Personal Challenge Week#4

Good Evening friends!

It’s been 3 weeks since I first started this newest challenge, which focuses on helping me break my sugar addiction,  and build the body I want. I’ve had a few missteps, made some progress, changed rules along the way and now i’m moving into the 4th week and couldn’t be happier.

This is going to be a short post, but I’d like to quickly mention my “changes” to the 6 week challenge, as well as, add on new goals for this week!

1. Originally, I was supposed to be eating fully raw for 6 weeks, but in the past week i’ve added a few cooked foods. Not because I was craving bread or chips, rather my body was actually telling me that I needed something more to feel better. I added small amounts of quinoa and sweet potato and voila–much better. The thing I love about eating so clean–especially raw, is that you become so in tune with your body, so when it says “actually girl, eat more” or “this food doesn’t work for me” or “I need a little cooked food” you notice. I commend those who are fully raw, and maybe someday i’ll get there but for now, I feel better with the small amount of sweet potato/quinoa i’ve been having (only after 4pm). Also, I believe that you should do what’s best for your body and NEVER stick with a diet that is so restrictive that you are miserable…so, if that means a little tweak from time to time, then by all means do that. Oh and if you’re wondering why I didn’t just eat more fruit, well the issue is that to feel the same affect (needed energy) I was finding that I needed to eat 6 bananas (or mass amounts of fruit) which is fine –I love bananas– BUT I was not physically able to eat because I was full. I eat A LOT when fully raw, and sometimes my belly is full but I haven’t eaten enough calories for the day…   that’s where the cooked carbs come in.

2. Part of last week’s challenge was that I’d foam roll, and i’m ashamed to say that I did not pull out the foam roller at all…until today. :S  So that goal still stands. I will foam roll. I will, I will, I WILL!

Okay, on to the NEW goals.

1. 5 minute plank, v-sit, and 10 minute wall sit challenge. I’ve been working towards these goals every day. I’m getting stronger, and where I once thought “there is NO way i’ll actually do this for the total time in 30 days” I now see that it’s definitely an attainable goal. It’s going to be hard, and i’ll sweat (and probably curse) my way to the full time, but i’ll make it. Today the plank only had to be 2:30 minutes BUT I held it for 4. I was so incredibly proud of myself. 😀 I WILL make it to 5 minutes by the end of the month.

2. ABS! Okay so bla bla bla…I want abs, I’ve always wanted abs, I sort of work towards abs, I wish I had abs. The amount of times I reference ‘abs’ in a month is ridiculous really. I always say i’m going to get there, and was even supposed to do a challenge with my friend (didn’t work out) but honestly, I have not been REALLY EXTRA SUPER DE-DUPER focused on getting the 1 thing I talk about constantly. This is a big one, and obviously will be going on for a while (as in the personal challenge ends in 3 weeks, but i’ll be working on abs for a long time) but I am actively working on building FULL abs starting TODAY! ANDDD I’m going to take a before photo (haven’t done it yet) and in 4 weeks i’ll take another, and then 4 weeks after that, another, etc. until I am popping out a core to rival any wash board. Oh yeah, and to keep me accountable…*gulp* i’m actually going to post the photos.

Okay well this was a pretty boring post– no amazing photos, or clever anecdotes, but sometimes simple, concise, to the point is best…right? RIGHT? That’s what I thought.

I have been working on a few things for my upcoming blog posts starting with some protein powder reviews (some good, some pretty darn gag worthy), and some hair product reviews. I wanted to try everything for a few weeks to ensure it wasn’t a 1 time error or success.

I hope everyone had a wonderful day filled with smiles, sunshine, and SWEAT! If you didn’t work out today (unless it was your rest day) do something, anything RIGHT NOW. Seriously, do a 1 minute plank, followed by a 1 minute v-sit,  a 1 minute wall sit and then 2 minutes of burpees or jumping jacks. That’s 5 minutes of your time but I promise you there will now be sweat in your day. DO IT!

Peace, love, and Tricep dips!

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Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie Recipe (Raw, Vegan)

I have a major sweet tooth…big surprise there, I know. It was so incredibly hot outside today, so after my workout I decided to make myself a smoothie, and since i was in the mood for chocolate my usual green smoothie just wasn’t going to cut it. This recipe makes a ton of smoothie, but since I wasn’t ‘eating’ dinner, I wanted to make sure i’d have enough to keep me full for the entire evening. I drank 1 portion right away as a smoothie, and the second I waited an hour until it was a pudding consistency and ate it like dessert with a banana chopped up on top. 🙂 This tastes like a chocolate covered strawberry so if you have a sweet tooth, like me, you’re in for quite a treat!

chocolate-strawberry-smoothie

Chocolate Strawberry shake (Healthy, Raw, vegan, )

(makes 2 servings)

2 cups almond milk (preferably homemade) *If smoothie is too thick add a little more milk

2 cups frozen sliced strawberries

1 frozen banana

2 tbsp raw cacao powder

1 tsp raw maca powder

1 tbsp cacao nibs

1 tbsp hemp seeds

1 tbsp chia seeds

Scoop of favourite chocolate protein powder

Throw everything in the blender in the order listed, and BLEND BLEND BLEND!!! Enjoy!!

*This recipe takes quite a lot of cacao powder but I don’t find protein powder to be chocolatey enough on it’s own. This evening I had a bit of a ‘spazz’ moment and forgot to add the protein powder. Oops. I also switched up 1 cup of strawberries for 1 cup of sweet cherries. Oh, I suppose I should add that I personally like dark chocolate, but if this is too bitter for you, feel free to add some raw agave to the smoothie for a little sweetness.

Some of the products that I used tonight were:

Navitas-Naturals-Organic-Cacao-Powder-Raw-

2012111613475639078_lrg

manitoba-harvest-hemp-hearts

 

 

 

 

I present this recipe in “smoothie” form, but another option is to enjoy it as a protein pudding. If you are in a “pudding” mood, don’t use frozen fruit OR do and simply let the smoothie sit for 15-20 minutes and voila rich velvety chocolate strawberry pudding! Chop up a banana, add some fresh berries, and maybe even a few more cacao nibs and enjoy a healthy decadent dessert!

 

Pavlov’s Dogs…and Personal Challenge (Week#3).

I’m not entirely sure why, but I seem to always paint my fingernails right before writing a blog post. So, I sit here–yet another night– gingerly pressing on my laptop keys, trying my hardest not to smudge my nails as I regale you with fragments of my day. Well, actually, I am pulled between my thoughts and finishing an episode of  Law & Order: special victims unit which is particularly entertaining tonight…but each time my index finger gets slightly jammed between the I and J key (this happens frequently for some reason) I panic and examine my hand to make sure I haven’t completely ruined my work. Okay well now that I’ve established that I enjoy painting my nails during inconvenient times, I guess it’s only fair if I move on to keep from boring you completely.

Might I just say, I want this nail polish. It reminds me of birthday cake...AND it's vegan. :)
Might I just say, I want this nail polish. It reminds me of birthday cake…AND it’s vegan. 🙂

It’s been 2 weeks since starting my personal fitness and health challenge, and i have been slowly making progress. I can’t lie, I’ve had a few little stumbles along the way but part of the process involves making mistakes AND learning from those mistakes. Truthfully, I am paying dearly for my little ‘food cheat’ and if I could undo my bad choice I most certainly would. Long story short, I had a few fries at a restaurant that were cooked in the same fryer that foods containing gluten were cooked in, and if you remember i’m celiac SOOO I’ve been sick ever since. It started slow, with a little mild indigestion and bloating and after 6 days turned into a full attack. I have been having headaches, numbness in my right arm, severe cramps, bloating so bad I looked 4+ months pregnant, etc. Everything I eat makes me feel sick, and will probably continue to do so for another few weeks. As painful as this has been, it is sort of a good thing. Okay well not GOOD, since i’m sick and the gluten probably damaged my poor intestines but this nothing keeps a girl from having bad food like a little Pavlovion conditioning.  If  I remember correctly from psychology class, Pavlov used bells to elicit a certain response from the dogs. He would ring a bell and then feed them, eventually the dogs began to salivate every time they heard the bell ring (even before getting the food) because they had been conditioned to associate feeding with the bell. So, not the same thing, but let’s loosely apply this theory to my situation and say that technically bad greasy food SHOULD make me run the other direction because I got sick after eating it and therefore associate aches, pains of a gluten attack with them. 😀

nogluten

I had intended for this post to be quite short, but obviously that isn’t going to happen. *Oopsies*  I started by admitting my cheat, but I’d also like to focus on a few positives that have come out of me doing this challenge.

1. I have gotten stronger with headstands already. I have been following along with the maytheforcebewithyogis instagram challenge and one of the poses this month has been a forearm headstand (not fully extended) with a variation on the legs. The girls who are running the challenge post several photos as sort of a “how to” instructional to get into the poses, as well as, a full write up under the photo with step by step instructions for getting into the pose. The photos allowed me to see how my body SHOULD look during each step of getting into the air and it’s because of this that I was able to lift my legs without wall support AND not face plant (at least not immediately). My balance has improved, and I am just overall feeling stronger and more confident in my ability.

forearm split headstand

2. I promised myself i’d get more organized, AND I HAVE. I even created a workout plan that I will be following for 2 weeks. I have mapped out what I should be doing every day of the week (I’ll repeat the process next week too, before creating a new plan and following that for 2 weeks, etc). I created a meal plan as well, but since i’m having some severe stomach/intestine issues at the moment that has been modified to include a ton of juice and green smoothies.

3. As mentioned in #1 I have been following that instagram yoga challenge. I haven’t taken photos or participated by posting myself in the poses, but I have been doing them each day. Some are easier to do than others, but so far, most of them have been poses i’ve never tried before and I’m loving exploring different things my body is capable of!

And finally, I have several add ons for this week. Actually only 2….

1. Focus on making healthy smoothies that are easily digestible and help heal my gluten induced state of emergency. The less work my body has to do the better, but I am just not in a juice cleanse state of mind so foods….soft foods, simple foods, and lots of green smoothies. Basically, I need to work on feeling better.

green-smoothie1

2. Pull out my old enemy–the Foam roller. I was training for a 1/2 marathon a few years ago and totaled my knees. At first I was depressed and tried everything to fix the problem, but when months passed and I still couldn’t run I sort of stopped my regimen of stretching and foam rolling. I plan to make a post regarding this whole situation in the next little while, but i’d love to be able to run again without feeling like my knees are about to break and to do this I have to work on my hip flexors and IT band. So. For the next month, this involves hopping on the foam roller for AT LEAST 10 minutes a day (trust me seems like no time but, 10 minutes of fighting back tears will work wonders for my IT band).

Insert, tears and this is me on a foam roller. And maybe a few 4 letter words in a bubble above my head. :S
Insert, tears and this is me on a foam roller. And maybe a few 4 letter words in a bubble above my head. :S

I have recipes ready to post this week! Finally, I know. I am hoping to have 1 up in a few days, so stay tuned. Until then, eat clean, train dirty…and remember to take time for yourself!

*Hugs*

“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.” – Edwin Way Teale

This morning as I sat staring out of the window on my bus ride to work, I saw a few tulips– not quite blossomed yet– poking out of the ground and was reminded of the rhyme APRIL SHOWERS BRINGS MAY FLOWERS.

tulips

Today is the first day of May, and as the flowers begin to blossom and bloom into something extraordinary so shall I. Okay, that’s a little over the top but hey, that’s sort of my thing. I have some ‘personal’ challenges going and will continue with those, but it’s the first day of May so I have decided to try a few other things too.

One of the things I have been working towards the past few weeks is finding my balance. I want to focus on lifting, yet fit in cardio, yoga, foam rolling, biking, nature walks, the list goes on and all of this is great but I have found myself missing my love–yoga. I just can’t give it up…and why should I have to? It centers me, makes me stronger, and leaves my body feeling better. So…I am still going to focus on lifting since that is something I need to learn to love–but i’m not going to worry too much about if I can lift + this + that…I am going to do yoga every day and I believe balance will come. 🙂

balance

I know…scary. But it doesn’t have to be a 90 minute class, it can be as simple as a 20 minute youtube video–anything that goes toward making me stronger, more centered, and relaxed.

Actually you know what, this would be so much easier if I just make a list (what can I say, i’m a little bit of a crazy list maker).

1. Take back my love. Practice some form of yoga every day. (DVD’s, Classes, youtube)

2. Get better organized. Ugh…my office is a disaster, my filing cabinet is a disaster, and don’t  even get me started on the sad state of my make up/bathroom cabinets. I need to take the time to put things in order.

3. Become a more serious blogger. I have recipes, hair product reviews, failed hair attempts, etc that i’ve been meaning to share but haven’t taken the time to just do it…this month it’s on. AND since #2 is to get more organized it should be easier than ever.

4. MEDITATE.

Meditation-Yoga-pose

5. Create a weekly food menu and budget and stick to it. (I stole this from the wonderful Fit,Green,And Gorgeous but lord knows I need this badly.

6. My final, and biggest goal for this month SAVE, SAVE, SAVE those dollars! There is something (which I will share later) that I really want to do, but it requires a nice chunk of change in order to do. It is something I have wanted for a while, and I’m nervous and excited but I think I can make it happen if I create a plan and actually stick to it.

saving-money

 

#5 and #6 feed into one another because I spend a LOT (and I do mean a lot) of money on food. Sometimes necessary purchases like bananas, chia seeds, and tea but other times i’ll buy 5 more boxes of tea before the last 4 are done or decide I need new $12 nut butter, cereal, more zucchinis than I can possibly eat (so they rot), more frozen fruit even tho I already have 5 bags, overpriced raw cacao…yeah as you can see I have a weakness and that weakness is the organic market. :S  So cut back on splurge purchases, no unnecessary shopping, etc and make this dream of mine a reality. I say that’s a pretty darn good reason don’t you?

Okay well those are my 6 May Challenges. What are you doing this may? Are you planning to start fresh and blossom into something spectacular like the daisies that will soon be popping up everywhere? Try something new, I bet you will love it!  (Oh speaking of trying something new, follow me on twitter @spinbikequeen for pics, inspirational quotes, etc that I post daily).

*Peace, Love, and Pretty Flowers*