Fitness Journey 2.0

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I titled this fitness journey 2.0 but let’s be honest, it’s like on update 14.4. When we moved back to Denver, I just got out of habit with fitness and wellness. I stopped going to acupuncture, I stopped riding everyday, I stopped a lot of healthy habits.  And you know what? I’m not mad about it.  It was an incredibly stressful year when we moved back and working out wasn’t a consistent priority.  I did HIIT workouts, Betty Rocker, ran and biked some, but after a while I would stop due to weather, health, or just because Law & Order was on.

So here we are 2017, for the last 4 months I have been consistent and the results are insane and am highly motivating. In November, I joined the rec center that is literally a 5 minute walk from our house and started riding.  Then in December I started a program from Massy Arias.  I did it again in January and now in Feb am getting into some new workouts at Crossfit! I ride the spin bike probably 2/3 times a week to prep for my ride in September with the Tour de Cure.

I also have been meal prepping my but off – here is my typical day:

Breakfast: 1.5 Cups Eggs Whites, 2 C Sweet Potatoes 4oz ground turkey

AM Snack: 1/4 C Cashews – Apple

Lunch: 6oz Ground turkey/1 C Broccoli/ 1 C Potatoes

PM Snack: Beef Jerky/Apple/LaraBar

Post workout: Vega Performance Protein

Dinner: 5oz Ground Turkey/Unlimited Salad

PM Snack: nuts/salad/almond milk latte

Plus you can see from my last post The Nausea – I got rid of hormones that derail my day and weeks. No more bloating, cravings, and emotions telling me to sabotage my success.

Here are my before and afters.

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From September 2016 to Jan 2017
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Two week difference – dem abs!! 

Starting Feb 20th, I’m doing Whole 30 again.  Just as a reset, you’ll notice the menu above is paleo – but I have been sneaking processed food here and there – like that red velvet cake Rob insisted we make for V-day.  But again, I’m not sweating it (well literally I am lol).  It’s funny though a few days of frosting and I was craving it again, so time to nip it in the bud! 😉

I’ll update as I Whole 30 it up!

BITE SIZED TWINKIE & COOKING CLEAN

It’s Wednesday – BUT instead of feeling like ‘uh it’s half way there.’ Let’s mix it up a bit and get excited about our health instead! My dear friend just started a blog with the most adorable name ever. Bite Sized Twinkie. It’s in the foundational/beginning stages so stay tuned for big great fun things from her!

Also I recently became an admin for a wonderful paleo-inspired facebook page called Cooking Clean. There are four of us gals who contribute with mostly paleo recipes, workout tips, and motivation to eat, live, and love clean.

click on the pic to visit the facebook page!
click on the pic to visit the facebook page!

Since I technically am still doing the February Health Challenge, it is super important to remember that clean eating is key in any healthy lifestyle. We tend as a society to get hung up on calories, but really the most important idea should be quality of nutrients not quantity. No better example of this serves than diet soda vs. all organic fruit smoothie. Believe it or not a low-cal (i.e. not processed) fruit smoothie is easier and better for your body to digest than that evil zero calorie diet soda that actually tricks your body and causes huge disasters in blood sugar levels. (diet soda rant*)

i know a 'paleo' diet of an absolute minimum 1600 calories a day and running 2-3 times a week works for me.
i know a ‘paleo’ diet of at least 1600 calories a day and running 2-3 times a week works for me.

Obviously, everyone has their own preferences and eating styles that makes them feel best. For me, staying away from anything processed and limiting starches/complex carbohydrates is how I stay lean as well as prevent lethargy, bloating (cute!), and mood fluctuation. That means that overall, I do in fact eat a Paleo diet. I really enjoy almond milk as a substitute for traditional milk, and I find myself trying alternative flours all the time in baking. Don’t get me wrong I’ll still sample traditional candies and sweets, but it’s not at the levels/rates I used to. My mind and body mean way too much to me to ruin with overly-processed and refined ‘nutrients.’ It took a long time for me to accept that what I eat really does affect me mentally. Not in a ‘control’ way but in a basic chemical reaction – I still find new things that work and don’t everyday.

my 'shamrock shake' with high protein powder, fage greek yogurt, mint extract, almond milk, and green food coloring.
my ‘shamrock shake’ with high protein powder, fage greek yogurt, mint extract, almond milk, and green food coloring.

One way to get into the habit of food nutrient monitoring is by keeping a good old diary! There are tons of apps that make it easy to count/review nutrients/compositions/calories.

But remember! Quality of nutrients over quantity of calories is ALWAYS BEST.

xxx
GFK

“Aspar-tainted”

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I have been seeing quite a few recipes condoning and centered around the use of ‘sugar free’ or ‘diet’ products lately.  Since I am challenging myself and following a Paleo eating method, aspartame or any processed sweet like that is already ‘off-limits’, but I was sad to see so many people not realize the setbacks and problems that using aspartame while baking can bring.   

I thought more people knew the horrid effects that ‘sugar free’ means especially when it contains aspartame.  Aspartame has a long and disguised history in our food.  In fact, the FDA would not even make it legal for use because of the cancerous and detrimental effects it had on lab animals.  That was of course until… in 1974 a company who made saccharine and lobbyists got it pushed through approval and deemed ‘safe’ for consumption in food and beverages.  However, what millions were not told is there are many different guidelines surrounding its use and how much is appropriate to consumer were also disclosed.  Of these the FDA never condoned heating aspartame – EVER. Read about those restrictions here. Why you might ask? 

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Well remember when it came out that cigarette companies hid the truth about the danger of cigarettes? Well I as well as many nutrition minded people firmly believe that aspartame has been modeled as a golden child in the calorie counter’s eye.  “Zero Calories – No Fat! Good for you!!”  Although it is tolerable and our bodies mostly deal with our consumption of it, it just like any other chemical entering our bodies and cannot be good for us.  It’s basic physiology, aspartame is not an ingredient you find hanging from a tree or growing in a field, it is made and refined in a laboratory.  

Well our bodies simply have a very hard time processing and figuring out what to do with the ‘sweetener’ once it is consumed. 

“Too much aspartate or glutamate kills certain neurons by allowing too much calcium into the cells, the influx triggering free radicals which also kill the cells.  Some diseases linked to the damage caused by this cell death include hearing loss, dementia, memory loss, hormonal problems, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.  Acute reactions to the excess aspartate and glutamate include headaches, nausea, fatigue, sleep problems, and vision problems.” From Aspartame – The Truth.

Further when Aspartame is heated up above 30 degrees Celsius (that’s high 80s for you non-metric kids) the absorption of another property of saccharine … methanol. Methanol is of course very toxic to humans and when ingest in other forms such as the kind at the gas station causes blindness and severe optic nerve damage.  Remember that time some genius invented the diet coke and brownie recipe? I stand by my Cupcake method – if you’re gonna eat something bad go whole hog and use the real stuff at least your body knows how to process that stuff more easily. 

“Symptoms of methanol poisoning include headaches, buzzing in the ears, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal problems, and memory lapses.  One of the most well known symptoms of methanol poisoning is vision problems.  Fruit juices and alcohol do contain small amounts of methanol but the methanol is never present alone in natural products.  It is accompanied by ethanol which is an antidote for methanol toxicity in humans.” From Aspartame – The Truth.

There is a lot of debate about the specifics of the process of your body metabolizing aspartame and its effects, and whether you agree or do not, I think it should be a reminder of using other natural sweeteners to substitute for processed sugar.  Some great methods that are now popular and available are agave nectar and stevia.  Both are natural sweeteners that are in fact easier for your body to process than the sugar we see on tables in diners. 

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I’ll end this blog by saying that I still find myself drinking a diet soda, but I try to make the right choices – I choose Hansen’s Brand or my favorite calorie-free guilt-free soda Zevia.  We even have a SodaStream and make our own sodas from organic fruits and vegetables which are beyond amazing – seriously the fake chemicals we try to fool ourselves into liking taste nothing like the real honest ingredient.  This book on Amazon is great – Homemade Soda you don’t even need a machine to make the sodas just some fizzy water! 

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For more information about sweeteners and alternative sweeteners visit these websites:

Truvia

Agave

Sodastream Soda Maker

I also follow these alternative cooking blogs – they use lighter/healthier methods to cook traditionally fatty/high caloric/gluten filled foods.  See you won’t need that aspartame any more!  I’ll save my next food rant for Splenda which contains ARSENIC!!! Ugh capitalist food production – such a lovely process. 

Dashing Dish – there’s a lot of god talk on here, but her recipes are great. 

PaleOMG – a fun and recipe filled Paleo blog from right here in Denver!