What's for lunch today?

Spiced Broccoli and Red Quinoa is 350 calories, 16g of protein, 10g of fiber
morning snack - Cashews and strawberries
afternoon snack - Shakeology with honeydew melon (my new favorite recipe!)

I make this recipe quite often because it's so delicious! It's a great way to flavor broccoli without butter.
Nutritional Yeast is not the type of yeast you bake bread with, it's a living micro-organism grown on sugarcane and beet molasses. It has 7 grams of protein in just two tablespoons! It's high in riboflavin, Vitamin B- 12 and full of amino acids. It has a cheesy taste and I sprinkle it over kale chips and put it in my scrambled tofu.

Quinoa is a great alternative to rice because it's high in protein and a slow releasing carb, which means it delays the release of sugar into your blood stream so it keeps you full longer. It's also one of the ingredients in shakeology that gives the shake protein.




Who wants ice cream?!

I do! I was in the mood for some peach ice cream, but Ben & Jerry's 1/2 cup (106g) serving size is 220 calories, 100 calories of fat, 26 grams of sugar!

So instead I reached for these two boxes to do a comparison. Their ingredient lists start off the same: skim milk, sugar, peaches, egg yolks....except the Weight Watchers also has whey protein in it and the yoplait has apricot juice in it. The difference is the yoplait bar is half the size of the weight watchers bar, but they say a serving is 2 bars, but realistically you're only going eat one bar at a time so you can just cut the calories in half!


                              Weight Watchers                               Yoplait
                              $5.99  on sale for $3.68                       $4.99 on sale for $2.99
                              6 bars, 1 bar is a serving (65g)             10 bars, 2 bars is a serving (79g)
                              80 cal per serving, 5 cal from fat           120 cal per serving, 20 cal from fat
                              13g sugar                                            19g sugar

How do they taste?
The Yoplait bar was light orange in color and tasted like blended artificially flavored peach yogurt with a weird maple syrup after taste to it. The Weight Watchers bar was white and tasted like delicious creamy vanilla ice cream with a very light hint of peach flavor.

Last summer the Today Show did an interesting segment titled "Can you believe diet frozen dessert labels? Tests show that some products have up to 68 percent more calories than labels promise." Turns out Weight Watchers bars and Arctic Zero (protein) ice cream had more calories than their labels advertised, but Skinny Cow bars had less. They can get away with this because the industry allows a percentage of error and the companies do their measurements based on averages of containers.

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a History Lesson from Panama


I'm a bit of a history buff and it was my major in college. While in Panama I learned about Captain Morgan and Manuel Noriega.

Panama Rainforest

Panama's lush rainforest is a hidden treasure because tourism hasn't really exploded in the country. A third of the country is set aside as protected areas and national parks, and indigenous groups live on it with pretty much the same as they did hundreds of years ago. I visited an Embra Indian village next to the river which still maintains a traditional lifestyle (with no electricity or phone) and have not assimilated into Panamian society, so it was just like what you would imagine seeing in National Geographic magazine! Survivor filmed three seasons on Panama's Pearl Islands, which by the way have an interesting history. In 1513 the Spaniards discovered the islands inhabited with Indians who presented them with a gift basket of pearls. This only made them want to loot the island more so they killed off all the Indians and imported African slaves to harvest the pearls and their descendants now inhabit the islands. In 1979 the Shah of Iran retreated to the Pearl Islands. Today the islands are known for its beach resort and houses owned by the wealthy.  The Smithsonian operates Barro Colorado Island in Panama because it was untouched by modern civilization and many of the most important groundbreaking scientific and biological discoveries of the tropical animal and plant kingdom have come from their research here.

Panama Canal


The Panama Canal is such an interesting engineering marvel I had to do an entire post on it! They are building a new Canal that will open in 2015. The Canal was built on land slicing through rock, then connected through the largest (at the time) man made lake, Lake Gatun, to connect the two sets of locks. 

Panama: 5 Awesome Facts from my Trip!

This week I'm turning my blog into the Travel Channel and everyday will share something about Panama.
The name Panama means "Abundance of Fishes." I spent one week visiting  Panama City, then cruised the Panama Canal, visited an Embera indigenous village in the rainforest (where I had an encounter with a wild monkey) and stayed at a beach resort. Since it was the start of the rainy season (yet they are in a drought) the beach was empty and I had the pool practically to myself! I also went to a guava plantation, a butterfly and orchid farm, and visited a zoo where I saw the many cats of the jungle.

New and Improved Greenberry Shakeology is here!


Greenberry was Beachbody's first flavor four years ago and they decided to give it a makeover to improve the taste! Its sweeter, fruitier and even better than before. There is no more weird after taste or wheat grass flavor! They reduced the calories, sugar, and carbs, then increased the protein and fiber. It's still has a Low Glycemic Index And they added three new ingredients that are already in the other flavors of Shakeology:

Luo Han Guo - Monkfruit which lends natural sweetness to the formulation

Moringa - The horseradish tree has been used medicinally the world over dating back the ancient Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians. Moringa is known to promote energy, vitality, athletic performance and weight loss while also promoting a healthy immune system to keep you super healthy. Packed with vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, iron, and zinc. You'll also find 96 active phytochemicals and 35 active antioxidants, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme especially effective at combating damage done by superoxide, a common free radical. You'll also find 18 essential amino acids, including the 9 essential to human life.  Beachbody source ours primarily from Senegal and give them a higher wage than in the other commodities

Himalayan Salt Salt and sodium are necessary in our diets. Unfortunately, common table salt has been stripped of its natural minerals. Himalayan salt is completely natural, relatively untouched, and as a result, still contains over 70 trace minerals. All these natural minerals found in Himalayan salt actually make this salt healthier for you than regular table salt. Additionally, as most people who bake know, adding a pinch of salt contributes to the sweetness of a product.


Apple Mojito recipe
1 scoop Greenberry Shakeology
1/4 cup apple juice
1 cup sparkling water
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp agave nectar
Ice to taste

 

Do you suffer from cronic fatigue?

Want to make your immune system stronger? Make your allergies more tolerable? Do you want to give yourself more energy for your workouts? Give Cordastra a try for free this month!

The ingredients: Cordyceps + Astragalus = Cordastra  are known to both help the immune system as well as aide in chronic fatigue. Don't take my word for it, Dr. Oz talked about cordyceps helping with chronic fatique and astragalus on his show.
Cordastra is a brand-new wellness nutrition supplement that's an exclusive potent blend of two ancient Chinese herbs, astragalus and cordyceps. Together they promote physical health and mental well-being. This new wellness nutrition supplement also contains the unique and proprietary Activessence®, which helps optimize your body's ability to use both powerful herbs.


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Chocolate Shakeology Balls

These no bake balls are delicious! They're packed with nutrients and easy to make.

Ingredients:

½ Cup PB2 (low fat powdered peanut butter)
3 Tablespoons Natural Peanut butter
½ Cup Shakeology Protein Powder
3 Tablespoons Raw Honey
½ Cup Rolled Oats

Directions:

Mix PB2 with water until it’s a paste like consistency. Mix all ingredients, including the PB2 mixture together in a mixing bowl. It make take some time to blend all of the ingredients together. If it’s too sticky, sprinkle in additional protein powder so that it’s a pretty dry/crumbly texture. Next – Roll mixture into small individual balls and sprinkle with coconut if desired. Makes about 12 balls. Put in freezer until firm.

Nutrition: (serving size 1 ball)
Calories: 80
Carbs: 10g
Fat: 2g
Protein: 7g


Hip-Hop Abs



Shaun T, creater of the Insanity workout, also made Hip Hop Abs which is a totally fun, beginner workout that's more like a dance party than a workout. Right now it's on sale for only $20 for a 3 dvd set pack! And there's also a spanish version available. It's a 30-day, dance-based in-home fitness program designed to help you burn fat and sculpt your abs without doing crunches or sit-ups.

Shaun T teaches his easy-to-follow moves step by step, so you can do it even if you think you can’t dance. If you’re new to working out, you won’t need to buy any extra equipment, you just need room to move. It uses cardio to burn calories, with special focus on toning your abs.

Also included is a nutrition guide that helps you choose the right foods to support your weight loss goals. If you have to eat on the go, Shaun helps you make the best choices with his Results on the Run diet guide.


Join my 30 Day Healthy Eating and Shakeology closed online support group for nutrition tips, meal plans and recipes. Ask me how!

Yellow Chevron

I love the chevron pattern! My dining table actually has this same print in yellow. I bought this maxi dress last summer from ArdenB and a friend of mine said she had an identical one from Bebe. Last month I walked into ArdenB and they are once again selling this dress in the same color! I was surprised to see they bring back things from a previous season. I wore this dress to Panama so of course this look wouldn't be complete without a Panama hat!
Yellow Chevron



Target has some cute wall decor for nurseries in yellow chevron and quatrefoil prints.
target nursery



Disconnect - the movie


I don't normally write movie reviews, but I just saw the most captivating movie! According to Newsweek, this is the best movie of the year! Disconnect is an indie drama that was only released in 161 theaters and I only heard about it because a groupon was offered for it. Then I had to find the one random theater in my area that had it which coincidentally had armchair seating! Yes all the seats fully recline like in first class on an airplane!

It reminded me of the movie Crash, multiple story lines going on at the same time. It's about families that are disconnected from each other but connected to the internet and how dangerous cyber relationships can be.  The movie definitely made me tear up to watch. It stars Alexander Skarsgard (from True Blood), Jason Bateman, Paula Patton and in his cameo acting role fashion designer Marc Jacobs as a cyber pimp.


Synopsis:
A hard-working lawyer, attached to his cell phone, can't find the time to communicate with his family. A couple is drawn into a dangerous situation when their secrets are exposed online. A widowed ex-cop struggles to raise a mischievous son who cyber-bullies a classmate. An ambitious journalist sees a career-making story in a teen that performs on an adult-only site. They are strangers, neighbors and colleagues and their stories collide in this riveting dramatic thriller about ordinary people struggling to connect in today's wired world.

ps One of my favorite movies The Bourne Trilogy is on sale at Amazon for just $15, that's $5 per movie for the set!

pps The Hangover Part III is coming out May 23!
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What's for lunch today?


Baked tempeh, udon noodles, red bell pepper, squash.   Lunch is 400 calories, 18 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. I had some Thai green curry left over so I poured a little of that over the noodles. The cashews, organic string cheese and melon are my 10am, 2pm and 3pm snacks and total 333 calories.

Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a patty. Did you know that just a half-cup serving of honeydew melon provides 25 percent of your daily supply of vitamin C. Red bell pepper were on sale at Trader Joe's for only .99¢ each when normally the red ones are double price so I had to get some! They're high in vitamin A which is good for your eyes and have more vitamin C than orange juice.




Ingredients:
4 TB Apple Cider Vinegar
4 TB Bragg liquid aminos (is a calorie free soy sauce)
1 TB Toasted Sesame Oil
1 TB Pure Maple Syrup (organic, grade "B" dark preferred)  
1 Garlic clove, finely chopped
Trader Joes Tempeh, cut into strips ½ inch strips

Directions:
Mix first five ingredients well. Arrange tempeh in a single layer in a baking dish and pour marinade over tempeh. Marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350F and bake 20 minutes. Turn pieces over and bake for 15 more minutes.




Fruit Bouquet

I made this for Mother's Day a few years ago. I took it to my mom on the subway (covered in plastic in case anyone sneezed) and everyone around me said it smelled so good. The total cost was $20, a lot cheaper than edible arrangements.


It was pretty easy to do, here are all the ingredients.







I used a cookie cutter to cut the fruit. The cabbage holds it in the pot and the kale covers it up and acts as decoration.


Workout Socks

Socks make a difference and I love these cushioned socks from thorlo, they're simply the best!  It's the padding in the right places that make these socks so special. I thought the price was crazy so I only bought one pair initially, but eventually I broke down and bought a weeks worth. Right now they are having their semi-annual sale where if you buy 3 you get 1 free. I also use their everyday socks for hiking. You can try their socks for free + the cost of shipping with this offer.

We created Thorlos clinically-tested padded running socks (CTPS) over 30 years ago—in fact, they were our very first activity-specific padded socks, designed specifically for runners, based on their feedback about what sock characteristics could help them most. 
The AMX Fitness sock is for those who who enjoy getting in shape and staying fit. In a Zumba or other conditioning class, at home, or in the gym. Cushioned instep and arch plus spandex for a better fit, more support and less pressure on the feet for more comfort while exercising. Constructed with THOR•LON® fibers for superior softness, resilience, durability, and moisture-wicking for drier, better feeling feet. Unique padding specifically engineered for fitness activities, clinically shown to reduce blisters, pain, pressures, and moisture.

Enabler Alert!

The perfect summer shoes! Nine West is having their 30% off everything​ Friends & Family sale event right now! These were some of my favorites!
Nine West



Crustless Quiche

This is one of my favorite breakfasts! It's quiche without the crust and easy to make on Sundays to last you all week. Each week I rotate the cheese and vegetable but use the same basic recipe. I've also made these with egg whites and baked in a muffin pan to have individual serving size, makes it easier to freeze. I eat it with a side of fruit.

Combos include:
red bell pepper & pepper jack cheese (spicy)
asparagus & fontina cheese & leek (instead of onion)  - my fave!
baby portobello mushrooms, gruyere cheese and thyme
broccoli & extra sharp white cheddar with a little cream (this doesn't rise so don't be surprised by how thin it is)
spinach, mushrooms and gruyere

For the vegetables I just eyeball how much can fit in, but here's the basic recipe and you can use any cheese you like.

Ingredients
1 - 10oz package of frozen spinach (you can use less or mix mushrooms in with it)
½ onion
4 eggs
3 cups cheese (or one bag of Trader Joe's shredded cheese)
1/8 ts black pepper
¼  ts salt

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9-inch pan then line with wax paper, makes for easy removal and cleanup.
2. Spray a frying pan and cook onions. Add in vegetables and seasoning.
3. In a bowl combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add cooked veggies, then pour into pan.
4. Bake for 30 min.

Makes 5 servings.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!


What is Cinco de Mayo all about, anyway?  According to wikipedia:
In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's  victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day—the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico—which is celebrated on September 16. The holiday originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War.

What's the best time of day to workout?

Obviously whatever fits best into your schedule, but exercising in the morning is a great way to start your day. I keep hearing experts say that the morning is the best time to workout because while you might have every best intention to exercise in the evenings, things come up, you get home tired, and it doesn't happen so you shouldn't leave it up to chance! Now that means you have to go to bed earlier so you can get up easily in the morning. I have an alarm on my phone that goes off every night telling me it's my bedtime.

If you work odd hours or have kids, your evenings are probably busy and unpredictable. I workout in the morning half of the week, when I have things going on in the evening like dinner with friends, yoga class after work, etc. I have to say it gets me energized in the morning and studies have shown that it speeds up your metabolism and I notice that because I'm hungrier throughout the day! I like to do yoga in the evenings because it's a perfect late workout and helps my body to relax, and that naturally leads to a good nights sleep for me.

Drinking a pre-workout supplement can help you power up with energy to succeed with your workout and help fuel your body to tackle the most challenging fitness programs. It will help address complaints of "fatigue" or "lack of energy" prior to a workout.

Beachbody makes Energy and Endurance which is a proprietary blend of advanced nitric oxide boosters, amino acids, natural energizers, electrolytes, and essential B vitamins, created to help you start fast and finish strong! It has no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives, its sweetened with stevia and tastes like limeade. It retails for only $30 for a 25 day supply!

You'll see that it will not only pass the test but you will feel like you could do another workout!   You won't crash later like you would with other pre-workout drinks. It's one of our best sellers and you'll see for yourself why!

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Positive Affirmations for a Healthy, Happy Life


Brian Tracy is one of my favorite authors and motivational speakers. He wrote this amazing best selling  book called Eat That Frog which provides the 21 most effective methods for conquering procrastination and accomplishing more. It's a short and fast read at only 128 pages but very concise. It's a small book so it easily fits into your purse to read whenever you're waiting for the train. Even if you don't think you have a procrastination problem, it just gives you the steps to be more organized in your life and helpful in achieving your goals. The meaning behind the title of the book is that if you have a to do list and do your hardest task first, that will give you the most satisfaction for the day because your biggest challenge is out of the way.

On the topic of being more organized with your time and life I want you to challenge the negative thoughts in your life that are holding you back. Are you your best supporter or do your knock yourself down? You should try to reduce the time you are exposed to negativity and negative people and stop putting yourself down and associate with people who push you to do more, who see great things in you and are the type of friends that want other people to succeed.

We can bring this full circle by applying it to your fitness goals, every bite of food you put in your mouth and every minute of your workout is either bringing you closer to reaching your ultimate goal or pushing you further away. What do you choose?  Affirm that anything you desire is possible, and it will BE possible!  

Do you still doubt yourself and what you can achieve? How are you talking to yourself, are you telling yourself that you can do this or are you starting to doubt that you will ever change? Whatever it is, you MUST stop those thoughts dead in their tracks!  Be honest with yourself and challenge your inner negative voice to hit the road!


Brian Tracy says:
Your ability to stay positive and maintain positive thoughts determines the tone of your emotional life. The words you use to describe what is happening to you, and to discuss how you feel about external events, trigger the emotions of happiness or unhappiness you experience. When you see things positively and constructively and look for the good in each situation and each person, you have a tendency to remain naturally cheerful and optimistic.
  1. Resolve in advance that, no matter what happens, you will not allow it to get you down. 
  2. Neutralize any negative thoughts or emotions by developing positive thoughts all the time. Repeat positive affirmations such as, "I feel healthy, I feel happy, I feel terrific!" As you go about your job, say to yourself, "I like myself and I love my work!" Say things like, "Today is a great day; it’s wonderful to be alive!"
  3. Third, look upon the inevitable setbacks that you face as being temporary, specific and external and stay positive. Look upon the negative situation as a single event that is not indicative or connected with other potential events and which is largely caused by external factors over which you can have little control. Simply refuse to see the event as being in any way permanent, pervasive or a personal slight on your own competence or ability and maintain your positive thoughts as you move forward.
  4. Remember that it’s impossible to learn and grow and become a success without the inevitable adversities and difficulties you must contend with and rise above in order to become a better person. So, welcome each difficulty by saying, "That’s good!" and then look into the situation to find the something good or beneficial that it contains in order to stay positive. 
  5. Keep your thoughts on your goals and dreams, and on the person you're working toward becoming and the things that you are striving for. When things go wrong temporarily, respond by saying to yourself, "I believe in the perfect outcome of every situation in my life." Resolve to be cheerful and pleasant and use every temptation to respond negatively as an opportunity to grow stronger by using positive affirmations and talking to yourself and others, in a positive and optimistic way.
He set up a 30 Day Affirmation Challenge, so I thought what better day to start than May 1!