A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Archive for the ‘clean eating’ Category

Taking the next step: Strength-training

Through extensive reading, I am continually learning new concepts. Eighty percent of being fit depends on nutrition. An easy way to measure portion sizes is to remember that one portion of vegetables is a double-handful, a portion of lean meat is the size of your hand, and a portion of nuts is a small, cupped handful.

Another important lesson is that cardio and clean eating will burn fat, but progressive resistance strength training is necesssary to add shape to your body. Building muscle also increases your metabolism, which in turn, burns more fat!

I have learned that the best way to stick with a fitness program is to choose healthy foods that you like and to do exercises that you enjoy doing. By choosing foods that I enjoy, I have been able to stick with the meals plans I laid out. And when I go off track, it’s easier to be motivated to get right back on, because I am not forcing myself to eat things that are unappealing.

In an effort to stay motivated for strength-training, I have decided to apply the same logic. My upper arms are my least-favorite body parts. Even when I am thin, my arms have very little tone and no definition, and I have very little upper body strength. After reviewing several workout options, I have chosen one that hope I can stick with!

Here’s my latest fitness goal:

10 minutes of strength training each day for one week.

Deltoids/Biceps/Triceps (shoulders and arms): 3 days per week

Continue 35 minutes of cardio 7 days per week.

What’s in the food we eat?

The longer I have walked the path to clean eating and fitness, the more I’ve read about living a healthy lifestyle. Along the way I’ve learned about processed foods that are unfit for consumption, as well as concerns related to pesticides in our foods. I have also found a variety of sites with information related to clean eating, along with healthy recipes.

In all of my reading, I have thought back to my childhood, when my parents worked hard to produce a garden so that we would have a cheap, ready supply of fresh and frozen vegetables. I was stick-thin until I started college, mainly because food at home was limited to fresh tomatoes, homemade tomato and vegetable soups, corn, potatoes, and lima beans. My dad also grew a huge watermelon patch, so we had fresh watermelon ALL SUMMER LONG! After I started college, I ate out for lunch most days and quickly gained 20 pounds!

My mother fried the occasional piece of chicken and sometimes made hamburgers or baked pork chops, but the bulk of our diet was plant-based. Daddy turned 80 this year, and Mother’s not far behind him! With all of the meat scares in recent years, they now eat only vegetables, and both of them are in EXCELLENT health! Based on my experience, I’m thinking there may be something to the theory that meat isn’t the healthiest option.

Here is a list of some websites and books that I have used to learn more about healthy eating.

Dirty Dozen Produce

This site is published by Environmental Working Group (EWG) whose mission is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.

Each year, they provide a list of foods most contaminated by pesticides. For foods with a low number, choose organic to avoid eating pesticides.

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list/

15 Food Companies That Serve You Wood

Just nasty! I used to LOVE fast food, and now I can hardly eat it, thinking of what may be in it! I’m not sure of the facts of the matter, but I do know that fast food is fattening, and after reading this article, none of it is appetizing to me any longer!

http://foodfreedom.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/15-food-companies-that-serve-you-wood/

The Gracious Pantry

This site provides basic information on clean eating–what is it and how to do it. The site also includes a variety of “clean” recipes, complete with nutrition information. Because I count calories, I am ALWAYS interested in nutrition, so this is one of my favorite recipe sites. I especially love the 5-ingredient recipes–so EASY!

http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/recipes/categories/

The Skinny Crock Pot

This site includes traditional recipes that are modified to be healthy and are designed to be cooked using a crock pot. This site also includes nutritional information for all recipes on the site, which is very useful when counting calories and trying to reduce sodium.

http://www.skinnycrockpot.com/

Fit, Fabulous, Forever

Great site with healthy recipes.

http://www.fitfabulousforever.com/about

Eating Clean Works

Information on a variety of topics related to clean eating and living a healthy, fit lifestyle.

http://eatingcleanworks.com/

Forks Over Knives

This book outlines the benefits of eating natural, unprocessed foods and avoiding meat products. Explains the workings of the modern-day meat industry and how the way meat is produced and processed is detrimental to our health. The book is called Forks Over Knives because the author believes that what we put on our forks can help us to avoid the knives used in surgery. One benefit of reading this book is that I now think twice before eating meat. Vegetables are now much more appetizing!

http://www.amazon.com/Forks-Over-Knives-Plant-Based-Health/dp/1615190457

The China Study

This book presents findings from a research study in which the effects of the typical American diet was compared to effects of the Chinese diet and explains how eating meat and dairy products can cause a variety of common health-related issues such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

http://www.amazon.com/China-Study-Comprehensive-Nutrition-Implications/dp/1932100660/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321149054&sr=1-1

This journey I’m on…

is one to a healthy lifestyle! It’s not been without fits and starts, but one more time, I’m giving it a fresh start! I started a year ago with a “diet” and have transitioned to a commitment to follow a sustainable health and fitness plan. I have decided to blog about my progress, as a way to track what works best for me and to share what I learn along the way. I hope to exchange ideas with others who wish to travel a similar path.

We moved to Las Vegas over a year ago, and in the transition, I gained weight that I would love to lose! Cooking regularly with no regard to nutrition, coupled with the MANY fine dining options here in Las Vegas, has packed on the pounds!

My husband LOVES hearty, meaty meals, and in our first year of marriage, I spent many hours perfecting a set of recipes to make it easy to prepare meals for him each day. I obliged his tastes by trying new recipes and preparing those he most enjoys. He loves Mexican and Italian…cheesy, tomato-ey, spicy, hot and greasy! Lots of meat, a bit of sauce, hot salsa, and jalepenos have made him sick and have made me FAT! He has been prescribed a diet which restricts all of his favorite foods, and I am exploring options for losing weight, so I am building a new file of recipes we both can enjoy.

I am currently experimenting with a new cooking style–Mediterranean. He enjoys flavorful dishes, and Mediterranean meals include a variety of healthy options, including balsamic vinegar, vegetables, and whole grains. My most recent discovery is farro, a grain commonly used in Italian cooking.

Inspired by Cheesecake Factory’s Tuscan Chicken, I decided to visit Whole Foods in search of farro as the base for a new dish. After soaking the farro in ice cold water overnight, I sauteed it with a little olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar, and then added capers.  In a second batch, I added fresh, quartered tomatoes, mushrooms, and diced red and green bell peppers.

Our consensus was that we didn’t like the capers or the peppers. Next time I will add cubes of boneless, skinless chicken breast, sauteed with the other ingredients. The farro with the balsamic vinegar was delicious!

Farro: http://italianfood.about.com/library/rec/blr0002.htm

Capers: http://homecooking.about.com/od/cookingfaqs/f/faqcapers.htm