Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pancake Power!

These aren't your average pancakes. 
They are protein power pancakes. 

So simple to make! 

¾ cup ricotta cheese
6 eggs
1 cup rolled oats 
4 tsp. fresh lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon) 

Put it all in a bowl and stir until the batter is smooth. 

In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp. coconut oil over medium-high heat. 
Pour or scoop batter into skillet, using approximately ¼ cup of batter for each pancake. (This makes about 12 pancakes)

Divide pancakes between 2 storage containers. 
When ready to eat, top with with freshly squeezed lemon juice and the fresh fruit of your choice--I like bananas or strawberries! (I also added a bit of 2% plain Greek yogurt.) 

Friday, May 12, 2017

May Meal Plan Sample

I share meal plans with my clients, so I figured I would share one here as well!

This is a vegetarian plan that will target a 1,500 to 1,900 calorie range. I use a range because I think it's much easier to keep an eye on portion sizes than it is to obsessively count calories.

When you follow this plan, the macro nutrient profile (the amount of calories you are getting from protein, carbohydrates, and fat) will be approximately 30% from protein, 30% from fat and 40% from carbohydrate sources.

Breakfast (M/W/F): Seasonal Omelette with Whole-Grain Toast
Breakfast (T/Th): Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Banana
Shakeology Snack (M/T/W/Th/F): Banana Shakeology Smoothie
PM Snack (M/T/W/Th/F): Greek Yogurt with Citrus and Seeds
Lunch (M/W/F): Chickpea Vegetable Soup
Lunch (T/Th): Hummus Veggie Wrap
Dinner (M/W/F): Easy Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Dinner (T/Th): Zucchini Noodle Stir Fry

The recipes: 
M/W/F: Seasonal Omelette with Whole-Grain Toast and Grapes* (2 eggs, ¼ cup mushrooms, ¼ cup spinach, ¼ cup asparagus, ¼ cup onion, 1 slice whole wheat toast, ½ cup grapes, 2 tsp. coconut oil = 1 green, ½ purple, 1 red, 1 yellow, 2 tsp. )
*grapes not pictured
T/Th: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes (¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. part skim ricotta cheese, 3 eggs, ½ cup rolled oats, 2 tsp. fresh lemon zest, ½ large banana, 2 tsp. coconut oil, ¼ lemon juiced = 1 purple, 2 red, 2 yellow, 2 tsp.)
Daily Shakeology Snack: Banana Smoothie (½ large banana, 1 scoop Shakeology, water, ice: 1 purple, 1 red)
Don’t have Shakeology yet? Get all of the Shakeology flavors here.
Daily Afternoon Snack: Greek Yogurt with Citrus and Seeds (¾ cup 1% plain Greek yogurt, 1 medium orange, 1 Tbsp. chia seeds = 1 purple, 1 red, ½ orange)
M/W/F: Chickpea Vegetable Soup (1 cup garbanzo beans, 1 cup vegetable broth, ¼ cup swiss chard, ¼ cup onion, ¼ cup mushrooms, ¼ cup carrots, 1 clove garlic, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1 tsp. olive oil = 1 green, 2 yellow, 1 tsp.)
T/Th: Hummus Veggie Wrap (2 large swiss chard leaves, ¼ cup hummus, ¼ cup red bell pepper, ¼ cup spinach, ¼ cup sprouts, ¼ cup carrots, ¼ cup cucumber, ½ cup quinoa = 1½ green, 1 yellow, 1 blue)
M/W/F: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna (1 cup cooked spaghetti squash, ¼ cup mushrooms, ¼ cup onions, ½ cup spinach, ½ cup marinara sauce, ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, ⅓ cup part skim ricotta cheese, 1 egg, 1 Tbsp. ground flax, 1 tsp. olive oil = 2 green, ½ purple, 1 red, 1 blue, ½ orange, 1 tsp.)
T/Th: Zucchini Noodle Stir Fry (1½ cups spiralized zucchini, 2 cloves garlic, ¼ cup mushrooms, ¼ cup onions, ½ cup shredded cabbage, 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds, 2 tsp. reduced sodium soy sauce, 2 tsp. sesame oil = 2½ green, ½ orange, 2 tsp.)

Follow this step-by-step guide to assemble your Vegetarian 21 Day Fix meal prep:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line one large baking sheet with parchment paper. Prep the spaghetti squash by slicing it in half lengthwise and scraping out the seeds with a spoon. Season the insides with salt and pepper, if desired, and arrange on baking sheet (cut side down). Place baking sheet in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until spaghetti squash is tender and shreds easily with a fork. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Leave oven on.
2. While the spaghetti squash is baking, prep vegetables for the week as follows: One at a time, wash, cut, and set each vegetable aside in separate bowls. Remove the skin from the 3 onions and chop into small pieces. Remove the stems from the swiss chard leaves; reserve 4 large whole leaves for the Hummus Veggie Wraps and chop ¾ cup of chard for the Chickpea Vegetable Soup. Rinse the asparagus, cut off the woody part of the stems (about the bottom two inches), then chop into 1-inch pieces until you have ¾ cup asparagus. Rinse, remove the seeds, and cut a red bell pepper into ½ cup of thin slices. Rinse and cut cucumber into ½ cup of thin slices. Rinse and shred 1 cup cabbage. Peel and finely chop 7 cloves of garlic. Remove the ends, rinse, and spiralize 3 cups of zucchini (or, use a vegetable peeler to shave the zucchini into long, thin strips). If you purchased whole mushrooms and carrots, slice the mushrooms and shred the carrots, or slice them into matchsticks. Store any unused vegetables for future use.
3. Pat yourself on the back. That was a lot of vegetables!
4. Once the vegetables are prepped, make the Spaghetti Squash Lasagna. Use a large spoon or fork to scrape the spaghetti squash from it’s skin. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel or colander and gently squeeze the squash to remove any excess moisture. Heat 3 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ¾ cup of the diced onions and ¾ cup of the sliced mushrooms to the skillet; cook until the onion is translucent and mushrooms have softened (about 5 minutes). Add 1½ cup spinach to the skillet, cooking just until spinach has wilted (about 2 minutes). Remove the vegetables from heat and set aside. Add 1½ cup marinara sauce to the skillet and stir to combine. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup ricotta cheese, 3 eggs, and 3 Tbsp. ground flax. Finally, measure and set aside ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Assemble lasagna in an 8”x8” baking dish by layering half of the spaghetti squash, followed by half of the ricotta cheese mixture, half of the vegetable mixture, and half of the mozzarella cheese; repeat layers with the remaining ingredients. Place the baking dish in the 425°F preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and begins to turn golden brown. Set aside to cool and turn oven off. Once cool, divide the lasagna into three large storage containers.
4. While the lasagna bakes, make the Chickpea Vegetable Soup. In a large saucepan, heat 3 tsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add ¾ cup of the diced onions, 3 cloves of chopped garlic (approximately 3 tsp.), and ¾ cup of the sliced mushrooms to the saucepan; cook until the onion is translucent and mushrooms have softened (about 5 minutes). Next, add ¾ cup of shredded carrots to the saucepan and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Open, drain, and rinse two 15 oz. cans of chickpeas. Add 3 cups of chickpeas, 3 cups of vegetable broth, ¾ cup of chopped swiss chard, and 3 tsp. of Italian seasoning to the saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes until chard is soft. Set aside to cool, then portion into three storage containers.
5. While the soup is simmering, prepare the Zucchini Noodle Stir Fry. Coat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Add ½ cup of the diced onions, 4 cloves of the minced garlic (approximately 4 tsp.), and ½ cup of the sliced mushrooms to the skillet; cook until the onion is translucent and the mushrooms have softened (about 5 minutes). Next, add 3 cups of spiralized zucchini and 1 cup of shredded cabbage to the skillet; heat for an additional 5 minutes, making sure all ingredients are well combined. Add 4 tsp. sesame oil and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, divide the vegetable mixture between 2 large storage containers; top each with 1 or 2 tsp. reduced sodium soy sauce and 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds, then cover and refrigerate.
6. Prep the Seasonal Omelettes. In a large skillet, heat 3 tsp. coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add ¾ cup of the diced onions, ¾ cup of the sliced mushrooms, and ¾ cup of the chopped asparagus to the skillet; cook until the onion is translucent, and mushrooms and asparagus have softened (about 5 minutes). Next, add ¾ cup spinach to the skillet, cooking just until spinach has wilted (about 2 minutes). Next, prepare three individual omelettes. For each, whisk 2 eggs, seasoning with salt and pepper, if desired, and cook in a small skillet with 1 tsp. coconut oil. Cook eggs over medium-low heat until eggs are set, then place ⅓ of the vegetable mixture in center of eggs and fold ends over. Repeat all steps two more times. You may choose instead to make a scramble: Heat 3 tsp. coconut oil over medium heat, add 6 scrambled eggs and all cooked veggies, stirring until eggs are set. Divide between three containers. Serve with a slice of whole-grain toast.
7. Make the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes by adding ¾ cup ricotta cheese, 6 eggs, 1 cup rolled oats, and 4 tsp. fresh lemon zest to a bowl and stirring until batter is smooth. In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp. coconut oil over medium-high heat. Pour or scoop batter into skillet, using approximately ¼ cup of batter for each pancake, and making 3 pancakes per batch. Repeat process of heating more coconut oil and making pancakes until all batter is used. Note: we made 12 pancakes in 4 batches; however, if using a smaller pan, reduce the amount of coconut oil you use per batch. Divide pancakes between 2 storage containers. When ready to eat, top with ½ banana and drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice if desired.
8. Next, prep the Hummus Veggie Wraps. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add ½ cup uncooked quinoa, reduce heat to low, and cover for 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Set aside to cool. To make two large wraps, lay four large swiss chard leaves on a work surface in stacks of two (or, make four smaller wraps). Spread each stack of chard with ¼ cup hummus. Place ¼ cup red bell pepper slices, ¼ cup pre-washed spinach, ¼ cup sprouts, ¼ cup matchstick carrots, and ¼ cup cucumber slices in the center of each leaf. Add ½ cup cooled, cooked quinoa to each. Tightly wrap swiss chard leaves around each stack of vegetables, rolling each into the shape of a burrito. Secure wraps with toothpicks if needed. Place into two food storage containers.
9. Prep the Greek yogurt snack by placing ¾ cup yogurt and 1 Tbsp. chia seeds into five storage containers. Top each with one peeled orange divided into segments. Place in fridge.
10. Make the Shakeology Smoothie each day when by blending 1 scoop Shakeology with ½ banana, water, and ice.


4 large bananas
5 medium oranges
1½ cup grapes
1 lemon
2 (8 oz.) packages sliced mushrooms
3 cups pre-washed baby spinach
1 bundle asparagus
3 large onions
1 bunch swiss chard with large leaves
1 cup shredded carrots (or 2 large carrots)
1 head garlic
1 medium red bell pepper
8 oz. package sprouts
1 medium cucumber
1 medium spaghetti squash (3-4 lbs.)
3 medium zucchini
1 small head purple cabbage
5 scoops or packets Vanilla Shakeology
15 eggs
15 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
32 oz. 1% plain Greek yogurt
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz. prepared hummus
Dry and Canned Goods
1 loaf whole grain bread
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas
24 oz. container vegetable broth
1 jar marinara sauce, no sugar added
½ cup uncooked quinoa (or 1 cup cooked quinoa)
5 Tbsp. chia seeds
3 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
3 Tbsp. sesame seeds
olive oil
coconut oil
sesame oil
reduced-sodium soy sauce
Italian seasoning

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

26.2 Ta Da!

Training for and running a marathon has a bit of a let down period afterwards. For me anyway. It's almost like planning a wedding or a vacation--it's the anticipation of the the thing that is as rewarding and fun as the thing itself. And once it's over, you kind of feel...lost? There's this void where all your planning and preparation once was.

This is especially true for me after my most recent race, the Canton, Ohio Football Hall of Fame Marathon. I ran it on Sunday, April 30th, 2017.

It was not my day.
My head got in the way. A marathon, once you've put in the training and know that your body is physically capable of the distance, is more of a mental challenge than anything.

My goal: get below 3 hours and 30 minutes. My actual time: 3 hours 59 minutes.
I'll show you how my per-mile pace broke down later, but basically I fell apart at the half. And my head started in on the negative thoughts around mile 7.

"This feels hard." "Can I do this?" "I can't do this." "I can't keep this pace the whole way." "I'm tired already." "It's hot out here."

Those were the thoughts creeping in. And those are the kinds of thoughts, when running a marathon, that are not allowed. If those get in your head, you are pretty much done for.

I don't know why my brain went there either. It WAS a hard day for sure. Record high heat and humidity. But I've run through harder days. The heat was not the reason--it was a contributing factor. Along with lots of other stuff (intestinal stuff, menstrual cycle stuff, hamstring injury stuff). But mostly, it was my head. And I think I'm most disappointed because it's usually my mental game that is my strength.

To train for this race, I ran through the cold, through the dark. I ran alone. I ran when I didn't want to run. I went to the track and I hit paces in my tempo runs I didn't think were possible. And it was all to help me reach that fast race goal. I know my body is capable of running a marathon in under 3 hours and 30 minutes. Now the trick will be getting my mind on board for the next race. (Yes--there will be another attempt. How could I ever stop here?)

I've given myself about a day and a half to wallow and feel sad about this race and now it's time to move on. Setting ambitious goals means that sometimes, you don't hit them. But that never means you stop setting those goals. Because even if I didn't hit my time goal, I finished. And I have to be proud of my training.

Here is how it broke down, mile by mile.

To reach my goal, I needed to keep my per mile pace just below 8:00/mi. And you can see that I was successful until that dreaded mile 7. That is when those negative thoughts took over. And it shows in the times.

Then, at mile 10, I took my first walk break. I have nothing against walk breaks, but I also know that they are NOT for me. Once I did that, it was pretty much over in terms of hitting that 3:30 total time. My pace slowed to just over 8:00/mi and I was able to hang on until I got past mile 13. Then I started in on more walk breaks. And I got really mad. There were swear words. There was some yelling at myself. And it all fell apart.

Miles 14 through 17, I tried, unsuccessfully, to convince myself that I was running at my "I can do this all day" pace. And I could not even keep that up. It was disheartening. Miles 18 to 26 were a shuffle, walk, shuffle extravaganza. My friend, Liana, ran with me those last few miles and tried to chat to distract me. Liana--I'm sorry for what I said when I was running. She was awesome. I was a mess. I probably would have cried if it didn't make it so hard to breathe!

But, it's done. I'm moving on. The race itself had some highs and lows. I don't want my running experience to taint my evaluation of the overall experience, so I'll share the good and the bad,

The good:
--The price! I paid $26.20 to run this one. Well worth it.

--This is a great size race for trying to hit a certain time goal. There were no worries about finding the pace group or getting squeezed at the start line. It was awesome to be able to just walk right up to the start. I usually have trouble and extra stress around physically getting to the start line--none here. (Except the parking issue--which I will get to in a minute.)

--I would not consider this course hilly. There are some longer slopes, but no big hills. Nothing I wasn't able to handle had conditions otherwise been right. And I did not train hills for this.

--The race expo was small, but well organized. I get overwhelmed at the big ones. Packet pick up was a little chaotic, but I was easily able to swap shirt sizes when I realized that they were crazy small. The shirts, although they ran small, are super cute.

--Plenty o' Porta-Pots.

--Plenty of water/Gatorade stops and they were in good spots for where the Gu was stationed as well.

--Cool finisher medals that look like football game tickets. The fleece blankets they gave out would have been awesome on a cold day. On this day, they were an ironic slap in the face.

The Bad

--The parking debacle--The race instructed everyone to park at the nearby fairgrounds and get bused to the start. This was completely unnecessary and poorly executed. They warned everyone not to show up at 6:30 (the race was supposed to start at 7:00). I got there at about 6:20, which was later than I wanted, but I'm late for everything and the lines to even get a parking spot were stretched miles back. I ended up bailing on the line and parking on a side street and running over to a bus. I had to pay $5. I should have just parked downtown.

--The parking debacle part II--At the end of the race, there was an extremely long line to get back on a bus to get to your car. Not a great time to have to stand and wait in a line. I thought I was going to poop my pants, puke, or pass out. Luckily, my friend offered to drive me back. BUT, the route to get back to cars was through the race!!! So you can imagine that traffic was again at a complete standstill while police officers waited for gaps in runners to let a few cars and the buses through. It was a terrible idea.

--The race started 15 minutes late. Please see "The parking debacle" above which I believe was the cause of the late start. Not cool.

--The water and Gatorade were warm. I know, 1st world problem, but the day was so hot, a nice cold drink would have been heavenly.

--The route--it was interesting to say the least. A 13 mile loop that you ran once in one direction and again in the opposite direction. It was very industrial and went through some rough neighborhoods. And, being a smaller race, there wasn't the crowd support, bands, other entertainment that goes along with a larger race. (But to me this is a trade-off of the good things about a smaller race.)

--Post-race amenities were average. The post-run food and drink options were very limited. (They did have Body Armor which I really love!) They had bananas and trail mix bars. The other option was a hot dog. Not really up my alley.

So there you have it.
Would I do it again? Maybe. But probably not. There are too many others that I would love to do instead. Next spring I'm putting Glass City on my calendar since it's my hometown!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Your Healthiest Year

I just received the coveted "Golden Scoop." I'm a 365er!

[I know, I know. What the f*ck is that?]

It's a recognition of my having 12 consecutive months of Shakeology delivered to my door. It's a recognition of my drinking said Shakeology everyday for the last year. And I have--probably 360 days of the last 365.

[Oh great, here she goes again talking about that overpriced kool-aid she drinks.]

The tag line for the Golden Scoop is: "The Healthiest Year of my Life"

It has been, without a doubt, the healthiest year of my life.
There is no amount of money that I would trade for how I feel right now--physically AND mentally.

For the first time in my life, I don't see food as the enemy.
I see food as fuel. I have successfully repaired my broken relationship with food.

For the first time in my life, I am not at war with my body.
My body is strong and capable of just about anything I ask of it.

For the first time in my life, I wake up feeling the potential that each day brings.
I use hope, encouragement, self-care, and accountability to keep heading in a positive direction.

I've mentioned this before, but not so long ago, I used food and alcohol as numbing agents to take away the exhaustion and sting that working motherhood brought with it almost 5 years ago.

And before that, I was completely out of touch with how to handle the stressors that your early 20s bring--trying to navigate my way in the post-college world, figuring out who I was, trying to know my place and find my voice. Food and drinks were my solace then too. It's pretty much a requirement to drink your way through law school, right?!

And even before that, I used food as a way to exert control over my life. When everything was uncertain, I knew that my self-control with food gave me a feeling of power. Too bad I abused it and would play games with myself to see how few calories I could get by on each day, until I whittled myself down to about 95 pounds. That certainly didn't last and when the dam broke, it broke hard and sent me on a roller-coaster ride with weight and emotional fluctuations that I have been dealing with ever since.

So when I call early 2016 to 2017 the "Healthiest Year of My Life," I mean it. Physically I am getting in optimum daily nutrition with Shakeology. That has given me amazing success at reaching my ideal weight. Having the correct nutrition and an eating plan allowed me to change the shape of my body even though I am getting closer and closer to 40 (gulp!). I feel energetic. I don't need the alcohol to numb anything--I feel so alive and ready to tackle my daunting schedule, motherhood, marathons, and ultra-marathons, a new career option with personal training and teaching classes...I have so much left to do in my life that I can't waste a minute feeling down and out. And thanks to Shakeology, I don't.

Now, you might not believe what I've written above, but you don't have to. You can try it for yourself. If you do, I ask that you embrace it fully. Try out everything I have to offer in terms of following a workout plan and schedule, learning a new way to eat and repairing your relationship with food, and completing the circuit with Shakeology to give you the energy boost that I'm talking about. Enter into a new adventure and treat it like an experiment to see how you can feel when all systems are GO!

Are you ready to choose to live your happiest, healthiest life right now? My next coaching session starts on April 3rd!

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