Monday, January 28, 2013

Hit the road Jack and don't ya come back...for at least an hour

That's right hit the road jack, get off you big fanny and hit the road!

I am really really laze and hate exercising, it is something I have to force myself to do but once I get started I find that I am enjoying myself. I feel good, I feel fit when I exercise. So why is it so hard for me to get started?

One of my newest passions is what my husband and I call Urban Hiking. No special equipment is needed. Just a comfortable pair of shoes and an adventurous spirit.  Urban hiking is nothing more than taking a walk around your neighborhood. Exploring and getting to know the world around you. My favorite hubby and I like to go out at night after traffic has settled down and most people are inside. The air is cool and the night is quiet.

When we go urban hiking we set a goal of a minimum of 30 minutes but we usually do 1-2 hours easy. When we go, it is not a race, it is not a run. It is about getting out off the house, moving, and exploring the town we live in. We try to take a different path each time we go, we like to explore different streets, look at the houses and talk about what we aspects we like and don't like. We get ideas for decorating, landscaping  and talk about our dream house.

The best part about urban hiking is it gives us time to just be with each other and to talk. We talk about work, plans, books, dreams, politics, goals, and so much more. Think about it when was the last time you and a loved one just talked for an hour with out the distractions of TV, computers, phones, kids, whatever?

During the summer months we go out at dusk and make a game of seeing how many people we can make smile by saying hello?  In California people don't say hello to each other, isn't that strange? I guess we are afraid we will get shot or something.  I love to see the strange looks on peoples faces as they try and think who I am and what I want, then they realize I am just being friendly or am a kook. Perhaps a bit of both.

We started plotting out places to walk to, things to go see. Sometimes we take the long way, sometimes we take the short path, it just depends on our mood.

We no longer drive to the grocery store, instead we walk the 1 mile (2 miles the long way) and just buy what we need for the next 2-3 days. We walk to our favorite restaurant (1 mile) or Mexican place (5 miles), the movie theater (4 miles), the hobby shop (3 miles). At an average walking speed where we can have a conversation we both walk about 3 miles per hour. so in about an hour we can run most of our errends, get some exercise, and enjoy each others company!

The gym gives you a good workout but walking can be more challenging. We live on the side of a mountain so no mater which direction we go half of our walk will be uphill. At the gym it is easy to quit but if you walk for 1 mile your going to have to walk the mile back home, unless of course you call a cab.  The gym is stuffy, full of sweaty people who listen to obnoxious music and leave germs on the equipment. Walking lets you get to know where you live, meet people, and has fresh air. The gym costs money, walking is free.  Don't get me wrong, I still have my gym membership and use it. There are things I like about the gym, but sometimes you just have to mix it up.

Cool things we have seen/found on some of out urban hikes : A family of skunks, a herd of wild burros, a police car herding the wild burros out of the city, various wildlife, a meditation labyrinth, a local tavern with a beer garden, former students, cool houses, unusual flowers, strange lawn art, friendly people, hidden paths up the mountain, the mayor, and friendly people.

So my point is, yes there is a point somewhere in all of this rambling. Stop making excuses you lazy but, get off the couch/computer/whatever and take a walk!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lentils - Miracle Diet Food!

Lentils are my new miracle diet food. They are quick and easy to prepare compared to other legumes and contain many health benefits. They are so versatile, serve them as a side dish, add to soup, add cooked meat for a meal, or serve cold over a salad. 

Did you know? One cup of cooked lentils:

  • contain (percentage of Recommended Daily Allowance) 89% folate, 62% fiber, 36% iron, 35% protein,  and only 220 calories.
  • contain six important minerals plus two B-Vitamines
  • have been shown to  reduce cholesterol levels
  • help maintain blood sugar levels so you don’t crash and you feel full longer.
  • can reduce your risk of Heart disease.
  • prevent constipation
  • help the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body

Cooking Lentils are as easy as 1,2,3 
    1. Rinse Lentils
    2. Add to a pot of water (1 cup lentils to 2 cups water) Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook     
        for 20-30 minutes until plump and tender. 
    3. Enjoy. 

One of my favorite meals as a kid was franks and beans.  While beans are good for you, traditional franks and beans are full of fat and calories.  I love this alternative recipe from Biggest Loser.  I often make a giant batch and freeze for later. These are good with some turkey sausage, as a meal, or make a great side dish. 

BBQ Lentils - Inspired by Biggest Loser.  

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cup chopped red onion (aprox 1 whole red onion)
4 celery stalks chopped
4 carrots chopped 
2 tablespoon minced garlic 
4 teaspoons chili powder 
2 teaspoon mustard powder 
4 cups fat-free vegetable or chicken broth 
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard 
4 tablespoons agave nectar  or honey **If you can't find this, you could try pure maple syrup 
3 cups dried (uncooked) brown lentils, rinsed 
2 cans 14oz tomato sauce 
salt and pepper, to taste


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened and translucent (about 3 minutes.  Add celery, carrots, garlic, chili powder, and mustard powder and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute); do not brown the garlic.

Add the broth, vinegar, mustard, agave nectar, and lentils; stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, but intact (about 30 minutes). If necessary, add 1/4 cup water and simmer for 5 minutes longer if lentils are not tender.  Stir in tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves: 8 (1/2 cup) servings:  187 calories 12 gm protein 31 gm carb 2 gm fat 9 gm fiber 161 mg sodium

Add turkey sausage or hot dogs, serve on bread as a sloppy joe, Enjoy! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Destructive Attitude Fat Girls Enemy

This week has not been going well.  I had some hard days at work, slacked off on my exercise goals, and raided the snack drawer.

I had been doing well since the beginning of January than I hit a plateau, I became discouraged and started returning to my bad habits.  Then I started to feel like a failure and started to think I was  just destined to be a fat girl.  I started to give up. Why bother? I have tried so many times in the past and nothing ever changes. Each time I say it will be different. I will stick to my goals, I will achieve the body I want, I will be healthy and feel better.

Then the self destructive attitude comes in. I slip and eat something not on my list. Damn you Jack In the Box Angus Bacon Cheese burger!!!! Damn you to hell!!  (In my defense I did have it with water and without the bacon, way to be healthy!! she said sarcastically) I started to spiral back into my old bad habits and self destructive behavior.

Today I was really feeling down when I went for a walk with my wonderful husband. He was walking behind me and mentioned how amazing I look and how proud he is of me.  We ended up having a great talk, he was not going to let me give up, we both were going to get back on that horse and get back on track together.

It is so wonderful to have a great support team behind me. I have to realize that I will have bad days, I will have days that I feel like a failure, I will have days that everything feels useless. But I need to stop beating myself up for it and turning to food to try and make me feel better.

Today hubby and I went for a nice long walk, had a nice long talk, and talked about things we are going to do to keep eating healthy and to get healthy.  It is amazing what getting out of the house, into the sun and fresh air can do for you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spaghetti Squash - The New Pasta

About two years ago I went on a quest to find ways to add vegetables to my diet, which is not easy since I am basically racist against most green foods. I grew up eating mainly canned green beans and corn, salads made with iceberg lettuce and store bought tomatoes.   Every once in a while we would get slimy fried eggplant or stuffed green peppers.  I remember the first time I had a home grown tomato, I was visiting a friend at her Grandmothers in Minnesota and she served sliced tomatoes as a side salad. I have always liked tomatoes but if you ever have had a home grown tomato you know there is no comparison. I nearly jumped out of my chair exclaiming “what the heck did you do to these tomatoes”? My taste buds were shooting of fireworks of deliciousness.  My friend’s grandmother looked at me in shock as if I had suddenly grown two heads and said “nothing I just put on a little salt and pepper”. I explained to her that I had never experienced such a delicious tomato. She found it shocking that at 17 years of age I had never had a home grown tomato.  I guess I lived a very deprived childhood.

This experience peeked my curiosity and shortly after I tried some broccoli and cauliflower. Neither of which I am a fan. Mainly because of the smell when they are cooking, it just ruins the experience. Next came Brussels sprouts (yuck) and the oddest looking of them all was artichokes, which became my all time favorite. I like them plain with just a bit of salt, this is surprising since I have been known to eat mayonnaise out of the jar.

I noticed over time that my taste buds either mutated or matured and I began to continue my vegetable experiment. Now I am beginning to experiment with such exotic beauties as squash.  Pumpkin is not just for carving and pie, in fact it makes a great soup, butternut squash fries, and spaghetti squash. Who  knew???  So through this blog I will share my wonderful discovery of vegetables for vegetable haters and ways to sneak them into your diet.

Spaghetti Squash – The first time I cooked Spaghetti Squash was for a recipe from Biggest Loser with Avocado Pesto Sauce.
 The recipe said to cut the squash in half then bake it for 45-60 minutes. First of all have you ever tried to cut a raw squash? It is pretty difficult and may require the use of power tools. I also had to preheat my oven and heat up half the house to cook the dang thing.  I followed the directions and loved the results but in my quest to find an easier method I decided to read the sticker on the side of the next squash I bought. It said to poke holes in the side and microwave it. Genius! I stabbed it with my steely knife. And put it in the microwave on high for 8 minutes.

Let it sit in the microwave for a few minutes while you prep whatever sauce you are going to use, clean the dishes, fold some laundry. Whatever. I say let it sit because it will be very hot. Make sure you use oven mitts to take it out.
Then take a very sharp knife and cut it in half length wise so you end up with basically 2 boats.  You can choose to scrape the seeds out at this point but it is a bit harder and those dang squash halves are hot!  Put about 1 tsp of water in the middle of each half and put them back in the microwave for 5-10 minutes. The length of time depends on how big the squash is. You can see a slight color change on the cut part as it cooks, it is hard to describe but you will see areas that look cooked
and areas that still look raw.  Again let them sit a bit after they are cooked after the timer goes off.  Once it is cool or you grow impatient use a big spoon to scoop out the seeds then take a fork and use it to shred the spaghetti. Mmm, Mmm, good.

Serve this as you would any other pasta or just eat it with a little salt, garlic and butter.  You don't even need to dirty a plate, just drop some sauce in the center and use the shell as the bowl. I like that it has a bit of a crunch to it and gives food texture. You will never trick someone into believing it is pasta but you will get them to eat a tasty vegetable. One of my favorite ways to eat it is with a alcohol free Vodka sauce but let’s leave that for a future blog.  In the top picture I actual served it with an Italian meatball stew. I will be posting that recipe later this week, a girl can only type so fast!
For those watching their Weight here is some nutritional information for you.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient database, 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash provides 42 calories, 0.4 gram of fat, 1 g of protein, 10 g of carbohydrate (4 g as sugar) and 2.2 g of fiber.

The above post was originally posted on my blog The Pin Addict 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Exercise Time is Me Time

One of the biggest reasons I don't work out regularly is because I am just too darned lazy  busy. Some days I have so much going on I just want to chill in front of the computer or TV and not have to use my brain for awhile. Then I realized how fat I was getting and decided to start walking and going to the gym. I started to look forward to the time I exercised and realized that Exercise time is Me time.

I put in my earbuds, listen to some music and tune the rest of the world out. My thoughts are my own and have nothing to do with work, family, school, life, whatever. They are about nothing except getting a workout  and feeling good. I don't have to deal with problems, complaints, or any negativity. I can just tune out.

So next time you are making excuses about not working out just remember it is your time, you deserve. Take 30 minutes to an hour and treat yourself to a good workout. You will be more relaxed, healthier, and feel better.

Still don't have time to exercise? Think of it this way:
Do you have time to get sick?
Do you have time for diabetes?
Do you have time to have a heart attack? 
Do you have time to die young, fat, and unhealthy? 

Now get of your fat lazy behind and go workout! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Skinney Rules

I have been thinking of writing a blog on some basic rules to follow in order to get healthy and lose weight when I came across this picture below. Once again Bob Harper sums it up perfectly.
These are great rules that are easy and simple to follow.  The only advise I have is that radical change is hard to sustain so start with implementing 1-2 rules every week. Eventually you will find you are following all of them and don't even have to think about it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Recipe for a cute butt

This was so good I just had to share. The original post was found on Strong-Fit-Beautiful a great blog about fitness and health, you should check it out!