Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Links I like plus Dinner and Healthy Dessert Recipe


Well, due to us spending some time on the computer doing our taxes, I haven't had much time to do any research for my next topic, however I did want to share some links to a few health websites that I have recently found. I really like them for they have great articles, workouts for free, recipes, etc.

1. This website has a lot of different free workout videos including cardio, yoga, victorias secret workouts, healthy eating guides, recipes, entertainment, articles. I just love the information they have. I have done a few workouts from here too and they are great. Especially for beginners. The articles are interesting to read. There are all sorts of tips and tricks on here.

2. This website is just for women and is more geared towards health rather than fitness. It does have some fitness and recipes tips as well, but talks about health as a whole, to include mind, body and spirit. It talks about relationships, sex, money, style, family health, top health conditions, pet health, caregiver health, etc. It is a great source of information.

I could spend hours looking through both of these. I hope you find them useful!

A recipe I want to share with you that is perfect for a cold day is:

Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole Adapted from The Fresh 20

2 tbs olive oil                                 1 bag broccoli steamer
3 tbs flour                                      2 carrots peeled and cut into 1/4 inch coins
3 cups warmed skim milk               2 ribs of celery thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt                                     1/4 medium onion diced
pinch of black pepper                     2 cups cooked broun rice
1 3/4 cup colby jack cheese          2 cooked chicken breast, cubed
pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with non-stick spray. Heat a medium pot over low/med heat. Add olive oil and flour. Whisk together for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in warm milk until completely combined. Add salt and pepper. Allow this to simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Then add in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese a little at a time. Continue to whisk. Add in the nutmeg. Simmer for another 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. This will thicken into a nice cream sauce.

Meanwhile, cook the steamable broccoli and set aside. Combine the carrots, celery and onion in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly cooked. Then mix the broccoli in with the vegetable mixture. In a large bowl, add the cooked rice, veggies, chicken and cheese sauce. Stir well and pour into baking dish. Top with the rest of the cheese (1/4 cup) and back for 20 minutes.

I have a pretty big sweet tooth and it is mostly satisfied by cookies, cake, brownies, things of that nature. So I am trying to find some things that will work to cure my craving. I came up with a great healthy dessert that more than satisfied my taste buds. It is my new favorite sweet treat.  I think I will call it:

Creamy Strawberry Parfait
Slice about 5 strawberries (more if you prefer)
In a small bowl, mix 2 tbs of plain greek yogurt, 2 tbs light cool whip and about a tsp of honey. Mix well until all are incorporated together. Arrange strawberries onto a plate or in a separate bowl. Top with the yogurt mixture and drizzle about 1 tsp of chocolate syrup on top. 

Enjoy! :)

I hope you enjoy the great links I have found and the recipes. Do try the strawberry dessert. It is surprisingly very good!

I do have some subjects I plan to discuss soon, it just has been a very busy week. Sure would like to know if there is anything anyone would want to know about!! ;) I have lots of readers, you all are just very silent lol...but as long as you are reading, I am happy. :)

Ha ha! I had to use this as my motivational picture today, since I just did this yesterday! lol But seriously, your own reflection is your best motivation! Stay Active!!

THIS is my goal!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My hard work :)

By all means, I do not think I am top notch, but proud of the shape I am in. I am turning 30 this year, so working to be in the best shape I have ever been in to get through that milestone a bit easier ;) lol

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners VS. Sugar

Hello Everybody!

I have been asked to discuss artificial sweeteners compared to sugar and the differences between the artificial sweeteners. We are all familiar with the traditional pink, blue and yellow sweetener packets. Sweet' N Low, Equal and Splenda. You are likely to find these most anywhere you go. Sweet N Low and Equal have been around for many years. Sweet N Low was discovered in the late 1800's during the war when sugar production was low. It is quite sweeter than sugar. I personally hate Sweet N Low. I think it tastes terrible and leaves an awful aftertaste. I pretty much feel the same way about Equal. Equal contains aspartame, which many people tend to notice heaaches and stomach aches from Equal. These are FDA approved, as some sweeteners are not. (Which basically means, if it is FDA approved, the ingredients are regulated and approved for safe consumption).

I mostly want to talk about the three most popular sweeteners currently which are, Splenda, Stevia and Monk Fruit.  And I bought them all so I will be doing a personal taste test of the three with some nice, cold ice tea.

Splenda: It is derived from sugar, so it tastes like sugar...right? (ha ha, i had to say it). Personally I do like the taste of Splenda. While it is derived from real sugar in the beginning, but the time it is actually produced there is hardly and sugar left. It is manufactured in a chemical plant and is basically Sucralose, which is not a natural ingredient. While Splenda is mostly made up of man made chemicals, it is FDA approved.

Stevia: Found usually as Truvia, this is an herbal sweetener that is found South America. It is about 250 times sweeter than sugar. It is not FDA approved.

Monk Fruit: Found usually as Nectresse (from the makers of Splenda ;) lol...) It is extracted from the Monk Fruit found in Asia. Monk fruit is a small round green melon type fruit. The Chinese have been using it for years for folk remedies and is thought to improved longevity, although this has not been proved. It is only FDA approved as GRAS which means "Generally Recognized as Safe" but only for an additive. That means, the FDA is OK with it, but hasn't totally approved it.

So what do you choose with all these options? Honestly, whatever you want and tastes best to you, but whatever it is, the real it in moderation. Sugar is natural, it is found in your body. Your system knows how to metabolize it. However, it is empty calories, it has not vitamins or minerals and too much can cause diabetes and weight gain. One 12 oz soda has 8 teaspoons of sugar equaling about 130 calories.  Artificial sweeteners have no nutritional value so they have no calories. This can help if you are trying to lose weight. However, they are mostly man made chemicals processed in a plant. Some chemicals used in their makeups are unknown which is why the FDA hasn't approved some of them. Artificial sweeteners tricks your body due to the sweet taste. This causes a similar insulin response to eating sugar. When the insulin response increases, your body will store fat. The sweetness will activate the pleasure center in your brain and you will have more sweet cravings causing yourself to actually indulge in sweet things. Not good for weight loss.

Again, there is no real good answer for which is better, but I personally stick to Splenda. But in moderation. I don't want the calories from sugar, but i don't go crazy with things that are artificially sweetened for I don't want the fooled insulin response.

Taste Test: I found The Monk Fruit to be the sweetest. It is VERY sweet. But it is somewhat gritty. I did like it, but is almost too sweet to drink on a regular basis. And it does have quite an aftertaste, almost chemical like. I found Stevia to be the least sweet and the granules are also gritty and are very heavy and fall to the bottom of your glass. Not much of an aftertaste, but it was my least favorite. Splenda was the winner. I still like the sweetness for it isn't too sweet and the granules are light and dissolve quickly.

*1/29 Update: I don't recommend the Monk Fruit in your coffee. It's good in tea (minus the aftertaste) but not so much in coffee*

So that's it! Whichever you choose, just don't overdo it.

Today's Workout is from 13 minute HIIT cardio, body weight strength and stretching

Have a great day.
Stay Active!

I started because this is the one and only thing I have total control over in my life! My health and how I feel..and I will not quit now..not after all this time! kce

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday's Recipe

Good Evening!

Tonight's post will be short and sweet, but as promised I wanted to give you a recipe to try.

I got my first weekly meal plan after redeeming my Groupon from "The Fresh 20". We have spent some time  today following all the meal preps for this week's meals, chopping veggies, cooking rice, etc. It has been time consuming, but will be well worth it this week to make cooking quick and easy!!

Tonight's recipe is Chicken Milanese with lemon broccoli rice. It is baking away in the oven right now and smells and looks amazing!

Adapted from "The Fresh 20" website:

1 LB chicken breast, (2 breasts sliced in half)
1tsp kosher salt
2 cups bread crumbs
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 Lemon, zested and juiced (kept separate)
1/2 tsp paprika
Pinch of black pepper
2 eggs
1 TBS water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lay out chicken pieces. Season both sides with salt. On a large plate or baking pan, combine bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, paprika, pepper and lemon zest. On another plate or pan beat 2 eggs with the water. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then into the bread crumbs. Place onto the baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn and bake for an additional 5 minutes. If your chicken is thick, you may need a few more minutes but bake until no longer pink in the middle. Drizzle cooked chicken with fresh lemon juice.

For the broccoli, make one bag of steam-able broccoli. Add 2 cups cooked brown rice. Mix together. Add about 2 TBS of fresh lemon juice, 2 TBS of olive oil and a pinch of black pepper. A little garlic powder would be good too. Serve with the chicken.


Unfortunately, no workouts this weekend but tomorrow I will be back at it!

Tomorrow I will be talking about real sugar vs. artificial sweeteners.

Good Night and Stay Active!
Motivation Monday

Friday, January 25, 2013

Health Benefits of Wine

Tonight Brian and I are taking some friends of ours to our favorite wine tasting place. Since it is Friday, I thought it would be nice to talk about something fun, such as drinking wine and it's possible health benefits.

Brian and I love drinking wine, learning about different wine and their territories and finding great wine and food pairings. So us having this fun hobby, are we gaining any health benefits from it?

Research has shown that wine contains many antioxidants, which is good for your body to help boost immune system and rid your body of toxins. But wine specifically contains Resveratrol, which is found in the skin of the grapes. Resveratrol can reduce blood clotting risks and decrease inflammation and plaque in your arteries which in turn prevents damage on the insides of your arteries. Red wine has more of this than white due to the process of red wine retaining more of the skins. Also red wines produced in cooler climates contain more Resveratrol. Now alcohol of any type in very small doses has been shown to increase your HDL(good cholesterol), prevent some cancers and reduce your risk of dementia and other neurological diseases. So can a glass of wine a day keep the dr away? Probably not, lol, but it can be beneficial IN MODERATION. Meaning for women, 1 5oz glass per day, and men 2 5oz glasses per day.

If you are not a drinker, I am not by any means saying you should start drinking, as alcohol can be empty calories, have a negative effect on your liver, etc. Also if you already have high triglycerides you do not want to drink alcohol.  But if you do enjoy wine like myself here and there and are relatively healthy, it is nice to know you may be helping your heart some. It is thought that you can get this same effect by drinking grape juice or simply eating grapes.

That's all I have today. So the next time you raise a glass of wine, you can remember these little tidbits and let your friends know! ;) Cheers to good health!

Stay Active,

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What is Proper Portion Size

Good Morning!

Well I must say that I have had a rough last 12 hours. I went to bed with a HUGE headache and then I woke up this morning to find my phone charger no longer works. So I have to go to Walmart before work today to find a new charger. UGH! At least there won't be anybody out shopping this early lol.

So anyways, I think today I will talk about portion size. This is something that is very frequently ignored for we often just eat what is on our plate, no matter if the portions are 3 times more than we need. This picture gives you an idea of what your plate should consist of:

You basically can have as many veggies as you want during the day as snacks and with meals. There is no number as to how much you can have. Veggies have lots of fiber and nutrients. Get creative...cooked, uncooked, salad, carrots with a small amount of hummus, steamable veggies (i am a huge fan of those)  whatever you want. (see my previous post on tips to increase your veggie intake).  Carbs I don't feel are a total must to you plate, but if you can't live without them, make it whole grain rice, whole grain pasta, roasted red potatoes, but keep it small, 1-2 ounces. Your piece of protein should be no larger than the palm of your hand, about 4-6 ounces. For dessert, try fresh strawberries with some greek yogurt, or grilled peaches. This way you are getting your fruit in and helping your sweet tooth without eating a unhealthy sugary snack. Remember, everything in moderation so if you want to have ONE small piece of Dove dark chocolate as an evening sweet treat, do it. Just don't eat the whole bag ;)

My brother (who inspires a lot of this for he is new to the healthy lifestyle) said to me that he realized if he scales down his portions, his food will last him longer. Which seems like a silly thing, but it's true. You can make one meal and only eat a small portion which will in turn help you lose weight and stretch your budget and food supply. 

I found two really really informational links about portion size.
"Web MD Portion Size Plate"  I found this very cool because it gives you pictures of almost every food type and compares it to an object so you can easily visualize portions. For example, they show 3 oz of cooked chicken breast is equivalent to the size of a deck of cards. This is great because you can associate foods to objects so when you are cooking you can easily decide if it is the correct portion. I love this tool.

"10 Top Secrets of Portion Control" This article has some really great tips such as using smaller plates and not eating in front of the TV. 

If portion size may be a problem, I think you would benefit a lot from checking out these two sites, especially the Web MD tool. Also, a rule I learned a long time ago, don't eat until you are 100% or more full. Eat until you feel you are about 80% full. It takes your body some time to catch up to what you have eaten so many times you over fill yourself before your mind says, "ok stop, I'm full!". At that point you are uncomfortable and have over consumed more calories that you need. And no you do not have to eat everything that is on your plate. 

So due to my time constraints today, thanks to my non working charger, I only had time for one 16 minute HIIT workout from 16 minutes of cardio and strength. I did not use any equipment. If you don't have a sandbag, use dumbbells, a milk jug, any object of some weight, or just do squats. 

Have a great day!
Stay Active!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Heath subjects

What subjects related to health, diet and fitness do you want to know more about?

Let me know!!


Low Sodium Diet

Good Humpday Morning :)

Last weekend I was asked if too much sodium in your diet can cause you to gain weight. I thought this would be a good topic because in our daily lives we eat sooooo much sodium and it really is not healthy for us. My answer to the question is...sodium itself does not cause you to gain "fat" weight, but you most definitely can gain water weight. And that water weight can be pretty significant.

Sodium (salt) is found naturally in our body and it's purpose is to regulate fluid balance, help the nervous system to send electrical impulses to the brain and stimulate muscle contraction. But too much sodium and this all gets out of whack. On a daily basis we should not consume more than 2,000mg of sodium. Now to put that in to perspective,  1 teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300mg. 1 teaspoon!!! So the average person consumes hundreds if not thousands of milligrams of sodium more than they should each day. So what's the big deal? Consuming too much salt can increase your blood pressure significantly. The excess salt causes your body to hang on to all that fluid rather than allowing your kidneys to filter it out through urine. This increase in fluid in your body gets into your blood stream causing more fluid volume in your veins and arteries. This in turn increases your blood pressure and causes your heart to work much harder. You can feel bloated, swollen, tired and muscle cramping.

Where does the sodium come from? ANYTHING that you eat that comes in a package is high in sodium. Cookies, crackers, lunch meat, frozen dinners, chips, etc. Most beverages are high in sodium. Take a look at the label on your juice, soda, whatever it is you're drinking. Spice blends are high is sodium too. So the next time you want to use Montreal Steak Seasoning, take a look at the sodium content.

My best advice on limiting your sodium intake is to shop on the perimeter of the grocery store. Meaning buy fresh ingredients. Stay away from the middle of the store. That is where all the packaged, processed foods are. If you do need to buy something such as canned goods, soups, crackers..look for "low sodium" options. They may be a bit more pricey, but it is worth it to be healthy. Use individual spices and herbs to season food rather than the spice blends. Buy lunch meat from the deli, not in the packaged meat department. DO NOT keep table salt around. It just isn't needed. I often omit salt from many recipes too and never notice it. I read somewhere salt is an acquired taste. As is adapting back to low sodium, so you will eventually be ok without tasting the extra salt. I actually find that if something is too salty, my taste buds freak out and it is not good to me so I won't eat it. Also many things that don't taste salty are high in sodium. Packaged chocolate chip cookies for example.

So start looking at your labels and pay attention to serving sizes as many things will have "3 servings per Package" and 500mg per serving. If you ate all 3 servings, you are getting 1500mg of sodium in one sitting!

Today's workout:
Total Body Strength and Cardio Blend This is just under 20 minutes long. It is a good one for beginners I think as you can omit the weights and just use bodyweight. It got my heart rate up and I was sweating, but it was not super intense.
10 minute full body workout from Just something to add to my workout, as I personally like to do 30 min per day (although if you are doing HIIT exercises it's not necessary ;)....)

Have a great day and Stay Active!

I had to use this picture today because I say this all the time to my husband lol so it made me chuckle :)


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Benefits of Massage and Green Stuff Update

Good Morning!
I apologize It has been a while since I have posted anything other than recipes. This weekend I went and got a much needed massage so I wanted to talk about the benefits of massage. Part of being healthy is taking the time to slow down and pampering yourself. Especially if you work out, your muscles, joints and bones are taking a beating. We also experience stress from work, family, money...basically life...on a daily basis. This causes us to begin to experience pain, problems sleeping and unable to unwind. I am a firm believe in some holistic tactics to help life to be more enjoyable and improve health. I am a big fan of massage. While, I do not get them as often as I would like, I feel much better after I have had one. I personally prefer more of a therapeutic massage rather than a fluffed up spa massage because I find therapeutic massages do more to help my sore, achey muscles. There are endless benefits to massage so I wanted to talk about a few.

  • Pain relief: Massage therapists use specific techniques to address sore, tight muscles and connective tissue. Also some will incorporate pressure and stretching to help loosen you up. When your muscle fibers are tight and "stuck" together, you feel cramped up and pain and need this worked out by a professional. Also massage is known to produce endorphins which is your body's natural pain reliever. 
  • Relaxation: You get one hour or so in a dim lit room with aromatherapy and human contact. Massage is also known to decrease your production of stress hormones, allowing you to calm down, loosen up and be happy :).
  • Relieve headaches: Aside from the reasons above, massaging your scalp and face brings circulation to your head to reduce eye strain, sinus pressure and in turn will help headaches. 
  • Massage has been known to decrease blood pressure and increase your immune system. Massage helps your body to rid itself of toxins which will help these things. 
  • Improves circulation: This allows more oxygen and nutrients to make it to your tissues and organs which is very important for your overall functionality and health.
  • Reduces muscle spasms: If you are an athlete or do repetitive motion you can notice muscle spasms. It could be due to an injury, poor nutrition, dehydration, sitting for long periods of times. Sometimes muscle spasms can lead to muscle tears, so it is important to work these clumped together muscle fibers out. Again circling back to the pain relief.
  • Massage has also been known to help reduce anxiety and depression. Human contact is super important for everybody and these conditions especially and this is a good way to get human contact.  
I always feel so much better after a massage, and with my sore muscles from sitting at a desk all day and my workouts, I often need a good massage to work all that out. I hope you take the time to treat yourself to something that while is relaxing and pampering, has great health benefits. Take advantage of Groupon, Living Social, etc for there are often massage coupons.

My Green Stuff update: This is my fourth week doing it. I have to say I do notice just overall feeling better. The biggest thing I have noticed is my skin has cleared up a lot! I haven't had a breakout since I started drinking it. I have actually had a few comments on my skin, including the girl who did my facial on Saturday! She told me my skin looked great, my pores were all open and she didn't see anything that needed special treatment. She asked me what I did to have great skin, so I told her I really thought it was this smoothie. This week I added a small handful of blackberries to it to spruce up the taste. Also blackberries have a lot of good fiber and antioxidants.

Today's workout was:
HIIT the Ground Running Workout This was about a 33 minute cardio/bodyweight HIIT routine from fitnessblender.

Have a great day! 
Stay Active!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Recipe of the Week: Jambalaya plus Work Week Menu


It has been a busy weekend so I haven't had time to post anything, although I have been thinking about a lot of ideas!

 I thought that it might be fun for Sundays to be the "recipe day". I will pick one recipe that I will make on Sunday's to be the "Recipe of the Week". Then I will try to share our menu for the work week as much as possible. We do try to plan as much as possible, but as life is busy and unpredictable  we may not always have a plan or be able to stick with it, but I will share what I can. So here is this weeks plan!

Recipe of the week:

Jambalya (this will also be on my Recipe page)
This is a Paula Deen recipe, however here is how I "heathalized" it:
I used smoked turkey sausage. I omitted the beef bouillon and salt. You can use low sodium diced tomatoes.  This does make a lot, so it will get us dinner for tonight and one other night for this week. I made some gluten free corn muffins to go along with it. It is very filling, so don't let your eyes be bigger than your stomach. And you will not miss the salt. Trust me.

Our Plans for the rest of the week:
Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Eat the white meat (no skin) served with a small salad and a veggie for sides.

Left over Jambalaya.

T-bone Steak. Now we RARELY eat red meat, and hardly steak at that. I am talking more rare than once in a blue moon. However we recently found these for a really great deal. Brian plans to grill them and I will only eat about 4 oz. We have some red potatoes left from last week, so we will either roast them in the oven or make mashed potatoes (with little butter). We will also serve with a salad.

Cream Cheese Crock Pot Chicken (also find on the recipe page)
This is a recipe I found on Pinterest. It is simple for the work week to throw into the crock pot. I prefer to use 1/3 less fat cream cheese and a jar of salsa rather than Rotel. I also bought low sodium black beans. With the can of corn, rinse the corn to wash off extra salt or use frozen corn. This is really good as leftovers as tacos too.

Left overs from Thursday.

This weeks menu seems relatively boring, but we both will be working late and needed some mostly healthy, easy dinners.

I did not have a workout today, but as an active rest day Brian, my brother and I went to the RV show and walked around and up and down many stairs to RV's and campers for a long while. That was fun! lol

Have a great week and I will talk to you soon.

Inspire your friends - it may take days, weeks, months but they are watching!

The gym isn't my thing, but healthy is :)

Stay Active!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Get Lean, My Way

I have been an avid exerciser since I was about 18 years old. Believe me I have done everything. I have been a runner. I have done kickboxing. I was a Curves member for a year or so. I have been a member to multiple gyms. I have done the now cancelled "Exercise TV" routines. I have ordered many workout videos. I have even done a few Insanity workouts. About a year and a half ago, I came across what was at the time "BodyrockTV" which introduced me to free "HIIT" workouts on their website. Each workout was 12-15 minutes long and SUPER intense. They claimed all you needed to do was 12-15 minutes per day of that type of exercise. No weight lifting, no other cardio, nothing. So me, who tries to find the easiest, cheapest way to do things which is probably obvious by now, lol, I said why not. I will tell you that that is the ONLY exercise I did about 4-5 times per week (I now add the elliptical sometimes on top of my HIIT routine) and after a few months I noticed my body changing, my clothes looser. I lost 1 pant size and close to 10 lbs. It is the best shape I have ever been in, even though I have done multiple other types of exercises that lasted 30, 45, 60 minutes per workout. I really could not believe 12 minutes a day was all it was taking. Ever since then I have researched more of those work out routines on the internet. I now do it 6 times per week. I have found other websites such as and that have many of these workouts all for free. Bodyrock is now But there are many others if you just google or look on You can find so many routines!

So what is HIIT? It is a way to push your cardiovascular system, muscular strength and burn some mega calories in a much shorter amount of time.( Aren't we all short on time anyways?) It is a routine of a few different specific exercises that are a mix of cardio and body weight strength. You do the exercises usually for anywhere from 20-60 seconds with about 10 seconds rest between each exercise. It is done in a circuit type routine meaning it usually is a few specific exercises that are done for one round and repeated, but it can be all different exercises as well. The full routines usually last about 8-20 minutes. You get a huge bang for your buck. With each individual exercise, you are to push yourself until your muscles are burning and you have given all you got. The purpose is to push your body to increase it's anaerobic AND aerobic ability (unlike cardio alone that only uses aerobic fitness).This will cause your metabolic rate to increase through the roof! Which in turn will allow your body to burn more calories at rest after you are done working out and possibly for 48 hours after. This is burning fat, People!! The HIIT strategy allows you to achieve weight loss with the intense cardio WHILE building great muscle tone (i could show you my biceps ;) lol JK) at the same time which is important for a maximum calorie burn. Cardio alone does not build muscle and you can actually have muscle loss with basic cardio.

So...a routine that burns maximum calories during the workout and up to 2 days after, is free, requires no equipment, can be done anywhere, challenges you like no other, is short and provides visible results pretty dang quick? It's a great solution! I personally love it. I even have my husband doing the Zuzka workouts. Which her workouts tend to be my favorite as well, but fitnessblender has some really great ones too. After trying every possible exercise technique out there, I have finally found something I love and that really, really works. I think if you give it a try you will like it too. The work outs are tough, you can barely breathe, your muscles are on fire and you sweat a ton, but for only 15 is totally do-able and worth it. I do have some before and after pictures that once I get enough guts to post them, I will show you! I would love to help anybody who is willing to give this a shot! If you try it and feel it's too hard, don't get discouraged. There are ways to modify the workouts and your endurance will quickly improve. I guarantee it.

Today's workout:
I did 20 minutes on the elliptical (only because I like to get some extra cardio on top of HIIT, but it's not totally necessary.) fitnessblender....19 minutes HIIT Cardio routine


Good Night! Stay Active!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cooking cheap, fresh and healthy. Can it be easy?

I have some tidbits to share with you today.

To start, I wanted to give some advice on cooking healthy. I know it can be a daunting thought, especially if you are just starting and don't know where to begin or what to make. And many times healthy recipes can be long, drawn out and involve things you have never even heard of! Well I found an interesting solution to take the guesswork out.

If you are not subscribed to Groupon...well you should be. There are ton of fitness classes, yoga classes, etc that you can find for great deals. Today while browsing through the Groupon App on my phone during my lunch break, I came across this really neat Groupon for a website called .The groupon is $24.00 for  12 months of one dinner plan bundle. The details are: every Friday you get a meal plan for 5 healthy dinners with a shopping list of only 20 ingredients. You also get recipes and ideas for leftovers. The meals are designed to feed a family of four and are strategically planned to play off each other. You get to choose from either classic healthy, gluten free or vegetarian. There are two other bundles that include more than just what I listed. But 20 ingredients for 5 meals?! Now that had my attention. I looked up their website before I decided to pull the trigger and buy it. It is really neat! It's a basic family who got tired of take out and feeling like crap and created this membership community to make wholesome, healthy foods, with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Now why am I encouraging this and sounding like a salesperson? I just think this concept is really cool plainly put lol. It's because I know how extremely busy the majority of us are and we don't have time to make elaborate healthy meals that are difficult and time consuming. And what is worse than having a goal of cooking healthy only to be discouraged. This takes the guess work out of it! Also I have recently realized I am gluten intolerant and would love some ideas for gluten free meals, but even if I wasn't and just chose the classic healthy option, how great is this package. At $24 ($49 value) even if I end up not following it to a "T", it will be worth the money. I am always seeking EASY, CHEAP ways to be healthy and part of my blog is that I want to share these things I find with you! I just think this is great! Ok, I am done with that. But I really do encourage you to at least check their website whether you have a Groupon or not. I think this could help a lot of people. Especially those looking for ways to simplify life.

When I was researching my post on drinking water, I came across "No Diet, No Exercise Tips to Lose Weight" from It has 6 tips on things you can incorporate into your daily life to assist in your weight loss goals. It's worth reading through.

I also came across a website that makes some cute handmade workout tanks and tees, The ladies might find these cute! I plan to put an order in soon for the pink "keep calm and work out" tank. I will show it to you once I get it!

Today's workouts: 25 minute bodyweight workout routine 8 minute quick cardio

Well that's all I have today. Later in the week I do plan to have a discussion on my workout strategy and also one on how what holistic tactics can make you feel so much better and why!

Have a great evening and thanks for stopping by!

make peace

Stay Active

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stay hydrated!

Hello! I want to talk about drinking water. Plain, old water. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, yet most of us live in a constant state of dehydration. And that is no good place to be! I thought about this because, it was part of my new years resolution and because as cold as it has been outside, the last thing you want to do is drink cold water. But being dehydrated has many negative effects to it. One it can cause headaches. Being dehydrated causes the brain to not get the right amount of electrolytes, fluid and oxygen that it needs. The nerve receptors are very sensitive in the lining of your brain, so when your vessels are dilating and constricting it will cause pain. Being dehydrated also can cause lower back pain, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, constipation, elevated heart rate, electrolyte imbalances...just to name a few things. I have compiled a small list of some interesting reasons why we should drink water and stay hydrated (other than to prevent the symptoms of dehydrated I listed above).

  • It can aide in weight loss. We all want to do whatever tricks we can to help with this right? While this is not going to make you shed pounds and pounds, especially if this is the only effort you are putting towards weight loss, which I know it's not!...It will help some. First off, replace almost EVERYTHING you drink with plain water. Replace soda, juice, tea loaded with sugar, energy drinks, etc. We end up drinking A LOT of calories each day. If you start replacing your daily beverages with water, think about how many calories you will NOT be taking in. (p.s. good way to eliminate 250 calories for the "500 calorie deficit" rule!). Also, it is recommended when you feel hungry, drink 16 ounces of water right away. Many times thirst is mistaken for hunger. You might find you aren't hungry anymore...or you may find you will end up eating less portions with your snacks/meals after drinking that 16oz of water. The last way it can aide in weight loss is it can increase your metabolism only slightly, by your body working to warm up the ice cold water you just ingested.. 
  • It helps lubricate joints. Staying well hydrated allows water to go everywhere it needs to go in your body, including your joints. As we get older, our joints tend to get stiffer, especially where you may have had injury and this will help keep them moving smoothly.
  • It flushes toxins out of your body. Your kidneys are the organs responsible for filtering your blood and riding your body of toxins and waste. Staying hydrated helps the kidneys to do this. When you are dehydrated, the toxins, which is bad "stuff" not useful for your body, can build up in your blood stream, under your skin, etc. This will make you feel...well crappy and have crappy skin complexion.
  • It gives you energy. Drinking water first thing in the morning, hydrates you and wakes your system up to make you feel energized. I have even heard suggestions to try drinking water first thing once you wake up rather than coffee to get your pep in your step. (although I do still have a small, 6-8oz cup of coffee here and there, hey nobody is perfect!)
  • It helps boost your immune system. When your mucous membranes are dry (lips, mouth, nasal passages) germs are more likely to accumulate. Staying hydrated helps keep your mucous membranes moist, an environment germs are less likely to want to be.
  • It can decrease the risk of many diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, some cancers.
Now there are many, many more reasons to drink water, but I feel these are most important. According the Mayo Clinic website, it is suggested for men to drink around 13- 8oz cups of water per day and women to drink around 9- 8oz cups of water per day.  

I have even found an Android "app" to help remind you to drink water! I am sure there are iPhone apps too!

So today my workouts were again from - a 20 minute upper body strength routine - a 10 minute super intense HIIT cardio routine (awesome if you only have 10 minutes, you get a lot of bang for your buck).

Cheers to your water drinking!


run run run

Preview of tonights post...

Good afternoon! I am sitting here enjoying my lunch of low sodium turkey, a few fresh tomato slices and avacado. I think i will post about the impotance of drinking water tonight when i get home. I know, i know. All these subjects seem so simple and what else is there to know? I get it but there is a lot of information out there and let's face it...friendly reminders of simple solutions to be heathy are always needed! So stay tuned... I will also post my workouts i did today. Later in the week i will be posting about my personal work out strategy and why i think it works. And believe me i have tried everything. ~Mandi :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Eat Your Veggies!!

Good Morning,
It's Monday. Only 5 more day's until the weekend! Ha ha, can you tell I am not in the mood to work! I am awfully tired today.

My topic for today I had came up with yesterday while discussing with my brother why he needs to eat his veggies. His response was "Yuck". So I thought I would find some information on why, as a whole, most people don't like vegetables and why we all have such a negative vibe when it comes to them. What I found mostly is that people were forced to eat them as children, almost like punishment, so it created a negative psychological effect. Which is unfortunate because you may actually like vegetables, despite the negative correlation you have with them!  I also found that many people have more taste buds that are sensitive to bitter tastes. After researching some, I found an article on Web MD,  that gives some insight as to why we don't like vegetables and it has 15 tips for "veggie haters", as they say, to incorporate veggies into your life. I loved the information this article had. It was very interesting. I urge you to read it for you may find some ideas that will work with you and your family. I think this information is important as well when you are trying to get your kids to eat more vegetables. So I dedicate this to Kyle. Thanks for the idea!

My workout today was from :it was a 16 minute, intense cardio/bodyweight routine. It will definitely make you sweat! I also did a 5 minute lower body routine.

Have a great start to your week! Stay Active!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Healthy Eating for Kids plus Chicken Fried Chicken

Good Morning,

Today I wanted to talk about healthy eating for kids. Now I do not have kids myself, so I don't have first hand experience (other than maybe some little cousins that can be a bit picky ;) ) but I know many people struggle with ways to get their children to eat healthy food. It seems that kids are drawn to the processed, packaged foods because that is what is frequently advertised on their television channels, and let's face it...that stuff is often pretty cheap and easy to make. And in our busy lives, cheap and easy sounds awfully appealing. But it is important to instill healthy habits when children are young so that they can grow up and have great quality of life and not suffer health problems far earlier than they should. And with the electronics being such a staple in our lives, computers, IPads, xbox, etc, kids are less physically active these days. So incorporating exercise is key as well. I have found a nice article, "10 Ways to Get Kids to Eat Heathier" . It has some wonderful advice. I also found a few websites with great healthy, kid tested, recipes:

                                 (found in
                                 (found in

I think all of these sites have some great information. I hope you parents out there find it useful!

Since today is chilly out and I even saw a few snowflakes earlier, some comfort food sounds amazing to me for dinner. But the comfort food is almost always unhealthy. I happened to be watching +Food Network  this morning and came across Bobby Deen making a somewhat healthier version of Paula Deen's "Chicken fried Chicken". It looked and sounded soooo good. I like his "Not My Mama's Meals" show because he transforms Paula's food to healthier versions.  I may try to use gluten free all purpose flour instead of regular flour. I think I will cook up some frozen veggies as a side. And maybe some mashed potatoes made with red potatoes. I will put the link to the recipe on my Recipe page. You should try it too!

                                           Lastly, I will leave you with some motivation.
Motivation Monday! |

Have a great Sunday. Stay active!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

500 Calorie Deficit

It's a dreary Saturday. No sun shining, everything is a little wet. On days like today I do like to just curl up with a blanket, with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and read. However, I did get my workout in today. I did the same one as yesterday, ZWOW #51 . I also spent most of the morning adding an "about me" page and a few recipes to the blog. And when I am done posting, I am off to pick the dog up from the groomer! She should be awfully pretty today!

Today I wanted to share a very interesting concept that seems so simple but is very effective for weight loss. I first heard about it a nursing conference I went to a few months ago where a speaker talked about a 500 calorie deficit a day that can possibly result in a 1 pound per week weight loss. What this means in a nutshell, is cut out 250 calories from your diet and do an exercise routine that will burn 250 calories to equal a 500 calorie per day deficit. So start cutting out your sodas you drink, the cookies before bed, the candy bar at lunch, whatever it may be and start doing a vigorous 30-45 minute cardio/strength training exercise routine. And I don't mean, moseying on your treadmill ;). Something that will get your heart rate up and leave you short of breath enough you can't talk. That is how you know you are working out to your full potential. I found an article on  +LIVESTRONG.COM,( clicke here -> that explains this a little bit more and has some other tips.

Since I do not do the green smoothie on the weekends...i made my own breakfast today. And it was too pretty not to share. I scrambled two eggs, wilted a small handful of baby spinach. Then once on the plate I topped it with a half an avocado diced up , one tomato slice diced up and sprinkled a little cheddar cheese on top. It was very good!

I am curious how everyone spends their Saturdays, especially dreary ones. If you don't mind, leave in the comments below! 


Friday, January 11, 2013

Green Stuff

Good Friday Evening Folks...

Hope you all had a great day. I wanted to do a quick update and share a few things. I will be working on my blog a lot this weekend with adding some information about myself, recipes and trying to add a question/answer forum. (with the help of my wonderful bro hopefully). I will possibly add some pictures too. It will be a work in progress to get it fully up and running with all that I want it to be, so be patient and hang with me, please!! I want you all coming back for more!

Today a few of my co-workers were inquiring about what I eat for breakfast since I was disclosing I try to eat mostly fruits and veggies during the day. So I am going to share The Glowing Green Smoothie created by nutritionist +Kimberly Snyder . It is a plant based smoothie that will help you feel better, give you more energy for the day and help clear your skin. Her website is a really nice website with tips and tricks of her own for health that she has shared. Now if you are a texture person or have a problem with the "green" stuff, you may struggle with it, but I find it has a very fruity flavor and I enjoy it. I take a few minutes on Sundays to make it and split it up into 5 cups for the week. It's great to do post workout. I find with all the vitamins and nutrients i have less cramping when I drink it after workouts. I know it seems weird, but have an open mind! :) So I wanted to share that while it was on my mind. 

If you do currently have any questions or want some advice, feel free to leave a comment and I will gladly answer!

Now relax, unwind. Have yourself a glass of red wine, like I am doing. Hey, it's heart healthy! Take it from a cardiac nurse ;)



Happy Friday Everybody!
 If you're like me, it has been a long week with some ups and downs (cutting my finger on a serrated knife yesterday for instance lol) and you are probably too tired to exercise today. BUT THAT IS NO EXCUSE!! I literally drug myself out of bed and had to repeat in my mind, "you will work out, you will work out". I even almost let the fact that I couldn't find any socks stop me. But I forced myself and made do with what I had. I chose is workout #51 at which is my favorite free at home work out website. Today's workout was 14 minutes of cardio, strength and stretch built into one.

So back to motivation...i found this great article "9 tips for working out in the morning (without it being miserable) It has great, basic tips to help you get out of bed in the mornings. Remember, don't reach for the moon. Start slow and take baby steps or else you will get discouraged.

Have a great Friday, and I will talk to you soon!!

Here is a picture for some motivation :)


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 1

One of my goals this year was to start a blog to share my knowledge on health, fitness, recipes...basically anything to do with living a happy, healthy life. I have a lot of info I keep stored away in my brain due to the research I do almost daily. This is a passion of mine, so i want to be able to share it with people. So this is where I start...this piddly little blog I am typing as I am making tacos with 93% lean ground beef (usually turkey, but this was on sale!!) and baked corn tortillas. Hopefully with help from my computer savvy brother, this blog will eventually be top notch so have some patience! I hope you all who end up reading this enjoys what I have to share. I plan to post exercises, articles, recipes, tips i come across and motivation frequently. 

thanks for your interest!!

~Mandi :)