Different Day, Different Choices, Different Results!

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Well, yesterday was an overall epic failure for me!  But, I can look back and pinpoint every single factor that contributed to just feeling awful.

First of all, I missed my morning workout.  I had too much work and also school homework to catch up on.  My desire to walk in the evening (because I had missed my morning workout) was also unsuccessful. There is a complete difference in how I feel overall when working out in the morning that lasts for the entire day.  Additionally, moving is a must for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (me!).

Secondly, I had a glass too many of white wine…with Mexican food for dinner!  I just binged and right after dinner I felt bloated, too full and just miserable.

Needless to say, the rest of the night until morning I had an upset stomach (too much food) and felt utterly run down.  I pushed myself to the gym this morning feeling physically terrible.  But, maintaining consistency is what my journey is all about, and it certainly is a journey.

What I learned once again: I should have worked out yesterday.  I should not have had that extra glass of wine with dinner. And, I definitely should have cut my burrito in half rather than consuming the entire thing!

Today is a new day!  I started the day with my 40 minute cardio workout followed by a Shakeology with a mixture of fresh berries added.  Morning snack was a pear and a slice of roasted chicken breast.  Lots and lots of water all day long.  Lunch was a spinach salad mixed with 1/2 an avocado and a small Persian cucumber, topped with a bit of Balsamic dressing and a hot cup of green tea.  Dinner will be a small roasted chicken breast in olive oil/Soyaki and a small portion of quinoa mixed with some sauteed squash.  I will have another cup of green tea before bed.

I must say I feel stronger today, I am not aching like yesterday, I have more energy and just overall feel fabulous.

Splurges are not always worth the pain and suffering afterwards.  We can all take a flex meal (splurge) each week to keep us motivated in our healthy lifestyles or if you are braver than I, take an entire day to flex.  That is an individual choice.  I would urge you to journal how you feel if you choose to have a flex day or flex meal implemented in your weekly nutrition.

The journey is part of our lives to Keep Choosing Consistency,

Wendy

Skinny Taste

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This morning when I was at the gym working out, another member told me about a site she had seen on Facebook called, “SkinnyTaste.com”.  She had tried a few recipes and loved them.  As soon as I got home I found the SkinnyTaste site and am elated to see so many healthy and delicious-looking recipes to try!

Because I love using my crock pot, I plan on trying quite a few of the recipes on the SkinnyTaste site, including this Crock Pot Picante Chicken and Black Bean Soup.  The pictures and ingredients have made my mouth water, so I am sharing this particular recipe for you crock pot lovers out there and will keep you up on my favorite healthy recipes in the future!

Bon appetit!

Wendy

If you love a slow cooker recipe that requires no pre-cooking, then you’ll love this spicy black bean soup. Spicy black bean and chicken soup with tomatoes, chiles, peppers and spices is delicious served with cool avocado and a touch of sour cream. Top it with cilantro for freshness and your taste buds will want to do a mariachi dance!

This makes a nice amount of soup, perfect for freezing and reheating for a second night, or for lunch on the go. I love this topped with avocado and sour cream to mellow the heat, but it would also be great with a little cheese on top why not!

It’s mildly spicy, not over the top. If you want it milder you can leave the ancho chile powder out. I pureed one of the cans of beans to thicken the soup, and left the second can whole for texture. Next time I may even add some sweet corn! A filling, wholesome, high-fiber meal for only 300 calories, or Weight Watchers 6 points plus. Freezer friendly, and gluten-free.

Crock Pot Chicken and Black Bean Soup 
Skinnytaste.com 
Servings: 7 • Size: 1 1/2 cups • Old Pts: 6 pts • Weight Watchers Points+: 6 pts
Calories: 306 • Fat: 6 g • Protein: 28 g • Carb: 37.5 g • Fiber: 13.5 g • Sugar: 3 g
Sodium: 698.4 mg (without the salt)

Ingredients:

  • 1 red bell pepper, minced
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (10 oz) cans Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
  • 4 oz can diced green chiles
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 16 oz (2) skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
  • 2 medium scallions, diced
  • cut limes, for serving
  • 1 medium haas avocado, sliced
  • sour cream, for serving (optional)

Instructions:

Take one can of beans and place in the blender along with 2 cups of the chicken broth; puree then add to your slow cooker. Add the remainder of the beans and chicken broth into the slow cooker along with tomatoes, diced green chiles, cumin, chile powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, chicken breast, and 1/4 cup of the cilantro. Set slow cooker to HIGH 4 hours or LOW 6 to 8 hours.

After it’s done, remove chicken and shred with 2 forks. Place back into the slow cooker and add fresh scallions, remainder cilantro and adjust salt and cumin, to taste.

Serve hot with lime wedges, avocados, and sour cream if desired. Makes about 10 1/2 cups.

Car Pocket Sign Holder Thingie…

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Image

According to the Urban Dictionary, a “thingie” is a noun for a non-specific term for anything.

Okay, today was the day I really wished I had my “car pocket sign holder thingie” all full and prepared. But, let me first define what this “thingie” is.

Several years ago I wished I had prepared signs for my car that I could randomly pull from to hold up and show drivers as they passed me or I passed them who were driving in a way that was irritating, dangerous or just plain rude. Today was the day I would have chosen the sign “thingie” that would have said, “You drive like an a**hole!”

All that is needed to make these signs is some cardboard or construction paper, even a cheap paper plate, Popsicle sticks, tape or glue, crayons, markers or even better yet BLACK PERMANENT MARKERS! Create and write many statements that reflect your feelings about really bad or rude drivers. Keep a nice little pocket folder “thingie” in your car and fill it with your home-made signs.

Great, therapeutic thought, don’t you think?

Actually, no. Not a good idea. A word of WARNING: in this day we do NOT want to engage in such behaviors as showing our “car pocket sign holder thingies” because of crazy people in the world who just may retaliate with a gun, knife, bomb or follow us, beat us up or slash our tires, steal our mail, rob our homes, whatever… BUT, the thought is incredibly therapeutic and a wonderful stress buster in dealing with idiot drivers out there.

Now, secondly and most importantly, this kind of behavior does NOT reflect integrity, and we need to and must choose this above all, first and foremost.

It may be helpful to go for a run, walk, do a work out, drink a cup of herbal tea, listen to some classical or relaxing music, read a soothing poem, but some of us may need more tangible activities to rid us of this kind of stress in dealing with terrible drivers or long hours on the road traveling. Then go ahead and make the sign or signs! Just DO NOT put them in your cars or share them with others! Do the activity, but put them away. Laugh and feel good afterwards!

Again, sharing our “pocket sign holder thingies” will not help us, others or our world, but creating them can be a fantastic stress buster!!!

What are your thoughts on this? I sure enjoyed making my one and only sign this afternoon!  (You all know the one I chose, too!)

Above all, Keep Choosing Consistency in living a life of integrity,
Wendy

Spiritual Health

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This morning I am tired. We all have those days where we feel overwhelmed. This is one of those days already for me. I woke feeling the weight of the day on my shoulders before I even got out of bed.

Usually when I feel this sense of heaviness I have neglected my spiritual and emotional health. If our tank runs empty we have nothing to draw from.

I would encourage everyone to take AT LEAST 15 minutes each day to have some quiet time for reflection, meditation and prayer. Use another 15 minutes for journaling, reading reflection and devotional nourishment. 30 minutes each day for our spiritual and emotional health is vital for our overall well-being. Our souls are important and need to be fed too, not just our bodies.

So stop what your doing right now and take a few moments to give thanks for all the blessings in your life. Take a moment to present your requests for the day for yourself and others in prayer. Really smell that flower and savor all the details. Brush your cats, play with your dog, take an extra minute longer to physically embrace your spouse and family.

Nourish yourself in whole balance and Keep Choosing Consistency,

Wendy

Does the 8 x 8 ounces rule still apply?

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Water: How much should you drink every day?

Water is essential to good health, yet needs vary by individual. These guidelines can help ensure you drink enough fluids.

How much water should you drink each day? It’s a simple question with no easy answers. Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years, but in truth, your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live.

Although no single formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.

Health benefits of water

Functions of water in the body

Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

How much water do you need?

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.

So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

What about the advice to drink eight glasses a day?

Everyone has heard the advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” That’s about 1.9 liters, which isn’t that different from the Institute of Medicine recommendations. Although the “8 by 8” rule isn’t supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it’s easy to remember. Just keep in mind that the rule should be reframed as: “Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day,” because all fluids count toward the daily total.

Factors that influence water needs

You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.

  • Exercise. If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 400 to 600 milliliters (about 1.5 to 2.5 cups) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires more fluid intake. How much additional fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, and the duration and type of exercise. During long bouts of intense exercise, it’s best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia, which can be life-threatening. Also, continue to replace fluids after you’re finished exercising.
  • Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further, altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.
  • Illnesses or health conditions. When you have fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses additional fluids. In these cases, you should drink more water. In some cases, your doctor may recommend oral rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade, Powerade or CeraLyte. Also, you may need increased fluid intake if you develop certain conditions, including bladder infections or urinary tract stones. On the other hand, some conditions such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.
  • Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 2.3 liters (about 10 cups) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume 3.1 liters (about 13 cups) of fluids a day.

Beyond the tap: Other sources of water

Although it’s a great idea to keep water within reach at all times, you don’t need to rely only on what you drink to meet your fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion of your fluid needs. On average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, are 90 percent or more water by weight.

In addition, beverages such as milk and juice are composed mostly of water. Even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages — such as coffee, tea or soda — can contribute, but these should not be a major portion of your daily total fluid intake. Water is still your best bet because it’s calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.

Staying safely hydrated

Generally if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or light yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate. If you’re concerned about your fluid intake or have health issues, check with your doctor or a registered dietitian. He or she can help you determine the amount of water that’s right for you.

To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. It’s also a good idea to:

  • Drink a glass of water or other calorie-free or low-calorie beverage with each meal and between each meal.
  • Drink water before, during and after exercise.

Although uncommon, it is possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in low sodium levels in the blood, a condition called hyponatremia. Endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, who drink large amounts of water, are at higher risk of hyponatremia. In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who eat an average American diet.

Reference

Water: How much should you drink every day?  Mayo Clinic, Oct 12, 2011.  Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283

The “science” behind my inspiration!

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Meet the super food hunter! More than 70 different ingredients were chosen from around the world for their potency and bioavailability (the ability to deliver the nutrients your body needs).

Creamy Leek & Potato Soup

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Creamy Leek & Potato Soup 8 servings (Crock pot)

Cook high 4-5 hours or low 8-10 hours

Ingredients:
6 medium leeks, thinly sliced
4 medium potatoes (I used golden), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cans of chicken broth (14-1/2 oz each)
1/4 cup margarine or butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup half-and-half
Chopped fresh chives if desired (I used)

Directions:
1. Mix all except half-and-half and chives in crock pot.
2. Cover & cook per time above or until veggies are tender.
3. Pour mixture by batches into blender or food processor. Blend & return to cooker. Continue this until all veggies are blended. Stir in half-and-half.
4. Cover & cook 20-30 minutes longer. Sprinkle with chives.
Top with bacon & cheese if desired. (Not reflected in calories below)

*It is also really good cold the next day!
**Serve with fresh spinach salad on the side, if desired.

1 Serving: Calories 190 (Calories from Fat 90); Fat 10g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 720mg; Carbohydrate 22g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 6g

%Daily Value: Vitamin A 12%; Vitamin C 16%, Calcium 8%; Iron 12%

Diet Exchanges: 1 Starch, 1 Vegetable, 2 Fat

Hand Washing Importance!

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A few years ago I repeatedly caught colds and other viruses more often than usual, especially during the winter months when flu season is rampant.  I was finally able to narrow down my contact source: the gym where I worked out (Curves for Women).
I am now extremely conscientious and consistent about washing my hands, especially before and after working out.  I especially pay attention NOT to touch my eyes, nose or mouth during my work outs.  If I have to itch any part of my face, I use my knuckle.

Germs can be transmitted many ways, including:

  • Touching dirty hands
  • Changing dirty diapers
  • Through contaminated water and food
  • Through droplets released during a cough or a sneeze
  • Via contaminated surfaces
  • Through contact with a sick person’s body fluids

To minimize the germs passed around your family, make frequent hand washing a rule for everyone, especially:

  • Before eating and cooking
  • After using the bathroom
  • After cleaning around the house
  • After touching animals, including family pets
  • Before and after visiting or taking care of any sick friends or relatives
  • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After being outside (playing, gardening, walking the dog, etc.)

Wash your hands in warm water.  (If warm water is not available, any temperature water will do to job!) Use soap and lather up for about 20 seconds (antibacterial soap isn’t necessary — any soap will do).  Make sure you get in between the fingers and under the nails where uninvited germs like to hang out. And…don’t forget the wrists!  Rinse and dry well with a clean towel or preferable paper towels that can be thrown away after use.

Happy Monday & Keep Choosing Consistency,

Wendy