Motivation. Getting my lazy butt off the chair and working out.

I really had absolutely no motivation to do anything but sit on my behind all morning long, but I searched way down deep inside of myself for energy. I said I would give myself 15 minutes to get moving at give it my all.

I chose to do the 15 minute Extreme Workout from Bodyrock.tv and I’m so glad I did. I felt GREAT afterwards.There was no need for someone to motivate me or any expensive equipment. It was just me against the clock and that was really the best motivator I’ve had in a long time.

As 2011 winds to a close, I feel really good about what I’ve accomplished in the last few weeks. I to really search within my soul and find ME. That I need to put the bullshit aside and live my life as stress-free as I can. I am not perfect and neither is anyone else. We just need to do the best with what we have.

Very much looking forward to what 2012 has in store for us.

 

Happy New Year!

Shake review: Spirutein

I’m still on the look out for a decent, well rounded protein shake that tastes good and to be honest, I don’t think it exists. lol. I recently have been trying different brands. Thankfully Whole Foods sells single packets for me to sample so that I do not have to commit a whole, expensive container.

Today I will review Spirutein protein powder – Chocolate flavor. If you are searching for a dairy-free protein supplement, this is an option for you. Spirutein, made by Nature’s Plus, gets its protein content from non-GMO rice protein, pea protein, and both non-fermented and fermented soy. Each scoop offers up 14g of plant-based protein which is good for someone looking to get an adequate protein boost to their diet. If you are an athlete or working out more strenuously, you may be better off with a supplement that has higher protein content. There is also a serving of Spirulina, which is a supplement that is said to have antioxidant properties, but they package or website doe snot state how much Spirulina is in a scoop of Spirutein. The shake is sweetened with fructose, which some people try to avoid due to a lack of insulin release when our bodies consume fructose. This can be bad for a couple of reasons:

  • fructose is processed by the liver, if it is overcome with too much fructose, it will convert it into fat and send it off into your blood stream as triglycerides (a risk factor for heart disease)
  • Since Fructose isn’t regulated by insulin, it circumvents the normal appetite signaling system, so you may still feel hungry even though you have eaten enough food.

There is 7 grams of sugar in Spirutein, which is approximately the amount in 1 teaspoon of honey, so please keep this in mind if you decide to add fruit, milks, or any other sweeteners to your shake.

Now for the taste. ๐Ÿ™‚ I drank half the packet with a cup unsweetened almond milk. It tended to clump first when mixing it in my blender bottle, but after 30 seconds of vigorous shaking, it was blended quite well. It definitely has a chocolatey taste, which is good, and no strange aftertaste, which is another plus. When drinking, you could dectect a bit of a gritty consistency due to the plant-based protein, but it wasn’t so bad that it was a deal breaker.

Later in the day, I mixed the rest of the powder with water, psyllium husk, and a 1/2 teaspoon of PB2. It yielded similar results, though I definitely prefer it with the almond milk than water.

In my opinion, Spirutein is a good supplement, especially if you are looking for a plant-based protein option. It comes in numerous flavors as well, but I don’t recommend that you try the Cherries Jubilee flavor. Blech.

๐Ÿ™‚

My daily diet

I thought I would post my general diet in case anyone is curious. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ‘Tis but a sampling of my weekly diet plan.

First thing in the morning:

Stretch and breathe. I know this isn’t food, but I do think it helps get the digestive system going. I give myself 5 minutes to focus on my breath, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Once I get up, I will take a probiotic with water. I feel that a probiotic is most effective on an empty stomach. I like taking Ultimate Flora Critical Care. You can find it in the refrigerator case of your local health food store. If you feel hesitant taking this on an empty stomach, you can certainly wait until breakfast.

Breakfast

I’m loosely following the MyPlate guidelines, but utilizing less grains.

My typical breakfast is a scrambled egg with bell peppers and a little bit of potato along side a small bowl of berries and a cup of coffee with a dash of milk or almond milk.

Morning Snack

This is when have a shake or drink. I’m still trying to figure out which protein supplement I like, but in the meantime, I’m think up more natural concoctions. Lately I’ve been alternating between two drinks. Here is the first one:

  • -8oz warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ย juice of 1 small lime
  • 1 tablespoon whole psyllium husk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of raw honey (optional)

Since this is a drink, more than what I would consider a snack, I will usually have something else with this, I like carrots or almonds for itsย  insoluble fiber to balance out the soluble fiber in the psyllium husk. I also add 17g of Miralax to this drink as prescribed by my doctor. Sometimes I’ll add crushed blackberries as well.

My second drink of choice is

  • 8oz warm unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon whole psyllium husk.
  • Cinnamon to taste

This is my own version of spicy hot chocolate. Because of the calories in the honey and milk, I consider this a snack on it’s own. I’ll also add Miralax to this.

You can always omit the psyllium husk since it makes the mixture thick, but it does help give you that extra fiber and keeps you full until your next meal. I like the cayenne pepper because it stimulates the circulatory system and has anti-inflammatory properties.

If you are going to mix this at work, I find a Blender Bottle to be very helpful.ย  I use it when I’m at home as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lunch

Lunch for me is usually a roasted chicken thigh (with skin on – too delicious not to eat), baked butternut squash or sweet potato, brown rice and a small side salad – fresh spinach with a dash of aged balsamic and tomato.ย  Sometimes, I get in the mood for something sweet around this time of day and I’ll have a bit of dark chocolate or something like that. This is my biggest meal of the day.

Afternoon snack

I’ll usually pick one (keep the serving small)

  • carrots or a rye crispbread with baba ghanoush or hummus
  • mixed berries with a touch of greek yogurt (or coconut yogurt)
  • baked granola with almonds
  • Apple slices with peanut butter

Dinner

Lately I’ve been likingย  grilled salmon and quinoa, served with various veggies – chayote squash, corn, green beans… Our time is limited at the end of the day, so we try to keep it simple and not make anything extravagant. I’ll usually allow myself a glass of wine or beer in the evening, but not everyday. I’ll usually stick to iced green tea.

There you have it, a day in my diet shoes. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also I try to get in my 64 oz of water as well. Nalgene makes 32 oz bottles that is perfect for this, drink one bottle in the morning and the other in the evening.

Rupture

Just wanted to say a bit about the rapture that never happened. It is a shame that people get fooled like this over and over again. I’m not a religious person, but I’m not fully against organized religion either. Church provides a nice sense of community that can benefit the community. What I don’t appreciate so much is the “spreading the message” part. I don’t need to fear God, ask for his forgiveness or give God any money of some organizations. Getting into the minutiae in what is contained in the Bible is problematic on many levels since it is a book to be taken at face value in my opinion. There is no hidden meaning – the bible was not written by Lewis Carroll. If a story from the Bible has helped you morally in any way, great! That is what it is for, but the bible is not a cure all for all of our ailments.

The problem I see is that we turn to religion to fix our problems when, most of the time, we should be looking inward. Before you believe in God or anything/anyone else, you need to believe in yourself first. Turn your energy from preaching a Doomsday prophecy into one of philanthropy, not because you want the person to accept Jesus as their savior, but because you want the person to see that there is good in this world. If you give money in church, give to the the church community and not solely to please the “almighty.”

Believe in your family and friends next. Have hope for human nature. When we are put in seemingly hopeless situations that are out of our control – family, friends, and even strangers come to our aid. They are our saviors. We, as human beings, have the power to make GOOD happen. You have the power to make YOU a better you.

News: Harold Camping now says end is coming Oct. 21

Storytime

Storytime is popular in our household. Our son loves books and we like to read them. ๐Ÿ™‚ However, even with what seems like an endless supply of books on hand, you get tired of reading the same books over and over and over…and over and over again. Our son doesn’t seem to mind, but we “grown ups” get bored. Checking out library books helps, but it’s a temporary solution because your child pick one or two out of a handful that you’ve checked out that he wants to hear on continuous loop during the three weeks that the books are on loan. Eventually, you may even buy one of the books so that you can torture yourself by reading it 3000 more times in the next few months.

My husband’s solution to this is to change up the story. He makes up the words and infuriates our son. “It doesn’t go like that!” Ultimately, he ends up enjoying the goofy, alternate storyline to “Berenstain Bears Go to the Dentist.”

I, on the other hand, have decided to make up our own bedtime story. My boy really enjoys this because we incorporate him into the story. I’ll take a few of his favorite characters – Buddy from Dinosaur Train, Luigi from Super Mario, and “The Green Knight” from Medieval Times dinner tournament (LOL) and they will go on an adventure. I’ll usually start the story with something my son did that day, like finding caterpillars, and then his imagination will take over and *I’m* being told the story. It’s really fun. I would try this if you haven’t already. ๐Ÿ™‚

Why blog?

I started this blog a couple of months ago and I had a feeling that it would die a quick death. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m just not sure what to blog about. I have started many drafts to post here, but eventually decided that the subject matter was too personal or too angry (re: iTunes, ha!). I intended to make this blog about me, so I need to need to put a piece of me out there, but putting my vulnerabilities on public display is tough for me to do. I still intend be be here, in some capacity, so I’m not willing to let this die completely as of yet. I may post about my parenting struggles or triumphs (yes, triumphs…I can’t believe it either!)., or trying Zumba class for this first time at the gym. Stay tuned… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Shake, Shake, Shake…

I have been trying to watch what I eat lately. I don’t eat much processed junk, but I take a very lax approach to dieting. Usually, if I see a food and it looks delicious, I eat it. The end result is primarily me feeling guilty for eating whole bag of trail mix (major weakness of mine) and working out hard at the end of the day to burn it off. That is *if* I have the time to work out, because sometimes I don’t. More often than not, I have an extra long commute on the 405 freeway with a hungry preschooler in tow wanting to listen to Raffi or other various soul-sucking children’s songs. Once I get home, I just want to hide under the covers due to post-traumatic traffic stress syndrome. At this point,ย  I begin to I feel extremely guilty, head straight for the mirror, start looking at my behind and asking my husband if it’s too big (It is, it ALWAYS is). ๐Ÿ˜‰

Morning is my problem time for dieting. Cooking is not an option as I am in zombie mode in the AM. Eating brains involve some form of cooking, so unless you want to gamble with your life, it’s a no go for this zombie. Cereal is not filling enough. I wind up hungry right after I consume it, then I look to cookies from the work vending machine…no bueno. Oatmeal works, but I don’t love it. I do have a veggie egg scramble with whole wheat toast at least once a week, but my Dad makes that for me (bless him), so I can’t have that everyday.ย  A successful weekly breakfast plan for me would consist of oatmeal, veggie scrambles, but what else? I needed something else to add to the mix, so I decided to add a protein shake to my diet regimen.

I went into this with trepidation. A shake for breakfast reminds me of someone desperately trying to lose weight by just drinking sugary Slim Fast all day, then pigging out at night. I wanted a mix that wasn’t sugary and had some form of vitamins and minerals,ย  so off I went in search of a good mix. The first stop was our local Trader Joe’s. I picked up the vanilla soy protein powder, looked at the label and found it contained a good amount of vitamins and protein, so I decided to give it a try for $10. The next morning, I mixed it with 1% milk and frozen mango, but found the taste a bit chalky. I wasn’t a fan. Sorry Trader Joe’s!

I went googled around a bit and got recommendations to try Isopure’s whey protein and purchased some at a local nutrition store ($40 for a big container). I tried the chocolate and preferred this over the Trader Joe’s brand. It blended really well and did a GREAT job of keeping me satiated in the morning. I didn’t feel starving by 10am and could eat a healthy snack that would keep me going until lunch.ย  Isopure does not have as many vitamins as the TJ’s brand, but still had 25 grams for protein and tasted better. My only problem is that I only had chocolate flavor at home. One day I’m going to buy the vanilla or Mango Peach…ohhh!!. ๐Ÿ™‚

A friend of mine is a Team Beachbody coach and recently sent me a couple of samples of Shakeology to try. I was really excited because I have looked at the nutritional info for Shakeology and it has lots to offer (see nutritional facts at bottom of post). Shakeology has less protein, 17g per serving compared to 25g in the other brands, but includes probiotic and enzyme blends in addition to 3 grams of fiber. It is also very costly in comparison to the other brands at approx. $120 for a 30-day supply. I received a sample of the chocolate and greenberry flavors to try. I opted to try the chocolate first since I was told that the greenberry flavor takes some getting used to. My friend said to blend with lots ice, which I did. The consistency was decent, with a good chocolatey flavor. There was a bit of an after taste that wasn’t too bothersome, so I was able to enjoy my drink on the way to work. The problem that I encountered was that I was hungry within an hour. I found myself staring at the nutter butter cookies sitting at my co-workers desk and started craving a peanut butter and banana sandwich desperately. I finally broke down and had some graham crackers, but was left wondering if I should have doctored up the shake a bit more. Maybe use milk instead of water, or add lots of fruit next time?

Yesterday morning I tried the greenberry, with lots of ice, milk and plenty of frozen mango and blueberries. I was tempted to try the drink straight up without the fruit, but zombie mode was in full effect, so I didn’t try it. The taste was decent, the mango masked the greenberry flavor quite well in my opinion. I thought the added fruit and milk would help curb my hunger, but I was ravenous by 8am. I had played volleyball the night before and was going to go to the gym later that day, so I allowed myself to eat trail mix…which lead to me eating too much trail mix.

I thought, perhaps, I was just extra hungry this week, but this morning I had an Isopure shake and had not dealt with any hunger issues. So as much as I wanted to switch to Shakeology, I don’t think it’s going to work out for me. I do like the extra nutrition, but because of the cost and the fact that I still need to doctor it up to suit my needs, It’s a no go for me. Bummer. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Here is another decent review unbiased review: http://supplement-geek.com/shakeology-review/

Trader Joe's Vanilla Soy Protein Powder

Shakeology

  • Isopure Chocolate Whey Protein
  • It’s my Party and I’ll cry if I want to…

    I’ve never been much of a party person. I don’t handle large crowds very well. I start to get grouchy if I’m the least bit uncomfortable. This does change after a couple of drinks, I hear I can be pretty fun, but then it ends badly. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I don’t know if this is because I grew up an only child, isolated in my own fortress of solitude, getting spoiled by my parents day in and day out. I have plenty of cousins and spent lots of time with them, but ultimately, I went home and had “me” time whenever I needed it. I enjoy my alone time and feel that it energizes me. Being around more than 5 people is draining (not that I’m having a terrible time, but I just find it energy sapping). My husband is the opposite of me, he thrives off being social and finds it invigorating.

    My parents were pretty good at hosting parties. Our parties mainly involved family I had some pretty memorable ones as a little girl. That pretty much ended when my grandmother died on my 7th birthday. It was hard for me to handle for a myriad of reason. My Grandmother lived pretty far away from me, so I didn’t feel particularity close to her, butย  did have memories (which I cherish) of her. It was really hard to see my family deal with the news of her passing, and then in subsequent years, having to deal with the fact that my birthday was no longer a day of celebration.ย  With time, came understanding, but that is no consolation for an 8 year old that wanted to blow out candles on a birthday cake instead of spending a couple of hours in church praying the rosary.

    Needless to say, the parties went on hiatus in our household for quite some time. My next party was in my teens. My parents invited a bunch of my closest friends from 9th grade to go out and have dinner at a Mexican restaurant. I was really excited! My friends arrived and we were ready to go. We hopped in the car and my parent drove straight to church so we could pray for my grandmother. This didn’t go over well at first, I was mortified (comes with the age, what can I say?) and my friends were confused,ย  but we were there had to deal with it. Once we got the the restaurant, we had pleasant time, but I made sure that was the last party my parents planned for me. Again, I love my grandmother, but it was just hard for me to deal with.

    Once I had my son, I thought that I would plan lots of parties for him. I had great memories of my parties when I was little and my husband has some wonderful pictures of his mom’s custom made cakes back in the day. I wanted that for our son. Once I got to planning his first birthday, I felt clueless Perhaps, because I was :). I felt like I was planning a mini-wedding, by myself, with no wedding planner to help me (How mortifying, I know [/sarcasm]). The party went well, but I felt stressed out the whole time. Perhaps the fact that I had the soiree at my parents house made me stressed. We live in a condo and having 50+ people there just doesn’t work. There is a nice pool area, but that doesn’t help us in March unless all our guests are from Siberia and would consider the pool water warm, but I digress. Even for the small get-togethers we have in our home, I’m stressed if the guest count goes above a certain threshold. It’s just me and my weird social phobias that I have to deal with…

    So, after my son’s first birthday, it’s been about going to Disneyland and avoiding the Party. I thought everything was going swimmingly until my son asked for a big party for this 5th birthday this year. I couldn’t say no. Number 5 is a milestone birthday in my book, so I wanted to make the party somewhat memorable.ย  I scoured the internet for cute “Dinosaur Train” party ideas, and while I didn’t get everything planned the way I wanted it, I think I did a damn fine job. Socializing wasn’t my strong point yet again,ย  so I found it hard to relax and enjoy the moment, but I think our guests had a good time and our son thoroughly enjoyed his party.ย  My husband had a great time too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Here are a couple of pictures that I loved:

    I found these adorable dino toppers on the A Baked Creation blog and thought that they were too cute not to use. I looked to Etsy.com for a fondant artist and found Crafty Rosy. She was willing to create the toppers for me and as you can see, she did a wonderful job. The kids loved them, they were practically tackling each other to get a cupcake after we sang “Happy Birthday!” ๐Ÿ™‚

    I also found these through Etsy:

    I thought they were too cute to pass up.ย  They are from Cherished Blessings at Etsy. There were a few squabbles about which character they could get, one character was more popular than the others, but it wasn’t a big deal. The mask were from Oriental Trading Company.

    Thank you for enduring my practically never ending ramblings on parties. I’m surprised you made it this far. I appreciate your patience. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The school lottery

    My husband and I both work full time jobs, neither of which are located close to home. This recently posed a problem when it came time to sign up our son for Kindergarten for the upcoming school year. We live within Los Angeles Unified School District boundaries. Our local elementary school is not bad, but we would have a heck of a time trying to pick up our son after school. We don’t want him to be one of those kids that is in an after school program all day, so we needed to look at other options.

    Since I work the more steady job, it was decided that we should look at schools that were close to my office. I also have the luxury of working near my parents home, so they would be able to watch our son after school.

    We decided to look at a couple of charter schools. Charter School #1 was a language immersion school that followed the IB model of learning. We really liked what this school is about and the parents seemed very involoved, so we applied. Charter School #2ย  focused on experiential learning and arts, which was cool, but we didn’t get as good of a vibe from this school as the 1st one. We applied anyway.

    We also looked at the Magnet program for LAUSD. There was one school that I visited that had a similar program to Charter School # 2. I found out that I had missed the deadline to apply by one day (It was a mid-December deadline), but that I could submit a late application. This was a long shot, but I applied anyway. I didn’t hear back in January, so I’m assuming that we’re on a very long wait list.

    This month, I applied to move my son from LAUSD to the much better school district where my office is located. Thisย  got approved last week and I was very relieved. DS (Dear Son) would get the benefit of a better education, plus be stress free regarding travel time to pick him up from school … and he can stay with my parents after school, who live just a few minutes away.We looked at this as back-up, in case he did not get in any of the schools mentioned above, which in my opinion, are better schools, but not by much.

    Charter School # 1 had their lottery last night. I haven’t heard anything yet, so I’m assuming M didn’t get in. They said they will notify by phone call and email, but I don’t know how long that takes. Charter School #2 is having their lottery later this month, but that school is much more popular than the first one, so I don’t have high hopes. I can’t say I’ll be very disappointed if he doesn’t get into a charter school, because he will be in a good school no matter what happens at this point. ๐Ÿ™‚

    We did consider private schools. Both my husband and I went to private schools for both elementary and high school. The problem we encountered is that most of the schools were religious. We are not the most religious people and we aren’t necessarily against DS learning religion in school, but we would feel a bit disingenuous sending him there. We also felt that the learning, models, scores, etc… were not as good as the charter schools we looked at.ย  We also had to factor in the price – The lowest price for a school we considered was about $450 per month, plus service hours and church contributions. We didn’t feel it was worth it. of course, all that could change once he starts school. We’ll see what happens. ๐Ÿ™‚