Dec 162016
 

Snow Day!!!

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On Wednesday we left work early because daycare was closing early–which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We picked up the baby and got home in no time at all and I was able to work from home for a few hours. Unfortunately, a lot of people I know, and some coworkers, didn’t get as lucky. Lots of people’s commutes were 2-4 hours!! Lots of cars got stuck, crashed, people abandoned their cars and walked, some people took cabs and got gouged for outrages rates, a school bus with kids inside slid down an icy hill and crashed (everyone was ok). It was chaos! For only a few inches!

To be fair, it doesn’t snow often in Portland–usually we get hit with ice and that’s worse. But not many of us local PNW-ers are experienced driving in snow AND it’s so hilly that roads get icy and treacherous, and so the city pretty much shuts down.

Thursday work was closed and so I did a little bit of work on my laptop (when I had some, which wasn’t much) but basically I had a snow day too! YAY!

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Logan let us sleep in a bit, which was a nice bonus, and Michael made breakfast burritos. Then I worked out in my living room.

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Snowed In Workout

Warm-up with resistance bands

Push-ups: 2 sets of 10

Bicep curls with resistance band: 3 sets of 10

Chest press with 2 15 pound dumbbells: 3 sets of 10

Overhead Triceps with 2 15 pound dumbbells: 3 sets of 10

Mountain Climbers: 4 sets of 20

Kettlebell Swing with 20 pound KB: 4 sets of 10

Squats: 3 sets of 10

Plank Jacks: 4 sets of 15

Abs:

V-ups: 3 sets of 15

Toe touches with 8lb ball: 3 sets of 20

Bird Dogs: 3 sets of 10 each side

Cobra: 4 sets of 10

Glute Bridge: 4 sets of 12

Plank: 30 second hold twice

Finished up with PT exercises for back and stretching.

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Logan’s playmate works great as a workout matt, too! 😉

I’m super happy with my home workout! Even though I was snowed in and couldn’t get to the gym–I was able to get some fitness in. I immediately felt better after working out. And trust me, it’s been a rough month and a half of being sick and my fitness being super spotty. So it was an extra bonus to work out consistently this week (despite the weather!).

Later, Michael braved the weather and picked up some groceries. He got some tomato bisque and made us grilled cheese sandwiches to go with it.

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It really hit the spot!

The rest of the afternoon I did some work, took a nap (I wasn’t feeling great still) and Logan took a nap and then I made us dinner.

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I was a vegetarian for about 10 years a long time ago. I’ve talked about it before, and how I was a terrible vegetarian. And while I’m no longer a vegetarian, I do tend to lean more towards vegetarian meals when I have to cook for myself. Thankfully I’m a little better at it these days and don’t just eat crap AND there are much better options out there for vegetarians than when I was one.

I really love Angela’s recipes at Oh She Glows. Not only is her website gorgeous, the recipes I’ve tried have been really good–even if they ARE vegan/vegetarian.

I’ve had this particular recipe for a few months now and finally made it. The snowy, cold weather just seemed fitting for a hearty soup.

Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 7 cups

Calories per serving: 282 calories

Note from author: I tried a version using light canned coconut milk and one using full-fat canned coconut milk, and I greatly prefer the full-fat coconut milk version (shocker, I know). I recommend following suit, but if all you have on hand is light canned coconut milk that’ll work in a pinch—it just won't be as rich and creamy.

From: http://ohsheglows.com/2016/04/03/glowing-spiced-lentil-soup/

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups (280 grams) diced onion (1 medium/large)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 (15-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 (15-ounce/398 mL) can full-fat coconut milk*
  • 3/4 cup (140 grams) uncooked red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 1/2 cups (875 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, to taste (for a kick of heat!)
  • 1 (5-ounce/140-gram) package baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, add the oil, onion, and garlic. Add a pinch of salt, stir, and sauté over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the onion softens.
  2. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom until combined. Continue cooking for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), entire can of coconut milk, red lentils, broth, salt, and plenty of pepper. Add red pepper flakes or cayenne, if desired, to taste. Stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil.
  4. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium-high, and simmer, uncovered, for about 18 to 22 minutes, until the lentils are fluffy and tender.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach until wilted. Add the lime juice to taste. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired. Ladle into bowls and serve with toasted bread and lime wedges.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=51207

The recipe was REALLY easy. Like seriously. You can easily make this on a work night when you don’t have a lot of time. I prepped stuff (chopped onion, garlic, got all the ingredients out) and that took about 10 minutes and then I played with Logan and when it was time to really start cooking Michael took the baby and got him ready for bed.

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I used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth because neither of us are vegetarian and I kinda wanted a little more flavor in it. Other than that, I followed the recipe completely. She said you could add chard, kale or spinach. I used kale and baby spinach.

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I opened a bottle of wine and toasted some asiago bread, topping it with the garlic Irish butter.

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It was so good! It was the perfect dinner for a snowed-in day.

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It was hearty and filling and completely satisfying. I really enjoyed the dinner. (Even though I was congested from yet another cold.) Michael said it would be better with some sausage in it–maybe so. Like I said above, I am usually cool with vegetarian meals. So I don’t necessarily feel like the dish was lacking because it didn’t have meat. But you can easily add something to this and I think it would still work.

I think our dinners were about a serving and a half. I have about 3 or 4 servings of leftovers and I think it will taste even better after sitting overnight.

After dinner we watched a few episodes of WestWorld. 🙂

Jul 252016
 

How did treadmills and weight machines become the gold standard of fitness? Why have some of us turned our backs on the mirrors and gleaming devices of the traditional gym? What is the appeal of the stripped-down, functional approach to fitness that ís currently on the rise? In this captivating narrative, Daniel Kunitz sets out on a journey through history to answer these questions and more.

Lift cover

I was asked to read and review the book LIFT by Daniel Kunitz. The book sounded really interesting to me because I was curious about the changing culture of fitness.

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I remember growing up in the 1980s, my mom was really into jazzercise and aerobics. She was even a teacher for a long time. I used to go to the classes with her (not to participate but to go to the daycare) and I’d watch all these moms doing step aerobics in their leotards with their big hair and your typical 80’s music. 🙂 I think a lot of my readers probably remember that time!

The author goes through the history of exercise–Roman times, event ancient Chinese history. He also discussed his own transformation through exercise.

One morning the author was sick and hungover after a rough night of partying when he had a realization. “It dawned on me that the state of your body isn’t something you either choose to care about or leave be, for your body never just is–it is always either decaying or getting stronger. Not choosing is still a choice. [pg 7]”

Daniel Kunitz AP

The 70’s happened and “people began to shake off the smoking-drinking-drugging hangover of the previous era in unprecedented numbers by joining in the new fad for jogging. Twenty years later I did the same. Of course, by that time some things had changed. The terminology, for: what was once a mellow jog became running. [pg 8]”

The author then realized that smoking and running didn’t really go well together and he quit smoking.

“Running is monostructural: it improves your endurance but not your strength, balance, explosiveness, or flexibility. It might make you skinny, but it won’t produce muscles. [pg 10]”

I found that interesting and very true. In my own experience I was very much a cardio-junkie. I ran, I did the elliptical, I biked, I swam and did the stairmaster. I LOATHED weight lifting. It was slow, it was boring, I didn’t see the calorie burn I saw while doing cardio. Then I started getting injuries and I realized that what I was doing wasn’t working.

“Over time, as I noticed that even those who showed up each day to the gym didn’t make any visible improvements. I had to wonder if this was due to their perfunctory attitudes or the cause of them. [pg 12]”

How true is that statement?? It is very true for me! Being a gym rat I see the same people at the gym when I go and they all look pretty much the same. There is one guy that I saw on a regular basis and then I took a break from the gym a few weeks before my baby was born, then about 6 weeks off postpartum–I came back to the gym and saw that guy and did a double take. He was HUGE. His muscles had quadrupled! I was shocked. I don’t know what he did but he is the only one that comes to mind that made a very real difference in his body.

It’s easy to go to the gym and get into ruts and do the same thing every time, and your body doesn’t change or improve. The author talks a lot about the “new” crossfit phenomenon and the concept of FUNCTIONAL fitness–which I wholeheartedly agree is the better way to work out.

“I’d never seen anybody make a bicep-curling motion outside of the gym. [pg 13]”

Re-thinking the way we do fitness, the way we lift weights is making changes. I learned that going to the Warrior Room. I became SO much stronger MUCH faster doing functional things like flipping tires, carrying sandbags, swinging kettlebells, etc, than I EVER did lifting weights at the gym.

“So why did weight machines continue to flourish in gyms? Aside from the gleam of technological novelty, they offer the untaught user a way to lift. Properly training with free weights requires some skill, while the Olympic lifts–the snatch and clean and jerk–are highly technical, demanding extensive, long-term coaching to master. It wasn’t until quite recently, with CrossFit, that significant numbers of people came to grasp the importance of skill-based work. [pg 248]”

I admit, I often use the weight machines at gym. When I first started getting into weight lifting I did the machines because I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have the skill set yet. Then having some training sessions with a personal trainer and eventually joining The Warrior Room, I learned those skills and got better at free weights and realized it was more FUN using kettlebells and free weights. No wonder I thought weight lifting was boring–sitting in a machine and going through the motions IS boring!

“By removing skill, machines essentially turn strength training into a low intensity activity: you might look better by using them but you’re not challenging who you are today to become a better version tomorrow. [pg 248]”

I never thought of the weight machines like that, but it makes perfect sense to me. You sure don’t get your heart pumping sitting in a weight machine and passively pushing, not like you do with dramatic movements like kettlebell swings!

“But what’s the point? To what end do we train and eat right and get enough sleep and learn new physical techniques and then relax by watching other people doing these things? [pg 39]”

It was really interesting reading about the history of exercise and weight lifting.

“Weightlifting refers specifically to the sport of shifting loads from the ground to overhead. Although it was included in the first Olympics in 1896 as a field event, it was excluded from the 1900, 1908, and 1912 games. It returned as its own event at the 1920 Olympics and over the course of that decade evolved into something like the sport we know today. Weightlifting was codified in 1928 as three lifts: the snatch (pulling the bar in a single motion from the ground to overheard), the clean and press, and the clean and jerk (cleaning means hoisting the bar to the shoulders, where the athlete can either press it overheard or jerk it, using the leg to provide momentum). [pg 163]”

This book is perfect for the reader that likes history and is interested in reading about the evolution of fitness. It was fascinating reading about the different trends and how things changed–and how ideas and values changed.

I personally would have liked more personal anecdotes from the author’s journey from unhealthy to fit, because what he did share was interesting and I could relate to a lot of it. The book felt more history-heavy than personal. I think there could have been more of a balance between the two. If you’d like to read this book, check it out here:

HarperCollins | Amazon Barnes & Noble

Happy reading!