Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I'm an angel...or at least I have a wing!

A winged scapula that is! After my workout on Friday night I was in pain all around my serratus anterior and up through my neck. NOT a fun feeling. Quite painful to be honest. And it hurt all the way down my rhomboids making it hard to breathe. So of course I did what anyone living in this decade would do and self-diagnosed via Google. Although I have had this problem and pain for a long time, no one has ever diagnosed the problem and therefore, I have constantly had problems with my shoulder. These pictures are from my competition days but you can clearly see the difference between the two there.
Winged Scapula (and this is me trying to make it not be there!)
Sometimes I could get it to not show.
So now I have a clearer plan and know that I need to strengthen my serratus anterior and increase my mobility. Again I had to contact Kellie and ask her to please rewrite my plan for that day because that is a pain I can deal with again. And she's so awesome that she did as well as gave me some rehab type exercises. It would be nice to not be in pain like that and also to not have my shoulder do the funky wing thing. 

Saturday was a wash since I had class all day. Sunday I felt worse than Saturday but I went to the track with my BF and did some activity. Then Monday came. After a full day of work and my upper body still hurting I really didn't want to work out. So after some couch time (not related to psychotherapy couch time) I had a talk with myself. I knew I couldn't workout upper body but I could do lower. But I didn't want to. Then I knew I would only have myself to blame when there was more self-loathing and feeling fluffy. So I got my butt up off the couch and went to the gym at 8:30pm! I finished there, went to the Co-op to pick up a few things then headed home. I was proud of myself for getting there and getting in a great workout when I really didn't want to. Sometimes I have to push myself to do something that I may not want to do. 

But later I'll be more than happy that I did it. And that's exactly what happened last night. Loving my workouts though...I must say!

Well, that's about it for now. This little angel is signing off.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Getting my mojo back! Quick update!

Feeling so much better already. Feeling more energized and stronger and just better. It's funny how you don't realize you weren't feeling that great until you feel better. Now if I could just get more sleep. And no, I have no one to blame but myself for that.

WORKOUTS: I've been sticking to my workouts which I'm loving of course! I mean I get to do a lot of my favorite exercises like barbell glute bridge and kettlebell full squats and of course PROWLER sprints. I was going to write about what exercises I don't like but there really aren't any I don't like. Wow! That's exciting, isn't it? No wonder I have no problem doing my workouts. Thanks again Kellie!

And for extra motivation when I was in the gym the other day there was a couple there that were impressed with my workout. They were working out well themselves but stopped to comment on what a great workout I was doing and how strong I am. Then they asked if I'm a powerlifter. I almost lied and said yes but I had to be honest and say no. At any rate it was just the motivation I needed to keep doing what I'm doing. Stay the course, ya know.

NUTRITION/FUEL: I'm still learning my nutrition but I'm doing much better with it. I've been hungrier this week but have decided that even though I love my shakes I can't always have those for breakfast because they just don't stick with me long enough. One of my favorite breakfasts is this cereal recipe I found in Brendan Brazier's Thrive book.
1 banana, sliced
1 pear, cored and chopped
1 date, chopped
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 - 1 tablespoon chia seed
1 tablespoon hemp protein
1/2 tablespoon roasted carob powder
1/2 tablespoon ginger, grated
Combine all ingredients in a bowl; stir. Top with Hemp Milk or Rooibos Almond Milk.

I make my own hemp milk because it's so easy to do. I just throw 1 cup hemp seeds, 3 1/2 cups filtered water, and 1-2 tablespoons agave OR 1-2 dates in my blender. Then just let it run. I store it in my fridge for a while. Easy and healthy since I know exactly what's in it.

So I eat this often because I just love the combination of flavors. And ginger is an anti-inflammatory and that's always necessary.

I also love my creamy rice cereal. It's made with brown rice so a great alternative for all of you gluten intolerant people. It's very similar in texture to grits and has an earthier flavor. I put some nuts and/or fruit in it and it's just delish! If I don't add dates to it then I'll put in some coconut palm sugar but not much. YUM! Now I'm making myself hungry! Ha!
As for other snacks and meals, I usually have salads, rice bowls, or maybe Ezekiel tortillas with refried beans. Pretty brainless. Sometimes I make some bean patties of some sort. It just depends what I'm in the mood for. Also lentil salads are a great thing for me to have on hand. I made an amazing veggie sandwich the other day. It made me happy happy!
I had 2 slices of Silver Hills Hemptation bread lightly toasted, spread one with avocado and the other with babaganoush, added sliced tomatoes, sliced red bell peppers, green onion, and sunflower sprouts. DELISH! So yummy! I must make it again.

SLEEP: What is my problem here? I have no excuse. Why do I constantly short myself on sleep? I really must make a concerted effort to get to bed early. No excuses! That's my goal for this next week. Early to bed. I can read or journal or anything but I need to be in bed early. There! Now I must hold myself accountable! ...seriously....no, really...

MASSAGE SCHOOL: LOVING it! I just love it so much! I knew I would like it but I really didn't think that I would love it. And I ordered my massage table the other day! WOOHOO! I can't wait to get it. It's going to be awesome! I also went and bought some massage cream. I prefer it to the oil and it feels better on my skin than oil. Oh yes! So great. And I've gotten good feedback from my fellow students and instructors so that's good. Apparently I'm good at knocking people out. They keep falling asleep on my table. I guess that's good since most people go to massage to relax. It will be interesting to work on more people that aren't going to massage school or do massage for a living.

That's about it for me. The weekend's here and the weather is beautiful. Life is good. ENJOY IT!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hiho, hiho...it's off to the gym I go!

Yes! I'm back! Back to me and my life. My crazy month of March has ended. Let us all breathe a big sigh of relief. Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....

Seriously, March was a little much for me. Just too much going on really and no time off either. As much as it's nice to be that busy I really was ready for it to end and ready to have the time and energy to get back in the gym and help myself out a little. But I had lost a lot of motivation and needed it back. I contacted Kellie at motherfitness.com. She put together a plan for me that works with my schedule. I have done two of the workouts so far. I'll be doing the other one tomorrow. And I LOVE it! So far, so awesome! I'm so glad that I was referred to her. Well, actually I knew all about her because I follow her blog but my friend Iris referred her and I emailed her ASAP. She sent me a great questionnaire that I filled out and returned. Then like magic my new workout plan appeared in my inbox. It has quite a few exercises I've never done before so that was exciting. I love that the workouts are hard but not completely draining. And of course they're hard since I've been slacking in the gym big time for the past 2-3 months. And she even put in prowler sprints since I remarked that I love the prowler. Woohoo!

For me it's really just a matter of having a program when I'm in the gym. And to be honest I just haven't had the wherewithal to put a program together for myself. I could do it but I just didn't want to. I really needed help. And I suggest that to anyone. If you're struggling with motivation, not seeing results, or really just don't know how to get the most out of your workouts, definitely look for someone that has the knowledge. It seems silly to pay someone for something you can do yourself but the truth is that if you're not doing it yourself then it's even sillier to not pay someone to do it. 

School is going along very well. We had our first "coaching" the other day where we practice massage on the instructors. That was intimidating by thought but not intimidating at all in reality. And I got great feedback. I just love that school because it's not intimidating and really provides a great learning environment. I have a couple of things to work on but my instructor is pleased with my progress. Yeah! I am loving school and loving learning about massage and anatomy. It's just cool. Oh! Speaking of anatomy, how many of you have seen this awesome site? getbodysmart.com. Very cool. It will show you the action of different muscles, tell you origin and insertion, and nerve information. Quite fascinating, especially for people that work out or do any kind of body work.

My food is off and on. Sometimes I'm better than other times. No rhyme nor reason but now that my crazy month is over I'm sure I'll do better generally speaking. I made a yummy shake this morning. Still like to have yummy shakes every once in a while. I have no idea the portions really but I'll try to remember.
Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Shake

8 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/3 cup chia gel (basically 1/4-1/3 cup water and 1/2 tablespoon chia soaked overnight)
1 tablespoon hemp protein powder
small handful cashews
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 dates, pitted
Mix all those in the blender. Add ice to texture you like (I used about 14 smallish ice cubes). Blend again. Pour into glass. Add a handful of dried mulberries and goji berries. They get a little crispy and it's so tasty. This made two glasses for me.

I look at that recipe and think it wouldn't hold me over for long but it does and did. I really wasn't hungry for a long time after eating that. It's crazy how much less food we need than we think we do.

I just finished dinner and it was so yummy that I must share. I stole this vegan pesto recipe and made it my own.

Pesto Soba with Zucchini and Tomatoes

3/4 cup packed fresh basil
1/3 cup olive oil and pumpkin oil mixed (about half and half)
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 very large cloves garlic
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
sea salt

Mix all but salt and pepper together in a food processor. Process till combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Process again. Set aside. 

8 oz. 100% buckwheat soba noodles
2 zucchinis, very thinly sliced
2 roma tomatoes, chopped

Cook noodles till done, being careful not to overcook. Remove from pan to a colander. Add zucchini to noodle water and boil for 1-2 minutes. In the meantime rinse noodles in cold water. Drain zucchini. Add hot zucchini to bowl and add desired amount of pesto. Add noodles and chopped tomatoes and mix. Serve and enjoy!

That's about it for me. Hope you're all having a good week. I'll let you know how my last workout of the week goes. And then it's more massage school on the weekend! Wahoo!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet

How does that sound to you? Doesn't roll off your tongue very easily, does it? But if I had to describe myself, that is what I would say is closest to the way I am eating these days. And after this past week I would say I'm more committed to that way of eating than ever before. Let me explain.

For the past five days I've been in Portland in a hotel working on a meeting with my friend. I was really busy before I left so I really didn't have time to make a bunch of great healthy snacks to fill in the holes while my diet was going downhill fast. We stayed and worked at the Nines Hotel in Portland. It's a cool hotel in the heart of downtown Portland. They have two restaurants in the hotel, one named Departure that's Asian Fusion and the other is Urban Farmer. So, my question to you is what type of food would you expect "Urban Farmer" to serve? When you think of a "farmer" don't you think of fresh produce? Or is that just me? Well, so far I've asked four people this same question and we're all in agreement. Yet when we went there for lunch the first day we were there, what was on the menu? Mostly steak and animal protein with very little vegetables. I later looked up how they define themselves and it says "Urban Farmer redefines the modern steakhouse." So apparently urban farming now means meat farming! Ha! The joke's on me I suppose. I mean I know dairy farmers exist but in an urban setting? I don't think so. At any rate we had little extra time to really get out and enjoy the city and find great restaurants. Also my friend is not vegan at all so it's challenging to find restaurants that serve food that I can enjoy and she can too.

So I ate a lot of salads but also a lot of items that aren't really what I'm used to eating anymore. I was never a really big cheese lover. I liked and probably still do like cheese from Spain and also Gruyere is delicious. But generally speaking for me I never did eat a lot of cheese. So although I wasn't eating vegan most of the time I was eating vegetarian. Well, guess what? I'm not much of a vegetarian. I haven't eaten eggs in a long time nor any butter or dairy. And definitely not cheese. So over the week I would end up eating things like that because that's really all that was available. I did have a bag of nuts and some dried fruit to supplement what I was eating. Luckily I had that because otherwise I would have eaten even more food that really wasn't great for me.

My stomach felt bloated almost all the time. My energy wasn't what it normally is and I wasn't sleeping well. Now some of that I attribute to traveling and staying in a hotel. However, my stomach really didn't feel good. And that was the biggest thing for me. So I have decided to really keep doing what I've been doing because I know that I feel so much better eating the way I've been eating. I couldn't wait to come home and eat right for ME! So I've eaten a lot of whole foods today. The more I learn the more I love to eat this way.

It's easy on my body and easy on the environment. So although I would basically categorize my diet (in the true sense of the word - "manner of living") the same as the title of this blogpost: whole foods plant-based, I don't want to pigeonhole myself and say that's all I eat. I think it's important to everyone to eat what they want to eat but to pay attention to how different foods make you feel. If you eat animal protein and you feel great then I say go ahead and eat it. However if you are looking to feel better, try going back to basics.  When I say basics I mean just really anything that is a whole food. I think a great diet for today would be something heavily plant based but still have some meat every once in a while. This frees up some money to buy high quality meat. That's just my opinion. I'm not saying that I wouldn't eat meat but honestly, I probably wouldn't eat meat. So weird for me! Who knew? Particularly because on New Year's Day this year I had such a completely different view of animal protein.

I also continue reading The China Study and other items around the internet about different foods and how they affect you. I guess any reduction in inflammatory foods seems to be the goal. I have kind of made this my goal. Sure I would like to look better than I do but mostly I want to feel amazing so if by changing my eating (and eventually getting my workouts back to something I'm interested in!) I feel amazing and the side effect of THAT is looking better then so be it. But that is truly not my goal for now. I just love finding foods that really enhance my health and it feels good to feel good!

Hope you are all off to a great start for April! I can't wait to get back to my massage school tomorrow. I missed it while I was gone! It has such great energy! In the next couple of weeks I'm going to be getting a new workout plan so I'll let you know how that goes too. And so away we go into the FOURTH month of the year! WOW! Where does the time go?!?