Mar 112014
 

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SPRING IS HERE!

Well, almost I guess. The spring rains have arrived here in Oregon and the flowers are starting to poke up above the muddy ground and bloom. Crocus flowers are one of my favorites. With spring here and the drive to clean things up, why not start with the diet? It’s a good time of year to ease into weight loss–the pressure of New Year’s Resolutions is come and gone and it’s much easier to focus on change when the prospect of summer is upon us! Spring Clean your diet with some of these tips:

Cut Out The Sugars

If you struggle with sugar like I do, then perhaps taking a break from eating candy and sugary-treats is a good idea. It’s a good idea for me! An easy way to cut out sugar from the diet is to eat natural, whole foods like fruits and vegetables. There’s sugar in so many things–even your salad dressings, ketchup, lots of things you’d never even suspect have sugar. A way to cut out sugar is to substitute fruit when you’re craving something sweet. Often times a sweet, juicy orange or a bowl of blueberries is just what you need for that craving. The other day I had a banana with a little whipped cream on top for dessert. It was 100 calories and totally satisfied my sweet tooth!

Add More Veggies

Read this post about how to get more veggies in your diet. The short version: try adding roasted vegetables to your dinners and healthy green salads to lunches. Even if you do this just a few times a week, you will feel the difference. Spring is also a good time to check out your local Farmer’s Market. I love the local markets here in Portland. It makes me feel good to support local, small farmers and you know their vegetables aren’t super GMO creations.

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This is also the time of year that Michael and I start cleaning up our raised garden beds. We get things ready for a spring crop of lettuce and kale. Growing our own kale is fantastic. It’s so healthy for you. And kale chips are pretty tasty, too. ;)

Try Healthier Grains and Starches

Instead of white rice, try brown rice or quinoa. Instead of white potatoes, have a yam or sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are so healthy and much more satisfying to me! Instead of pasta, try spaghetti squash. It really does work as “spaghetti”! What about trying lentils instead of rice or pasta? Lentilles au Vin Blanc is a good one.

Challenge Yourself

How about trying something new? Like giving up bread for a month, or going dairy-free. Even going meatless one day a week can sometimes jump start healthy eating habits. I don’t know about you, but when spring arrives I get an overwhelming desire to IMPROVE. Everything — my diet, clean the house, de-clutter my life…What about trying a new recipe? Shaved Brussels Sprout SaladSouthwest Quinoa Salad to name a few.

Spring Clean Your Kitchen

This is the time of year I want to purge all the stuff in my pantry that’s been there forever. If I haven’t eaten it over the winter and I don’t plan on eating it anytime soon, I donate it. I do this about twice a year. Toss the junk food. If it’s not in your house you won’t be tempted!! Trust me, this works! I do so much better with my diet when I don’t have the sweets and trigger foods in my house.

Do you do any Spring Cleaning?

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Feb 252014
 

Dang it. I don’t even play tennis! Yet, here I am nursing Tennis Elbow.

I’ve had issues in the past where my right elbow bugged me. Usually reducing weight lifting and stopping all push-ups for a week or two did the trick. This time? It was a million times worse. Radiating, throbbing, aching, burning pain around my elbow into my forearm. So bad it hurt to even touch the skin around it. I saw a doctor, even though I’d already accurately diagnosed myself, and yep tennis elbow. No weight lifting for 2 weeks, regular icing of my arm and elbow, take 2 Aleve twice a day and wear a brace on my elbow. I have a history of tendinitis in my right wrist that I saw a specialist for years ago and wore a wrist brace at work. Then it got better and I didn’t wear my wrist brace for like 4 years. Now I’m back to wearing it again as well.

I think a combination of factors lead to my injury. Weight lifting, typing at work and using my iPhone too much the last few weeks (first when we were snowed in and then the next week when I was sick). My hope is that it improves quickly because not only is it painful, it’s incredibly inconvenient being right handed and all. I’m also irritated I can’t lift weights for many weeks. Despite that, I was able to work around my elbow issue on Saturday’s workout.

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I did a bunch of stuff that I knew I could do without irritating my arm–squats, deadlifts, burpees, etc and then finished up with the elliptical. I did a fairly quickie workout because I knew I was going to be working my butt off later.

In the snow storm a few weeks ago a section of our fence fell down. Then the next weekend there was a huge windstorm that blew down another section of the fence. Our fence is so old it’s basically rotting. I’m not surprised it fell down. Unfortunately we aren’t in the physical or financial place to replace the entire fence because our yard is SO huge! But we needed to fix it to buy more time and to keep Bella in our yard. I tell ya, it’s been a pain in the butt going out with her every time she needs to pee! At 6 am when it’s pouring rain I don’t want to go outside in my PJs…

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Fun times! Michael, one of our neighbors and I worked on fixing the fence. First we had to dig out the concrete from the original posts, two of which fell down and I think that’s why the rest of fence came down so easily. It took forever to dig around the concrete core that went down at least 3 or 4 feet. They were humongous and heavy and difficult to remove but we got it . Next Michael got new materials from the hardware store.

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Bella was having a BLAST playing outside all day. From the snow to the pouring rain we haven’t done much the last few weeks so she loved being outside all afternoon. We played ball, she ran around while we fixed the fence, it was good.

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Carrying, mixing and pouring 50 pounds of concrete is exhausting. After spending about 5 hours working on this, we were both exhausted and sore. My lower back was aching, Michael’s back hurt. We both hit the wall about the same time. We finished up, cleaned up everything and decided to go out to dinner. The idea of cooking anything was too much to handle.

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Michael had a Groupon deal for the nearby sushi restaurant that we like so we went there. I got a glass of Pinot Grigio and devoured the food, both of us famished. It was a lot of food. I regretted eating so much afterward but dammit was I hungry! Back home and in my PJs the minute I dropped my purse, I settled in the watch some TV and relax. I just started watching “The West Wing.” I’m about half way through the first season. Loving it! Then I went to bed–I knew I was going to be sore the next day and boy was I!

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Sunday we got some new boards put up and then reattached the old fence. It’s a temporary fix for now. We’re not in a place right now to redo the whole fence and even though the current fence is rotting, it still works and it means Bella can go outside unsupervised and run around! Yay! It’s done. We finished just as it started pouring rain on Sunday.

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