September 26, 2014

It's the Pumpkin time of year!!!

I recently made some muffins that were quite delicious if I do say so myself... Thank you Pinterest for being the awesome catalyst for me finding a life-long list of incredible recipes! I rarely follow a recipe exactly, but use it as a basis or perhaps even a source of inspiration. I almost always have to adapt recipes to fit my health requirements.

I've recently realized that cooking either is or isn't a passion. I always thought of it as my duty as a woman, wife, mother, but apparently it comes down to a passion or desire. I prefer not to eat out regularly, granted, I am "off-duty" from Friday night thru lunch on Sunday, but home-cooked meals are so much healthier. I would rather know what's in my food, than trust that someone is not overloading with sodium, fat and additional junk or funk that I don't need in my body.

Here's the recipe, and my changes are highlighted below:

Brown Butter Pumpkin Banana Streusel Muffins
  1. 1 3/4 cup flour- I used Pamela's Gluten Free Baking Mix
  2. 2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  4. 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  5. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  6. 1/4 tsp salt- Omitted Salt
  7. 1/3 cup butter- I melted 1/3c of Coconut oil
  8. 1 egg
  9. 1 cup sugar- Used 2/3c Organic Honey
  10. 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  11. 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  12. 1/4 cup milk- Subbed Coconut milk
  13. 1 tsp vanilla
Streusel topping
  1. 1/3 cup flour- I used Pamela's Gluten Free Baking Mix
  2. 3 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  3. 1 tbsp cold butter- Used solid Coconut oil
  4. dash cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a muffin tin (or use liners)
  2. Melt butter over medium heat in small sauce pan. Whisk continuously until brown flecks start to appear and butter starts to smell nutty. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  4. Once butter has cooled to room temp, beat butter beat melted coconut oil, egg and sugar together in a bowl.
  5. Whisk in coconut milk, pumpkin and mashed banana. Lastly whisk in vanilla. Gently stir in dry ingredients.
  6. Make the streusel: whisk Pamela's flour, brown sugar and cinnamon together. Cut in solid coconut oil cold butter until crumbly.
  7. Pour the muffin batter into the prepared muffin tin filling 3/4 full. Sprinkle streusel topping over the tops.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool.

Here's how they turned out:

I suppose you could call them Paleo or Whole 30 friendly if you omitted the brown sugar. Regardless, they're super tasty and relatively healthy.

July 29, 2014

Christmas in July!

Before July is over, I thought I'd hop on the "Christmas in July" bandwagon and wrap up some unfinished business... It's actually a bit embarrassing to admit that I never completed my Pinkie Elfie blog bits with our cute little Elf on the Shelf. I just saw her the other day while packing and thought I'd take care of sharing the remainder of last year's Adventures with Pinkie (gosh I can't wait to do it again!) So this will be like 2 weeks worth of adventures, hope you enjoy ;)

Day 15:
Pinkie's ready to take the dogs 
outside for a walk

Day 16:
Pinkie learns Spanish

Day 17:
Sleigh ride with Team PiNK

Day 18:
Found Pinkie saying her prayers
from her prayer list

Day 19:
Pinkie found Luciana's favorite
doggy at Grammy's and went 
for a ride

Day 20:
Pinkie at the Beauty Shop
getting her how done with GiGi

Day 21:
Pinkie reading Christmas Cards

Day 22:
Pinkie made herself a snowsuit
out of leis so that she could
build her first snowman

Day 23: 
Pinkie colored a pic for 
Christmas Adam 
(Adam before Eve, get it?!)

Day 24:
Pinkie made her first 
gingerbread house

Day 25:
Pinkie went back to the
North Pole to celebrate Jesus'
birthday with her family and friends

Hope you enjoyed the adventures of Pinkie Elfie. Can't wait for what will transpire this year! For more ideas check out my other 2 posts from last year (when I should've posted this one..)

Merry Christmas in July!

July 24, 2014

AZ Sunrise Series- Race Recap

Hey Guys! It's surely been a rough last 2 months in the JFlo household...

- Got back from vacay and put our house up for sale
- Found out I was pregnant, a surprise to all including myself
- Been packing up the old house to move into the new house
- Fighting all-day nausea, nothing sounding good to eat, no motivation

So, yeah, it's been interesting to say the least. But it explains a lot. Unlike my first pregnancy- I've been sick, no energy, horrible mood, couldn't go to the gym for 2 weeks, no food sounded good, and recently only pizza, donuts and biscuits and gravy are what I can tolerate....  I can't complain, it took 2yrs to get pregnant with Luciana, and immaculate conception to get pregnant this time!

Talk about a complete 180 from my awesome Body Builder diet that left me mean and lean for like 2 minutes.

Onto the race recap...
I was left feeling extremely discouraged after running my 2nd 5k. My goal was to beat the first one, and I practically tied it with 27:42. I just couldn't push myself, felt queasy and mentally just could not focus. Welp, that's bc I was pregnant and didn't know it! Later on I found out that my thyroid was basically shot from this alien forming inside of me, sucking away all of my energy and hard work. So, I will run again, and I will beat 27:42!

The race was actually super organized, very well put together, great pre and post refreshments, plenty of water stops along the way, easy to follow signage etc. The race was around Kiwanis lake in Tempe, AZ. I would definitely run another Startline Racing event again! But let's be honest, my favorite part of running a 5k is the souvenirs :) This was actually part of what they called a "summer sunrise series" so there were a total of 4 races throughout the summer at different locations in the Phoenix metroplex. They created the medal to be able to clip on all of the locations. It was really cleaver, they also had different shirts for each race. It would be really awesome to be able to attend a few of the races, however, we were only on vacay in AZ for a short period for time.

There are A LOT of retired folks that live in Arizona, one of my favorite parts of this lovely state! So, as you can imagine, I was in the minority in this race. I had the sweetest, prob 85yr old, man running with me the last 100yds coaching and cheering me to the end. I mean, how inspiring?! I need to move there for sheer motivation! 

Here are some pics along the way:

Starting line

Finish line

Long lost friend siting

Contemplating whether I'd ever run a 5k again...

Ok, I will. But not for a while...

May 20, 2014

A Little Motivation Never Hurt Anyone...

My journey in getting my temple back on track didn't happen overnight, or in a week, month or even year. It took me 18 months to figure out what would work for me. But wanna know what really set me off to have the determined "I'm gonna do whatever it takes" mindset? I asked my Tabata Tuesday teacher after class if she had any recommendations of good ab exercises that would help my post baby pooch, because I had felt like I worked my butt off and that the pooch should be long gone by now. This is what she told me, "Sometimes the skin just gets stretched out and the only option is plastic surgery." Honestly, I was very surprised by her response, but instead of taking it personally, getting upset, giving up on myself etc. I was determined to prove her wrong, because I knew I could, just wasn't sure how.

Low and behold I remembered my cousin-in-law's Facebook pictures of her transformation 9 months post baby, and her results were based on her diet change. She sent me her extremely detailed notes (sees here), I jumped in with both feet, and in approximately 5 weeks, my body did a 180. It was incredible and you can see my picture here to prove it (no sucking in, angle change or spray tan involved).

About 3 weeks into my diet/lifestyle change, the results just weren't quite there. I saw the silver-lining, but there was just something else that I needed and was missing. I went back to the all-knowledgable cousin-in-laws and they told me to change my workout, add weights. I'm a class girl and I just couldn't imagine giving up my happiness at the gym, so I just added the weights into my week.

Here's what my weekly workout routine looks like:

Monday: Runday Monday + Chest
Tuesday: Tabata Tuesday + Triceps + Forearms
Wednesday: Pilates + Shoulders
Thursday: PiYo + Bi's + Back
Friday: Leg + Abs

Saturday and Sundays are my Sabbath days. I'm either going on walks, chasing my kid around somewhere, hitting up a free Danceaton class with my favorite gym friends or taking a nap ;)

Where I get my exercises? So glad you asked :) Pinterest of course. If I'm doing a class, I pick 4 exercises to do after, as I can't spend my entire day at the gym and childcare has time limits. I mix in abs nearly every day in some way/shape/form, but here's my basis-

What I eat...

Some people struggle with creativity in the kitchen. For me, I love the challenge. I seem to always find something to base my creation off of and then add my pizazz. I love to experiment with new things and believe that "variety is the spice of life" some I'm always trying to change it up. I'll give you a glimpse into my everyday diet.

Now that I'm past the "no fruit stage," my mornings usually consist of yellow mangos. They're my favorite fruit on Earth, have a very short season, so I eat them every single day I can :) Our breakfasts contain a lot of oatmeal, eggs and chicken chorizo...

I'm 100% disgusted by Proats (protein in oatmeal) but tolerated it
with unsweetened cocoa and organic crunchy PB with banana on top

Ezekial bread toasted and buttered, 2 eggs and mango

Mid-Morning Snack
My mid-morning snack ALWAYS is a RiseBar. They're not the lowest carb protein bar, but they are the cleanest and best tasting. Luciana has half and I eat a whole one (it's great at holding her over at the gym. Most of my workouts are around the 11am/Noon hour). I love all 4 flavors, so you can't go wrong. My absolute favorite is Lemon Cashew, because it's refreshing and always reminds me of summer.

This is the last time to fit in my complex carbs before the next day. So I usually get creative with this meal. I added Quinoa to the complex carbs list. Quinoa also has protein and is really quick to cook.

Adapted from BudgetBytes. Pesto Quinoa Chickpea Salad
2 cans organic chickpeas, few slices of chopped red onion,
2 tbsp pesto, mixed with 1 c quinoa and served over spinach

Also adapted from BudgetBytes.  Roasted sweet potato
(chopped tossed in olive oil baked on 400 for 30min) and 
sautéed Italian ground chicken and kale

Afternoon Snack
Protein shake. I'm still in the process of transitioning to a vegan protein. I'm allergic to milk, so whey is not a good option. With all of the lead, metals, antibiotics etc found in protein powder, I'm trying to be very careful. I really LOVED VegaSport best out of all of the vegan proteins, however, they had a massive recall last year, and I'm not sure if I trust them... In my shakes, I always put spinach, ice, water and protein. Sometimes I add half an avocado or 1tbsp organic, low sugar crunchy pb.

The reason why this way of eating works is because the carbs are complex, and there's no carbs after lunch. So for dinner, it's not very decadent... But that's ok, because it's healthy and I'd rather be healthy and look good than eat a huge bowl of pasta followed by ice cream.

For something extremely easy- Wild Mahi Mahi from Costco
with kale sautéed in garlic and olive oil

Adapted from this BudgetBytes recipe. Tomatoes are a fruit
so steer clear in the beginning. Also spaghetti sauce can
be full of sugar. This Newman's Own Fire Roasted Tomato
and garlic is very low. Brown ground whatever, I used turkey,
add half jar of sauce, 1 can chickpeas and kale- Voila!

Let me know how I can help you on your journey- I'd love to be your Cheerleader!!!

April 28, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

What you are about to see is pretty embarrassing for me to post, but it's reality. My daughter is 19 months, so a year and a half post pregnancy, and I still wasn't back to pre-baby shape no matter what I did. I eat pretty healthy, workout every single day and bust my butt in the gym quite frankly. But my flat stomach and nice abs just weren't coming back... It's amazing how pregnancy and the birthing of a child can destroy 29yrs of work ;( But don't worry- I DiDN'T give up!

I recalled my cousin-in-law posting a before and after pic and mentioning a "body builder diet" last year. I had tried everything, so I was willing to give anything else a try to get the results that I wanted. I jumped in with both feet and haven't looked back since. I owe a HUMONGOUS THANK YOU to Stephanie and Joey!!! I couldn't have gotten these results without her notes, encouragement and his input as well. Seriously. You guys are Rockstars! My skin came back to my body, smoothed itself out and I'm still working to an ultimate goal! How crazy is this (and kinda gross too)????!!! But only 5wks in? You've got nothing to lose. Nothing but a bunch of ugly flab and fat ;)

5wk Progress

Before / After
Still a work in progress...

Here are the notes/details of the way I'm eating. A trainer/nutritionist came to Stephanie's office and this is how great of a notetaker she is.... It's a lot to take in, but it totally worth it. Pay close attention.

The notes below are not a complete diet plan. It doesn't tell you exactly how much to eat. You can research it online. Some people say your diet should be 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat (Start with that and tweak it until you find what works for you). If you stick to ONLY the foods listed in this email and eat them at the right times of the day, you'll see a BIG difference. To see a dramatic difference, you really need to weigh out your food and make sure you are eating the correct proportions. This is the typical diet of fitness/bodybuilder competitors. My brother in-law and all his friends ate just like this for their competitions. I promise it works for just about anyone!!! 
Basic Health and Fitness Class Notes 
General Tips 
§ Eat at least 5-6 times a day (CONSISTENCY IS VERY IMPORTANT): Breakfast, mid-morning, lunch, mid-afternoon, dinner - Speeds up your metabolism
§ Your meals can be 3 solid meals and 2 shakes
§ You burn muscle when you starve yourself. Your body will want to store its next meal as fat.
§ Your body starves while you sleep, so eat within 1 hour of waking up
§ About 30-40 carbs per meal (that’s about average… it depends on your weight and activity level)
§ Eat protein with every meal!
§ Total Protein for the day
             - 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass (for women). If you don’t know your lean body               mass, you can do 1g times your total weight.
             -  1.5g -2g of protein for gaining muscle/bulking (more for men than women)
§ Don't eat carbs by themselves. Eat/drink protein with it. Carbs (even complex carbs) spike your blood sugar when eaten on an empty stomach, which spike insulin levels, which promotes fat storage- Protein helps neutralize that effect.
§ Decent article about the reasons you need complex carbs to burn fat:§ When to eat carbs: breakfast, mid-morning, and lunch (no carbs after lunch)
§ Eat good fats at night. Fats take longer to digest. When you eat fats with protein, it slows the absorption of the protein over a longer period of time (such as while you are sleeping).
§ You have to eat all three types of food (at the right times of the day): protein, (complex) carbs, and (good) fats. Fats feed your brain. People make the mistake of eating no fat and/or no carbs, but doing that promotes your body to store fat.
§ If you stay up more than 3 hours after dinner, you should eat again (eggs, protein shake, something like that)
§ 90oz of water a day. You can add lemon, but it increases your min water intake to 100-110 oz per day. Water is great for a million reasons. One reason is it promotes a healthy metabolism.
§ Getting lean is about 80% diet; 20% exercise. That's why you'll see the same people on the elliptical machine, day in and day out, but they always look the same. You have to change your diet to see results.
§ CLA is a great supplement. Good for burning fat and other benefits. Powder form is best.
§ After about 2 full weeks of strict diet, you can start having 1 cheat meal per week. Eat whatever you want for that meal!!! It will actually kick start your metabolism.
§ Alcohol cannot be used by the body as a source of energy directly. The majority of it gets stored as fat. It stores in the mid-section. It is extremely hard to get rid of fat caused by alcohol. Eating ice cream is better than drinking alcohol (but don't eat ice cream either!) Kash told us a story about a guy he was training who used to be a heavy drinker. He said that with diet and exercise, he was able to get this guy in amazing shape. Even though the guy’s body looked ripped with a shirt on, he actually had a lot of belly fat that he had a hard time getting rid of.
§ If you mess up on the diet once, you've ruined all the work you did that day. You can't do this 90%. You have to commit 100%
§ Don't focus on counting calories. You will be leaner by eating more calories of good food ,than you will eating less calories of junk food
§ You can start adding other healthy foods back to your diet once you are at your goal. When you add things back, do it slowly and try to avoid the junk foods. Still maintain a healthy diet.
§ It takes 4 weeks for you to notice a difference, 8 weeks for friends and family, and it takes 12 weeks for the rest of the world. DON’T QUIT! GIVE IT 12 WEEKS!
§ Research shows that certain blood types are more compatible with eating meat. O+ are meant to be carnivores. A+ should almost be vegetarians, but Kash doesn't suggest being a vegetarian. There is a good book called, "Eat Right for Your Blood type" if you are interested.
§ An easy way to eat eggs in the morning is to buy liquid pasteurized egg whites and blend it (uncooked) with 1/2 scoop protein powder, raw Quaker oats (not the instant kind), ice and water (you can add Splenda). Will have to play with different amounts of water and ice until it's the consistency you like.
§ You can mix egg whites and oatmeal cook them on the stove. It taste something like a pancake 
§ Fish: Tilapia, Codd, Orange Roughy, Tuna (albacore), Salmon (has fat content, so try to eat as last meal of the day)
§ Chicken
§ Turkey
§ Egg Whites
§ Buffalo
§ Deer meat
§ Red meat: Recommendations: Top round/ sirloin. Ground beef 90/10 lean (since it is a fatty protein, try to eat it as your last meal)
§ Whey protein (Fast absorbing. Will feed your body quickly). Good as mid-morning, mid-afternoon meals, before and after workouts.
§ Hydro whey is the best, but more expensive.
§ Optimum Nutrition is a good name brand for protein! (Try the chocolate or bananas and cream)
§ Casein protein is better in the evening/end of the day (it's slow absorbing so it will feed your body longer)
§ Make sure your protein powder has 3g of carbs or less per serving
§ Beans are okay, but would be at the very bottom of the recommended protein list 
§ Ezekiel bread
§ Oatmeal
§ Creme of wheat
§ Steel cut oats
§ Sweet potatoes
§ Red potatoes
§ Brown rice
§ Wild rice (but only 2 days a week)
§ Brown rice pasta
§ All the greens you want! Green beans, asparagus, lettuce, Spinach, etc (But no peas- Peas have sugar) 
§ Almonds
§ Almond butter
§ Natural peanut butter
§ Avocado
§ Cashews
§ Flax oil
Foods That are Okay to Eat
§ Coffee is recommended- black or with skim milk (Hot is better for your metabolism)
§ Hot tea
§ Splenda
§ "Can't believe it's not butter" spray
§ Lemon§ Light vinaigrette is okay, but use sparingly. Apple Cider Vinegar is best.
§ Sodium is okay in moderation. Soy sauce, salt,etc . Just don't go crazy with it.
§ Bell Pepper, Onions, garlic, cinnamon, and other seasonings
§ Salsa in moderation (he said some people eat it on their egg whites in the morning)
§ "Quest" protein bar is the only one Kash really recommends
§ Pickles 
Foods to Avoid 
§ All dairy makes you store water and milk is full of sugar (even skim milk)
§ No fruit (your body cannot tell the difference between a candy and a strawberry. Sugar is sugar, and it breaks down all the same in the body.)
§ All bread (except Ezekiel bread). Despite popular belief, wheat bread is as bad for fat loss as white bread. Kash said that if white bread is a 10, wheat bread is a 9.
§ Canned foods
§ Soy protein - Makes your body want to store fat. Especially bad for guys (lowers testosterone).
§ Olive oil (although it is a good fat, it's very high in calories. The other good fats are better for fat loss)
§ Idaho potatoes
§ Alcohol
§ Pasta
§ Tomatoes (They are a fruit)
§ Carrots
§ Peas
§ Deli meat
§ Subway isn’t that good for you. It’s a lot of bread and processed meats. 
Workout Tips 
§ Work out 4 times a week (to start). Cardio and weight training. No more than 6 days, ever! Always take a rest day.
§ 2-3 days of cardio to burn fat. It’s best to do cardio on a day by itself (not on a day you weight train)
§ Workouts should only take you about 45 minutes. If it takes longer than that, you are resting too much in between sets.
§ Each exercise should be done till muscle failure (that's how you can choose the appropriate weight)
§ No less than 10 reps of any exercise
§ 15-20 reps recommended for upper body
§ 15-30 reps recommended for lower body
§ Always do 3 sets
§ 45-70 seconds in between sets. No more, no less (Resting too much doesn’t work out the muscle hard enough… not resting enough will put you in burning mode. You’ll end up burn muscle).
§ Try to eat a carb and a protein before you work out. If you are just doing cardio in the morning, don't eat before
§ Girls should lift weights too! Running on the elliptical for hours will just end up burning muscle. Toned bodies come from weight training.
§ Power walking on the highest incline you can do is one of the best cardio exercises
§ The step mill is good because it tones your butt and legs§ Jogging is good for endurance, but strains parts of your body. Power walking is actually better.
§ Don't do cardio before you work out with weights (if you weight train and do cardio on the same day, do cardio last). You don’t want to be in an aerobic state while weight training.
§ Weight training: 1- 2 body parts per day (examples: Chest & back, Arms& Legs – There are other variations. The point is not to do a whole body work out in 1 day. Your workout won’t be as effective)
§ You can't spot reduce fat. So if you have a lot of tummy fat, ab workouts won't help.
§ Unless you can see your abs, working them out is pretty much a waste of your gym time (it will strengthen your core, but not give you the physical results you are looking for.) Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym!!!!
§ Knee raises and crunches are the best for abs: 3 sets of 20
§ Recommends (hot) coffee before your workout
§ Make sure you squat flat footed and push through your heal
§ He doesn't recommend most pre-workout supplements(other than protein) : too many side effects
§ Lift weights in a slow, controlled manner. Form is more important than anything! Don’t rush it.  
My Typical Daily Diet - I'm 100lbs. (My diet is not from Kash. I just made it up using his notes and a little research. It’s not 100% perfect, but it worked for me)
Breakfast: 3 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1/2 cup of oatmeal.
Mid-morning: 20g of protein from a protein shake and30g complex carb
Lunch: 20g of protein from fish or chicken and a 30g complex carb
Mid-afternoon: protein shake & 15 almonds
Dinner: 20g of protein worth of fish or chicken with broccoli, spinach, or salad (with only apple cider vinegar as my dressing) and a good fat (avocado or almonds)
I eat pretty much eat the same thing every day. 
Brittany's meal plan for her first week (she was already in great shape). She weighs 160lbs and is very lean. Kash changes his diet plans, weekly, based on the client’s progress and goals.
Meal One- 5 egg whites (scrambled or boiled). 2 Slices of Ezekiel bread. CLA 750 MG
Meal Two- 2/3 scoop hydro whey, 6oz red potatoes
Meal Three- 6oz chicken breast, 3oz broccoli or 3oz romaine
Meal Four- 1 scoop hydro whey, 1 tbls almond butter
Meal Five- 5.5oz tilapia, 2oz asparagus. CLA 750 MG 
If you have any questions, let me know!!!!
P.S. The first step to failure is saying that you are going to start this diet on Monday!! START TODAY!!

For me, I can't eat chicken day in and day out over and over, so I've gotten really creative. I plan to start posting pics of my meals on here to help inspire you. I'm still on the search for the best protein for me as well. I've used hemp (disgusting and not enough protein), Shakeology (yucky), Isopure (it's ok) and currently Dymatize Iso-100 (too sweet for me). If you have any suggestions let me know. Ideally I would love to go with possibly a vegan high protein powder that tastes good.

1/2c Oatmeal with Coconut Oil & Cinnamon
2 egg whites/1 egg scrambled with sautéed spinach

Mid-Morning Snack:
Rise Bars are my favorite protein bar EVER!
Yes there's a bit more sugar than Quest, but if you eat
it in the morning, it's ok. All 4 flavors are incredible! 
Nothing processed. 15-20g protein.

Italian chicken sauté of sweet potato
kale and onions. Enough for myself, husband
and toddler. 

Afternoon snack:
Mommie & Me Shakes.
Mine- scoop of protein, water, ice, 
spinach and half an avocado

Baked Salmon & Dijon roasted Brussels Sprouts

I have a ways to go, but am totally elated by the results. I wish I would've done this from the beginning, but live and learn. 

Everyone's body reacts differently. This works for me. What works for you?!