Sunday, December 28, 2014

Emotional Unloading

When I first started this blog at the end of last year, I intended for it to chronicle my journey to better health and fitness. I also wanted to be able to share recipes, tips and other information that I came across and found useful.

I have failed miserably. Not only do I not post on even a somewhat consistent basis, but I don't do a good job of taking pictures to even share anything with readers. Sad face.

With all that said, I think my greatest obstacle to achieving these goals of better health and fitness AND documenting it has been such a mental struggle. I often feel overwhelmed with life, unorganized and stressed to the maximum. I've felt this way so much since I've had my son. It's partly because having a child and being a single mom makes it hard to get stuff done. Also, I have a horrible relationship with his father, it's a tale of two extremes. We either get along great and try to make things work between us, or he hates me and lets his anger towards me affect his parenting. Very emotionally draining. To add to the frustration, due to my financial state, we are currently living with my mother, which presents a slew of other issues. Two grown women are not meant to live together. 

The struggle is real to reverse my mindset. All these things working against me, but if I could focus on what needs to be done, none of my problems will be an issue anymore. 

I have purchased quite the collection of self-help, motivational books. BUT I find it's difficult to read them. When I finally have the time, I don't have the focus to let what I'm reading sink in.

I'm hoping that by getting all of this off my chest and really asking my family for the support that I need and encouragement I need, I can get my life together and be a healthy, happy, successful mother to my little guy. And in the end, that's all that matters; that I am the best mother I can possibly to my son. 

Thank you for reading this, I hope to post with much more frequency soon!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Rough Week

I'm writing this on a Friday evening with the hopes that after I get all of this off my chest I can wake up tomorrow with a clean, refreshed sense of self.
I've had the week from hell. I haven't been working out AT ALL and I've not been eating well. It's been rough. I've been sick, we've been off schedule, the list of monkey wrenches thrown in goes on. But, tomorrow is a new day and I plan to start off with a good breakfast, a good workout and some fun with my boy at the park.
So, I'm going to get some 'housework' done tonight and wake up tomorrow happy and motivated and refreshed!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Infused Water

I have recently discovered, and fallen in love with, infused water. Infused water is basically water that has different fruits, herbs or vegetables essentially in it. The flavors & nutrients infuse with the water, adding flavor and different beneficial properties to the water.  

Now, while I have been experimenting with different fruits, such as watermelon, strawberry and orange, this is only going to be the recipe that I started my water infusion experience with: lemon, cucumber, mint and ginger.


Lemon, as most of us know, is a great addition to a glass of water. It's full of Vitamin C for an immune system boost, potassium for heart health, aids in digestion, helps flush toxins and stimulates your liver, freshens breath, helps reduce hunger cravings, reduces inflammation, gives an energy boost, helps cut caffeine cravings and fights viral infections.

Cucumbers are also full of helpful nutrients. It's full of antioxidants which help with healthy aging and fight disease. Full of Vitamin K, they aid in keeping bones in tip top condition. They can also aid in remedying a hangover, weight loss and reducing blood pressure.

Mint adds a fresh taste to the water and has been show to aid in digestion.

Ginger is also a great addition to water, as it also contains many antioxidants. 

So, here is how I make my refreshing water:

You'll need:

1 lemon

1/2 cucumber

3/4 cups fresh mint leaves

2 inch section of ginger (use a spoon to scrape the skin off, save your knuckles) 

After you have scrubbed and wash the cucumber and lemon, slice each into as thin of slices and you can manage (I normally do some funky end cutting of my lemon, to get every part I can.) 

Once you have scrapped the skin off the ginger, cut it into small pieces. Mine are usually just big enough to not get poured out through the spout of my pitcher.

Take the lemon & cucumber slices, ginger pieces and mint leaves and place into a pitcher. Pour water into the pitcher. (I would suggest distilled or filtered water. I use water from my Brita pitcher.)



You can drink the water immediately, but I would advise that you wait at least a few hours if possible, overnight is best. I normally make a fresh pitcher at night so the water can sit for at least 6 hours.



I'll be honest, it took a little bit to get used to the taste, but I have come to think that it is refreshing and I don't like drinking plain jane water anymore. Also, I will say that after drinking this water for just a few days, I truly felt less bloated and 'slimmer.'



Please let me know if you drink any types of infused water OR if you try my recipe and like or dislike it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Protein Pancakes

I took my first stab at making protein pancakes yesterday for breakfast. Now, I know there are a lot of different recipes, some more complicated than others with more ingredients. I made mine fairly simply, using just a few ingredients I always keep in my kitchen


3/4 c. ground oats ( I just put a cup or so into my Ninja blender and made it into a powder

3/4 c. egg whites

1 T. ground flax seed (not necessary)

1T. cinnamon (not necessary)

1/4 c. water

I mixed all the ingredients in a bowl, and after my pan had been heating for a little bit at medium heat, I sprayed it with canola oil spray. Once the oil was warm, I poured the batter into the pan and cooked it like a normal pancake.

Once it was done, I took it out and topped it with peanut butter. But I'm sure it would have tasted good with syrup as well.

Now, this being the first time I've made this, I learned a couple things:

1. As long as the dry and wet ingredients are equal, you can make as much or little as you want.

2. It's a bit more dense than a normal pancake, but good. Next time I may experiment with vanilla extract.

3. Other than the grounding of the oats and flax seed, it was really simple to put together.

I definitely think I will be making this again, possibly for my pancake loving prince. (Hopefully he won't realize that it's good for him!

What new recipes have you tried out lately?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I may or may not be addicted....

A few weeks ago, I meandering my way around a local health/organic food store near my office. My co-worker told me they made an amazing chicken salad and I was there to get some. After I got my yummy looking container of chicken salad (which I discovered they put honey in. Odd, but yummy), I headed over to the drink case to find something 'good' to drink. I saw they had the brand 'Honest T' and I enjoy the Morrocan Mint Flavor. But they didn't have it. Sad face. So, I looked a little more and saw this bottle:

Sweet Leaf Green Tea. I figured, why not try something new...
OMG!!!!!! I love it! You can taste the green tea, the honey and the mint. It is so yummy! I saw they had them on sale at Whole Foods a couple weeks ago, $1.00 each, so I stocked up. According to the website, this is how they describe it:
Why settle for run-of-the-mill? Our Mint & Honey Green Tea puts a spin on homemade goodness with crisp, refreshing flavors inspired by Morocco. (This unique flavor already has quite the following.)
If the flavorful infusion of spearmint leaves and touch of honey in every bottle weren’t enough to convince you to give it a try, this organic green tea is also chock-full of antioxidants (90mg EGCG).
And, for what it's worth, it's actually pretty decent, nutrionally speaking. Of course, good old water is always the best choice, but this is great for an afternoon treat!
via Sweet Leaf Teas

What new drinks have you been trying?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Meal Prep

I did my first attempt at meal prep last night, and of course did not take pictures.
I cooked up 2 pounds of ground turkey, a box of Uncle Ben's brown rice and (gasp) a can of green beans. (I only used the can because I thought I had frozen ones, but I didn't). Once everything was cooked, I  put one cup of cooked meat, half a cup of rice into four countainers and split the green beans between the four containers.
I'm hoping it turns out yummy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Clean Eating

I hate the 'D' word. You know the word, that one single word that restricts you from eating pretty much everything except lettuce. Diet. There I said it.
Although the word diet can also mean the way you eat. As in your diet consists of ..... The trust is, I just want to find a way of eating that will not bore me to death, be fairly easy and improve and keep me healthy.
I tried the low-carb 'diet.' It was great, I lost a ton of weight, actually getting down to my 'ideal' weight. But I gained it all back, got pregnant and gained more.
Anyway, an acquaintance of mine on Facebook and Instagram is always posting pictures of what she makes for dinner and it always looks delish! And she eats 'clean.' So after some research (and by no means is this the dietitian/nutritionist description of it) this is what I discovered about eating clean: 
  • You are encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables and limit red meats
  • You should not eat processed food. 'If it came from a plant it's okay, if it's made in a plant it's not.'
  • You are encouraged to eliminate white rice, white potatoes and white flour.
  • It's easier to eat at home, you have better control of what goes in your food.

One thing I learned doing my research is that you start to learn what your body needs and what foods are needed. You look at foods more as fuel for your body than just something to fill you stomach when you're hungry. For example, for my mid-morning snack, I ate a piece of Ezekiel Sprouted Grain bread, with TB of natural peanut butter and half a banana on top. I know that snack will satisfy me until lunch because of the fiber in the bread, protein in the peanut butter and the good carbs in the banana. My other choice for a mid-morning snack was a frosted donut.
I'm still learning about the concept of eating clean and trying to learn recipes and how to make it easier for me to do everyday.
Do you have any tips for eating clean?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Twelve Quick and Easy Meals

One of the ways to help ensure success of eating a healthy diet is for the meals you make to be fairly simple and easy, with minimal ingredients. I came across a list of 52 Healthy Meals in 12 Minutes or Less on; here are my 12 favorite from the list, 4 each for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
1. Pumpkin Muesli Combine ¼ cup quick-cooking oats and ¼ cup pumpkin puree in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and nuke for 20 seconds. Let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine ½ cup plain nonfat yogurt, 2 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. lemon zest, and 2 tbsp. sliced almonds in a separate bowl. Stir yogurt mixture into the oat mixture and enjoy.
2. Chocolate-Blueberry Shake Blend together 1 packet chocolate breakfast powder (like Carnation Breakfast Essentials), 1 1/2 cups milk of choice, and 1 cup frozen blueberries. Optional: Add a scoop of protein powder for improved muscle recovery.
3. Mini Wrap Top an 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla with 2 slices Canadian bacon, ½ sliced apple, and 2 to 3 slices cheddar cheese. Roll up and microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until cheese is melted.
4. Nutty 'Nana Toast 1 slice whole-grain bread and top with 1 tbsp. crunchy almond butter and ½ a sliced banana.
1. Mediterranean Pita Split open a whole-wheat pita and spread one side with 2 tbsp. hummus. Add 1 large roasted red pepper (sliced), 1 tbsp. crumbled feta, 1 tbsp. black olives, 5 slices cucumber, and a small handful of mixed greens.
2. Roast Beef Roll Spread 1 oz. light cream cheese and ½ tbsp. horseradish on 1 whole-wheat wrap. Layer on 2 oz. roast beef, 1 oz. sliced cheddar, and a handful of romaine lettuce. Roll up and enjoy.
3. Black Bean Wrap On 1 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla, mash ¼ cup drained and rinsed black beans with a fork. Sprinkle with a pinch of cumin, a pinch of paprika, and 1 tbsp. cheddar cheese. Roll up and microwave for 30 seconds. Serve with 2 tbsp. salsa.
4. Low-Carb Roll-Up On a plate, layer 1 slice low-sodium deli turkey and 1 slice provolone cheese. Spread the cheese with 1 tsp. pesto (homemade or store bought!) and top with 2 slices avocado. Roll up the turkey and repeat 2 more times.
1. Honey Soy Salmon Preheat the broiler and combine ½ tbsp. honey with ½ tsp. soy sauce. Season 1 5-oz. salmon filet with salt and pepper and broil for five minutes. Drizzle with honey-soy sauce and broil an additional 2-5 minutes. Serve with microwaveable rice.
2. From-Scratch Fish Sticks Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice 1 6-oz. cod filet into 6 strips. Season with 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. paprika. Bread each by dipping into 1 egg (scrambled) and then ½ cup seasoned whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, spritz fish strips with cooking spray, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until opaque throughout. Serve with a green salad (2 handfuls of spinach or mixed greens with a spritz of oil and vinegar) for a healthy dose of veggies!
3. Tuna Pasta Salad Cook 1 serving corkscrew pasta according to package instructions, about 12 minutes. In a bowl, combine ½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar, ½ tbsp. olive oil, and 1/8 tsp. celery salt. Stir in ½ can flaked white tuna, 1 chopped scallion, and ¼ cup halved grape tomatoes. Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and toss with the tuna mixture.
4. Southern Breakfast (for Dinner) Recreate this southern favorite in half the time. Combine ½ tbsp. lemon juice, a dash of Tobasco sauce, and ¼ lb. peeled and deveined shrimp. Heat ½ tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add 1/8 cup chopped onion, 1 tbsp. green bell pepper (diced), and 1 clove garlic (minced). Cook 5 minutes and then add shrimp mixture, 1 scallion (chopped), and 1/8 cup low-sodium chicken broth and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare ½ cup quick-cooking grits according to package instructions and stir in 1 tsp. butter and a pinch of salt (less than 5 minutes in the microwave). Serve with shrimp.
One thing I really like about these recipes, aside from them being quick and easy, is that they are fairly child-friendly. I'm learning that eating healthy does not have to be difficult or complicated, just smart.
Please visit my lifestyle blog: Imperfectly Balanced Life

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Year's Resolution #2 - Be More Active

So far in 2014 I have been making a conscious effort to eat healthier food and so far I've been pretty successful. Last night I waited for my chicken to bake in the oven instead of making a pot of Ramen noodles.
My second New Year's Resolution is to be more active. I find that this may be more challenging. Not because I don't want to, because I do. But because of this tiny little thing called time. It seems to escape me.
That's not an excuse, only a situation in which I need to work around.
1. Wake up earlier to get some sort of activity done, whether it be yoga or walking.
2. Find ways to incorporate some sort of activity into my evenings, like doing crunches and push ups during TV shows.
3. Avoid sitting down when I get home. I know you're not supposed to eat standing up, but lately it seems once I sit down, that's how I remain. Just keep moving.
4. Walk the dogs. They need to be walked just as much as I need to walk. This is a win-win for both of us.
This is obviously not the most detailed of fitness plans. Heck, it's not even close to a plan. But it is a mental list of ways I can at least start to be more active. Baby steps people, baby steps.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year's Resolution #1 - Eat Healthier

As I made my New Year's Resolutions the other day I thought about the typical 'I want to lose weight' resolution. But then I decided that wasn't enough. I didn't just want to lose weight, I wanted to become a healthier person. I've lost weight before, but greatly due to a very restricted diet. As par for the course with those types of diets, it didn't last. I also tried Weight Watchers once and it didn't work for me. I was kind of turned off by the people in meetings who would say they went to a Super Bowl party and only ate 5 carrots and drank 1 light beer. Personally, I would rather eat really well 80% of the time and bust my ass at the gym and still be able to enjoy wings and dips.
I decided that I want to be healthier over all. God gave me this body I'm in and I owe it to Him to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My first Resolution is to eat a better diet. Primarily cut out food with high-fructose corn syrup and fried foods. Eventually I would like to move to a 'clean-eating' diet. But I know that is a drastic change from my current eating habits and a drastic change like that would probably not be successful.
1. I am going to bring only healthy, nutrient dense food into my home. I'm not going to do a clean sweep of my kitchen and get rid of EVERYTHING that is 'unhealthy.' I think it's silly to waste that money. However, I will be mixing the good and bad foods and hope it's a good conversion for my little man.
2. I am going to plan out my meals. Meal planning is the easiest, most simple way to eat healthier. If you have a plan and stick to it, it keeps you from standing in front of the fridge wondering what to eat and settling on the tub of ice cream. (Which won't be coming into my house anymore)
3. I will be bringing my lunch to work everyday. It's much easier to control what you eat when you bring your lunch. Also, the only place near my office that is 'healthy' is a smoothie place and I don't want a smoothie everyday. Plus, it's expensive to eat lunch out everyday. So to save my health and money, I will be bringing my lunch to work everyday.
4. I will be keeping a food diary. This is a great way to keep track of what I eat. I tend to snack a bit during the day, grabbing a tootsie roll or two at work. And I don't want to see that 3 days in a row I ate 5 tootsie rolls. Also, keeping a food diary will let me look at what I've eaten over the past week and decide whether or not I should indulge a bit over the weekend.
I'm not saying my plan is fool proof, nor am I saying that I won't slip up and bring a carton of fro-yo into the house. But if I can stick to these healthy eating basics, I know that transitioning to an even healthier diet will be much easier. Ultimately, I want to get to a point where highly processed, over sweetened foods actually taste bad to me.
I hope everyone is having a happy and healthy 2014!