A fortnight with gastroenteritis and trying to get it together.

I haven’t been on recently because I’ve been sick and because I have been busy. My son came down with a bout of the stomach flu and I contracted it soon thereafter. He had it for about 12 hours, I had it for almost 2 weeks. Oh lucky me.

Apparently, folks who have IBS don’t handle the stomach flu well. Makes sense since our digestive system is already sensitive. Thankfully, I didn’t have any bouts of vomiting. I have this fear of vomiting that keeps me from ever having an eating disorder, which I guess is a good thing, but I digress. I have dedicated the past week and a half to regulating my system – that means taking it easy, eating clean (lots of probiotic foods too) and drinking lots of water.

I have been bad about the water part, just call me lazy. I’ll manage to get 5 glasses in on a good day. My coffee to water ratio is about equal right now,  and I need to correct that. At one point, not too long ago, I drank more coffee than water.

SO 🙂 My body is still out of sync at the moment, but I’m working my way back on track. This weekend, I kicked my workouts back in gear with Zuzana Light’s ZWOD #2. I was somewhat able to keep up with her 15 minute time – I came in at 16:28. The weather was great in Los Angeles this weekend so I got to hit up this:

The beach! I’m signed up for the Irvine Lake Mud Run this coming March with a few friends, so we decided that some “training” might be a good idea. I was a bit apprehensive about running, I’m not good at it.  You can get me out there to do a bootcamp workout confidently, but tell me that I got to run a mile and I become a whiney baby. One of my friends is an avid runner and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but, thankfully,  I didn’t do as bad as I thought I would. I ran about 2 miles before I collapsed from sheer exhaustion ;). Foodwise, I didn’t do so bad, I had postworkout grilled fish tacos and a bowl of sauerkraut a bit later on. That evening I started wearing a BodyMedia GoFit armband, but I’ll get into that in another post.

The next day was Beach Day 2.0 – The family edition. I started off the day with Zuzana’s ZWOD workout again. My time was 30 minutes this time around! I’m guessing it was because I was very active the day before, so my body was tired, but whatever. I did it!

For breakfast,  I had what has to be my favorite cereal mix at the moment:

  • Koala Crisp rice cereal (awseome and gluten-free)
  • 1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tbsp almond slivers
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

Gobble that up with some unsweetened almond milk. nom nom. 🙂

We got off to  a late start and for various reasons, didn’t have time to prepare a meal at home,  so we decided to stop somewhere and pick up some food. This is where we ended up:

Going into a burger joint, it’s easy for your diet to spiral out of control. This is a nightmare from a weight loss and IBS standpoint. I can’t say that I made a *perfect* choice, but thankfully Fatburger had a “healthy” option.

I had a veggie burger and skinny fries. I discarded half of the wheat bun and ate less than half of the fries.  Fatburger uses boca burgers, which are tasty, but next time, whenever that may be, I’m going to ask them to ease up on the mayo.

The Beach! Oh how I love thee, especially in January. 🙂

I got to bump around the volleyball a bit, chase around my son, dip my feet into that freezing California ocean water. It was a beautiful day.

On the way home, we stopped at Mitsuwa, our neighborhood Japanese grocery store, to go shopping for the week. I should do a post of our typical Mitsuwa shopping trip – sneaking in photos when I can. That would be fun!

Anyway! We bought fixings for an amazing sashimi salad – sushi grade salmon, octopus, seaweed salad on a bed of salad greens tossed with a bit of sesame dressing. I should have taken a picture, but we were famished and scarfed down that meal pronto.

This morning, I did not get to workout, but I did pack my awesome cereal mix to enjoy at the office. LOL!

Hopefully better than great by the end of the week.



Shake/Supplement review: Amazing Grass Wheat Grass powder.

I don’t want to call this a shake review because this is not really a shake, but you can add it into shakes if you want. 😉 I love Amazing Grass products and this is no exception. This is pure 100% organic, whole leaf wheat grass powder. One serving of this equals 5-6 serving of veggies and fruits, but I would never use this to replace your veggie servings. Do. Not. Do. That!

If you have ever tried to juice wheat grass, it is a bit of a pain the the behind, you need a special juicer that can slowly extract the juice and clean up can be tough. While drinking freshly juiced grass is preferable, this is a great alternative.

Here are the product highlights from the Amazing Grass website.

  • Increases & sustains energy naturally
  • Detoxifies and cleanses your body
  • High alkalinity helps balance acidic pH levels
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Complete food with enzymes & all essential amino acids
  • Natural source of antioxidants to help repair damaged cells
  • Field grown outdoors through winter
  • Vegan, Gluten Free and RawPer

8 gram serving, Amazing Grass Wheat Grass offers:

  • A naturally balanced source of Phytonutrients & Carotenoids
  • 2x more dietary fiber than an 8 gram serving of oat bran
  • 2x more iron than a 30 gram serving of fresh spinach
  • Excellent source of folic acid, beta carotene & vitamin C

I like to add it to a glass of low sugar lemonade or Yamamotoyama iced green tea. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays and add to smoothies or for parties (which you will get plenty of questions about. lol). I can’t say enough good things about this product. A 30 serving canister runs around $25.00.

Here are some great recipes using Wheat Grass powder:


The Power of Downtime

This post is not so much about me and my downtime (which I could use more of), but about my guilt regarding my son’s lack of extracurricular activities.

I kept my son fairly active in preschool. He participated in soccer classes, t-ball, swimming, day camps, etc… Once he started kindergarten, it stopped. My reasoning was that I wanted to see how he would do in school before I signed him up for anything extra. I didn’t want him to be overstimulated and tired.

4 months into school, he’s doing fine and is now back in the swing of things after Winter Break. The first day back, We received a sheet from Afterschool Cornucopia listing several activities for his age range. I asked him in the car if he was interested in any of them and he said decidedly said “No.” I chose not sign him up for anything because I didn’t want to spend $150+ dollar on a class that he wasn’t really going to enjoy (he could have ended up really liking it, but I just didn’t feel like taking the chance).

So now I have the guilt. I don’t have him involved in any weekend activities either, mainly because that is my downtime and I just don’t feel like scurrying about on my days off. I figured that my son will request his own activities soon enough and I can scurry about then, but now I just want to rest while everyone else is taking their kids to soccer.

Now, I’m not a total sloth. We’ll meet friends for play dates, go to the playground (and get my workout in ;)), go for a swim, play countless games of Candyland…but it’s all done in leisure. Yet I still feel guilty.

I feel like I’m putting my needs before his, but I have to remember that he’s still 5 years old and his downtime is important as well. He’ll have plenty of time to pursue his interests, we don’t have to do it all right now.

Mom’s Chicken Veggie Soup

I love when my mom makes this soup. This is comfort food at it’s best and very easy to make. Mom uses cornish game hen and whatever vegetables she has in the refrigerator. Here was today’s version:

Chicken Veggie Soup

  • 4-5 cups of water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cornish game hen, gizzards removed and cut in several pieces
  • 4 zucchini, cut into spears
  • 2 chayote squash, skin removed and cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 pieces malanga root (similar to taro root), cut into chunks
  • 1 piece yucca root, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced
  • 1 can of soy beans
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • fresh oregano
  • lemon wedges

In a stockpot over medium-high, heat olive oil and add the hen, brown on all sides. Once chicken is browned, add 4 cups of water to stock pot over medium heat. Season with salt, apple cider vinegar and tomato sauce. Add  root vegetables and carrots. Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Lower temp to low heat, add zucchini, chayote, soy beans and cabbage and let it simmer for an additional 15 minutes (or until you feel chicken and veggies are cooked to your liking).

Add fresh oregano and squeeze fresh lemon juice once you serve.  (don’t skimp on the fresh oregano it really adds great flavor)


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Reviewing my goals

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What goals? lol.:) I didn’t make any concrete goals for 2012 except to get healthy and sleep better. So far, 12 days in, and I feel like I’m not quite where I should be. However, I’m making progress, baby steps, but that is still forward progress.

I told myself that I wouldn’t worry about the scale, but that is hard to do. I haven’t lost any weight, but I have been fluctuating due to IBS induced bloat AND I feel like I have more muscle. I do FEEL better and less flabby and I need to focus on that, but It would be nice to see the scale go down a smidgen. I’m the type of person that loves to be active, but I also have major couch potato tendencies. If my son want to play Mario Kart Wii, I’ll play right along with him, even though I should be doing a workout video (or laundry). I can spend an entire afternoon playing World of Warcraft. I have made strides in keeping those tendencies at bay, but I still need to work on it.

I have been trying to follow my sleep goals, but last week as not so good, probably because I was on vacation. I’m much better this week. Stopping online usage past 9pm has really helped. I would watch TV while tweeting or checking facebook and I think it was too much mental stimulation. Working out has helped as well, but my workouts are shorter nowadays, so my body isn’t as tired, but I believe that has aided in allowing me to have a steadier sleep pattern lately.

Yesterday’s workout: 25 minute walk + Bodyrock.tv Domino workout

Today’s workout: 25 minute walk + Turbofire HiiT 15 + 25 minutes of vinyasa flow yoga.

Probiotic Foods

I’m currently having a bit of an IBS flare :(, I believe it’s just a hormonal shift that normally occurs during the month. I have to take all my medication and probiotic supplements religiously. As you know, this can get pricey. I currently alternate between two supplements, but I’m going to narrow it down to one. Right now, I’m taking Renew Life Ultimate Flora Critical Care & Align Probiotic. The Ultimate Flora supplement I have been taking for a while and I feel that it helps quite a bit. The problem is that it’s around $55 for a 60 day supply. The Align was recommended to me by two gastroenterologists. I bought it when I was in extreme distress last year and it seemed to be effective when alternating it with the Ultimate Flora, but I digress.

With all that said, I was thinking about what people eat when they couldn’t rely on supplements. Surely, this wasn’t a big problem in the past. Our bodies most likely made to function optimally when consuming food with a  certain amount of spoilage. However, in modern times, we know we tend to eat less spoiled and fermented items. 🙂 So while less people are dying from food poisoning and parasites, more people are getting digestive issues due to lack of good bacteria in their guts. Now we are trying to reintroduce this bacteria in capsule or powdered form.

What about natural methods of eating probiotic foods? I’m all about convenience and cutting costs,this way I can be less reliant on supplements and still get the same benefit. The good thing (for me) is that most probiotic foods are among my favorite foods. The downside, is that you have to make the foods yourself to *truly* get the best benefit.

Here is a list of great probiotic foods

  • Yogurt  – Of course. Most doctors recommend yogurt if you need more good bacteria in your system. If you choose to by store-bought yogurt, make sure it has live cultures – Stoneyfield has the most. If you want to try to make your own yogurt, there is a great tutorial here
  • Sauerkraut – I could eat a whole jar of kraut. I love it, but again, stay away from the store-bought variety that has been pasteurized and either make your kraut yourself or buy from the deli. I know people that have had success making sauerkraut using a Perfect Pickler.  Alton Brown has a good recipe for homemade kraut.
  • Kimchi – very similar to sauerkraut, but with added spices and ingredients, like carrots, ginger, peppers, etc… Again, don’t buy the pasteurized shop. If you are lucky enough to live near a Korean grocery, buy it fresh there.  Great Kimchi recipe here.
  • Miso paste/soup – buy the unpasteurized miso paste. It tastes better and is better for you. Don’t buy instant. I happen to live near a Mitsuwa Markeplace (Japanese Grocery) and I get the Miko brand from there. I like Shiro miso the best. You can dilute miso in hot water for soup, use it in salad dressing, marinade, the possibilities are endless.
  • Tempeh – Fermented soybeans. I’ll admit to not eaint this very often, only at Indonesian restaurants, but I’m going to change that. Tempeh has a smoky flavor similar to a mushroom. If anyone has any good tempeh recipes please let me know. 🙂
  • Kefir – This is what I’ll give my son in smoothie form. It is made by adding kefir grains to milk and letting it ferment for about 24 hours. I think it’s great with enzyme-rich fruits, like pineapple.

In my opinion, it’s best to combine probiotic foods with prebiotic foods. Essentially,  prebiotics are the main source of food for your gut flora. This is what will keep them happy and healthy, allowing them to multiply and raise beautiful families. Combinations such as yogurt & honey, miso with edamame on the side are excellent choices.

Here are a couple of great articles on probiotic foods:
Top Probiotic Foods You Are Not Eating – The Conscious Life

WebMd -Top Foods for Probiotics

Shake Review: Jay Robb Egg White Protein

The latest protein shake I decided to try was Jay Robb egg white protein. I’ve heard great reviews on the whey supplement, but I’m trying to limit dairy and would rather not give up my yogurt ration, so I gave Jay Robb’s egg white protein a try.

One scoop contains 120 calories and 24 grams of protein and various amino acids. Jay Robb is purely a protein supplement, so you aren’t going to find added vitamins and minerals here.

It is easily mixed with water in a blender bottle, and has a great chocolate taste. The dowside, for me, is that Jay Robb contains stevia, so the great chocolatey flavor was followed by this sickeningly sweet chemically taste. This was the final time I was giving a stevia product a chance. No more stevia for me, I just can’t take it.

That said, I think that Jay Robb makes a GREAT post workout supplement, if you can handle the taste of stevia.

PBJFF Sandwich

PBJFF stands for Peanut Butter, Jelly, Fruit & Flax. My son loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and this adds an easy nutrition boost. Just add ground flax to the peanut butter (you can mix it up if your child is super picky) and finely slice up the fruit of your choice ( I used fresh strawberries here). Lightly spread jelly on your bread (I use Whole Foods 360 brand fruit spread and Limpa brad from a local baker) and add sliced fruit. Add peanut butter/flax mixture to other slice of bread. Slap the two pieces together and eat it up.