Monday, July 12, 2010

Feeding Your Family, Part 1

One of the most common things I hear when people ask about my nutrition is "my family won't eat that" and they write-off clean-eating entirely. Because many (if not most) of the women on my competition team are mothers or care-givers in some capacity, I know that clean cooking for families is feasible. Yes, it takes planning, just like feeding any family does, but it isn't impossible. This week, we have the luxury of hearing from mothers who are making it happen. Here's what our first super-mom, Amy S., has to say:

I am a wife to a husband who farms, and even he will tell you eats rather poorly. He rarely eats breakfast, often eats out for lunch and then skips eating anything until supper where I make a good meal followed by his late night snacking. I am excited, however, to announce that he's going to jump on board with workouts and learn better, cleaner eating habits, yay! He often will ask to try the recipes I make each week and is slowly learning to like eating cleaner is, however quite a change from processed, sugar laden foods he's currently used to. We also farm sugar beets, so I am forced to hide my Splenda for baking. I still use good ol' American Crystal Sugar in recipes and cooking..but like I tell my husband, "It's not that you can't have it..but moderation is key and our society "super-sizes" that word!

My children are Sydney (age 3 1/2) and Noah (age 1) so at this point I haven't integrated them too much into my eating habits, but if I make cookies I try keep them clean. I still have a few recipes I need to try! My hope is that once I get my husband on board, it will become a family lifestyle so much of the junk is out of the house and easier to resist. Plus, if I'm having a weak moment, having all of the crap food in the house is just one more temptation to my day.

So, as you've guessed..much of my eating is done just for me right now..which is ok. I prep on Sunday evenings always making satay chicken (one of my all time favorites), steel cut oatmeal in bulk quantities (so that I can make banana walnut oatmeal), and I always try to make 1 new recipe. With working full time and trying to juggle a family, I find that the less I have to think about food and what to make during the busy work week, the more likely I will stay on track with eating and want to fit in my lifts and cardio too! My new FAVORITE summer recipe snack is protein rich Guacamole (from U Rock Girl blog) paired with a serving of baked tortilla chips..yummo! Recipe below..enjoy!

6 oz. plain fat free Greek yogurt (I buy Fage at Target)
2-3 Avocados, peeled and mashed
1/2 jalepeno seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup Cilantro (can find in a tube at Target produce section)
1 green onion, finely chopped
**1 tsp ground cumin (I skip this step)
Blend all, chill until ready to use:)

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Friday, July 9, 2010

I haven't been shy about my love for reality TV or my interest in all things celebrity gossip; truth be told, I find it relaxing to end a 14-16 hour day with such an activity (say E! News or the latest Us Weekly) that requires little brain or muscle power. I'm none the wiser or fitter because of it, but it's a vice for me and a non-caloric one at that!:)

With the recent celebrity baby and pregnancy trend, my interest in prenatal and postpartum fitness has been reignited. Not being a mother myself, I have to live and learn vicariously through others. My friend (and Haute Physique devoutee) Sarah K. graciously accepted my invite to guest-blog and give real insight to what's required to keep her mama-to-be body in fighting shape. Week after week she puts the rest of us to shame as she hangs right in there (and often leads the pack) at our grueling Wednesday workouts. Here's what she has to say about staying fit while preparing for mommyhood (with a few Haute Physique plugs thrown in)!

An expanding waistline, bulging leg veins, and acne prone skin don't necessarily provide visions of health. Couple those physical changes with frequent food binges and an exhaustion that limits activity to sluggishly lifting the remote to change the channel and you're probably thinking, "Who is this slob that's guest blogging for a fitness audience?". Gisele Bundchen, Heidi Klum, and Brooke Burke I am not. I am merely a 29 year old Grand Forksian trying to juggle a fit pregnancy with a busy career, a new home, a husband who's a handful in his own right, and all the emotions and physical changes that come along with preparing for a baby.

Let's go back to 2009. I was blessed to meet and develop what I hope to be a lifelong friendship with Amy of Haute Physique. Much like a first date with your "crush", Amy and I met and immediately hit it off. We have so many people and interests in common that I often wonder why I didn't meet her sooner. (An earlier "courtship" could have saved me a few bills from the therapist!) Within a year, she got me hooked on clean eating and on board to train for my first fitness competition. The girl is relentlessly inspiring! I was gung-ho and was immediately noticing changes to my physique, which is so addicting and empowering! Unfortunately and fortunately all at the same time, my plans were interrupted by God's. About two months into the training, my dear husband and I found out we were expecting! Something told me that entering my first fitness competition at three months preggo wouldn't do much for my self-esteem or interest in pursuing the lifestyle in the future. Can you imagine me prancing around in a bedazzled, barely there bikini and stripper heels with my 12 week old son protruding from my mid-section? Another great visual for you.

Despite my competition plans being derailed, I was determined to stay on track with my new clean lifestyle assuming that if I did, losing the baby weight would be much easier. So, for the first 3 weeks (weeks 4-7 of my pregnancy), I diligently packed my cooler and enjoyed the likes of ezekial bread, Fage, egg whites, chicken breasts and green beans up the wazzoo. By week 8 of my pregnancy, I had had enough. The emotions, exhaustion, nausea, and overwhelming fears that come along with babies (financial stresses, hormonal changes, lifestyle changes...EVERYTHING), got the best of me and I sustained on crackers, chips and candy for the next 3 weeks. Part of me felt entitled because I was pregnant and if you can't indulge then, when can you? But, a good part of me felt really guilty. I'm glad for that because it got me back on track. Albeit a modified track.

I'm far from perfect and have still retired the cooler for a while but I am back on a reasonable track for me. I try and make 50% of my meals "clean" meals each day. I also try and do physical activity every day. Whether that is a 10 minute walk, a bike ride, or a grueling session with the Haute Physique girls at the park, I try and get out there and it makes me feel good even though I am fully aware that I look like a freak doing monkey jumps and crab walks. Another tactic I've used is setting a daily goal for myself. These goals help me make conscious choices rather than, as Gisele so annoyingly proclaims most pregnant women do, treat my body like a "human garbage disposal". (To be totally transparent, one of my daily goals has been to NOT eat an entire pint of ice cream in one day. Lofty ambitions, huh? But, hey, for this ice creamaholic and preggo, it can be hard and it was a goal nonetheless. And, I went to bed feeling pretty proud of myself for accomplishing it.)

My moral of the story is that all we can do is do our best. Without a personal chef, nanny, masseuse, therapist, monthly vacations, personal trainers on-call, and endless money, we can only do our best. As I reach my 32nd week of this pregnancy, I get more and more excited to meet my son and the immense responsibility of being a role model becomes more and more apparent. I hope that I can teach him, through example, how to be healthy and balanced. That, combined with the support of Haute Physique's fearless leader, the new friendships I'm making through the group, and my extreme vanity, will serve as motivation to dust off the cooler and get back to packing my six meals a day and give Gisele, Heidi, and Brooke a run for their money. (Well, maybe I won't be walking in the Victoria Secret fashion show three weeks post partum but I am going to give my fitness goals a good college try despite the gnawing fear that it will be a difficult task.)

We'd love to hear how you kicked butt in the gym during the nine months your babies were kickin' you in the bellies! Another testament that motherhood is the toughest job there is!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ladies, Pack Your Coolers!

We're off to the lakes! It's sweet summertime in the upper Midwest. Our precious lake season includes something like 13 or so weekends between the time school gets out in the spring and resumes in the fall. Most of us have every weekend planned out before we even see the first sign of summer--and almost all include traveling to the lakes (and if not, staying home for a wedding). We have to get it all in before the snow flies and we're hunkered down for the long winter.

Whether you're pitching a tent at the local KOA or headed to the Hamptons with Jill & the Countess (shameless Housewives plug #1), these weekends can be filled with lots of calorie-buring activities, such as biking, water-skiing, kayaking, etc. They can also be overloaded with calorie-laden BBQs,desserts, and cocktails. A lake weekend can quickly add a couple of unwanted pounds and if you multiply that by 13 weekends, your bikini abs might be sporting their winter layer before we've even hit fall! So, what's a girl (or guy) to do?

Packing food for the lakes is all about convenience for me. We don't have electricity or running water at our place, so everything I bring is either pre-cooked or can be easily grilled. Here's a look at what goes in my cooler (I pack a big one just for myself!):

Chicken breasts
Pre-pattied lean hamburgers
Pourable egg whites
Tuna packets
Green Beans
Ezekial Bread
Rice cakes
Raw almonds (seperated out into single servings in plastic baggies)
Flax seed oil (I love Barlean's)
Honey Mustard
Gallon jugs of water

You can see I almost need a U-haul just to bring my food, but my family is so used to it by now, they simply roll their eyes and keep their comments to themselves. Afterall, they're fighting a losing battle with this one (my sweet husband just texted me to say he's going to buy a 3rd cooler for the weekend!). I refuse to let summer fun mean that I lose sight of my overall goals for healthy living. There's no reason I can't have both! That said, holidays are the time for celebration and relaxation, so don't go driving your family & friends crazy with obsessing about every little nibble. Indulge a bit and make the healthiest choices when possible. Be prepared, but allow yourself to enjoy the occasion--everything in moderation! It's a great time to try one of those not-so-healthy "heatlhy" recipes that you may have been scoping say, a Skinny Girl Margarita (shameless Housewives plug #2--thanks, Bethenny!).

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