A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 10

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 10

BEFORE YOU CONTINUE

 Would you like a template to help you plan your meals for the week ahead? Let me send you my Weekly Meal Planner. Fill it out each week and then post it on your fridge and begin reaping the benefits of meal planning.

 Click Here to gain access to the menu template.

 

Well, my 2-week vegan experiment is complete. I have been 99.9% vegan for 14 days to see if my energy levels and skin improve – I couldn’t pull a 100%.

 I kept using half and half for my coffee. I tried though, for 48 hours I tried really, really hard.

 You see lately I have been feeling less than energetic (okay, let’s be honest, all I feel like doing in the evening is sitting on the couch and binge watching NetFlix), and just out of the blue my skin has been acting up and pulling a temper tantrum.

 This temper tantrum has come in the form of dryness and oiliness (is that even possible? Oh yes it is!), with zits and all. I truly thought I was done with this shit at puberty.

 Apparently not.

 Apparently in mid-life we also hit a rough patch.

 

Funny over 40 quote - Fitness with PJ

 

99.9% Vegan – Did It Work

 After 2-weeks I can honestly say I… don’t feel much different. I had a feeling I wouldn’t though.

 I do not eat a lot of meat to begin with and I enjoy fresh veggies and fruit everyday. I also (as you may know if you have been reading my blogs), prepare a lot of the meals that I eat and avoid sugar, bad fats, refined carbs, packaged foods and eating out for a majority of my week – yes, I said a majority of my week.

 I still eat the aforementioned. I am not one of those trainers who lives the perfect healthy lifestyle. I envy my counterparts who do and who can maintain it 24/7, but I stopped a long time ago trying to aspire to perfection. Age does have its benefits and not giving a damn is one of them.

 But, I wanted to try vegan because I am not a girl who sits on the sidelines and whines about the hardships that I am going through (like a few zits and sitting on the couch is a real hardship anyways – jeez PJ, get a grip).

 Instead, I make changes to see if I can correct what is happening to me and then I move on.

 

Will I Stay Vegan?

 Will I stay vegan? No, I will go back to adding eggs and Greek yogurt to my weekly menu, as well as cheese to spice up some of my meals, but I really don’t have a craving for meat.

 And this is freaking poor loving husband.

 He loves meat, but since I do all of the grocery shopping and all of the cooking if I don’t do meat his chances of doing meat are very slim too.

 Lucky for him he knows how to dial for *take-out.

 [* Loving husband just read this and said I usually do that too, so he’s screwed.}

 Catch Up On Previous Week’s Menus

PJ's Pathetic Christmas Tree - Fitness with PJ

Our Christmas Tree

Week 10 Menu Plan

 

BREAKFAST

 

  • Egg frittata with a side of mixed nuts which I will prep today (Sunday)
  • I find just a piece of frittata does not completely fill me up, but add a 1/4 c of mixed nuts and viola – stomach, brain and energy levels are all happy and humming along smoothly.
  • I will use my slow-cooker frittata recipe, but bake it in the oven for 40-minutes at 375 degrees and use whatever veggies I have in the ol’ crisper.

 

LUNCH

 

  • Today, Sunday, I will prep Maple Baked Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and a BAS (big ass salad) for my lunches for Monday through Thursday. Friday is a free for all cause it’s STAR WARS!
  • This amazing recipe is from the rockstar of the recipe/blog world, Angela Liddon AKA, Oh She Glows. Her blog and her cookbook are a few of my favourite things and I think I would freak out waaaaaaaay more meeting her than I would meeting Han Solo (Harrison Ford, for you non-Star Wars readers).
  • She is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen and I have NEVER had a bad recipe from her. I. Adore. Her.
  • Now, back to STAR WARS. As of today, Sunday December 13, it is only 5 more sleeps until the movie that I have been waiting for since I was seven years old comes to theatres. I have had tickets for weeks, and I have already warned loving husband that I may shed some tears of happiness when the opening credits start. I’m not joking. I openly weeped when I first saw the trailer.

maple-baked-lentils-Fitness-with-PJ

Maple Baked Lentils – Oh She Glows

DINNER

 

Monday

 

  • I work late and will not feel like cooking when I get home so we will enjoy the White Bean Turkey Chili that is in the freezer.
  • It is now 4 more sleeps until STAR WARS.

 

Tuesday

 

  • Baked salmon with lemon juice and dill with a side of rice for loving husband, quinoa for me and some sautéed green beans with garlic.
  • It is now 3 more sleeps until STAR WARS.

 

FIT TIP: Have bad knees and wondering how to strengthen them? Try my No Squat, No Lunge Leg Workout – it’s the perfect program for you.

 

Wednesday

 

 

Thursday

 Sesame Orange Beef with Bean Sprouts and Green Beans from The Everyday Maven

  • It is now only 24 hours away from STAR WARS. OMG.

 

Friday

 

  • It’s here! STAR WARS is here! Today! Finally!
  • I have my tickets printed and a back up pair also printed and in my coat AND another copy on my phone!
  • I also will bring a spare set of eye contacts just in case somehow the ones in my eyeballs mysteriously pop out and I have to put in a fresh pair.
  • I have our seats assigned! I have my Darth Vadar tee clean and ready!
  • We will be leaving a couple of hours before the movie starts so there is enough time JUST in case:
    • We run out of gas
    • There is traffic
    • We hit every red light
    • The BC government applies a new law that morning that cars can only drive at 30 km/h
    • There is an accident
    • We get in an accident
    • The car breaks down
    • A natural disaster happens (in which case I will ride my bike there)
    • Zombies invade the Lower Mainland (in which case I will ride my bike even faster there)
    • There is a line up of other Star Wars dazed geeks like me at the theatre
  • Only my own death will stop me from going to this movie today. I have all contingencies in place for anything else that could happen.
  • As for food, I will probably be way too bloody excited to eat.

 

star_wars_collage_fitness_with_pj

 

 

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10 Tips To Avoid The Flu

10 Tips To Avoid The Flu

If there is one thing we can all universally agree on, it’s that getting sick bites. (That, and Donald Trump needs to take a long walk off of a very short pier… and soon.)

No one likes getting sick, no one has time to get sick, and no one chooses to be sick.

But, getting sick is like the schoolyard bully. Pretty soon, one day or another, it will pick on you.

Right now we are in the thick of the flu season and if the schoolyard bully has not kicked your butt yet, you probably know someone who has had theirs kicked.

The Stats

In Canada the active influenza season starts in November and ends in March (Public Health Agency of Canada). Flu viruses constantly change, with a new and fresh seasonal flu appearing each and every flu season.

It’s like the latest fall fashion, minus the Instagram account.

The flu seems to be picking up steam too. During the past five years, incidents of people being admitted to the hospital due to influenza-associated problems have increased at a staggering rate.

During the 2011–2012 flu season there were a total of 1,151 adult hospitalizations in Canada (an adult hospitalization is classified as anyone over the age of 20 years).

Flash forward to the last year’s flu season and there were 6,720 adult hospitalizations. (Public Health Agency of Canada).

That’s a 484 percent increase in less than five years. Wow.

To help you avoid the flu, I recruited naturopath Dr. Heli McPhie of The Village Clinic in Tsawwassen to provide us with her best tips to fight back and stay healthy.

10 Tips to Avoid the Flu

1/ Keep yourself fit.

First and foremost flu prevention starts with a healthy body and mind. So exercise regularly (my personal favourite tip), take your supplements, eat well, laugh often (in other words, don’t let stress get the best of you), quit smoking (if you smoke), and rest.

Funny getting sick quote - Fitness with PJ

2/ Keep it clean.

Her next tip is one we hear from all health professionals all the time: wash your hands.

Because we touch our faces an incredible number of times in a day, it is vital to constantly keep our hands clean.

In addition, she also recommends that you teach your children to wash their hands before eating.

HOW TO FIGHT GERMS 

How to wash your hands - fighting the flu Fitness with PJ

3/ Sneeze here please.

If you do happen to catch a cold, or the flu, be sure sneeze into your “sneeze pocket” – that’s your elbow, not your hands. This will reduce the spread of the flu virus, which is an important part of flu prevention.

You can also help reduce the spread of the flu virus by not sharing food or drinks, straws, and utensils. Also, say no to double dippers and remember to toss those tissues.

4/ Oh thank you for coming to work sick today! We appreciate it – said nobody ever.

If you are sick, make sure you stay at home, too. Don’t be a hero and go to work. You are only spreading the virus to those around you, which is not as appreciated as you may think.

[bctt tweet=”I’m sick. Looks like I will be laying in bed all day. Oh wait, I’m a mom.”]

5/ All you need is love.

Take the time you need to care for yourself. Being a wee bit selfish is okay because if you aren’t well, you cannot be there for those you care for and who may need you.

6/ MD or ND.

If your symptoms are severe, or you are worried, check in with your doctor or a naturopath and then rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy (such as clear veggie and/or chicken soups).

Also chat with your MD or ND about other ways to prevent the flu, such as the flu vaccine.

7/ Sleep.

Sleep well and rest.Sleep and rest is vital for maintaining good overall health and, in turn, a healthy immune system.

I learned this one the hard way myself. Last Christmas I was not resting properly and was burnt out and stressed out, and by Christmas morning I was sick as a dog.

And, big tip, if sleep is an issue for you, book an appointment with Dr. McPhie; she’s brilliant with sleep problems.

My 3 unconventional tips to sleep better.

8/ Chill out.

The next step to fighting the cold and flu is to simply relax. Reducing stress levels will keep your immune system strong and healthy.

Find time, every day, to relieve and reduce your stress. Your body will reward you and it will be strong enough to fight the cold and flu virus.

The BEST tips to beat stress.

9/ Get a protein fix.

Research shows that diets that are too low in protein can deplete the immune system. Make sure you get protein-rich foods throughout the day, such as fish, eggs, tofu and yogurt.

Click here to discover my top protein powders.

10/ Care is absolute. Prevention is ideal. 

And, Dr. McPhie’s final takeaway: prevent first because it is always easier to prevent than cure.

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
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How To be 99.9% Vegan

How To be 99.9% Vegan

A Trainer’s Menu – Week 9

 I am in the last week of my two-week vegan diet (I’m experimenting to see if my skin and energy levels improve, read more here), and guess what? I cheated.

 To be completely honest with you I barely lasted 48 hours as a vegan. Cream in my coffee broke me, or more precisely not using cream in my coffee did me in.

 But, I do not feel guilty. Not in the least bit. Life is way too short for crappy coffee, and trust me when I tell you that almond milk in coffee equals a crappy cup of coffee.

 So, aside from that I have been 99.9% vegan for the last week and I have kept it to 99.9% vegan so that I can still enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning, while loving husband gets to enjoy a happy PJ.

 So everyone wins in this scenario (expect maybe the cow. Sorry Mr. Cow.).

 Catch Up On Previous Week’s Menus

 

 Notes about last week’s meals

 

  • Pretty much every single recipe I tried last week ROCKED! But, if I had to choose my two favourites it would have to be the Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing and the Spicy Lentil Tomato & Kale Soup. You must try them!
  • Wait, the Cauliflower Crust Pizza was pretty damn good too. I added fresh roma tomatoes and basil on top, as well got to try a couple of firsts. My first “first” was using what vegans call a chia seed egg. This is where you let chia seed and water sit for a bit and then add it to a recipe that asks for egg. Worked pretty good. The second “first” was trying Daiya cheese – a non-dairy cheese. Don’t ask me how they make it, the ingredient list is a little long, however I do recognize all of the ingredients and that is the first test as to whether or not I purchase a product. I didn’t use a whole lot of it, in case it royally tasted bad. And surprisingly it was pretty good. The pizza itself would have been 100% better too if I did not burn it. Oops. But, I still gobbled it down. I was starving, and cauliflower crust pizza takes FORVER to make so there was NO WAY I was throwing it away. Lucky for me only the edges of the crust were charcoaled and I would totally make this recipe again (sans blackened).
  • But…. the recipes from the 22 Day Revolution book are super good too (even though he doesn’t write how many servings are in his recipes. Super annoying.), as was the Cinnamon Quinoa Cereal.
  • Make sure you check out last week’s blog, some great recipes are there as well as why I am trying a plant-based lifestyle for 14 days and whether or not it may help you.
  • What did picky loving husband think of the week’s worth of vegan dishes? Well, he thought it was SNOW DAY all week cause I never bothered making him eat any of the food I made. Instead he ate his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (he loves bread), Campbell’s tomatoe soup, and for his greens, Caesar salad. He was in heaven. It was his version of a snow day – all week long. This coming week will be a lot different for him. Sorry babe.

 

KITCHEN TIP: if you only have time to prep a few things for the week ahead start with your breakfasts, your lunches and one salad dressing. Dressings are super-easy to make, but when in a pinch a lot of times we just don’t make them. So, have a healthy homemade salad dressing ready for your salads and ahead of time.

 Vegan Recipes

 MONDAY

 Pre-Breakfast: 1 cup hot water, 1tbsp apple cider vinegar (from the mother), a big sprinkle of cinnamon & a tsp of raw honey (Yes, I know. I should not be doing honey while trying to be vegan, but I tried this with organic maple syrup and didn’t like it, so I added raw honey on my safe list along with my cream for my coffee. I am a rule-breaker. What can I say?). Sip and enjoy before food.

  • Breakfast: Vegan Overnight Oats, but without the banana. Instead I am going to add a half of scoop of either chocolate or vanilla protein powder (Vega brand) to up the protein content and I will eat this for the whole week, with every evening prepping each individual breakfast for the next day. I will add different toppings each morning to keep it interesting, such as berries, pineapple and coconut flakes, carob chips and peanut butter and mandarin orange segments with some fresh ginger. Oh God, I’m hungry for this already.
  • Snack: Super Seed Chocolate Protein Bars – prepped on Sunday.
  • Lunch: Mexican Spiced Tofu Scramble and cut veggies and hummus. I will prep all of these on Sunday and while the recipe does not state how many servings the tofu scramble makes (why do recipe developers do this??!!) I am guessing it will last me 3-4 days.
  • Snack: apple and mixed nuts (this will be my snack all week and it is a regular snack for me too, whether or not I am eating only plant-based. I love this combo because it fills me up and energizes me for the rest of the afternoon.)
  • Dinner: Spicy Potato and Black Bean Burritos – and picky loving husband has to eat this too. I will also prep this on Sunday, since I won’t get home from work until 7:30pm.

Vegan Overnight Oats - Fitness with PJ blog

Vegan Overnight Oats – Oh She Glows

TUESDAY

 

  • Pre-Breakfast: 1 cup hot water, 1tbsp apple cider vinegar (from the mother), a big sprinkle of cinnamon & a tsp of raw honey. Sip and enjoy before food.
  • Breakfast: Vegan Overnight Oats
  • Snack: Super Seed Chocolate Protein Bars
  • Lunch: Mexican Spiced Tofu Scramble and cut veggies and hummus.
  • Snack: apple and mixed nuts
  • Dinner: Vegan Thai Basil Fried Rice – and I making loving husband eat this too.

 

TRAINER TIP: short on time? Try my new 24-Minute Ab HIIT workout! It’s short, sweet and sweaty. You’ll love it.

Super Seed Chocolate Protein Bars - Fitness with PJ blog

Super Seed Chocolate Protein Bars – Vegaricha

WEDNESDAY

 

  • Pre-Breakfast: 1 cup hot water, 1tbsp apple cider vinegar (from the mother), a big sprinkle of cinnamon & a tsp of raw honey. Sip and enjoy before food.
  • Breakfast: Vegan Overnight Oats
  • Snack: Super Seed Chocolate Protein Bars
  • Lunch: Mexican Spiced Tofu Scramble and cut veggies and hummus.
  • Snack: apple and mixed nuts
  • Dinner: on own

 

NUTRITION TIP: if you like protein shakes make sure you buy a high quality powder. Check out my blog on protein and protein powders for more info.

 

THURSDAY

 Pre-Breakfast: 1 cup hot water, 1tbsp apple cider vinegar (from the mother), a big sprinkle of cinnamon & a tsp of raw honey. Sip and enjoy before food.

  • Breakfast: Vegan Overnight Oats
  • Snack: Super Seed Chocolate Protein Bars
  • Lunch: out with a friend – so not too sure what I will be eating. This town is not known for it’s culinary delights, let alone vegan ones.
  • Snack: apple and mixed nuts
  • Dinner: Easy Sweet Potatoe Veggie Burgers, picky loving husband will have a turkey burger (even though if you the read the posts under this recipe everyone raves about them and how their non-vegan husband’s loved the burger too. Mine will not rave about them. I know.). As a side dish I will have roasted veggies – picky loving husband will most likely have potato chips.

 

sweet-potato-bean-burger-fitness with PJ - blog

Easy Sweet Potato Veggie Burger – Healthy happy Life

FRIDAY

 

  • Pre-Breakfast: 1 cup hot water, 1tbsp apple cider vinegar (from the mother), a big sprinkle of cinnamon & a tsp of raw honey. Sip and enjoy before food.
  • Breakfast: Vegan Overnight Oats
  • Snack: Super Seed Chocolate Protein Bars
  • Lunch: Wasa crisp bread (4) with almond butter and strawberry jam, and a chocolate protein shake mixed with almond milk (Vega brand)
  • Snack: apple and mixed nuts
  • Dinner: Loving husband is out tonight (He is DJ-ing a Christmas party. Yes, he is man of many talents. However, eating vegetables is not one.) so I am not sure what I will do for dinner. Bella and I will probably have a low-key dinner and curl up on the couch and binge watch “Flesh & Bone”, my newest Super Channel addiction (it is an amazing drama about a New York ballet company – I love it!)

 

 WORKOUT TIP: you are only as strong as your weakest link and if you weak link is flexibility then you need this workout.

 SATURDAY

 Pre-Breakfast: 1 cup hot water, 1tbsp apple cider vinegar (from the mother), a big sprinkle of cinnamon & a tsp of raw honey. Sip and enjoy before food.

  • Breakfast: Vegan Overnight Oats or whole grain toast with avocado
  • Snack: Protein shake blended with almond milk, ice and a 1tbsp of peanut butter
  • Lunch: Out with loving husband
  • Snack: Vega Snack Bar – chocolate peanut butter
  • Dinner: Vegetable sushi cause loving husband is out this evening (again!), and I can eat whatever I want (again!)

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
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PJ ox

Insomnia – 3 Unconventional Tips to Sleep Better

Insomnia – 3 Unconventional Tips to Sleep Better

When I was a teenager my father nicknamed me  “mattress back”. It was his subtle way of letting me know that I slept too much.

Being a teenager I didn’t bat an eye at his sarcasm (sarcasm kinda runs in the family), and nor did I fully appreciate my ability to fall asleep and STAY asleep.

Flash forward 30+ years later and oh how I crave to have a bit more of that mattress back teen in me again.

The Science of Sleep & Insomnia

Sleep provides amazing benefits to the body.

It lowers stress and improves mood. It helps maintain and promote a healthy body weight, it improves our athletic performance and coordination, and it increases our ability to pay attention and remember new information (1).

In 2011 researchers from the Université Laval (2) released their data that revealed that 40% of Canadians suffer from a sleep disorder.

Our brothers and sisters south of us aren’t doing any better either. The National Sleep Foundation (along with two government agencies) estimated in 2012 that 40 billion Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder (3).

That’s a lot of sleepy, cranky people gripping their Grande cups fairly tightly.

All the beans in Columbia won't make me a morning person. - Bella - Fitness-with-PJ-blog

 

3 Tips to Sleep Better


1/ Get out of bed. 
A couple of years ago I went to the UBC Sleep Disorder Clinic because my sleep is so bad. It was both educational and entertaining.

Educational, because I learned some techniques that have helped me, and entertaining because loving husband fell asleep while in the waiting room when I was getting my assessment done.

He, apparently, has no problems with sleep.

After a 90-minute examination and assessment my doctor (who looked liked he was suffering from his own specialty himself) diagnosed me with insomnia.

To this I thought “no shit”.

He then further identified that I had “poor sleep hygiene”. Right away I got defensive because I thought he was telling me that I wasn’t bathing properly.

But, apparently sleep hygiene is “all the behavioural and environmental factors that precede sleep and may interfere with sleep” (thank-you Wikipedia), and well, my hygiene sucked.

My first sleep hygiene sin was that I lie in bed until I eventually fell asleep (this sometimes taking up to 2-3 hours), and then when I woke up in the middle of the night I lie there again and wait for sleep to take me.

It’s not like I was mulling on my problems while lying there though. I thought I was doing the right thing by practicing deep breathing and meditation.

I wasn’t. Experts do not recommend this.

Instead, they recommend if we can’t fall asleep after 15-20 minutes to get out of bed and go read or watch television, and stay out of bed until we are sleepy again.

The same goes if we wake up in the middle of the night. Get out of bed, do something that is not mentally stimulating and when you are tired go back to bed.

Lying there and trying to fall sleep (willing yourself to fall asleep), is counterproductive and the harder you try the more elusive sleep will become (4).

 

2/ Decrease your sleep window. Another technique the UBC Sleep Clinic taught me is to decrease my sleep window, or how long I am in bed.

I was of the opinion that if I went to bed early I would get a good night’s sleep. My sleep journal suggested otherwise.

Going to bed when we’re not sleepy sends the wrong signal to our brain. It messes with our circadian rhythm (our internal timer that let’s us know when we should be awake and asleep), and this in turn makes it harder for us to fall asleep.

While I thought I was sleepy what I really was was fatigued, tired and exhausted.  Not sleepy though.

So, my thinking of going to bed early was actually diminishing my ability to fall asleep.

Being awake longer will actually lead to a quicker, deeper and more solid sleep. Don’t worry, though. What you aren’t doing is decreasing your time actually sleeping. Instead, you are decreasing the amount of time awake in bed.

Of all the tricks I learned from UBC and other sleep experts that I have interviewed through the years this has by far helped me the most.

 

3/ Go to bed and get up, same time, everyday. No matter what day it is keep your same sleep cycle. I now go to bed between 11-11:30pm every night and wake up around 6:30am every morning.

When I don’t follow this regime I suffer sleeplessness in the evening. You need to keep your biological clock set and maintain that time – even on the weekends and when on holidays.

In addition you cannot store sleep up. Example, sleep longer on the weekend to make up for missed shut-eye during the week. Experts all say that this horse-shit (well, they don’t actually say that word, but I know they are thinking that).

And, finally, contrary to popular belief you don’t need 8 hours of sleep. It differs for everyone. Some need more, some need less. Only a sleep diary will shed the light on how much you need.

Find out how your sleep pattern is with a sleep diary. The Sleep Foundation has this 7-day Sleep Diary PDF online. Click here to access it and try it – it might offer some valuable information to you.

 

References:

(1)    http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

(2)    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110908104005.htm

(3)    http://www.statisticbrain.com/sleeping-disorder-statistics/

(4)    http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/cant-sleep-when-to-get-out-of-bed

(5)   Behavioural treatment for insomnia, Rocky Garrison, PhD, CBSM

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
SHOULD BE DOING

GRAB MY 21 DAY FITNESS PROGRAM AND LET ME DO THE PROGRAMMING FOR YA.

 

FIT & FIERCE...
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PJ ox

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 8

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 8

Well, it has arrived. The start of my two-week vegan food diet. I am starting a vegan food diet today to see if my skin and energy levels improve.

Loving husband has called today ARMAGEDDON, and he personally asked me to bold the word and capitalize it (he will not be participating).

This Is Not a Cleanse or a Detox

My two-week vegan food diet is not a cleanse or a detox. I do not believe in cleanses. I feel (and so does science, read the research here, here and here) that the body is designed to filter out toxins efficiently enough.

There is no build-up of toxins that we need to get rid of.

Instead those cleanses you see in the health food stores, or on the internet, are pseudoscience and hype to grab your attention and your money.

However, if changing your diet temporarily is done because you are noticing:

  • Your energy levels are low (one BIG reason I am doing this 2-week change to my diet)
  • You don’t feel like yourself
  • You feel bloated and “heavy”
  • Your skin is acting up (second reason I am doing this)
  • Your body aches
  • You are experiencing brain fog

Or, if you need to:

  • Reset yourself back to a healthier eating pattern
  • See if you have allergies by eliminating food groups and then slowly adding one in at a time

Then you are doing it for the right reasons.

Why Am I Doing This

While I eat fairly healthy (however I will be the first to admit that I love spiced rum & Coke Zero, pizza and cookies), I am just not feeling myself lately and want to reset my eating patterns.

For one, I have been enjoying myself far TOO much on the weekends, and two I want to see if the meat and/or eggs, and the small amount of dairy that I consume in a week could be at fault for my lagging energy levels and dull looking skin.

I also know hormones are at play too, thank you Menopause fairy, and the weather (I think I suffer from mild seasonal affective disorder).

But, I have never been one to just stand still and accept the status quo.

Perhaps with a few more tweaks I can get rid of my symptoms completely? Or, perhaps not. But at least I tried.

Symptoms and Tweaks for Menopausal Blues

Because of what I eat, and how much I exercise, I have been fortunate to keep most of my peri-menopausal symptoms at bay. If you suffer from menopausal symptoms I recommend the following:

  • Take a long hard look at your diet (and at the very least eliminate sugar)
  • Walk everyday
  • Stretch everyday
  • Weight train three times a week
  • Meditate, or take just a few moments each and every day to just be still and breathe
  • Laugh more, frown less

All of these will help lower your cortisol levels, perhaps decrease (or eliminate) your hot flashes, stop the weight gain that happens with most women when going through menopause and assist in keeping you sane while your hormones are trying to get you to be otherwise.

 

Why a Vegan Diet

While I initially was planing to do a two-week raw food diet, after some research I decided against it. There are a lot of professionals, holistic nutritionists and Chinese Medicine doctors that warn people against a raw food diet.

You see we need to lightly cook, or steam, a lot of our vegetables in order to properly digest them. As well, a raw food diet is a HUGE commitment. I am talking about making every single meal, for every single day.

It just seemed completely unrealistic for my busy lifestyle.

Whereas a plant-based lifestyle is far easier for me to wrap my head around and it works well for people looking to have more energy (hello!), as well anyone interested in adding more nutrition to their diet.

And there’s the other two obvious pluses to a plant-based life – it’s better for the planet and kinder to the animals.

All around everyone wins… except loving husband.

Catch Up On Previous Week’s Menus

Notes about last week’s meals

  • Last week I implemented the apple cider vinegar hot drink every morning and within a couple of days I felt a positive difference, so I am going to keep on going with it.
  • The Blueberry Chia Pudding is awesome, I highly recommend it!
  • I am also a HUGE fan of the Loaded Sweet Potatoe (and you have to make the yogurt dressing too).
  • What I will probably not make again? The Tilapia Tostadas. Sorry Whole Foods, but they were kinda bland and boring. It was like a Saturday night without a drink.

Blueberry-Almond-Chia-Seed-Pudding-Fitness wth PJ blog Blueberry Chia Seed Pudding

MONDAY

  • Pre-Breakfast: 1 cup hot water, 1tbsp apple cider vinegar (from the mother), a sprinkle of cinnamon & a tsp of organic maple syrup (can’t do honey while on a vegan diet). Sip and enjoy before food.
  • Breakfast: Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with shredded apple, coconut, almonds and I will also add nutmeg (prep Sunday, make a double batch for 4 servings)
  • Snack: apple dipped in almond butter
  • Lunch: Spiced Lentil & Tomato Kale Soup with veggies and hummus as a side and a Mandarin orange for dessert.
  • Snack: Protein shake blended with almond milk, ice and a 1tbsp of peanut butter. I fear that I will not be getting enough protein on this diet so this mid-afternoon shake will help cover me. The powder I will be using is Vega Sport Protein Powder, in chocolate of course.
  • Dinner: Artichoke and Tomato Salad (from The 22 Day Revolution book)

red-lentil-tomato-soup-Fitness-with-Pj-blog

Spiced Lentil Tomato & Kale Soup – Oh She Glows

 TUESDAY

  • Pre-Breakfast: 1 cup hot water, 1tbsp apple cider vinegar (from the mother), a sprinkle of cinnamon & a tsp of organic maple syrup. Sip and enjoy before food.
  • Breakfast: Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
  • Snack: apple dipped in almond butter, or an apple with some mixed nuts
  • Lunch: Lentil soup with veggies and hummus and my trusty orange for dessert
  • Snack: Protein shake blended with almond milk, ice and a 1tbsp of peanut butter
  • Dinner: Raw Walnut Tacos and cut veggies with hummus (from The 22 Day Revolution book  – and this recipe alone is worth the price of the book. I have made this before and I love, love, love it!)

WalnutTacos-Fitness with PJ blog Raw Walnut Tacos

 WEDNESDAY

  • Pre-Breakfast: 1 cup hot water, 1tbsp apple cider vinegar (from the mother), a sprinkle of cinnamon & a tsp of organic maple syrup. Sip and enjoy before food.
  • Breakfast: Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
  • Snack: apple dipped in almond butter, or an apple with some mixed nuts
  • Lunch: Lentil Soup with cut veggies and hummus
  • Snack: Protein shake blended with almond milk, ice and a 1tbsp of peanut butter
  • Dinner: DIY Burrito Bowls (prep in the morning for easy assembly when I get home from work + make a double batch to have for lunch tomorrow). I do not eat white rice, so I will use quinoa and loving husband can have the rice.

Vegan Burrito Bowl – Oh She Glows

 THURSDAY

  • Pre-Breakfast: 1 cup hot water, 1tbsp apple cider vinegar (from the mother), a sprinkle of cinnamon & a tsp of organic maple syrup. Sip and enjoy before food.
  • Breakfast: Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
  • Snack: apple dipped in almond butter, or an apple with mixed nuts (are you sensing a pattern with my snacks?)
  • Lunch: Vegan Burrito Bowl leftover from last night’s dinner
  • Snack: Protein shake blended with almond milk, ice and a 1tbsp of peanut butter
  • Dinner: Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing (make double batch so that I have lunch tomorrow), add more white beans and loving husband will have salmon on top of his.

Kale-salad-vrgan-tahini-dressiing-fitness-with-PJ-blog

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing – Love and Lemons

FRIDAY

  • Pre-Breakfast: 1 cup hot water, 1tbsp apple cider vinegar (from the mother), a sprinkle of cinnamon & a tsp of organic maple syrup. Sip and enjoy before food.
  • Breakfast: Blueberry Chia Pudding
  • Snack: apple dipped in almond butter, or an apple with mixed nuts
  • Lunch: Kale salad left-over from last night’s dinner
  • Snack: Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake. I also have some vegan vanilla protein powder so I am going to blend it up with 1/4c pureed pumpkin, 1tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1.5 cups of unsweetened almond milk and some ice. If it’s any good I will add this to my afternoon snack list for the future.
  • Dinner: Cauliflower Crust Pizza, loving husband: medium double pepperoni from Panago

[cauliflower-crust-pizza-Fitness-with-PJ-blog

Cauliflower Crust Pizza – Detoxinista

 SATURDAY

 Pre-Breakfast: 1 cup hot water, 1tbsp apple cider vinegar (from the mother), a sprinkle of cinnamon & a tsp of organic maple syrup. Sip and enjoy before food.

Zucchini-Noodles-Fitness-With-PJ-Blog

Zucchini Noodles with Marinara Sauce – The Iron You

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Science Says: Best Workout To Lose Belly Fat

Science Says: Best Workout To Lose Belly Fat

Have you noticed, after the age of 40, that things shifted in the body? It is now easier to gain inches around the middle (and elsewhere!) than it is to lose them?

Why is that?

Well, if you are a woman you can thank the decline of the hormone estrogen (read study here).

This is a natural fat-burner for us and it also dictates where our fat is distributed, and now with middle-age upon us the distribution is happening around our mid-section.

And, if you are a man you can thank lower testosterone levels as you get older.

But, there are other factors involved as well and include:

  • Poor sleep
  • Eating crap (scientific term)
  • Eating too much crap or the good stuff
  • Stress (Our stress hormone cortisol loves to pack on the pounds around the mid-section. Now, it’s not being an a-hole, the body is simply doing what it is meant to do – protect us. And in this case protect our internal organs.)
  • Not exercising enough AND not exercising the right way (hence today’s blog)
  • Listening to Donald Trump’s over bloated ego while also watching his equally pretentious hair piece

Funny Donald Trump hair photo - Fitness with PJ blog

What Does Science Say

In a study released by Harvard researchers (Obesity, 2014) they found that men who did 20 minutes of strength training a day had a far less of an increase in abdominal fat than those who spent an equal amount of time doing aerobic activities.

Now, this study wasn’t all bad news for the aerobic group.

The men who performed the daily aerobic activity actually lost more total body weight than the weight training men did, BUT they were unable to stop their waistlines from growing. Their middle-age paunch kept on growing while they keep on running.

That is pretty darn interesting, wouldn’t you say?

Moral of the research: twenty minutes of pumping weights works far better on reducing the ol’ belly fat than twenty minutes of running does.

What About Us Ladies?

If you are a woman, you are probably thinking the same thing I did when I read the study “What about us?”. What about women?

Kathryn Schmitz, a professor at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, performed a similar study with premenopausal women and found the results to be similar in women.

Great news.

More Research To Get You Lifting

Looking beyond losing belly fat the Journal of Diabetes Metabolic Disorder (April 2015) reported that a combination of diet and strength training was far more superior at losing body fat , than aerobic alone, or aerobic with diet.

This study included both men and women, ages 18 years to 69.

Strength training for weight loss just isn’t for us middle-aged folk either.

In a study published in PubMed (JAMA Nov 2014) it was found that a combination of aerobic and strength training was the best tool to fight adolescent obesity.

Why Is Pumping Weights So Good For Weight Loss?

One of the explanations as to why strength training is the best weapon against fat (when we get older), is because we have lost some of our muscle mass.

Losing muscle mass is a natural occurrence with age (as is losing our minds, our ability to read the small print and our inability to tolerate loud music in a restaurant).

Most of us will lose between 5-7 pounds of muscle each and every decade and ladies after the age of 30 we will also see an increase in our intramuscular fat (that nasty and dangerous fat that is located throughout the skeletal muscles and has been associated with conditions such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes).

Now, because of this loss of muscle mass our metabolisms decrease (significantly), and with that comes a body not able to burn calories and fat like it used to and followed after that is the middle-aged spread.

But, there is a very easy way to offset this.

How Do I Increase My Muscle Mass & Lose The Belly Fat

Perform a regular strength training program and I’m not talking about a workout par sae.

You want a full strength training program that addresses stability, core, balance and mobility, while also progressed each week so that you continue to see changes in your fitness and your body composition.

Need ideas? Check out my YouTube channel, www.yourtube.com/fitnesswithpj.

Experts recommend 2-3 times a week strength training (I recommend 3 times, especially if you are a woman over the age of 40 who wants to lose weight), accompanied with 2-3 times a week aerobic activity, and HUGE daily doses of daily walking, stretching and basically moving the body as much as you can, as often as you can.

However, if fat loss is your goal (especially belly fat) you want  weight training as your main activity.

 

Click here if you are a woman over the age of 40 and are new to exercise and want to start building a body you love.

 

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