Thursday, June 28, 2012

Inspiration Friday

Ever since finding out gluten was a big no no for me I have been on a mission to improve my health.

A couple of weeks ago I showed you a before and after image of myself prior to going gluten free vs me today. It's true that I have lost over 30 pounds since going gluten free however you have to understand this is not a fad diet for me nor am I doing it to lose weight. I am gluten free in order to LIVE. Period.

Many people ask me, my Mom being one, if I think my weight loss is the diet or the running.  I always respond's a combination of the two. They go hand in hand for me. I can not do one without the other.  See before, I didn't feel like doing anything. I was tired all the time, had no energy and simply didn't feel like being active at all.  Once I stopped consuming gluten my body started to heal and I started to feel like I could run again. So one day I took off running and I've never looked back.

Even though you can see a big change in my appearance it left me wondering what was really going on inside my body? So under the advice of my doctor I had my blood tested again to see if the highs had declined and if the lows had increased and I got some AMAZING news today when I met with my doctor to go over the results.

Take a look!!

My Vitamin D is way up! It was 20 before it's now at 47!! Huge improvement considering it's most beneficial to be between 50 -80 to help wart off diseases. So I'm super stoked about this reading.

My Cholesterol has been high for a long long time and I am so excited to report that my LDL dropped 36 points, down from 167 to 131. While my HDL increased 5 points to a whopping 78!!! Overall my cholesterol is still considered high by looking at my total, but I have made awesome progress. I couldn't be happier with my improvements. Keep in mind this has all been attained naturally and with no harsh Cholesterol lowing meds! All my results are from eating a healthy diet that is right for me, exercising and also taking a Niacin supplement. 

The only bad reading I had last time that really wasn't corrected was my Ferritin levels which were a measly 4 last time we tested and this time it only increased to 5.9 and it should be around 40. So it's still way to low and I have now been placed on iron to help increase this.

So where is the inspiration in this post??
I'll tell you where...

It's inspiring and empowering that we can heal our bodies naturally by nourishing them with foods that do not make us sick.  I honestly believe that many of our ailments can been corrected by making simple changes in the foods we eat. Trust me I have been told so many times that I need a drug to improve my health and every time I have responded with "No I can do this on my own!" And now I have!!! 
I hope after reading this you are inspired to continue working towards a healthier you!

No matter what your goals are continue to work hard to attain them.
Remember... if you believe can achieve it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sparkling Summer Waters

When you grow up where I did, which happens to be the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virgina, the water is so crisp, pure and refreshing you can't help but fall in love with it.

I remember one of the things I most enjoyed  as a child and well into adulthood was getting lost in nature with my Papa. He had a large amount of land and together we would go and explore the world around us.

One stop we always made was to take a long drink of water from the spring on his land!
Standing there under the shaded canopy of the forest we would quietly have a sip of cool mountain water while taking in our surroundings and listening to the beautiful mountain orchestra of birds, wind and the constant beautiful trickle of water from the spring.
I still remember it so crystal clear and every time I visit my parents I still have to stop and take a drink when we pass it.
The water comes from an underground spring and is a constant bone chilling 52 degrees. 
Crisp, cold, pure and refreshing mountain water.
Pure perfection.
 My precious grandpa has since passed however the wonderful memories we shared will always walk with me. And the land my Papa held so near and dear to his heart is now owned by my Mom and Dad. So I can still take those lovely walks but now I go with my Mom and Daddy and take my sweet little girls along with me. 
And we are kinda creatures of habit. 
We do the same thing and stop at the old spring for a cool refreshing sip of water.

But what do you do if water isn't your thing and you want to up your intake?
Or if you're tired of drinking plain water and want to jazz it up a bit.
You know, without the added calories or the yucky stuff that companies love to add that really defeat the purpose of nourishing our bodies by drinking water in the first place.

You flavor your own water naturally!!

And lucky for us there are very simple and affordable ways to do just that. It's easier than you think to naturally infuse water with wonderful flavors, without added calories and minus all the gross yucky stuff you don't want to place in your body in first place.
 Trust me you will be left refreshed, hydrated and yearning for more.

One of the things I love most about water is how easy it is to dress it up and morph it into something different.
If you get tired of plain water just add some fresh fruit or herbs to it and you have a new refreshing flavored water.

For example. I made Crisp Mint Cucumber, Mint Strawberry and Lemon Clementine over the weekend!
All were awesomely flavored after sitting in the fridge overnight!
Pretty easy hu? And what a pretty presentation as well.
These will be great to have in a bucket of ice for summer gatherings!
I will be making these all summer long. I totally promise you that.
{PS. I got the bottles at IKEA $3.99 each}
And they hold a whopping 32oz so you can pour a refreshing drink for several people from one bottle!
Now go kick-off your summer with a nice tall glass of naturally flavored H2O!
Did you like this post? If so, tell me!
Do you make flavored waters yourself? Then share your favorites with me. I'd love to hear what combinations you've tried and loved.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

I think this speaks volumes and really reflects how we should all think and live each and every day of our lives.

Live life like there is no tomorrow and with no regrets.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Run/Walk Must Haves

Walk, Power Walk, Jog or Run
These are my must haves that go with me every time I hit the pavement!

My husband actually chuckled when he saw the post I was working on. I don't know if he thought the picture was funny or the topic. 
Whatever the case let me state for the record that I am not a model.
{I don't have to tell you that but it does make me feel better to state the obvious. :)}
And secondly, I don't think there is anything funny in sharing awesome products with your friends.
Do you?
I mean gosh that's how we find out about most of our favorite items.

So let's take a closer look at the items in
My Run Must Haves
and see why they made the most wanted list.

The sunglasses I scooped up at Walmart for like $10. I don't know if they are for ladies or men but they are Sport Sunglasses and fit nicely on my face, they're not tight on my head and never move when I run.
They are perfect for me and what I need. I may spring for a more expensive pair down the road but for now these are perfect.

 I just bought this Ribbed Nike Tank at Sports Authority and I love it. 
I actually got two of them a black one and the red one I am wearing in the picture.
They are DriFit and really do pull the sweat right off of you.
I love that they are fitted to flatter our girlie figures and much longer than others I have tried on.
I have to give these tanks a big thumbs up!
Great job Nike.
I couldn't find these on Amazon but you can find them here on the Nike site.
and they come in 4 pretty colors

I have been using this app since December and I really love it. It has everything I need and isn't overly complicated with features.
It contains 5k, 10k, Half and Full Marathon training modes and allows you to race against yourself 
on routes and distances you have conquered before.
It has a nice GPS map that shows you the route you ran and contains lots of stats about your runs.
Calories, Time, Speed, Max Speed, Distance..
you know all the good stuff.
It's also super motivational to go back and see where you were in the weeks or even months past and
gives you a beautiful since of accomplishment.
So you can say... Hey! I really am improving!!! 

It's well worth the $2.99.
Click here to jump to your iTunes store for more app information on Run Training Pro.
I'm always on the lookout for a great comfy pair of run shorts that are not too short.
These new balance shorts I love .Like most other run shorts they have built in panties a
little key pocket and drawstring.
These keep me cool, they are relaxed and not too short.
Perfect Pair!

I can not stress enough the importance of a good pair of running shoes.
Picking out the perfect pair can be daunting. So this time 
I went to FleetFeet in Altamonte Springs and let them do all the work for me.
They helped me by taking multiple measurements of my feet while sitting and standing and then had me run on a treadmill to record my gate so they could analyze how I land on my feet.
All this information combined allowed them to help me find the perfect pair of running shoes for me!
They were incredibly knowledgeable, very kind and patient and listened to me until we found the perfect pair.
I won't go anywhere else for running shoes.
Simply put they were awesome!!

I had no idea how important a good pair of socks were until I talked to the folks at FleetFeet.
Did you know the naked foot temperature is 94 degrees. The non-active foot in a shoe has a temperature of 105-125 degrees!! This temperature increases with activity level. 
So get some nice Lycra socks by Feetures that will pull the sweat away from your feet and help prevent blisters and soggy gross feet at the end of your runs!
Now that I wear these awesome socks when I take my shoes off after a run my feet feel fantastic!

One of my favorites is the SpiBelt! Just look at everything this baby can hold!!
I've had it for years now and it's still holding up great.
Trust me this little number is well worth the $19 and you won't be disappointed in the least.
Currently I run in a Marika Bra from Target. 
It's fits me well and prevents movement and wasn't super expensive either.
I think it was around $19.
But I'm always on the lookout for a great sports bra so if you have suggestions let me know!

In closing I have to let you know
 I also use a great sweat proof sunscreen every time I head out too.
Recently I've been using Coppertone's Sport SPF 50 lotion.

And Most Importantly
My playlist of songs to keep me inspired on my runs!
You can check out my current play list at the link below. 

This post turned out to be a whopper! haha
Sometimes I can get a tad long winded however all the information I included I feel was needed.
And remember you don't have to be a champion runner to get out and push yourself.
Start slow and enjoy the time out and in no time you will be running circles around your kids!
{Trust me I do that now! :)}

Hope you have enjoyed my run must haves
and if you saw something you really like you can jump and grab a few of the awesome items I mentioned above by simply clicking the link below!!!

Now get out there and put some miles behind you!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Inspiration Friday's

I'm going to try a new type of post on Friday's. Some people do Photo Friday's and What I wore Wednesdays but I think I want to do Inspiration Friday's! Where I will post what is inspiring me to get healthier, run faster, longer, further. What is helping me to hit a goal and keep pushing forward past that goal onto the next. No matter what it will be something that is helping me to get well and feel amazing while doing it.

A lot has happened and changed in my life over the past few months but I can honestly tell you that I wouldn't have it any other way. I started running in mid December of last year and went Gluten Free at that time as well due to medical reasons and my life hasn't been the same since. I thank God that I've been given another opportunity on this ride and I'm going to RUN with it. Literally!!

Today my post is a simple picture. A picture of myself back in August of 2011 compared to where I am today, June 2012. In August of last year I couldn't wear that belt! And was really pushing the limits of those cut-offs. LOL Today, I can wear that belt on the 4th hole and in todays photo I am pulling the cut-offs tight around my body. In August those shorts were tight around my waist. Now they will shoot to the floor if I move to fast and don't have on a belt! For those of you who follow a scale this is what a thirty pound loss looks like on me. I have to tell you I am shocked seeing these two images but I am inspired as well. And that my friends is the very first Inspiration Friday post.

I hope you enjoyed and have been inspired as well.
Now go sweat!!


Hulk-A-Rella Green Smoothie

Ok before you go any further in this post. 
STOP and remove any doubt you may have about this smoothie.

Go in with an open mind.

Trust me.
This really tastes good plus it's so good for you too.
And if you have low iron like I do this will be perfect for you!
I will admit I have never been one who swoons over smoothies.
However, some people, including my kids love them.
While I must have missed that train long long ago.

So with that being said you can see why all the Pinterest posts about smoothies and infomercials about drinking your fruits and veggies have never, ever been appealing to me.
Plus, I always thought you were consuming a ton of calories in one drink.
{which in many cases are you are}
but when you make them at home you know exactly what goes into them and you can control the flavors, cost and the calories!

And this smoothie weighs in at just
125 Calories for a really tall glass.
Let me give some credit where it's due because I didn't just wake up one day and say
"Hey! I'm going to drink some spinach!"
My cousin Tracy told me the last time we spoke that she has been drinking green smoothies 
and making them at home at a fraction of the cost you would pay at a smoothie bar.

So I asked that famous question I'm sure everyone hears when they share they are drinking 
Green Smoothies...
What do they taste like?

I had braced myself to hear...
"You know how the lawn smells after you cut the grass?
Well that's kind of what they taste like." :)
I can't help but laugh at that comment but that is honestly what I thought of when 
I thought about drinking one of these.

Shockingly to my surprise her response was ...
They taste really really good. 
 So on the heals of that conversation I decided to give them a try.
 And here I am today sharing with you what I used and what I've found I like.

I don't have a fancy shmancy blender. I have an older Oster blender that I bought more because it was black and matched my kitchen than for all the features it had. 
But it's a basic blender with that big line of buttons that has two functions for low and high.
 So it's by no means a top of the line but you really don't even need that.

The second bit of advice my cousin gave me, which was awesome, was to cut up the fruit and freeze it and then you can just grab and go with it.
 And wouldn't ya know the next week Publix had a sale on Blueberries!
1.99 for a pint! So I grabbed a couple and froze them right away.
Then I had some bananas that were starting to freckle and rather than let them tan any longer under my counter top lighting I peeled, sliced and froze those too! 

Don't chug it. Drink it slowly and let your body drink in the nutrients this lovely little green monster contains.
So here is where I started and what I started with.
2 Cups Spinach - 1/2 Cup Frozen Bananas - 1/4 Cup Frozen Blueberries
1-1/4 Cup of Water with Ice
I added the water and ice to the blender
added the spinach.
YES its about a handful.
Turned on the blender and let it whip up the greens. 
It quickly turned into a bright green slushy after a few seconds.
Then I added approximately 1/2 to 3/4 of a frozen banana
and a handful of blueberries to the mix about 1/4 of a cup.
Turned it back on and let it whip.
In the beginning the smoothie was so thick that I did have to add a little more water to it and stir it by hand but once all the bananas and blueberries were mixed perfectly the smoothie began to whip continuously.

At this point I just let it go for about a minute longer and you are done!

Pretty easy, hu?

Then pour into a glass and enjoy! 
Oddly it doesn't taste of spinach at all.
It doesn't taste like fresh cut grass either. 
Thank God.
But what it does taste like is a very cold drink with the slightest hint of banana and blueberries
 and I love it!

Honestly, it took my cousin telling me to try this for me to give it a whirl.
{no pun intended}
and I'm so glad I did and hope you will too.
Trust me if this girl can drink and love it you will too
and I haven't even tried other lovely fruits like
Strawberries, Mango, Peaches or Raspberries yet.
 and I say yet because I will go there.

Thank you so much Tracy for telling me about these and encouraging me to try them.
You have the best ideas. :) 

I look forward to sharing more smoothie options in upcoming posts!

Now go build some muscle!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Baked Zucchini with Melted Parmesan Cheese

I picked up some nice Zukes from the Farmers Market over the weekend to make a quick summer
 side dish.
It was a great deal too 2 for a buck!

So I decided to try a quick, easy, flavorful dish.

First I sliced the zukes angled and not super thin but not too thick either.
Then in a bowl I drizzled them with a light amount of olive oil. 
Sprinkled them with garlic salt and dried parsley a dash of salt and pepper.

Then laid them overlapping a tad bit on cookie pan and grated some fresh parmesan cheese 
to sprinkle over them. 

Preheat your oven to 350 and bake for about 20-25 min until tender. 
Then brown them under the broiler to get the cheese nice and brown. 
Serve hot!

This made a super quick side dish that everyone loved!
{Well minus the little one she rarely touches anything green}