Easy Meal Plan Staples

Meal planning can be overwhelming for a lot of us! I've had to find a balance between

  1. meticulously controlling every breakfast, lunch dinner
  2. planning out meal options so I know what to shop for, and...
  3. letting the week take control and eating out every night.

Let me tell you, all three of those have happened! 

Sometimes I buy too much and all the food goes to waste, sometimes I don't buy enough and find myself at Trader Joe's 3-4x/week. And don't even get me started about BUDGETING! My husband and I have been really careful since getting married because we have been saving for big things, and the area we found that I spend the most is on groceries. I LOVE grocery shopping and trying out new things, but most of the time, simple is always better, especially for the bank account! I've found a way to make foods we love that won't break the bank, and will still nourish us.

But what about the freedom part? Isn't meal planning and prepping too controlling? I would say, no!

Sometimes, when you are trying to eat in a nourishing way, but also not let food  rule your life, it can be hard to know how to meal plan and prep so that you know you have healthy options on hand, but also feel freedom and flexibility in the process. The way I like to go about it is to have staples for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that we can alternate throughout the week. We usually alternate meals, and we don't find ourselves getting bored especially when we use different seasonings and ways of eating! Below are some of my staple meals and what I haul each week from the grocery store to make it happen!


1. Taco seasoning. Listen up, Trader Joe's has THEEEE best taco seasoning out there. When we first got married, I had Vasken buy me about 10 packs. And when we ran out, Trader Joe's ran out...for 2 months. I was so sad, and tried to make my own mix (which I know is possible), but sometimes convenience wins, and TJ's seasoning just tastes better. Our local trader just got these packets back in stock, so I hoarded them again and have been using this taco seasoning to season turkey meat (both tacos, and burgers), lentils (taco seasoning + salsa= amazing!) and beans and rice dishes. Make your life easier and go get a few packets of this seasoning mix, you won't regret it! 

2. Rolled oats! These are so versatile. I like making a big pot of oatmeal at the beginning of the week (add 1-2 T of chia seeds for extra gooey-ness!) or making a breakfast oatmeal cookie! Plus, oatmeal is full of fiber and other goodness to help us feel full in the morning. Top with fruit and your favorite nut butter and you're good to go!

3. Justin's nut butter packs. I am OBSESSED with these! Healthy fats on the go can be hard to find, but these make it so easy! Just give them a little massage before tearing them open and they have the consistency of melted peanut butter. I eat a packet daily with a banana or apple, or just on its own!

4. Cut up veggies. Sometimes, we can get burnt out from salads, which is why I always love having some cut up veggies to snack on! My favorites are carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, broccoli, and sweet mini bell pepper! Dip in hummus or guacamole for added flavor and a dose of healthy fats!

5. Beans + Rice! When on a budget, beans and rice are a dream come true. I love the Cuban black beans from TJ's. I mix in some brown rice, salsa, taco seasoning, and some frozen fire roasted bell peppers, heat it up and there you go! A delicious burrito bowl! Use as a topping on a salad or sauteed veggies to still get your greens in!

6. EGGS! I feel like eggs go without saying, but they are a delicious and nutritious protein source for us! Yes, even the yolk! The yolk is full of healthy fats that help with hair, skin, eyes, and pretty much every other organ. Plus, each egg has 6-7g of protein in them depending on their size! Scramble them, boil them, fry them, and enjoy!

7. Salad+chip+hummus makes the world go round. This is my go-to lunch combo when time is tight and options are few. I always have the ingredients on hand to make a salad, plus have some kind of healthy chip and dip. Usually, I go for the veggie flax chips or sweet potatoes chips from Trader Joe's! (Can you tell where I do most of my shopping??)

8. Shakeology! Last but not least, my healthiest meal of the day is Shakeology. This whole-foods shake is jam packed with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, and more. The best part for this dietitian is that it comes from all whole food superfoods, no weird powders, fillers, or chemicals. I refuse to call it a protein shake, because it's not! It's full of so much more, which makes it incomparable in my professional opinion to other powders on the market! If you'd like to know more about it, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask questions!

If you need help simplifying meal planning and prepping, don't worry, I've got you! It's taken me years to hone in the skills to make this process as easy and as nutritious as possible. I hope this list helps you all, and if you ever need more ideas or added support or info, use the contact me button above to get in touch with me! I love hearing from my readers and helping in however way I can! Have a great Thursday, all!

Daily Manna: it's Christmas!

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you all are having a great week and are gearing up for Christmas! I am OH so excited about Christmas this year! We are spending Christmas Eve with my husband's side of the family, and Christmas Day with my side of the family. I can't wait to celebrate the birth of our Savior with family, good food, and my favorite Christmas movies!

I thought I'd do another Daily Manna post this week, holiday style! I've been keeping up with my workouts and it's become such a regular part of my routine, which I am grateful for! And the 21 day fix workouts make it so easy because they are only 30 minutes and VERY easy to fit in to my busy day! 

Yesterday morning, I did the upper fix extreme and then downed my Shakeology! It was sooo yummy! 1 scoop vegan chocolate blended with coconut milk, ice, and a handful of spinach!


I also had some extra time in the morning and decided to make spelt blueberry banana pancakes with PB smeared on top and strawbs on the side! These turned out SO fluffy and delicious! I'll have to post the recipe soon!


There were SO many treats at work yesterday, so I indulged in a dark chocolate coconut cashew bite. SO good with my coffee!


And of course, my daily baby carrots!


Along with 6000 pounds of chocolate, one of my patients also got me this beautiful necklace as a Christmas gift! It was so sweet! I love being a part of these peoples' lives and helping them get through a difficult time. Working as an online wellness coach, as well as a dietitian at a dialysis center, has put me in a position where God can use me to positively impact others. All of the treats and the beautiful gifts yesterday were just yet another confirmation that God can even use someone like me who is broken, but redeemed, to love on others. I know He has me where He wants me in this season of life, and for that I am grateful. 


Lunch was a HUGE salad with cilantro dressing and some chunky veggie marinara with chickpea fritters! These fritters didn't turn out quite as great as I wanted, so I will keep testing it out and share a recipe soon hopefully!


In the afternoon, I also had an apple and nuts but forgot to snap a pic! I had to work later than usual yesterday and knew I would need an extra snack to get me through the afternoon! When I got home, I vegged on the couch for a bit, and then got to cooking! My hubby and I snacked on these veggie and flaxseed chips with some hummus while we cooked!


Dinner was some roasted sweet potatoes with a one-pot-wonder I improvised: zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, kidney beans, and diced fire-roasted tomatoes, with some cumin, salt, and red pepper! Oh and garlic, always garlic!


The night ended with my husband and I getting sucked into yet another show: The Man in the High Castle! SO GOOD but so disturbing at the same time. I can't wait to keep watching and see what happens!

It was a rainy and relaxing day yesterday with some good, healthy eats as well as some treats mixed in there! I've been learning the art of balance this month, and it's been, without a doubt the healthiest thing I've ever done. More on this later as I am still processing and learning and journeying, but all I can say is God is SO good, Christmas is 2 days away, and I am so excited for what is in store for 2016!

Inspiration and Imperfection


This post has been on my heart for a while. It’s a topic that gets in my head, brews into fear, and colors every aspect of my life. It is a part of my life that I feel called to share and be honest about, even if it’s not well received by others.


I am not perfect, and that sounds like a “duh” statement, but I feel the need to say it. Because sometimes people assume that, as a registered dietitian and a Beach Body health and fitness coach, my diet must be cleaner than soap and my self-control and motivation must never fail me. And that is far from the truth. I think I speak for the majority of those in my profession when I say that the reason we went into this field is BECAUSE of our issues. Because we struggled, fell, got back up, struggled again, etc. Because we are not perfect. I became a health and fitness professional because I got me some issues!


Growing up, I was the skinny girl. My grandpa used to tickle me and count my ribs. Food and weight was something I never struggled with. I used to be able to put down multiple donuts, bowls of goldfish crackers, and slices of pizza with no problem. But, like many girls, once I hit 13-15 years of age, my metabolism slowed down, and the foods I was eating started to stick. I started getting comments from older adults stating how I was filling out and getting chubby. I got told by multiple people that I should start exercising or I would get bigger and bigger. My self esteem took a huge hit, and I started to diet. And by diet, I mean a 500-600 calories a day kind of diet.


I am blessed with an UNBELIEVABLY aware mom, and she caught on in just a few weeks and took me straight to the doctor. I remember feeling almost relieved at 14 years old that my mom had found out, because now I could finally EAT! And eat I did...which is when the binging cycles started. I would eat snacks all day long. When I finally was able to drive, I would go on grocery store runs or stop by fast food places on my way home from high school. I went in completely the other direction with my health. I entered into a binge-restrict cycle that lasted for many, many years.


I have over 1000 followers on Instagram, write regularly on this blog about health and fitness, post motivational quotes, healthy meals, and daily inspiration. I want to inspire everyone around me. But that does not mean I am perfect!


I never EVER want people to feel judgement from me, because trust me, I have been on every end of the spectrum when it comes to food issues. I decided to be a dietitian, and then pursue Beach Body coaching, because I WANT people to have a healthy relationship with themselves, their food, and their health. Because I know what it’s like to eat the bare minimum, to stuff myself and not be able to move, to just think about when to get my next sugar high, and to fear the scale. I KNOW. I am all too familiar with it.


God has done such a work in me, and I want the same for you! I have found that the more I open up about my struggles and the more honest I am with others, the more HE uses me for His purposes and to help others. And that is where true freedom lies. I know that I have struggled all these years for a reason, and now it is time for me to pay it forward and help others.


And that is why I am so unbelievably passionate about what I do. I am passionate about healthy eating, working out, and finding balance. So what if I’m not perfect? None of us are. That is the beauty of this life: we get to mess up and help others along the way.


So let me help you, because trust me I have been there! I would love to hear from you. Click on the “contact me” tab and fill out a form, and we can get started sharing our stories with each other! 


Food essentials to ALWAYS have on hand!

Hello out there! I hope everyone is having a fabulous week. Mine has been busy but in such a good and challenging way. Stresses have turned into joys, and thoughts have turned into actions, and I am just so happy to see what the Lord will bring me in the days, weeks, and months to come! I decided to take a rest day today from my workout since I've been feeling kind of sick and don't want to come down with a full blown flu, which apparently everyone has! I started off my day with this yummy and huge breakfast, my favorite!


Eggs, taters, veggies, and fruit. Never gets old!

I thought I would drop in just to talk about a few essential foods and snacks I always, and I mean ALWAYS, make sure to have at home. When it comes to hunger, I'm no nice girl. I want food, and I want it now. The best way to ensure eating healthy foods is to make sure these foods are always on hand. I compiled a list of foods I always make sure to stock my fridge and pantry with so I don't find myself in a food emergency and reaching for whatever seems to be around.

1. Hummus and carrots. I pretty much eat this combination every single day. It's the perfect mid morning snack and yes, I usually smell like garlic for a while, but it's so worth it. It's a great way to get some veggies and fiber in and keeps me full until lunch time!


2. Nuts. I am nuts for nuts. I go crazy for them. Nuts are usually my afternoon snack. Afternoons are tough since I have lunch and then find myself feeling snacky by 3pm. Not fully hungry mind you, just snacky. Nuts are perfect since they take a while to eat, and all that healthy fat keeps me full and happy until dinner time! I know what you're thinking; it is SO easy to overeat nuts! I've solved this problem by keeping a 1/4 cup measuring cup in my container of nuts to make sure I always have an appropriate portion!


3. Hard-boiled eggs. I would not survive without these beauties. Hard boiled eggs are probably the easiest things to prepare and the most versatile food to carry around with you that has a great nutritional punch!


Eggs are packed with healthy fat and protein that keeps you going for a while. I usually have them as a pre-workout or even as part of my breakfast. To prep, I will boil 5 to 6 eggs at the beginning of the week, usually while getting ready for church on Sunday morning and have them ready for me throughout the week. My little trick to make them easy to peel it's to dump them in some ice water immediately after then they are done boiling, and then store them in the fridge.

4. Larabars.


I'm a big proponent of eating whole meals and whole food before eating convenience foods. But, if I were to pick a bar, I would definitely pick Larabars. Larabars usually have between three and five ingredients and are made from whole foods, no added junk and no chemicals! I keep a few at work and at home for a quick preworkout meal or an afternoon treat.

Those are just a few of my favorite food essentials that I keep on hand! The more healthy foods you stock up on, the healthier you will eat! I hope this post gave some easy and convenient meal and snack ideas for you all! Have an awesome Wednesday!

Food & Fitness Plan! October 6-10

IMG_3538.JPG Hello everyone! Happy first Monday of October! I am going to try and be better with my food and fitness weekly plan posts because it helps me stay on track, and hopefully helps and motivates someone out there to plan out the week too! I'll plan Monday-Friday, since most weekends are filled with last minute plans (which doesn't have to mean falling off the healthy train!) So here is my plan for the week!

Monday 10/6: Preworkout: HB egg/egg white Workout: Leg day with my trainer, incline walk for 20 mins (my legs were dead after my training session! Definitely will be feeling that tomorrow!) Breakfast: banana protein pancakes w/peanut butter Snack: quest bar Lunch: leftover BBQ chicken, carrots, hummus Snack: nuts Dinner: leftover BBQ chicken (Taking advantage of leftovers since I did not have much time to meal prep this weekend!)

Tuesday 10/7: Preworkout: hard boiled egg w/nuts Workout: run + the new TIU workout! Breakfast: banana protein mug cake Snack: carrots with dip (either hummus or guacamole...can't go wrong with either one!) Lunch: sausage and tater casserole, super easy! Snack: nuts Dinner: planning on a taco salad since I will have to eat it before or at bible study!

Wednesday 10/8: Preworkout: banana w/cashew butter Workout: chest and tricep workout from my trainer with some cardio! Breakfast: sausage and taters Snack: carrots with dip Lunch: taco salad Snack: nuts, fruit Dinner: turkey burger

Thursday 10/9: Preworkout: nuts Workout: run! Breakfast: veggie scramble Snack: carrots w/dip (can you sense a pattern here haha) Lunch: sausage w/taters Snack: larabar Workout: with my friend Hanna! We do circuits and cardio and always leave the gym sore and happy! Dinner: with Hanna :)

Friday 10/10: Preworkout: nuts Workout: back and biceps workout from my trainer with some cardio! Breakfast: sausage and taters Snack: carrots w/dip Lunch: taco salad Snack: nuts Dinner: probably out with my man!

The theme of this week's plan was: use up what I have and stop spending crazy amounts of money on food haha seriously though, the only things I am running low on at the moment are salad greens, which I am planning on stocking up on today! So I should be good to go for the rest of this week! I will probably sprinkle in some extra snacks, fruits, etc into the plan, but I am excited about all the food and workouts I have this week, which definitely increases my chances of sticking to the plan!!

I also want to get into the habit of practicing my planks and push ups before bed every night. I want a nighttime routine and I think these exercises will be great before I brush my teeth, take care of my face, have some quiet time etc before bed! We will see how it goes this week!

Let's have a great first week of October everyone!

October: Balanced Mind, Balanced Plate

I am so excited that October is finally upon us! I can honestly say that October-January are my favorite months of the entire year. I love fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! I am looking forward to the next few months and making the most of this season! I am also excited that a new month is starting. That means new goals and new opportunities to reach them! Last month, I set some goals that I reached, and some that I didn't. But that is the nature of life! I'm going to keep pushing towards my goals and stay as motivated as possible!

October goals:

1. Run 5-6 miles once a week. I was able to reach this goal last month and want to continue this month!

2. Keep up with toning workouts! Again, I was able to reach this one! So I want to keep it up :)

3. Increase plank time to 90 seconds. This one is new! My friend Hanna and I have been working on our planks and are able to do 60 second planks about 4 times. I really want to increase my time to 90 seconds! I hope I'm able to reach this goal! Practice makes perfect, so I will just have to up my plank game!

4. Scrapbook, sketch, and read. Yea...this goal needs some work. I am really struggling with finding some free time to enjoy some of my favorite hobbies. I want to make this a priority for myself...because I really feel that down time hobbies are just as important as active hobbies! I hope to somehow find the time to scrapbook, sketch, and read for fun this month!

5. Lastly, a new goal this month is to have a balanced mind and balanced plate.


What do I mean by this? Well, a lot of things. I've realized a couple things these past 2 weeks that I would like to share. It's hard to be honest, but writing really helps me get my thoughts in order, so I'm going to utilize this skill to clarify this goal, even to myself.

I've been pretty consistent with my healthy eating since July. I have been loving the consistency with my workouts and am feeling accomplished with my results in both nutrition and fitness. However, the last month has been an anxiety roller coaster for me. Personally, I feel better on a lower carb diet, but I started becoming a bit too much of a perfectionist in this department. I started cutting out healthy and vital carbs such as sweet potatoes, some grains, and even fruits, and replaced them with healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and grass-fed butter. While this is fine for most people and is a healthy component of an eating plan, it made me focus too much on what I couldn't eat. I think we all need balance between the right carbs, proteins, and fats. My body functions wonderfully on a low-ER carbohydrate diet...but I started getting a little too extreme with how low carb I got. Why not have the grass-fed butter with the potatoes? Why not have fruit with my nuts? Contemplating whether or not I should eat fruit was not a mental state I wanted to be in.

All of these thoughts led to a lot of anxiety for me, and finally, I burst. The weekend of my birthday, I gave in to all my sugar cravings, and proceeded to give in for a week thereafter. I had been anxious for so long about how I was eating that I just needed that time of freedom. But, my little sugar/carb parade made me feel pretty icky, and only provided a temporary relief. While I firmly believe that we need foods that fuel our bodies and provide us with good nutrition, it should not become a stress in our lives, because stress inevitably leads to unhealthy choices. We all need balance, and the level of stress I was experiencing was not balanced, even if how I was eating before my birthday was a healthy and acceptable eating plan.

That is why this month, I am going to focus on having a balanced mind and balanced plate. I am going to try my best to make healthy choices, but not fear foods that are healthy such as potatoes, fruit, or even some grains! I am going to put foods into my body that make me feel healthy both physically and mentally. I am not going to make every food decision a debate in my mind (something many dietitians struggle with...because we know too much about food!) and focus on all the other aspects of my life such as my fiancé, family, upcoming wedding, friends, and work! Life has so much to offer, and I want to make the most of the time God has given me on this earth. I want to live a healthy life without it making me a miserable and anxious mess!

The funny part is, I'm not entirely sure how to accomplish this goal. I'm going to pray and take things one day at a time. I know God will provide me with His strength to make choices that honor and please Him, without letting these choices rule my life, mind, or happiness. And when I feel my perfectionist tendencies rearing their ugly head again, I'm going to step back and remember that life is so much more than what we eat, and we were put on this earth for bigger and better purposes! So I will have my meal, balance my plate, and move on with my life!

Here's to a wonderful October!

Protein Confusion Made Simple

I've noticed that protein has been such a popular topic in the nutrition world today. Protein is so important to our health and often either gets overlooked, or becomes TOO much a part of our daily dish. I thought I would write this post to share my thoughts on protein as a dietitian, as well as shed some light on the research for, and against, a high protein consumption. Recently, I came across an article entitled "High-Protein, reduced-carbohydrate weight-loss diets promote metabolite profiles likely to be detrimental to colonic health." Here is the link if anyone is interested:

Russell, Wendy R., et al. "High-protein, reduced-carbohydrate weight-loss diets promote metabolite profiles likely to be detrimental to colonic health." The American journal of clinical nutrition 93.5 (2011): 1062-1072.

These types of articles rub me the wrong way because they automatically take one side without considering other possibilities. I won't go into too much of the scientific detail, but the researchers compared a "weight-maintenance" diet of 85g protein with a "high protein, moderate carbohydrate" diet with 139g protein, and a "high protein low carbohydrate" diet with 137g protein and only 22g carbohydrate daily. They found that the diet with the highest protein and lowest carbohydrate level showed a decrease of colonic protein metabolites (also known as the short chain fatty acid butyrate)...leading to the conclusion that a high intake of protein may cause colon cancer. However, they found that if the diet still contains adequate amounts of fiber, the benefits of the fiber could counteract the possible negative side-effects of the high protein diet. With only 22g carbs a day, I highly doubt that diet contained enough fiber! Lastly, the researchers concluded that even though this relationship exists, there could be other factors leading to an increased risk of colon cancer, such as the fact that all of these experiments were done on obese people, as well as the fact that these findings depend on age, gender, and other lifestyle factors.

To me, these findings don't necessarily mean that we should all cut out protein and eat carbs all day long. I think protein is essential to health, well-being, energy, clear skin, good hair, and muscle strength. I believe that it all comes down to the quality of the foods we eat, including our protein quality. The quality of the foods we eat helps us maintain a healthy weight, which IN TURN decreases our chances of colon cancer, as well as many other chronic lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Stabilizing your weight to a healthy place while eating quality, real foods, and decreasing processed carbohydrates and sugars, leads to optimal health. Protein is definitely a part of that equation in my opinion. I would also like to note that a diet of 22 g of carbohydrates is just too low for a healthy body function. I don't believe we need as many carbohydrates as we are told to eat, but I also think that 22g of carbohydrates is a bit extreme. Going too low prevents you from even eating a good amount of vegetables, which provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber, as well as contribute to overall health. However, an adequate and moderate consumption of carbohydrates (100-200g depending on goals and activity level) can be reached by vegetables, fruits, and starchy vegetables (think sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, etc) without having to turn to breads, cereals, and other processed carbohydrate choices. Real food always wins! :)

Anyways, back to protein! At about the same time I came across the colon cancer article, I came across this article as well from Today's Dietitian Magazine:


This article is about athletes and protein intake. The article suggests that the amount of protein we have been recommending throughout the years (0.8 g protein/kg body weight for the average person) may actually not be enough for some people, including athletes. The author, a PhD RD, suggests that protein needs should be increased to 1.2-1.7g protein/kg body weight based on the activity level and age of the person in question. I fully agree with this! This article even goes on to address concerns of the high-protein diet, and that no data fully establishes a connection between a high protein intake and impaired kidney function in HEALTHY individuals that consume protein. Again, we must remember who we are comparing. In the first article, the experiment was done on obese people with multiple other health problems other than a colon cancer risk. In Today's Dietitian magazine, the author is reviewing studies that have been done on healthy, athletic people. Context is crucial.

Where does that leave us? As cliche, and perhaps disappointing as it sounds, I think it all boils down to balance. We can't completely cut out protein, but we always can't make it 80% of our diet. In fact, our bodies and brains won't let us. Protein has built in mechanisms to keep us full. Think about it; have you ever binged on chicken, or felt an uncontrollable need for 4, 5, or even 6 chicken breasts? I didn't think so. But, how easy it is to have 4, 5 or 6 dinner rolls before even touching your actual meal? Yes, been there, done that! That's why I love having protein with every meal. It's like a built in regulator for how much food I will consume and ensures that I will really stop eating when I am full. Protein is satisfying and filling, and should be a part of a healthy diet! However, please don't eat 4 chicken breasts in one sitting unless you are 300 lbs of pure muscle. You probably wouldn't want to anyway.

Lastly, what kind of protein do I recommend? Well, first of all, animal protein is the most bioavailable protein there is. So I recommend sources such as chicken, eggs, turkey, fish, grass-fed beef*, lamb, pork, etc. But I am also a realist and know that, at times, animal sources of meat may seem overwhelming, especially when consumed multiple days in a row. This is why other sources such as beans and lentils can be used as well. However, I recommend that animal proteins be given priority because they are more nutrient rich and satiating! And, as always, let's not forget what the majority of our plate should consist of...VEGETABLES! As long as your plate is full of those leafy greens, bright oranges, or deep reds, your protein options can vary.

I hope this review was helpful to those out there who are protein confused and will help you gage if you need to increase the quality and quantity of the protein you consume! I always recommend people trying things for themselves. Nutrition research is important, but it is also flawed as it has to do with so many factors other than solely what food is consumed during a certain period of time. And on that note, I am off to prepare my lunch for tomorrow! Green bean stew with leftover Armenian sausage patties...YUM! (Both recipes can be found on the blog with some searching!) Have a great night folks!

*I encourage grass-fed beef because it has more nutrition and is much better for us. Grass-fed meat is rich in vitamins and micronutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, and even antioxidants. So, my opinion is that grass fed is best. But I certainly can't control the source each and every time I have red meat, especially when eating out. The point is to do your best, don't stress yourself out, and enjoy your food and good health!

Daley, Cynthia A., et al. "A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef." Nutrition journal 9.1 (2010): 10.

A Day at the Zoo!

This week has been soooooo amazing! I had Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (today) off from work. These days off came at the perfect time because I have been really feeling like I just need some fun and relaxing time! I think we all need to learn to take breaks time and again, and I have definitely been enjoying my 3 day break! Yesterday, my fiancé and I decided to go to the LA Zoo! He took the day off so we could spend some time together. I love zoos and aquariums...I have no idea why, I just do!! I woke up extremely excited for the day! But first, I had breakfast, then went for a run! :) photo 1-3


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I ran outside for the first time in a long time. It felt SO good to run outside in the fresh air! My legs are a bit sore today, but in a good way. I only did a 3-ish mile run, but still felt like I got a really good workout! We live in a slightly hilly area, so some parts of my run were definitely more challenging than others!

After my run I showered, got ready, and then we headed to the zoo! I was so excited, I felt like a little kid!

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We walked around for a bit and saw these two lovebirds...

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Then headed to lunch! We went to a little grill, where I ordered a Chicken Caesar salad!

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I was pleasantly surprised by this salad. The chicken was freshly grilled, not the usual cold and chewy chicken they normally top salads with! It was so yummy and filling. After lunch, we walked around practically the entire zoo!

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Giraffs and elephants!

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We didn't realize how hilly this zoo was! We got more tired than we thought we would, and we had take a "let's-sit-on-a-bench" break!

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I was so amused by this sign below...


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The poor diabetic monkeys!!! :( I'm glad they have this sign so people can be a little more careful about what they just throw into the animal cages...which is so sad. But it also made me think about us as humans. We don't have signs hanging around our necks saying "I have sugar problems, don't offer me dessert!" We have to make our own conscious decisions...which is great because God gave us the ability to have discernment and make good and healthful choices! Not to say that it isn't hard...because it is! But at least we know that we have the ability to chose something healthy vs. something not healthy, and nothing is forced upon us! :)

After the zoo, we relaxed a bit and then headed to the mall for a nice dinner. We went to Cheesecake Factory. I love their Skinnylicious menu! I got the Skinnylicious burger, lettuce wrapped, with sweet potato fries...so yum!


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It was such a fun day yesterday!!! Today is my last day of vacation before I head back to work tomorrow. I am already thinking about how hard it will be to go back after such a nice and restful week...but I'm not going to think about that and instead, I will focus on making today another fun-filled day!!

Have a great Wednesday everyone!



Workouts and Eats!

I thought I'd write a quick little post about my week and recap my workouts and yummy eats. It's been such a solid week this week with workouts and meal planning...I'm pretty happy about it! As I mentioned a few posts back, I started working with a personal training in the beginning of May. I meet with him once a week, and workout from a log book twice a week. Having the routine and motivation has helped so much, since I usually hop on a cardio machine for an hour and call it a day. Now, I do toning/circuit workouts 3 times a week, with steady cardio the other 3 days.

I'm a very early riser (5am anyone??) but I still make sure to eat something before I workout. I've found that when I have higher protein/fat foods as my pre workout snack, I have more sustained energy during my workout. This week my pre workout foods have consisted of nuts, hard boiled eggs, or pairing a small banana with a  few nuts.

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I usually make my own trail mix because I despiseeeeee dried fruit (yuck!) so this week's nut mix is a combination of cashews, almonds, and macadamia nuts...yum!

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My workouts have lasted between 45 minutes to 1 hour. I do 20025 minutes of circuits and then a 30 minute interval run after my workout. On my alternating days, I do the elliptical for about an hour. I found this awesome hill setting on our machines which I am loving!

I've been making sure to have good protein and healthy carbs after my workouts. This morning, I worked on my back and biceps, did a 30 minute run, then came home and reheated the last slice of my frittata with some white sweet potatoes! I posted the frittata recipe a few days ago if anyone is interested!

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Last night, we went out to Cheesecake Factory. I got the Skinnylicious (such a funny name) salmon. I had some dental work done yesterday morning which made chewing rather difficult, but the salmon was so soft and flakey, so it was the perfect meal! And look how pretty it is too!


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This week has just reminded me how important it is to fuel yourself in order to get the most out of your workouts. If I don't fuel properly, I feel sluggish and exhausted and don't perform as well in the gym. I've found what works for me through trial and error! I recommend figuring out how to get the most bang for your time at the gym and making sure to fuel properly with good nutrition! Nutrition is so key in a healthy lifestyle! Anyways, I am off to work! Happy Friday and YAY for the weekend!!!

Oh Running, how I've missed you!

I am SO glad about the fact that it is Thursday already!! This week has flown by for me and I am so happy about it!! Thought I'd share a quick update on my running progress! As some of my readers already know, I used to be an avid runner (6-8miles/day and a few half marathons under my belt). Last October I hurt my hip and knee somehow and haven't been able to run much longer than 20 minutes (2 miles) at a time. Yesterday, I was able to run 3 miles!!! I was soooo excited! It took me a little longer than usual but it's definitely been a while and I had just worked my legs for about 20 minutes before hand.


I'm so excited to be getting back slowly but surely. I made sure to ice my knee afterwards and am feeling great today!! I've had a random swollen ankle the past couple weeks (no idea why) so that is the only discomfort I feel at the moment. I can't wait to hopefully be able to run more and run OUTSIDE since the weather has been beautiful!!

After my run, I made sure to have a nice and balanced post


Anyways, gotta go hit the gym! Have a lovely day everyone! :)