Category Archives: Fitness

Recipe: Breakfast Salad

I don’t post a lot of recipes.  Mostly because I don’t consider myself a gourmet.  I do love to cook and I convince myself that I am creative in the kitchen.  But after watching Master Chef Jr. with my 10-year-old, I am, in no way, a chef.

This recipe has gotten a lot of buzz.  Salad for breakfast.  Sounds pretty disgusting even as I type it out.  Romaine, chicken, evoo, and balsamic?  No.  Thank goodness. This breakfast salad has exactly what you would eat in an omelette, just cold and in a bowl.

breakfastsalad

I like a good hearty salad.  So this one had to have a lot of texture to it.  I started with two handfuls of organic spinach.  I prefer organic spinach to non-organic because I think the flavor is stronger, kind of as it was meant to be.  I added 4 hardboiled organic egg whites.  Again, I always eat organic or free range eggs for the same reason.  They just taste better.  I also just use the whites since they are chock full of protein, contain no fat and no cholesterol.  Then I threw in about 1/8 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to add a bit more protein.  You don’t want to add too much cheese because it increases your fat and calories of the day, but add enough to taste.  The only other thing that I would’ve added would be some diced crispy bacon. I don’t buy bacon bits, but only use fresh bacon on my salads and didn’t have any on hand first thing in the morning. Top with the same ratio as the cheese.

For the dressing I use a simple honey mustard that I made from scratch:

1 part mustard

1/5 parts honey

2 parts evoo

1 part lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

It’s sweet and savory.  Perfect for first thing in the morning or for an early lunch.

I hope you enjoy your breakfast salad as much as I did!

How to not be a Stage Mom. (This is for me, too)

A little background about my younger self.  When I was about 18, I told my mom that I wanted to act.  Yes, I was scared about what to expect, but that’s normal, right?  After several conversations, my mom, bless her heart, decided that I probably shouldn’t pursue acting.  Nerves, cost, failure were all reasons for her decisions.  And being the obedient daughter that I was, I concurred.  After all, my mom knew what was best for me.  So, I put my dreams on hold.

Fast forward 6 years.

At 24, I married my husband.  Not only did he encourage me to pursue my dreams, but pushed me onstage.  Although only performing in church productions for 3 years (OK, they were huge church productions involving audiences of nearly a thousand per show), I decided to take the plunge into community theatre.  GASP!  Yes, I was nervous.  “But if I didn’t do it now, when would I?  I mean, I’m already 28 years old!  I’m getting up there!”  (Now, at almost 40, this makes me chuckle.)  After several workshops, auditions, and call backs, I decided that acting wasn’t really my thing.  Yes, I loved it, but it was more work and less glamour than I thought.  My dreams of acting turned into merely day dreams.  But I was OK with it!  I tried.  I liked it for a minute.  Moving on.

Fast forward 8 years.

My oldest daughter, Audrey, was cast in her school’s production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as Charlie Bucket.  We were so excited for her!  Audrey had tried out for a few things at her new Jr. High and had not yet been successful.  But Audrey has a never-give up attitude.  Don’t ask me where she gets it.  People say it’s because of good parenting, but I’m not so sure.  I typically want to hide under my down comforter in my dark room if someone looks at me the wrong way at the gym.  But Audrey doesn’t stop.  She auditioned for this play hoping to get just a few minutes of stage time.  Her director saw something in her that, as of yet, no one had.

Of course, Audrey was a natural on stage.  She has a petite figure and a voice that hits the back of the theatre.  She was born BIG!  The stage is where Audrey wanted to be.  Forever. So, my husband and I decided that if this is what she wanted, we would support her.  A short 9 months later, she was on her way!

We did everything right.  We got head shots for her, an agent, and drove her to countless auditions, call backs, and performances.  Yes, we were the perfect stage parents!

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.  What you don’t know is that because I had a desire to once perform at a young age, I carry a lot of regret.  Yes, I did say that I was ready to move on from acting.  But what if I had started when I was only 12, like Audrey?  What if my mom let me get head shots and an agent.  Where would I be today?  Probably exactly where I am.  You see, Audrey has something that I didn’t have.

She carries a desire to perform.  She loves her craft.  The head shots and agent bookings are fun. But Audrey really doesn’t care about that.  She loves stepping into a role.  Becoming something that she isn’t.  Creating a whole world for a character.  Me?  I like the red carpet.  The cheers and flowers during final bows.  The glamour.

So, how do I not become a stage mom?  By being a mom.  By letting my daughter be what she was created to be.  If she decided to be a veterinarian, a gardener, or a lawyer, would I treat her any different?  My job is to support her, her dreams, and her goals.  Not mine.

I’m certainly not a perfect parent.  No one is.  But by being her mom, and not trying to live vicariously through her, Audrey can do whatever she wants.  It’s my job to love her, support her, keep believing in her, even when she doesn’t believe in herself.  That’s what moms do.

Image

My beautiful daughter, Audrey Montague

I just like to remind her that she promised me that first guest spot when she makes it to the Academy Awards.  Yes, I still like the glamour.

Looking good vs. feeling good.

In my never-ending pursuit to have a body like Brooke Burke, I do a lot of daydreaming followed by endless planning.  What if I had a killer bod?  Would my life be easier?  Would I feel better?  And how would such a feat even begin to take place?  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m thankful for the many people in my life that let me off the hook with various excuses. I have 4 kids.  I’m very busy.  As I get older, my metabolism decreases.  I have a sweet tooth.  OK, that last one was my own excuse.  But when does my attitude go from wanting to look good to just being happy about feeling good?

About a year ago, I decided my family needed a change in our lifestyle habits.  We starting eating a primarily whole diet.  Basically what this means is, nothing comes out of a box or a package.  I started looking at ingredients in everything and tried to cut out a lot of unnecessary preservatives.  We eat more fruits and veggies than we used to.  Snack on high protein foods.  It’s been a fairly easy transition, mostly by me and my 2 youngest kids.  My husband and older kids really liked the unhealthy me, but are learning to adjust to our new eating habits.  So here I am, asking my family to live a healthier lifestyle so that we can all feel better.  But am I doing it for me or them?  Looking good vs. feeling good.  But eating is just the beginning of my planning and dreaming of a Hollywood body.

Enter, the gym.  2 years ago, I joined a local gym.  I love it.  I really love it when I have a vacation coming up and I have something to work for.  I don’t love it when it’s pouring down rain and my house is a disaster and it would be easier just to stay at home, in my jammies, and clean.  Since I live in Seattle, you can guess which happens more often than not.  So again, I’m faced with the dilemma of looking good vs. feeling good.  Fortunately, going to the gym results in the same thing.  Feeling good and looking good, right?

Here’s where things really start to irritate me.  I eat healthy.  Really healthy.  Healthier than I ever have.  I work out.  A lot.  I try to be active everyday.  Luckily, I have a job that allows me to be on my feet most of the time.  When I’m not at work, I’m pretty restless either in or outside my home.  And guess what happens?  Nothing.  I’m still my same size jeans that I was 2 years ago.  I still break into a steady sweat after being on my feet for 10 minutes.  So nothing’s changed, right?  Not quite.

I may not look any different, but I feel different.  I have more energy and confidence.  I have less tummy aches and muscle pain.  I sleep better at night and wake up easier in the morning.  I may not have the toned and tight body that I want, but what I do have is a body that I feel good about.  So here’s where feeling good wins.  And don’t get me wrong, if I had a choice, the bikini body of my dreams would be my preference.  But for now, I’ll stick with being happy and feeling good and strive to keep making it look better, while feeling great.

 

 

Start small.

As I have previously stated in other blogs, I’m not the best at keeping with my goals.  I love setting them, but when it comes to crunch time, I’ve usually checked out 3 days prior. So as 2011 nears its end, I have been putting a lot of thought into what my New Years goals might be.

I usually go with the old standard goal of “Get in Shape.”  You know, cut out sugar and carbs, daily trips to the gym, and that sort of crap.  I usually do great with it until, like most Americans, 2 weeks into it and time gets ahead of me and I lose interest.  Next up?

I know, I’ll organize my house!  Clean out everything.  From top to bottom.  Everyday adding new and more chores to my list.  Except, even as I write this, the thought becomes overwhelming with 4 kids, a part-time job, and a house that I, for the most part, maintain by myself.  I guess it’s a good thing I got caught up on laundry this morning because now, I don’t want to touch it for days.

What’s a super busy mother of 4 in her 30’s to do?  Simply, start small.  One new-ish thing a day.  Yesterday, I tackled a project that I have been putting of for about 2 years.  I cleaned and organized my spice and baking cabinet.  It felt so good to accomplish something.  As small as it may be, it’s done.  And it feels great.  Today I will try something else small, like cleaning the baseboards in my bathroom.  Small yes, but it’s something that gets neglected.  Slowly, but surely, tackling things that I’ve been putting off.

And of course the “Get in Shape” goal is still on my list.  But I have a feeling that as I’m doing a cleanse of my home, my body and soul cleanse will come naturally.  It will also follow my mantra of my New Year’s goal – Start small. Maybe even with a trip to buy a new pair of cross-trainers.  Small, but oh, so satisfying!

 

Proscratination is not in my vocabulary.

OK, that’s not entirely true. Maybe I am a bit of a procrastinator.  I still wait until the last-minute to get most things done. But I’m way better than I used to be.  I’ve found that working outside my home gives me more of a desire to get things done around my home when I am home.

The definition of procrastination is putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time.

Having 4 kids and a very busy husband, often I would feel so overwhelmed with things that I needed to get done, that I would either wait until it was necessary or not do it at all.  Now that I have a job, I don’t have the luxury of waiting.  If I have the time, I do it.

It’s amazing to me how much “stuff” I can get done when I’m at home now.  My days “off” are more limited.  I have a certain amount of hours in the week and I have to cram as much into those hours as I can.  But the best part is, I don’t feel like I’m cramming anything.  I’m simply making the best use of my time.

Here’s a perfect example:  Today is my one day this week where I don’t have anything scheduled.  So I made the most of it. I actually made breakfast for my kids. Did a load of laundry before they left for school.  Husked and canned 6 stalks (now cans) of corn.  Baked and bagged 2 dozen cookies for school lunches.  Blogged.  And it’s not even noon yet.  I have the whole day ahead of me to clean, work out, prep for dinner, do more laundry, or just veg with a cup of coffee while Gus is napping.  Oops,  that’s the procrastinator in me.

What I’m trying to say is, how much can you get done in a short amount of time?  For procrastinators like me, it’s probably more than you think.  So go ahead, set the timer, and go.  Let’s leave the procrastinating to later tonight when we can relax with a glass of wine knowing we filled our day with good stuff for ourselves and our family!

I am not a tree-hugger.

Recycling is about as close as I get to being “natural.”  Nothing about me is environmentally sound.  I love aerosol hairspray.  I consider cosmetics to be a necessity.  Even with 4 kids, I used disposable diapers with every single one of them.  But this one thing about me kind of makes me feel like a tree-hugger.

Here's a picture of our "Bountiful Basket" from last week. We get our produce fresh every week for only $15! It's probably the best $ I've spent on something in a long time.

I’ve put my family on a whole foods eating program.  This might not be a big deal to some people, but for my family of 6, cooking everything from scratch used to make me want to crawl in bed and not get up.  I thought it would be way too much work.  Cost way too much money.  But that was before I tried it.

Like my husband, I grew up on Hamburger Helper, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and canned fruits and vegetables.  We were from an era where easiest and cheapest was best.  I’ve come to find out, that’s not exactly true. Cooking and eating whole foods is so much easier and cost-effective than I ever thought it would be.

Here’s my basic plan:  I look at every single label on a food item.  If I don’t recognize an ingredient, I don’t buy it.  After doing this for about 3 months, it’s pretty unbelievable how many unnatural things I was putting into my body.

Some of you may think this seems like a lot of work, and for the first month or two, it was.  But now that I’m familiar with what ingredients mean (preservatives are the biggest offender) and how to cook whole, it’s actually pretty simple.  I’ve even cut my grocery bill by about 1/4 each week.

Even my kids and husband are getting on board and recognizing what is the best for their bodies.  I drug them away from sugared cereals in June kicking and screaming.  But now they’re happy, healthy, and feel great.  If my 10-year-old son can do this, believe me, anyone can!

Healthy tips from a consumer just like you.

I’m so excited to have a guest blogger this week.  One of my dearest friends, Cindy Sorenson. Cindy’s passion of cooking and experimenting in the kitchen lead her to earn her Bachelors Degree from Bastyr University in Nutrition/Dietetics. She has been teaching and volunteering with the PCC Cooks program for the past four years. Since becoming registered as a dietitian she has been working at Bayview Retirement Community as the staff dietitian. She also is beginning her second year serving on the Greater Seattle Dietetic Association (GSDA) board as the Public Relations Co-chair. For more information, please visit Cindy’s website.

Healthy tips from a consumer just like you.
By: Cindy Sorensen, R.D.

1. Don’t Trust Labels
Labels have a lot of “claims”. Remember to be smart and read ingredient
lists and nutrition facts!

2. Learn what adds flavor without adding calories, fat or sodium
My trick is adding lemon juice or vinegar to almost anything I cook.
Scientifically it enhances the salty/savory flavor of the food! Also, don’t be
shy adding spices and herbs to anything.

3. Sweeten Food items yourself
Go ahead, buy the yogurt that you love, just buy the plain version and
add your own fruit and a little honey. Or buy plain popcorn and drizzle
it with honey to satisfy your sweet tooth.

4. Roast Vegetables
When you roast vegetables you cook them at high temp in oven (at least
400), it allow the natural sugars to caramelize and the veggie tastes
delicious without having to add much to it!

5. Buy Frozen, not Canned
Canned vegetables and fruit have high levels of sodium and sweeteners to
preserve them.  Frozen produce usually do not have added preservatives
and have a higher nutritional value.

6. Avoid frozen or pre-made dinners
Even though those healthy choice dinners are low in fat, be careful of higher
sodium and/or sugar levels.

7. Limit Juices and blended beverages
The smoothies and blended coffees often have a lot of sugar and calories.
Most have ice cream or frozen yogurt added to them!  Whenever you
can, eat fruit instead of drinking the juice.

8. Increase fiber in diet
Whenever possible eat food in its most whole form. You will get the most
nutrition and feel more satisfied! Also, switching to whole grains will
add some fiber, among other things!

9. Drink more water
Optimally, you should drink 8 glasses per day. But, to be most effective
bring a water bottle with you EVERYWHERE and refill and refill!! We
need water to function! We don’t have reserves.

10.  Eat Slowly
Honestly, it’s easier said than done! But if you simply chew thoroughly
more nutrition is absorbed! Also, try to wait 20 minutes after eating
before getting dessert or another snack. If you still are hungry have a
glass of water… and if your still hungry try sharing a dessert!