Will Work Out for Pumpkin Spice

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Ah yes, it’s late September and fall is already in the air! Since I moved to Oregon 5 years ago, fall has been my absolute favorite season. The air is clean and crisp; the leaves are turning into bright shades of reds, oranges and yellows. As you walk through the grocery store and coffee shops, everything has almost magically turned into “pumpkin spiced” things.  There’s pumpkin spice cereal, pumpkin spice yogurt, pumpkin spice lattes, you name it and I can assure you it’s been changed to Pumpkin Spice flavor!

It’s hard not to indulge in these treats from time to time, believe me, I know! After all, life is about enjoying simple pleasures right? Sure! But. ah yes, there is a BUT,…make sure that along with enjoying the occasional cheat snack/meal, you are exercise accordingly. Vigorous exercise will help those keep the temptations at bay or at least help keep your metabolism up and going. Remember what I talked about in the last post? How what you eat can make or break how you perform? Well, it works vice versa as well.

If you exercise hard, you are less inclined to ‘throw away’ the progress you made during your workout. Make it a point to deserve your next cheat snack/meal, say, a pumpkin scone with a latte o pumpkin pancakes?  Work out hard knowing that you’ve got a planned cheat meal/snack to replenish those glycogen stores. Believe me it’ll make it even more pleasurable when you’re eating your cheat meal because you’ll know that you’ve worked hard for it.

Until next time, workout hard, enjoy the weather and enjoy some Pumpkin Spice! I’ll be in the search for some Clean Eating Pumpkin Recipes!

Making the Best of It

It’s been a while now…but I’ve got to confess that it seems that lately everything has gotten in the way for writing in my blog. And by mostly, I mean guilt. Guilt? Yes, read on.

Lately, I’ve felt lack of motivation to workout hard and follow my clean diet 100%. Such lack of motivation made me feel silly for even thinking about writing about fitness stuff. How could I possibly write about workouts and eating clean when I wasn’t doing it myself? The reality is that I was not feeling my best because stress had taken over me.

Feeling this way is of course, a real concern for me. I spent days trying to figure out where I tipped my balance and why I’ve felt so out of whack. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve workout all along, I’d be bored to tears if I didn’t hit the gym, but my drive and intensity were just not there. Then comes the eating part; I’ve snacked on junk food here and there and I’ve had several (many) cheat meals on the weekends that make me feel sluggish and tired the next day.

I don’t mean for this to sound as an excuse, but with a full-time work schedule, there is times, especially August/September and May/June,  where I’m so exhausted when I get home from work, that the last thing I want to do is workout or eat healthy. My brain and body are fatigued.  And, guess what I want when I’m tired? I want to eat! I want EVERY.SINGLE.CARB on available on planet earth. Then after I eat, I want to sleep. The problem is I can’t nap because then I won’t sleep at night-I then dream of work scenarios. Great, just great!

So this is what I’ve figured out, when I don’t eat clean aka when I eat junk food/gluten/trans fats/empty carbs/simple sugars etc. My body goes through a lot of inflammation. So I bloat, I get ‘puffy’–I don’t look like my normal self, so then I become sad because I don’t like the way I look and I definitely don’t like the way I feel. My vanity gets the best of me when my clothes feel tighter and I get a tummy pooching out. I then push myself to get the gym, but once there, I realize that I’ve got no drive because my hormones are altered from the junk foods. I just go through the motions not pushing myself. Once I return home, I find the treats and say to myself, “I eat just one cookie,” which turns out to be that I eat everything I can possibly get my little hands on.  And there you go, just like that; I keep fueling my vicious cycle! I eat poorly, so I consequently, feel and perform poorly. Just think of it as a junk food hang over that takes days to clear out of your system.

Since day 1 of working out, I’ve always kept a workout journal in which I would write down my workout plan for the next couple of weeks. I’d write my weight improvements added number of sets etc. but I stopped writing in it for the past 2-3 months. I figured, I kind of already know what movements I’m doing for the day once I’m at the gym. But with my lack of motivation lately, I have no other choice to go back to logging in my workouts. I’ve noticed that when I write down my workouts. I am better focused, because I’ve got a plan. For example, I struggle to push myself when it comes to arm day. So last week, in an effort to get a good workout, I quickly looked up an old arm workout plan and decided to redo it. Turns out I had a great workout that day! If I see it written, I think of it as a task (blame the Virgo part of me), so I must complete it so I can sort of ‘check it off’ and move on.

My second goal was to get better sleep. I know that I was having irrational cravings and overeating because I was fatigued. And, since I share my home with my love, it would be unfair to completely cut out all of the so called temptation foods from home. So the better solution was to get quality sleep. And how to you get quality sleep, you ask? Cut down on the caffeine. (Gasp) Whaaat?? Ah yes, that is especially hard for me. With work being busy and all, I found myself drinking multiple cups of coffee throughout the day. And even though I can fall asleep with no problem, I had light sleep and vivid dreams (mostly made up work scenarios). So I quit coffee and switched over to non-caffeinated herbal teas. I felt like death. It was all too much for me in a really stressful time, so I decided to drink black tea or half decaf and half regular coffee in the am only. And even though I might feel sluggish mid-day I held strong on not consuming anymore caffeine. This alone has made my sleep has been loads better and I am more focused at work.

Along with dropping my caffeine consumption, I keep a Gratitude Journal, in which I write down 10 things for which I am grateful. It can even be mundane things such as “I’m thankful for this journal” or more meaningful things like “I’m grateful for my family-they always make me feel loved.” I then write down 3 nice things someone did for me today and 3 nice things I did for someone else. Shifting your focus on the positives always helps me relax and consequently, I sleep better and stay asleep.

By addressing my rest, I now feel more energized to workout harder. Keeping my workout journal up-to-date defiantly keeps me accountable for my workout goals. With rest and enough physical activity, my eating habits are loads better; I don’t feel a need to eat every cookie on earth! Although its’ definitely a struggle, every day, I feel more empowered to keep making healthy choices for myself.  I know that everyone, especially me, will have slip an up here and there and that’s ok. The important thing is to acknowledge them and start to make changes. And with that in mind…today I’m going to have an AWESOME Chest and Back day!!!

Pea Protein Pasta

The Pea Pasta Story-

Once upon a time, in the land of, Lake Oswego, lived a young and highly, highly attractive, woman, names Mirla. For you see, little Mirla was cursed with the worst spell of all, she was PASTA-intolerant! Tun, tun tuunnnnn!

The poor Mirla, would get sick to her tummy when she ate these tempting noodles or raviolis or angel hair or linguini or fettuccine whatever they cleverly disguised themselves as. She suffered as she watched her sexy Italian boyfriend make and cook pasta and eat every single morsel of it without shame. That is until; Mirla came across a very interesting protein blog (this one and this one) that featured pea protein powder as pasta. She early jumped onto her favorite protein online store (TrueNutrition.com) and ordered her very own pea protein (non-gmo, duh). Once the protein arrived, she quickly whipped up the recipe she had once had given her hope. To her surprise…making PASTA is hard work, just kidding, it’s time consuming, yes, but very simple to make.

She carefully measured out the powder, grabbed two organic eggs and her organic olive oil. She mixed them all together, meading it for 3 minutes until she formed a small ball of dough. She quickly wrapped it up in that Cling Wrap, the one that clings to itself and hardly to anything else, for about 30 minutes. After that Mirla grabbed her old wooden board and lightly sprinkled some pea protein powder onto it and with rolling pin in hand she rolled out the dough into a thin layer of goodness.  Once rolled out thinly, she started to cut out little squares using a ravioli cutter. She then carefully placed the cutout pasta onto paper towels to dry out. She then let it sit there for a good hour to dry up and be ready for some cooking. Mirla then filled up a large pot with salted water and patiently stared at it until it started to boil.  Once the water was hot hot hot, she carefully dropped each pasta piece into the pot. She let it cook for about 20 minutes. Weary, her boyfriend, Jeremy, asked, “Are you sure it says to cook for 20 minutes?” Mirla doubted herself and thought, “Could it be?” For the answer was yes, 20 minutes, is what it took to get that pasta looking material ready for consumption.

In the meantime, after seeing all of her hard work, Mirla’s hot, sexy Italian boyfriend (love you Jeremy 😉 started to make a cream sauce to go with her faux-pasta. He chopped up some chantrelles (for Mirla’s love for mushrooms goes beyond words), shallots, red onion, and salami and threw it in with some hot olive oil. He then quickly dropped an egg yolk onto the pan and sprinkled some good parmesan (not the Kraft kind..eww! But real parm) and stirred it until a creamy white sauce formed. It was MAGICAL.

By that time, Mirla’s pea protein pasta was cooked to perfection. “Sure it was a bit rubbery than traditional pasta,” she thought. She then asked herself, “does traditional pasta give you so much protein in one sitting?…and with extremely low carbs?” Naa! Once the chanterelle sauce was mixed with the pasta, well what do you know, Mirla was in heaven. She ate the whole plate of pea pasta with cream sauce and lived happily ever after. The End.

To make your very own happily ever after all you need is:

75g Pea Protein Isolate

2 large eggs

5ml Olive Oil

Approximate Nutritional Value of the Pea Protein Pasta:

Calories 496kcal

Fat 22g

Carbs 4g

Protein 67g

Sugars 2g

Hope you enjoyed my lame storytelling! 🙂 I would, however, like to give credit to the wonderful protein blog and FB page that featured this recipe. This goes to show that food substitutions are endless!

I have to say that I don’t recommend eating such high quantity of protein in one sitting. Keep it at around 1.5-2g/km of body weight. That means that I need a slap on the wrist for have eaten what would have been two portions for me (I’m at 30-33g of protein/serving). Since the pasta is so high in protein make sure to add veggies to it as the ‘meat’ of the meal. Mushrooms are great for that, they are meaty and tasty. But if mushrooms are not your thing, try zucchini or eggplant. If fat loss is your goal, skip the cream sauce and opt for an organic, low sugar, tomato sauce. Either way, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your protein pasta!

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