Saturday, September 10, 2011

Eating Green and Clean and a Protein Smoothie Recipe

You wouldn't have met a person lazier about diet and exercise than me 2 years ago. When I moved from Miami in 2005, I was the heaviest I've ever been. I hate to even reveal the number because it was just not healthy at all. I was in a size 16 (from a size 5 just 4 yrs prior)!!! For a 20-yr-old who is only 5'1", it not only affected the way I felt on the outside, but inside, I was not well. I couldn't make it up a flight of stairs, living in hot & humid Miami was a nightmare. I felt gross because I perspired so much just from the energy it took for me to get around. It sucked, for lack of a better word. I was always naturally petite and sometime in high school, things just got out of control.

I lost about 30 pounds on Weight Watchers back in 2006, and while I was excited about the much-needed weight loss, I was eating Smart Ones every day, starving all day if I wanted to go out to dinner at night, and just found that I wasn't fulfilled, even if I used all of my points for the day. To be fair, I also tried the new Points Plus system recently, and while I lost more right away than the old program, I just didn't feel it was the right choice for me anymore.

I gained back some weight in 2007-2009 as I had my girls in that time period, and I was back to where I started when I moved from Miami. FRUSTRATING! Right? Well, yes. I had to get to a point where I was so tired of everything - being fat, being tired, mood swings, I had to get mad. Really mad. I was sick of the excuses I made, I was sick of the greasy gross garbage I put in my mouth on a daily basis, and I really didn't want my kids to eat that. So, I did some research.

I discovered Clean Eating, Clean Eating Magazine and Oxygen Magazine and it was like a whole new dimension opened up to me. Not only was this whole, natural, yumminess from the Earth, but wouldn't you know? This food made me feel good. I had glowing skin, TONS of energy and a healthy digestive system. I really can't even explain the difference you feel after your body naturally detoxes. Once you start eliminating refined sugars, simple carbs and processed foods from your diet, your body gradually adjusts - and in a good way.

After I lost the same 30 lbs +10 more (yay!), I started feeling bored. I went on a vacation in April 2010, and started eating junk again. At first the weight stayed off, but by the end of that summer, my shorts were too tight. It just crept up again after that.

Now it's one summer later, and I'm finally in a place where I know this can work. Why? Because I am not putting any expectations out there. I know what works, and what doesn't. Some examples to solutions I'm putting in place:

PROBLEM: I hate salads. I gag. I mean, really, who gags eating a salad? I don't know what it is, but I've always hated them.
SOLUTION: Hello smoothies and Green Drinks!! Would you have ever guessed dark greens taste soooooo good blended up with apples, carrots, and citrus? I'll share a recipe I made today at the end of this post.

PROBLEM: I don't like to exercise. It's boring and I don't like staring at a wall (i.e. treadmill, elliptical, etc.). But if I don't use a  cardio machine, how do I know how far I'm running or how many calories I *really* burned?
SOLUTION: RUN KEEPER app! This app is amazing and FREE! It uses GPS to log your runs outside and even has a voice coach that tells you when to pick up the pace depending on what your goals are. I love, love, love it! Also, I used a Personal Trainer in 2010 (as a birthday present to myself) and all of the moves he taught me are in the Jillian Michaels "30 Day Shred" video. It's $10 at Target, and the personal trainer, was, well, a lot more. Save your money, stick with Jillian. She will kick your ass through the TV NO problem!

PROBLEM: I don't have time to cook a wholesome, nutritious meal every night.
SOLUTION: Roast a bunch of veggies ahead of time, or whip up something quick like Spinach pasta with an organic jarred tomato sauce. I sprinkle a bit of grated parmesan over the top and let it melt over the pasta. And if I'm by myself and no one else is home, I whip up a protein smoothie and pack it with as many fruits and veggies as I can. I really, really love my smoothies!


1 cup water  (you can replace the water with a cup of your favorite milk - almond, soy or skim)
1 heaping scoop Vanilla-flavored Vegan Protein Powder (I use Life Basics Plant Protein)
2 cups dark, leafy greens Spinach would probably taste best, I only had a Spring Mix on hand and it was a little bitter before I added more of the ingredients below. Spinach would have been my first choice.
1 apple
1 carrot
1 kiwi
1 cup chopped pineapple
1 banana
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1-1/2 cups ice

Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Yields 2 generous servings.

Have a happy, healthy weekend everyone!! xo Angelica

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Werkin It - Day 1: Back at the Gym

Seems like yesterday I was in the gym at least 4 times a week. Lifting, doing lots of cardio, and eating clean. Fast forward to over a year, and my clothes don't fit right, I'm wearing peasant shirts more often (to hide the tummy, of course) and just not really loving myself.

More than appearances, I want to feel good again. My life underwent so many changes last summer (2010) that I had to shuffle around my priorities and working out and eating right fell by the wayside. Always an emotional eater, I started getting mad that I didn't have the metabolism I once did and stopped caring.

Why is that? Why do we get mad and then do the thing that makes us mad? It's no different than an alcoholic who is angry at themselves for drinking and then drinks to wash away the guilt. Anyway, I'm over it. I'm over not caring, because if I don't care, my girls will see that. They'll see that Mommy doesn't care about what she eats, why should they?

So much more to write on this...wondering how much to share. For now, I'm going to log my workouts and my diet for the day and see where this goes. Goal setting is important but so is keeping yourself in the reality of the situation. I won't set myself up to fail by putting goals in place that aren't attainable. I really don't have 5 days a week to work out, there simply aren't enough hours in a day. But I do have opportunities to stay moving, and I intend to do my best.

Today, I :

- Ate not so good. Let's put it this way: chicken nuggets made an appearance. I wasn't prepared for dinner. This is what happens. Tomorrow's a new day. :)
- Did Cardio Intervals on the treadmill for a mile and a half and did a very, very small circuit of the lat pull down, bicep curls and the bench. I need to document better and be prepared with a circuit before I head over. I wanted to quit halfway through, but my sweet friend Dillon reminded me I could do it. Love that kid!

Here's some of my playlist for tonight. I love me some hip-hop when I need to get motivated!!

Keri Hilson - Turnin' Me On
T.I. - Whatever You Like
Ester Dean - Drop It Low

Sweet dreams - hope I can stay motivated enough to go to the gym again this week! ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

His heart lives in my song...

"And his heart lives in my song. The melody comes, and just as quickly, the melody is gone. I'm back alone..."

The beauty of true wisdom lies in not trying. Selfless. Funny. Incredibly smart. Street smart. Understanding. Compassionate. A true Christian. Love and miss my grandpa more and more every day. Never thought I'd feel a pain in my heart every day for the rest of my life.

Grandpa and 3 wk old Lucy at John & Jess's wedding - 2008

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I am letting go

I haven't been doing much lately.
I am feeling a bit lost. 
A little broken. 
Trying to figure out "how" to move on.
I'm short with people I love.
I am taking way too many things personal.
I can't concentrate.
I try. And try.
But, I just can't. 
So I decided I wouldn't.
Instead, I signed up for Soul Restoration by Melody Ross.
Melody's curriculum emphasizes art journaling, something I haven't done in far too long.

This is the cover I made for my Soul Restoration journal. 
I used cardboard, chipboard, lots of glitter glue, my glue gun, paint and Mod Podge.
Oh, it felt SO good to make this. My hands were completely caked and were hard to wash.


This is the inside front cover.

Inside Week 1's page. 


This is the back cover. I might decorate it later.

I've been struggling this week to fulfill all my commitments. 
I like to think I can "do it all", but who says I need to?
Why, as women, do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best?
The best mom, the best wife, the best employee, the best friend, the best EVERYTHING?
We can't be. So. I am slowly letting go.
It's a painfully slow process.
I'm still learning how to let go of some things.
But I will figure it out, because, after all, you can't let the good stuff in, if you don't get the bad stuff out.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What can you do? Coping after the dust settles.

I debated, and debated, and debated in my head. Do I write about Grandpa? Is ok to talk about his death? It was tragic, would people be uncomfortable reading? Here's the thing. I am going to because I am ok. Today.

On March 23rd, we had a big snow storm that took us by surprise in the amount of snow we received. A total of 17" accumulated in Green Bay, Wi, which is where I live. While my husband snow blowed (twice) and I took silly pictures of my girls on my iPhone, my grandparent's house was engulfed in flames just 100 miles away. I had no idea. Nobody did. Not until my sister phoned me around 3 or 4 pm telling me she had some bad news.

She cried and told me no one was supposed to know yet - are you kidding me? You don't get a call like that and not immediately start shaking and screaming. Something exploded in my grandparent's garage and they could not find my Grandpa. MY Grandpa. My just-turned-80-year-old-strong-as-an-ox Grandpa. Don't tell me that they can't find Grandpa. He was just out back in the junkyard or maybe gone to buy a part. Don't tell me that they can't find Grandpa. Maybe someone saw the house in flames and picked him up to keep him out of harm's way. NOT my Grandpa.

My mom was on her way with my uncle and I must have called her cell a million times. The roads were awful going up there and I don't think I could have felt more helpless. During the time I was calling her, I got the answer I did not want to hear - they found Grandpa, and he is gone. GONE. What? What does that mean? I heard what she said, but the words didn't make sense. Like, gone. That's it. No chance to say goodbye, no chance to give him a kiss on the forehead or give him a big hug. Nope. Gone.

In my heart, I knew Grandma was ok, but I had to ask. She was ok. Not harmed. But Grandpa - the love of her life for 60 years, the father of all 9 of her children, grandpa to over 20 grandchildren and great-grandpa to 9 great-grandchildren - GONE. Their home of 20+ years - that was gone too.

I spent many weekends at Grandma and Grandpa's. Growing up it was a very safe, warm place. Grandpa kept a wood-burning stove going all winter and the sweet smell of the wood is something I've always found very comforting. The house itself is a tragedy. Grandpa leaving us is something I just didn't understand. WHY? Why my grandpa?

We had just celebrated his 80th Birthday 2 weeks prior in the very same garage he never made it out of. I had just seen him 4 short days before at my little Lucy's 3rd Birthday party here in Green Bay. Oh, how he loved watching and playing with the little ones.

MY grandpa, you see, he always saw the joy in every day things. He found HAPPINESS in his hobby of fixing cars and helping people with their cars and anything else with a motor and ignition. He found HAPPINESS in serving the Lord, and was happiest when his family was in church with him.

The thing is, I was a mess. Didn't sleep for days. So many warm wishes of comfort POURED into my email box, Facebook page, mail box. I have never felt so much love. But my Grandpa - MY Grandpa was still gone.

During the wake, my little Marlee (who is just shy of 2 years old) showed me that I need not mourn the LOSS of a great man, but should learn to CELEBRATE the life of someone I was so blessed and fortunate to not only know, but call MY Grandpa.

You see, Marlee is SHY. She is nervous around strangers and cries at the checkout because she doesn't know the cashier. Marlee will hide her face in my chest when we see relatives we don't see everyday. At my grandpa's wake, my grandparent's priest (Father Joe) stopped by Jorge (my husband), Lucy, Marlee and me. Marlee nearly jumped out of Jorge's arms and threw her arms around Father Joe's shoulders. For some people, they might see this as a little girl who simply mistook him for someone she knew. Oh no, sweet friends. MY little girl knows very well who she knows and who she does not. What happened in that moment, I really don't know. One thing I do know, is that after that ONE act -that ONE hug, something told me everything would be ok.

I struggle to find the right words to comfort my family when I am grieving just like they are. Now that the services are over, and we have all had to return to work, I was unsure how to move forward? The dust has settled on their destroyed home and all that's left is one huge pile of rubble that will have to be dug through to see if anything is salvageable (it's really not though).

One thing I truly believe, is that God gives us a purpose. We all have a reason of being here. For some, it is to cure the sick, or help the poor, or help people communicate better with our loved ones. My grandpa was sent here to show people (at least, this is what I believe) that true happiness isn't found in things, it isn't found in objects or large sums of money. True happiness is found in making the relationships with the people you love COUNT.

How can you help your neighbor today? Do they need their driveway shoveled? Do you have a relative or close family member that doesn't behave the way you think they should? Why? Are they struggling with something in their life? What about the angry customer who berates you because you put something on sale just 24 hrs after they made their purchase? What happened to them that morning that made them react that way? Do not assume you know why a person is behaving the way they are. The Lord asks us to serve others and do unto them as we would have done unto us. As my Grandpa always reminded all of us "Kill em with Kindness". I can't tell you how often I have taken his advice.

You don't have to go to church or read the Bible, or even be Christian to put these beliefs into practice. How can YOU leave a legacy that will make your children, grand-children and great-granchildren proud? I know one thing - and I'll leave you with this - every single day I remind myself that this day could be my last. I intend to live every day always wondering "WWJD" - "What Would Jud Do?"

Here is a link to my Grandpa's Obituary. The line at the wake went out the door for several hours. People flew in from out-of-state to attend services. On behalf of my family, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. xo Angelica