Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

I’m currently watching a documentary on Netflix called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. It’s about a man named Joe, whose lifestyle lead him to develop health problems such as high blood pressure, a severe skin disease, and almost-issues like being pre-diabetic and at serious risk of heart problems. He decides to “Reboot”, that is, do a juicing cleanse for 60 days. The documentary follows him on his journey through the withdrawals of fast foods, sugar, and processed foods to eventually losing over 200 pounds (and counting) via his new diet choices and switching from a sedentary to active lifestyle. Check out the website here. His dedication to better his life was an inspiration to many of the other people interviewed/followed in the documentary, and it got me thinking, too.

Now I’m definitely not saying I’m about to do a 60-day juice cleanse, but it has made me wonder more about the foods I’m putting (and maybe shouldn’t be putting) into my body. In the last few months I’ve been trying to get my full daily recommendation of fruits and veggies (2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables, according to this CDC website), and even that has been a little challenging (maybe not so much the fruits…). I’ve been buying more veggies like carrots, cucumbers, avocados, and tomatoes, and have even added 1 8oz. glass of V8 V-Fusion (Light!) to my diet to help. I bring carrots to work for a snack, saute squash or eat individually packaged veggies from Green Giant for dinner,  and have even taken to finding staple recipes like Caprese Quinoa Salad and Korean Cucumber Salad for Wednesdays when I bring back my haul from the farmer’s market.

Another thing I don’t think I want to do is become a vegetarian or vegan. I LOVE meat. It’s good, good for me (depending…), and is one of my main sources for protein. Many vegetarians and vegans (but not all!) end up needing to take supplements to get essential vitamins and minerals they may not get otherwise as a result of their diet. Our ancestors lived in a natural way of using the land, and I want to continue to as well. Unfortunately, with the higher and higher demands of meat in the world today, manufacturers are injecting animals with things like steroids and growth hormones.

On the same subject, many similar facts are being stated about fruits and vegetables. Pesticides (“cide” meaning “to kill”) and other chemicals are being sprayed on the crops to keep insects away and to make the food ripen at the “right time”. So, the solution? To buy organic. Everything? Some things? That’s what I’m working on understanding now. Besides remembering which fruits and veggies I need to buy organic, there’s the fact that I’m fresh out of college and still trying to find my way in the world (we’re talking monetarily here…). So far I’ve learned one simple rule about buying organic. Things you need to peel, like mangos, avocados, bananas, corn, onions, etc… don’t need to be organic. However strawberries, blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, etc… should be. Then nutrition articles  start to contradict each other and scientists discover new things. By the time I do some research, I feel like I’m right back where I started. My knowledge bank is overflowing with “GMOs” and “BHT” and “BHA” and “BPA” and nitrate products and refined sugars and on and on. I’ve started collecting information and storing it here, on my Pinterest page, where I can refer to it easily before I go grocery shopping or save a recipe.

Semi-considering all that’s going around now, I try to eat the best I can. If I’m craving something sweet, I try to make my own dessert so I can control how much good stuff and bad stuff goes into it. I’ve taken to substituting unsweetened applesauce for oil in my waffles, cake, and some other recipes (although we found out the sad way that it’s not a very good substitute in brownies). I buy a big bag of brown rice to cook and season myself instead of buying the high-sodium boxed and 90-second microwave bag versions. I’ve also grown to love quinoa. I like Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt. JIF natural peanut butter instead of regular or reduced fat. I buy cereal with 8 grams of sugar or less. I use regular milk (1%) for bowls of cereal and recipes, but have started using soy milk (original, unsweetened) in smoothies. I get lots of my protein from the things listed above, like milk, meat, Greek yogurt, and eggs.

In the end, I just try my best to eat as well as I can every day. If I go out to dinner and get something that’s not the… healthiest… it’s okay. I can’t feel bad about one unhealthy meal. Just like one good meal doesn’t make you “skinny”, one bad meal isn’t going to make you fat. It’s your overall diet and habits that make your body the way it is. Take care of it.

Here’s a list I found on a blog pinned to my Pinterest page of documentaries (like Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead). I’ve only seen Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and Supersize Me (which I watched in high school and would definitely recommend). I hope that by watching some more of these I learn more about today’s food industry.

  1. Food Inc.
  2. Vegucated.
  3. Fork Over Knives
  4. Hungry for a Change
  5. Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
  6. Fork Over Knives The Extended Interview
  7. America the Beautiful
  8. Killer at Large (why obesity is America’s greatest threat)
  9. A Walk to Beautiful
  10. FAT What No One Is Telling You
  11. King Corn, Our Daily Bread
  12. Supersize Me
  13. Future of Food
  14. Food Matters
  15. Fed Up
  16. Food Fight

From what I have seen and read, the thing I do know is that if I ever decide to do an extreme lifestyle change (that would mean not only becoming vegetarian or vegan, but even going dairy-free, etc…) I would do a LOT of research to make sure I was doing it properly. The last thing I would want in my wish to change and be more healthy was to do the opposite and deprive myself of essential nutrients. If you decide to change your diet, check with a doctor for advice, and if you see any bodily changes that aren’t normal, get things checked out. You don’t want to try to better yourself and end up going the opposite direction!

Well, I guess that’s enough rambling about things I’m not an expert on. Do you have any tips or easy ways to remember other rules about food and diet?

Happy happy Fourth of July!

Good Things 🙂


P.S. No one ever got fat from eating too many fruits and vegetables.

Weekend Challenge March 16th & 17th

Happy Friday everyone! You week is almost over and it’s time to relax! Your Weekend Challenge isn’t an active one this time. I’d like you to try drinking 1 (8oz.) glass of water before each meal. I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately that say this helps to fill you up so you don’t eat as much during your meal. So before breakfast, lunch, and dinner this weekend try drinking some water to conquer that initial hungry feeling. Then chow down (hopefully a little less than you normally would)!

Another thing you can try if you find yourself with the munchies and looking for snacks all weekend is to hydrate. Lots of times your brain will tell you you’re hungry, when all you really need is some fluid. Listen to your tummy!

Do something fun outside this weekend. It will make you happy, and you deserve to be happy.

Good Things 🙂



March 14th=3/14=3.14. You know what that means? Only that you get to look forward to a pi-themed workout and healthy pi(e) for dessert. Let’s get cracking.

The workout today will provide a good mixture of cardio and strength training. There are two workouts. One for those of you who don’t have access to weights at the gym, and one for those of you who do. Do each exercise for one minute. There will be 3 minutes of cardio (3 exercises), a 1-minute rest, and 4 minutes of strength training. Here are your options:

At Home: No Weights

3: Jumping Jacks
Mountain Climbers
Squat Jumps


4: Lunges
Squats (touch the floor with your fingers every time you squat down!)
Diamond Push-ups

With Weight

3: Jumping Jacks
Mountain Climbers
Squat Jumps


4: Lunge with Bicep Curl
Curtsey with V-Raise
Squat with Shoulder Press
Squat Pulse holding weight straight out in front of you
*3 minutes of cardio can also be substituted at a fast pace on an elliptical/treadmill/bike etc.

And what would Pi Day be without super delicious yummy almost-homemade pie? My pick (the same one I made last year) is Easy Peanut Butter Pie. My love of peanut butter may sway my vote a bit when choosing this over a fruit pie, but I can’t resist! You’re all invited over to have a piece of mine when I come home from work tomorrow night. First come, first serve!

So happy Pi Day to all, and may you find the perfect way to celebrate!

Good Things 🙂


Where did the general keep his armies??

Up his sleevies, of course!

But where do you keep your armies? OUT where you can show off that tone and muscle. DUH. Can’t hide them when they look that good!

…then again maybe you want to feel even more proud of them. Or those muscles don’t feel very good exposed after that snow storm this week. So try this relatively simple but very effective arm workout to get those muscles working:

First, start off with three sets of push-ups and diamond push-ups. Push-ups are some of the best exercises you can do for your arms, and if you’re anything like me you REALLY don’t like doing arms, especially push-ups. But honestly, I figure the more I hate doing an exercise, the better it probably is for me. So get on your toes, or start on your knees(!), and crank out as many as 3 sets of 15-20 of both regular and diamond push-ups. Honestly, that’s quite a large number, but it’s definitely something to work towards. you may be starting with 5 of each, but push yourself (pun intended) and I think you’ll start to feel like superman (or woman) in no time.

When you finish your push-ups, rest for a minute and then kick it in to gear with a lighter pair of dumbbells (maybe 5-8 lbs, unless you’re feeling really ambitious). Do this (please), and don’t you dare rest until you’ve finished all 5 exercises:

10 front raises
10 bent-over rows
10 side (“T”) raises
10 bent-over flies
10 v-raises

REST and REPEAT 3 TIMES TOTAL. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, it is very possible. And yes, it will make you feel GOOD.

Now do the math. By the end of this you will have done anywhere between 30 and 120 push-ups (I’m up to 90!) and 150 total reps in dumbbell exercises.

I was debating whether I should write that down or not, but I wanted you to feel good about yourself (because you should) when you finished. Just turn up your music and do it to the beat.

My boyfriend is in the middle of trying out the keto-diet (low carb, high protein), which is fine because he drinks enough milk for a family of 4 in two days and it’s a little nauseating. He came to visit this weekend, which meant it was up to me to feed him things he could eat. We stumbled across these Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers and they were really awesome. I don’t know what it is with me and stuffed pepper posts. You’d think I ate them all the time but I promise I eat other foods, too.

Also, looking for an easy, healthy dessert tonight after dinner? Try these Baked Apples in a Bag. They are so simple and yummy.

Now go eat a healthy snack, tell the person you live with you love them (pets are people, too) and relax on the rest of your Sunday night.

Good Things 🙂



Tabata and Healthy(…er) Cupcakes


Sounds cool, yes? Maybe a little intimidating, but hey, it was a sweet last name and now a fun word. Why not?

Tabata is a type of workout created by some health-crazy Japanese man who knew his stuff. He ran tests and experiments and found that high-intensity interval training increased both aerobic and anaerobic systems (two different types of exercise that collectively benefit all of your different muscles types). Basically, interval training is fantastic. It revs up your metabolism and helps your muscles to stay active, even after you stop working out, to burn calories and boost fat loss.

I’ve recently been teaching Tabata as a half-hour exercise class, and my clients love love love it! Originally, Tabata was meant as a 4-minute all-out cardio blast, where you max out all effort during your set and keel over in exhaustion and satisfaction at the end. Now don’t go getting any ideas that you should pace yourself when you try this workout, but it is going to be challenging. Try not to cheat. The harder you work, the sooner that second wind comes around… right?

So here’s the deal:

Each set is 4 minutes total.
6 sets; 2 exercises in each set.
That’s 4 rounds of each exercise in a set, for 8 total rounds in a set.

Got it? No? Yeah, that explanation was about as Japanese as the man who made this up. Follow this:

Do each exercise for 20 seconds and rest 10 seconds. For example, you would do (1) for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, do (2) for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, do (1) 20 seconds, etc. Each exercise will be done 4 times before moving on to the next set, for a total of 4 minutes per set.

Note: Any exercise with a * next to it has a how-to picture posted underneath the exercises. All other exercises you may not know (make sure you have proper form!) are easily found in a Google search.

1. Jumping Jacks
2. Squatted Punch (stay low the whole time!)*

1. Mountain Climbers
2. Lunge with Dumbbell Bicep Curls

1. Burpees/Squat Thrust
2. Bridge (aka hip raise) to Crunch*

1. Invisible Jump Rope
2. V-Raise with Curtsey*

1. Lunge Jumps (go down as far as you can!)
2. Squat Pulse holding weight

1. Push-ups/Diamond Push-ups
2. Squat Kick-backs*

1. In and Outs (shuffle your feet in and out quickly)
2. Standing Punch

1. High Knees
2. Front Raise/T-Raise*

1. Squat Jacks (stay low!)
2. Hip Raises aka Bridge

1. Invisible Jump Rope
2. V-Raise with Curtsey*

1. Lunge Walk Jumps (for less impact)
2. Squat Pulse

1. Push-ups/Diamond Push-ups
2. Backward Leg Raises

No weights? Try the workout below, or hold a couple laundry bottles, heavy bags, etc. for the ones above!

1. Jumping Jacks
2. Push-Ups

1. Mountain Climbers
2. Diamond Push-Ups

1. Squat Jumps
2. Bridge to Crunch*

1. Squat Jacks (stay low!)
2. Alternating lunges

1. Burpees/Squat Thrusts
2. “Kettlebell” (i.e. something heavy) Swing

1. Invisible Jump Rope
2. Squat to Press (just use something heavy)

Again, do each exercise for 20 seconds and rest 10 seconds. For example, you would do (1) for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, do (2) for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, do (1) 20 seconds, etc. Each exercise will be done 4 times before moving on to the next set, for a total of 4 minutes per set.

Doing all 6 sets, and resting 1 minute in between sets will bring your workout to a grand total of 29 minutes. Modify if needed for knee, back, elbow, etc.problems, but don’t modify just because your lungs are burning! They’re supposed to. You can do it! Yes it sucks, and yes you’re breathing heavy, but you’re also sweating yourself to a good mood and fitter, more toned body. Definitely worth it.

V-Raise with Curtsey

V-Raise with Curtsey-- Step 1

V-Raise with Curtsey– Step 1

Curtsey and V-Raise-- Step 2

Curtsey and V-Raise– Step 2

Curtsey and V-Raise-- Step 3

Curtsey and V-Raise– Step 3

Curtsey and V-Raise-- Step 4

Curtsey and V-Raise– Step 4

Curtsey and V-Raise-- Step 5. Repeat!

Curtsey and V-Raise– Step 5. Repeat!

Squatted Punch

Squatted Punch-- stay low the whole time

Squatted Punch– stay low the whole time

Squatted Punch-- stay low the whole time

Squatted Punch– stay low the whole time

Front to T-Raise

Front to T-Raise-- Step 1

Front to T-Raise– Step 1

Front to T-Raise-- Step 2

Front to T-Raise– Step 2

Front to T-Raise-- Step 3

Front to T-Raise– Step 3

Front to T-Raise-- Step 4

Front to T-Raise– Step 4

Front to T-Raise– Step 5. Repeat!

Squat Kick-back

Squat Kick-Backs-- Step 1

Squat Kick-Backs– Step 1

Squat Kick-Backs-- Step 2

Squat Kick-Backs– Step 2

Squat Kick-Backs-- Step 3

Squat Kick-Backs– Step 3

Squat Kick-Backs-- Step 4

Squat Kick-Backs– Step 4

Squat Kick-Backs-- Step 5. Repeat!

Squat Kick-Backs– Step 5. Repeat!

Bridge (aka Hip Raise) to Crunch

Bridge to Crunch-- Step 1. Think "Up-Down-Crunch-Down"

Bridge to Crunch– Step 1. Think “Up-Down-Crunch-Down”

Bridge to Crunch-- Step 2. Think "Up-Down-Crunch-Down"

Bridge to Crunch– Step 2. Think “Up-Down-Crunch-Down”

Bridge to Crunch-- Step 3. Think "Up-Down-Crunch-Down"

Bridge to Crunch– Step 3. Think “Up-Down-Crunch-Down”

Bridge to Crunch-- Step 4 Think "Up-Down-Crunch-Down"

Bridge to Crunch– Step 4. Think “Up-Down-Crunch-Down”

Bridge to Crunch-- Step 5.Think "Up-Down-Crunch-Down"

Bridge to Crunch– Step 5.
Think “Up-Down-Crunch-Down”

And here we go with a complete change in gears to talk about the C word. CUPCAKES! And more importantly, my personal weakness, funfetti cupcakes. Tomorrow is my last practice coaching soccer for 3-5 year-olds. Most know the routine but a few will be surprised tomorrow when they receive shiny medals with their names on them and a yummy cupcake for all their hard work. These kids are my entertainment for the weekend, and it’s so awesome to hear them say “Coach! Coach! Can you show me this move?”. How can you not give a kid a cupcake when you tell him he’s running extra fast today and he shouts “That’s because I’m wearing my Nikes!” (Pose included). So the kids are getting these in the morning…

Cupcakes for the last day of Lil' Kickers

Cupcakes for the last day of Lil’ Kickers

I’m no artist, but it’s the thought that counts, right? Hey… I used applesauce instead of oil. Almost healthy C-words. Yum.

What kind of things would you like to see on this blog? The more suggestions, the better. And the more input, the more motivation for me to keep writing. Thanks for reading!

Good Things 🙂