Latin American Fiesta

What a busy day it’s been!  I’ve accomplished so much and amazingly I’m not tired as I normally would be.  Perhaps it’s the lasting effects of the acupuncture?

I was up at 5:30 am to get in my workout.  I knew it was going to be a busy day and I’ve found that once I do my workout in the morning, I feel so great that it’s done for the day and that I’m helping to rev up my metabolism.  Not to mention that I can’t come up with any excuses as I might later on in the day for not doing it.  On top of that, I’m actually feeling muscle in my arms and calves.  So exciting!  I can’t wait to see the final results.

Today was my first day working back at the Montessori preschool where I used to work before I began working for the county.  It was great seeing all my former co-workers and all the kids that I’ve known since they were 3 years old.  I couldn’t believe how much some of them had grown up and it was nice to receive their hugs and cries of “Miss Jennifer!” when they saw me.

I also managed to go to the dentist for my final Invisalign set, go to the chiropractor, get a manicure and pedicure while reading 50 Shades Freed (the 3rd book in the 50 Shades of Grey series), come home and cook dinner, and various other odds and ends that needed to be accomplished.  My point?!  There should be no excuses for what you want to achieve.  If you want something badly enough, you will find the time to do it (and I live in chronic pain and with normally low energy — no excuses from me!! 🙂 )

My fuel for today included some amazing food, thanks to inspiration that I received from the PCOS Diva.  She’s a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (which is where I’m currently going to school) and has put together a fantastic Summer Meal Plan to help women with PCOS plan and make amazing meals.  The best part is that the recipes are vegan friendly!  I did make a few changes to what she had on the menu for today, but overall I followed the plan and I was excited to be back in the kitchen cooking amazing food!

Overnight oats with chia seeds, PB2, almond coconut milk, slivered almonds, and blueberries for breakfast!

I also couldn’t resist this snack at Montessori, mainly because I wanted to try the salsa.  I have the recipe and will have to make it sometime for myself, because it was super delicious!

Lunch was a GF wrap with veggies and hummus.  I was actually so excited to make my own hummus, until I got home and realized that I’d completely forgotten to buy tahini so I could make it!  Thankfully I had some hummus in the fridge, but it wasn’t the same.

I was trying to avoid eating an afternoon snack, especially after I listened to one of my IIN lectures about Ayurveda and just eating 3 main meals a day, but I got pretty hungry in the afternoon, so I had an apple while I was at the nail salon, and then a Chocolate Shakeology when I got home.  Seriously, that stuff is so addictive.  It was calling my name and it’s well worth it!  Tastes like a chocolate shake, but it’s filled with so many ingredients that are great for you.  Shakeology is the reason I don’t really drink green smoothies, even though I want to start increasing my intake of green smoothies as well!

My liquid gold!  🙂

And my dinner?!  I made amazing black bean burgers, with homemade guacamole and homemade pico de gallo (all thanks to the PCOS Diva’s recipes), over salad greens.  My burgers didn’t turn out quite the way I anticipated, probably because of the recipe for egg replacer that I used, but I figured that I can always experiment with other egg replacer recipes and that it doesn’t matter if the burgers didn’t turn out perfectly.  At least I was experimenting!

I have tons of leftovers of the black bean burgers too and I’ve already thought of a few different ways to use them up — as fajitas with onions and peppers, in a breakfast scramble with sweet potatoes, or with some quinoa.

All right, it’s been a long day and I’m getting sleepy!  About to get on my Beachbody team call and then I’m going to bed so I can get up early again to do my workout!  Have a great night!


Protein for PCOS

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about plant based ways to incorporate more protein into my diet.  Before I get any further, we all know that the number one question that vegans get asked is where they get their protein from.

I do honestly believe that vegans get more than enough protein from adequate plant based sources. Just look at the picture above and you’ll see that the gorilla has no problems getting his protein. Nor does the elephant or the ox (ever heard of the expression “strong as an ox?”) The truth is, the human body does not require as much protein as we have been led to believe. Did you know that there’s an actual term for protein deficiency called kwashiorkor?  If people are so worried about being protein deficient, then how come they’ve never heard of this term before?  It’s almost like people get into a panic about not getting enough protein, but it never becomes a concern until you become vegan.

Isn’t this the truth?!

However, having said all that, I’m wondering if for myself, I’m taking in adequate protein, especially since I have PCOS.  I wasn’t even that concerned until I had a talk with my health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition the other night and she kept asking me about my protein.  The next day she sent me this article about signs of protein deficiency, and I seem to fall under a whole lot of them.  I do have PCOS and fibromyalgia though, so I’m sure that has something to do with it.  And I refuse to follow the article’s recommendation of adding a little red meat into each meal.

For now, I want to experiment with maybe hemp powder or another form of protein powder in addition to my Shakeology, and also see if I can try to get in more of a variety in my diet. I’m looking to two of my favorite authors, Kimberly Snyder and Kris Carr, to help me on my journey.

Since I’m getting amazing results doing the ChaLEAN Extreme and Brazil Butt Lift Hybrid, it’s time I really kick it into gear with super natural, clean plant based sources.  I can’t wait to see what my body will look like with the combination of the two and with modifying my protein intake.

If you have PCOS, how do you feel about your protein intake?  Do you feel you’re getting enough, especially if you’re vegan?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Sunday!

Hey everyone!  Happy Sunday!  How’s your weekend been going?  This weekend it was very cool & rainy in the DC area.  I actually had to wear a light sweatshirt outside yesterday, which was odd considering the 100 degree temperatures that we’ve been having this summer!

Today’s been a great day, especially because I finally had the opportunity to go to brunch at Great Sage, an all vegan restaurant out in Maryland.  I was there back in October for a benefit dinner and the food was outstanding.  Today was no different.

I’m friends on Facebook with one of the staff members at Compassion Over Killing and when she posted that she and some of her co-workers were going to be going there and asked if anyone else wanted to join, I decided to go along and check it out!

My meal started with sweet potato carrot ginger soup.  It sounded too good to resist when I heard it being read off as one of the soups of the day.

My main meal was a gluten-free wrap with roasted veggies and a side of tempeh bacon.  The wrap looked much nicer when it arrived and this is already half eaten, but the picture I took with all the veggies inside didn’t show much 🙂

After brunch, I headed out to see Katy for a few hours.  It was nice to catch up, especially since I don’t see her everyday anymore (we both taught at the same school) and since she’s moving back to Ohio soon.  We decided to grab a salad at Sweetgreen, one of my favorite places to go in the DC area for an awesome healthy meal.  This was their awesome Chic-P vegan salad!

While I was out by Great Sage, I bought some coconut water at the organic market by the restaurant.  The funny this is that the first time I ever tasted coconut water I hated it, and then today when I was at Sweetgreen I was wishing that they sold it there so that I could have some with my meal!

Now I have to get ready for a coaching call with my health coach from IIN.  Enjoy your evenings!


Go Heavy or Go Home!

I just had the best workout ever and I can’t get over how amazing it made me feel.  Last week, I went through the same workout, but I could barely do it because the pain from my fibromyalgia was so horrendous.  This week, I powered through it and even though I was sweating buckets, I felt fantastic.  Chalene Johnson even said at the very end “You should feel like a million bucks” and I shouted back at the TV “yes Chalene, I do!!!!”  I can’t wait to work out live with her at Beachbody’s Coach Summit in Vegas in a few more weeks.

I even bought heavier weights last night because 5 pounds just wasn’t cutting it anymore!

Despite the recent weight loss that I’ve had thanks to the Beachbody Ultimate Reset, my weight has stabilized and I’ve been getting frustrated with myself because of the fact that I still have body fat on my body.  Which you might think sounds kind of ridiculous, but as my good friend Katy affectionately says to me, I’m eating “twigs and berries.”  I honestly don’t understand how it’s physiologically possible for me to have fat on my stomach and thighs when I drink a superfoods shake for breakfast everyday, have a salad with fruit for lunch, have another shake as a snack, and then eat vegetables with a whole grain for dinner, practically everyday.

I’d understand if I were eating junk here and there, but I’m honestly not.  There’s nothing that I’m eating that my body can grab onto in order for the fat to be there.  The only thing I can think of is that something strange is going on with my PCOS.  Either I’m not eating enough calories, or I’m eating too much (I don’t ever bother to count calories).  My guess is I’m not eating enough, because I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night starving.  I’ve also been eating higher glycemic fruits, like bananas, so I guess I have to cut back.  I’m still figuring out what works for me, because so many foods still make me so bloated, but it’s just so frustrating because I know that I take care of myself, and although I’m not severely overweight, I’ve got at least 10 to 20 pounds to go.  It’s even more frustrating when I see people shoveling junk into their bodies and they maintain a slim physique.  Trust me, the last thing I want to be doing is shoveling junk into my body, but it’s kind of a pain having to overanalyze every little thing that goes into my mouth.  Ok, rant over.  🙂

The weather’s been gorgeous around here, so today at lunch I sat outside with my IIN Fast Track Workbook and worked on learning on how to market myself while I enjoyed my delicious fruit.

And then when I left work, I couldn’t resist stopping by Starbucks and buying a soy chai (with half the amount of sugar or else it’s way too sweet for me!) and then having some Shakeology “ice cream” as a snack!

I also ordered two new books from Amazon and was excited to see that they were at my door when I arrived.  One’s a brand new vegan cookbook (as if I didn’t have enough already!) and the other one is about, as the title says, healing your headache.  The latest medicine that the neurologist gave me isn’t working, and even though I’m seeing him again next week, this book came recommended to me by another Beachbody coach who has fibromyalgia, and I’d like to see what it says and whether it’ll help me.  Hopefully it’ll tell me something new that I don’t already know.  It also had great reviews on Amazon.

For dinner, I had these amazing Tempeh Taco Lettuce Wraps courtesy of The Fitnessista.  A super easy recipe that only took me a few minutes to make!  Unfortunately I didn’t have mushrooms and I probably would’ve added some more spices next time, but definitely a recipe worth repeating!

Can’t believe it’s already June tomorrow, but I’m ready for it!

Glowing Green

It was back to work today!  Only 3 more weeks until it’s the end of school, which is pretty exciting, although I’ll be working throughout the summer to help me pay bills until I can get my Beachbody business off the ground running.

The exciting thing is though that it’s only 3 more weeks until Beachbody’s Coach Summit 2012 and 1 month until I turn 30!  I’ll officially have 3 weeks off (notice a 3 week theme here?!) between my last day of work and working summer school, but it’s definitely going to be a busy time!

Breakfast was, as usual, Shakeology, and for lunch I’ve been sticking to microgreen salads.  I won’t lie, I’m definitely getting tired of eating them everyday, but they’re so quick & easy to make, and I can get pretty lazy when it comes to cooking, so they’re my standby for now.

I accompanied my salad with some delicious blueberries.

Even though today was my workout rest day, I decided to do ChaLEAN Extreme today because tomorrow night I’m meeting up with some people who are in my Integrative Nutrition class.  My pre-workout snack was Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie, which I haven’t made in a while, but it was delicious!

And for dinner I decided to have some of the butternut squash that my mom roasted for me yesterday along with some garlicky kale toasted in some coconut milk.  It was so good that I was thinking next time I’ll have the kale with some gluten-free pasta!

Now it’s off to bed for me.  It’s raining again, which means my pain levels are high and sleep tends to elude me.  Praying it’s different tonight!


Bring On Summer!

Hi everyone!  How did you spend your long weekends?!  I hope that you were able to relax and spend time with friends and family!  I know that I was very thankful to finally be able to let go and not have to think about anything other than just being free to do whatever I wanted.  I spent the majority of the weekend by the pool, soaking up the sunshine and swimming – my idea of heaven!  🙂

A little gf vegan pizza, something that I definitely consider a splurge meal, but it was very delicious!

Chipotle poolside today while I read The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone

I bought it last year and Alicia talks about things I already pretty much know about, but it helped to re-affirm why I choose to eat a plant based diet.  I also love it because she delves into the Macrobiotic lifestyle, something that I just learned about at Institute for Integrative Nutrition and that I’ve been wanting to explore more, so it’s perfect!

I bought lots of groceries to help set me up for the week, including salad greens, spinach, kale, celery, frozen mango, frozen pineapple, pears, shredded carrots, chia seeds, romaine, lemons, black beans, coconut milk, and blueberries.

Since it was still so warm out when I got home from the pool, I decided to make a cooling cucumber avocado soup for dinner, followed by Tropical Shakeology ice cream for dessert!

And my mom grilled up some butternut squash that I had sitting around, so I’m all set for tomorrow’s dinner, which I’ll probably eat with a side of some steamed kale.

Bring on summer!

Just Push Play

Hi everyone!  How were your weekends?!  I absolutely loved the gorgeous weather that we had here this weekend, and enjoyed it even moreso knowing that it’s going to be gray and cloudy here all week!  I met up with some friends, got caught up with studying my Integrative Nutrition content, and enjoyed the sunshine.

I was also super excited because today I managed to fit into a pair of jeans that I have not been able to fit into for over a year!!!  It’s all thanks to Beachbody!  First I lost 10 pounds with the Beachbody Ultimate Reset.  I did try on the jeans after the Reset, but they didn’t quite fit just yet.  This past week I’ve been doing the TurboFire/ChaLEAN Extreme hybrid and I’m so excited because it’s working!!!  Thanks to that, today I was able to zip those jeans up, yay!!!!

I’ve also decided that I need to start eating more like I was when I was eating the Reset meals.  This weekend I didn’t eat quite as close to the Reset, but now that I know how my body responds when I eat meals that aren’t as clean (even if they’re gluten-free and vegan), I’m better able to make wiser choices that help me on my path to wellness.

A little tempeh salad for lunch yesterday

With a side of Tropical Shakeology, since I still felt hungry.  I couldn’t finish it all though, so I saved some for snack later on.

I made some time to finally start writing in my IIN journal.  I can tell that this is definitely going to help me on my journey!

Pancakes for dinner.  I didn’t feel like cooking anything last night, so when I opened up to Chloe Coscarelli’s book and this was the first thing I saw, I knew that’s what I was making, haha!

Today I met up with my good friend Diana in Leesburg, which is not too far from here, but I felt like I was in a whole other world.  I had a great lunch of vegan pad thai (and I loved that on the menu itself it stated that the noodles were gluten-free!), but thanks to the Reset, I feel like my appetite has shrunk, so I only ate a little bit and saved the rest for dinner.

After lunch, we walked around and checked out some of the shops.  Since Leesburg is historic, sometimes you’ll see signs outside of places that show where something historic happened.  We couldn’t help noticing this one though!

We also got some yummy chai at this cute little coffee shop called Shoes, that actually has shoes hanging from the ceiling!

And they even had the most beautiful little secret garden, that reminded me of places that I used to go to in London when I lived there.

For some reason, I failed to take a picture of the garden, but trust me, it was beautiful!

So how were your weekends?  What did you do to take care of yourselves?

Collard Beets

Day 12 is done and I’m feeling a lot better than I have the past few days.  I even did a little Tai Cheng this afternoon!  After doing yoga work study, I was able to meet up with Diana, whom I haven’t seen in weeks!  It turned out to be a gorgeous day too, so we sat and had lunch in the sunshine at Whole Foods.  I also had an amazing conversation with my health coach through Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  I really can’t wait to see what my journey this year brings!

Same amazing breakfast I’ve been having every morning!

Today’s lunch on the Reset was hearty vegetable miso soup with a microgreen salad, so I compromised at Whole Foods.

I grabbed some lettuce and threw a bunch of different things on top: quinoa salad, artichokes, beans, zucchini salad, and cucumber tomato salad.

I thought I was super hungry so I grabbed some vegan sushi too, even though it wasn’t Reset approved with the white rice.  I ended up being satisfied with what I ate and only ate a few bites of the sushi and decided to bring the rest home to my mom (it was either that or throw it in the trash, and I hate throwing food away).

I did get semi-hungry in the afternoon though, so I grabbed my blueberries and green apple. No pic of the green apple though, I was already eating it when I realized I hadn’t taken a pic.  🙂

For dinner I had collard greens for the first time with roasted beets and it tasted amazing!  I used a little too much coconut oil to took it, but it was prepared with that, some onions, garlic, coconut milk, and a little Himalayan salt.  So good!!

Now to get ready for a busy week!

Optimal Nutrition

I’ve been wanting to blog since Wednesday, when I started the Beachbody Ultimate Reset, but of course with my crazy schedule, I haven’t gotten around to it.  I’m looking to cut out several things from my schedule because I’m finding that I don’t have the time to truly focus on my passions, namely Beachbody and Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  I’ve spent most of today catching up on my coursework for IIN, which I absolutely love, but I’m really wishing I couldn’ve gotten most of it done during the week.

I’m loving being on the Beachbody Ultimate Reset though!  The meals are so amazing and are making me appreciate food so much more.  Each day I take my supplements before eating my meals & I can tell they’re working because these first few days I’ve been feeling a little tired & sore, like you do after a great workout.  Pilot groups for the Reset reported feeling the same way, because your body is getting an internal workout and cleansing itself of toxins.

I’m currently on Phase 1 of the Reset, so in the next Phase, which will start on Wednesday, a new supplement will be introduced to help my body with the detoxification process.

Check out some of the amazing meals I’ve been eating!

Blueberry oatmeal

Microgreen salad with homemade sesame ginger dressing – btw, I’ve discovered that I’m sensitive to soy AND to sesame, which is a bummer because I LOVE sesame!  😦

Delicious green apple for snack

Black beans over brown rice, kale sprinkled with lemon juice & pine nuts, homemade guacamole, and corn

Greek salad with homemade Greek dressing

Another microgreen salad, this time with Greek dressing

My attempt at Japanese!  Not overly successful, lol.  Nori rolls, Japanese cucumber salad, and miso soup.

Fresh fruit

Nori rolls, microgreen salad, and lentil lime salad.

Another huge benefit?!  I’ve lost 4 pounds!  I’m loving how simple & easy the recipes are to prepare and that I’m learning to make new things.  Can’t wait to see what the next 17 days bring!

Philadelphia Loves Beachbody

Where do I even begin to blog about everything that’s been happening the past few days?!  All I can say is that exciting things are happening!!!  On Saturday I headed up to Philadelphia with my mom to go see Carl Daikeler, CEO of Beachbody for Beachbody’s quarterly Super Saturday event.  Super Saturdays took place all across the country and I was fortunate enough to go see our CEO somewhere that wasn’t too far from where I live.

I met up with some of the other amazing coaches on my team and we had a great time being inspired and learning more about the direction in which the company’s headed.

The picture above is courtesy of Carl Daikeler.  🙂

What could be a better purpose than that?  I really feel so proud and honored to be a part of such an amazing company.  Together with what I’m learning at Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I’m so excited that I’m helping to make such powerful changes in people’s lives, including my own.

Carl was nothing short of inspiring and helped us all to see that each and every one of us can achieve the goals that we set for ourselves.  Yes he might be the CEO of the overall Beachbody company, but he re-inforced that we are no different from him.  As Beachbody coaches, we are the CEOs of our own companies and can do whatever we want to in this business, if we just set our hearts and minds to it.  We are leaders and here to inspire others to make healthy changes in their lives so that they too, can inspire others in much the same way.  And we can make as much money as we want doing it (he said the top coach in the company makes somewhere around $18,000 a week).  Who doesn’t want that so that they can enjoy their lives and live it with full freedom?!  I know I definitely want it!

I was so thankful to have the opportunity to meet him.  Literally the whole room was standing in line waiting to have their picture taken with him and as we were, I thought to myself “who else stands in line waiting to get their picture taken with their CEO?!  Most people probably hate their CEOs!  Only Beachbody coaches would do something like this because we’re proud and honored to have such an amazing man leading us forward towards success!”

Afterwards my mom and I decided to go walk around Philadelphia and grab some lunch. Did I stay raw the entire time?  No, although my mom did bring lots of fruit and the place where we headed for lunch was a raw juice bar.  Could I have stayed raw?  Yes, but I was listening to my body and what it really wanted was some great cooked food!

I have to share the amazing dinner that the hotel bar made for me when it was 10:30 pm and my mom and I were tired from driving all afternoon (gotta love DC traffic).  When the waitress heard that I was vegan, she told me that the chef could prepare a vegan plate.  So I was thinking that I’d get a plate of asparagus or something.  I was so surprised when this came out for me!

That’s eggplant on top with some delicious tomato sauce and basil on the side.  And on the inside there was asparagus, carrots, broccoli, basil, sun dried tomatoes, squash, and onions!

So back to the juice bar, named Jar Bar Philly. One of the other amazing coaches gave me a coupon for it so of course I had to go there.

And what did I notice as I was taking the picture below?

Carl Daikeler sitting right there in the window!  Definitely was not expecting that.  He didn’t stay for very long though.

Anyway, even though they had amazing things on the menu, I wasn’t in the mood for anything but a salad, and I also got an amazing raw chocolate maca smoothie.

Afterwards, my mom and I decided to walk around for a little bit, but since we’re not super history buffs and the line for the Liberty Bell was too long, we decided to head home early and just relax.  I did get a few pictures of some pretty flowers outside the Liberty Bell and the flag of Chile waving outside some building, but we couldn’t figure out why it was there along with the American flag and the Italian flag.

I have so much more to blog about, but I’ll save it for a post tomorrow, especially since this is getting super long.  Goodnight!