Friday, July 20, 2012

New Hair

So how did my week of salads go? Not too well!!

I ate more of them than usual, but we had several events at work with TONS of free food and I find it hard to resist freebies! Especially as I am cutting down on work hours and going to be living like a poor student! So pasta, brownies etc. all found their way to me lol!

 I promise that next week I will do better! I'm excited about reducing my work hours by the way- I will be doing more working out+ more college + blogging :)

And I've made the change from brunette to honey blonde for summer, I like it a lot!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Salads and smoothies detox

Update: I'm trying to lose five more pounds to get to 115 (so I can see my ab muscles). This is proving difficult.

 My body has settled into 120-122 pounds and is happy to be there. So I've got to start trying harder by doing more cardio rather than weights at the gym, and eating really well.

On Friday I did a grocery shop and got only healthy stuff (despite an intense craving to bake oatmeal raisins cookies! I resisted and didn't buy any of the ingredients)
These things are like crack to me lol

 Instead, I got a ton of salad ingredients and fruits to snack on. My plan is to do my protein smoothie for breakfast, and then salads for lunch and dinner. So far I've stuck to that over the weekend- buuuuut my salads are getting out of control. There is a line with salad where it stops being healthy as you've added way to many things to those Mexican 'salads' in a fried tortilla bowl topped with globs of sour cream, lol!

In my case? Adding waaay to much pan seared seitan (veggie chicken substituted) and GOATS  CHEESE. Im kind of addicted to this creamy fresh goats cheese, and my 'sprinkle' on my salad has turned into slices...
mmm goat cheese!

Oh, and in the hot weather I've been drinking way too much orange juice. I caught myself and started diluting it with club soda but I probably added at least 600 extra calories to my days with several big glasses of icy cold,sugar filled OJ!

Its not only about eating healthy foods, its also about portion control :(

I may have to follow the four day diet again, just to make my salads correctly etc. Its sooo restrictive though so I'd like to see if I can get results on my own first!

Fireworks at St. Augustine
P.S. I hope you had a happy 4th of July!! I went to St. Augustine for it and watched fireworks in the bay, beautiful!

I was hoping to be a citizen by the 4th, but Im still in the process. My interview/test is next (I have a whole book of American history to study for the test! I wonder if most Americans know all this information lol!)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Working off those cookies

Nothing entirely new to report except that I'm continuing to go to the gym! I'm trying to get to 115 pounds but I self sabotaged by making Anzac cookies from Australia- I was missing them too much! I had a rather 'expat' breakfast on Saturday- Anzacs, marmite on toast (British), and Rooibos tea (we drank a lot of this in South Africa)

I did go to the gym that afternoon and workout though even if I felt entirely unmotivated haha. The thing that helps me get through a workout is- music, and the feeling afterwards (toned muscles, less back ache)

On an unrelated note, how awesome is this Aussie beach house? Look at that tree in the deck, the view, the windows!! My dream home <3

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tennis and Michael Duncan's PETA ad

In an effort to find fitness related activities I enjoy I signed up for a beginners tennis class (the fact that the man in my life is into tennis could have also played a factor in my decision to sign  I was kind of nervous, being entirely nonathletic. However, I got in the car and made myself go ...and the first class was lots of fun!

 We practised all sorts of shots and had drills were they threw balls at us and we had to hit them (with the rest of the class watching!!)

 It was  good workout because I was on my feet for an hour and a half, darting around, and for the next five days my forearm HURT. I guess I don't really use that muscle much!!

There were lots of people playing games around us at the courts having fun with friends, I'm looking forward to being able to join that world! I love socializing but it always seems to involve food and drink, tennis is a much healthier way to spend time together!
Maybe I can develop a Sharapova body? haha

My second class was supposed to be last night but it got rained out, so I hit the gym instead.

I'm feeling the need to do a week long detox soon. I've been eating 90% healthy, but I seem to have some kind of sugar every day. I'm on my last packet of Tim Tams from Australia (the BEST cookies!!)

 and last bag of Aussie liquorice, so once those are gone I need to get off my sugar addiction and go sugar free for a bit! Every time I do I notice how much I'm like an addict coming off my drug, I crave it hard, and then a few days into the detox the cravings go away!

Have I told you guys that I dont really count calories anymore? I just kinda know where Im at and how well Ive eaten and what I can and cant really do for a day, its great. I do really suggest counting and tracking what you eat when you are starting out.

In other news, I loved this PETA campaign by Michael Duncan! Usually I find PETA to be too extreme and alienating to the general public, but if you look at the YouTube clip, it is a very rational and lovely explanation on how he doesn't like eating animals (He loves them- including his 6 cats and 2 dogs!) and that you CAN get enough protein on a veggie diet! (YAY for buff vegetarian men!) I loved him in the Green Mile, now I love him even more!

And in other totally unrelated news- I got some green contacts for fun! I love them, though its great being a brown eyed girl sometimes I like a change and its cheaper than changing my hair lol!

Monday, May 21, 2012


One of my goals this year is to develop arm muscles. I started with VERY little muscle, but have now progressed to this:

You can see the mild definition there lol.

I've been doing about 15 minutes of arm exercises when I go to the gym. Ive noticed that I've gradually been able to use heavier and heavier weights. I do bicep curls with 15lb weights now, and hold a 30lb bar overhead while I do squats.

And this is just the beginning! These are the arms I aspire to, and the abs! I will always have more of a bottom than this model though haha, and Im ok with that :)

Another indicator of my slow but definite progress? I was able to get through Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown DVD!!

I hadn't even been able to complete the full 30 minutes of Level one before, as it is VERY arm muscle intensive. She has you in planks and downward dog most of the session, and my arms would just wobble and give out before. Not anymore :D It was great realizing Im stronger!!

One of my body builder friends said that it isnt so much about muscle, as that takes a while to build...its about cutting the fat over the muscle.

He said I already have abs and arm muscles (and its true, I can do full sit ups now nooooo problem!) but I need to get rid of the layer of fat over the muscle. I think if I can eat really clean for a month or so that will get me to 115 pounds and uncover some of these hidden muscles!

 I eat pretty well, but I definitely don't do loads of vegetables and salads every day. It would be a good cleanse. I probably need to increase my cardio. Since I reached my goal weight of 120 I cut back to just 20 minutes or so on the Arc, as I have been focused more on toning.

Im starting tennis on Thursday so hopefully that contributes to my biceps goal :) I've never played before, I will let you know how much I suck at it haha

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Heartbreak, Australia, and my fitness goals

Kangaroos and Emus, cant get more Australian than that!
Sooooooo.....I have been missing in action for a while. I don't want to spill the beans on my personal life too much considering this is a fitness blog, but yes, I did go through heartbreak.  I took some time off to recover. I was touched by the kindness of my friends and co-workers. And what doesn't kill you makes you stronger....

Sometimes things fall apart so better things can come together...thats all I'm going to say. But I'm feeling very happy right now and have some incredible people in my life ;)

In other news...I took a three week trip to Australia to see my family! It was AMAZING!!! (well, besides the 30 hours of travel time...)

I forgot how good Aussie food is! I ate a lot of yummy things (but made sure I walked alot of hills too!)
Haloumi cheese! YUM
Family breakfast!

Bubble tea!
I still didnt put on too much weight though, love being fit!!
Sisters <3

I've been healthy this whole time though! I didn't drown my sorrows in tubs of ice cream LOL...the gym was a great place to keep my head together, and all I have in my house is healthy stuff to eat so thats what I did.

 I'm at my super duper I didnt ever think I would get here goal weight of 120 pounds now!! And developing abs and arm muscles (not super visible yet but I can FEEL them!!)

I'm trying to get fit enough to join a boot camp class later this month (I'm kinda scared!) and a friend and I want to try belly dancing (will chronicle that for you if it all goes to plan!)

Ok, bye now, much love

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Does Eating Fruits and Veggies Make Us More Attractive?


Eating lots of fruits and veggies may not only improve our overall health, but may actually make us more attractive, according to a new study published in the journal PLoS ONE.
That’s because the yellow-red pigments found in fruits and vegetables, called carotenoids, are associated with changes in skin color, the authors found.  They also found that the skin pigment changes may be viewed as healthier and more attractive.
Researchers from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland monitored the fruit and vegetable intake of 35 Caucasians over a six-week period and measured skin color changes.  In a separate experiment, they investigated how attractive people found the skin color changes associated with the increased intake of fruits and vegetables.
Increasing consumption of carotenoids is associated with a more yellowish skin tone, and the authors also found that eating more fruits and vegetables correlated with skin that appeared to have a healthy red tone.
“Such coloration is held to contribute beneficially to the appearance of health in human faces as is the case with skin yellowness,” the authors wrote.
The effects on skin color required only a moderately increased intake of fruits and vegetables, they said.
Carotenoids are made by plants.  They are distributed through the bloodstream to various organs, including the skin.  Previous studies have found that high levels of carotenoids offer protection against ultraviolet radiation by decreasing the skin’s sensitivity to redness caused by UV light.
But it’s the perception on attractiveness that the authors think could potentially be the key to encouraging people to eat more fruits and vegetables, something that adults in the U.S. and the U.K. don’t do very much.
“Such inadequate intake is estimated to precipitate 2.6 million premature deaths per year worldwide,” they wrote.  “Fruit and vegetable consumption affects skin carotenoid levels; this may lead to skin color change in a fashion that is known to contribute to the appearance of health.  It follows that dietary change may be motivated by illustrating to individuals these beneficial effects on appearance.”
The authors also add, however, that further research is needed to determine whether carotenoids affect non-Caucasians the same way.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Family Crisis

Sorry there havent been any posts recently. I'm going through a really hard personal time.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A new haircut and a recipe for tofu lasanga

I've had a two week hiatus from the gym as I was sick. I never thought I would say this....but I miss it! Its an effort to cram it into my life (I was so busy over the past two weeks I found myself wondering HOW I ever got four workouts a week into my schedule) but its worth the effort!!

 I find that I feel happier when I workout, my energy is better and my average mood is a little more elevated. I also fall asleep faster. I've been trying to stick to the 8 hours sleep a night resolution, but I find myself lying awake for an hour. I think its because Im not physically tired. The gym sure helps with that!

Over the weekend I got a haircut with more layers, and bangs! They are just long, side swept bangs but I something a little different. My stylist also razored the ends, something I've never had done before.

Gosh I look different- this is me two and a half years ago

I also celebrated my friends birthday  with cocktails and cake....

SO good!

I also wante to share this recipe is great for vegan lasagna

I only used one pack of whole wheat lasagna, 1 bottle of organic tomato sauce and baked it in a 9inch square cake pan. I added chopped fresh mushrooms to it too. I've never blended tofu before, but its a great idea! With a little soy milk it becomes very ricotta like! I added in extra spices too, I like a bit of chili, nutritional yeast  and pepper in my tofu.

I really liked it and so did Ty!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sugar makes you sick!

I haven't posted recently because I'm sick with a horrible cold. Its been OVER A YEAR since I was last sick! I had this great streak of good health because I was working out and eating right. Last flu season I went home sick from work several times. This year I had been doing well- co-workers were coughing all around me but I held up!

 My diet and exercises were keeping my immunity high. Then last week I had my braces off (yay!!!) I had tons of candy given to me. My orthodontist gave me a bag of candy I hadn't been able to eat with braces- tootsie rolls, lollipops, gum, chocolate (first time a dentist has ever given me candy LOL). My co-worker gave me amazing toffees from Hawaii. Ty surprised me with a bunch of balloons tethered to little candies all over my room

he knows my love of balloons!

I didnt eat all of it, but I did eat more sugar than I had in forever!! And then I got sick. Days of coughing, fever and lethargy. There is a lot of research out there that says SUGAR LOWERS YOUR IMMUNITY- its true!

There is something called a "phagocytic index" which tells you how rapidly a particular macrophage or lymphocyte can gobble up a virus, bacteria, or cancer cell. It was in the 1970's that Linus Pauling realized that white blood cells need a high dose of vitamin C and that is when he came up with his theory that you need high doses of vitamin Cicon to combat the common cold.
sugar and lymphocytes

We know that glucose and vitamin C have similar chemical structures, so what happens when the sugar levels go up? They compete for one another upon entering the cells. And the thing that mediates the entry of glucose into the cells is the same thing that mediates the entry of vitamin C into the cells. If there is more glucose around, there is going to be less vitamin C allowed into the cell. It doesn't take much: a blood sugar value of 120 reduces the phagocytic index by 75%. So when you eat sugar, think of your immune system slowing down to a crawl.

PS. I also didn't work out that week for the first time in months. I was trying to catch up to school work and work work and house work and all the gazzilion and one things I had to do. I think that was a factor too.

PPS- I also recently read about how sugar FEEDS CANCER CELLS. And a friend of mine told me that when her sister goes in for her MRI they activate the cancer by giving her sugar water. It helps the cancer cells light up in the scan. Wow!

I hope this post helps scare you off sugar. The excessive quantities we have availible to consume if we choose to us are poisonous to our bodies.  

 Check out these stats:
  • In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 2009, more than 50 percent of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar PER DAY—translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year!

A little now and then is OK, but even then I think we underestimate how much sugar is already in our diet. Its in our yogurts, our granola, bread, peanut butter, pasta sauce, and ketchup. I'm an admitted sugarholic, so realizing how unnecessary it is to sustain my body and how it really is just a matter of indulgence is important.

I lost weight funnily enough, even though I ate a ton while sick (lots of micro-nutrient filled soups and smoothies) and did nothing to burn of the energy but sleep! Maybe its because I didnt eat out at all and made my own healthy foods.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


This morning a Groupon offered a great deal: 1 month of unlimited boot camp classes for only $29, (a $129 value!) At first I wasnt sure it would be for me- the boot camp website intimidated me! There are lots of pictures of people carrying tires, doing push ups and looking like they are about to drop dead with exhaustion.

Then I realized the Groupon doesnt expire until July this year and I have time to get fitter (its suggested you are intermediate fitness for this- I feel I am strong enough in my lower body but definitely lacking upper body strength!).

I looked at weather charts for Florida for the year and decided that May is a good date to aim to join the boot camp - heights of 87 degrees (rather than the 90's of June/July), and lower rainfall than usual too.

 So I bought the Groupon and now have three and a half months to get fit enough to handle a boot camp! Eeeeek!!

So how am I going to get there? Currently I can do ONE push-up (sad but true!!)

*Focus on weights at the gym. I do 15 minute weight sessions each time I go then go to the cardio machines, but I will probably need to get a little more serious about this and actually make myself a 'set' of exercises to do and actually research proper lifting technique...and do push-ups!

*Do Jillian's 30 Day Shred at Least twice a week- or P90X - I own both. I assume boot camp workouts would be similar to these DVDs as you dont use a lot of weights/etc.  Its all about using the weight of your own body.

I'm kind of excited about this. I get into workout ruts and maybe a month of boot camp will be JUST what I need this year to push me into super star fitness

Each 60-minute boot-camp session targets a different muscle group with high-intensity, nontraditional exercises that incorporate cardio, strength training, and resistance miming. Coupling calisthenics such as sit-ups, squats, and lunges with nutrition advice, the boot-camp classes transmogrify chub-ridden bodies into lean, healthy machines

Bootcamp inspiration :)
In other news- I've been keeping to my sleep goal and feeling great! :) WOW, its amazing how different I feel with 7.5-8 hrs! My body seems to go for that rather than 9- if I try to get 9 I just lay there for a while :( Haven't had to have soda or coffee or tea (except for one cup of green tea a day, after lunch)  Unlike last week! Im controlling my snacking more (even healthy snacking eg. almonds- can get outta control!!) and feel more alert :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Paynes Prairie hike with Alligators and Bison

As I promised, here is my post with pics of  of the bison we came across on the prairie! (If you like wildlife....if you don't, move on, move on...)

 On Saturday we were blessed with sunny 70 degree weather. So rather than running like a rats on the treadmill at the gym, Ty and I decided to drive to Hawthorne trail (about 20 minutes from town) with our bikes in the back of his 4X4. (Tip- if you want to keep your work out motivation up, try scheduling workouts outdoors whenever the weather permits. The outdoors has a possibility for adventure- the gym- not so much :)

Hawthorne is a beautiful area to bike, as its paved road (which means you arent constantly looking out for tree roots and rocks in your way like you would have to on a dirt trail) but it runs through  pine cone forest and hills. Midway on Hawthorne trail, a footpath called La Chua Trail branches off.

La Chua Trail
 La Chua is basically a raised board walkway that ends by a large lake infested with alligators, and continues as a dirt path across the prairie.  When we got to the dirt path a lady walking back to the Hawthorne entrance told us a BISON was out in a ditch!

I was pretty excited, because this is one of the last opportunities to actually see one out in the wild here in Florida. Council authorities have passed plans to cull the herd. When we eventually found the bison, munching on some weeds in the water, I was also excited to realize it was a male! There are going to be NO males left when they cull the herd (and I hope they don't all end up on peoples plates- I've seen bison in the local restaurants before I saw one in real life!)

He has a weird green tongue

We also saw a little alligator in the grass, he wasnt scared of us until I got really close

And a BIG alligator, which I was scared of!
Uh Oh, is he looking at me! Time to go LOL
I wish I could do this everyday instead of the gym! But I'd have to be a lady of leisure without the need for a job - I doubt my boss would appreciate me taking off for several hours to get to the prairie in the daylight (and you really wouldn't want to be on this trail after dark!!!)

( All images copyrighted to this blog)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Vegan potuluck, and how to get more sleep!

/hihi Can you believe that fresh strawberries are cheap in Florida right now?  Its the middle of winter and they in every health food store and supermarket. I made this delicious whole wheat strawberry waffle before hitting up the trails on the weekend (where I saw a BISON- not kidding- pics to come in my next post!!)

In my last post I laid out my resolutions for the year. There is something else I want to try out for a few weeks and see if it changes anything- more sleep. Or specifically:
 9 hours of sleep a night.

 Most work nights I only get 6-7 max and Im drinking waaaaay to much green tea and even the occasional soda (not good- not after last years battle to wean myself off the stuff!)

This website suggests 7.5 to 9 hours, and I think 9 is a safe number to shoot for so that I know I will at least get 8.5 hours by the time I actually fall asleep (it can take me a while sometimes)

This is going to mean timing my workouts earlier (I like to go at 7 or 8 p.m when the gym isnt crowded) Its going to be really weird going to bed at 9:30p.m. but I want to try it out, and see if I feel like a whole new person :D

The website says this about sleep deprivation (I will highlight in purple the ones I feel really apply to myself)

The effects of sleep deprivation and chronic lack of sleep

  • Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Inability to cope with stress
  • Reduced immunity; frequent colds and infections
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Weight gain
  • Impaired motor skills and increased risk of accidents
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems
I bet I will feel more creative, optimistic and passionate about life rather than snarky and bored and clamoring for a nap if I have more sleep under my belt :)

How do you know if you are sleep deprived? Well, according to the website:

You may be sleep deprived if you...

  • Need an alarm clock in order to wake up on time
  • Rely on the snooze button
  • Have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning
  • Feel sluggish in the afternoon
  • Get sleepy in meetings, lectures, or warm rooms
  • Get drowsy after heavy meals or when driving
  • Need to nap to get through the day
  • Fall asleep while watching TV or relaxing in the evening
  • Feel the need to sleep in on weekends
  • Fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed

I got 9 hours a night over the weekend- easy right!!?

On Sunday night I was aiming for 9 but got 8 instead by the time I finally got to bed. I lost my wallet somewhere in the house and it took forever to find it and threw off my schedule (which again, is why 9 is a good number to shoot for cos at LEAST you get in 8 by the time you've dealt with all the random things you remember you need to do before bed!

The website suggests creating a ritual before bed. I've been having a cup of hot Sleepytime tea which has natural sleep herbs in it,

and a hot shower + making sure I dont use bright electronics right before bed + making my room dark to promote melatonin (sleep hormone), and so I easily fell asleep before 10:30 :) This morning I don't feel as tired as I usually would

In other news- I went to a Vegan Potluck this weekend! There is a local group that meets on the first Saturday of every month and everybody brings a vegan/vegetarian dish. It was great! Check out their website for recipes.

These are some pics from their site:

There were about 40 people, and tons of yummy food including desserts! The crowd was mainly older people but there were about 5 people in their 20s there too. It seemed like the elder people were quite excited to see us, I think they really want to pass on their wisdom to the new generation! I made vegan mac and cheese from (which garnered quite a few compliments!) Ty made a dip with corn chips and one of our very pregnant friends came along too (here due date is tomorrow!!), she loved the food as well.

There were lots of conversations about eco-friendly and sustainable ways of eating, as well as a speech from a vegan dietitian about how to eliminate gluten in your diet.

 I dont have any gluten issues, but it did make me think that it might be cool to eliminate various things from my diet for a week at a time and see how I feel. Who knows- maybe I'd feel great after a week without gluten or milk etc? I dont know what if mildly intolerant of certain things or not, without testing! I know a few people who feel congested if they have milk products or get headaches. I'm trying to be more aware of how what I eat affects my skin, hair, energy, mood etc.

With work and school keeping me so busy my community involvement has been kind of lacking, but this is the kind of group I can definitely support and be a part of in the new year!