Lifting, spiritual

You Don’t Need a Makeover: Food Freedom Friday


You don’t need a makeover.
Yep, you read that right – no matter your weight, size, shape, gender or age, you DON’T need a makeover. The fitness/diet industry does. 


Imagine if you had a store that sold a single size of clothing – or offered a single, specified entree – or if Jamba Juice offered ONE smoothie?

It’s illogical to sell one specific item because we all know people are different. Some people like berries, some people like citrus fruits. Some people are short, others are tall. 

Yet, the diet and fitness industry gets away with selling us a single ideal per gender – a tall, muscular, chiseled and well portioned man, coupled with a slender, yet muscular, yet still distinctly feminine woman. And they make billions of dollars a year on the mere fact that the majority of the population is physically incapable of achieving the image they’re selling.


If you sell an unreachable image, customers will never stop buying. If we all looked perfect, why would we buy powders and pills and capsules and workout programs? There’s no money in the achievement; there’s money in the chase. 

So no, you don’t need a makeover. Healthy eating and exercise do yield a wonderful breadth of benefits, like increased energy, deeper sleep, higher dopamine and serotonin levels, better focus and cognitive function, improved digestive health, and the list continues. But being healthy looks different on every. single. person. Be you, and be healthy if you choose – but don’t let clever marketing and photoshop make the choice for you.

Eating, Veg/Vegan

Low Carb Cauliflower Spaghetti


There’s nothing like the deep tomato & basil-y smell of spaghetti wafting out of the kitchen on a cold winter day or during a late-night study session. Practically everyone can whip up a bowl cheap & easy, and we each have our own way of lovingly customizing this universal staple to make it exactly our own.

The anatomy of a bowl of spaghetti is similar to that of a pizza; the fabulous inflammation and fat-fighting properties of tomatoes coupled with the nutritionally void, high calorie simple carb. Tomatoes tout excellent levels of carotenoids, bioflavonoids, potassium, folic acid, and vitamins A, C & E. Simple white pasta, however, offers little more than calories and carbohydrates.

I found myself seriously craving a good old bowl of warm, yummy spaghetti. I had eaten a bit carb heavy earlier in the day, though, and figured I could compensate for the noodles with some sweet potato and cauliflower.

I’m a very rambunctious, disorganized, and spontaneous cook, so my spaghetti endeavor spiraled out of control rather quickly. I suddenly had chopped up a skinned sweet potato and some cauliflower and threw it in a pan, sporadically adding diced turmeric, chopped beets, chili paste, cubed tofu, and sweet onions. I let it all simmer and burn – with a little water to help soften the starches – and found that the smell somehow was getting more and more delicious. 

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I almost didn’t add the sauce, since the dish had adopted a type of thai-sweet-chili smell, but since I was craving spaghetti, I figured I’d go for it. That’s what makes cooking fun and enjoyable, right? Spontaneity, creativity, and a little calculated risk resulted in a dish sooo good I had to stop myself from licking the pan.

Here’s a quick summary of how I (most likely) developed this accidental masterpiece.

½ head of cauliflower

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 tbsp (ish) diced turmeric

1 tbsp (ish) avocado oil

1 chopped sweet onion

½ can chopped, pickled beets

1-2 cups organic tomato & basil pasta sauce

1 tbsp chili paste

 Coat a frying pan in avocado (or other plant-based, organic oil) and toss on sweet onion and turmeric. Simmer for a few minutes and add cauliflower and sweet onion; add a little water and stir occasionally. Let the mixture burn/brown just slightly; scoot to one side of pan and brown tofu & beets on the other side. Drop the chili paste directly on the tofu and cook and flip till both sides are brown.

 I  Next, toss in the pasta sauce and mix. By now, the mixture should smell pretty freakin’ amazing. Enjoy and serve 🙂

Eating, Veg/Vegan

Training – the Vegan Way


My schedule is  a fitness junkie’s dream: I have two half marathons, two full marathons, a Spartan race and a long season on two different soccer teams crammed into my life before the end of December. While I’ve got lots of training and recovery plans in the works, it only makes sense for me to shift to the most wholesome, healthiest, and ethical diet possible. For me, that’s a vegan diet – whole foods, plant based, and focused on the unprocessed foods I already love. From fruits & veggies to legumes, beans, nuts and seeds, I’m stoked to fill my plate with a powerful array of macro and micronutrients that’ll put my exhausted body at optimal health and recovery speed.


Plus – sorry about it but veganism is pretty badass. From endurance athletes to mma fighters to pro soccer & basketball players, a plant-based diet is the way to go 🙂

I’ll be dutifully blogging my progress, training times and go-to meals as I get through this crazy next few months! I’m happy to share this beautiful way of living, especially when I’m blessed to live on a tropical island with gorgeous farmer’s markets all year long. I may not be an elite or professional athlete, but I am an athlete – and just like abs, endurance, speed and recovery are built in the kitchen.


I’ve gone vegan before, but always fell off the wagon for convenience reasons. I also was a poor, starving college student at the time, so my diet was more junk food vegan than exploring the endless, bountiful world of plants and whole-foods substitutes. Now, however, I’m a working professional that can afford the vast array of veggies, nuts, seeds, sprouts, legumes, beans, starches, and grains that comprise a healthful diet.

I’m proud to tackle this new lifestyle and incorporate it into my training & nutrition. It’s a peaceful, mindful, and of compassionate way of living – and I truly can’t wait to make it my own.

Here’s a few infographics on veganism & athleticism, and the potentials for getting strong & sexy the plant based way!

Eating, Uncategorized

Fit Girl’s Guide to Chocolate

  
There are days where chocolate is, quite simply, required. There’s random cravings for no reason; monthly cravings for an annoying, painful, girl reason (because being a chick just sucks sometimes); and the simple fact that chocolate is a treat meant to be enjoyed. And isn’t life meant to be enjoyed? RIGHT? Right.When you’re a fit chick and the chocoholic tendencies kick in, you’re faced with a few options – you can ignore it (if you have superwoman willpower), accept it and go nuts, or settle somewhere in between. Personally, I like to find healthy hacks that let me enjoy my chocolate and eat it, too.

Here are my favorite fit-friendly chocolate treats:

  
1. Cold Brew w/ SF Mocha Syrup

I know, I know – sugar free is not a great option. But, every once in a while, I do enjoy in a cold brew coffee with a few pumps of skinny chocolate syrup. Skipping the full-blown mocha option cuts out the sugar & carbs of the milk as well as the sugar free vanilla syrup. It’s a little easier on my wallet, to boot.

Coffee offers a breadth of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, as well as a cognitive and metabolic boost from the caffeine. The chocolate flavor mixed well with the strength of the cold brew, giving you a robust, rich, but not too sweet treat.

  

2. 80% Cacao Organic Dark Chocolate Bar

For more of a nibble, organic, high-quality dark chocolate bars are the stuff of chocoholic dreams. The 80% or more of Cacao bars offer less sugar and carbs with a high antioxidant, nutrient, and soluble fiber count. Of course, portion size is key – I usually try to slowly enjoy ¼ to 1/3 at a time. The good news is that the taste is strong and the fiber makes it more filling, so wolfing down an entire bar in one sitting is at least less likely in this case.

Some of my favorites are Chocolove, Green & Black’s, and Endangered Species – just be sure to check the sugar, carb, cacao & fiber content before you indulge.

  

3. Chocolate Protein Shake

Occasionally I have an odd, insatiable craving for sugary, old-school chocolate milk. The best remedy for this is to whip up a healthy, low sugar, low carb, nutrient-rich protein shake or smoothie. Here’s my favorite recipe:

 

photo courtesy of dashofbutter.com
 

4. Banana Nice Cream

Since we tackled chocolate milk, we might as well look into ice cream. This is an easy fix; a few frozen bananas, cacao nibs, some cashew milk & powdered peanut butter becomes a delicious, creamy, dulce-de-leche type fantasy – with no added sugar and brimming with vitamin c, potassium, and other micronutrients.

 

Lifting, Uncategorized

Wednesday Wisdom: Eating Well = Self Respect


They say that abs are built in the kitchen, but I argue that a healthy lifestyle is founded, rooted, and based in the kitchen. Not everyone has time or money or means to get to the gym – but everyone has a kitchen. We all have to eat. Making healthy choices, prepping food for loved ones to take to work and kids to take to school benefits the family as a whole. The boost of energy and pride in eating well is usually the beginning of every lifestyle change. It’s natural that, once we start taking care of ourselves in one area of life, it spills over. Next comes getting enough sleep, exercising, and confidence and focus all around.

Since I moved to the city, I have enough time to make a good breakfast, prep all my food, and cook a nice dinner when I get home. The meref act of having prime snacks and meals on hand made me excited to run to the gym, get in a solid lifting session, and run back home. I then slept soundly, started walking to work instead  of driving, and even take walks on my lunch break to give myself a mental, physical, and spiritual boost during another hectic day in the office.


Confession: I L O V E meal prepping!


What’s unexpected, though, is that I’ve become just as zealous in other aspects of life, too – not just fitness & nutrition. Eating well and working out have brought out this inner angst to get.it.together in every adult-y sense. I’m writing more, did my taxes on time for the first year EVER and find myself googling things like “how to build your credit score” and “ways to boost your financial portfolio” at work. huh? Since WHEN was I a real adult?

I truly feel that taking good care of yourself physically encourages you to take good care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It teaches patience, boosts confidence, and empowers us to be selfish in terms of our own health and happiness. These benefits spill over into how we conduct ourselves in the workplace, relationships, family and friendships. True self-love and confidence are difficult for anyone to ignore. Simply put, they just shine through.

We teach people how to treat us, but I think we truly project how we treat ourselves. When we love, cherish, and honor our own health and happiness, we attract those that respect and love us for who we are. Our vibe attracts our tribe, and a tribe of self-love and positivity just brings even more love and light into an already blessed life 🙂

Take care of yourself, folks.

Eating, Lifting, Running, Uncategorized

Hemp Protein: Manitoba Harvest Review!

  
There’s few things I love more in the fitness world than plant-based protein. Soy, hemp, pea, brown rice, you name it – I’ve tried it. Much like their whey-laden counterparts, not all protein powders are created equal. And even less live up to the hype their fans give them on instagram, blogs, and twitter.

As a normal, average person that prefers protein of the plant-based type, I was estatic to try out Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Protein Smoothies. I’m already a big fan of their Hemp Hearts, which I sprinkle on everything from salads to yogurt to oatmeal.

Touting 15 grams of plant-based Hemp70 protein, an impressive array of greens like spinach, broccoli, and kale and sweetened with organic coconut sugar, I knew that this was gonna be my jam. The sugar’s low, and the protein and micronutrient counts are high, which fits right into my meal plans.

  
Let me just give Manitoba Harvest a huge mahalo for the adorable packing for their starter kit. I adore the shaker bottle and tablespoon measurer, which I also use for almond & peanut butters in the morning. The package is bright, cute, and the recipes and instructions were totally clear. I was so excited about it that my roommate actually watched me open it and taste-tested the first smoothie I tried. (He gave it two thumbs up, by the way!)

  
This smoothie I made with the Vanilla Chai flavor, local apple bananas, coconut milk, and powdered peanut butter. Don’t let the green color fool you – it was delish. I’d love to try this same recipe with some dates and/or almond butter too.

  
The other two flavors, Mixed Berry and Chocolate, are equally good. Personally, the Vanilla Chai is my favorite. I definitely recommend making the Chocolate with bananas, chocolate PB2 powdered peanut butter, chilled coffee and cashew milk. It’s BOMB.

Like all powders, the shakes are much better when blended into a smoothie. I’ve tried a lot of hemp protein powders, though, and this is by far the best and least hemp-y I’ve had. It’s still decent when just shaken up with almond, soy or cashew  milk and has low enough calories to give a little energy and micronutrient boost during the day. Overall, I was thrilled to be able to test – and keep!- this product.

Lifting, Running, Uncategorized

#BeFitAllYear !

One of the best things about being a blogger is getting to test out great products and share them with my friends, family, and followers. As a fitness junkie, it’s like letting a little kid loose in a candy store. I seriously dig trying out new products and learning about the people and passion behind them.


I was stoked to play around with BeFit’s trio of BeFit Burn, BeFit Whey Isolate and Casein Combo, and BeFit’s Pre-workout. I’ve just started to get back into my training after a month or two off, so it was perfect timing for me to test ’em out.

The Pre-Workout

I’ll start with the BeFit Pre-Workout endurance & energy booster, because it was my favorite of the three. I’ve posted on here several times about my terrifying experiences with pre-workouts in the past. I’ve had hives, the shakes, prickly skin, racing heart, you name it. Right off the bat, the powder is a very slight tint of pink – a good sign, and a lot less intimidating than its scary neon counterparts.

The taste, like the color, was good and remarkably normal. I drank it before soccer practice, a game, and my runs for about two weeks and felt a natural, steady flow of energy. I noticed it the most in days when I was exhausted from work but could still bang out a run at a decent pace or play a whole game without passing out. It didn’t keep me awake all night, and I didn’t have any questionable side effects. 4 stars here, my friends.

The Protein 

Next, the protein powder. I’m more of a naturalist (and vegetarian) so I avoid whey as much as I can. I’m used to vegan, plant-based powders, but I did decide to give this one a shot. I had my roommates drink it at night for a few weeks too, since it has a decent amount of casein that rebuilds muscles as we sleep.


The taste was okay, and impressive given it touts 22 grams of protein in a 100-calorie serving. It also has no sugar (woo!), no gluten, and no GMOs. If I were into whey, I’d totally dig it.

The Fat Burner

I’ll admit right away I have some moral convictions about fat burners. Do they work? What does it do?!! Does it hurt my stomach? Like pre workout, this was my first positive experience with a fat burner. No tummy aches or pains. I’m still not convinced about the whole fat blocker thing, but these are all right. I will definitely use them with my cheat meals and feel a teensy bit better about feasting every week. I like them, and the cute packaging overall. 3 stars here!