Monday, November 26, 2012

Weeks of Eats + My Current Favorite Cardio

So it's now been two weeks since I last blogged. Sheesh. I am not so good at this, apparently! The thing is, I love to blog, I love to share what's going on in my life, what I've learned, etc. The catch, however, is that I am a wife, I am a mom to 2 young kids, I have a full-time job, I struggle to fit in my quiet time, I cook, I exercise, I clean, I run errands, I make lunches, I do laundry, and I'm supposed to sleep in there somewhere too. Yep, life is full. I'm lucky if I get to sit down while I'm at home, much less blog. But (yes, there is a but), I LOVE to blog. So I'm just making time when I can. And today, I can! Tomorrow, who knows? The fact is, when I'm home my role as a wife and mother come first. And I never want anything to interfere with those roles.  So if I'm absent from the blog world for a few days (or weeks) at a time, please know that I'll be back. And please keep reading! You can always follow me on Instagram under brookeeking. And now I'm also (finally) on Twitter under @milkandhoneyfds.  Please check in with me there, and follow me! Leave me your comments on those networks and on this blog so that I know that you're reading!!

Trying to catch up on the last few weeks would be the longest post ever.  So, here are some pictures of meals and snacks that I've been enjoying!

Thanksgiving dinner! I contributed roasted vegetables and Harvest Quinoa Salad (recipe from Heather here.) Yum! Also had my mom's salad, and a bit of cheese grits and sweet potato casserole (it had gluten, unfortunately, because it was delicious!).

 Ian and I went to Austin over the weekend and ate lunch at Whole Foods, dinner at Bess Bistro (Sandra Bullock's restaurant...that's where the amazing vegetable board was consumed), and another lunch at a small vegan restaurant. Yeah. It was good.

The stuffed acorn squash was dinner tonight. I based it on a recipe from Kasey's website (you can find the original here.) I didn't have tomatoes, so omitted those and added some corn. I also added in some green chiles and black olives (in my husband's anyway...I can't stand them!). This was a wonderful, filling meal, chocked full of protein, fiber, and some healthy fat. Yum!
 As you can see, I've eaten well. I've eaten a bit of gluten here and there (couldn't resist a couple of bites of Whole Foods' vegan cookies!). And even tried a little turkey on Thanksgiving. Honestly, it just didn't appeal to me. I like the way I feel so much better without eating those things!
This was actually the first Thanksgiving in recent memory that I haven't been miserable after the meal. I was actually able to enjoy the day! Yay!!
Despite a wacky schedule, I've pretty much kept my workouts on track. Sometimes I've had to cram things in at odd times, but I feel so much better mentally and physically if I get something in that I make it work! I find that when my schedule is crazy and I"m stressed out, I crave a workout even more. As I've mentioned before, exercise is a huge stress reliever for me. I think my stress must be stored in my sweat ;).
One night, I ended up working out in the living room at 9:30 p.m. It was a quick one, Zwow #43 and a Tara Stiles 7-minute yoga video. It felt great!
 Berkeley was exhausted just watching me, apparently.

 Thanksgiving morning, I participated in the annual Run Thru the Woods, a local 5-mile race. This year was a PR for me...43 minutes, and some seconds (can't remember exactly!). I still can't believe that my pace was under a 9-minute mile. Honestly, the last mile was rough. I stopped and walked a few times, but I'm incredibly happy with where I finished. My time was actually around 5 minutes faster than last year. My natural pace has gotten quite a bit faster over the last year...something I attribute completely to weightlifting and interval training. I don't do speed workouts, I don't have a goal pace, I don't watch my heart rate...I just run. I have no desire to take the fun out of my running!
Speaking of interval workouts, I wanted to share my current favorite one with you. Lately, I've developed a fixation with the Stepmill. Not sure why, but I love to hate this beast. It makes me sweat like nothing else, and I love how I feel it in my butt the next day!
So, without further adieu, my 30-minute Stepmill interval:
  • 0:00 - 2:00        Level 7
  • 2:00 - 4:00        Level 8
  • 4:00 - 5:00        Level 9
  • 5:00 - 5:30        Level 16
  • 5:30 - 6:00        Level 9
  • 6:00 - 6:45        Level 16
  • 6:45 - 7:15          Level 9
  • 7:15 - 8:15          Level 16
  • 8:15 - 8:45         Level 9
  • 8:45 - 10:00      Level 16
  • 10:00 - 10:30    Level 9
  • 10:30 - 12:00    Level 16
  • 12:00 - 12:30    Level 9
  • 12:30 - 14:30    Level 16
  • 14:30 - 15:00    Level 9
  • 15:00 - 17:00    Level 17
  • 17:00 - 17:30    Level 9
  • 17:30 - 19:00    Level 17
  • 19:00 - 19:30    Level 9
  • 19:30 - 20:45    Level 17
  • 20:45 - 21:15     Level 9
  • 21:15 - 22:15      Level 17
  • 22:15 - 22:45     Level 9
  • 22:45 - 23:30    Level 17
  • 23:30 - 24:00    Level 9
  • 24:00 - 24:30    Level 17
  • 24:30 - 25:00    Level 9
  • 25:00 - 27:00    Level 17
  • 27:00 - 30:00    Level 8
Adjust to your fitness level and desired effort. That's the beauty of a workout like can make it yours! If you try it out, let me know what you think :)
Okay, so that's all for now. It's late and I still have lunches to make!  Have a wonderful, blessed day!
Verse of the Day:
"...having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints,...."  Eph. 1:18 (ESV)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holistic Fitness

So, another fail. I've been shooting for 3 posts a week and making 2. Maybe I should shoot for 4 posts a week, and then I'll make 3. This sounds like a good plan, right? The trick is to out-psych yourself.

A lot has happened in the last 5 days. A lot of meals have been consumed. A lot of workouts have been completed. Here's a taste of what I ate in the last 5 days. (Get it? Taste?? That was completely unintentional and awful!)

Here is the recipe for the pumpkin protein pancakes (pictured above). I have about a zillion GF pancake recipes, though I normally stick to one, but tried this one for the first time yesterday. It was really good! Best of all, it make 2 pancakes, which meant 2 different toppings! I topped one with chocolate protein "frosting" and raw pumpkin seeds, and the other with raw almond butter and Chobani apple cinnamon yogurt. I could seriously eat pancakes for every meal.
Other blogger recipes that I've tried (and loved) lately:

One of the best things about find recipes is tweaking them to make them my own. Aka to "Brooke-ify" them. I highly encourage making dishes your own. Take ownership of your kitchen and of what you make in it!

My workouts have been the usual. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are gym days (20 minutes of HIIT or 30-40 minutes of cardio plus 40 minutes of weights). Tuesdays and Thursdays are work-out-at-home days. Last week, I did bodyweight exercises in the morning (legs on Tuesday and core on Thursday), and then went for 4 mile runs in the afternoon. The weather here finally cooled down and dried out a little, so I was loving my runs!
On Thursday, the air was warm and sticky but the breeze was cool and strong. I was tired, but the wind energized me. About a mile into my run, I started praying and kept praying for the remainder. Something about the wind in my face, the leaves blowing around, and the water being whipped up on the lake spoke to my soul. I feel closer to God when I'm outside than almost any other place. This is one of the reasons I love to run outside--it calms my spirit and quiets the noise in my head. I am forced to be present in the the moment and still.

Lindsay's post on Friday about "Soul Muscles" got me thinking. Sometimes my only "alone" time during the day is during my workouts. I often listen to the Pandora worship station in the morning at the gym (and then realize that I'm singing out loud! oops!), and I love to pray during my outdoor runs. Spending quiet time with God, during or outside of my workouts, makes my soul and body feel freer, lighter, even stronger. I used to love going to Group X classes, but I've gravitated away from those lately and am really loving my solo workouts. Granted, I'm often "solo" in a gym full of people, but my headphones block out some of the noise and I get in sort of a "zone". I even feel like I've been using my outdoor runs less as physical exercise and more as spiritual exercise.  I feel incredibly refreshed and renewed after my workouts, physically and spiritually. And so thankful! It's so hard to block out noise...whether it be work stress, family obligations, personal struggles, or even those nagging voices (both internal and external) that tell you you're not good enough, not strong enough, not thin enough, not....enough. USE this quiet time to shut those voices up.  Exercise yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually at the same time. Yes, you should take time out to exercise your spiritual self alone, but why not work them all together too?

I challenge you, the next time you're in the gym, don't put on your typical workout mix. Put on music that soothes your soul. And if you're outside or at home for a workout, try just working out in silence. Be thankful of what your body is capable of, of it's growth and the positive changes you see and feel. Be greatful for the peace, for the break. Just be still.

Question: What do you think of the idea of "holistic fitness"? Do you think that your mental, spiritual, and physical fitness are all connected?

And, my question to other BLOGGERS:  Any advice on how to clean up my blog, spread the word, etc.? (Obviously I need some web design help...but don't have the resources for that right now!) My goal with this blog is not to make money off of it...I just want to encourage and inspire as many people as I can. This has been a long and difficult journey for me to wellness, and I want to use that, and my passion for nutrition and fitness, to help others! Your thoughts? Advice? Thank you!!! <3

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


via Pinterest
I had some great news yesterday.

No, it did not come via the news. That's for another blog and another blogger. I'm not even going to go there.

Mine actually came in the mail. Last week when I went to the doctor for my sinus infection, I asked him to run some blood tests for me. I have been anemic for as long as I can remember. I actually remember taking little green iron pills when I was in elementary school. (I actually remember this because the coating tasted sweet!). Throughout my late teens, 20's, and now early 30's , my iron as always tested low. Doctors have ordered more (very unpleasant) tests, I have been told to take iron pills, to eat red meat (which I haven't done in 18 years), blah blah blah. It seems that no matter what I did, my iron would not come up. I pretty much had the medical community stumped. (I'm going to leave that one alone too!)

Well, guess what? My test results from last week showed that my iron was NORMAL!! The normal range for iron is 32-120; mine was 82!!! It seems that my body couldn't even absorb the iron that I was getting from grains and meats. Again, I was listening to the external noise and advice instead of listening to and trusting my own body. I have to admit, I am amazed. I feel so blessed that I have discovered a way of living that honors my body. That just confirms my choices about my diet, and my reasons for writing this blog. I SOO want to help others to honor their own bodies as well!!

Here's a glimpse of what I ate yesterday to keep my body going strong:
This deliciousness was my lunch at work. (My food pictures never look to pretty because a) my food is in a tupperware container at my desk, and b) I get my photo skills from Instagram).

Baby kale is on the bottom, and it's topped with my roasted veggies of the week, 1/4 of a large avocado, sundried tomatoes, raw sauerkraut (great for digestion), torn nori (roasted seaweed) pieces, nutritional yeast (aka "nooch", aka my favorite thing), and apple cider vinegar. So stinkin' yummy.

I worked out at home yesterday morning, doing Tone It Up's Surfer Girl Workout for the first time. It was great! A good, quick, full-body toning workout that you can do with no equipment and makes you sweat. Check!

(Pinterest again)
I wanted to go for a run after I did the DVD, but I didn't get up in time. So after work yesterday, I headed out for a quick 4-miler. I am  so very happy that the Houston heat and humidity has subsided for a little while. I so missed running outside. It just makes me happy.

This morning I hit the gym again before work for 20 minutes of HIIT on the stepmill and a chest/tricep weight session.

Question: Do you ever have days at the gym when you feel weaker than normal?

 Today I felt like I just couldn't lift my normal amount. So frustrating! I have days like that now and then, but they pass and it's not a big deal; I just do what I can and know that I'm still getting a good workout :)

I so love working out first thing in the morning. One of my favortie things to do is listen to a worship station on Pandora.  It puts my mind at peace and gets me focused for the day ahead.

Verse of the day:
"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!"
Psalm 34:8

Have a blessed day!

P.S. If you read this, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Or comment on anything you've read, answer my question above, etc. I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Catching Up!! (and a recipe!)

Wow, time got away from me big time. I've made a commitment to blog at least 3 days a week, but I fell a day short last week. I actually had written 3/4 of a post on Saturday, but my stupid mouse on my laptop is super sensitive and I apparently somehow told it to delete my entire post. Yeah. Nice. Since the fam was waiting for me to go out to dinner, my blog time ended at that point. And I also vowed to always turn off the mouse when blogging. Lesson learned.

So, to recap the Hallo-week:

We enjoyed some trick-or-treating with our little bear and ballerina.
How cute are they? I mean, I'm obviously a bit bias, but seriously.

A few pieces of candy may have been stolen from those pumpkin buckets, I'm not going to lie. However, my stomach is not a big fan of sweets, so I stayed out of the buckets after Halloween night. It was worth the pain for a little fun-size chocolate love.

Thursday evening, I decided to take my son out for a jog to "practice" for his 1-mile Thanksgiving race. After we both changed and got the little one settled with daddy, we hit the sidewalk. After, I swear, 20 feet, he stopped and said, "Mom, I'm tired. Can we run around the circle (cul-de-sac) instead?". Ohhh-kay. We jogged back to where daddy and the little peanut were practicing her scooter skills, then I decided that I would go for a quick run alone. Hey, I was already changed! I did a 1.5 mile loop around our neighborhood at the fastest pace I could maintain (just not sure what that was as I didn't have my iPhone), then ran into the house to get dinner on the table. Short, sweet, and sweaty!

Friday was a 20 minute HIIT on the treadmill followed by a 45/15 tabata-style workout starring biceps, shoulders, and abs. I did two sets of exercises each for bi's and shoulders and four sets for abs, and then repeated the whole series, so the whole workout came in at 16 minutes. An intense cardio and weight session in under 40 minutes? Yes please! Love my HIITs!!!

Breakfast was my usual post-gym meal at work.

I love this protein pudding because I can make it the night before and it's even better the next day.  And it couldn't be easier! I start with 1/2 a container of plain coconut milk yogurt, and add 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I use Sun Warrior), 1 T chia seeds, 1 packet Stevia, and enough unsweetened almond/coconut milk to mix it and give it a pudding-y texture. Then I throw in whatever I'm in the mood for--lately it's been cacao nibs and unsweetened coconut flakes. Before I eat it, I top it with raw pumpkin seeds (high in iron, which I'm chronically low in) and goji berries. YUM!!

Saturday morning was another HIIT session on this machine:
So, who can guess what it is?? Anyone??

That, my friends, would be the stepmill. It's a torture machine that gives an amazing workout. Now, you shouldn't actually do HIIT workouts more than 3 times a week, and you should ideally take a day off in between. However, I broke the rules. Why? Because I wanted too! I had lots of energy and didn't feel like a steady-state cargo session. After the stepmill, I did a great leg workout. I LOOOVE leg days. They make me feel tough! Plus, I'm really self-conscious about my legs/bootay, so I'm really working on leaning them out :)

My post-workout snack was a special treat:

 Do you see that red cup? Oh yeah, it's officially Christmas time! I swear, no matter what you put in that cup (a double tall one pump sugar free peppermint one pump mocha soy latte, no whip), you're drinking Christmas. It's happiness from cup to tummy!

Saturday afternoon, my little peanut and I decided to try a new recipe while the boys were getting haircuts. I made my own coconut butter! (I swear, coconut butter should be illegal. Holy cow.)  So easy--just dump some unsweetened coconut flakes into your food processor and let 'er rip. It will take a few minutes (it took about 5 in my mini food processor), but it will eventually start to get creamy and smooth (think natural PB texture).
Then, I put my homemade coconut butter into this recipe by Lori and Michelle for healthy pumpkin "fudge".  I swear this stuff tastes just like pumpkin pie filling, except maybe better! It was a winner in my house for sure. (Side note: Every time I say "winner", I always think, "...winner, chicken dinner" in my head. Anyone else watch Guy Fieri?)
Coconut butter heaven
Healthy Pumpkin Fudge
 Okay, I'll conclude 5 days of catching up with a recipe. Then I really need to get back to my real job!

I love granola, but good gluten free, low sugar, high protein, all natural granolas are hard to come by. And expensive! So, inspired by this recipe from Julie at pbfingers, I made my own! (Then put it in a jar to make it fancy.)
Cocoa Pecan Protein Granola (gluten free)
2 cups gluten free old-fashioned oats
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T (or more) sweetener of choice (I used 1 T coconut palm sugar and 1 T honey, buy my husband wanted it sweeter; next time I may double the honey or use coconut nectar instead)

 3 T water (decrease for each additional T of liquid sweetener that you add)
1 t. coconut oil (melted to liquid)
1/2 t. vanilla
Toasted pecans (could also use almonds, cashews, or hazelnuts)

Mix cocoa powder, sweetener, water, coconut oil, and vanilla in a small bowl and stir until well combined. In a larger bowl, combine oats and protein powder, mixing together well. Pour the cocoa mixture over the oats and protein powder and stir until oats are coated. Spread mixture out over a greased (I used coconut oil) baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time.
Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes (the granola will crunch-ify!), then mix in your toasted pecans (I toasted mine in the oven while it was pre-heating).

I haven't eaten a whole lot of grains lately and I had about a 1/4 cup serving of this yesterday. It's really good, but I did have a little bloating afterwards. I'm really hoping it wasn't from the oats! I love them!! (I'm actually hoping the bloating came from the ice cream that I also had last night. Warning: If you live in TX, stay far away from HEB's Light Malt Fudge Swirl ice cream unless you are okay eating large amounts of it. There is a reason I only buy it every couple of months!)

So did everyone get an extra hour of sleep over the weekend? If you have small kids like us, I'm guessing that your answer, like mine, is Heck to the NO! Apparently kids don't live by the calendar like we do. However, I did make it to the gym early this morning so I ddin't have to rush for once! Hooray!! (Today was 30 minute elliptical interval and back.)

I'm working on a new protein pancake recipe using quinoa flakes. I've seen quinoa referred to as a grain and as a seed, so it may or may not be on the Paleo diet (for all of my Paleo friends out there). But it is incredibly good for you, so I'm trying to incorporate it when I can. It is the only plant-based source of all 9 amino acids! I recently discovered quinoa flakes, so I'm trying to work out some new uses for them. I haven't quite perfected it yet, but I'm eating lots of yummy protein pancakes in the process! It will be up on the blog as soon as I get it right ;).

Today's YouVersion verse of the day:
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you,...."  1 Peter 5:6

Have a blessed day!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sweating at Home

There's nothing like getting sick to stop you in your tracks.

In fact when I get sick, I live in denial about it for a while. If I don't admit I'm sick, it will just go away, right? Um, nope.

Thanks, I believe, to clean eating and supplements (especially probiotics and apple cider vinegar), I don't get sick too much. But every spring and fall brings on a wave of sinus infections. I've been successfully fighting them off until this week, when the infection finally won. I gave in, went to the doctor, and picked up some antibiotics. :( I hate antibiotics. :(( They completely throw my body, especially my stomach, off balance. I've had chronic sinus infections for as long as I can remember, but since I moved to Houston, they've gotten way worse.

Weather that goes from 85 one day to 55 the next, and then back again two days later, will do that to you. Sigh. I miss real fall.

ANYway, I got my Tone It Up DVD this weekend in the mail, which I was SUPER pumped about. I'm considering dropping my current gym membership to try and save some money, so I'm looking for more ways to get a GOOD workout at home, as well as a decent cheaper gym closeby so that I don't have to store a bunch of equipment at my house. (There's no room for my toys, the kids already have too many.) Despite some major congestion, I managed to do the 5 Minute Plank Workout followed by the Tone It Up  HIIT workout. Combined, the workout took 23 minutes. And I was sweating like a mother. Yup, it passed the test!

I know, I know...when you're sick you should take it easy. But unless I feel can't-get-out-of-bed sick, I get antsy not doing anything. My litmus test for working out when sick is that I don't do it if I know I will feel worse afterwards. And yesterday, I didn't (feel worse afterwards, that is).

So, I did my workout, went to the doctor, got my meds, and went on to work!

Picked up some snacks at the store to help fuel by body's recovery (from both workout and illness).
My Starbucks habit has been changed to a Kombucha habit. Much healthier, but holy expensive! Oh, and this was the first time that I've tried a Raw Revolution bar, and it was SO good. I highly recommend, especially if you're a fan of Larabars.
This morning, I was feeling well enough to head to the gym for an interval sweat session and some weights.
Have you ever tried the Stepmill? I swear, you will never sweat so hard in your life. I did a 20 minute interval session and looked like I had just stepped out of a sweat box. For real.
Followed that up with a little chest (bench press, push-ups, chest flyes) and triceps (skull crushers, presses, and overhead pulldowns).
And, since I said I'd post my progress, I did a little flexing for the mirror.
Tickets to the gun show?

This was awkward for me, in more ways than one. First, I've never taken a picture of myself flexing. I am now officially a weirdo.
Second, there is NO good way to hold a camera for this. It seriously took me about 5 minutes just to get this shot.
But I also wanted to prove that you can be vegetarian and still build muscle. I have not lost an ounce of muscle since I went vegetarian. I truly believe that, unless you're some super endurance athlete or bodybuilder, we don't all need as much protein as we think we do. Too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing! And, you can get all the protein you need from plant-based sources. No joke.

So, for the closing shot, my delicious #plantpower lunch today! (Sidenote: I have never been on Twitter in my life, so I just throw hashtags around. Does it make me look cool?)
This beauty is roasted vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, and broccoli), roasted acorn squash, tahini nooch sauce (see the recipe from @powercakes here), raw sauerkraut, sun-dried tomatoes, and Sriacha. So. Freakin'. Good.

And the YouVersion verse of the day:
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness...." (Micah 6:8)

Have a blessed day!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Walk in the Park

Ugh, it's Monday already.

We had a beautiful weekend in Houston, with temps finally beginning to feel like fall. For a few days anyway--they're forecasting mid-80's again by the end of this week. Blah.

Sundays are always busy for me, although they start out lazy. Ever since we finally gave in and started going to the 11:00 service at church (we had been getting to the 9:00 9:30), the mornings have gotten more relaxed. After church it's home for lunch and naps (for the kids), and laundry and cooking for daddy and me.

Every Sunday, I chop up a bunch of vegetables to roast for the week.  Lately, my veggies of choice have been brussel sprouts, zucchini, eggplant, and broccoli or cauliflower (broccoli this week). Sometimes I throw in some mushrooms too. I've also been cutting up and roasting a squash; this week it is acorn (might be my fave).  I toss the vegetables in coconut oil and Bragg's Seasonings and roast them at 400 for about 15 minutes (sometimes longer for the brussel sprouts and cauliflower).  I quartered the acorn squash, scooped out the goop, rubbed it with coconut oil, and roasted it for about 45 minutes at 425. I usually end up with 2 big cooking sheets of roasted vegetables, plus the squash. Since no one else in my family eats them, they last me all week. I'll take a quarter of a squash and about a cup of veggies to work, toopped with hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds, then heat it up and toss it in a tahini nooch sauce (tahini, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, and water, courtesy of Powercakes ) or a curry hum-nooch sauce (hummus, nutritional yeast, curry powder, courtesy of fortheloveofkale).

Sometimes I'll eat the veggies and the squash as part of a HUGE salad, with spinach/kale, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, raw sauerkraut, and anything else I've got in my fridge!

Last night, I made this lovely plate:
Topped my veggies and squash with a fried egg (over easy so the yolk spilled out...YUMMM!), Sriacha, and hemp seeds.  The kids and the husband were enjoying a Papa John's pizza, but I'm pretty sure that my dinner tasted better. I did share some of my broccoli with the littlest one and my son had some sugar snap peas. I always insist that they have a veggie or a fruit with lunch and dinner!

It's crazy, but even a month ago, that pizza would have been incredibly hard for me to resist, despite the bloated feeling that would immediately follow.  And although I did sneak one bite last night, I really had no desire to join in the pizza-eating.  The way my body responds to plant-based foods is SOO much's not worth the pain!

I was planning on cooking dinner last night, but the weather beckoned us outside so we went for a little hike
Our mile and a half walk took us about 45 minutes thanks to our psychotic dog (who freaks out at the sight of any other dog) and my lovely little girl, who had to pause about every 10 feet to draw an "X" in the dirt with a stick.  But it was worth it! Love these precious times with them!

Since Sundays are my day off from my workouts, the hike was my excercise for the day. This morning, I was back at the gym bright and early for a 20 minute HIIT workout on the treadmill followed by the 5 minute plank workout from PurelyTwins (it's a killer!!) and a quick back session comprised of 2 supersets:

Superset 1:  One-armed rows with dumbbell, 15x/side
                   Assisted pull-ups, 15x          repeat Superset 3x
 Superset 2:  Seated rows, 12x
                   Lat pull-downs, 15x             repeat Superset 3x

Today is Meatless Monday, which means the whole family eats vegetarian! Hooray! I'm planning on making a new soup recipe. I'll post it if it turns out well :)

In the mean time, please follow me on Instagram if you're interested in following my nutrition/fitness journey. I'm obsessed with IG!! My IG name is brookeeking.

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Time for Self

Ah, Saturday. It actually feels fall-ish in Houston today, my kids let me sleep until 7:45, I had a great workout and then got home and ran around the cul-de-sac with my kids and husband about 10 times (my son is "practicing" for his 1-mile Thanksgiving race!). And best of all, two days of no work and time with my favorite people!

When people get to know me, it's pretty easy to see what my loves are: God, my husband, my kids,  my family, and fitness/nutrition. In that order.  And I always get asked, "How do you stay so fit and healthy with a full time job and little kids at home?". My answer is always, How could I not? When my day is packed from sun-up until sundown, my workout is my alone time. Time to refuel, physically and emotionally, and take care of me. When I was in treatment for my anorexia, one of the big things that I learned was that I had to take care of myself, mentally and physically, before I could take care of anyone else. In order to avoid a relapse, this has to be a priority in my life. Some days it's hard...I'm tired, I want to just lounge with the family, I have a million errands to run, whatever. But it catches up with me pretty quick. When my husband says, "Babe, why don't you go work out?", I know it's bad!

The good thing is, with the change in my eating and workouts lately, my workout time is usually shorter and gets me back to the real loves of my life faster. The increased intensity gets my heart rate up fast, and I sweat out all that stress and frustration like none other!

Today was not a HIIT day, which is actually hard for me because I LOVE my HIIT workouts!

My gym time looked like this:
  • 30 minutes Arc Trainer (started at 6% incline, 25 resistance and increased incline and resistance every minute until I got to 20%/40, then decreased every minute)
  • 2 minute plank
  • Superset:  Squats on Smith apparatuns 15x
  •                  Calves on Leg press 20x                (repeat 3x)
  • Superset:  Stepups with dumbbells 15x/each leg
  •                  Deadlifts on box 15x                      (repeat 3x)
  • Walking lunges holding a plate overhead    3 sets/20
  • Single leg curls (machine-laying down)      3 sets/15
  • Superset of abs with medicine ball (I don't know the names of the moves that I did! Gotta figure that out!!)
I ate an apple on the way home then had a smoothie with my new Sun Warrior Chocolate brown rice protein powder!
Got it from (use code WSD193 for a discount off of your first order!).  Soooo good, with a little added greens, half a frozen banana, 1 T raw cocoa powder, 1 T chia seeds, a packet of Stevia, 1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut milk, and some ice cubes.
Now I'm ready to spend the rest of the day with these beautiful faces:
And their handsome daddy :)
Have an amazing and blessed weekend!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Stumbling Towards Vegetarian (-ism?)

So, yes, it has been forever again. And, yes, I promised that I was going to work harder on keeping this blog up to date. I think this counts as a FAIL.

But also, where the heck as my sister diappeared to in the blog world? Step it up, BB!

Anyway, a lot has changed in my nutrition and fitness perspective since we started this blog. I think that I mentioned in my first entry how I have struggled with IBS.  I had some slight issues with it during high school and college, but nothing major.  After college graduation, I was anorexic for a year until undergoing intense in-patient therapy.  That was 8 1/2 years ago, and though my body image issues have greatly improved, anorexia left me with severe IBS that has only worsened over the years.  It became so bad in the spring that I was sent for an emergency MRI (luckily the issue did not require emergency treatment).  I was put on a medication which helped, but I still had severe bloating...when you get asked three times in one week if you're pregnant, I'd say that falls under "bloating".  I gave up gluten which helped tremendously, and just started paying more attention to my body.  About a month ago, I happened upon two great blogs, powercakes and fortheloveofkale, who started a "plantPOWER" challenge for their readers with a different plant-based challenge each day of October.  I decided to see if I could do the vegetarian thing and happily jumped on board.

Guess what?? I CAN do the vegetarian thing! And not only that, but my body LOVES the vegetarian thing!! No more bloating, no more IBS issues, and I even stopped taking my medicine over the weekend without a problem!  It turns out that my body did not respond well to the Paleo Diet because that was the exact opposite of what it needed. This just goes to show that not every nutritional plan works for every person. You absolutely MUST listen to your own body.

I've also decreased the length of my workouts and increased the intensity.  I'm doing more HIIT training (which I absolutely love), more Tabata workouts (these are amazing to incorporate into your lifting), even some at-home sessions. I feel wonderful inside and out; I'm finally listening to my own body more.

I'm still working on building up my vegetarian/gluten free recipe repetoire, so if you have any you want to share, please do so! I am OBSESSED wth nutritional yeast right now. Its a great, easy way to get protein and lots of other nutrients, and I love the taste it adds to everything. I also roast tons of vegetables on the weekends to eat throughout the week, and I'm especially loving squash. It's so stinkin' good, why has nobody told me this before? Especially roasted with some coconut oil...heaven.
My bounty from this past week (minus a kabocha squash)

Now, I'm not calling myself a vegetarian, at least not yet. I figure that if I want some chicken some time, I'll have some. But right now, I have no desire for it. And I'm okay with that too :).

Please let me know if you have any questions or advice for me. Another wonderful blog, besides the ones I mentioned above, is purelytwins. The cyberworld has been a great source for all of my recipes!!  Also, please follow me on Instagram for slightly more frequent updates ;). I'll include what I'm eating and also some of my workouts! My instagram tag is brookeeking.  And I'll work on the blog thing a little more...I hope!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Guilt-free Ice Cream!

So, time to 'fess up. I have a serious weakness for sweets that seems to hit me primarily after dinner. Unfortunately, my kids and my husband share this weakness. I search for the "cleanest" sweets that I can find that will a) be acceptable to the whole family and b) actually satisfy the sweet tooth.  Might as well be searching for the Holy Grail!

I now have a board on Pinterest called "Clean Sweets" and I've tried a few things, but this one has been universally popular with the whole family, literally has NO sugar added, and is actually good for you!

This one is all over the healthy blogs, but I pulled my recipe from  She has the BEST healthy sweets, most of which are gluten and dairy free.

Check it out:

Would you believe this is frozen bananas?

Chocolate "Soft-Serve"

2 frozen bananas (or 1 per person)

2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder (or 1 T. per person)

1 packet Stevia (if, like my family, you like it a little sweeter; you could also use honey)

1/4 t. pure vanilla extract

1-2 T. milk or dairy alternative (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)

Put all of the above ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth and chunks of banana are gone.  This may take a few minutes, depending on your food processor.  Add a bit more milk if needed. When finished, it should literally look like soft-serve ice cream.

Serve immediately (my kids wanted sprinkles on theirs).  Be warned that this will not keep it's consistency if allowed to thaw; it just turns into a sticky mess. I haven't tried freezing it to serve later, not sure if that would work or not.

We tried to make vanilla soft serve by adding more vanilla and a bit of honey, but it just tasted like bananas. You can also make a peanut butter banana flavor by replacing the cocoa with PB2 or or peanut butter, or chocolate peanut butter by keeping the cocoa in there! You could also add other fruits into the mix, like strawberries. Enjoy!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pesto Chicken Salad...and a new plan

Ok, so obviously we are HORRIBLE at keeping this blog updated. But with all my "pinning" lately, I've become inspired to try and do better!

Speaking of pinning, my cooking lately has been composed entirely of dishes that I've found on or via Pinterest. There are some amazing healthy living blogs out there!  I'm not very good at developing my own recipes (despite being left-handed, I seem to lack the creativity gene), but I love to find other peoples' recipes and modify them to fit what I like or happen to have in my kitchen.

I also recently instituted a rule in my house that when I cook dinner (usually 3x/week), everybody eats it. I found that I was becoming a short-order cook -- I never got to sit down with my family for dinner and my kids were becoming increasingly picky! So they now have to at least try everything I make; if they don't like it, they eat PB&J sandwiches. No argument, end of discussion. I have also eliminated almost all processed foods from our house (there are some organic items that I let slide; I don't have the time to make homemade bread, tortilla chips, or crackers, and those Applegate Farms organic chicken tenders are just so darn convenient!). After church on Sundays, the rest of my day is spent chopping and cooking for the week ahead so that weeknights go more smoothly. My husband and I always bring our lunches to work, my son starts Kindergarten next week, and my daughter starts 2x/week pre-school the week after, so that's a lot of on-the-go meals to provide! Plus, if I don't get dinner on the table quickly once I get home from work, I have kids eating dinner in their pajamas. Ah, the challenges of a working mom ;)

In any case, I have a lot of recipes to share now! I need to remind myself to take pictures of everything I make so I can post the pictures along with the recipes. (Warning: my photography skills are nowhere near professional; my iPhone camera is the best one I have.)  And I will always give the blog where I got the recipe, or at least its inspiration. There are a lot of talented healthy recipe developers out there, so make sure you check them out.

Today's recipe is a replicate of one I found at Her recipes are healthy, yummy, and simple.  She also has some great workouts posted, so check her out! This is a pesto chicken salad; the only modification I made was using fresh baby spinach instead of the fresh basil she called for.  And I used a little less olive oil because I don't like the oily texture (yep, I'm weird. I've accepted it).

Pesto Chicken Salad

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw walnuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced

Boil the chicken breasts in water or chicken broth for about 30 minutes, or until fully cooked.  Remove from pan and shred with two forks. Set aside.

Combine spinach, sunflower seeds, walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper in your food processor.  Process until mixture becomes a paste or sauce (depending on what you prefer and how much oil you add).

Put chicken in a large bowl and toss with pesto, celery, and carrot. Enjoy!

The first night we had this, I ate my chicken salad plain and my husband had his in a pita.  When I ate it for dinner last night, I warmed it on top of some steamed spinach and then topped it with feta cheese, a couple of grape tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and hot chili sauce. Yummy!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Protein Banana Bread

So my family seems to have a love/hate relationship with bananas.  Some weeks I have to replenish them once or twice during the week; others, the ones I buy on my big Saturday shopping trip are still sitting in the fruit bowl at the end of the week and our kitchen is beginning to smell very banana-y.  This week has been one of the latter weeks, and I needed to get rid of some bananas.  My very favorite banana bread recipe is a Cooking Light recipe that has chocolate chips in it; this time, I was looking for a recipe that was cleaner and guilt-free.  And I came upon this one for Protein Banana Bread! I was a little nervous about the husband and kids liking it, but it earned a unanimous thumbs-up, especially from my husband who asked me to make it more often!

This is super easy and I had almost all of the ingredients on hand.  Those I didn't I was able to make easy substitutions for (I've noted the substitutions below).  Let me know what you think!

  • 1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (I used oat flour, just because I like it better)
  • 1/2 cup Stevia or other sweetener of your choice (I used 1/4 c. Stevia and 1/4 c. organic brown sugar, to make it more husband-friendly!)
  • 3 scoops vanilla whey protein powder (I was low on vanilla, so I used 1 scoop vanilla and 2 scoops chocolate)
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon (I never measure cinnamon--in my opinion you can never have too much!)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup mashed banana (2 large or 3 small bananas)
  • 1/4 cup water (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • snack size of unsweetened applesauce (I used 1/4 cup canned pumpkin)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients together.  Pour into a 8"/4" loaf pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick can be stabbed into the middle and pulled out clean.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

This week starts my "official" competition prep for my first figure show with Musclemania.
I have been using these past few weeks to put on more muscle and that is what I will continue to do for the next several weeks. My diet has been very clean whic is what I need to focus on right now. I've been eating a lot of eggs and egg whites. I have about 3 full eggs a day and then between 4-6 egg whites per day. I eat every 3-4 hours which is really important. My meals throughout the day consist of a lot of vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats. I am not eating any grains. I'm not doing the Paleo diet per say, I am actually eating more as an anti-yeast diet. Over the past couple of weeks I have had a very bad yeast infection and I am prone to get these. After much research online and talking to other health preofessionals, I found out that a diet that has any yeast or sugars in it will feed into a yeast infection. So, not yeast or fruit are included in my diet.
As for my workouts, I have been doing very little cardio, lower reps and higher sets. I'll focus on 2 or 3 body parts a day and do 3 or 4 circuits consisting of about 5 exercises hitting those body parts. Circuits keep you moving and work more muscle groups at a time which burns more calories. The reason I am doing low reps (8-10) is because the weights are heavier and I am doing at least 4 sets. I will start to do more actual steady-state cardio in a couple weeks in the morning on an empty stomach.
Lots and lots of water is very important! It keeps you hydrated, keeps your metabolism moving and makes you feel fuller longer.
I have posted a picture of the supplements that I am currently taking:

The whey protein is something I take either right after workout or as one of my meals. I don't take it every day as I am trying to stick with pure clean foods. I take the Amino energy before my workout along with a tsp. of glutamine. Right after the workout I take Cellmass (creatine) and another tsp. of glutamine. CLA pills are taken 3x a day and the Hyper Shred is taken 2x a day. Cellmass, CLA and glutamine are essential in muscle growth and recovery. Amino is for muscle repair before, during and after the workout, helps me lifts more, gives energy and supports Nitric Oxide Synthesis. The Hyper Shred is great for boosting metabolism and giving me a little extra energy.
So, that's what I have so far in my competition prep. My current weight is 142 and my body fat percentage is about 16-17%. That's an estimate as I don't have a way of getting my exact amount at the time. I'm happy with my progress so far and I'm feeling really motivated! I'll try to get picture up soon.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Chicken and Apple

So after a while of being boring, I've finally tried a few new recipes again.  This one is from a Paleo recipe site. It's really simple and very flavorful. My kids even liked it, which is saying a lot since neither of them (especially my 5-year-old) like to try new things.  I ate this plain but served it over brown rice for the rest of the fam. Warning, leftovers do not look appetizing because the apples turn a grayish color for some reason. But they still taste great!

(Serves 2, so mutiply ingredients as needed)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 t. salt
2 T. coconut oil
1 large apple
1/2 t. cinnamon and/or allspice (I love these spices, so I used both!)

Dice chicken breasts.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat a saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil when hot.  Add chicken and cook until slightly pink.  Grate apple into pan and add cinnamon/allspice.  Continue to cook until chicken is done and apple is tender.


Italian Turkey Burgers

Here's another recipe courtesy of Jamie Eason! I just made these for the first time on Tuesday night and they are SOOO good. Even my red-meat eating, zucchini-hating husband was a fan. The shredded zucchini makes them really moist and they get so much flavor from the seasoning. I ate mine on a bed of spinach and topped it with some salsa. Enjoy! (I know you will!)

1 lb. ground extra lean turkey breast
2 medium zucchini, grated
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp black pepper

(*note: You can tweak the spices in any way you want. I didn't have any onion powder or dried basil and I don't like black pepper, so I put in some cayenne, poultry seasoning, and a little Worcestershire Sauce.)

Set broiler on high, arranging rack so that burgers will be about 2 inches from the heat.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients with hands, adding turkey last.  Mix well and scoop out into 4-5 portions.  Mixture will be really moist so for easier clean-up, use a foil-lined baking sheet, prepped with non-stick spray.

Place burgers in oven and broil for 7 minutes. Carefully flip each burger and continue to broil for another 7 minutes on the other side.  Serve warm.

Also makes great meatballs!

Nutrition Facts:
(if making 4 burgers)
Calories: 144
Fat: 1 g
Carbs: 3.5 g
Protein: 27.6 g

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Musclemania Figure Competition

Back in Oct. 2011 I competed in my first physique competition. It was a huge commitment and a lot of hard work. However, even though I didn't place very well, I was very proud of my hard work and of what I had accomplished. Then, I did my competition in the bikini division. Bikini competitors have a feminine build, lean muscle and low body fat percentage. Judges aren't looking for too much muscle. Your stage presentation is also a big part of it. You have to be bubbly, confident, shake your booty and make it pop....all that crap that makes you feel like an idiot, basically. I did it all and had fun, but it just wasn't me. So, I have decided to challenge myself again and do another competition but in the figure division. Figure is more about leaness, muscle definition and body symmetry. Figure is more hard-core. Training is intense and a lot heavier than bikini. I am more of a figure girl. I have broad shoulders and can put on muscle pretty easily. Below I've posted pictures of the differences in the 2 categories. First is the bikini than figure below that.
The competition is Sept. 15, 2012. I will officially start my competition prep (diet, training routines) the first week of July. I want to use this blog to map my journey by posting my training splits and diet as well as the changes in my body. I have muscle to gain and body fat % to loose! I will need to get down to about 10% body fat 1 week out from the show. I would appreciate lots of encouragement to keep my motivation up! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

So I made these amazing pumpkin muffins yesterday. I love anything with pumpkin in it, so I was so excited to find this Paleo recipe! These muffins are moist and full of flavor. My husband liked them and my son loved them! I tweaked the recipe in a few places based on the reviews that I saw on the website where I got the recipe. I've posted the reciped and noted where I made "tweaks" in parentheses.  Pumpkin is full of vitamin A and antioxidants, and the muffins are sweetened with raw honey, which has been proven to help with seasonal allergies (if local) and boost your immune system.  Combined with the protein from the almond flour and eggs (and I added a little more with some protein powder), this is a wonderful breakfast, snack, or treat!

1 1/2 c. almond flour
3/4 c. pumpkin
3 eggs (I used one egg and two whites)
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground cinnamon (I doubled this, both based on reviews and the fact that I love cinnamon!)
1 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice (I added a little more)
1/8 t. salt
1/4 c. raw honey (I added about a tablespoon more based on reviews)
2 t. almond butter
1/2 t. melted coconut oil
(Optional: I added half a scoop vanilla protein powder, and probably will add a full scoop next time)

Preheat oven to 350.
Put paper muffin cups in a 12-cup muffin tin and mist with cooking spray.
Mix all ingredients together and pour into muffin cups.
Bake 25 minutes, but check at 20 (mine were a little brown on top).

Day Three

So, I decided to take the weekend off of posting my meals. Between not feeling well and running around all weekend, it was crazy! Today will be the last day that I post my meals, and I hope that this has been as helpful to some of you as it has to me. If you're trying to lose weight, its always a good idea to either write down or snap a quick picture of what you eat; often you're eating either more or less than you think you are. As a recovering anorexic, I have to remind myself often that my life should be fueled by food, not revolve around it. And this goes for those of you who struggle the other way too! Good, healthy, pure food will give you the energy, health, and attitude to live a full life!

Anyway, let me step off of my soap box and get to the point of this post. After a workout this morning, I filled up with some plain greek yogurt mixed with half a scoop of protein powder, some chia powder, and a palmful of blueberries. This is a high protein breakfast that helped my body recover from my interval and weight session this morning, and the blueberries add healthy carbs and lots of antioxidants. Plus it tastes really good!

I grabbed my morning snack this morning in a hurry because I didn't feel like prepping anything last night. I don't like to drink these too often because they are full of things that I can't pronounce (something I always try to avoid!), but I keep them on hand because they're an easy, quick, high protein snack that holds me over until lunch.

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that this is not an appetizing picture. But this is my favorite "My Fit Foods" meal! (And it probably doesn't look appetizing because I just pulled it out of the fridge and snapped a picture this morning before it was heated up.) For those of you who don't live in the Houston area, "My Fit Foods" is a company that prepares healthy meals from scratch that you can pick up and reheat. I usually grap one or two of these on the weekends to take to work for lunch during the week. That way, I don't even have to worry about preparing something on a couple of days! This one is a salmon cake with asparagus. I love the salmon cake because they just put a little flax meal in it to hold it together, no bread crumbs, so you mainly just taste the salmon. Super yummy and filling!

Yep, same old afternoon snack! Why mess with what works?!

This is one of my go-to dinners when I get home late and don't feel being in the kitchen too long. It is one egg (organic and omega-3 enhanced!) and about 2-3 egg whites scrambled with whatever vegetables I have on hand. Tonight it was asparagus, bell pepper, and leftover roasted cauliflower from last night, which I then put on a plate of steamed spinach and topped with some diced avocado and cayenne pepper. SOOO good! I had some carob chips for dessert, but later gave in and ate half of a whole wheat tortilla and some pistachios. Grazing at night is my biggest pitfall!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I have been wanting to make this for weeks. I bought the ingredients for it about 2 weeks ago, but then ended up in the ER with pancreatitis which put me on an all liquid diet for almost a week. That was not fun! So finally today I was able to make my pizza and it turned out great!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust
makes 1 large crust

Recipe courtesy of Doris Choi


4 cups cauliflower rice, steamed and strained
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup soft goat cheese (chevre)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch of salt


Preheat your oven to 400F, then get to work on your crust.

Step 1: Begin by making your cauliflower “rice.”

Simply pulse batches of raw cauliflower florets in a food processor, until a rice-like texture is achieved.

Step 2: Steam & Strain the rice.

Fill a large pot with about an inch of water, and bring it to a boil. Add the “rice” and cover; let it steam for about 4-5 minutes. Drain into a fine-mesh strainer.

Now here comes the secret:

Once you’ve strained the rice, transfer it to a clean, thin dishtowel.

Wrap up the steamed rice in the dishtowel, twist it up, then squeeze all the excess moisture out!
It’s amazing how much liquid will be released, which will leave you with a nice and dry pizza crust.

Step 3: Make & Shape the dough.

In a large bowl, mix up your strained rice, beaten egg, goat cheese, and spices.

Don’t be afraid to use your hands! You want it very well mixed.
Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (It’s important that it’s lined with parchment paper!)

Keep the dough about 1/3″ thick, and make the edges a little higher for a “crust” effect, if you like.

Step 4: Bake!

Bake for 35-40 minutes at 400F.

Step 5: Load on the Toppings!

Now’s the time to add all your favorites– sauce, cheese, and any other toppings you like.
I used organic tomatoe basil sauce, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, organic ground beef and sprinkled goat cheese on top....that's the best part!

Return the pizza to the 400F oven, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, just until the cheese is hot and bubbly. If you're using goat cheese, it doesn't appear melted like most cheese do. Once out of the oven, the crust will probably be a little flimsy. Let cool a little before serving. ENJOY your HEALTHY PIZZA!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day Two

Still feeling pretty crummy today, and I can't taste a thing. If I don't feel better tomorrow, I may wait a few days to post my third and final day of meals so that you can see what I eat when I'm feeling normal and exercising!  I was really running late today...felt achy and did not want to get out of bed, so I had to grab something quick on the way out the door. I made a protein smoothie, which I usually put a banana in, but we were out of bananas at my house, so its a scoop of protein powder, a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, about a cup of raw spinach, a teaspoon of almond butter, and some ice.

I made my morning snack last night, and since I didn't know what I'd be eating for breakfast, I made my snack a little more substantial.  It's plain greek yogurt with chia powder (an excellent s source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats), a half scoop of protein powder, and some mango (which are pretty much buried under the yogurt in the picture!).  Leaving it in the fridge overnight with the chia powder makes it pretty thick, just the way I like it!

I went to get my lunch together and realized didn't have any sweet potatoes left this morning. So I decided that was a good excuse to hit up the H&H salad bar again for lunch! I have no rhyme or reason to my salads...I just put everything I like on it. I always start with spinach, add all the veggies they have that I like, a protein (grilled chicken in this case), either a little nuts or a little cheese (shredded swiss here) or avocado if they have it (they don't at H&H) for the fats, and then some straight balsamic vinegar with just a little olive oil or vinaigrette.  At H&H, I can't resist a bite of their chicken salad and their pesto pasta salad. They're so yummy so I just put a bite of each in my dish so I don't go overboard! This salad is delicious and keeps me full for hours. I have to be disciplined so that I don't get one every day, because they charge by weight!

Afternoon snack today is the same as yesterday, and most days. I love these things!

Okay, I'm a little behind on posting Day 2's dinner, but better late than never! I broke my own rule here by having salad twice in one day. My parents were having pizza for dinner, which I can't have on Paleo, so after digging around their kitchen, this is what I could come up with! I also had a very small glass of chardonnay and a couple of dark chocolate covered almonds for dessert :)