a plastic bag. Squish around all the spices to make sure chicken is coated. Let sit while you prepare remaining ingredients. Cook rice according to package directions if not already cooked. Drain and rinse black beans, and cut squash into half moons.

Heat saute pan over medium-high heat. Add desired amount of oil, turning the pan to coat. Add marinated chicken to pan. Cook about 6 minutes, then turn. Once you have turned the chicken, add the squash. Cook an additional 6 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring the squash occasionally. Remove from heat and let chicken rest on a cutting board while you assemble the bowls.

In two tupperware containers, layer ingredients: 1/2 cup beans, 1/4 cup rice, small handful of kale, and half of the squash. When chicken is cooled, cut into cubes and evenly split between the two tupperwares. You’ll notice the heat from the squash and chicken will wilt the kale, eliminating the need to cook it separately. Store in fridge until needed, and microwave for about 1:30 on high before eating. Eat alone, or with a tortilla!

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20130619-092507.jpgWhat is your go-to lunch at work?

How often do you eat out during the week?