23 September 2015

Healthy Banana Coconut Bread

Of course I was winging it in the kitchen when I created this aaaaah-mazing bread. The original recipe was lost in the midst of a tornado that I call "3 little ones." I have been meaning to type it up, so one day I took it out of my recipe binder and added it to my To Do binder. Then I procrastinated. Then......it disappeared. And my bananas were there, lonely and waiting to be used. So ready to go.

Ever since I started decluttering the house earlier this year, getting rid of a TON of baking supplies, I've been clinging to my two bread loaf pans. And, baking season IS upon us! I vowed to bake a healthier version of banana bread. So like, healthy on a Level 3. The first one from the recipe was with vegetable oil. They gave an alternative recipe using apple sauce and a little less vegetable oil. I adapted it even further, and replaced the vegetable oil with coconut oil. Winning!

Wait, that would mean THIS recipe is actually healthy on a Level 4. Because it's even MORE adapted. I'm so cool I can't even handle myself. And my math skills pretty much stink.  Moving on!

Here is the recipe for you:
3 super ripe bananas
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C coconut flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
Pinch of salt (I used kosher)
1 t vanilla extract
1 t coconut extract
1/2 C unsweetened apple sauce
2 eggs
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C water
1/4 C coconut oil
1/4 C shredded coconut, unsweetened

Preheat oven for 350 degrees. Grease bread pan with coconut oil spray, or coconut oil. Mix flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt in medium bowl. In a second bowl, combine brown sugar, extracts, apple sauce, and water. Mix in eggs until just combined. Fold in mashed bananas, then shredded coconut.

Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients mixing until combined, about a 1/2 cup at a time. Lastly, add the coconut oil while mixing. Put in the oven for 50-60 min. Check center for doneness.

When done, place bread pan on a cooling rack for 5 min. Then turn it to one side and firmly tap to loosen. You can also use a rubber spatula to gently run along the inside between the bread and the pan. Repeat on opposite side. This loosens up the bread so that you can take it out of the pan to cool it. Very important so it doesn't continue to bake in the pan.

Note: This will not be nearly as sweet as original banana bread. There is a significant decrease in the amount of sugar I used for this recipe. I was aiming for a healthier version on a Level 4, remember? So if it is not to your liking, feel free to tweak the amount of sugar you add, or maybe even try a different type of sugar!

-use the apple sauce that comes in cups! They are 4 oz, which is....drum roll...1/2 a cup!
-coconut flour is VERY absorbent. This recipe called for either more liquid or more eggs. I will one day attempt a full coconut flour banana bread version, but for today I tried both adding liquids and more eggs compares to its adapted version. (Level 3)
-breakdown for coconut to flour ratio is 1/2 C coconut flour to 3/4 other flour (gluten-free or white/wheat) OR you can use 4 eggs per 1 C of coconut flour

If you do tweak this recipe, make sure you come back and let me know what you did and how amazing it turned out. I'd love to hear all about it!

01 September 2015

90-Day Weight-Training Transformation

My dream came true when I ordered "Body Beast."  Look how excited I was!  I had been wanting guidance on lifting weights.  Like someone to be there with me, teach me lifting techniques, movements, etc.  I could write down daily workout plans from Bodybuilding.com all day long.  Doesn't mean I'll do it correctly at the gym, or include every move for that specific day.  Have you ever had to pull up a how-to video at the gym in the middle of your workout?! Such a hassle.  Not to mention it's slow.  And given that I was allotted 2 hours to work out, that's not much time if you're doing all of that and trying to actually put in the work.

Body Beast Transformation
Ever since I started lifting weights, I have had an affinity for them.  Yes, I do like other lines of fitness, and I will try new things.  But lifting is where my heart has always been.  I'm a weights kind of girl.  I enjoy the intensity, the sweat, the pain.  I dig it.

To backtrack a little, I did not want to become a Beachbody coach, because I honestly thought it was all about easy at-home workouts where you jump around and do sit-ups.  As in, not challenging enough for me.  I am really glad that I signed up though, because I was completely off track with that train of thought.  There is literally something for everyone; even I found something to suit my interests.

The program itself is 90 days.  That's right, 90 days of hard work.  But, wouldn't I have spent 90 days doing something anyway?  If you think about it, those 90 days are going to pass regardless of what you do.  And this was how I chose to spend 3 months of my life.  I was determined. 

Body Beast Transformation
There's a lot of info in these challenge packs, so I won't get into it all.  Of course you'll take your measurements and write them down for later.  Then you'll definitely want to go over the eating plan/guide to see what you should eat and how much.  If you buy supplements to go along with your shakes, then you should check out the info on those as well to ensure you're taking them properly.  These will only benefit you and  help with your gains/progress.  And there's an app for your phone if you want to take it to the gym.

There was so much I learned about lifting when I got started, and it was amazing.  I loved that I could get a killer workout at home.  Nothing or nobody to be intimidated by.  My personal trainer spoke to me through the TV.  (Haha kind of a weird concept but I love it)  I had my weights.  My preworkout.  My shakes afterwards.  And eating was simple.

Body Beast Transformation

Ninety whole days is a LONG time to commit to something.  I'll admit that.  Before this program, I completed a 60-day and a 21-day so this was a new challenge for me.  It is hard to set aside 3 months and say that you aren't doing a damn thing but stay home, meal prep, eat right, and work out.  That is exactly what did not happen for me. 

Plenty of obstacles got in my way, but I saw them as opportunities to see how badly I wanted to reach my goals.  If I quit, then I wasn't that serious.  I don't like to waste time thinking pessimistically.  I jump right to the "how do we navigate this?" mindset.  I'm simply someone whose mind wouldn't be settled until I arrived at a solution for whatever keeps me up at night.  I over-analyze these things to death.

Let's see, there were a few weekend trips out of town.  Those were a wash.  But then summer happened.  

Another fairly-sized obstacle was unavoidable: a visit to see my family in Ohio for over a month had already been set in stone by the time I began this program.  Once I realized that I couldn't bring my weights with me, I resolved to find a decent gym. Mission accomplished.  I actually wished I could take the gym and its people with me.  There was also a big combination of parties, BBQs, and dining out that occurred during my time there.  I tried my best to choose wisely, while sticking to the 80/20 rule. 

And of course I had to work around my kids' schedules as well as my family's schedule.  I had an agreement where I'd leave before the kids woke up and nobody would be burdened. Five o'clock in the morning it was!  Adapt and overcome.  It was actually a pretty decent schedule.  I was up before anyone else, it was nice and quiet when I slipped out of the house, and the gym was a peaceful place to be.

Body Beast Transformation
Must work on Before & After photos
The point with mentioning all of my biggest obstacles is to show you that they will happen.  During any part of your fitness journey you should expect them.  Wrap your mind around this idea, so you aren't surprised, and then find a way to get around, over, or through.  Never give up.

"Nothing worth having comes easy."

My end results weren't what I planned on, but I believe I still came out on top.  I feel great about my body, and it was amazing to be back with weights again.  I didn't go into this program thinking I'd come out beastly and huge, nor did I imagine I'd be bikini competition-ready.  I wanted to test this program out, see what I could do with it, how far I could go.  There will most definitely be a second round of this in my future, with the entire stack of supplements from the performance line that Beachbody offers now.  Thank goodness there won't be any guess work for me there!

Body Beast Transformation

Bottom line: It's just me against me, trying to be better than I was the day before.  So long as I am showing up every day and putting in the work, I'm making progress.  And all is right in the world.

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30 August 2015

Live With Purpose - My Journey To Becoming A Health Coach

Journey To Becoming A Health Coach

Did I have it in me?  Will this give me purpose?  Is this something that will fulfill my passion to serve others?

Every time I used to see an ambulance pass by, I'd feel a twinge of sadness and longing.  "That could have been my office," I'd say to myself.  My poor servant's heart was let down by my inability to ride in the back of an ambulance and work.  How frustrating, right?  I went to school just so I could become an awesome Paramedic.  That was the career field I threw my all into. (While pregnant, due at the end of the school year) It was going to help me grow, step out of my comfort zone, and I'd get to help people. 

That isn't feasible when you get terribly motion-sick, and your work location is in an office on wheels.

You could say I was really really down.  I was so invested in this career field, in both my heart and money-wise, with all of the gear I had been collecting for this career path.  Big D even bought me my own engraved stethoscope to use on the job, for my birthday.  There went $150-something.  And not being able to follow through was truly devastating.  Like all 4 tires deflated on the party bus.  I was parked on the shoulder of life's highway.

After that, I tried to find new purpose in another career field, beginning with school.  Public education, Business, Graphic Design... road blocks everywhere.  And my heart was not in it, my mind was just settling.  I was grabbing at every random idea that went through my mind. 

"Yeah, I could do that.  I wouldn't mind designing graphics for a big company. I like English; I could teach a high school class.  Business - that sounds useful..."

Did I have it in me?  Will this give me purpose?  Is this something that will fulfill my passion to serve others?  I didn't know.  Ever feel so lost, panicky, and unsure about what you should do with your life?  That was me.

I needed something to fulfill my servant's heart.  I needed a purpose, something to call my own.  And nothing was visible or obvious to me that really sang to my heart.  In reflecting on things I'd done in the past, I felt like I've always walked to the beat of my own drum.  Whatever everybody else was doing, in most cases, I went in the opposite direction.  The question for me was "What do you want to do?" not "What should you do?"  Where others were seeking jobs, I suddenly decided "Hey, I will just create one for myself."    But how?

One grand idea I had after I had given up on school was to open up a business as a virtual assistant.  Basically, I wanted to help other business owners by taking care of advertising, managing social media accounts, creating ads, blog posts, business photography, etc.  Any skill I had, I wanted to shove into this box.  I created new accounts for this business venture, networked with some other virtual assistants, and started to build my network.

For skills, I also added "Mobile Notary" to the box I was going to fit into.  I paid $75 to attend a week-long class at the local community college.  I completed that course, only to hit another road block at the end, dealing with my past and my criminal record.  Nothing too serious, but it was enough to hold me back from this, as well.

Back to square zero.  Can you imagine my frustration now?  Every corner I turned, it seemed like a dead end was there to greet me.  Like I was still stalled out on the highway.

I'm not one to accept an obstacle as a complete barrier, and do nothing.  I did something.  I made a new plan.

During this process of trying to find a career path to pursue, I maintained a love for fitness.  I had slacked off the last couple of months of 2014 because school and its obstacles were huge stressors. I was running around trying to wrap things up, see if I could move forward, etc.  It kept me out of the gym.

But, one person believed there was something in me - my coach.  She approached me at the beginning, last July or August, when I started my fitness journey.  She offered me a place on her team and I kindly declined.  I thought "I'm a gym rat.  I'd rather be in a gym with some weight plates.  What is Beachbody anyway?"

A few months went by, where I stalked her.  She was such an intriguing person who kept popping up in my feed!  She was happy, vibrant, healthy, and looked like she was living life to the fullest.  She made her fitness and nutrition regimen look like fun.  She had a sense of purpose, and was driven towards her goals.  I wanted ALL of that.  But had no idea how to even get there.

One day, she posted a pic of her in a cute outfit, getting ready to go out and do something fun and awesome.  Totally not fitness related, but it dawned on me: she's a stay-at-home mom, living her life, and making a living doing this.  How do I do this?

Impulsively, I messaged her on Instagram.  It felt like fate was behind the wheel of this newly revived party bus.  I told her we needed to talk.  I didn't care what she had to tell me about this job that she loved so much.  I had my mind made up about it.  I wanted to stop struggling with my workouts and making it to a gym.  I wanted to be healthy.  I wanted to have a positive attitude about everything.  I wanted my own identity, other than being a stay-at-home mom and a wife.  I needed to have something of my own.  I was sick of feeling like I was going through the motions of living my life.  I felt like I was doing exactly what everyone else wanted me to do, and that's not really me.  I needed an identity of my own, and I needed to identify with those who felt the same way.

A couple of days later, I signed up to be a Beachbody coach.  Did I have it in me?  Will this give me purpose?  Is this something that will fulfill my passion to serve others?

Journey To Becoming A Health Coach
* Serve others - Find purpose - Start your journey - Dream big - Live a life by design * It's been like one giant party ever since.  Live the life you want to live.  Because, why not?
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16 August 2015

Sticking Close To Home

The salt water has been washed out of our hair.  Sand was shaken out of the sand toys and bags and shoes.  Beach towels washed, folded neatly and put away, as we whispered softly "see you next season."  We have officially run the travel bug dry, and unofficially placed summer on the shelf.  (The heat is still high, so...)

I've become so used to living out of plastic tubs and suitcases, that having my own space is kind of new to me.  But in a good way.  I'd rather feel like I'm living in a home, rather than passing the time in it.  

It was kind of sad to let go of our lengthy vacation.  I have self-diagnosed separation anxiety.  Anywhere from seeing people off at the airport, or checking out of a hotel room...I feel this enormous void in my chest.  Enormous and oddly heavy, something I can't shake.  I don't know what it is about leaving a thing, such as a hotel room, but it happens.  Leaving my mom's house for the last time this year, and that void was ever so present.  Could be that I had been there for over a month and I became accustomed to the way of life in her house, that making a change was tipping my world upside down.  

But it's different when it's the home where you grew up in for most of your life.  Missing the beach house, like the hotel, is where it becomes hard to understand.  I didn't have my space to sprawl out in.  I shared a bed with a kicking 4-year-old.  I assigned a drawer and shelf space in the fridge for my food.  And I had to leave the house to get my workouts in. *gasp*

It's the routine, and how we settled in.  I get a bit rattled when I have to move on or change things up a bit when I want to stay put. Maybe it's the opportunities that make me more reluctant to let go. Then, I can understand my self-diagnosis.  Now let's talk about this sunrise.  On Saturday morning, I went to the beach one last time.  I thought "You're waking up at 5 to finish packing, and then you will head to the beach.  How often do you get to go there alone??"  Self, point taken.

I walked beyond the pier, because I wanted an unadulterated view of the sunrise.  There, I took some beautiful photos, and played around a little with time lapse.  The walk back was much calmer, because I wasn't trying to beat the timing of a sunrise at this point.  Off went my flip-flops, and I walked with my feet in the water.  I was remembering how I would do this kind of dance with the ocean waves, going parallel down the beach with each one that rolled in.  Using peripherals, I'd watch the waves roll onto the beach and I'd adjust my steps while I ran to avoid getting my Minimus shoes and socks soaked.  

That morning, the waves and my feet met in solidarity, and I allowed it to slow me down.  I wanted to enjoy the ocean and this morning one last time.  And, leaving the water, then the sand, then the dunes and the walkway created that heavy void in my chest.  I looked back, snapped a few more pictures, and said "Good-bye" one last time.

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23 June 2015

My Beastie Friend's Transformation

What is Tuesday without a little transformation post? I just have to give a little shout out to my awesome friend, who wishes to be nameless. ;-)  Because of this awesome community of people, I met her through Facebook and I'm so glad because she has inspired me.  She has worked so hard, kicking some major booty with this program and is down 33 pounds because of it.  

A little back story on my Beastie friend here - Her story is like so many other stories I hear - bad eating habits and NO exercise.  This year, she made the decision to make a change because she was tired of hating herself for the weight gain.  Once she turned those two things around, not only was she headed in the right direction, she was really into it.  She did Body Beast which is my current fitness program.  It's primarily a weight-lifting program with an awesome trainer (whom I get to work out with next month - Eeeeeeek!!!) and you learn everything you need to know.  

Anyway, 90 days is a lot for anyone to dedicate to reaching a goal.  It's hard when you don't get that instant gratification.  But SO worth it.  When you want it BAD enough, you will keep pushing.  She told me that she feels so amazing, and even enjoys little things like taking selfies.  How freaking COOL is that?  She made this decision when she was at the lowest point of her journey, 202 pounds, not truly knowing how it was going to change her LIFE.  Habit formed a lifestyle, and she is changed forever. 

Now, she is on to round 2.  I will be joining her real soon here, as I make my way into Day 75.  Such an inspiration.  I just had to share her story, even if she doesn't want the more public recognition. because I'm so damn proud of this woman right here.

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22 June 2015

Bring It On Back

Summer is in full swing you guys!!!  I can't believe it's been a little over 6 months since I started this revamped fitness journey.  Really hard to believe because I have not even been counting the days til I reached...anything really.  It's just been such a fun process, with expected ups and downs.  And I am REALLY EXCITED to finally be wearing a new swim suit.  I finally felt confident enough to toss my old maternity hybrid swim suit from 8 or so years ago and splurge on 2 new ones.  Huge deal here. 

How about you?  Did you bring sexy back?  Start from the inside, with your diet. No matter what your level of physical activity, you can't go wrong with clean whole foods. That's how we were intended to eat - not processed junk from a box or package. Don't get me wrong - I indulge in stuff that comes from a box every once in a while. Hello, I'm human and I love Oreos! 

Simply D Constructed - 21 Day FixWhen I fall off track, a conscious decision was what got me there. I'm more aware now, more educated in how to eat better and with a purpose.  And it helps me to get back in my lane.  I eat intentionally for my goals now.  Why? GOALS!  I'm the biggest punk and LOVE my food, especially treat days - so if I can do it, anybody can.

Do you have goals you are working towards? Could you use some help? Guidance? Support?  A freaking PLAN? I'm all about helping those who seriously want a change.  I'm opening up my next fitness group to provide all of this and more to 5 people. You give me 21 days, and I will give you all the tools, support and daily motivation to get you there.  You could lose 10+ pounds in 21 days, the healthy way.  And, wine and chocolate fit the meal plan.  Um, yes please!!  
If you think you might be interested, maybe you have a couple more pounds or inches to lose, let me know.  We can get your sexy back. I'll show you how!

Email me for the details.  We will be starting soon!

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01 June 2015

Honest Feet

When my 6-year-old came up to me and said "My feet feel so honest, Mommy" all I could say was "What?"  My poetic child.  She had her shoes off and the grass in our yard (in most parts) feels like lush carpet.  I had never heard such a description of putting your bare feet in the grass.  I had to really think about what she was saying, after I laughed a little over that randomness.  Connected with nature and her surroundings, she was feeling it and had to give a little shout I suppose. Honest Feet 
So, I had to give it a try and imagine what she was feeling. :-D  And I have to admit, it felt nice to kick off the vessels that help shuffle me to and from my "adulting" responsibilities, and to places that require certain standards (ie no shoes no shirt no service).  This moment was freedom.  A chance to observe, relish the moment.  Take myself out of my shoes.  

Kids speak so freely, feel so freely, and are so alive and in the moment.  They can really teach me a thing or two.   

Happy "National Go Barefoot Day!"

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