It’s rainy and cold today in Western Maine. I’ve decided it’s a good day to make my Bakewell Cream Biscuits. Light and flaky, these go perfectly with some chicken or tomato soup, a cup of tea, and a good book.
As you may or may not know, I like to work out occassionally. I have even been known to work out multiple times in one week. Crazy, I know. Running was my go-to for a long time. But recently I committed more strength training and a little less cardio. I wanted to see if there would be any difference in the way I looked and/or felt.
I decided to keep it simple and go old school – no gym and no equipment; I was just going to use my body weight, which is more than enough resistence to guarentee a good work out. After two months of regular strength training, I did notice a big difference in my legs. AND I noticed that I was running faster and longer with much less effort. Will you mistake my legs for Carrie Underwoods? Ummm….no. But I’m pretty happy with my progress so far.
I turned to Pinterest to find a variety of different workouts. You can see them on my Strength Training and Cross Training boards. There are specific workouts for arms, legs, core, and full body. I also like to use Fitness Blender – which offers hundreds of free workout videos online.
For a quick go-to I can do in my office or at home, I also use this handy list from PopSugar. You’d be surprised how even short intervals can add up to big changes over time.
Here is an example of a quick and dirty workout I will do at my office or at home. If I have more time, I’ll add five or six more moves or repeat the whole set two or three times. Usually within 25 -30 minutes I’m done! Easy Peasy.
Do you have a favorite go-to exercise?
My obligatory disclaimer: I like working out (kinda) but don’t be fooled, I’m not a professional. Information provided here is for entertainment purposes only. Please consult a physician before starting any exercise regime.
One of my all time favorite Ted Talks is Brene Brown (no relation – I wish!) and her talk on vulnerability and its link to happiness. I know following the heels of my divorce and the subsequent Very Bad Year, it took me a long time to lay down my armor and be truly open to others. And being from Maine, I think that sometimes asking for help is the hardest thing of all, especially for those of us raised with a ‘pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps’ mentality.
What do you think? Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable?
Have you ever heard of the term ‘clean eating’? What does that mean? Is it a diet? Is it like being a vegetarian or a vegan? Google the term “what is clean eating” and there are a variety of articles and sources that offer their own definition of the phrase. Is it hard? Is it expensive? Does it take forever in the kitchen? This week I am demystifying the idea of clean eating and offering tips for helping you clean up your diet.
What is Clean Eating?
What is Clean Eating?Eating Well says cleaning eating is “about eating more of the best and healthiest options in each of the food groups—and eating less of the not-so-healthy ones. That means embracing foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, plus healthy proteins and fats.”
Most articles I read agree that clean eating is about eating the least processed foods available – this cuts out lots of junk food like chips, sweets, soda pop, etc…However, applesauce is processed – does that mean it’s bad for you? What about cooked carrots? After all, cooking them is a form of processing, no? Is this just another way of saying clean eating is a raw diet? [insert horrified face here]
Processing is important because it can kill bacteria and make food safer to eat – like chicken or pork. And processing doesn’t always remove vitamins and nutrients. Lycopene, found in tomatoes, actually increases with cooking. So when you think processed, think Doritos or Oreos or even the ‘whole wheat’ bread in the grocery store that has a good 20 ingredients. That’s the kind of processed stuff you want to stay away from.
Is Clean Eating Just Another Diet?
There is no official government, USDA sanctioned definition of clean eating (at least not one that I could find). Unlike the food pyramid or the DASH diet, which are backed by big agencies – clean eating is a movement, like farm-to-table, buying local, and slow food. While fad diets like Atkins or Beachbody focus on eliminating certain food groups or restricting calorie consumption – clean eating encourages eating whole foods in as close to their natural state as possible. Some clean eating rules of thumb I’ve heard about include the 80/20 rule – 80% whole foods and 20% processed and the five ingredient rule – any processed or prepared food should have less than five ingredients on the nutrition label.
Is Clean Eating Hard?
Sometimes. It does require foresight and prep and there is a fair amount of cooking involved. Most recipes I make take about 20 – 30 minutes to cook from scratch. For some people this is nothing, for others, this is more time than they spend in their kitchen all week. It’s really a personal preference. The biggest obstacle between me and a truly virtuous clean diet 100% of the time is lack of prep and planning. I am getting better at it, but often (like this morning) I had nothing on hand to make a healthy lunch for work. No dinner leftovers, no salad stuff, not even a mystery dinner in the freezer to be had. So naturally, I grabbed some knock-off General Tso’s chicken at Hannaford. #cleaneatingfail
Is Clean Eating Expensive
No. I make healthy food a priority on my grocery list and that leaves little room for any impulse buys. After the initial shock of little to no snack foods lying around the house, the kids got used to it. I also try to practice portion control (gah, I know, I know) and you’d be surprised at how far food goes when you eat the recommended serving amount, versus piling food on your plate haphazardly. The amount of food I used to eat in one sitting is enough to now make two or three different meals.
Clean Eating is really just about getting back to the basics – like what people ate before the 1980’s, when we were introduced to chemically processed quasi-foods like like Sunny D, Tato Skins and Fruit Roll-ups. You can find a lot of good, affordable clean eating recipes at The Gracious Pantry and on my Clean Eating Boards on Pinterest.
Did I miss anything? If you have more questions about clean eating or how I do it at my house, let me know!
In six months and 10 days I will be 40. I think that puts me into middle age, no? I keep hearing ‘40 is the new 20!’ and I cringe a little. I didn’t like 20. Like, at all. I was having babies and going to college and was really broke all of the time. Of course, now that I think on it, I am still in school and never seem to have much in my bank account. But I am definitely happier now than I was in my twenties.
There are things about my twenties that I do miss, like my girlish figure. At the time I was convinced I was horrifically fat and unattractive, when really I was just tired from babies and lacking any real fashion sense. My legs were great, my boobs were still where they started in life, my hair didn’t need any highlights to camouflage gray and I never had to bother with make-up. I mean, what’s not to love? Youth really is wasted on the young.
So now, I find myself taking stock of where I am at. I woke up one morning to discover cellulite on my thighs. When did this happen? Gray hair, once a novelty, is now just a nuisance. And my boobs – well, we won’t go there. But with the wisdom of mid-life, I am taking it all in stride. In fact, I feel more beautiful at almost-40 than I ever did when I was younger. Maybe I have a hefty dose of narcissism, but whatever, I’ll take it. 30 years of not liking your thighs is long enough.