Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wearing a Weighted Vest & Maca

Wearing a Weighted Vest & Maca


The benefits of a weighed vest:

Takes Cardio to a new level

Just as weight vests have been proven effective in the resistance-training realm, they have also made their mark in the cardiovascular arena. As if running with your own bodyweight wasn't difficult enough, consider throwing on a 50 lb. weight vest and attempting to do the same. That is exactly what 12 distance athletes were asked to do in a study published in the "European Journal of Applied Physiology." One group performed exercise with vests weighing approximately 10 percent of their bodyweight, and another group performed the same exercise without the weight vests. The group wearing the weight vests emerged victorious with improvements in both their "VO2 max (a measure of the body's ability to consume oxygen) and lactate threshold (the exercise intensity at which lactate begins to accumulate in the blood)," two crucial factors affecting endurance exercise.


Musculoskeletal Benefits

As well as making your muscles stronger, wearing a weighted vest when running will increase the load transmitted through your bones. The extra loading can result in increased bone mass by stimulating cells called osteoblasts to lay down new bone material in response to the demands being placed on your skeleton. To simplify, bones become stronger and denser to handle the extra weight.

Serves as a Tool for Variation

Constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. I’m sure you’ve heard that more than once, seeing as it is the definition of CrossFit. Human bodies adapt to specific movements over a period of time, whether positive or negative. A halted progress in exercise is usually the result of this adaptation. Weight vests provide a great tool for variation that our bodies aren’t prepared for. This unconventional exercise method allows us to throw our systems off whenever necessary.

Disadvantages of a Weighted Vest

Joint, Shoulder and Back Pain    Weighted vests add weight to the torso, which is where the body naturally stores much of its excess weight. Unfortunately, the weight in a weighted vest must be supported largely by the shoulders instead of being supported from below by the hips like natural weight. This can lead to vertebrae compression, shoulder injuries and pinched nerves in the spinal column. Those with existing back or shoulder problems should consult a doctor before using a weighted vest to make sure the added weight of the vest won't make the problems worse.  Though the immediate strain of wearing a weighted vest is borne by the shoulders, the added weight to the torso must still be supported by the hips, knees and ankles. Even natural weight can cause joint problems, and the weight added by a weighted vest can simulate this strain and irritate the joints that support the body's weight. As long as proper form is used when exercising with a weighted vest, there is generally little problem, but people who use improper form or who continue exercising while tired can suffer from lower body joint injuries as a result of the increased weight that the joints are supporting. As with back and shoulder problems, those with existing lower body joint problems should consult a doctor before using a weighted vest.

Cost    

While low-end weighted vests are available for $20 to $40, higher-quality vests sell for $350 or more. Cheaper weighted vests are more likely to have poor construction, poor weight balancing and poor overall design because of limitations imposed by designing the vests to be sold at a low price point. Higher-quality vests may not be possible for everyone interested in using a weighted vest, resulting in some users having to buy a vest that doesn't fit properly or doesn't meet their fitness needs.


I got this 12b weighted vest from Amazon Prime (free shipping) for 30$.  If you're a larger breasted gal, wearing it upside down helps.  Here, I'm wearing it right side up, but found this tip out later and it stays on a lot better!

 My Personal Experience with a Weighted Vest Thus Far:

I am really enjoying it.  I don't wear it for long HIIT or cardio sessions.  But when Fitnessblender has a 20 minute HIIT in my calendar line up, I strap that bad boy on!  It takes Pop Squats to a whole new (Mean) level.  If you desire to see results and increase your endurance, you can't stay where you are.  You have to change things up.  I get bored easily with workouts.  Working out at home has the potential to get mundane.  Doing something like adding in a new prop can really take things to a new level! 

Maca

I have read about Maca for years but was too afraid to take it because I knew that one of the benefits was fertility.  Seems like every time I went internet searching for 'natural energy' I was post baby.  The thought of increasing my fertility at that time was maddening.  No way Jose! So I always dismissed the supplement.  My husband is now 'fixed' and things like this no longer scare me.  My friend was telling me about her interest in maca, and I was like..."oh yeah, I can try that now!"

Here are the top 7 benefits of Maca from the internet:
  1. decreases menopausal symptoms
  2. improves sexual function
  3. aphrodisiac 
  4. supports mood
  5. fertility 
  6. increases bone density
  7. energy enhancer
I did a ton of reading about maca and found out ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING!!!  Only take GELATINIZED MACA!  Most of the time raw is best, except in this situation!  You can read more about the process here! I took raw maca for a week and had the worst stomach cramps of my life.  After reading this article it all made sense to me.  I now take gelatinized (cooked) maca and haven't had any issues!  

My Personal Experience with Maca Thus Far:

I have been on Maca for a few weeks now.  My most major, noticeable imprint from the superfood is ENERGY!  I am really ready to take on a cleaning project mid afternoon.  This isn't the norm for me!  I still drink coffee and still do all my other routines but this has really put the 'gas' back in my tank.  Especially in those afternoon slumps.  Once I took maca late afternoon and had trouble sleeping that night.  I now take it in the morning.  

My last period lasted only 4 days and it normally goes on for 6-7.  This was the first time I've had cramps in years.  It wasn't bad.  I would take cramps and shorter period any day!  

My mood is noticeably better in tolerating stress.  I still have my 'moments'.  (Yesterday was a beast and lost it!  So don't expect it to turn you into Donna Reed!) But I am a tad calmer in situations.  I wrangle my 6 kids by myself a lot.  (The husband works late nights.)  I'll just say I'm feeling less crazy and leave it at that! 

Sexual function.  The verdict is still out on that.  I'm not one to kiss and tell.  It's a private matter.  Getting into the mood isn't as hard as it was with all the crazy baby hormones like in the past!  I have only been taking this for a few weeks and read that the improvements mentioned above couldn't be noticed for a month or more.

How do I take it?  

I do put 1 tsp in my smoothies.  Sometimes I think it over powers them and really have to up my cocoa powder to mask the taste.  I'm not 100% excited about it's earthy tones.  I also want another shake flavor that maca doesn't compliment, so I keep some 'maca energy balls' in my fridge to eat.  This is great before a morning workout or post snack with your shake!  Maca is suppose to be cycled.  This is a good idea with most natural supplements.  You don't wanna take this stuff day in and day out, forever.  Give you body a break or it could build a tolerate and you'll have less effects.  Just put on your calendar when you started taking it.  After a few months, take a week or two off of it and then start again! 

MACA ENERGY BALLS
1 Tablespoon Peanut Flour
2 Tablespoons of Almond or Peanut Butter
2-4 teaspoons of THM Super Sweet (depending on your sweet level)
3/4 teaspoons of sunflower lecithin (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons MCT oil
a few pinches of salt
3/4 teaspoon of unsweetened almond milk

Mix all ingredients together and form into 3 balls and refrigerate.  If the balls are too squishy
and don't hold form, add some more peanut flour.  If they seem too dry then add a dash more of milk!

For a chocolate version, instead of the tablespoon of peanut flour,
add 2 teaspoons of peanut flour and 1 teaspoon of coco powder.

For all my Trim Healthy Mama's this is an S snack.  To make it an E just reduce the
MCT to a splash and substitute the nut butter for Peanut Butter Junkie (found in the cookbook)


All the ingredients for the S snack, except the almond milk


I mixed with my hands to make a 'crumble'


added the milk and formed a ball


I weighed each ball so I had the same amount of maca in each ball 
(it's my OCD coming through)


See how the top left is a tad firmer than the other peanut ones?
Just showing you that they all come out a little different.
The chocolate is yum!


Hope you enjoyed today's post.  Let me know if you tried a weight vest or the maca energy balls!  I would love to hear your experiences!








Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Have you seen that wonderful recipe floating around for sweetened condensed milk that is on plan?

No?

Check this out: Sweet Condensed Milk Recipe

Now, when you read this recipe you will quickly realize you need some patience as it has to simmer for 4 hours!  I saw this recipe over a year ago and thought of all the wonderful possibilities.  Then... I just never found 4 hours to simmer something.  And really, it's such a simplistic recipe, it seemed too good to be true.  Really.

Then I came across one of those recipe videos on Facebook.  You know the ones.  We are all guilty of watching, saving and sharing them.  This one was the pumpkin pie in muffin cups made with sweetened condense milk.  Have you seen it?

No?

Check this out: Tip Hero Mini Pumpkin Pies

Now.  Is.  The.  Time!  I decided to make the pies with the infamous milk.  Unfortunately I only had one can of full fat coconut milk so I improvised (and boy and I glad I did!)  It turned out wonderful!  I can only imagine the original recipe using all coconut milk tasting to 'coconutty'.  The heavy cream really softened it.

Here's what I did:

I poured one can of full fat coconut into a sauce pan.  I filled that can about 2/3 the way with heavy cream.  I didn't fill the whole can up because that's all I had.  But...2/3 worked perfectly!  I stirred in 4 Tablespoons of THM Sweet Blend.  When my mixture came to a boil, I simmered it....for FOUR HOURS.  It turned a little brown.  I guess it was reducing, but not as much as I had expected.  It thickened nicely.  I did whisk it often so it wouldn't burn and kept the heat low on the burner... just above bubbling.





Nice and Thick!



That's it!

I got exactly 14 oz, which is what the recipe called for.  I used it in the recipe just as it called for regular condensed milk.  I will have to say that I had to add more sweetener to the pie mixture.  I felt like it could be sweeter so maybe the next time I make the milk, I will sweeten it more.  Sweetened Condensed Milk is supposed to be sickeningly sweet, after all! 


Here's my pies:



My crust was from the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook! 
Traditional Pie Crust page 325

It tasted so amazing! 

This is my Thanksgiving dessert.  I may even have one for breakfast, too! 

Happy Thanksgiving! 






Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Caldo de Res (Mexican Beef Soup)

Caldo de Res (Mexican Beef Soup) with Zing!!!



This soup is so fantastic. So, in your face, with Mexican flavor.  So... very different from your run of the mill, typical beef soup! My family and I have been going to our favorite Mexican restaurant for 12 years now. They know us by our van, as we pull into the parking lot. My husband eats lunch their 4 time a week....at least! They have his table all set up with his food and drink when he walks in. It's a comfort for our children to go somewhere they feel special and the servers know them by name. Also, having 6 kids, we tend to make a bit of a mess. This restaurant expects the chaos we bring, so it's no big surprise! Lol!


This restaurant created a new soup for the winter season. We sampled it the day they created it. It was delicious. Unfortunately, they put bacon in it so I had to mock up a pork free version for us. I didn't dare ask them their recipe (my Spanish is rusty anyway), so this is a taste to memory success!

Ingredients:
  • 2-3 pounds Rump Roast
  • salt
  • 2-3 cups beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup frozen veggies (I used the frozen diced onion, red and green peppers and celery)
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained
  • 6 tablespoons tomatillo salsa (It's the “green” salsa, sometimes labeled salsa verde- I get the one with jalapenos for some kick. If your salsa verde doesn't have jalapenos, think about adding something spicy like cayenne, red pepper flakes or a small can of jalapenos.)
  • 1 tablespoon of cilantro (I use the paste kind because NONE of my stores have the fresh. If you you're using fresh I would triple this amount)
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • 2 limes
  • diced avocado




Whew! I said flavorful! So that means lots of ingredients! :)

In your crock pot, add the beef broth, tomato paste and thyme. Whisk till mixed throughly and then place your bay leaf in. (If you you're using 2 pounds of meat go for 2 cups of broth, if you're using 3 pounds, add 3 cups. It's really a 'how-soupy-you-like-it' preference.) Salt your meat, liberally, on all sides. In a skillet, add the tablespoon of olive oil and get your pan real hot. Sear your meat on all sides. (You're not cooking this meat all the way through, just crisping the sides. It's a nice trick I learned years ago. It seals in the juices and makes the meat delicious.) When your meat is seared, add it to your crock pot. Around your roast, pour in your veggies. (You can use fresh instead of frozen, but this is a time saver.) Slow cook your roast for 6-8 hours on low.  You don't have to, but a every so often you can baste the meat with the flavored broth.  No biggie if you don't! I know crock pot cooking is all about  'fix and forget' but turning the meat or basting can give you a more flavorful meat.

After your roast is cooked throughly, take out with a pair of tongs onto a cutting board. You'll know it's done when it falls apart, as you spear it with a fork. Pull or cut your roast into bite size pieces and add back to the crock pot with the following: beans, salsa verde, cilantro, garlic and lime. Now is the time to add more broth if you think it needs it.  Turn your crock pot up to high and let it cook another 30-45 min. Even longer if you want.

Spoon soup into a bowl and serve with diced avocado on top.  



 Serving: 4 BIG Bowls or 6-8 smaller bowls


My husband gives it 5 "mmmm's"
When I was done eating mine, I had to break bad table manners and........


Trim Healthy Mama's: This is an S soup!  Don't let the one can of beans scare you.  Not enough carbs to put you in E! 


***I have been known to cook a pot roast in my pressure cooker as a time saver.  If you don't have the 8-10 hours to do this and have a pressure cooker, you can still have this soup in about an hour or so! Just pressure cook your roast in the broth, tomato paste and spices.  Don't forget to sear meat first.  Then add cut up, cooked, roast and broth to a pot on the stove.  Add the other ingredients and simmer for 30-45 min!  







Sunday, November 1, 2015

HALLOWEEN 2015 {THM style}

It's Halloween... 

...and the truly scariest sight is a tired momma!  She's the real zombie!  I had just rangled 6 kids at an over crowed fall festival.  Ticket cost were sucking me dry.  Really! 2 BUCKS to throw a pie?!  I had lost one kid for a good 15 minutes, there were a few tantrums, gimme this and gimme that mantras, "I'm cold"...."I'm bored"..."I wanna go home"...."I don't wanna go home!!!"

By the time I got home and rubbed my eyes, in pure exhaustion, I had concluded that I invented the zombie look long before Walking Dead.  


Halloween is one of those holidays that just makes people loose all crotrol when it comes to food and especially 'treats'.  Can I get an amen?  Those little twizzlers and snickers will not keep or make your hips little...if you know what I'm saying! 
And all the party food!  Is there a way to eat the spooky treats and still not have all those ghoulish guilts?

Answer.... YES!

Enter Trim Healthy Mama: Halloween Food

Now, you'll have to get the new book for some of these recipes.  (It's only fair...and might I add totally worth it!)


First up is a Pimento Cheese Skull.  I never follow a particular recipe when it comes to pimento cheese.  Here i have Monterey Jack cheese, mayo and cream cheese.  I mixed it all in my food processor and add pimentos. The eyes are boiled eggs, olives and almonds for teeth.


The crackers are obviously not on plan.  Those were for party guest that may not have liked the Joseph Pita chips or veggies as a vessel for shoving this creamy goodness in the pie hole.


Layered Mexican dip.  I have shredded chicken on the bottom, salsa, black beans, shredded cheese, tomatoes and olives.  I put some sour cream in a baggie and cut off a corner to pipe a web.


Swedish Meatball 'bats' from the new Trim Healthy Mama cookbook page 61.
I did spaghetti sauce instead of the cream sauce.


Deviled Eggs with olive spiders!


Trim Healthy Mama's Fakertot casserole page 147.  This was delicious!  I made some tombstones and a spooky tree from Joseph Pita bread.  I just over crisped them slightly.  



Veggie skeleton with ranch dip!



WHERE ARE THE SWEETS????


THM Halloween just wouldn't be right without something sweet!
These treats are full of healthy fat, low carb and NO SUGAR! 



Chocolate Chip Cookies, Skinny Peppermint Patties, Treeces, Pay Off Day Candy Pecan style, Lemon and Berry Gummies and Pay Off Day Candy dipped in Chocolate to mock the popular Snickers!


I had NO desire to dip my hand into my kids buckets this year.  I haven't sampled one single sugar ladened candy or splurged on anything that will put me out of my skinny jeans next week! 
You can still be creative with THM and holidays.  It makes great party food and even people that don't do THM, will love it!


My best friend and I have been on THM for years and have never looked better!



So get that sugar-monkey off your back.  Order the THM newly revised on plan book and cookbook. You can also find the book in stores like Sams and Kroger.  








Sunday, October 4, 2015

NO BAKE....Pumpkin Bites {S}

I had a small amount of canned pumpkin left in my frig and created these on a whim. Not to build them up too much, but they remind me of those donut holes you buy in a box. I'm gonna steal the THM saying and say... Own It!! Make this your own. I just made these on the fly, but you can certainly put whatever spin you want on them! I love how the sisters encourage us to be our own chefs! Get creative & Make it work 

NO BAKE....Pumpkin Bites {S}:

1 c baking blend (homemade or THM brand)
1/2 c pure can pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
Splash caramel extract *optional, if you don't have it's okay*
Pinch of salt
1 Tb almond butter
1/2-1 Tb pumpkin pie spice, depending how spicy you like it
1 Tb coconut oil
Sweetener *the amount is gonna be questionable. There are so many different kinds out there. I make my own which probably can be compared to the Gentle Sweet. I did about 1/3 cup but dumped more in making it like 1/2 cup...BUT...I like super duper sweet stuff. Just taste as you go! 
Erythritol granular (not ground) & cinnamon for rolling 
Mix all ingredients together except erythritol and cinnamon for rolling. It's consistency is like sticky play dough. Form tablespoon balls and roll in erythritol and cinnamon mixture. NO BAKE... Just chill for 30 min. and enjoy! Great with coffee!!!!



*This has shown many possibilities as THMs have added cream cheese, peanut butter, fried and baked them!  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Freezer Meals

7 Days of THM friendly Freezer Meals

I will add all the links & then repost with any tips and pictures after I have completed the week... PS- this is my first attempt at this!  Any comments are much appreciated ;)

Dinner:




Lunches will be leftovers...

which is something I never have because I'm always making dinner "on-the-fly" and I am hoping that planning ahead and making big pot meals will load my frig with more leftovers.  This will also be helpful for a hungry husband on the go.  I know he's sick of Turkey Sandwiches! Some things I may make and freeze, if I feel like it, will be:


  • Just like Campbell's Tomato Soup.  I like to add rice and cooked chicken to mine E
  • Salads in a mason jar, ready to shake and eat (obviously I won't be freezing my salads but I will have these ready in the frig)



Breakfast: 

I am up at 6 and rushing kids and myself out the door for school.  It would be nice to have some breakfast things ready.  I am guilty of just having coffee and nothing else until I get home from school drop off which is around 8:30.  That's too long to go without food!  Here's my ideas:




I thought it would be pertinent to post how to avoid freezer burn.  Since this is my first attempt, I want to avoid all speed bumps!  Happy Cooking...err...Freezing!



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Apple Fries

Apple Fritter, Apple Pie...But what about Apple FRIES!!!


So- it's an E day and I'm sitting at my computer meal planning for later in the day. Dessert? I'm feeling like an apple pie. I start to google apple pie and find these babies... Apple Fries! I'll give credit where credit is due. BUT...This recipe contains BS. (Bread and Sugar) so no need to even click on it. I was able to 'THM-it-up' and BOY was it a winner!! It has a satisfying crunch on the outside and on the inside a warm burst of sweetness. Kinda like a steak fry but sweet.  So let's get to it...

Preheat your oven to 425.  I just built a Jammed UP house and now I have a super fly oven.  It has convection and I L.O.V.E. it!  My THM crackers are super crisp all the way thru using this setting!

In a bowl mix:
1/3 Oat Flour (This is FLOUR not Fiber.  Just grind up some oats for this but don't pulverize.  Leave some bits and pieces)
1-2 tsp cinnamon (just depends on how saucy your are)
2 Tbs Erythritol (NOT ground into a powder)
2 doonks of THM stevia
a heavy handed shake of nutmeg 
less of a heavy handed shake of cloves
1/8 tsp of salt (just a few shakes, really)


Give it a whirl with a spoon and you should have this...



See my bits and pieces of oats?


Next, in another bowl pour some liquid egg whites.
For those that need measurements...no more than 1/3 cup.

Now you have your dipping station ready to go!

I cut one Granny Smith apple into larger chunks...like so...

The Racking System is key!  You need a cooling type rack held by a cookie sheet.  I bought a small type cooling rack last Christmas when I wanted to start baking bacon in the oven.  It looks like this....

Nothin' fancy :)

Dip your apple wedges in the egg whites and then into your oat crumble.  I pressed hard on all sides to achieve a full coverage of crumble.


Bake for 10 minutes!
Yep!
That's it!

Let them cool for just a minute or less.  I think they are best warm.  You could make a greek vanilla sweet yogurt to go with them.  I am super impressed with the crisp!  





In a nutshell...

Ingredients:
1/3 Oat Flour (This is FLOUR not Fiber.  Just grind up some oats for this but don't pulverize.  Leave some bits and pieces)

1-2 tsp cinnamon (just depends on how saucy your are)
2 Tbs Erythritol (NOT ground into a powder)
2 doonks of THM stevia
a heavy handed shake of nutmeg 
less of a heavy handed shake of cloves
1/8 tsp of salt (just a few shakes, really)
1/3 cup egg whites
1 Granny Smith (or whatever you have) apple


Method:
Preheat oven to 425 convection.
Mix all ingredients together except for apples and egg whites.
Slice apple into wedges.
Dip apples into egg whites and then into apple crumble, pressing firmly.
Rig a rack system with a cooling type rack over a cookie sheet.  
Line apples on cooling rack, not overlapping.
Bake 10 mins.  


And now for the questions...because there are always questions...
I'm gonna play fortune teller and see if I can think of all the questions that will be asked.

1. Do you have to you use Convection.

No, it'll probably be fine

2. What if my Erythritol is already powdered?

It'll still be sweet, but I do think the granules add to the crunch.

3. What if I don't have a cooling rack to bake with?  Can I just use a cookie sheet?

I would think so, but turn the apples half way through.

Let me know if you have any others... ;)