Category Archives: BusyEats

Bright spots on the horizon {weekly plan}
Jun
15th

Thank you guys so much for your solidarity and confidence in me in response to Thursday’s post! I have to admit, I knew bar review was going to be a tough few months, but it has turned out to be much more challenging than I expected (no to mention mentally, physically, and emotionally draining).

This week, though, there are bright spots on the horizon! First, one of my best friends is getting married on Saturday!! Eeeeeeek! I’m so honored to be part of her bridal party and I can’t wait to get all pretty, sob off all my makeup, and then celebrate the night away with her and her family. Second, my parents might be in town and able to pay us a visit the day after wedding! I LOVE living closer to home!

workout plan

MEALS

Have I mentioned that John is the best recently? Seriously. He has offered to take over the cooking some days to give me more time to study. I am so incredibly lucky! And all this excitement next weekend means even less meal planning than normal, which is a-ok by me.

Monday: Summer veggie pasta {inspiration}

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Tofu rice bowls {inspiration}

Thursday: John’s stir-fry

Friday: Rehearsal dinner!

Saturday: Wedding dinner!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday: Out to eat to explore our town (it’s June’s goal)

WORKOUTS

Fun story, this week is supposed to be week one of half-marathon training! Really, this is a flexible start date since I haven’t actually signed up for a race yet, but it’s a training plan’s length away from the race I want to run, so training starts now! I’m planning a more detailed post on this, but essentially I’m modifying my current workout plan to fit in more running this week, tapering next week for the Spartan on 6/28, then really settling into a training plan.

Monday: Yoga + 3 mile run + lift lower body (roughly this workout)

Tuesday: Yoga + lift upper body/abs (this TRX workout + a few bonus extras)

Wednesday: Yoga + lift lower body + 3 mile run, 30 burpees after each mile

Thursday: Repeat Tuesday

Friday: Yoga + lift lower body + 5x400m sprints

Saturday: Dancing all night = active recovery? 😀

Sunday: Yoga + 5 mile run

I feel like it’s a tad ambitious planning that run for Sunday, but I have faith we can make it happen. If not, we’ll just push it to Monday. 🙂

Questions: Do you live close to home? (my definition of close is under 4 hours lol) Have you tried any fun summer recipes lately?

Fueling your workouts
Jun
10th

Until a few months ago, I never ate anything before workouts. In fact, the whole idea of “fueling” a workout was pretty foreign to me. Perhaps I should explain.

For me, eating before workouts has never really felt like a choice. When I first started exercising regularly, I quickly learned that if I ate anything within the 2-3 hour window pre-workout, I would get super nauseous once I started moving. I would feel so terrible that I would end up half-assing my workout or even stopping altogether.

To deal with this problem, I started working out in the mornings, which was fine since I’m a morning person anyway. Basically, I was doing “fasted cardio” before it was cool, aaand kept doing it when it became uncool, because I didn’t think I had a choice. After I was diagnosed with my food intolerance, I learned that by avoiding those foods, I could eat something very small under the two hour mark, but it still left me feeling not so great.

The more I read about the importance of pre-workout nutrition (check out this great post from Amy on that topic), the more frustrated I got, and I started searching for a compromise. So when I was offered the chance to try out the VegaSport pre-workout energizer through my ambassadorship with SweatPink and the #fuelyourbetter campaign, I was cautiously optimistic that I might have a solution.

vega sport pre-workout energizer

Note: I was provided with free samples as part of this campaign but was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own (duh!).

I’ve always been a fan of vega as a company because they are plant-based (just like me). Once upon a time a long time ago I tried their drink mix and didn’t care for the flavors, but this was years ago and from what I can tell the formulas and product line have both changed, so I was excited to give them another try. Here’s the review –

Ingredients: All plants as expected, short list, and nothing scary looking. This is why I love this brand so much. I also checked in advance to make sure everything would be fructose malabsorption safe (not an easy task) and it is. Yay me!

IMG_7319

Taste: This is what I was the most nervous about, especially after I saw some other reactions and reviews. I’m a picky eater, so I was afraid I’d have to force it down the hatch. Imagine my surprise when I didn’t mind it at all! Is it the most delicious drink I’ve ever had? Of course not, but I felt pretty neutral about it which is exactly how I would expect to feel about this kind of thing.

Mixability: Another concern of mine, but I zipped it one tap in the magic bullet and it was just fine.

vegasport PWE

Cost: At $50 a tub, that seems like a lot, but I feel like it’s around what I would expect for this sort of thing. Even if it’s a bit higher than average, I personally at least don’t mind paying up for something that sits well with my tummy (and my values!).

Effectiveness: I was really hopeful that a liquid would sit better in my stomach before workouts than solids do, and it did! Yay! I’ve been drinking it 20 minutes before my morning workouts for a few weeks and have had no issues. For me, this is huge. If you’re like me and have trouble eating before working out, I would 100% recommend this as a solution. I have felt much better during workouts, and it’s so nice not to have to choose between nauseous (eating) and foggy/woozy (not eating). I’m super bummed I only have four packets left. Once I’m working and I can afford to be spending a little money, I plan to invest in a tub for myself.

VegaSport PWE

So what about people with options? The pre-workout energizer promises to increase energy, endurance, and mental focus. I have certainly felt all of those things myself (although I’m wary of the placebo effect), but I can’t say how it would compare to just eating something if you have that option. I really believe it helps if your baseline is no fuel, and it may well be better than other fueling options, I just wouldn’t know. But I would also totally suggest it for someone looking for an easy, convenient, and portable option, or someone who wants to try out a more targeted supplement that is still natural and plant-based.

Looking for more info on fueling your workouts (both pre and post)? Check out fuelyourbetter.com.

Questions: How do you fuel before your workouts? If you don’t, is there a reason why? Have you tried any of the Vega Sport products? 

Settling into a routine {weekly plan}
Jun
8th

It’s so nice to be feeling settled a bit. Graduation and the move and everything has been amazing, but it’s also been kind of exhausting. This weekend is also the first weekend I’ve just been home, so I can finally finish with unpacking. I thought I’d be able to do more during the week, but bar review is just taking up too much of my time, and when I do have time, I’m so mentally drained that the last thing I want to do is sort through boxes.

The best thing has been getting into a new routine. I was thinking someday soon I’ll do a “day in the life” post to show how I’m fitting in my workouts and keeping meals healthy while I’m studying for the bar exam. What do you guys think?

workout plan

MEALS

The last couple of weeks we’ve had some great meals that will be hard to top, so I think instead I’ll just keep rotating them through until we are sick of them. 🙂 To be more budget friendly and keep things easier on me with bar review, we’re also trying to pick meals we can eat for two days whenever possible.

Monday: Zuchinni, black bean, and goat cheese enchiladas {recipe}

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Smoked cheddar mac & cheese with baked bbq tofu {recipe}

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: John’s stir-fry

Saturday: Peanut butter broccoli tofu stir-fry {inspiration}

Sunday: Out to eat to explore our town (it’s June’s goal)

WORKOUTS

My new workout plan is still pushing me hard, but I definitely feel better this week than I did last week. This is my last week following this exact schedule, then I’ll be switching things up a bit.

Monday: Yoga

Tuesday: Yoga + lift upper body/abs (this TRX workout + a few bonus extras)

Wednesday: Yoga + lift lower body (roughly this workout) + 3 mile run, 30 burpees after each mile

Thursday: Yoga + lift upper body/abs

Friday: Yoga + lift lower body + sprints (5x400m)

Saturday: Yoga + lift upper body/abs

Sunday: Yoga + lift lower body + 3 mile run

Questions: Do you try to stretch meals over multiple days? Would a “day in the life post” be interesting?

All the DOMS {weekly plan}
Jun
1st

Guys, I seriously can’t remember the last time I was this sore.

My new workout plan is kicking my ass. I kind of love it though because I’m really pushing my muscles again for the first time in a long time. John and I talked about it this morning though and I’m not planning to keep up this intensity for very long. The idea is just to really push and jump start my Spartan training. The week of the race we will scale back and then after that race I’ll stick to a slightly lighter maintenance-oriented schedule until our next race gets close. It’s good to work hard, but too much and it stops being beneficial and wears your body down.

workout plan

MEALS

Have I told you guys how much I love our new kitchen yet? We’ve been scraping by with a sorry excuse for a kitchen for two years (there were literally no counters, we used a table against the wall). Our new kitchen is like a real, grown-up, legit kitchen and it’s amazing! It makes cooking much more enjoyable.

Monday: Summer veggie lasagna {recipe}

Tuesday: Mediterranean quinoa casserole {recipe}

Wednesday: Crispy tofu rice bowls {recipe}

Thursday: Smoked cheddar mac & cheese with baked bbq tofu – how amazing does that sound?? {recipe}

Friday: Butternut squash enchilada casserole {inspiration}

Saturday/Sunday: Leftovers, out to eat, etc.

WORKOUTS

I’ve really been neglecting yoga since the move, which I hate. I have an awesome new space to practice in and more reason to fit it in than ever before (bar exam prep = stress = more yoga needed!). This week, my goal is to get back to daily yoga while keeping up the Spartan prep.

Monday: Yin yoga (I’m so excited for this rest day!)

Tuesday: Yoga + lift upper body/abs (I’m posting part of this workout this week!)

Wednesday: Yoga + lift lower body + 3 mile run, 30 burpees after each mile

Thursday: Yoga + lift upper body/abs

Friday: Yoga + lift lower body + sprints (5x400m)

Saturday: Yoga + lift upper body/abs

Sunday: Yoga + lift lower body + 3 mile run

Hopefully the soreness will reduce a bit next week as I get stronger. Maybe that’s expecting results too fast, but unlike running and other areas of fitness, I usually see strength gains fairly quickly, so I’m staying optimistic!

Questions: Trying any fun recipes this week? Training for any races?

Cleansing: thoughts & experience
May
22nd

I’ve never been a fan of cleanses.

willy wonka juice cleanse meme

I would get on my soapbox and rant at any mention of the word. My beef with cleansing has always been with why people cleanse. Lately though, I’ve been changing my tune a little bit, so much so that I actually just finished a three day “cleanse” of my own. Why? Because I think I was looking at cleansing too narrowly, through the lens of media hype, and not considering other reasons to do a cleanse (I still hate that word, but I’ll keep using it for simplicity). I’ll talk about my experience at the end, but I want to start by discussing the situations when I am still against cleansing, because those haven’t changed, and then get into the better reasons to consider cleansing.

Reason number one NOT to cleanse: “Detoxing”

Ugh, I roll my eyes every time someone says the word detox (I’m a total tree-hugging hippie). You don’t need to detox. Your body is detoxing all day every day. Your liver, kidneys, and bowels have evolved over millenia to perform exactly that function. If you’re putting so many “toxins” in your body that your body can’t handle it, that means you are probably in organ failure and what you need is a transplant, not a juice cleanse. Ok end rant, but for a more sophisticated analysis, check out this article.

Reason number two NOT to cleanse: Weight loss

Crash diets are crash diets whether they are called a “cleanse” or not. Elephant journal has a great article on this topic, which proclaims that “the word cleansing has become a mask to hide the words crash diet.” Exactly. Will you lose weight on the extreme cleanses that are out there? Of course! I mean, you’re starving yourself. Even juice/smoothie cleanses will put you at a calorie  deficit. But crash diets are just that, a crash, and it isn’t sustainable. So if your goal is long-term weight loss, walk away from the cleanse and do it the right way.

So why exactly did I decide to try cleansing?

The credit for (partially) changing my mind about cleansing goes to my new blend Jordan. She was the first person to get me thinking about other, less-hyped reasons to consider cleansing.

Reason number one to maybe cleanse: Digestive issues

As most of you know, I have a food intolerance called fructose malabsorption, which you can read more about here. Over the past month or so, I’ve been eating a LOT of foods that are on my “avoid” list, and as a result, I haven’t been feeling great, not terrible or anything, just not great. In my own experience with fm, the effect seems to be somewhat cumulative. I can have a little bit of trigger foods, but too much or too often really exacerbates my symptoms. My first goal with cleansing was to take a few days to completely avoid any and all trigger foods to give my system a break from the onslaught of aggravators.

Reason number two to maybe cleanse: Getting more in tune with your body

This is the one Jordan talks the most about. Again, for me personally, prolonged periods of overeating and/or making “unhealthier” choices causes me to really lose touch with my natural hunger cues. It becomes kind of a self-perpetuating cycle. I was skeptical about how effective this would be, but I figured it was worth a shot. As you can probably assume based on the fact that I listed it as a reason to maybe cleanse, I was pleasantly surprised.

MY EXPERIENCE

Rather than a cleanse, I like to think of what I did as a short and more intense version of a “clean eating challenge,” although I’m not a big fan of that label either, but for consistency, I’m sticking with the cleanse label.

What I did: A three day smoothie and raw food “cleanse.” I feel like three days was the perfect about of time, by the end of day three I was feeling like my body needed more. I designed the “cleanse” myself to make sure it worked with my food intolerance and was flexible enough for me to listen to my body. Basically, I made smoothies when that felt right, and ate the foods whole when that felt right. I should also note that I think it really helped that John is back in NY finishing up work (so no temptation from his eats) and since we just moved here, I only bought cleanse-appropriate groceries, so there was nothing else in the house.

IMG_6839

What I ate: Normally, I’m all about transparency, but I’m not going to lay out exactly what I ate, and with good reason. I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist. For all I know, what I ate was terrible! I did some research and then I made choices based on my own body. I will tell you that in general, I ate essentially only fruits and vegetables with a little bit of peanut butter (because I’m too cheap to buy almond butter), almond milk, and flax. I tried to eat enough to avoid an extreme calorie deficit, and I think I succeeded in that, but I didn’t keep track because, again, my goal was to listen to my body.

IMG_6840

How I felt: For the most part? Amazing. I’m actually really surprised. I thought I would be hungry and cranky, but I wasn’t really. I didn’t have cravings, my stomach feels much better, and I had plenty of energy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to getting back to eating normally, but I think I achieved the “reset” that I wanted. I feel like my eating is back on track so I’m craving berries and bananas instead of battling insatiable cravings for cookies and cakes, and I’m more in touch with my true hunger cues.

Questions: Thoughts on cleansing? I’d love to hear any experience, questions, rumors, etc. you’ve had or heard!

Meals & workouts for graduation & moving week!
May
11th

I am in packing purgatory.

I feel like when you first start packing, the progress is super impressive. Look at all those empty bookshelves! Oh my gosh the walls are so bare! We are totally killing this packing thing. Then you move on to packing (or decluttering) all of the stuff you’ve crammed into closets and drawers and crevices. All visual progress ceases and other than the steadily increasing number of boxes, there is no evidence of progress. It’s like no matter how many how many boxes you pack, the amount of stuff yet to be packed stays the same.

But, I really can’t complain. John does way more work than I do (because I’m basically dead weight in this marriage) and I’m graduating on Tuesday and we move on Saturday!!! My parents are coming to town for most of the week, so all in all, a whole lot of fabulousness, and I’m feeling incredibly blessed and grateful.

workout plan

MEALS

One thing all this activity means is that this week’s planning is super flexible. This is especially true when it comes to meals since I know we’ll be going out a few times but I’m not sure exactly how often so I’m picking up a few things at the store today so I’m ready to cook as well. So rather than plan for specific days, here’s what’s roughly on the menu

  • Tofu and broc slaw {inspiration}
  • Variation on my tofu scramble {recipe}
  • Eating out once or twice
  • John’s stir fry
  • Pizza on moving day (duh)

WORKOUTS

For workouts my plan is a little more structured since it’s more predictable than food (at least in my opinion).

Monday: Yoga + lift/TRX

Tuesday: Yoga + ZCUT PS12

Wednesday: Yoga + teach Zumba (last time ever!)

Thursday: Yoga + run

Friday: Yoga

Saturday: Moving (totally a workout! not just the lifting but the stairs, down two flights here plus up two flights at the new place, yay?)

Sunday: Yoga + run

Annnnnd last but not least, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there!! <3 <3

Questions: I’m I the only one who has the packing purgatory issue? Doing anything special for Mother’s Day? Anything exciting on your plan for this week?

Stressed? Just laugh {weekly plan}
May
4th

As I mentioned on Friday, I’ve been a tad stressed lately.

It’s been a lot better the past few days, and one of the things that helps me is to laugh at how ridiculous I’m being. To be clear, I don’t mean if you are stressed or depressed about serious things (like losing someone, etc) that you should laugh it off, I’m just saying it helps me get perspective to take a step back and laugh at myself.

Like when I tried to make eggs, and they stuck to the pan, so I transferred them to a new pan, and they stuck again, so I stood in the kitchen crying (totally thought I had a photo of the pans, but I can’t find it). Then I pulled myself together and stood there laughing, because who cries over eggs??

Or when John ran out the night before my exam to get me new earplugs (I’ll fail without them!!!!) and cookies to cheer me up, I found the combined purchase hysterical.

cookies and earplugs

Or finishing my exam and promptly getting chipotle and cake pops because obviously.

chipotle and cake pop

Or maybe the common theme is food AND laughter…

workout plan

MEALS

This week’s meal plan (and next week’s) will involve a whole lot of “yay, law school is over!” meals. My last exam is Tuesday, hooray!

Monday: Avocado pasta

Tuesday: Something celebratory!

Wednesday: Falafel

Thursday: Tofu scramble

Friday: Tofu rice bowls {recipe}

Saturday: One of my friends is having a grad party so no cooking for me!

WORKOUTS

I write a plan every week because I like to give some advance thought to what I’ll do for the week, but that plan is not rigid. Last week, other than yoga and teaching, I did almost none of the other things on my schedule. There was a time when that would have bothered me, but now I view it as adapting to my needs for the week. The world won’t end if you miss a workout or two or three.

Monday: Yoga + lift/TRX

Tuesday: Yoga + run

Wednesday: Yoga + teach Zumba

Thursday: Yoga + ZCUT PS11

Friday: Yin yoga + lift legs

Saturday: Ashtanga yoga + run

Sunday: Yoga + spinning

Questions: Do you laugh at yourself when you stress over silly things? Do you feel comfortable keeping your workout plan flexible?

It’s the final countdown {weekly plan}
Apr
27th

Hello from North Carolina! Actually, by the time you read this, probably hello from the car somewhere between North Carolina and New York.

John and I road-tripped down to NC for a wedding. So much time in the car, but it was worth it! I’ll be back with a recap of our weekend adventures tomorrow, but for now I’m just popping in with my plan for the week.

Finals time is officially upon us, and luckily I only have two. My (last!) first final is this Friday, and my second is next Tuesday. We’re in the home stretch!

workout plan

MEALS

Normally during finals, I really don’t cook much, but thanks to my easier schedule this semester, it shouldn’t be a problem. That said, I am trying to cook bigger recipes that will feed us for a couple days so save a little time.

Monday: Wild rice skillet {inspiration}

Tuesday: Butternut squash enchilada casserole {inspiration}

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Almond butter broccoli stir-fry {recipe}

Friday: Tempeh, peas, carrots, and peanut sauce {inspiration}

Saturday: Leftovers

WORKOUTS

My knee really bothered me after my run on Friday (proof that my body hates running as much as my brain does), so I’m not sure if the runs on my schedule will really happen. If I skip them, I’ll replace it with HIIT and/or lifting.

Monday: Yoga + run

Tuesday: Yoga + lift/TRX

Wednesday: Yoga + teach Zumba

Thursday: Yoga + ZCUT PS10

Friday: Yin yoga

Saturday: Ashtanga yoga + run

Sunday: Yoga + spinning

What’s on your schedule for next week? Do you think my body is rebelling against running?

Chewy strawberry cinnamon oatmeal {recipe}
Apr
21st

I’ve never been a big fan of oatmeal.

This has been a big frustration in my life because 1) oatmeal is great for you, so I felt like I should like oatmeal, and 2) I like oats, so I felt like I could like oatmeal. But, I didn’t, because normal oatmeal is the consistency of boogers. Gross.

Chewy strawberry cinnamon oatmeal

My first oatmeal breakthrough came when I discovered steel cut oats. My original “oatmeal for people who hate oatmeal” was a step in the right direction, but it was really only enough to make oatmeal something I would eat. I didn’t crave it, and I didn’t eat it often.

chewy strawberry oatmeal

Recently, I was inspired to give it another chance because I was looking for another way to get fruit in the morning besides smoothies (more fruit is my April goal). I’ve had this chewy strawberry cinnamon oatmeal almost every day for the past two weeks. I crave it! So I think it’s safe to say I finally love oatmeal, well, my oatmeal anyway. 🙂

In addition to being delicious, it only takes a few minutes to make in the microwave, so they are super easy for busy mornings. I’m also loving how full I am after eating oatmeal. Normally I snack on and off all morning, but I haven’t been quite as much lately. So if you’re a hater like me, definitely give these a try and let me know what you think! 🙂

chewy strawberry oatmeal

CHEWY STRAWBERRY CINNAMON OATMEAL

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. old fashioned oats (not instant)
  • 1/3 c. milk/milk alternative (I’ve been using an almond and coconut milk blend)
  • 1 c. frozen strawberries
  • 2 tsp. coconut crystals (can also use honey, regular sugar, or any other sweetener)
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Directions

Combine the oats, milk, and frozen strawberries. Microwave for 2 minutes. Chop or smash up the strawberries, and remix the oats/milk/strawberry mixture and microwave for another 30 seconds to a minute depending on whether the berries were still partially frozen. Stir in sweetener and cinnamon and enjoy. Total calories: 235 (will vary depending on the milk and sweetener used).

Questions: Are you weird about food textures? Is there a stereotypically healthy food you had to learn to love? Are you as surprised as I am by my oatmeal intake?

Planning for weekend travel
Apr
20th

Guys… we got an apartment!!!! Thanks for all of your finger crossing and good luck wishes, I’m pretty much positive that’s what sealed the deal for us. 😉

It makes the move feel so official to have a new address and a move-in date (May 17th!!) all set. John and I have moved around a lot, but this is our first big move since we came to NY from FL for me to go to law school. Every time we do it though, it’s always a big transition to a new chapter of our lives, especially this time!

workout plan

MEALS

This week’s meal plan is a little short because we are road-tripping to North Carolina for a long weekend for a wedding. It should be lots of fun, I’m looking forward to dancing and (hopefully) warm weather!

Monday: Corn and avocado pasta

Tuesday: Vegan paella {recipe}

Wednesday: Italian white bean loaf {recipe} + veggies

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday – Sunday: Road and wedding food, keeping it as healthy as possible

WORKOUTS

Travel also makes workouts a little more challenging, especially since we’ll be in the car so much. Luckily, the TRX travels well, so I think I have it all worked out so that I won’t miss a thing!

Monday: Yoga + lift/TRX

Tuesday: Yoga + ZCUT PS8

Wednesday: Yoga + teach Zumba

Thursday: Yoga + run

Friday: Quick yoga + ZCUT PS9

Saturday: TRX in the hotel room and maybe even a run depending on how the area is!

Sunday: Post-travel yoga

Questions: What’s on your plan for next week? Do you bring fitness gear with you when you travel?

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