Pre and Post Workout Fuel

I just saw this article on Shape, and think it has some great information! I have been struggling with deciding on what kind of foods to eat before and after my afternoon cycle, and this article was very helpful.

Check it out here

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Best Brown Rice

Yesterday was jam packed with class and meetings. However today I don’t have any classes 🙂 and am hoping to take it slow. But also workout hard!! As I mentioned on Saturday, I am loving my Tuesday cycle class and look forward to it in this afternoon, and then I’m going back to the gym for a lifting class at night!!

What?? Two workouts in one day, that never happens in my life!

I am really trying to kick my butt (thighs, abs, arms, etc.) into shape for my Spring Break Slimdown starting next Monday!! Speaking of SBS, Chelsea served as my photographer for the printables I want to make.

Thanks, Chelsea!

I am really excited to share these workouts with you all, because they encompass everything I want in a workout: simple, fast, effective, and bodyweight only. No weights, gyms, or equipment required!

This weekend, Perry and I ate some delicious brown rice with our tilapia and kale salad. I am usually not the biggest brown rice fan, therefore it has been sitting patiently in its jar on my shelf all year waiting to be cooked.

The oatmeal has come and gone with amazing speed, the lentils have been depleted, and the rice has just been waiting for its turn to be prepared. Yes, I do talk to my food sometimes…

There are several reasons why I waited to prepare the rice. First of all, it takes a long time to prepare and you have to cook rice on the stove-two things I hate in cooking. The other reason is that I am rarely satisfied with how the rice turns out. I do not want squishy, mushy rice goop. I can get really disappointed when I spend a long time preparing a dish and then it’s not even good :/ Thankfully, that did not happen with this rice. I did my research and found the best brown rice cooking method ever!! The rice really did turn out perfect and the extra draining was worth the final product.

Confessions of a Chocoholic

This weekend Perry and I enjoyed a delicious dinner.

Kale salad, tilapia, and brown rice

The kitchen was occupied, so we ate on the bed

After dinner I really wanted something sweet. Since I did all this research on coconut oil, I was excited to make something delicious with it! I read Chocolate Covered Katie’s post about three ingredient chocolate bars a couple weeks ago, and they sounded delicious.

mmm...coconut oil, cocoa powder, and agave

I didn’t take a picture of the end result because I ate them all before remembering that I would probably want a picture for the blog. Needless to say, they were a total success! The recipe is super simple and I am excited to try different varieties by adding some mix-ins.

While I snacked on that chocolate, I attempted to make some fudge balls (still a work in progress). I was mid-bite of testing some fudgey goodness, and Perry turned to me and remarked, “Wow, you eat a lot of chocolate”.

So true.

I don’t know if I have mentioned this yet or not, but I eat chocolate everyday. Literally every single day. I dump spoonfuls sprinkle cocoa powder in my oatmeal, smoothies, almond milk, or just microwave the powder with almond butter and eat it with a spoon. Trader Joe’s dark chocolate is always in my fridge. Every time I shop there, I pick up a bar for the next week or two. Their dark chocolate is so rich that I only need a little nibble to satisfy my chocolate craving. I honestly think that my chocolate consumption is fine. Cocoa powder in and of itself is not “bad” for you, and I just love the rich flavor it brings to food.

What’s your favorite way to eat chocolate?

I think mine is cocoa powder microwaved with almond butter. Mmmm so rich!

I caved

and bought this

I have been contemplating buying coconut oil for a while now because a lot of my favorite healthy living bloggers use it in their vegan recipes. However, I personally prefer to not  buy products that are only available in specialty health food stores (you can read more about my food philosophy here). But when I was at Food Lion, I saw this coconut oil on the shelf for only $6!! For those of you who don’t check the price of coconut oil online, like I do on occasion, a 16 ounce container can be from $10-$15. While the brand I bought is not organic, it still has the health benefits of coconut oil.

I don’t want to get too sciencey, mostly because I am afraid I will say something totally false (the last science class I took was AP Biology). But after doing a decent amount of research, I compiled a list of some benefits of coconut oil and a couple good articles to check out if you are interested.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

Anti-viral, anti-bacterial properties: around half of the fat in coconut oil is from lauric acid, a compound that our bodies convert into monolaurin which boasts the above health benefits

Used for energy: Coconut oil is a great source of medium-chain fatty acids. These molecules are easily digested and immediately used for energy (similar to carbohydrates), instead of being stored as fat. Medium-chain fatty acids contrast to the long chain fatty acids which constitute vegetable or seed oils. These longer molecules are difficult for the body to break down and are generally stored as fat.

Heart Healthy?: While saturated fats have been publicized as a contributing factor in cardiovascular disease, there is now a backlash against this contention. Some scientists argue that naturally occurring saturated fats are actually quite healthy for you

But remember, coconut oil still is fat. So include it sparingly into your diet.

Please let me know if I have made any errors, or if you feel this post is missing some aspect of coconut oil!

References:

Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil and Metabolism 

Saturated fat and heart disease

I will post about my coconut oil chocolate tomorrow 🙂

Cycle and Spring Break Prep

I woke earlish today to get to a spin class by 10:30. I had never taken class from this instructor before, and I was a little wary of trying a new person. In group classes, the instructor can really make or break the class. I love the instructor that I take from on Tuesday afternoons. Her class is very aerobic; there is always a point in which I have to tell myself to slow down or take it easy because I don’t want to pass out! So yeah, she is pretty intense. Today the instructor was not nearly as cardio focused. At first, I thought I would not like her class at all, but as it went on I realized how much strength training and muscle endurance the class offered. My legs burned in her class as much as my lungs do in my usual Tuesday class. It was definitely a change-but a good one for me. I think it is important to mix up your workouts so you don’t get too comfortable with any exercise. I am especially interested in pushing my body over the next month because of spring break coming up 🙂

March 5-10th I will be in the Bahamas cruisin!

I can't wait to swim in this water!

I can't imagine how huge this ship is going to be!

I have never been on a cruise and am soooo excited to take such a fun trip with a lot of friends. To prepare for copious amounts of bikini time, I am going to work out a bit harder and eat cleaner in February. Also, I need really want to buy a new suit. I’m liking this one from Target right now

I'm liking this one from Target right now

Look out for my Spring Break Slimdown starting next Monday the 6th! I want to emphasize that I am not a health professional in any sense, but will just be sharing the workouts that I do on a weekly basis. This week should help me ease into a more intense workout schedule so I will not be totally dead after the first couple days.

Enjoy your Saturday night 🙂

Five Minute Black Bean Soup

Happy Friday!!

This week has been kind of crazy for me, and it has made me realized that I really need to work on saying “no” sometimes.  I tend to agree to waaayyy more responsibilities than I can actually handle. Anyway all of these seemingly little tasks have built up and basically exploded in my face this week. Needless to say, I am NOT going out tonight. I scheduled a much needed date. With my bed.

We have not had much quality time this week.

Thursday night, the last thing on my mind was trying to actually cook something. I wanted something super quick, hearty, and warm. I have experimented with this recipe for a bit, and I think its time to share it with you all 🙂

I love Trader Joe’s boxed “Latin Style” black bean soup. The other day I was craving some-but had already eaten it all, a usual situation in my apartment. I ended up creating this equally delicious and fast version-prep time included it takes way less than five minutes! It is creamy without cream (or any dairy for that matter) and the medium salsa adds just the perfect amount of heat for me. Now what to do with the rest of black beans in the can…maybe some microwave sweet potato chili?

Creamy Black Bean Soup 

2/3 cup canned black beans

3 tbsp medium salsa

1/4 cup water (or vegetable stock)

Put all the ingredients in your magic bullet/blender.

Ready to be mixed

Blend for 10-20 seconds. Microwave for 1.5 minutes.

Post-picture I topped it with some cheese!

Have a great weekend 🙂

Thirsty Thursday: Sweet Potato Smoothie

Ever since I got my Magic Bullet from my grandma, I have used it at least three times a week.

I never really thought of myself as a smoothie girl, but it is so easy to throw a bunch of random fruits into a blender and then drink my meal at the bus stop, walking, or in class. I decided to do this little “Thirsty Thursday” series about the various smoothies recipes I enjoy from week to week.

Yesterday felt like a whirlwind and I struggled to get from one place to other in time. I had meetings, class, a make up quiz, more meetings, and a rehearsal. I did make time to declare my Russian class pass/fail (woop woop), so hopefully that will ease some of the workload a bit. I actually totally forgot about a meeting I had scheduled in the morning and had to dash out of the house in a rush. Which meant that I left this portion of my lunch in the microwave…

Sad, lonely sweet potato

When I came back home, I wanted to use the potato somehow but didn’t really have the time to make a “real” dinner. I was in the mood for something desert-like so I decided to try to make a sweet potato pie smoothie. It was a total success, and tasted like the creamy inside of a sweet potato pie-except it was cold!

Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

1 med sweet potato cooked and cooled

1 cup milk of your choice (I used almond)

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp honey

1 scoop Sun Warrior

1 frozen banana

Put it all in your blender and mix it up for a quick, delicious snack to go 🙂

Pour into your fav Tervis and enjoy!

Another facet of my Wednesday’s is listening to this song approximately 24 times during dance rehearsal. I have never been a huge Beatles fan, but I love this song and always leave rehearsal humming.