Tag Archives: nutrition

Clean Orange Chicken Quinoa Stir Fry

Day one of my What’s Beautiful challenge and I’ve already increased my weight in close-grip bench press from 75 lbs to 85 lbs and my dips from 8 reps to 11 reps per set…I don’t know if my triceps were feeling extra good or something but today they were doing WORK.

I also accomplished something that has to do with the “balance” challenge I have for myself. Usually after my workout, I rush home to prepare my post-post workout meal at least an hour after my protein shake. If I don’t get the carbs in that time frame, I get anxious and nervous that my muscles will have lost that optimum carb/protein intake time frame for muscle growth. Today, I took my time. Instead of going home immediately, I went next door to Whole Foods to buy some of those Japanese yams I love so much. And then, instead of going home after that, I knew I had a lot more grocery shopping to do so I went to my next grocery stop, and finished the rest of my  shopping. By the time I got home, instead of whipping up something fast, I decided to put on some music and make a new recipe I’ve had on my to-do list for awhile. Usually when I cook recipes for my website it takes about an hour, with plenty of dishes to do, veggies to cut and lots of loving care:) Regardless of the mess and time it would take, I decided to go for it. So an hour later after making this delicious meal, I finally got those post-post workout carbs in and it was at least 2 hours after my workout. I’m so proud of myself for listening to my body, relaxing and enjoying cooking stress-free.

Now, on to the recipe. Step by step directions are at the bottom but I’m thinking we should look at some pictures first. Chyes? I think so.

2013-05-13 00.58.47 The orange extract, looking as lovely as ever.

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The ground cloves, doing a little mixing and mingling.

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The chicken, hot and sizzlin.

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The quinoa, fluffy and luscious.

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Oh heyyy chicken, you lookin gooood.

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Just a little love makin.

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B-E-A-utiful colours.

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The final masterpiece.

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A little extra orange squeezed on top…just for additional perfection.

2013-05-13 01.34.08AND PLENTY OF LEFTOVERS!

Orange Chicken Quinoa Stir Fry
(**paleo, serves 3-4)
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Ingredients for the orange chicken:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into small pieces
2 tbs orange extract
1/3 cup water
a dash of ground cloves
a dash of cinnamon (a big dash!)
1-2 packets of Stevia depending on how sweet you like it

Ingredients for the stir fry:
1 cup quinoa
Thinly sliced carrots
Mushrooms, chopped
Broccoli
Chopped onions
Sugar snap peas
Red pepper slices
1 orange (optional)

**I’m sorry I don’t have the measurements for the veggies. Just add accordingly to the number of mouths you need to feed! I would start with 1/3 cup for each veggie and add more of what you like the most!

Directions:
On a nonstick skillet, place the chicken strips on medium to high heat. Mix all of the other “orange chicken” ingredients in a small bowl and pour the mixture on the chicken (you could also marinate the chicken beforehand if you want more intense flavor but I thought it was awesome as is). Prepare the quinoa by boiling 2 cups of water with the 1 cup of quinoa. After about 15 minutes (time varies) the quinoa should be fluffy and cooked through. When the chicken is cooked through, add the chicken to the pan with the quinoa but try to keep as much of the marinade inside of the pan. Add as many veggies as you would like into the pan with an additional spoonful of coconut oil if needed! Saute the veggies and then add them to the pan with the chicken and quinoa. Serve hot with a few additional orange slices or get more creative by adding avocado slices, bragg’s liquid aminos or some toasted almond slivers.

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What’s Beautiful?

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I’m so excited to a part of the Under Armour What’s Beautiful Challenge with the rest of my friends from Fitfluential. The reason why I promote this campaign and think it is such a beautiful movement is because it pushes women to perform better and challenges them to do whatever it is they have been wanting to do but haven’t been able to make the commitment. Last year when this challenge first started, my goal was to compete in my first NPC Competition. I didn’t sign up online for the Under Armor What’s Beautiful Challenge, but I did mentally. I was so busy with training, I didn’t think I could have had enough time to do video logs and blog about it on both the Under Armour website and my own blog….but I wish I did! Regardless, this movement helped me to pick a goal and DO IT. No thinking, no pondering about it endlessly, just doing it. And it was ultimately and amazing experience. (By the way, this post might look slightly familiar to one I wrote in October of 2012 about self-worth….check it out here!)

This year is different though. As much as I wish I had one goal to work towards, I’m focusing on two slightly broad things. Balance and muscle growth. I believe balance is a challenge in itself, but it’s one that I’m learning how to master. Muscle growth, as you probably know, is a HUGE challenge for me. I tend to psych myself out a lot because I think that the reason why I’m not growing is because I don’t eat enough, but honestly, I think I eat just fine. I have a very well rounded and balanced diet and I would much rather eat when I want instead of having to time everything and eat to the point that I’m stuffed. I hate feeling stuffed. Usually, that’s when my energy is the weakest and I would much rather pick awesome energy over a uncomfortably full belly.

So my training techniques are what I’m focusing on for this challenge. More power lifting and compound movements. Not only do they increase mass, but they also make you feel like one tough cookie. Who doesn’t love to see their PR increase in deadlifts and pull ups?

So my goals for the Under Armour What’s Beautiful Challenge are as follows:

1. Continue to seek out balance
2. Learn proper power lifting etiquette and form
3. Continue to do sprints once per week (all other cardio has been cut out)
4. Increase my strength
5. Increase my muscles, duhhh

Here are my PR stats for the compound movements I’m already comfortable with:

Straight-legged deadlifts- 170 lbs
Normal deadlifts- 155 lbs
(Decline and Flat) Bench Press- 100 lbs
Back squats- 115 lbs (I used to be much higher but then I realized I wasn’t even going parallel…now doing booty to the ankles!!)
Overhand barbell rows- 70 lbs
Military press- 60 lbs
Barbell curls- 65 lbs
Dips- 10 per set
Chin ups- 8 per set, no assistance
Assisted pull ups- 10 per set (with 60 pounds assisting)

All of these exercises in particular I would like to see at least a 10 lb increase within the next month or so.

And then of course, there are the movements I’m not too familiar with that I would really love to get better at…such as:

Overhead Squat, Cleans, Snatches (ahh), Pulls, Jerks, Presses, etc…..I’d mostly like to learn the basics and then all the different variations. The names are confusing in themselves to me…power clean vs. high-hang clean vs. clean and press vs. clean whatever. Yeah, maybe I should look into Powerlifting for Dummies. I’ll think about it.

I’m working on putting a group together on the Under Armour Website, where my females friends can join and push themselves with me! Because of some technical difficulties, I’m having to post-pone the creation of this group but I’m hoping I’ll have it running asap. So please stay tuned to my facebook page for details! I’ll most likely be posting it there.

The first step is to go to the Under Armour website, create an account and upload your goal. Easy peasy. And feel free to give yourself completely different goals than mine! If you’re a runner, pick a race and start training for it! If you are a competitor, pick a show and join in on the fun!! We all have different goals for our bodies but we can encourage each other every step of the way! And you can follow individual athletes’ pages so be sure to follow me by clicking here and then clicking “follow athlete” 🙂 I’ll do the same for you!
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By the way. I really wish I could take pictures and videos of myself doing particular exercises in the gym and post it on my group’s page. I know a lot of people post pictures of themselves working out but how in the world do you muster up enough courage to ask somebody to take a snap shot of yourself?! I just don’t want to be that person!

Fitness: Putting to Rest the Controversies & Confusion

I’ve been talking and thinking about this topic a lot lately and getting different perspectives on fitness through other fan page accounts, twitter, instagram and it’s pretty easy to see how different people view fitness. There are many definitions of fitness. The one in the dictionary is the ability to reproduce…but I don’t really think that’s what most people have in mind when they’re throwing 65 lb dumbbells up and down the gym, gulping down protein powder and tweeting about their massive pump (#fitness #health #swole).

You know how health is one of the most controversial topics today? Well, that’s because people have different views on what works and what doesn’t. That could be for many reasons. It could because our bodies are made differently and a certain way of eating for me may not work for my neighbor and vice versa. Some people can look at a weight and grow biceps. Others can look at a cake and gain 5 pounds. We all have to adjust our routines to figure out how our own bodies respond the best.

I’ve believed in every single kind of diet at least once in my life. High carb/low fat, no this, no that, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, 6 meals a day, 2 meals a day, and yes, I’ve even tried NO meals a day. I’ve made all the mistakes in the book. I used to over-train and underfeed. I used to kill my body slowly with massive amounts of cardio. I’ve switched around my diet so many times trying to figure out “what works best” for me and my head spins just thinking about it. All the controversies out there have a huge part in my dietary habits, I was constantly listening to what one person says I should and should not eat but then I would hear another very convincing claim that states just the opposite.

You should see my massive pile of nutrition and diet books.

But today I’m going to let you in on a little secret. One many people may want to argue with…but truthfully…if you want to know my opinion….I’ve come to believe that..

EVERYTHING WORKS.

Circuit training works. Crossfit works. 5 by 5 workout routines work. Eating 6 meals a day works. Eating 2 meals a day works. IF works. No IF works. Skipping breakfast works. Working out on an empty stomach works. Working out on a full stomach works. Yolks work. Chicken works. BCAAs work and pre-workouts work. Paleo works. Vegetarian works….(eh…kinda). Everything works as long as it’s enriching and healthy for your body.

Not healthy as in “I’m going to eat zero calorie foods all day cause that’s me being healthy.” But healthy as in….”This banana came from Mother Nature. Therefore I will stuff it in my face, enjoy every bite and then use it to fuel my workout.” Now we’re talking.

So I want to put to rest some of these questions about health and fitness. There will always be controversies. But it’s your job to not let it get to you. Do not fall into the trap of thinking only ONE thing works and everything outside of it is a fail. That’s limiting yourself too much and eventually you will grow tired. And confused.

I’m not saying you should turn away from listening to what people have to say. Quite the opposite actually. Learn what you can from smart people. Read nutrition books. Study the art. Figure out what benefits are coming from the food you are consuming and read about different training strategies. Knowledge is power. The part where things get tricky (for me) is implementing that knowledge into my own life without letting it control me. I’ve been switching my attention over from listening to what others say will work, to how my body responds to the things I do each day. I still absolutely love to hear about what coconut oil will do on an empty stomach or why it’s best to eat simple sugars post workout and all that fun good stuff. It’s exciting and enriching to learn more. But once you have the gift of knowledge, don’t abuse it. Have fun with testing out new things but take it a day at a time. If you hear a theory that goes against the same one you heard yesterday, it’s probably true. Everything is true in some way. it just depends on how you look at it, your goals and your own beautiful body.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (dairy and grain free)

Besides one minor 8 page paper, school is done and over with for the semester. So to celebrate, I made a batch of delicious paleo pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for my sweet 80 something year old poetry professor. I was in a bit of a hurry, so an instagram picture is the best I could do. I usually hesitate to post a recipe without at least halfway decent pictures, but I really wanted to share this one!
931423_589041617781561_538340145_nPumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (gluten, grain and dairy free)
Ingredients:
1 cup almond flour/meal
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1/4 cup almond butter or sunbutter (sunbutter for the win)
1/4 cup honey
1 T maple syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup chocolate chip (dairy free, gluten-free)
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Blend thoroughly, that baking powder can be clumpy! Prepare a muffin dish with muffin liners or spray with non-stick spray. Pour the batter in evenly…mine made about 9 muffins. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until they’re firm and golden brown.  (I honestly can’t tell you exactly how long I cooked mine for, because I kept wanting them to be a little more crispier but it’s probably ended up more towards 45 minutes than 40. Definitely try 40 first, everybody’s oven’s is a little different I think:))

These came out super moist, light and fluffy. Even though it’s May, I will never get tired of smelling pumpkin in my apartment. I just wanted to light the pumpkin candle I STILL have sitting by my couch and drink some warm archer farms pumpkin flavored coffee. Is it Fall yet?!

What I Ate Wednesday

Her guys! My last first and last final is in a few hours. Did I stay up all night studying for it, you ask? No. But I did stay up to download my pictures for this post. And Facebook chat. And look at cute pictures of kittens.

"She was like, 'Let's just be friends.'"

And now I’m watching the Today Show. I’m still not sure when the official studying hour shall commence, but I’m guessing it’ll be somewhere around 12:30, when I’m walking to my exam. It’s a good 7 minute walk, so that’s plenty of time right? Agh, graduation couldn’t come at a better time. No more motivation.

On to WHAT I ATE WEDNESDAY! (AKA stuff that’s much more important)

2013-04-29 19.11.16 Quinoa porridge! This is 3/4 cup of already cooked quinoa, with a splash of almond milk, strawberry whey and a few cherries.2013-04-29 22.23.35PWO was an extremely ripe banana and 1 scoop whey.2013-04-29 23.04.42One of my favourite meals was next!! Pizza stuffed sweet potatoes. I used my low carb marinara sauce, nitrate-free pepperoni, mushrooms and tomato basil mrs. dash seasoning.2013-04-30 02.45.33Taco salad. 3 oz longhorn, mini peppers, salsa, 1/2 avocado, tomatoes and lots of lettuce!2013-04-30 06.15.05Quinoa omelet. Eggs, onions, broccoli and quinoa with a dab of ketchup! Not too fancy but sure is delicious.168883_588232724529117_405757577_nThis was a cookies and cream sunbutter cup! Omg it was so delicious and so easy to make. Just scoop 1/2 cookies and cream casein into a ramekin dish, add a dollop of nut butter, and then top with the remaining casein. Stick in the freezer for an hour and then enjoy:)

I noticed that I have protein powder for 3 of my meals. That’s a little excessive. I love casein at night because it keeps cravings at bay, and of course whey is my go to after a workout. So what I think I’m going to do is focus on decreasing my use of powders from at least 3 to 2. And then I will work down to only post workout. Whole foods FOR THE WIN!

Baked Pizza Meatballs

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It’s a Saturday afternoon “rest” day. So of course, I’ve done a lot of cooking, cleaning and watching Friends. I’m also going to indulge in a mini I’m-so-over-college rant. I really can’t neglect school this next week as much as I did last week.  I missed more than half of my classes simply because I don’t care. This upcoming week is my last week of school.  All in all, I’ve had a good semester but it flew by crazy fast. A lot has happened that I’m grateful for and I’ve overcome a few struggles of my own. Regardless, it would be a great semester to finish off my college career.

But nope…..of course the educational gods (AKA the school dean and administrators) wanted to grant me with one more lingering school session, out of the kindness of their rotten hearts. Thanks. On a positive note, that will just give me more time to search for my first job. I have a good idea of where I’m going to go, but I’m not releasing any deets quite yet.

Enough whining. Let’s talk about how delicious my kitchen smells right now. It’s a mixture of grassfed longhorn (yes, grassfed is a smell), pepperoni, parsley and onion. Maybe, a little bit of bacon fat hidden somewhere too.
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Ingredients:
1 pound lean beef (bison, longhorn, grass-fed)
1 oz nitrate-free pepperoni, chopped
1 egg
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T chopped Italian Parsley
1 T Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic
3 T marinara sauce (I use this one)
1 T coconut oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Set the oven to 400 degrees. Saute the onion and garlic in the coconut oil, on a skillet set to medium-high heat, until onions are translucent. Once done, put them in a bowl with the beef, pepperoni, egg, parsley, Mrs. Dash and 2 T of the marinara sauce. Mix well with your hands and then form into little balls. Place them on a baking dish with either parchment paper or greased with grassfed butter/coconut oil and then top each meatball with a little bit of what’s left of the marinara sauce. Put the meatballs in the oven for 15 minutes. Pair with spaghetti squash, spiraled zucchini, or a big side of veggies!
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Mmmm don’t you wanna touch all of dat.

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Pepperoni is my weakness.2013-04-27 01.32.05

Not a big pizza person. But meatballs….2013-04-27 01.39.29I just can’t get enough.

I’m pretty pleased with how this recipe came out, so please give it a go and let me know how you like em! Have a great weekend!

Mini PB Protein Biscuits & Egg Whites

I had difficulty naming this one. Technically these could be protein puffs, mini breakfast cakes,  biscuits or what have you! I decided to stick with biscuits because when I separated them into three different rounds, they looked really flaky and soft. I have a had a few people think that their protein mug cakes come out a little dry, which is why I typically top mine with something like almond butter, protein icing (a little whey and almond milk mixed together) or sweet eggs…I don’t really mind the “dry” mug cakes but I also have a really strange set of taste buds:) These I made on a complete whim but they were so delicious that I had to share.

Mini Protein Biscuits & Egg Whites
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Ingredients for Biscuits:
1 scoop Myofusion whey (I used peanut butter cookie dough)
1 T egg whites
1/3 cup almond milk
1/2 T flax seed

Toppings:
1/2 cup egg whites or 3  egg whites
Nut Butter (I chose Sunbutter)
Cinnamon
1 packet Stevia

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients for the biscuits in a mug and put in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Be careful to make sure it doesn’t spill over! Once done, turn over the mug on a plate and let the cake cool. Then scramble eggs in skillet. Cut the protein concoction into 3 pieces and top them with the eggs, Stevia, cinnamon and nut butter. This is almost identical to my strawberry mug cake, but just another way to spice up your whey:)

Yesterday I had a fun photo shoot at my gym sporting the RUNNUR since I wear this product around religiously. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten so many funny looks at the gym. Wait no, I take that back. Carrying my competition heels to the fitness room made for a pretty long walk. Oh, good times….good times.

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Oh YEAAHHHHH. Sexayyy RUNNUR.

And even though I did legs today, my past two posts have had leg workouts so here is my shoulder/tricep workout from yesterday.

Kettlebell swings with 25 lb- 3 sets, 25 reps
(All reps below 8-10)
Military press- 50, 60, 60, 40 to failure
Close grip bench- 70, 80, 80, 45 to failure
Clean and press- 45, 50, 50, 45
Dips (normal, not assisted, ladies!)- 4 sets
DB shoulder press- 35, 35, 25, 25
Shrugs holding 50 lbs in each hand- 3 sets of 30
Overhead tricep extension- 35, 35, 35

Okay so I know this looks like a lot but since my reps are in the 8-10 range, I do an extra set usually. I was DEAD by the time I was done though. Definitely felt it the entire day. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes!