While my urge to run has ebbs and flows, my love of fitness and nutrition lives on and I’d like to start sharing my latest obsessions with you. 2013 has brought me two things so far: burpees and….
I FINALLY BOUGHT A VITAMIX!!! More on that in a minute. First…
Oh, burpees, you’re the exercise everyone loves to hate! Eight days ago we started a new challenge at work. Well, two challenges to be exact. You could pick either a 90 or 100 day burpee challenge. The 90 day challenge is 90 burpees a day for 90 days. The 100 day challenge is one burpee on day one, two on day two, three on day three and so on and so forth until you’ve reached 100 on day 100. Naturally, I chose the 90 day challenge and have been in sweet pain ever since.
One might ask, “What is a burpee?” Well, if you’re lucky I’ll post a video sometime soon but today is not that day. There are literally dozens of burpee variations. Two of the most basic are:
Squat, jump out to plank, jump back to squat, jump up.
Squat, jump out to plank, do a pushup, jump back to squat and jump up.
The latter is called a “Competition Burpee” and that’s the one I’m doing. So, I’m basically doing 90 squat thrusts, 90 pushups and 90 jumps a day…on top of my normal workouts. Yes, it’s a bit much, but I have to say that after only 8 days I’m noticing much more definition in my arms and legs so, hey, I’m going to keep it up. Speaking of “normal workouts”, ZuzkaLight is the latest woman kicking my ass. If you haven’t seen her YouTube channel before check it out! I try to do one of her workouts 3-4x/wk. I’m on #40 as of today.
Ok, enough about burpees, let’s talk about my new beloved Vitamix. I’ve wanted a high-powered blender for a very long time and after doing my taxes this past weekend (oh the luxurious life I lead) I decided to use some refund money and invest in my health. After watching far too many videos and reading reviews comparing the Blendtec to the Vitamix to the Kitchenaid to the Ninja to the etc. etc. etc., I decided to go with the Vitamix which honestly was my first choice to begin with. So far I’m not disappointed.
To honor my new toy and give me something to think about aside from burpees I thought it’d be fun to share some of my creations with you. Here are some of the first smoothies I’ve made. I should note I also made brazil nut butter (brazil nuts, raw honey, sea salt, flaxseed oil) before learning how high in saturated fat brazil nuts are (damn shame since it tastes just like cookie dough) and a caper-parsley sauce but since I didn’t photograph either I’m not putting them in here. I should also note that while I have some strong beliefs about nutrition, I am not a nutritionist, nor do I purport to be.
- Frozen strawberries
- Frozen peaches
- Whole banana
- Flaxseed oil
- Coconut Milk
- Protein Powder*
This was fruity and amazing and I can’t say enough good things about it.
- Pomegranate-Cranberry Juice
- Frozen strawberries
- Frozen mangos
- Chia seeds
Again, another winner. VERY fruity. VERY green (thank you spirulina). VERY nutritious. It was my after-workout smoothie and not only did I get to enjoy it, but my boyfriend kept gulping it down saying, “This can’t be healthy!”.
*Why is there an asterisk next to protein powder? Well, I’m in the “testing” phase of powders right now and I’d love to open up some discussion on that.
Generally I’m a big fan of whole foods and I try to use whole foods over processed foods as much as possible in my diet. I ALSO have a strong desire to have ton of protein in my diet so I do want to use a protein powder in my morning smoothie. I have some ground rules for protein powder:
- It must not contain soy, whey or animal proteins. There’s a lot of controversy over soy but aside from the concern that it could increase my chances of breast cancer if I ingest it regularly, I can say from my personal experience that it’s very slow for my system to digest and, frankly, it makes me gassy; so no thanks, soy!
- It must not contain a bunch of chemicals, stabilizers and preservatives because it just doesn’t have to.
- It must be at the very least 17-20g/serving of protein and no more than 100 calories per serving.
- No GMOs. Period.
- It must be sugar free.
- It shouldn’t taste like crap.
I have four contenders so far (pictured above): Fat Flush Body Protein, Peaceful Planet Supreme Meal, Warrior Food, and plain Rice Protein, and can review two so far.
Fat Flush: A friend of mine who is a nutritionist highly recommended this and gave me a scoop to try. Normally I’d stay away from things that say “Fat Flush” because it sounds too infomercially and I’m looking to be healthy, not emaciated. That said, the ingredient list is pretty good: Pea protein concentrate, Rice protein concentrate, French vanilla extract, guar gum, inulin, and stevia. So, not a ton of crap. I will say stevia isn’t my favorite but I couldn’t taste it much in this, and I’m really picky about the stevia aftertaste so I was impressed that I only noticed it a tad. It was a little grittier than I’d like, even in the vitamin (which turns flaxseeds and chia seeds into dust). I give it an “I’ll think about it”. Which probably equates to a B+
The Supreme Meal: I found this at my local coop. You might be surprised I bought it considering how many ingredients it has: Protein blend (non-GMO pea protein isolate, organic Hawaiian spirulina, rice protein concentrate), freeze-dried sprouts blend (quinoa, millet, amaranth, broccoli), organic flax meal, lecithin, natural vegan flavors, horsetail herb, proprietary FOS fiber blend (fructooligosaccaharides, sprouted mung bean extract), bioflavanoids concentrate, vitamin D2, vitamin B12. Ok, so a lot of ingredients but a lot of GOOD ingredients. So far this one is my favorite. It has poor reviews if you just mix it into liquid with a spoon (it clumps). I had no problem in my Vitamix. It was smooth and tasty. The spirulina makes it dark green, which doesn’t bother me one bit but bothers some people. I also love that there’s nothing in there pretending to be sweet. It was just yummy. Unfortunately, it’s 140 cal/serving but I may overlook that due to how much I liked it and how many nutrients it has. A-
I picked up the Warrior Food from Vermont Fiddle Heads, who I tend to trust as Linda is our local raw foods extraordinaire. I haven’t tried it yet and I’ll be fully honest that the bottle is filled with so much homeopathic new-age propaganda that I almost didn’t buy it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty crunchy chick, but this was over the top. That said, I trust Linda and it’s the only protein powder that she sells and I was impressed by the ingredients: Sprouted, Raw, Non-GMO, Organic Brown Rice Protein, Organic Hemp Protein, Organic Actual Vanilla Bean, Wildcrafted Nopal Cactus, Organic Whole Leaf Stevia. I love that it’s 100% organic and doesn’t have much in it. I’m wary of the stevia but I’ll let you all know what I think.
What protein powder do you love and why?