Monthly Archives: February 2015

Trader Joe’s How I Love Thee

So, by now you are all aware of my absolute love, honor, admiration, and obsession with my new happy place, Trader Joe’s.

One of the biggest, in my opinion, excuses for not eating healthy is that it is too expensive. And you know what? It can be!!!! There have been many times that I have fallen victim to the Whole Foods Wallet Grab all in the name of healthy eating. I have driven 30 minutes to shop at Walmart because it was cheaper. But what else does Walmart have beside fresh vegetables and eccentric clientele? Junk food and lots of it. So covering my broccoli, corn, organic spaghetti sauce, and whole wheat pasta in a protective layer of bad food goodness, was always two bags of Utz’s Honey BBQ potato chips. (See previous post about will power). Don’t get me wrong, my shopping habits have improved tremendously. Avoid the end caps, shop the perimeter, etc etc. But the potato chips kept calling my name, so of course I had to bring them home with me.

Fast forward a couple of months, when I decided to go vegetarian (see post about Frankie the Fibroid). I was trolling Pinterest (OMG, so much good stuff!!) for vegetarian recipe ideas and shopping tips and there it was…. the top 20 vegan items to buy at Trader Joe’s. After perusing the list, I knew that I had to see what other goodies where contained within this Trader Joe’s place, and lucky for me, there is one two blocks away from my job. Score! After making my way through the store, I was waiting for the sticker shock to occur when I reached the register…..

And you know what?? I didn’t happen. Say What??? I spent $34.00 to feel myself for an entire week. This was less than I head ever spent in Walmart on one of my “good” shopping trips.

For those who are not familiar with the holy land that is Trader Joe’s, it is a small supermarket that stocks only organic, vegan, gluten-free, clean foods. They even have their on line of products. And the best part…. this stuff is CHEAP!!!  All clean and organic!! HOLY COW. Instead of reaching for the potato chips, I get two bags of vegan pita chips and two bags of air-popped popcorn as my snack!! A pack of Tempeh… $1.99!!! 16 oz of spinach…. $1.99. A bag of  individual serving sizes of almonds. $7 bucks!!! My life and eating habits are changed for the better. Not only is the food good for you, but it tastes so good!

On a whim, after eating some Chicken Marsala (before the change) and Naan for lunch one Friday. I scoped out the Trader Joe’s freeze aisle and stumbled upon frozen Naan. Not only was it healthy, it was flippin delicious. For two days I had sauteed kale and 2 pieces (I know, one piece too many) of Naan for dinner. And was stuffed!!!

Here are the items that are always on my Trader Joe’s Shopping List:

  • Frozen Corn
  • Kaledscope Chard
  • Durot – Frozen crushed garlic (they do have ginger which I am on the look out for)
  • Lentils
  • Air-popped popcorn ($1.50 for a huge bag) – the Devil
  • Sea Salt Pita Chips  – the Devil’s Helper
  • Dried Seaweed – $.99 – unbelievable 
  • Sliced mushrooms

I will add to this list depending on my taste buds. But basically, I eat the same thing for weeks on end until I get sick of it and move onto the next recipe. My current meal of choice is sauteed chard, kale, corn, lentils, and sliced mushrooms.  If I feel like a little splurge, I will get a bag of Southern Blend greens (collard, turnip, and mustard greens. So tasty).

I knew I wanted to treat myself to something sweet for my birthday, so I decided to try their chocolate ice cream made with coconut milk. Baby Jesus must have made this delectable dessert himself because it was so good. Creamy, chocolaty, and it did not taste like coconut. Hands down it was one of the ice creams I have had in a while, and that is saying a lot. I will be trying the strawberry flavor very, very soon.

Overall, Trader Joe’s is an amazing place with great organic, non-GMO, and vegan choices for a very, very reasonable price and some stores even sell wine and beer. If you live near on, go check it out!!!

*** This is not a paid endorsement. I just love their product!!! ***

Later Days!


Insanity Max 30 – The first 30 days

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I was prepared for the complete butt whooping that was going to take place.I knew I was going to be pushed mentally and physically. I knew that it this was going to be the toughest workout that I had ever done. And that’s what I wanted. I wanted to push myself to the absolute limits. I wanted to see how far I could actually go. That’s why I bought Insanity Max 30 because I knew Shaun T would bring it. And he did.The first week it was all physical. There were times when I physically couldn’t do another rep because I would pass out or throw up. But after that, it was all mental. I knew that if I pushed past a certain point, I could make it to the end of the workout!

Cardio Challenge: This is basically a fit test. All cardio, all the time. Each interval is made up of three exercises that you repeat for three rounds and then you get  a water break. I knew that if I could just get through the last interval, I would get a water break. Getting there was 95% mental.

Tabata Power: The first time I did this workout, I thought my arms were going to fall off. Well, at least I knew what part of my fitness I need to work on! Push-ups, push-ups and more push-ups!! I got through the leg exercises just fine, but anything having to do with my arms was pure torture, especially triceps dips. After the second workout, it turned into mind over body. I knew that if I could get through the 3rd interval without taking breaks, I could make it to the end of the workout. And that’s what I did!!

Sweat Intervals: And it’s time for cardio again!!! Who doesn’t like a good sweat fest. Even more intervals and some ab work too! An amazing intense cardio work out that will have to wondering, why am I doing this and when can I do it again!

Tabata Strength: Well, if Tabata Power wasn’t enough, Shaun T decides to turn it up a couple of notches with this program. The first time I saw the first exercise, I stopped and said out loud, “are you crazy?” This workout is no flippin joke. Just when I thought my arms and shoulders were getting stronger, Shaun T showed me otherwise. To be honest, there were times when I cried and grunted my way through some of the intervals. But I soon realized that I love Tabata style workouts! Just before I pass out, the interval is over! Yeah! There is a reason this program starts during week 3.

Friday Fight Round 1: Ok. If you thought Monday through Thursday was tough, just wait until Friday!!! For me, if I am doing a timed interval or circuit, I live for the water breaks. For the beginning of the week, water breaks are every five minutes. Rough, but doable. Not on Friday. For a 30 minute workout, you get three water breaks. For reals dude? And if that is not enough, Shaun T decides that it would be  great idea to repeat the toughest exercises of the week during one program. Sheesh. Burpee lunges, squat kicks, Ab attack. triceps dips. All the good stuff wrapped up in a nice little package. Honestly, the hardest workout I have ever done! I am the first workout where I laid out on the floor when it was done!

Overall Thoughts: Shaun T said that he was going to kick my butt and he did. I knew going into this, before I even hit pay now on the Beachbody website, that I was in for a tough workout. This program pushed me mentally and physically harder than any other program that I have done before (and that includes T25). Obviously I learned that strength training is my weakness, especially triceps work, but I am getting better. My cardio has improved tremendously over the past month and most importantly, my mental toughness to get through and push past the pain has increased as well!

So who wants to see some pics???

Day 1


Whoa! Mind blown! My arms and legs grew a little bit,but the biggest change… 2 inches off of my hips. In 30 Days. And only 30 more to go!
Can’t wait for Shaun T to bring it!!!
Later Days!

So you want to be a Vegetarian/Pescatarian?

I guess I still have food on the mind. Diet really can effect your body, positively and negatively. I have been trying to get back on the “clean eating” band wagon for a minute and have been making slow, consistent strides to do so, but like I said in my last post, it has been hard. But I did get my Insatcart delivery from Whole Foods!! There will be an entire blog dedicated to my love and admiration for Instacart (you have been warned)

Now, changing my diet (and lifestyle) is not  a “want to” it is a “must do”. I was recently diagnosed with fibroids. I have named mine Francis, Frankie for short. Frankie the Fibroid. It makes the invader seem like a part of the family.While fibroids are common and not cancerous (thank God), when someone tells you that there is something in your body that it not supposed to be there; it freaks you out. A lot.

Knowledge (Google) can be a good and bad thing. No, I have not consulted Web MD for they clearly would have told me that I have only minutes to live.  I researched possible causes of fibroids. Top of the list…excess estrogen. I guess they’re right when they say too much of a good thing can be bad. And since surgery is not an option (no need to go there if it is not necessary), I decided to see if there was anyway that I could shrink the fibroids naturally.

This led to more Google research and you know what I found out…. 1.) There is a crap load of chemicals out there that mimic estrogen (first clean up diet, second clean up make up bag . 2.) While I was eating clean or cleaner than I used to, my healthy eating habits were actually feeding Frankie. Mind blown. There are certain foods (I am not a scientist, nor do I claim to be) that produce estrogen (dairy, non-organic meat) so my daily does of Fage yogurt and chicken thighs was hurting me more than helping me, even though they are considered healthy foods. Mind spinning yet? Mine is.

So what am I supposed to do now?  Be a big girl and step up to the plate (no pun intended) by building a diet based around foods that reduce estrogen naturally. Translation – become a pescatarian (cold water fish only) and without the dairy. Sounds simple right. Absolutely, but changing habits and routines is hard. Especially if you just changed them and now have to start over again. But we are always changing, and that is how we grow. And we need to always be growing to accomplish our goals and my goal is to banish Frankie without going under the knife.

So what can I eat? A lot actually: The goal is to increase my fiber intake which will reduce the levels of estrogen in my body. Some of these yummy foods include:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Spinach
  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Oats
  • Berries
  • Beans
  • Brown rice
  • Wheat
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
That’s a pretty decent list if you ask me, and that is only part of it. So I loaded up and meal prepped based on my estrogen fighting food list. Preparation and proper shopping is a must if you want to win the war against bad eating habits.  I am fortunate to work a block away from Trader Joe’s. FABULOUS!! Healthy and affordable. Sign me up. I’ll save the rest of my Trader Joe’s rant for, you guessed it, another blog! And you want to know something weird and awesome…. I don’t miss chicken GASP!!!

These past few days have showed my that as long as I shop right, prep, and bring food with me to work, and avoid trips to the vending machine, I can eat clean with no problem!

And I’ll be honest. I will have days were I will fall off the wagon or eat a Snickers bar instead of an apple. But I won’t cut off my right hand because of it. This past year of being a Beachbody coach and working on my nutrition and fitness has taught me that this is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to trust the process and reward yourself. The minute you mind goes to what you can’t eat is the minute that you set yourself up for failure.

So I’m thinking off all of the new foods that I can eat, the new foods that I can try and spices that I use in my cooking, what new recipes that I can try!

So here’s to new foods and Frankie’s Defeat!

Later Days