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!!