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USDA “My Plate”

June 7, 2011

This is the USDA’s new tool for helping people, especially children eat “healthy”. Oh wow. I meant to do a post on this the day it came out and totally forgot until now. The thing is, I really like the concept. I think it is much better than a pyramid. Most Americans eat 3 meals a day. And for those of you who eat 4-6 small meals a day this could still be applied. IF ONLY IT WERE HEALTHY PROPORTIONS!

I am not a scientist, nutritionist, or professional anything but my common sense is pretty keen. I can not possibly understand why anyone would think that you need equal amounts of fruits, veggies, grains, and protein. Fruit=sucralose/sugar. Yes, fruit is certainly the best option for something sweet, but YES you can also have too much fruit. I know that sounds foreign to some people, but it is true. I think the best rule of thumb is to always make sure that the majority of your plate or meal container is vegetables of some sort. Try to keep it green or orange. Color is key. If you are going to do grains be choosy. Try and stick with ancient grains like quinoa, Ezekiel breads, etc. Things that are made to break down easily in the body and won’t slow you down. I would suggest that you stay away from ANY and ALL white breads, pastas, rices, pastries, etc. because they quickly break down to sugar in your body. No bueno. Also, dairy is really hard on the body too. Raw dairy is the way to go if you are going to have it at all. Pasteurized dairy has been heated so high that the important nutrients are gone. It is also linked to a lot of health problems.

Here are some plates with a little bit different proportions than the one above.

Obviously, this is just my opinion. What is your opinion of the new USDA plate?

Are You Healthy?

June 6, 2011

Yes? No? Don’t know? How would you know, if you did know? Hmmmmmm.

James and I have gotten some pretty interesting questions from friends, family, strangers, and more since we decided to go down the path we are on. “Why the focus on health?” “Why chiropractic?” “Why do you eat like you do?” and so many more. A question I like to ask in response is “Are you healthy?” “How do you know?” Most of the time I hear a lot of the same answers. They are answers that I probably would have given had I been asked these same questions 2 or 3 years ago.

“Yeah, I am healthy. I know because I feel great, haven’t gained any weight in a while, and I don’t get sick very often.”

“What are you doing to maintain health?” …”Well, I dunno. I mean I eat okay I guess and I exercise every now and then. I don’t feel like I have to put a lot of effort in to it because I am so healthy already. I guess what I am doing is really working out for me.”

I am now going to propose a thought they may offend some minds. Feeling good does NOT equal health. Many people have been “feeling good” on the day they have been diagnosed with cancer. Many people have “felt good” and been extremely happy with their lives even when morbidly obese. Many people do not know that the spinal cord is extremely important because your nerves are connected from your brain to your body and when your spine is out of place it pinches the nerves and can not get the messages to your organs to function at 100%.

Why the focus on health? Because we can not afford not to from a financial perspective as well as a quality of life perspective. No James and I did not just jump on some trendy health bandwagon. We decided after having kids that we were not just going to take what someone said as the truth when it comes to health. I mean after all there are 5749235784237598327 bajillion health opinions out there. We decided to dig deep and find out what we believed truth health was.

What we have found has changed our lives and many of the lives of people we know. So, yes we are on a mission. Yes, our life may seem extreme. But I would not have it any other way. Would it be easier to just go with the flow of the medical system in this country and do what any medical doctor told us too. Certainly. We would not have to research on our own, stand out from the crowd, or be questioned about everything we do. I totally believe that most medical doctors have great hearts, are extremely intelligent, and in certain circumstances are certainly the way to go. I can not however allow myself anymore to be duped by drug companies that so desire for me and my teeny tiny children to put chemicals in our bodies hat have more side effects than benefits and are a huge reason why people are getting sick in the first place.

Do you feel good today? That is awesome. Really, I mean that. It is awesome. How will you celebrate feeling great today? For me, I choose to celebrate by continuing to take care of my body to the best of my knowledge. To feed it right, train it well, to maximize my mind by eliminating stress and focusing on the positive. Do I have all of the answers? No, of course not. But am I doing my best and applying the principle that the power that created the body, heals the body? Yes. I truly believe that our bodies were created so brilliantly that they know what to do.

Why the focus on health?………….For them –>

My Supermanand Belly of Steel Boy

Kale and Squash Spaghetti Sauce

June 5, 2011

James and I took the boys to the Dekalb Farmers Market yesterday. The goal was to come away with some tubs of coconut oil because that is where we can get it the cheapest, but unfortunately they had none. They said there would be more today. Oh, well. We did get some other goodies. One thing in particular was some buckwheat spaghetti. I decided to make it last night. I also had some squash and kale that needed to be used so this is what I did:

boiled these for 3 minutes.

Threw a tomato, some mushrooms, kale, 1 entire squash, 1 tablespoon of pesto, and about 1 ounce of raw white cheddar cheese in blender. Mix it up.

Heat it on the stove, and in the meantime I had a couple of free range organic chicken breasts cooking on a different eye of the stove in just a touch of grapeseed oil with some oregano, italian seasoning, sea salt, and pepper.

Final product: buckwheat pasta topped with kale/squash sauce with italian seasoned chicken and musrooms, with a tiny bit of sore bought marinara on top (just to add some more tomato flavor) and of course a side of something green! It was really delicious. We also had the left overs for lunch today and it was still just as good! Tiago loved it too!

Also, if you want an even healthier option for pasta you can buy a spiralizer…

We bought one for really cheap on Amazon a few months ago. We often spiralize zucchini and make pasta sauces to go on top of it. Here is a pic of one of the first ones I made.

This was before I sauced it. I will be sure to take a pic of the sauce next time too. It is really good though!

Four Years of Love

June 2, 2011

Today is our anniversary. Which means four years ago today I married my best friend. It has been the best four years ever and every day just keeps getting better and better! Instead of boring you with all of the details, I figured I would just show you some of the amazing wedding photos. The amazing Carah Ellis Reynoso took them. You should check her out. It was hard to narrow down which ones to put on here because she gave me all of the rights to all of them. There are about 1600 total. I still sit down and flip through every single one of them at least twice a year. Without further adieu….

Uncommon Effort = Uncommon Results

June 2, 2011

I have adopted this as my new motto. It is true in any area of life.

Want to be an extraordinary mom? Put in uncommon effort.

Want to be set apart as a student? Uncommon effort required.

Star athlete? Uncommon effort.

Business man who gets promoted? Uncommon effort.

I have been hearing this phrase a lot lately because it is one that my chiropractor, Dr. Fred Roberto uses quite often. He has a new workout DVD called Max T-3 that I do often. Also, a couple days a week I go and let him torture me in person. He allows his patients to come and work out with his staff every day of the week. This man works with world class and olympic athletes and lets us come work out with him. Pretty cool.  On Tuesdays we go to this crazy warehouse that has all types of exercise toys. I honestly feel like the Max T-3 videos along with letting Dr.Fred kick my butt on these days has been what pushed me over the top in training for my first triathlon. No it is not swimming biking, or running, but it gives me an edge in all three. Yesterday I swam and then went to the warehouse for a workout. Today I went and worked out with his staff at their office (more on that in a minute) and then did a 2 mile run later tonight.

The concept of the videos is to get a maximum workout in just 12 minutes or less. By going all out and using 90-100% of your maximum effort your body is getting an amazing workout in no time. It is all about practical fitness. Working out 3 hours a day in order to get biceps the size of Texas is really not the goal if true “health” is what you are going for. You want your body to be able to do the things it needs to do everyday and efficiently. Athletes obviously have more specific goals but no matter what sport you are involved in this type of training will come in handy. It really gets your metabollic system going in a way that no other program does and causes your body to burn fat loooong after your exercise is over for the day. It not only challenges your body, but your mind as well.

Today my mind needed some challenging. We had already done a 12 minute upper body Max-T3 workout. I am telling you, these things wear you out! Then we followed it up with what Dr. Fred calls a 6 minute 6-pack. This is a series of 12 core exercises that you do for 30 seconds each. Sounds easy, but it is HARD! So then I thought we were done. WRONG. Dr. Fred then says, “Oh wait, it is Wednesday. Time to do 100 burpees. Outisde.” Outside? It is 7984798573295 degrees out there. But outside he went. I really thought the man was joking. I was thinking I might be able to do 10 burpees. So we began, and by about 20 I figured I would let 50 be my 100. I really thought I might not make it. Every 15 or so I would have to stand there and catch my breath and try not to fall over. I made it to 50 and figured, 1 more and I am over halfway and then I might as well just go all the way. By 70 Dr. Fred was done with all of his and walking around to encourage and motivate the rest of us. He said to me “uncommon effort for uncommon results”. I have heard him say it before but for some reason, when he said it today it was exactly what I needed to hear. I felt like I might vomit. It was hotter than hell out there, my body hurt and did not want to go on, and falling over seemed likely. But when he said that phrase today all I could think about was what my uncommon result would be. I want to smash some of my times on my next triathlon. I am not going to get there by just doing some workouts, a few runs, swims, and rides. I am only going to get uncommon results if I get out there, work through the pain, challenge myself, let others challenge me, and work my little tushy off. I will tell you what, I am pumped. Today was a great training day for me. Another thing that Dr. Fred says is “Get your mind right”. I feel like I took a big step in that direction today.

What do uncommon results look like for you? Put yourself there, in the future. What does it feel like to accomplish even more than you imagined? What does it smell like, taste like, look like to know you can achieve it???


May 26, 2011

When I think about stretching one of the first things that comes to mind is my high school swim coach. She was a senior citizen with silver hair and funky toes. I adored her. ( She was also my guidance counselor and gave me whatever class schedule that I wanted all 3 years of high school.) One thing that I heard her say probably 53825803869308269038 times was “Make sure you stretch…something something something….lactic acid.” We always stretched right before we got in the pool which is actually not something I would recommend now, unless you have warmed up your body some other way prior to stretching. But nonetheless her intentions were good. I think she wanted us to stretch afterwards too but I could probably count on one hand how many times I actually stretched after practice.

Looking back, it makes me wonder what could have been. In the last few years I have learned a lot about exercise and how important stretching is. Proper stretching after a workout can really help you get ready for your next workout. It does not have to be all…

Yes, that is Madonna.

Though, all of these people have frickin’ sweet bods there is no need for you to attempt and contort your own body into any of these positions. You will certainly get more flexible over time. In the beginning just focus on stretching properly. You may need to ask someone, perhaps even take a yoga class, or google some articles on stretching. When I lived in Nashville and attended Barre Amped classes regularly Suzanne, the owner and creator would always say “Find that place of slight discomfort.” I mean, if you feel like you are about to cry, you may be going to far in your stretch. There is no need to get injured while stretching the whole point is to prevent injury and burn out.

Benefits of stretching warm muscles:

1. Enhancement of overall physical fitness

2. Increased flexibility

3. Develop your body awareness

4. Reduced risk of injury

5. Aid in relaxing and stress reducing

These are just a few of the many. I am frustrated knowing how many people get injured that could have avoided it. Many people who are new to exercise or who have not exercised in a long time jump into things really quickly. They do not know to stretch and either end up getting injured or they burn out really quickly.

Just a tip-Everything I have read suggests holding each stretch for at least around 20 seconds.

Think of stretching as an investment into your next exercise.

Do you have some favorite stretches? One of mine is the pigeon stretch.

Tricked Them Again

May 25, 2011

Yeah, so this morning I needed to go ahead and use a mix of sugar snap peas, green beans, and cauliflower that I made a few days ago. The boys wouldn’t eat them on their own last night. Sometimes when they have had things a few days in a row they get bored with it. I threw what was left in the Vita-Mix with two large chopped up carrots and 2 tablespoons of hummus. BAM!

I always add a little paprika to hummus. I think it tastes great, and looks better too!

Their lunch today happened to be one of those “what ever I can find in the kitchen today” kind of things. A little lentil soup, homemade salsa, almond cheese, avacado, olives, tortilla chips (this is like a once a month thing when it comes to the lunch box), and pear.


May 25, 2011

Growing up my mom used to have my put black olives on my fingers and eat them off. Now she has taught Tiago and Jude how to do it. That may be part of the reason that we now buy olives in bulk at Costco. The other reason being that I simply LOOOVE them. I put them in and on like everything. It is good to know though that they have so many great benefits.

When I was in elementary school there was a pair of twins that I hung out with whose mother always kept black and green olives stocked. She knew that I would devour them when I was at their house. I think I was even caught putting them in ice cream and on pancakes. I even vaguely remember placing them in Coke (Which I will no longer touch, even with a 10 foot pole. Ask me why, I dare you.) Kind of sounds like weird pregnancy cravings. I think it is more so that I was just a strange kid but none the less the passion for olives has remained.

Perhaps it is because I am 1/4 Armenian and have Lebanese relatives as well.

What are some of the benefits?

1. High in antioxidants: which are great for your skin

2. They are an excellent source of the good fats your body needs: omega-9 fatty acids which are contained in olives are known to help lower cholesterol levels as well as promote healthy inflammation responses

3. Great source of vitamin E: a metabolism booster and cancer fighter among many other benefits

*side note* It is always going to be better to get your vitamins from a natural food source as opposed to a grocery store brand of cheap supplements. More on this in the future. Hold me to it.

What do I do with them?

Sooo many things. Seriously. I love eating them plain. But I also put them on salads, put them on pizza, and eat them as a tapenade. I have never made one myself but here is a recipe for it that I would like to try sometime soon. It sounds so easy and has capers in it too and I love capers as well.

What is your favorite way to use olives?

Even Healthier Cauliflower Mashers

May 17, 2011

So if you can make a healthy recipe even healthier and improve the taste at the same time, why wouldn’t you? That is what I asked myself this morning when I started making Dr. Josh Axe’s Mashed Faux-tatoes. I made them just like the recipe minus the chives because I did not have any. We make them all the time at our house. You may remember from a previous post that I really like to mix them with my chili. So good.

You basically just take a head of cauliflower, chop it up a bit,  lightly steam it (don’t over steam because you will begin to kill off all of the good nutrients), and then throw it in your blender or food processor with some sea salt, pepper, and a teeny bit of buttah (That is how I say it, so why not type it that way too. I am not a professional anything, so I am not going to pretend to be. Ha.)

Okay, but this time on a whim I decided to add some green stuff. Why not? I just threw in a handful of green beans, some sugar snap peas, and of course some kale. This time I used frozen kale because I was out of fresh. The result is soooooo FAB!

I mean seriously delicious. I wish that the boys had not already left for school this morning so I could put it in their lunches. Oh well they will love it tomorrow.If I wasn’t about to go work out I might even be tempted to eat the whole bowl.

Our First Triathlon

May 15, 2011

…was a great success. James decided a few months ago somewhat on a whim that he wanted to do an ironman triathlon probably sometime in 2013. So he began searching for shorter triathlons that he could begin to train for. When he said he was going to do it, I thought “What the heck, I have always wanted to do one and I kind of miss the competitive environment so maybe I will train with him and do one myself.”

Having lived in Kona, Hawaii during the Ironman 2 years in a row are where some of my favorite memories come from. I was a competitive swimmer growing up and I remember being 18 and 19 working at aid stations each year hanging out water to what I think are some of the world’s top athletes. It is such a beautiful race and  I love seeing and thinking about all of these people, how they trained, what their motivation is, how they overcome challenges, etc. I even got to see Team Hoyt, both years. When you see a man getting ready for an over 2 mile swim by putting his grown son into a boat, putting on a harness, and then attaching his harness to the boat so he can carry his son the whole way…I mean wow. I cried both years as I watched this amazing Father.

Okay, so yeah I love the triathlon culture I just had never done one for myself. Through our training James decided he would actually go for the Olympic distance in his first one because his training was going so well. I decided to stick with the sprint because I am not so much interested in doing long distances. Just not my thing. While in high school I only swam the 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly and 2 relays. So I have never really done distance.

Well, about a week and a half out from yesterdays tri we realized that our childcare plan of my parents coming down to watch the kids was not going to work out. We were not sure how to make it work since most of our go-to babysitters were going to be working an event for our chiropractor that day. Not having the energy to make it a big deal I just decided I would not compete and would stay home and watch the boys. So the last 9 or so days I was not really training. I did some of James’ training rides and runs with him, but not all and I was not eating as well as he was. Day before the race James says “lets try and figure out a way for you to do it too, it will be fun to do our first one together don’t worry about anything but having fun and finishing.” So after a day of searching we got babysitters lined up by 7:30 pm just 12 hours before the race started. Ha. I didn’t sleep a wink. I have never had a great stress response when it comes to athletic competition. My body does crazy things. James was cool as a cucumber, slept like a rock, fueled himself properly by eating the perfect breakfast at the appropriate time. My tummy would hardly let me get an ounce of my smoothie down.

We made it to the race and my body was shaking with nervousness. First of all it is a big event. There were about 1000 athletes competing between the two distances. I didn’t know really anything about the course, and had no clue how to do transitions. I had never timed myself in any of my training so had no clue what kind of times to expect, I also had no clue what a competitive time for my race would even be.

The transition area

James and I right before the swim

The distances for the super sprint were:

300 meter swim

8 mile bike

2 mile run

The International/Olympic distances were

.93 mile swim

24.8 mile bike

6 mile run

James killed it. Not only did he finish, which was the goal, but he beat his goal time by ten minutes. He enjoyed every minute and had a huge smile on his face when he was done. He crushed the time he thought he would get on the run and did fabulous on his first swim in a lake. I can not even begin to tell you how proud I am. I mean a few months ago James was not even exercising regularly. Now in just two months time not only has he lost weight, gained health, and challenged himself, but he has accomplished things he never would have imagined. You are my hero, Love. So proud of you and how hard you worked, it all paid off! Keep it up, you are doing so great.

The very beginning of his run

Finish line. Sweet success!

So I also felt good throughout my race. Many people there had crazy expensive gear. I have a kind of clunky bike that was a huge blessing because my dad bought it for me, otherwise I would not even own a bike. I wore a Nike bikini that I got at Goodwill in Denver for $4. It has one of those 80’s looking patterns on it. I was at the back of the pack because James entered the wrong swim time for me. When you are in the lake with hundreds of other people crazy things happen. I got kicked in the face, hit in the back, butt groped, and many other things. But I made it, and felt good about it. I transitioned quick and felt strong on the bike, despite one wrong turn where the course was not marked well, but I corrected it quickly. The run seemed longer than two miles but I kept a good pace for myself especially since I had some pain in both ankles. My run time could have been faster so that is something I will work on for sure. It felt so good when I crossed the finish line! I had no clue what my time was since there was not a screen at the finish and I had not been wearing a watch. I figured I would just get my time the next day on the website. I decided to just wait and watch for James. When I saw him start his run I knew I had about an hour til I would see him again so I walked around and stumbled upon the award ceremony for the sprinters. I thought “Oh cool, I can watch and cheer for them because they just accomplished a lot” When my age group was called the time the called out for the 3rd place person sounded so fast I thought “I bet I am about 5 minutes behind her”. Then, before I could finish thinking my thought I heard them say “and in 2nd place is Abby Beuerlein” I kid you not my first thought was ” what are the odds that there would be 2 Abby Beuerleins in  this race.” ha. Then I realized that they had called #917 which was what happened to be written on my leg, my arm, pinned to my shirt, taped on my bike and helmet. “wait, they mean me.” Yeah, I was definitely shocked. Right after I told James about getting 2nd. He kept laughing and going…”what??? on your 1st tri, on a clunky bike, and you didn’t know until last night that you were competing….what???”

Everyone gets a medal and we wore ours proudly!

Signs that I had the boys make with their teachers at school this week!

Number 917 and 468. Woot.

I got a really cool piece of local handmade pottery for getting 2nd in my age group. I love it.

Well, we had a freaking blast, and to top it off our babysitters would not even let us pay them. Thanks again, if you read this. Looks like more triathlons to come. I think I may have qualified for nationals, but we shall see. Not sure how I would get there.

Another post coming soon on some extra things I did in training that I think helped a TON!