Let's talk beauty foods (5 items to stock your pantry with!)

ALL FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES CONTAIN MAGICAL POWERS WHEN IT COMES TO SHINY HAIR, CLEAR SKIN, AND STRONG NAILS. HOWEVER, THE ONES I’VE CHOSEN BELOW ARE PERHAPS NOT AS WELL KNOWN FOR THEIR POWERFUL BEAUTY BENEFITS. TRY AND INCLUDE THESE FOODS INTO YOUR DIET IF YOU WANT TO LOOK YOUR BEST WITHOUT THE NEED FOR BOTOX OR OTHER UNNATURAL REMEDIES.

 

  1. Red Peppers. All red and orange colored foods contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Red peppers are particularly beautifying due to the minerals A, C, and K. Vitamins A and C can help prevent cell damage that leads to premature aging, and they can also reduce inflammation, which can cause a puffy-looking face. Pepper also has Vitamin K, which is an excellent property for protecting our cells from damage.

  2. Spinach. All leafy greens are actually very powerful in terms of being a beauty food because of the chlorophyll they contain. There are also loads of other phytochemicals and fiber in spinach that help build blood that is super clean and which will show through in your skin.

  3. Turmeric. This yellow-colored, Indian spice has a load of powerful antioxidant qualities. Turmeric assists in protecting our cells from free radical damage and also contributes towards cleaning up metabolic waste in our systems. It is also great as a liver flusher to get rid of any poisons and chemicals which are stored there.

  4. Pumpkin Seeds. Wow, these really are powerful. What don’t pumpkin seeds have in them?! The humble pumpkin seed contains high levels of zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B, C, and E. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, all essential for healthy cell maintenance. Make a handful of pumpkin seeds a regular part of your diet, and you will definitely notice a change in your appearance.

  5. Parsley. Next time your plate is garnished with parsley, don’t push it aside. This is a pretty powerful herb when it comes to anti-aging, as well as purifying and cleansing the body. It contains vitamins A and C as well as anti-oxidizing flavonoids that protect our cells from free radical damage. Parsley also helps to purify the blood, kill bacteria, aid digestion, and cleanse toxins from the liver.


 

The best thing is that all these foods are easy to incorporate into your diet. Add turmeric to warm almond milk with a spoon full of coconut oil, and cinnamon or combine the other foods with some other fixings to make a great, beautifying salad. Who said that beauty was hard to keep?

Logging Workouts

I shared my daily food journal with you last week and wanted to give you a little look into my workout journal.  This journal isn't as structured as my food journal but equally as important.  

Prior to becoming a trainer, I didn't log my workouts and walked into the gym more often than not without a plan and therefore found myself always working legs.  It was my comfort zone and what I could remember easily - I wasn't always right on the weight, but close. 

Now that I am back in action and really focused to my training - I wanted to log my workouts, track weights, and make notes/adjustments along the way. 

Using a grid-style moleskin style notebook I am logging each workout to include:                      sets /reps/modifications. While I am sure there is an app available to do all of the logging, this is quicker and gets the job done. 

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I can't wait to flip back through these pages at the end of the four weeks to see my progress.  Not shown is the workout schedule and a place for my starting weight, current body fat and starting weight. 

 

 

 

Getting it all done

A frequently asked question is "How do I get it all done?"  and the answer is... "I don't!"  I have become hyper-selective of what I say "YES" to and if I do say "YES" to a new client, event, family gathering or meeting I am fully aware of what I might have to say "NO" to something else.

When we [Patrick and I] become serious about our health we decided that Sunday will be our non-negotiable day.  Meaning, we sleep in - make a coffee run - stroll the grocery store - and return to meal prep for the week ahead.  We've turned down a lot of invites over the past three years and while it seems a little crazy this is our hard line in the sand. 

We both tend to function better with structure rather than without a plan.  Patrick uses an electronic calendar that connects to his phone, I on the other hand really struggle with electronic planning and use a paper day planner.  

My planner of choice is the Happy Planner from Mambi which can be sourced online or at your local Michael's store.  I am in no way affiliated with Happy Planner or Mambi instead, I am a lover of the product!

The photo below is a sample of my week ahead: 

If you've searched Happy Planner on Pinterest you will find no shortage of beautifully crafted Happy Planners, but that's not me.  I am all about function over a lot of stickers, embellishments, and other things to prettify a planner. 

Each Sunday during meal prep when we have a break in the action I sit down and work on my planner.  The first thing I do is label each of the boxes:

IMPORTANT / TO DO: This box is a combination of personal and professional to-do's, reminders, or tasks that must be completed on that specific day. 

BUSINESS: Within this box - new projects, tasks, photo shoots, calls or events are listed

THE UNIVERSE: I took a manifestation workshop a few years ago and one of the biggest lessons was asking the universe for what it is you want and to be specific.  I recently started to incorporate this box into my weekly calendar - so it's to be determined how effective it is 

You'll notice that Monday / Tuesday are heavily planned because those are the two days currently reserved for my business. The rest of the week is dedicated to my hours at my other gig. Some of my business work does cross into the salon days, but mainly I keep those days open because it's never a guarantee that I'll have time to work on those projects.  

Carving out time for Meal Prep and Fitness: Meal Prep as mentioned above is always Sunday and workouts are typically Monday - Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.  Leaving Thursday and Sunday for active rest days. I will from time to time add "workout" to my to-do list, but similar to that of meal prep I've made daily workouts a part of my daily routine and don't need to schedule the sessions. 

Using a planner that is more like a to-do list helps me knock down the list quickly and effectively. If you are struggling to remember events, appointments or tasks I highly recommend that you start working with a planner to help with your mental sanity.   

If you are struggling to make meal prep and self care a priority - you need to schedule these items into your day and into your planner.  Make it a rule that you can't say YES to anything else until you are taken care of first! 

12 Week Commitment to my health and wellness

I've made a 12-Week Commitment with myself.  It's the same commitment that I made 6 years ago when I started this journey.  My commitment is simple... DO WHAT I SAID I WAS GOING TO DO!  

What that looks like: 

  • 5 workouts per week 
  • 3 - 4 workouts to include 1/2 marathon training 
  • Continuing the KETO lifestyle 
  • Daily food and exercise tracking 
  • Daily personal development

What works best for me: 

  • Daily scheduled morning workouts that are non-negotiable
  • Daily food and exercise tracking
  • Bulk/Batch weekly meal prep 

How I track my workouts and meals:

I have a fairly consistent diet and my meals don't vary too much. With that said, I have a general idea of the calories I am taking in, yet still feel it's important to track what I am eating.  

Rather than use an app like My Fitness Pal - I use a pen and paper planner. It works for me and it's always with me. 

The planner I use is on that I developed and really love because it's easy and uncomplicated. 

SIDE NOTE: From time to time I will be checking in with My Fitness Pal online to gauge my macros, but for now, creating a habit and reconnecting to the process is more important to me than becoming glued to every macro. 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Loss Anniversary

Each spring (around Good Friday/Easter) I celebrate my Weight Loss Anniversary.  It's been 6 years since I mustered up enough courage to seek help to overcome my struggle with food.  The process hasn't always been glamorous and to this day, I still struggle, but each day it a little easier. 

Thinking back to the day I walked into the gym, carrying so much shame and guilt for allowing my life to spiral out of control the way it did.  Yet, walking out from meeting my coach was a completely different feeling. For the first time in a very long time I felt like I had support, accountability, and a plan.   

What made this attempt at getting my ass in gear and kicking the excess weight to the curb is that I stopped making excuses and put in the work. Sitting on the couch reading self help books, practicing manifestation or visualization didn't replace actually doing the work. 

I'll be the first to admit that I am a bit pissed off at myself for letting this past year and a half slip away with little to no results to show for it.  The lack of results is in direct proportion to the lack of effort on my part. I let my client training hours at the gym consume me and working in a gym is like anywhere else, when you clock out you want to get the hell out of dodge.  

Over the next two days, I'll be wrapping up my final training sessions with my clients and then re-committing to promise that I made 6 years ago and striving for goals that I know are within me.  I could look at all of these moments of falling off the wagon as failures, but those tumbles have led me to where I am now - fully ready to re-ignite my first born business (photography) expand into creative services for other coaches, trainers and wellness gurus while reconnecting with my love of fitness for me. 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW RECIPE: CUBAN SANDWICH INSPIRED PIZZA (week in review)

Our first weeks transitioning to a Keto Lifestyle is becoming easier and easier. Much of this attributes to our mindset and desire to do the prep work on Sunday's.  If we waited until the night before or day of to prep I don't think we'd be experiencing our current level of success. 

The menu from last week was awesome and posted here: Going Keto (our grocery haul).  The biggest hits were the stromboli recipes, pizza, faux oatmeal and sausage and egg breakfast pies.

For this upcoming week we cut down the elaborate recipes and stuck with the basics to make prep faster - we really needed a bit of downtime and movie watching on Sunday afternoon. We did treat ourselves with a cheesesteak stromboli (homemade of course) and a 1/2 pint of halo top which I am sure knocked us out of Ketosis, but that was our reward for a week well done!

Both of us had great workouts, Patrick finished up a training program he had been following for three months and I finally committed to 6 training sessions in a week which is something I hadn't done since I transitioned jobs in October.  Which leads me into sharing the news that I will be leaving my personal training job on April 4th.  The decision to do so wasn't done lightly, but I feel that by taking this leap I'll be able to dedicate more time to bringing my creative vision to life (photography + design) and also train more.   It's bittersweet, but I know that I haven't been able to give all of my attention to the clients I train in two days a week and this will give them the consistency and support that they deserve.

Okay, enough about the behind the scenes and let's talk about the Cuban Sandwich Inspired Pizza.

I'm a sucker for a Cuban Sandwich - in fact, it might be one of my favorite sandwich to order.  When we transitioned to Paleo almost four years ago - we'd make a mock sandwich using a grain free bun and a slice of swiss to curb our cravings, but it rare we could ever order a gluten free Cuban when dining out.  Pork chops aren't my favorite and rather than be un-interested in our meals I came up with creation instead.

 

A CUBAN SANDWICH INSPIRED PIZZA

 You'll need the following for toppings:

  • Roasted pork
  • Ham
  • Swiss
  • Pickles
  • Mustard

You'll need the following for the crust:

Ruled.me Pizza Crust Recipe

Our modifications to crust recipe: we omitted the thyme and sea salt from the crust.  The option to remove the sea salt was based on the salt content from the pork and ham - we aren't huge salt eaters and tend to be highly sensitive to overly salted foods.  We omitted thyme because we didn't have any for starters and two didn't feel the crusted needed it

 

What's on your menu for the upcoming week?

 

 

 

RECOMMITTED TO MY WHY

Before our wedding 2006, looks more like a baby shower! 

Before our wedding 2006, looks more like a baby shower! 

I've been thinking a lot about why I fell off the health train as hard as I did and what I need to do in order to find balance once again. 

We all have a WHY.  It's what drives us in our career, relationships, hobbies and health. When your WHY is greater than your excuses it's often hard to give up your WHY, but it's not foolproof.  

My WHY for "attempting" to become healthier began years ago when my grandmother was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, sadly I didn't take my health or obesity as serious as I should have.  

An actual health scare should have put me on the right path, but it didn't. Instead,  I had finally grown tired of being the fat girl in the back row or sick of attempting to diffuse my weight gain with an oversized handbag.  

Sometime in 2008!  No self love, no self care 

Sometime in 2008!  No self love, no self care 

The first 60 pounds shed with relative ease, it's been the last 15 - 20 that have caused me to yo-yo, binge eat, and throw in the towel more than a handful of times.  To become recommitted to my WHY, I had to change the dialogue with myself.  I am no longer interested in losing weight or inches to step out of the back row, instead I want to be in the best shape of my life to simply be in the best shape of my life, but also shed the excuses I've been carting around. 

 

Here's to a brand new chapter, a brand new set of goals, and a brand new WHY and feeling incredibly confident with bangs and red lipstick! 

 

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Going Keto (our grocery haul)

After a year of climbing on the wagon and tumbling off the back of the wagon with diet and exercise, I'm finally ready to recommit to my goals. Two weeks ago we, (Patrick and I), recommitted to our diet and started a Keto (low carb, high fat) lifestyle.  For us, this style of eating isn't much different from our preferred paleo lifestyle - a few tweaks we had to make were eliminating all potatoes, bananas, and apples which had become staples in our diet. 

Instead of looking at eliminating those things as a negative, we've happily embraced the change and are have more fun with our meals.  

Here's a look at our cart for the week: 

A few key things to understand about our grocery cart and our beliefs when it comes to organic and/or grass-fed veggies and protein.   We believe that you should do the best you can with what you can afford and have access too.  If organic and/or grass-fed items are on sale then we will typically lean in that direction.  However, it's more important to us that eliminate processed boxed foods first and foremost. 

Our menu includes:

Nacho Cheese Chicken Casserole

Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal

Turkey Burgers topped Chili Lime Spices

Mocha Cheesecake Bars

Cheeseburger Boli

Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Pie

Flatbread Pizza Crust - modifications to this recipe 1 cup Parm 1 cup Mozz. and Italian Seasoning

 A few recipes in progress off my phone- hopefully, we'll have leftovers so I can create proper photographs. 

a bit of honesty

Things haven't been right for months and I wasn't sure why until I took some time to become brutally honest with myself.

This health and fitness industry is a strange animal - one that shouldn't have shocked me or made me feel the way I had been feeling but it did.  

About a year ago, I began to struggle with comparison.  My comparison ranged from self image to allowing my mind to be cluttered by to many ideas, thoughts, courses, youtube videos and keeping up with the "jones".  

I'd come home from personal training every afternoon with the goal of writing a new blog post or connecting with a new coaching client only to feel paralyzed by what everyone else was doing.  When comparing myself, I neglected to honor how far I'd come in my own personal weight loss journey and allowed where I didn't measure up to consume me.

After spending countless afternoons in a dark bedroom under the covers, I knew something had to change.  I ran through all of the things I wasn't doing and should be pushing myself to do more of, but the more I tried the harder it was for my fingers to key and the words to flow. 

In mid-February, I ended up getting sick and found myself on the couch for two days.  While I was resting I kept feeling that a decision needed to be made about the future of my coaching business.  I could no longer continue to have these downcast feelings or pain tugging at my heart. 

On day 2 of being under the weather, I looked at my incredibly supportive husband and said, "my heart can't continue to break anymore over this... should I walk away?"

His response "If you aren't happy then walk away.... it's okay".

If you know me at all, walking away... isn't something that I do lightly.  In fact, I resisted for two or three more days until I came to the decision that as much the health and wellness industry brings me joy, for the time being, I need to reconnect with the journey personally and not professionally.  

So what does this mean?  Well... I'm not exactly sure except I plan to use this blog as a personal platform to share my journey and what it looks like as I navigate returning to my roots as a photographer and creative. 

I'd love for you to leave comments, share your story, and ask questions.  For the time being, I won't be accepting coaching clients as I don't feel I would be the best coach for them as I navigate this change of direction.  To those of you who have supported this journey from day one or have gotten on board along the way, thank you, thank you, thank you.