24 Days, 1980 Burpees, 5 Miles, and so many smoothies!

Let me tell you, 1980 is A LOT of burpees.  I’m trying not to remember I have 6120 to go before my 90 day challenge is up.  I’ve also completed 5 days of adding a one mile run to my workout routine.  I’m shocked by how much I sweat from running only a mile!  It’s definitely a good piece of cardio to add in.  I’ve also been keeping up with my Zuzka workouts and am about to do #50 (woo-woo!).  Speaking of Zuzka, I was pleasantly surprised to see that she did a vlog showing how to make healthy “ice cream” in her Vitamix.  Great minds think alike. 😉  I’ve been experimenting with more creamy treats in my Vitamix and will have to try her recipe (subbing in coconut milk for the almond milk).  Check it out:

While I’m a little wary of following up Zuzka, I wanted to debut my burpee “how to” video.  I’ve now joined the ranks of hundreds, if not thousands, of people on YouTube demonstrating a burpee.  Want to see what’s been kicking my ass for three weeks?  Here you go:

I’ve also found two new protein powders to try out.  I’ve used the first one for two days now, let me share my favorite recipe:

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Berry Good Day (featured on the right):

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 handful frozen blueberries
  • 1 handful frozen strawberries
  • 1 handful frozen raspberries
  • 1 handful frozen peaches
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate cranberry juice
  • 1 scoop Plant Fusion Vanilla Bean protein powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp flax seed oil

Protein powder aside, this was hands down the tastiest smoothie I’ve made.  While it doesn’t include some of the green goodness I love (like spinach and spirulina), there’s something to be said for a pretty pink tasty smoothie.

Now let’s talk about Plant Fusion‘s protein powder.  I ran into it at a local health food store, where I spent far too long scouring their wall of protein powders.  They had an entire end-cap of vegan powders and I was sure I’d have plenty of great choices.  Unfortunately, I was bowled over by the ingredient lists and most included things I really wasn’t looking for.  Plant Fusion was the closest thing to what I wanted but I still think it’s a bit overkill.  The good, I love the mix of proteins used, including pea protein isolate, artichoke protein, sprouted organic quinoa powder, and sprouted organic amaranth powder.  Great mix, all GMO-free.  It also includes a blend of enzymes and amino acids, which is probably a good thing but to be honest I don’t know enough about them to speak intelligently to that.  What I didn’t like is that it includes TWO sweeteners, fructose and stevia.  I wish there were more choices of good protein powders without added sweeteners; I get plenty of sweet from the fruits I add in.

The texture was much lighter than all of the other powders I’ve tried.  It’s very fine and airy, so much so that when I threw it in the vitamix a fine misty powder puffed out the top.  It also  smelled sickeningly sweet.  I’ve got to say I normally wouldn’t get a flavored powder, but they were out of the unflavored and it turns out even unflavored has two sweeteners in it (wtf?).  Yesterday my smoothie had less ingredients so I could really taste the protein powder.  By that I mean I could taste what I can only assume is stevia.  It’s a very strong “fake sugar” taste, so the only ingredient that matches that is stevia.  In today’s smoothie that was dulled enough to make me mind it less but there is definitely a stevia aftertaste in this mix, much more-so than the other two mixes I’ve tried with stevia in them.  I will end on a positive note and say that the texture was great, very smooth and not gritty/mealy like some other powders.  Overall I’ll give it a B+ and I’ll finish out the bottle…which is better than I could say about Warrior Food.

I have one more protein powder to review soon so watch for that and wish me luck on the ZWOW I’m about to do!

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1620 Burpees Down, Let’s Start Running!

I think I must be insane.  I mean, I have to be a crazy person.  I’m doing these 90 burpees a day along with a Zuzka workout once a day and now on top of that I’m running a mile a day.  Honestly, when I put it like that it doesn’t sound that crazy; an olympian practicing hours a day definitely has me beat.  But for me, it’s A LOT and I’M SORE, but I’m sticking with it.

I added in the mile run because I’m honestly not at all happy with my lack of weight loss on my current program.  My nutrition is nice and stable at this point with a good mix of fruits, veggies lots of protein and light on carbs/dairy/gluten/sugar.  I’m not looking to lose a lot of weight but I have about 20-30lbs more fat than I think is my ideal healthy-level.  I totally understand muscle weighs more, but it’s clear to me in the past few weeks that I’m focused more on strength training than cardio and I need a better mix.

Running this time of year is depressing to me.  I have a treadmill, whooptidoo.  I could run outside but with my Vibrams + living in Vermont that’s a very cold proposition.  So I’m stuck on the treadmill until the snow melts unless I get crazy enough for barefoot winter running, which I know some people do.

Not much new on the nutrition side so I have no new fun recipes to share today.  Instead, I’m wondering what your favorite healthy recipes are?  And if you have a Vitamix what are some of your favorite things to make?

1200 down, 6900 to go & Warrior Food is not my friend

I finally did the math.  It’s not like it was hard, I just didn’t want it staring me in the face.  So far I’ve done 1200 burpees (60 more to do today), which means I have 6900 to go and will have completed 8100 burpees by the end of my 90 day challenge.  That’s assuming, of course, that I finish.  But I BETTER finish!  

I finally gave Warrior Food another try today and I’m sticking with my “C” rating.  At this point I’d gladly give the rest of the bottle away.  Today I tried mixing it with some of the strongest flavors I could:

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Ingredients:

  • handfull Spinach
  • 1c Cranberry Pomegranate juice (100% juice, no added sugar)
  • 1 banana
  • handful frozen strawberries
  • handful frozen peaches
  • 1tbsp spirulina
  • 1tbsp flax seeds
  • 1tbsp flax seed oil
  • 2tbsp Warrior Food

I’ve found that the cranberry pomegranate juice is a really nice base and makes smoothies a little thinner and sweeter.  I will say for me it’s not the best choice for a morning drink.  I have acid reflux and I think that on top of all the fruit is just too acidic.  I’ll stick with my unsweetened coconut milk in the mornings but will keep using the juice for afternoon smoothies.  

The big bummer is that even with all this flavor I can still taste whatever it is in the Warrior Food that’s making me cringe.  I’m still not sure if it’s the cactus or the stevia.  I know I don’t like most things with stevia but it doesn’t have the normal stevia taste.  I’ve never eaten cactus by itself so that could definitely be it.  Regardless, Warrior Food is not for me. It’s also thicker and mealier than the other powders I’ve tried.

I ordered a jar of the Fat Flush Body Protein I reviewed over here.  While I wasn’t 100% keen on it the first time I tried it, comparatively it’s one of the best.  I really like the minimal ingredients and it’s the only powder I tried that stays white so on the few days that I’d like a smoothie that’s neutral-colored I’ll go with that.  I’m also going to continue using the Supreme Meal powder.  I like the idea of rotating protein powders, just like I like the idea of rotating all of my smoothie ingredients.  I had a nutritionist tell me once that the body likes [healthy] surprises.  She recommended switching up supplements as well.  That idea seems to work for me so I’ll keep rocking it.

I’m still looking for more protein powder ideas.  Let me know if you have a favorite!

1080 Burpees in 12 Days, Green is GOOD

1080 burpees down, more than I care to count to go!  I’m hurting but not enough to complain about it here just yet.  This is a quickie entry to share my latest Vitamix creation:

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Vegan Spinach “Cheese” dip.  I swear, that might not look delicious but it TASTES delicious.  Since I’m new to the world of Vitamix vegan cheeses I didn’t alter the recipe at all so you can find it in all it’s glory right over here.  Next time I’d definitely blend it less so it’s chunkier and not quite all-over-green.  I will say that neither my boyfriend nor I are vegan but we both thoroughly enjoyed this accompanied by lentil crackers, carrots, celery and snap peas.  I’m also a huge fan with how much of this recipe is raw.

I also made a raw cashew “cheese” dip directly from the Vitamix Create recipe book but I have to say I wasn’t impressed.  So unimpressed that I’m not even bothering to write about it here.  My boyfriend liked it, I thought it was…funky.  Like, ear funk funky.  So tell me, blogosphere, what raw nut cheese recipes do you love?  I’m on a quest!

 

900 Burpees in 10 days and brown smoothies to boot!

That subject is a lie.  It’s only 11am here so I’ve only done my first round of burpees for the day, making it 840 burpees so far.  But by the end of the day it will be 900, even though I’ll be  kicking and screaming the whole way.  I am SORE!!!  Yesterday I completed Zuzka’s ZWOW #43 (on top of the 90 burpees for the day) and it was a total killer.  She apparently recorded it right before Thanksgiving so it was a particularly hard workout.  I woke up in the middle of the night with a stomach ache only to realize my abs are just that sore.  I guess in the grand scheme of things this is a good thing.  But let me tell you, I was NOT excited to do those first 30 burpees this morning.  I think I see 90 minute of yoga in my future to try to stretch this body out!

This morning I made a delicious tasting smoothie, despite it being brown.  Check it out..

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Brown Rice Smoothie

 Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of NutriBiotic Brown Rice Protein
  • 1 Banana
  • Small handful of frozen strawberries
  • Small handful of frozen pineapple
  • Small handful of frozen mango
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1 tbs of chia seeds

I had picked up one packet of the brown rice protein at my local coop and decided to give it a try.  I’m a huge fan of the fact that it only has one ingredient and it’s 80% protein.  It’s also soy/gluten/GMO-free.  I’ll say that the smoothie tastes delicious but it is a little thick, though not as thick as the Warrior Food or Peaceful Planet powders.  It’s about the same texture as the Warrior Food, so grittier than Peaceful Planet or Fat Flush.  Overall, I’d use it again but I’m not madly in love with it.  I’m still searching for that perfect protein powder.  Let me know if you have any suggestions!  I’ll give this one an A-.

 

810 Burpees in 9 Days. Let’s celebrate with ice cream!

I made something so delicious last night that I just had to blog about it!

ImageBlackberry Peach Nicecream (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie’s “Secretly Healthy Red Velvet Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup frozen blackberries
  • 3/4 cup frozen peaches
  • Just under a 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder (note, I used a full two and it was STRONG)
  • A few drops of vanilla

The directions are easy, you throw it all in a Vitamix or other high-powered blender until it turns to the consistency of creamy ice-cream (about 1 minute in a Vitamix using the tamper). So a couple differences here between the recipe I made and the one from Katie’s blog.  The biggest thing is the raw chocolate.  Raw chocolate has a much stronger flavor than cocoa powder (what the original recipe calls for) which is why I ended up adding in some agave nectar.  The agave cuts the bitter of the chocolate without making it overly sweet.  The benefits of the raw chocolate are plentiful.  It’s a killer antioxidant.  It also has a big punch of nutrients:

  • Magnesium, and other essential minerals including calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
  • Polyphenols called flavonoids, with antioxidant properties
  • Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
  • Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
  • Protein
  • Fiber

I’m a fan!  This low-calorie nutrient-rich snack is also so healthy that I had some for breakfast. 😛

The one caveat I’ll admit is that this is no sissy’s ice cream.  The flavor is STRONG, especially if you use the full 2tbs.  Tone it down by using less raw chocolate, and add a little more agave if you’d like it to be sweeter.  It was too much for my boyfriend but that just means more for me!

Before I leave you, I did try the Warrior Food protein powder in my smoothie this morning.  I mentioned Warrior Food in yesterday’s post.  I was really excited to try it since it has high reviews online and it’s the protein powder of choice of my favorite local raw foodie.  I’ve got to say, I was not impressed but I’m going to give it another chance.  Here was the recipe I used:

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • handful of frozen pineapple
  • handful of frozen mango
  • handful of spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs flax seed oil
  • 2 tbs Warrior Food

Since I left out the spirulina and didn’t use much spinach I was surprised the drink was green.  Green drinks don’t bother me one bit, I was just wondering where the color came from and my current hypothesis is the cactus, but perhaps hemp turns green?  The thing that got me was the flavor.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but there was something odd.  I want to try it in one of my strawberry recipes because it’s possible the pineapple-mango just wasn’t a good partner for the mix.  It was also grittier than the other powders I’ve tried.  I will say I couldn’t taste the stevia at all and despite the not-so-great initial taste there was no aftertaste.  That was enough to get me to keep drinking it but in full disclosure I winced on each gulp.  So far I’m giving it a C, but if I change my mind I’ll let you know!

720 Burpees in 8 Days and Smoothies to Spare!

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….

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I FINALLY BOUGHT A VITAMIX!!!  More on that in a minute.  First…

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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:

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Squat, jump out to plank, jump back to squat, jump up.

And…

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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.

Smoothie #1

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Ingredients:

  • Frozen strawberries
  • Frozen peaches
  • Whole banana
  • Flaxseed
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Coconut Milk
  • Protein Powder*

This was fruity and amazing and I can’t say enough good things about it.

Green Smoothie

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Ingredients:

  • Pomegranate-Cranberry Juice
  • Spinach
  • Frozen strawberries
  • Frozen mangos
  • Chia seeds
  • Spirulina

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.

Protein Powders

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:

  1. 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! 
  2. It must not contain a bunch of chemicals, stabilizers and preservatives because it just doesn’t have to.
  3. It must be at the very least 17-20g/serving of protein and no more than 100 calories per serving.
  4. No GMOs. Period.
  5. It must be sugar free.
  6. 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?