Adventures in Clean Eating

Learning to Live Healthily, Sustainably, and Vibrantly

The Busy Woman’s Survival Guide: Part I

June 28th, 2012 · Uncategorized

I am a busy person.  That’s an understatement.  My days start at 5:00 AM and end somewhere around 10:00 PM (if I’m lucky).  Two years ago, when I first got on this crazy schedule, I could barely stay afloat.  Now, I’m not only getting by, I’m thriving.  The stress still gets to me sometimes, but through trial and error, I’ve managed to make it work.  This is the first in a series of posts on how I’ve figured out how to stay healthy and happy while keeping up with my ridiculous schedule.

The food situation was the most difficult to deal with at first.  If you read some of my earlier posts, you’ll see that I used to make dinner for myself and my husband every night.  I loved making dinner every night after work.  It was how I would unwind after the day.  It was so nice always having something delicious and healthy to eat at night.

Then, I started law school.  I went to school straight from work and didn’t get home until late.  There was definitely no time to cook.  At first I went to the cafeteria a lot, but that got expensive, and the food wasn’t as healthy or as tasty as something I would make myself.  I tried just bringing a bunch of snacks with me to eat throughout class, but I still felt unsatisfied at the end of the day.  I wanted real food for dinner, so I made it happen.

The most important thing is to have a plan.  Every Thursday I make a dinner plan for the week.  On nights I don’t have class, I find a simple recipe to cook, and plan to make enough to have leftovers to bring to class with me.  There’s a microwave in the student lounge so it’s not hard for me to heat things up on breaks.  Most weeks I can only cook on Sundays, so I’ll make a huge batch of something like chili or soup and freeze half of it in individual portions.  I’ll take one out of the freezer in the morning and stick it in my lunchbox.  By the time I have a break to heat up my food, it’s defrosted.

Here are some other tips I’ve discovered to make this work:

  • Utilize the crockpot. My crockpot is a life saver.  Every busy person should own one.  It’s so easy just to put a bunch of stuff in it and then forget about until dinner is ready.  There are a ton of healthy crockpot recipes all over the internet.  I use mine most Sundays, since even though I’m able to cook I usually have a ton of errands to run and homework to do as well.  If I’ll have time to run home after work before class I’ll start something in the morning.  Then I’ll take some to go with me, turn it to warm, and have dinner ready for my husband when he gets home.
  • Add an easy to steam vegetable. Spinach and summer squash can both be easily steamed in the microwave.  I wash the veggies, and without drying them, stick them in my tupperware with my protein (or for a veggie option, brown rice and beans).  Once I get to school, I stick it all in the microwave for a minute and have a great side for dinner.
  • Have a backup. I always have a couple healthy frozen dinners in the freezer (Amy’s are my favorites!).  I try not to rely on them, but when I run out of time to cook, they’re a good option.  Plus, they’re still less expensive than buying dinner at the cafeteria.

Your turn!  What do you do when you’re pressed for time and can’t cook?  Do you get take-out, eat cereal for dinner, or try something different?

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Kayaking on the Potomac

June 24th, 2012 · Uncategorized

Yesterday we celebrated our one year anniversary! Our real anniversary is actually on Monday, but since we both have to work, and then I have class at night, we decided to make a day of it yesterday. We planned the whole day out. Unfortunately, my ideas weren’t the best. We went to the Alexandria Food & Wine Festival in the afternoon, which wasn’t very well organized. It was over-crowded, over-priced, and I got red wine spilled on my white skirt. Not my favorite thing. We went to Central Michel Richard for dinner, which did have very good food (especially Michel’s Chocholate Bar dessert!), but the service was really bad and it wasn’t the intimate setting we had hoped for. It was still a great day spent together, though. When you’re with someone you love, you can always have a good time.

Pete’s idea was to go kayaking in the morning. We rented a two-seater kayak from Thompson Boat Center, and had a really relaxing morning rowing on the Potomac around Georgetown.  I made Jessica’s Chewy Coconut Granola Bars to bring with us.  They were delicious, but didn’t hold up in the heat.  I forgot what a low melting point coconut oil has.  Next time I’ll make something a little more sustainable.  These would be great for a car trip or any time you’ll be in air conditioning for most of the day.  We had a ton of fun, though.  I’m always looking for activities that keep me moving and burning calories but don’t really feel like working out.  My traps are a little sore today, for sure!  Thompson’s was great; they had great customer service and didn’t charge us for a whole half hour we were on the water.  The back of my seat didn’t work though, which was the only draw back.  I didn’t mind it so much.  There are a couple other places along the water, in case Thompson’s is out of kayaks (which happened to a few people after us).  We definitely want to do this again soon (and bring some beer to enjoy out on the water!).  It was fun and relaxing; a great way to start the day!  Here are some pictures from the morning.

Thanks for stopping by!

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I’ll Drink to That

May 17th, 2012 · Uncategorized

When I was in college, my week in weight loss was always the same.  Monday would come along, a fresh slate.  I’d eat all wholesome foods and get in a good workout.  That would last about four days.  Then “Thirsty Thursday” would roll around.  That was usually my downfall.  I’d go out, get drunk, eat pizza, and wake up feeling gross the next morning.  I’d usually decide the week was ruined, and then get back on the horse come Monday.

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As an “adult”, I don’t really go out much anymore.  I don’t drink to get drunk much anymore, but I do drink casually much more than I used to.  Don’t get me wrong, drinking is always bad for you.  If you want to give up all alcohol, then more power to you.  I think, though, that moderation is key.  Drink slowly, and drink lots of water in addition to alcohol.  This will really help minimize your hangover the next day, too, so you’ll feel good enough to hit the gym the next morning and a night out won’t derail your whole week.

When I drink, I try to stick to lower calorie options.  Wine and light beer are good options.  If you prefer liquor, choose calorie-free mixers.  Vodka soda is my go-to, but rum and diet cokes are good.  If the bar’s not to crowded and the bartender can pay me a little more attention, I’ll often get a vodka soda with a splash of fruit juice and a slice of fruit.  It has a little more flavor while still being relatively guilt-free.  When I really want a sugary cocktail (I love me some margaritas…), I try to stick to one, and have it slowly as my first drink to really enjoy it.  Too many of those will give me a killer hangover, anyways.

Do you try to stay healthy when you go out?  What are your tips?

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DAMN YOU, VICTORIA’S SECRET

May 15th, 2012 · Uncategorized

Last week, my annual new summer swim suit came in the mail.

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So adorable.  Stripes and coral are my favorite trends this season, and I love that the top can be a halter or a tube top.  I’m obsessed with it.  Unfortunately… it doesn’t fit.

I’ve been buying the same size Victoria’s Secret swimsuit every year since college, and all of a sudden, the bottoms are cutting into my love handles.  I know in my head that this particular suit just runs small, and I should just be rational and exchange it for a larger size… but I’m just not a particularly rational person.  In a fit of frustration, I threw the receipt away, and vowed to lose a few pounds to make the suit fit before the pool opens in a two weeks.

Now, I hate all the pro-ana thinspiration bullshit all over Pinterest these days.  I’m all about working out to be the healthiest version of you, not the skinniest one.  BUT, there is nothing wrong with a little extra motivation this time of year.  Especially if  exam-related stress caused you to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s on your coach while you tried not to cry into a Property Law textbook.

Now, I don’t do well on diets.  I tend to get deprived easily and gorge myself after a few days.  I eat fairly healthy in my every day life, though.  My main tactic right now is to eat out less, drink less alcohol, and skip fewer workouts.  I think it’s going pretty well so far, although even if I don’t lose any weight, the fact that I’ve done the work makes me feel better about myself regardless.

I’ll report back.  Unless I find the Nutella I made Pete hide from me.  Then we’ll pretend this never happened.

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BodyStep 87 Review

April 26th, 2012 · Uncategorized

I espoused my love of BodyCombat yesterday, but my other favorite class is BodyStep!  I love them equally for different reasons.  Both are incredible workouts with great music, they just make me feel different things.  Combat makes me feel empowered and strong, and Step makes me feel full of energy and really excited to move.  After I finally start teaching Combat and feel comfortable with it I’d like to take the Step training.  I took Combat instead this time since there was one coming up that was conveniently located, it’s a much more technique-based class so it’s a good hurdle to overcome for my first format, and because unfortunately Step just isn’t as popular right now.  There aren’t many teaching slots available.  I think people are nervous to try Step, and I know during my first class I was all over the place, but it does get easier once you get a feel for the moves.  You just have to stick with it f0r a few classes.

I was so wrapped up in Combat last week during launches that I’m only now getting to try the new releases of other Les Mills formats.  Here’s the track list for BodyStep 87!

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This release is pretty fun.  It’s tough, but not quite as hard as 86 was.  I really like the warm-up tracks (1,2, and 3).  “Moves like Jagger” is super fun.  The first two cardio peaks are intense.  There are some burpees/push-up mixed in, which normally I would appreciate but the ridges on the benches hurt my hands.  I’m not a huge fan of either of those songs; they’re a little too emo for my taste.  The first strength track (“Own This Club”) is fun but hard.  Your heart rate won’t go down much during this track (thank you, jump squats).  The party step is a great song, but it has some awkward moves in it.  The speed step is fun as always (note: if you’re new to step, go easy on the one- the speed step has the greatest learning curve of the class I think).  The last cardio peak is awesome.  It’s actually a really old step track that was remixed for this release.  It’s every bit cheesy epic that Step should be.  I love it.  The conditioning track is pretty good, too.  It has lunges (which are necessary since they weren’t in the strength track), push-ups, side planks, and bicycles!  Phew!  There is an awkward “interpretive dance” pause though… I just can’t at 6 am.

All in all, it’s a really fun and challenging release.  My hair was soaking wet by the end of it all and sweat was burning my eyes during the bicycles.  I love when that happens.  If you’ve never tried BodyStep before, you should check it out.  It’s a really fantastic workout that goes by really quickly.  Just stick with it, though, since it does take a little getting used to.

After all the working out I’ve been doing lately (with practicing Combat I’ve basically been working out twice a day over the past couple weeks), plus exam time stress, I’m kind of beat.  It’s also bring your kid to work day today… it’s nuts.  There are way too many screaming toddlers in here for my taste.  I’m excited to unwind with a friend at Sushi Rock tonight.  I need a cocktail like whoa…

Have you tried BodyStep 87 yet?  What did you think?

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