Branched Chain Amino Acids

Branched Chain Amino Acids

Branched Chain Amino Acids

and why you need them…

I remember the first time I read about branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). At first I ignored them because I didn’t really do a lot of supplementation with my diet (other than a few vitamins every morning).

However, as I started getting older and researching deeper into finding ways to train the over-40 body (for optimum health, fitness and physique), I knew supplementation was needed.

So, I researched branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) again and here I am today using them as a regular, and daily, part of my diet.

What are BCAAs

First, a little back story about BCAAs.

These particular BCAAs that I am talking about are not a subsidiary of the BCAA Insurance Agency (FYI: this joke is only gonna work with my British Columbia readers).

They will do absolutely nothing for you if your car breaks down, other than perhaps give you the energy to run to the gas station for help.

Instead, these BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine) play a very important role in muscle and energy production during exercise.

Fuelling our muscles

BCAAS are amino acids that the body cannot produce. We must ingest them through food or supplements, and when put to work it’s their job to fuel the muscles whenever our muscles need to contract.

They are main drivers for energy when we exercise and they are also crucial in building and maintaining lean muscle mass.

For those of us 40 years and plus this is great news.

You see we start to lose lean muscle mass in our early 30’s. This decrease in lean muscle tissue is one the reasons we have a harder time maintaining our body weight as we get older (hello middle-aged spread).

As we get older we also have a harder time building muscle.

BCCAs help with both building and maintaining our lean muscle mass as we age.

Studies have shown that older individuals who supplement with a BCAA after their strength workout (and one with a higher ratio of the amino acid leucine), build lean muscle 145% better than those who don’t!

fit-looking-older-man-running-Fitness-with-PJ

What else can they do?

BCAAs also enhance endurance performance and decrease fatigue. I supplement my water with 10 grams of BCAAs on the days I do cardio in a fasted state. They help keep me going.

When it comes to aging there is also some great evidence that BCAAs can have an anti-aging effect.

Researchers believe it’s because BCAAs increase the formation of new mitochondria.

Mitochondria are the powerhouses within our cells. They are the compartment of the cell that convert the energy from food into a form that that cell can use.

Mitochondria are found in our brains and our muscle fibres, and when they are plentiful and working optimally we are healthier because of it.

Another benefit to BCAAs is they will reduce your post-workout muscle soreness, thereby allowing you to train at a higher intensity and more frequently.

funny-quote-after-workout-soreness

Can you get BCAAs from food?

Absolutely. BCAAs are found in foods containing protein, with the highest concentrations found in:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Whey protein

The most popular form of BCAA, though, is powdered.

Because it is recommended to have BCAAs before, during or after your workout most people find it easier to ingest some powder with their water.

My favourite BCAA brand is “PVL Essentials BCAA Powder”.

This particular brand also has a higher ratio of leucine, which is the more beneficial amino acid of the three. Word of caution though, I find the unflavoured BCAA powder pretty nasty unless you are mixing it with something flavoured. Try the orange instead, it isn’t bad.

You can also buy BCAAs in pill form. However, this is more expensive than buying the canister and you cannot utilize its effects while you are working out.

Branched-Chain-Amino-Acids-Fitness-with-PJ-blog-photo

How much do I need

How much BCAA powder should you consume? 5-10 grams is recommended, with the most crucial times either pre, post or during your workout.

When I am training I drink 10 grams while training and then I add another 10 grams in my protein shake post-workout. In addition I also drink 10 grams as soon as I get up in the morning.

Long and short, having BCAAs in your diet can help support muscle size, strength, and performance and perhaps turn back the hands of time.

Learn more about protein and protein powders here.

Top 4 Trainer Tips to Getting Toned and Fit Over 40

Top 4 Trainer Tips to Getting Toned and Fit Over 40

Top 4 Trainer Tips to Getting Toned and Fit Over 40

I saw a quote on the Internet the other day that made me giggle. It was a picture of a guy standing around a group of overweight seniors with the caption reading, “If you want to look young and thin, hang out around old fat people.”.

Now, that’s one way to do it, isn’t?

But if you live where I live you will be hard-pressed to find some out-of-shape seniors to hang with to make you feel better. All the seniors I know kick some serious butt and make a lot of twenty-year-olds look bad.

So, our next step is turning to fitness to help get us get fitter and feel younger.

Over 40? How to Get Toned and Fit

Whether your goal is to:

  • Lose weight
  • Build muscle tone
  • Prevent diseases
  • Or simply stay above ground for the longest you can

These four tips will help get you there far more effectively than other training technique.

1/ Consistency.

One of the first rules of achieving better fitness is frequency.

I know, super boring, right? However, you cannot expect to see any change in your body or fitness with an inconsistent workout plan, or by training just once or twice a week.

How often should you be training then, for results?

Three times a week strength work, twice a week aerobic, or interval work, and everyday stretching.

Seems like a lot?

Well, for the bulk of those days (the strength and cardio workouts) you would be training for less than an hour. Take 45 minutes against the rest of your 24 hours, and you have less than 4%.

Meaning that less than 4% of your total day is used exercising.

If you can’t invest in a measly 4% towards your health, then you need to be careful because you just may become that old fat person others go hang out with to look and feel better.

Make Time For What Matters - Fitness with PJ


2/ Strength.

As we get older we naturally lose our lean muscle mass. Women, between the ages of 20 and 40, will lose on average 3.6 kg of muscle while gaining 10 kg of fat. Men, between the ages of 20 and 80, will lose one quarter of their muscle mass (Dr. Michael Colgan).

And guess what? Running, cycling or other aerobic sports will not prevent this loss.

Researchers at McMaster University compared a ten-week program of weight training plus aerobic exercise against aerobic exercise alone. The aerobic group showed only a 2% increase in cardiovascular capacity and an 11% increase in endurance.

The weight training plus aerobics group showed a 15% increase in cardiovascular capacity and a massive 109% increase in endurance!

For strength the results favoured weight training even more. The aerobics group showed no increase in arm or leg strength while the weight training group showed a 43% increase in arm strength and a 22% increase in leg strength.

Building your strength and lean muscle mass will:

  • Boost your ability to burn fat
  • Grow bone density
  • Improve immunity
  • Combat diabetes
  • Reduce joint pain found with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Strengthen your heart
  • Yield better coronary artery flow in the heart
  • Produce greater sub-maximal endurance and less fatigue.

3/ Intensity.

Exercise intensity matters far more than duration when working out.

In a study called the Copenhagen City Heart Study, the researchers there followed a random sample of about 12,000 people in Copenhagen for 21 years.

These 12,000 all cycled and what the researchers found were that the individuals who typically rode fast on a regular basis (so biking at a higher intensity) lived 5.3 years longer than those cycled slow.

A study found in the American Journal of Health Promotion showed that women who engaged in shorter bouts of more intense exercise had a lower body mass index than those who stayed at a steady state when exercising.

This particular study found that for every extra minute of high-intensity exertion a woman did each day was linked to a .07 decrease in body mass index. And that’s only one minute.

Imagine if you did five to ten minutes a few times a week?

i'm-the-personal-trainer-your-mother-warned-you-about-fitness-with-pj

Try these high-intensity workouts (suitable for all levels):

35-Minute Bodyweight HIIT

24-Minute Ab HIIT

TRX Tabata – Part 2

TRX Tabata – Part 1

30-Minute Dumbbell Tabata

STEP or BOSU Ball HIIT

4/ Attitude.

If you have an attitude and demeanour that you are going to try, that you are going to allow yourself to get uncomfortable, and that you are going to take it one day at a time and not get frustrated with the process then you will get amazingly fit and toned.

I have trained thousands of people in my 20+ years and the ones with a positive attitude always achieve their goals.

However, if you constantly say to yourself:

  • There’s no way I will ever be able to run for that long.
  • I won’t be able to hold a plank that long.
  • I can’t find the time to workout.
  • I’m too old.
  • I”ll never be able to squat, lunge or perform a push up.

Or, if you play the victim and claim “How did this happen to me? I used to be able to…” then all hell will break loose in your brain and you will never successfully reach your goal.

Tapping into the power of the mind is used with athletes all the time.

They are taught to visualize their course, their upcoming match or event. They are coached to visualize themselves doing it, step-by-step, and then winning it.

They know that negative self talk will manifest into their grey matter, then into their muscles until it finally becomes their new reality.

So, stop being a victim and start taking control. Stop talking to yourself poorly and in a way that you would never talk to anyone else like.

Treat yourself with the respect you deserve and you will not only be fit and toned, but you will also be happy and content.

fly-first-love-yourself-fitness-with=PJ

 

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What is a Hot Flash?

What is a Hot Flash?

What is a Hot Flash?

I have been cold for most of my life (and I’m talking physically, not metaphorically).

I am always the one with a sweater on, even in the dead of summer. I am the last one to turn on a fan when working out, and I once wore a scarf – in Mexico.

I am probably the only woman on earth that couldn’t wait for menopause and hot flashes to start.

Fast forward to today and here I am kinda wishing I wasn’t so vocal to the hormone gods that I wanted some hot flashes.

What Exactly is a Hot Flash

Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause. It’s a quick feeling of heat that is not caused by any external sources, leaving us sweating from our scalps all the way down to our toes.

They can range from mild and tolerable, to downright troublesome, and all the way to severe and debilitating.

Some women can have hot flashes for decades, while others for just a few years.

A few weeks ago I reached out to my community to ask them how a hot flash felt for them, and here are some of the responses I received:

“A heat that feels like it’s “radiating from your body” late at night or the early hours of the morning…often accompanied by a sweaty neck and restless sleep.”

“…my experience has been with night sweats which you wake up and find yourself very hot and sweaty, sometimes having to change because you have soaked your pj’s – not fun! I have experienced day ones too, which you don’t give you any warning. One minute you’re fine and then the next you are wanting to take your clothes off because you are so hot and uncomfortable. It can be very embarrassing depending where you are, thank goodness I don’t get those very often. I do find if I have had wine that night that I am more prone to having a night sweat.”

“Hot flashes are a very uncomfortable feeling as they come suddenly and leave suddenly. Nights are the hardest as I dress up, undress, dress up, undress, probably 20 times a night.”

“Before hormone replacement I was getting hot flashes that would make my head and face feel like a volcano had erupted on it.”

“…a hot flash feels like my blood is burning up from the inside of me and my face and neck area gets very red, my arms are really hot and a darker color. Thank god they don’t last too long. You can feel them coming on and then you feel normal again.”

Researchers believe that women with hot flashes have more sensitive thermostats in their brain, so they are only comfortable in a small range of temperatures (North American Menopause Society – NAMS).

Researchers also hypothesize that hot flashes may be because of a change in our circulation (WebMD).

Dr. Karen McGee, naturopathic physician in Fort Langley who specializes in women’s health, says that a drop in estrogen is one of the factors in a hot flash, however she says that it is a bit more complex than just low estrogen.

She explains that we are actually designed to fight off hot flashes, but lifestyle hinders that fight.

There is a layer of our adrenal glands that releases sex hormones, and these hormones can prevent hot flashes. But, throw in a busy lifestyle and chronic stress and our adrenal glands are left being busy dealing with day-to-day life stuff. They are unable to balance the thermoregulation needed to prevent a hot flash.

And so the hormone sh*t-storm begins.

funny-menopause-hot-flash-quote-fitness-with-PJ

Hot Flash Triggers

While you can’t escape hot flashes during menopause, there some triggers you can avoid to help with the intensity of them.

These are:

  • Stress (to keep your adrenal glands happy)
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy Foods
  • Tight clothing
  • Heat
  • Cigarette smoke

NAMS recommends if your hot flashes are mild or moderate you may find relief by simply changing your lifestyle.

But, if you have severe hot flashes, while you will still benefit from lifestyle changes, you may also choose to take a nonprescription therapy or a prescription medication, including hormones to help you manage your symptoms.

Lifestyle Changes

A big lifestyle change that can help produce a difference with hot flashes is to stay cool (both physically and metaphorically), and reduce your stress.

Other relief options can include:

  • Avoiding warm rooms (no more saunas or hot tubs), hot drinks and foods, alcohol, caffeine, excess stress, and cigarette smoking.
  • Wearing layers of clothing made from light, breathable fabrics. This way you can remove a layer or two when you’re hot and replace them when you’re cooler (this is a tactic I use).
  • Using cooling products, including sprays, gels, and a Chillow pillow.
  • Reducing stress and promoting a more restful sleep by exercising regularly.
  • Meditation, yoga, qigong, tai chi, biofeedback, acupuncture, or massage will also lower your stress levels.

When you feel a hot flash coming on:

  • Try “paced respiration” (NAMS). This is slow, deep, abdominal breathing where you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. You want to breathe like that for only 5 to 7 times per minute. So it is much slower than usual, and continue breathing like that until you feel the flash subside.
  • You can also try different strategies to stay cool while sleeping, such as dressing in light, breathable nightclothes. Or, wear workout wear, like a Nike dri-fit top.
  • Use layered bedding that can be easily removed during the night.
  • Cool down with a bedside fan.
  • Keep a frozen cold pack under your pillow, and turn the pillow often so that your head is always resting on a cool surface.
  • If you wake at night, sip cool water and to get back to sleep try meditation, paced respiration, or getting out of bed and reading until you become sleepy.

Women who are overweight tend to have more hot flashes, so maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly will help in both decreasing the hot flashes while also improving your overall health.

Nonprescription Therapies

Many nonprescription therapies can help reduce hot flashes, but not because of how you would think.

Researchers claim that nonprescription therapies work because of the placebo effect.

When nonprescription treatments are studied scientifically (NAMS) it has been found that they are JUST as effective as the placebo.

But, even if relief is simply all in our heads it is still worth a shot to try, yes?

Yes, I think so too.

Some remedies you might want to consider for hot flash relief are:

  • Soy: eat one or two servings of foods daily (containing isoflavones). This can be tofu, tempeh, soymilk, or roasted soy nuts.
  • Supplements containing soy isoflavones.
  • Herb supplements: such as black cohosh, have also decreased hot flashes in some studies

Prescription Therapies

Dr. McGee sees success with her patients using bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (replacing your estrogen and progesterone).

Estrogen, in a pill or a transdermal patch, is highly effective at reducing, and in some cases, eliminating symptoms.

However, there are risks with hormone therapy (HT).

Long term studies of women receiving oral preparations of combined hormone therapy of both estrogen and progesterones were halted when it was discovered that the women in the study had an increased risk for heart attack, stroke and breast cancer when compared with women who did not receive HT.

Later studies of women taking estrogen alone showed that estrogen was associated with an increased risk for stroke, but not for heart attack or breast cancer.

So, the decision to start, or continue taking, HT is a hard one and a very individual choice. Talk to your health care provider to weigh the pros and cons.

Other prescription therapies include:

  • Low-dose depression drugs like fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), or venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • Clonidine, a blood pressure medication
  • Gabapentin, an anti-seizure drug
  • Brisdelle, a paroxetine formula specifically for hot flashes
  • Duavee, a conjugated estrogens/bazedoxifene formula designed to treat hot flashes

You can also read what the North American Menopause Society recommends by clicking here.

 

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Mid-Life Crisis

Mid-Life Crisis

Mid-Life Crisis

The only thing I can chalk up my latest goal/what-I-want-to-do is that I must be suffering from a mid-life crisis.

You see I am a month shy of 46 years, peri-menopausal and wondering if this aging thing is really for me.

Actually scratch that last sentence – I know this aging thing isn’t for me. I don’t like it and I don’t want to encourage it in any sort of way. I know I am going to age but…I am not going down without a fight.

How You View Your Mid-Life

Experts say the answer of how we will enter our mid-life will depend in part in how we have viewed our life so far and how we view it for the future.

 

There are those who will feel less conflicted about their age because when they reflect back at their past years it’s with affection and they are able to happily move forward to the next years.

While others will wonder, “Is this it?”, and instead of looking back on their years fondly they, instead, only focus on the diminishing years ahead.

They see the time-bomb ticking and think to themselves “Sh*t.”.

This is where the mid-life crisis begins. When these poor buggers believe that if they do something drastic and shake things up in their life that it will either A) distract them from the fact that time is ticking away, or B) by getting their butts in gear they won’t miss out on any goal or grand plan that life had for them.

A mid-life crisis is really the original FOMO.

And, I am one of those poor buggers suffering from both A and B.

Mid-life-crisis-funny-quote-fitness-with-pj

Mid-Life Crisis To-Do List

My mid-life crisis to-do list is a bit long (visit Europe, learn a new language, write a book), but there has been one goal that has been in the back of my mind for a while and two weeks ago I finally bucked up and owned it.

 

 I decided this was the year I was going to compete in a fitness competition, in particular the NPAA BC Classic (Natural Physique Athletic Association) happening this May 1st in Richmond.

 

 What will I be competing in? Bikini Masters (for women 35 years and older), and if I have the courage Bikini Novice as well (this is where I would be competing with women as young as 20 – not sure I want to be on the stage twice). Gulp.

I Got To Wear What?!?

First things first, I am not a bathing-suit-strutting kind of gal.

 

 While I am comfortable in front of a group of people, it’s usually because I am talking about fitness (my passion), I am fully dressed (my desire), and I am wearing Nikes (my comfort).

 

 For this competition I will need to wear a bikini (similar to the one below), with the mandatory 5″ high hooker-heels and pose in some of the most awkward-looking positions.

 

 This all makes me very uncomfortable and sick to my stomach when I think about it.

 

Bikini-competition 

 

Why Do A Competition?

So why do this, you wonder? Why do something that makes me nauseous every time I think about wearing an itsy-bitsy bikini in front of a large crowd of people?

 

 Why live on chicken breast, protein shakes, broccoli, air and water for 12 weeks? Why workout six days a week, sometimes twice a day?

 

 These are great questions and the best answer I can give you is that I do not want to sit in my rocking chair in my later years and have any regrets.

 

 Regrets that I was too scared, too intimidated, too unmotivated, too lazy and too uncommitted to try.

 

Next Steps

 

 This past week has been helping loving husband feel comfortable with this (cause he’s not too keen about his wife being half-naked in front of a bunch of people), as well as assuring him I will only be a bit of a bitch for the next 3 months.

 

 Let’s face it. I am going to be a little angrier and a bit more impatient than normal until May. While I will try my hardest not to be, truth-be-told I don’t diet well and I love food.

 

 Starting a week ago, and until competition day, I am on one of the strictest eating regimes that I have ever tried.

 

 I have said good bye to my favourite foods and beverages (so long spiced rum, I will miss – but I will never forget you), and eat more meat than I care to.

 

 However, it’s worth it.

 

 It’s worth proving that mid-life is the best time kick some ass. It’s worth showing other women you can do, and can be whatever you want to be – no matter what age you are.

 

 All you need to do is put the work in, have focus and determination, and keep your sense of humour along the way.

 

 Week 13 – Before Photo

Week 13 - Before  

Stay tuned… every 2-weeks I will be blogging about my journey to becoming a fitness bikini competitor. 

 

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Testing Positive for Menopause

Testing Positive for Menopause

Testing Positive for Menopause

I just recently came face-to-face with getting older and I didn’t like it one bit.

With every passing birthday I was aware that I was getting older; I just never felt or thought that I was. I mean, getting old was what happened to other people, like my husband and my sisters for example.

Of course there was that grey hair I found a while ago. But, that was easily sorted out with a good tug.

Then the wrinkles came, but hallelujah for high-definition makeup, retinol and really expensive eye creams.

I also ignored the aches that weren’t there in my body ten years ago, as well as the declining energy levels (I chalked this up to me learning how to relax, something that is recommended for us high-stung Type A’s).

But, something recently happened that I could no longer ignore, buy a cream to correct, or even drink my delusions away with.

I started menopause.

A Trainer’s Denial About Menopause 

At first I was in complete denial. How much denial, you’re wondering? Epic levels, let me tell you.

One evening I internalized this change in my body when I couldn’t sleep – because we don’t really sleep do we? Instead, middle-aged women “drift” through the night.

Anyways, I got myself so worked up about my lack of a menstrual cycle for the past three months that I convinced myself that this absolutely could NOT be menopause.

It had to be something else.

I was far too young for menopause. This only happened to other women. Older women.

The thought of this not being menopause, and instead being the alternative, was frightening to the bone and I could not keep this to myself any longer. I had to wake up loving husband and let him in on my epiphany.

Now, ladies, I have a tip for you. If you want to FREAK your significant other out, wake them up in the middle of the night and tell them that you think you are pregnant. Works better than a bucket of cold water to the face.

Poor loving husband was up all night having waking nightmares of being in his 60’s with a teenager.

funny-getting-older-quote-Fitness-with-PJ

Testing Positive

The next day I ended up in a local pharmacy, incognito, buying a home pregnancy test. When I got home sure enough I did test positive…for menopause.

Lucky for me, this past last year I have been designing fitness programs and plans specific for peri and menopausal women.

I have had the fortune of interviewing some of the industry’s best about how to handle menopause so I knew what I needed to do to help control my weight, my hot flashes, my sleeping problems, my brain fog and my turn-on-a-dime moods.

What none of these experts taught me, however, was how to handle this change emotionally. Because that was where menopause was really kicking me in the butt.

I did not want to age like my mother!

Could Menopause Be Just Like a Workout?

And then I got to thinking (again when I couldn’t sleep, because those are the best times to think, aren’t they?), menopause is just another cog in the wheel of this thing called my life.

I started relating to it in terms that I knew and could understand.

First, I thought of life as one big workout (cut me some slack, I’m a trainer), and came to the conclusion that menopause is just another rep in this one big workout of life.

And, just like any other rep that I do in the gym I have three choices:

  • I can perform it poorly and set myself up for injury
  • I can do the rep half-hearted and see little to no results
  • Or I can put all of my effort and focus on this one rep and grow

The only difference here was that I wasn’t growing physically; instead, I was focussing on growing emotionally and spiritually.

So, here I am putting all my energy into this one rep and finding out that I don’t mind the burn or the short-term pain of menopause. Because, in the end, I plan on coming out of this a better woman.

 

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A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 12

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 12

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 12

 

This was a great week for meals. Even loving husband has been tolerating the less-meat-more-veggies-bender that I am currently on.

 

With the exception of Monday night.

 

Last Monday I made the most awesome maple bean dish (from my fave blog Oh She Glows), and when we both sat down to eat it loving husband immediately went on a mission.

 

He pushed the beans around investigating every square inch of his of the bowl. Like he was searching for something. Something he just could not believe would NOT be there.

 

When he didn’t find what he was looking for he looked up and asked me “Where’s the rest of the dinner?”.

 

I told him the “rest” of the dinner was my love. He said he would have preferred some beef or bacon instead.

 

Nice guy, that loving husband.

 

Healthy Meal Plan

 

If you need to get yourself back-on-track I urge you to join me with my meal plans. All of the recipes that I choose are low in sh*t and high in nutrients.

 

I also plan my healthy meals so that they fit in into my busy life. My prep is basic and there are no long-winded recipes that only Martha Stewart would love.

 

Just basic meals, using whole-foods.

 

What a trainer eats - week 12

 

Catch Up On Previous Week’s Menus

 

 

FIT TIP: As we age one of the reasons our tendons and muscles get stiffer is due to the lower water levels in the tissue. This makes it even more important that we drink enough water throughout the day. Aim for 2-3 litres a day – and sorry, that does not include coffee, tea or wine.

 

Week 11 Healthy Meal Plan

 

SUNDAY PREP

 

  • Protein pancakes made for the week
  • 3 lemons, cut in half for my daily detox drink
  • Cucumber, peppers, carrots, snap peas cut for side dish munchies for lunches
  • Pumpkin Maple Baked Beans made, ready to re-heat for Monday night dinner
  • One Pot Quinoa Veggie Dish made for lunches Mon-Thurs (Friday is leftover day)

 

BREAKFAST

 

  • My daily detox drink. Click here to get the recipe.
  • Protein pancakes. I made 5 (to last Mon-Fri) and froze them.
  • Each night I grab one from the freezer, thaw it overnight and then re-heat it in the AM by toasting it.
  • For toppings I spread a little almond butter or P&B on top, depending on my mood, and then drizzle some heated raspberry jam on top of the nut butter. Y.U.M.
  • This is the recipe I use, however I wanted to add some super seeds to it this time so I also be added 1 tbsp of ground flax seed and 1 tbsp of chia seeds to the batter.

 

LUNCH

 

  • One Pot Quinoa Veggie Dish, without the chicken. Instead I added a can of black beans for my protein.
  • Cut up veggies (carrot sticks, peppers, cucumber slices, snap peas and grape tomatoes) as my side dish.

 

PREP TIP: When making quinoa, double the batch and freeze the leftovers in single serving ziplock baggies. That way when you need a quick side dish you got one ready to go.

 

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DINNER

 

Monday

 

  • Pumpkin Maple Baked Beans Cornbread Casserole. This recipe rocked, even loving husband wanted more (he knows nothing of the pumpkin in it though so shhhh…), however as mentioned above he was perplexed that there was no meat accompanying it.
  • I didn’t make the cornbread topping, as per recipe. Instead, I went the lazy gal’s route and bought Bob’s Red Mill GF Cornbread mix. The mix is pretty good, but next time I make the beans I think I will go even lazier and just forgo the cornbread altogether.

 

Tuesday

 

  • Salmon Caesar salad. Instead of croutons I use roasted chickpeas. I love this brand.

 

Wednesday

 

  • Fried egg sandwich with smashed avocado. I get home late on Wednesdays and I hate eating a meal that late.
  • BUT, with that said I am also starving when I get home, so I need something filling but yet won’t bloat the hell out of me. Hence a fried egg sandwich using Squirelly Bread, with half of an avocado smashed between the two slices.

 

FOOD TIP: Need to ripen an avocado ASAP. Food bloggers swear by this 10-minute hack: wrap your avocado tightly in tin foil so absolutely no air gets out. Set it inside a baking dish and pop it into the oven at 200°F. Check the fruit’s progress at 10 minutes (or even sooner depending on its current degree of ripeness), and keep it in the oven until it’s perfectly ripe. Together, the heat of the oven and the ethylene gas that is released when the avocado ripens will work to soften the fruit.

 

Thursday

 

Loving Husband and I filming a workout Loving Husband and I filming a recent YouTube workout.

Friday

 

  • Chicken Pesto Pitas and Kale Salad. This is a real easy recipe to make.
  • Buy a cooked BBQ chicken from the deli, some whole-grain pita bread, spinach, mozza cheese slices (or provolone is good too), roasted red peppers and pesto sauce.
  • Assemble the sandwich by spreading 1/4 of the pesto inside the bottom of one pita half, add cheese, then chicken slices and roasted pepper strips, top with baby spinach and enjoy!

 

FIT TIP: People with fitness goals succeed because they know where they are going.

 

Saturday

 

  • Pizza! Loving husband will be filming a long and hard workout with me so I need to show his stomach some love.
  • I also want to go hiking on Sunday and if he eats lots of pizza he will want to hike too so he can work on his bikini body (his words, not mine).
  • Of course, he could just NOT eat the pizza. But, he loves pizza and we have been happily married for over 21 years because we both know when to push and when to back off. Pizza, M&M’s and Coke are where I back off.
  • Cauliflower Crust Pizza for me. I am going to try this recipe, while also adding a few tablespoons of almond flour to help hold the crust together.
  • I will forgo the meat that’s in this recipe and add Roma tomatoes and fresh basil instead.
  • The recipe also claims it feeds four. I say NOT LIKELY. This whole pizza will be eaten by yours truly, in one sitting.

 

Funny pizza quote

 

Sunday

 

  • Slow Cooker Bison Stew. If we go hiking I want something that is hot and ready for us when we get home, and this recipe looks delish.
  • This recipe is also from a new food blogger I just started following, The Inspired RD, let’s see how her food tastes.

 

 

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