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August Goals

Believe it or not, I feel like I did a really good job on my July goals. I didn’t really eat any processed foods, and somehow didn’t find myself constantly reaching for a bag of gummies despite all that was going on with work, it might have something to do with the fact that when I got stressed I did yoga or abs for 10 minutes rather than give in to my sugar cravings.

1. Give in to sleep. I’ve always been a terrible sleeper. At three, I cried hysterically in my bed about  how I couldn’t go to sleep because I had to do my homework. I was also that child that could not take a nap…just couldn’t. Lately though, I have found myself craving sleep more. So I would like to go ahead and say in bed by 10:00pm most nights (probably excluding weekends).

2. Get back to meal prep. We haven’t been meal prepping like we used to…i.e., taking 2 hours on Sunday to do most of the cooking for the week. I think it is time we get back at it (though I feel like I am setting myself up for failure here, because I am literally traveling every weekend except one this month).

3. Swimming. I’d like to get back in the habit of swimming at least once a week. Also the July/August 2015 issue of SHAPE has this ridiculous 30 minute pool workout. It includes laps, burpees, wall kicks, push ups, and more. I haven’t figured out how its safe to do burpees on the pool deck without shoes…but I’ll let you know.

not me...
not me…

July Goals

Ok, so maybe I am a little late to the July goal party…but it’s been a very busy start to the month. There’s a project at work that has been incredibly challenging, but should hopefully have big payoffs for my client….I kinda can’t wait to share it with everyone. Anyway….

June came and went…and I sort of stuck to my goals. I got my yoga in every day, I was certainly waking up early, and I did pretty well on the new funtivity schedule (Fat Rooster, Fitness Golf, SLT). The cutting back on sugar though…could still use some work.

This month’s goals include:

1. Eating clean (at least until we go on our cruise). Maybe it’s a little vain, but leading up to July 19th, I plan to eat as clean as humanly possible. I’m traveling a whole bunch and of course July 4th sort of through a wrench in that plan (I CAN’T SAY NO TO HOT DOGS), but I am focusing on one cheat meal a weekend right now and it is working. Eat-Clean

2. Limiting sugar intake. I am separating this out from the above, because it is seriously a challenge for me, especially when I am stressed with work. I can’t help it…gummy bears and Swedish Fish are my comfort food.

3. Relaxation. We have a fabulous cruise planned, with funtivities galore. You’d think this will be an easy goal, but my big work project is going live on Day One of the cruise (was supposed to happen the week before we left, but the timeline shifted) and it is going to be hard for me not to log on and check everything. IMG_4152

4. Abs plus yoga everyday. It’s so easy, yet somehow it slips my mind to just take 10 minutes and do abs. Adding on to my little daily yoga flow should be pretty simple.

Healthy Eating: Stuffed Peppers

I’ve been eating stuffed peppers for as long as I can remember. My mom used to make them when we were younger. I am pretty sure I used to take them for lunch sometimes. They are just such a good Sunday meal prep option, that are also good for lunch leftovers.

I’ve stuffed them with pretty much everything at this point….they’ve been vegetarian (with Morningstar Crumbles), they’ve had rice or quinoa, and then of course other ground meat…turkey, chicken, buffalo. You can really stuff them with almost anything.

I used to have to get creative in how I positioned the peppers to bake. Then I got a fantastic pan for our wedding, literally designed for peppers. It’s awesome.

 

Below is a recipe I’ve been using recently, it’s clean, simple and tasty.

Italian-Style Stuffed Bell Peppers

What you need:

4 bell peppers

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1/2 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned

1 pound ground beef, bison, turkey, or chicken

Go ahead and preheat the oven to 375 F. While that is preheating, let’s get to chopping.

Peppers 002

 

In a large skillet heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until they are translucent and slightly brown. You can lightly season the onions with salt and pepper. I also like to add a little more pepper and saute those.

Peppers 004

Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and tomatoes, and cook for about two minutes.

Peppers 005

 

Now we add the meat and cook until fully done. I usually add a little heat here with some red pepper.

Peppers 006

 

Fill the peppers and pop them into the oven for about 20 minutes. This will leave the peppers soft, but still a little crunchy.

Peppers 008

 

Peppers 007

News That Makes You Think: Obesity Risk, Lunch Shaming, Double Chin

The last two days has been filled with some interesting news items that has led me to shake my head, and go hmmmm.

A test that can gauge your obesity risk?

I come from a family that has often struggled with weight — we have one of those really unhealthy relationships where we eat our feelings. It’s a learned response….and while that has a significant impact on our waistlines it is a habit that in theory can be broken.

On the other hand, researchers have now said they can successfully link certain byproducts of digestion to the risk of excess body fat. Something we can’t change…yet. It’s possible that these findings might lead to more personalized interventions for people who are identified as “at-risk” for obesity, including diet, exercise or supplements.

In a study published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine, researchers note that obesity risk is driven by many factors. They include, “amino acids and muscle metabolism, energy metabolism, and [the] involvement of gut metabolism.”

In a not so shocking finding, the researchers say that obesity is complex and one magic bullet isn’t going to fix the situation. Read more here. Do you think having this information would make a difference?

Lunch Shaming

On my ride back from pilates this morning, I heard the story of the teacher’s letter to a parent regarding her child’s lunch. Then I got home and saw that it was on GMA. Is this really a thing? I know and appreciate the hard work that has gone into revamping school lunches, but being uber judgey about what is packed from home is ridiculous. Also, since when is peanut butter NOT a healthy snack? I’m pretty sure it is one of those “in moderation” snacks that is good for you. And another thing, how are you suppose to keep milk cool for lunch?

I'm pretty sure this lunch wouldn't make the cut
I’m pretty sure this lunch wouldn’t make the cut

Double Chin Remedy

Forget contouring like a Kardashian, and don’t you fret about bad angles anymore. The FDA approved a new treatment for adults with “moderate-to-severe fat” below the chin. The treatment, Kybella, apparently naturally absorbs fat, and has the potential to be a big seller. That is IF, patients are ok with the potential side effects including trouble swallowing or nerve damage to the jaw that an result in an uneven smile or muscle weakness in the face.

I can't tell if I qualify for "moderate-to-severe" here
I can’t tell if I qualify for “moderate-to-severe” here

WIAW: Sur La Table Cooking Class

Last night we had the opportunity to attend a cooking class at Sur la Table. It was the first time I had ever been to a formal cooking class, and I was so excited. I made sure we were front and center…because I wanted to take everything in.10647398_10105641241079471_1033180862_o

Aaron, Jenna, Josh and I took turns making everything for our dishes. We should have waited for instructions (my bad on over dressing the salad), but overall I think we learned at least three things.

Our menu was surf and turf and included scallops, steak and a banana pudding. Since you wanted the dessert to set, we started off with that first.

Bourban-Banana Pudding with Candied Pecans

Double teaming the candied pecans
Double teaming the candied pecans
It took a lot to caramelize that bourbon
It took a lot to caramelize that bourbon
Assembling the pudding
Assembling the pudding

 

Pan-Seared Scallops with Oranges in a Ginger Vinaigrette

In addition to learning how to properly cook scallops (something I have always wanted to make at home but was just too darn scared), I also learned the trick to chopping shallots and onions…and using a paring knife on oranges to create a garnish. That last one needs a little more work.

You have to remove the membranes before you cook. Sometimes that makes for a not so round scallop.
You have to remove the membranes before you cook. Sometimes that makes for a not so round scallop.
Learning to chop
Learning to chop
Making the ginger vinaigrette
Making the ginger vinaigrette

Herb-Crusted New York Steak with a Red Wine-Peppercorn Sauce 

I feel like I am still a newbie to steak. It certainly isn’t something I feel comfortable cooking. Last night I learned that you should let the steak come to room temperature to cook (same apparently goes for fish). Also, and this was a big learning for us…we need to be using vegetable oil instead of olive oil.

I jumped at the chance to learn how to make the sauce. I want to be a better sauce maker…and last night I got my chance.

You place the steak away from you
You place the steak away from you

 

Making sauce
Making sauce
There is serious concentration here
There is serious concentration here

We also made green beans to accompany our steak. They were roasted and were delicious.

Seasoning the green beans
Seasoning the green beans

Our finished products

Which we actually ate and didn’t die from…

Scallops
Scallops
Steak and green beans
Steak and green beans
Banana pudding
Banana pudding

 

I believe this was a success…and of course am now addicted. Private pasta making class anyone?

The chefs!
The chefs!

 

WIAW: Snack Bar Edition

The Landsman-Household is a true believer of bars as snacks. Sometimes they even accompany a yogurt breakfast, mostly though they serve as mid-morning or afternoon snacks, or the emergency food source when we don’t have immediate access to food.

See we get a little hangry over here and we try to be as prepared as possible. Over the years we have tried a myriad of bars. It all just depends on what is on sale, what we read recently and taste preference. There are some that we had that left you with a gross chalky feeling in your mouth and that just isn’t fun.

Taste is kind of the important part for me. I am not a huge chocolate fan so I tend to stay away from those, and I don’t really want ones riddled with sugar (we are talking about 15 grams).

Enter 2 Degrees. I received these via a blogger outreach program and got a trial box of their four flavors — Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cherry Almond, Chocolate Banana and Apple Pecan. Each bar uses natural ingredients, is low sodium, gluten free and GMO free.

Since we had a long travel day ahead of us for Tahoe I threw them in my carry on as our go-to snack (glad we did that since our hour layover in Denver turned into 20 minutes).

Overall the bars were a lot crunchier than the ones we have been eating recently and that is always a plus in my book. I like my snacks to be crunchy. There is quinoa and chia seeds among other grains that make the cunchiness.

Cherry Almond was absolutely my favorite and Josh really liked the Apple Pecan.

I feel like you can see the crunchy yumminess here
I feel like you can see the crunchy yumminess here

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Both had this almost dessert like taste to them. All the tastiness, none of the guilt!

Eating for a Cause — 2 Degrees abides by a “buy-one-give-one” model. So for every bar you buy, the company feeds a hungry child.

 

 

 

I’m In Need of a Detox

This isn’t the first time I’ve contemplated a detox, but lately I’ve just really been feeling like I need it. I’m cranky, sluggish and feeling a little bloated…like all the time. Maybe it is the stress. Maybe it is all the travel. Whatever it is I need a swift kick in the butt to start feeling like myself again.

The last time I cut refined sugar out of my diet it went pretty well. So I think I will start there. Otherwise, my diet is pretty focused on non-processed foods.  I don’t do white flour and surprisingly have been able to cut rice out too. Dairy (aside from my ice cream) is plain, nonfat yogurt and even my milk is almond-base.

Juice cleanses intrigue me, and I’ve always wanted to try them because they sound so simple and people rave about them. Here are your juices. Drink them every 2 hours, drink lots of water and go forth and be energized. The problem is all the work that you have to do BEFORE you start…cutting out the meat and what not. I would essentially be zapped of energy before I even start.  (TRUTH: I have filled out forms and then closed out of the browser window more than once on some of these.)

This month’s SELF featured a 7-Day Detox that includes a meal plan with real food AND a workout plan.

The Plan
The Plan

The meals are a little intensive and the workout plan includes AM and PM sessions, which is a little daunting, but I think this might be the right thing for me. Plus, since it includes real meals, I can possibly get Josh on board for at least the dinner plan.

Cardio in the AM, plus these in the PM
Cardio in the AM, plus these in the PM

So that’s the plan beginning this weekend. Hopefully, come October I will feel back on track.

 

 

 

An Evening With Jillian

When I think about spending an evening with Jillian Michaels, I immediately think buckets of sweat and a fierce attitude in your face. So I was skeptical when I heard about her “Maximize Your Life” tour. I know she offers motivation in the form of one-on-one talks on Biggest Loser, but they are also getting their butts kicked by her in the gym.

Of course, the second Melissa asked if I wanted her extra ticket for last night’s show I practically jumped through the computer screen to hug her.  The crowd itself was intriguing–mostly women of varying shapes and sizes. What really struck me was the purchasing of alcoholic beverages and snacks to listen to someone dubbed “the world’s toughest trainer” talk about nutrition and weight loss..that just seemed off. I know I am being a bit judgey…but really?

Apparently there is a grilled cheese bar here; also ppl are buying them & drinks to listen to @ talk abt controlling weight

After a pretty disturbing video, the kind I think they show in spy movies to wipe your memory and implant new ones, Jillian took the stage. She was herself–a bit foul mouthed, funny and energetic. She was actually really entertaining to listen to.

Her talk was broken into three parts: (1) science; (2) sweat and (3) self — basically nutrition, exercise and self worth.

A few tidbits from the nutrition: 

  • Counting calories sucks, but the truth is we are creatures of habit and basically only eat 20 different meals. Learn the calories once and there you go.
  • Think of calories like money, you only have X amount to spend
  • Turn on your bullshit meter when you are reading labels. (Jillian told us she called a certain butter spray company to understand how it could possibly be zero calories when they have things like butter cream in it)
  • DON’T EAT SMALL MEALS THROUGHOUT THE DAY this doesn’t allow your body to go into the proper burning system
  • Avoid starch and sugar at dinner

Exercise: good for Jillian’s salary, simple for you to do

  • Calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate), if you don’t do ANYTHING at all, you will burn this much during the day. Then add on your active metabolic rate and if you don’t go over these calories you are golden. 
  • It isn’t about specific exercises, it is about techniques — body weight training and free weights; works more than machines
  • Don’t workout over 6 hours a week; and have one rest day

The goal setting stuff was good, and she got me geared up to make and reach my goals, but man it was a long talk.

Like I said she was incredibly entertaining and I can see why people attach themselves to her, but I still would have loved to have walked out of there drenched in sweat.

Sidelined and Other Ramblings

I am the perfect example of how not to take care of yourself. There are studies out there that show that stress depletes your immune system and once your stress dissipates your immune system is flooded and then you get sick. Well that happened to me last week.

I was go, go, going and then I had to come to a screeching halt that sidelined me for nearly a week. My god does it suck to not have the energy to go for a run when it is insanely gorgeous outside. Thankfully, my week off has me feeling much better (though not 100% just yet).

When you have a cold do you do “take it easy exercises” or just lay on the couch and sleep like I did?

Unfortunately, part of my being ridiculously strung out on stress meant I let some reviews slide. I completely and sincerely apologize to Kona Kase for this delayed review. (Disclosure: I received Kona Kase for free in exchange for this review)March to April 2013 066

 

Kona Kase is a nutrition delivery subscription box, similar to my lovely BirchBox and StichFix obsessions.  Each month you get a box of eight sports nutrition products. I’ve been running for a long, long time so I have my training and race day nutrition down, but am ALWAYS looking for some good filling snacks. March to April 2013 067

Since I was traveling a lot this month, I threw basically half of the box’s contents into my travel bag and went from there. The BRUBAR saved me while I waited for the FDA to make a decision on my client’s product. Would I ever order the SunCups? Probably not. March to April 2013 070

If you are a beginner runner looking for fueling options I think this is a great way to test out different products, for only $15/month. Or if you are just looking for ways to fuel your workouts I recommend it.

If you are interested in trying out Kona Kase you can get 50% off your first month by using the code “cohen.”

If you do try Kona Kase let me know how you like it.

It’s Nutrition Month!

When I was working on a campaign for a diet company, we tagged March as the month diets die.  February is just disgusting when it comes to weather and  keeping track of what you are putting in your body has just become tedious.

So it seems perfect that March is National Nutrition Month. You are about to call it a day on your diet and BAM you are reminded that bathing suit season is just around the corner and exercise is only half the battle.

This year’s theme, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” makes me pretty happy. I am a sugar addict. I love my post dinner treats and I start thinking about them before I am even done with my meal. Seriously, I haven’t had dinner yet and I am already thinking about how delicious that Skinny Cow Cookies N Cream sandwich is going to be.

So for me, living by that theme means that I can indulge in my lower calorie sugar needs without the guilt. Yes, sometimes I over indulge and my tummy hates me for it, but isn’t that what they made tea for?

Eating your way, every day means you don’t let one bad day send you into a tailspin. Now if only I could get that to be my outlook for work.