Hey all! We've had a whirlwind month so far, and I have a little catching up to do. At the beginning of this month, we went to Disney World!!
This was a trip I had been dreaming about for a long time. I loved both Disneyland and Disney World so much as a kid, and as an adult I was counting down to the time when I could take my own kids. Since Avery is still so little, Brandon and I went back and forth about this trip for a while. We knew that Avery wouldn't remember it, and had gotten lots of warnings from friends/family about managing a toddler in a crowded and overwhelming place like Disney World. On the other hand, we were eager to take her now so that we could take advantage of the things she'll only enjoy at this age like the characters and kiddie rides. Plus, kids under the age of 3 get into the Disney parks for free. We decided not to delay the gratification and go for it. And so happy we did.
We went 5 days and got the basic package that allows you to visit one park per day, which was perfect with a toddler. Here are some other things I learned about taking a toddler to Disney World...
1. A good quality stroller is a lifesaver. We almost took our umbrella stroller to Disney World for its portability, but SO glad we changed our minds and lugged the big stroller along. It really was a lifesaver. It had a much better sun cover, which effectively kept Avery cool and shaded much better than the flimsy one on the umbrella stroller could have. The fact that it reclined back was also amazing, because it allowed Avery to nap in the stroller while we took turns riding the big rides, rather than having to take her all the way back to the hotel every afternoon. PLUS - see how none of us are carrying a diaper bag in the photo below?? Thank youuuuu stroller storage space.
2. Buy the $22 bubble blower. Everything at Disney is expensive. We are not usually ones to splurge on toys/trinkets, but we were pretty drunk on the Disney kool-aid that first day and ended up buying a $22 bubble blower for Avery. To our surprise, it ended up being the best $22 we spent in a long time. Avery never seemed to tire of that endless stream of bubbles the wand produced. It easily kept her entertained for 20+ minutes at a time while we took long walks between rides or when we were standing in line. Plus, the kids around us got a kick out of it, which made Avery even more inclined to turn it on and make friends throughout the trip. If you splurge on anything at Disney World, seriously, buy the bubble blower for your toddler.
3. Take the grandparents along. We were really fortunate to have my parents along for this trip. It made everything 10x easier, since the ratio of adults to kids was 4:1. The 6 hour plane flight was a breeze, and so were the bus rides every day into the parks, since Avery got to hop back and forth as she pleased between grandma/grandma and mom/dad. Plus, when she napped during the day, Brandon and I took turns with my parents going on the bigger rides. Not to mention it was so much fun to share Avery's unmatched joy and excitement with the whole family. Best decision ever to go with the parents.
4. Avoid the long lines. Standing in line for 90 minutes with a toddler is not my definition of fun. Luckily, most of the attractions had relatively short wait times for us since we went in early May. If you happen to have kids that are below school age, most definitely go to Disney World during the off season. Avoid spring, summer, and winter break time like the plague. Also, utilize the 3 Fast Passes you are allotted per day. Bonus tip - you can get a 4th Fast Pass once you've used up your 3 for the day, so plan ahead and schedule your 3 Fast Passes for the morning/early afternoon so that you can squeeze in a 4th one. I reserved our Fast Passes weeks in advance, and made sure to choose the most popular attractions (i.e. anything Frozen related) and the rides that all of us could go on. Beyond that, we just chose not to wait in any line longer than 30 minutes when Avery was with us.
5. Splash pads are your friend. I guess this one depends on the time of year you go, but in early May the midday heat was already killer. We quickly discovered that each park has a splash pad and letting Avery cool off in them was part of the daily routine. It made a world of difference in her mood to not be hot and sticky, and made for a much more enjoyable experience for all of us.
6. Get groceries delivered to your room. I got this tip from Brittany's amazing blog: www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/need-know-first-family-trip-disney-world/. We used Garden Grocer, which is an Orlando-based grocery delivery service. The fee was only $14, which was an incredible deal, I thought. I ordered us a bunch of breakfast foods and plenty of snacks and water to last us the whole trip. Plus some milk for Avery at night. Saved us a lot of time and money.
Although it can be daunting to take a toddler to Disney, I definitely recommended it. We all had such a blast, and Avery spent pretty much the entire time in an elated state. There are SO many toddler friendly things to do, much more than I had anticipated. With a little preparedness, it really wasn't stressful at all.
Every Mother's Day, our whole extended family gathers together for brunch at Pig N' Pancake. It's a long-standing tradition of 20+ years - always the same place, always the same group, and sometimes we even get the same waitress that served us 20 years ago. This year, as I sat there surrounded by Belgian waffles and those I love most, I had this thought about how fortunate I am at this stage in my life to have so many roles in my family. I am a granddaughter. A daughter. A wife. A sister. A mother. A cousin. A niece. And an auntie.
No wonder this stage of life seems so busy. I'm fortunate to live near a lot of family, so there are a lot of family events, days spent with my grandma, game nights at the parents house, etc. that go on. There are times that all these family events/gatherings make me feel spread too thin. I worry that I don't spend enough time with my friends. Or that I don't dedicate enough time to exercise. Or that I'm yet again falling behind on important projects. But this past Mother's Day, when I was surrounded by all my family, I felt totally fulfilled. I've been thinking about that the past couple days, and trying harder to focus embracing this busy yet fulfilling time in life.
All of my immediate family live near me and are healthy and happy- that is something I don't take that for granted at all. So the fact that I'm busily nurturing my roles as a mom and daughter and granddaughter etc. is a good enough reason for me to let go of the expectation of myself to also be able to do everything else. I may not see my friends every week, but the closest ones are still close to me and have shown me so much grace and understanding (as they are busy with kids/family themselves). I'm also not a perfect mom, or a perfect wife. My house is a mess 80% of the time. Let's not talk about my car. And I'm still working on my 2015 family photo album. But I am giving my best to the people and the things that are priorities in my life, which I've decided is a way better use of my energy than striving for perfection in anything else.
Hope all you momma's out there had a wonderful Mother's Day!!
Sometime after Easter weekend, after indulging in way too much leftover Easter candy, I got the idea to do a sugar detox. I'd say my diet is overall pretty healthy, but l do have a pretty hefty sweet tooth. With all the Easter chocolate lying around, I'd been sneaking sweet treats pretty much after every meal and got to the point that I was even craving something sweet a few times per day. I really didn't like that feeling. So, last Monday, I started on a 5 day sugar detox. Nothing fancy, I just cut out all added sugars. I still let myself have natural sugars like fruit, because I knew that my sweets-loving-self wouldn't make it without at least that. As for all that Easter chocolate? I melted it down and made these amazing brownies to give away to friends/family (one day before my detox, so I could taste them of course): tastykitchen.com/recipes/desserts/milk-chocolate-brownies/
Sugar detox turned out to be hard. I had no idea that some of the "healthy" foods I was eating regularly had added sugar in them. I quickly learned that pretty much all prepared and/or processed foods have added sugar. Bread (even the healthy, organic variety), spaghetti sauce, granola bars, salad dressing, you name it. I had to stick to eating mostly raw foods, which actually wasn't the bad part at all. I ate a lot of fruits, veggies, minimally processed grains, and vegetarian proteins like beans and eggs. The hard part was the cravings. Between the hours of 2-4pm and then again after dinner were the worst. I had this uncomfortable yearning for something sweet to get me out of the natural energy slump of those times of the day, and had to very consciously focus my attention on something other than wanting to eat a piece of chocolate/candy. Sugar addiction is real, you guys. Read this article from Forbes if you don't believe me: www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2013/10/16/research-shows-cocaine-and-heroin-are-less-addictive-than-oreos/#3281d5042427
Doing this 5 day sugar detox thing really brought to light how much sugar I was actually eating in a day, and how I was relying on it for both comfort and quick energy boost reasons. I'd add honey to my oatmeal or yogurt in the morning. Creamer to my coffee. A piece of chocolate after lunch. A granola bar for a 3pm snack. A 5pm cookie from the sweets tray at work. A small and healthy dinner, so that I could afford a bigger dessert. And some wine in the evening with a nice pairing of dark chocolate. Not to mention the added sugars in the foods I was eating for each meal. YIKES. No wonder the cravings hit me hard. And sometimes made me crash...
5 days doesn't seem like a long time, but it was. There were several times I almost caved. Like the time I had a rough day at work and almost dug into the ice cream tub to feel better. Or when shark week kicked in and I instinctively craved chocolate as a "cramp remedy". But I'm happy to say that I made it. Yeah, I had to sniff the Nutella jar a few times, but I made it. I don't really believe in fad diets, I just did this to bring awareness to myself about my sugar habit. And to help decrease my sugar cravings.
Well, it actually worked.
Even though I wasn't limiting myself anymore, I found that I really wasn't thinking much about sweets this past weekend. I did have dessert a couple of times after dinner, but that was about it. And, surprisingly, it hasn't been too hard to find places to cut back on sugar throughout my day. This morning, I ate waffles with almond butter and no honey and coffee with just milk instead of creamer. Once again to my surprise, I really didn't miss the sugar additions. Healthy changes for the win.
Whelp, it's still raining every day in Portland. What else is new, right?? The good news is, the temperatures are finally warming up, which means I've gotten to migrate outside more and more for my morning workouts. Its a nice change of pace from working out in the garage space. Doing cardio, especially, is so much more fun when I have a little space to run. Can you tell I'm having a little too much fun with this one? I know, I know, I'm such a nerd. Word.
Here is one of the outdoor workouts I did last week in my driveway that was HARD. Much harder than it looks. Aaaaaaand incorporates two new-to-me core exercises that I'm absolutely loving right now: the double crunch and the dolphin raise plank (descriptions below).
Double Crunch. This move is a combination of a traditional crunch and a reverse crunch. It's awesome because it works both the upper and lower abs. More bang for your buck. It looks like this:
Dolphin Raise Plank. One of its many names, anyway. In addition to working the core, you also get a lot of shoulder action with this one. Its definitely easier than than the double crunch, but effective in a different way. It looks like this:
I think this driveway workout is going to be filed in my favorites box because it had my heart rate through the roof and my abs burning like crazy. I have this weird thing about needing to be drenched in sweat at the end of a workout for me to feel like it was really effective. Which is why I'm not a yoga person, BTW. But this workout did deliver.
What an awesome Easter weekend it was in Portland, with two straight rain-free days!! Easter is one of my favorite holidays, both for what it symbolizes and for the festivities that surround it. Naturally, we celebrated all weekend long. We kicked things off on Friday with a pizza dinner and trip to Baskin Robbins afterward for a special treat.
I had boiled 5 dozen eggs the night before (European family. Don't ask), so as soon as we got home from our ice cream date we dove into the project of dyeing them all. Lucky for Brandon and I, Avery was happy to take on all the egg-dyeing labor, so we got to just sit back and watch the magic happen. HA!! Just kidding. We spent the whole time trying to avert egg breaking, dye-spilling, and color mixing disasters. Truth be told, Avery did an amazing job being careful with the eggs and doing things just as we asked for a chance to participate in the action.
Saturday and Sunday were filled with Easter activities too. Between the two days, we ended up doing FOUR Easter egg hunts. This meant lots of time spent with family and friends, which couldn't have been more perfect. It also meant that we were swimming in sweet treats all weekend long, which brought up the same issue that rears its head every single holiday, birthday, and special occasion when you're a parent: the sugar dilemma.
Kids and sugar - what hot topic. Brandon and I have had lots of discussions about how to deal with the sugar issue in our family, and quite honestly we're still working on nailing down a good system. We definitely want to limit the amount of sugar we give to Avery for obvious nutritional reasons. On the other hand, we don't want to ban it altogether and accidentally create a sweets-starved candy addict later in life. So like with everything else, we're trying to find a balance.
Our pediatric dentist gave us some great advice recently about sugar, which we're trying to adopt especially during holiday times like this past Easter weekend. He said: "If Avery goes to a birthday party or there is a special occasion, let her have ALL the candy and sweets she wants, but just for that one day. After that, get rid of it all." He was speaking purely from a dental hygiene perspective, but his advice made sense to us in the grand scheme of things too.
This past Sunday, Avery went to town on SO MUCH CANDY. Like, a cringe-worthy amount. But today, all the candy was gone and we resumed our normal healthy eating habits. And to my surprise, Avery actually understood when I told her she couldn't have candy today since she ate so much yesterday. It ended up being a fairly easy line to draw, and we're hoping that this system will help us as parents to be more consistent in our stance on sugar.
How does your family handle the sugar dilemma?
Hi friends! Hope everyone had a great weekend. I was out of town for a continuing education course over the past four days and didn't make it back until Sunday night, so some one-on-one time with Avery today made for a very happy Monday.
The course I took over the weekend was level II of the American Hippotherapy Association's Hippotherapy Treatment Principles. Our class was a mix of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language therapists, and we spent 4 full days refining our skills in all things related to hippotherapy (if you're wondering what hippotherapy is all about, read this earlier blog post: www.bettysbalance.com/home/horses-kids-and-a-bit-about-hippotherapy) It was my favorite continuing education course so far. Typically, continuing education courses involve sitting in a classroom and listening to lectures, but this one looked more like this:
Give me horses over handbooks any day. I had never been a horse person before learning about hippotherapy as a PT treatment strategy, so this course was super helpful in boosting my horseman(woman?)ship skills.
There are SO many amazing things you can do with horses to help someone improve their strength, range of motion, posture, balance, speech production, etc. etc. etc., and this course got me all eager to get back to work and try the new things I learned with my kiddos. But I'll save that soapbox for another day...
On a completely separate note, I somehow managed to squeeze in a couple of workouts during my trip and wanted to share one ab workout that was particularly fun. It requires no equipment, since a closet-sized hotel gym was what I had to work with (to their credit, they did have a recumbent bike and a television, which with the addition of some wine sounds like a fantastic way to spend a kid-free evening). Here ya go:
Hello and happy spring! I know that spring "officially" started a couple weeks ago, but we only got our first taste of it this weekend. We've had nothing but rain here in Portland for several weeks now, and by rain I mean the flood-inducing type of non-stop downpour rain. It's left us really craving some sunshine, so over the weekend we hopped in the car and went on an adventure to track it down. The only place within reasonable driving distance that had sunshine in the forecast was central Oregon, so that's where we headed. And find some sunshine we did, in a tiny town called Maupin.
The population of Maupin, Oregon is about 400 people. It sits right on the Deschutes River, which makes it a popular spot for rafting and fishing in the summer months. In the off season, its not exactly a tourist destination. There are about 4 lodging options (all geared toward rafters), 1 market, and 1 schoolyard playground. I'm not going to lie, I was worried that we would get bored spending an entire weekend here. But it was was a place we've never been to and it wasn't raining there, so we stayed. And turns out, it wasn't boring at all.
First of all, the lodge we stayed at was amazing. Not at all what I had pictured for the small, off-season price we paid for it. Each room in the lodge has its own unique theme related to Oregon history; ours was an "expedition" theme with decor inspired by the travels of Lewis & Clark. We had a river view, a deck, vaulted ceilings, and NO TELEVISION (my dream come true). Outside, the lodge had an open-flame fire pit with a fire going all day. They also had lawn games, picnic tables, a volleyball court, riverside swings, a huge lawn, and restaurant with an amazing patio overlooking the river. Here's the place, if you want to check it out: deschutesriver.com/best-hotel-in-maupin-lodging/
We spent a lot of our weekend just enjoying time at the lodge. Did a little fishing, taught Avery how to log roll down a grassy hill, played in the sandbox (aka volleyball court), hung out by the fire, and ate at the restaurant. I'm usually a go-go-go type of person who likes to cram as much seeing and doing into a day as possible, but on this particular trip, it felt so good to just relax and enjoy some simple things in one place. In a way, it was a relief to not have places to go or things to do around town. It allowed me to slow down and truly enjoy time with my family.
When it was time to check out of the lodge on Sunday morning, we did a little exploratory drive around the area before heading home. We ended up finding a little road that ran right along the river and discovered an excellent picnic spot where we stopped to eat lunch and play a little more.
It was a perfect off-the-beaten path adventure. I see a lot more of these types of trips in our near future, since Avery is at the perfect age now where she can entertain herself literally ALL DAY just by being outside. She loves rocks. She loves sticks. She loves mud. She loves every bug she encounters. It was a good reminder to us that we don't necessarily have to take her to child-geared places like the zoo or the bounce house (which she also loves, don't get me wrong) to have fun. Fingers crossed that her adventurous spirit sticks around forever and ever.
Before I dive into the topic of BBG, I need to take a moment to share an amazing breakfast idea I ran across while scrolling through Facebook last night. Plain yogurt + vanilla flavored protein powder. It tastes like vanilla yogurt but with waaaaaay less sugar and waaaaaaaay more protein. I tried it this morning and it. is. SO. GOOD. I added banana and chia seeds to the mix too, and although it doesn't look particularly beautiful in the photo, please please try this if you're a yogurt lover. You'll never buy vanilla flavored yogurt again.
Ok, back to what I originally intended this post to be about - BBG. I guess I'm a little behind the times because I only heard about BBG a few months ago. In case you're in the same boat as me, BBG = Bikini Body Guide and it came out in 2012. It's a 12 week workout plan (there is also an accompanying 12 week nutrition plan you can buy), and its written by 25 year-old Australian personal trainer and fitness guru Kayla Itsines. Here is the website if you want to check it out: https://www.kaylaitsines.com/collections/guides. A friend of mine told me about it after she used it to get fit for her wedding. She took "before" and "after" photos using the BBG program, and her results were impressive. So I decided to buy the workout guide and give it a try.
The workouts in the guide are 28 minutes long and consist of high intensity resistance training. The nice thing is that they require minimal equipment and can be done at home or at the gym. I did them in my garage, although I had to be creative a few times since I didn't have an official workout bench (I used a sturdy step stool and occasionally our dining room bench....shhhh, don't tell my husband). I don't usually like workout programs/DVDs/videos, and honestly didn't think this one would keep me engaged for the whole 12 weeks. But it did. I actually finished the entire 12 week program today.
I failed to take a "before" photo, because whenever I've tried to start some exercise program or DVD I usually get bored and quit 3-4 weeks in. I wish I would have though, because I'm impressed with the results this program delivered. This is the first time in my life that my back and arm muscles are toned without having stepped foot inside a gym. Aaaannd my abs and lower body are more defined too. In a way, I'm not surprised, because each of the workouts in this program are HARD. I had sore muscles 90% of the time after doing a BBG workout. But I really did enjoy them. There is lots variety in the exercises, so I never ever felt like I had reached a plateau. Plus, I felt like the workouts were well designed to maximize muscle gains.
Now that I've finished BBG, I'm not quite sure where to take my fitness routine next. Get back into running? Train for a triathlon? Make up my own 12 week program? Any thoughts/ideas would be greatly appreciated!
I've been a vegetarian since the age of 3. To make a long story short, I was introduced to the way bacon is made a little too early in life (my poor pet pig), and decided not to eat meat ever since. As an adult, I've come to realize that vegetarianism requires good nutrition planning to ensure I'm getting enough B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, and protein. There are certain foods that I've come to love in my quest to find a balanced vegetarian diet, in particular, these 10 staples.
1. ALMOND BUTTER
I eat almond butter every. single. morning. Safe to say it's one of my favorite foods. Great source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. In my opinion, the best tasting kind is the kind you grind up yourself at the store. It has a chewy texture with a hint of crunchiness, and by grinding it myself I know that I'm consuming only raw almonds without added salt, sugars, or oils. I eat almond butter on toast, put it in my smoothies, in my oatmeal, on a banana, in my baked goods, and so on. It's SO versatile. Here are a few good recipes using almond butter: init4thelongrun.com/2016/03/22/20-healthy-recipes-can-make-almond-butter/
2. PLAIN YOGURT AND/OR KEFIR
Yogurt and kefir are excellent sources of protein, B-vitiamins, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and probiotics. I always buy plain yogurt/kefir because the flavored varieties typically come with lots of added sugar. Sometimes as much sugar as a candy bar per serving - yikes. I like to control the amount of sweetness with honey or agave syrup, and of course add in fun stuff like almond butter (I'm seriously obsessed), fruit, etc. I also like to use yogurt and kefir to add moisture to my baked goods, like coffee cake and banana bread. Read more about my love of kefir here: www.bettysbalance.com/home/my-favorite-new-morning-treat
We are a fruit-loving family, and we buy fresh fruits every week based on whatever is in season or whatever we are craving. Except when it comes to bananas. We ALWAYS have bananas in the house. It's sort of a family emergency when we run out of bananas. They are the most portable type of fruit and they go with everything. In baked goods. Used to sweeten smoothies. With a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. On top of waffles. The list is endless. Plus, they are a great source of potassium, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin B6.
If bananas are the one fruit we can't live without, and then avocados are the one vegetable we can't live without. They actually have more potassium than bananas and their list of scientifically-backed health benefits is a long one (www.well-beingsecrets.com/health-benefits-of-avocado/) Our toddler loves to each chunks of raw avocado as a side to her lunch or dinner, and we like to eat them with, well, everything. My personal favorite: avocado toast with salt, pepper, and tomato.
Brandon hates beans. But that's okay....more for me. I often use them as a meat substitute when I prepare our family dishes like tacos, sloppy joes, or chicken and rice (= beans and rice for me). Beans are a nutritional powerhouses, packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals (noticing a trend here?). There are so many varieties and they are SO versatile. I use black beans to make vegetarian burger patties. Pinto beans in my burritos. Kidney beans for red beans and rice. Mixed beans for soups. And I like to bake garbanzo beans for a crunchy little snack that's perfect for on-the-go (recipe here: steamykitchen.com/10725-crispy-roasted-chickpeas-garbanzo-beans.html.)
High in protein, fiber, vitamins/minerals, etc. etc. you get the picture. Quinoa has become all the rage in recent years, so there are TONS of quinoa recipes floating around the internet. You can use quinoa for everything from breakfast to dinner to dessert. I'm a big texture person, and I love the chewy, gritty texture of quinoa. My meat-and-potatoes-kind-of-guy father, on the other hand, gets offended whenever I make him a meal involving this "sawdust." Its hit-or-miss for a lot of people, but luckily both Brandon and Avery love this stuff as much as I do and don't mind that quinoa makes a weekly appearance on our dinner table. Here's a great quinoa recipe to try, just in time for spring: www.pbfingers.com/cold-quinoa-salad/
GOOD QUALITY BREAD
My personal favorite is Dave's Killer Bread. It's made by a local Portland company, but the good news is that they started selling their bread in all 50 states in 2016. The history of Dave's Killer Bread is an interesting one, involving a guy with a criminal background who turned his life around by tapping into his passion for organic, non-GMO bread (read the story here: www.daveskillerbread.com/our-history/). This bread is packed full of nutrients and it is DELICIOUS. We're talking protein, fiber, omega-3s, etc. No toast/sandwich/carb-loving household should go without good quality, nutritious bread. Disclaimer: I do not represent and am not in any way affiliated to or endorsed by Dave's Killer Bread. I'm just their really happy customer!
8. HARD BOILED EGGS
We are lucky to live very close to a farming community, so we get to pick up farm-fresh eggs every week. The taste of these eggs is not even comparable to the store-bought kind, especially when they are hard-boiled. I always keep a stock of hard-boiled eggs in our fridge. They are a great snack to have at work and in the hours between 3pm-dinner time when I'm usually ravenous. Not to mention they are an easy and tasty source of protein.
9. CHIA SEEDS
Besides their protein, fiber, anti-oxidant, and rich vitamin/mineral content, I love chia seeds because they are high in omega-3 fatty acids. I don't eat fish, so getting a daily source of omega-3s elsewhere is important for me. Fun fact: chia seeds actually have more omega-3s per gram than salmon. Not-so-fun-fact: chia seeds do not provide DHA, which is considered the most important of the omega-3 fats (Personally, I make up for this by taking a daily vitamin supplement with DHA). Chia seeds are easy to sprinkle onto/into any breakfast item. I put them in my yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, and even on top of my almond butter toast. I also like to make chia seed pudding, recipe here: minimalistbaker.com/overnight-chocolate-chia-seed-pudding/
....If I'm being honest. Hmmm, let's see here, health benefits of wine....
#1. Sanity! #2. Antioxidant?
The truth is, I've googled this topic a lot. It turns out that this topic has also been studied a lot, especially in recent years. What they say is that moderate wine consumption can reduce your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, depression, diabetes, stroke, and early death (read more here if you're interested: www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265635.php). Cheers to that!
It's Monday (again), which means my workout motivation was at an all-time high this morning. I've been on a HIIT routine for several weeks now where I focus on my upper body on Mondays, lower body on Wednesdays, and abs on Fridays. It's hard for me to stick to routines. It really is. I get bored so easily, and even though I know I need some consistency in my workouts to see results, I always crave exercise variety. Well, since I've been on my HIIT kick for 10 WEEKS now (which is a record for me), I decided to give myself a break today and come up with a fun total body workout instead of concentrating on arms, legs, or abs. It requires no equipment (except a timer) and incorporates a lot of variety to work every part of the body. Just the mix-up I needed.
Since I've been doing a lot of weight training/strength building, I've been trying to incorporate more protein into my diet. Especially because I'm a vegetarian. I normally eat a lot of dairy, nuts, and beans, but to kick things up a notch I've also started started adding protein shakes to my diet. No too surprisingly, it has made a difference in how I look and feel. When I drink a protein shake in the morning, I have more energy during the day. I feel less hungry before lunchtime, and I feel like my muscles recover more quickly after a hard workout. Adding the protein shake has also helped me build muscle after I felt like I had plateaued. I definitely notice more muscle definition since starting on the protein shakes. Makes sense right, since protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle.
I've tried a bunch of different varieties in the past, but there are two brands that are my go-to favorites. The first - Bodylogix Natural Whey, which is an animal-based protein. Its delicious and doesn't taste chalky. Its natural with very few ingredients. And its very reasonably priced for the quality you get. Another bonus - it's cold-processed so that all the nutrients and immune factors are retained (a lot of protein powders are high-heat treated, which denatures the proteins and limits their bioavailability and immune-boosting qualities).
My other favorite is Purely Inspired organic protein powder, which is plant-based. I love the chocolate flavor in this variety. It tastes like a brownie milkshake. Bonus points - it's organic, affordable, and more nutrient-dense than the Bodylogix brand (fiber, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, etc). Aaaaaand there is no soy in this product. Whooop.
Disclosure: Betty's Balance is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
I’m Betty and I live in the beautiful pacific northwest. I'm a mommy. Vegetarian. Wife to a meatatarian. Pediatric physical therapist. Outdoor enthusiast. Enjoyer of fitness/healthy living. Even bigger enjoyer wine and chocolate lava cake. And hoping to find some balance between it all.