No Coffee, No Dairy, No Meat – Day 10

 

Day 10 update on my Alkaline Diet Challenge. Although I haven’t been perfect in selecting all non-acidic foods, I’m pretty proud of myself. I’ve been able to cut out all meat, coffee, and processed foods. I’ve cheated a little when it comes to dairy; I’ve eaten cottage cheese due to the fact I had purchased a new container of it prior to starting the challenge.

I thought for sure that it would be rough coming off coffee but surprisingly it hasn’t been difficult. I haven’t had any headaches or crazy cravings for my morning brew. I’ve substituted hot tea with turmeric which is perfect for taking the place of my coffee.

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Results so far:

  1. Down 4 lbs
  2. Abs/Arms appear more defined
  3. Allergy symptoms gone: No more mild headaches/ eyes watering
  4. Cravings gone
  5. Energy increased
  6. Skin looks better

I’m very pleased with my results so far; I plan to definitely continue this for thirty days. After that, I plan to re-evaluate and decide if I want to continue with this new lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

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Make Your Workouts More Effective

 

Many people think they have to spend hours in the gym to get in shape. They think if they can’t put an hour into a workout, then why waste the time working out. The truth is, it’s not about the time you put in, but the quality of your workouts.

I see so many people mindlessly going through their workouts with poor form. In addition to poor form, I see the overachievers with heavy weights using momentum and performing their reps way too fast. Consider putting more thought into your workouts and each exercise. Focus on controlling the weight and contracting the muscle; it will make a tremendous difference in your workouts.

Therefore, can you do less with more focus and still get a great workout AND accomplish your goals?

 

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Ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. What am I trying to achieve in my workout today? Is my goal to build muscle, build cardiovascular endurance, work on flexibility, or do I want to bust through a plateau with some interval training? If you don’t know what the purpose of your workout is, you won’t get the results you are trying to achieve.
  2. Are you challenged with your workout? Is it intense enough? Is your weight challenging enough to make it difficult to get through your last few reps?
  3. Are you wasting time in the gym, too much rest between sets? Are you socializing too much- Are you wasting time on social media?
  4. Is your mind on your workout? Are you focused and present to give your workout all you got??
  5. Are you getting results from your workouts that match the time you spend each week on your training?

The truth is if you’ve ever tried a circuit type workout in which you perform exercises with very little rest between sets, you will realize that you can get an amazing workout in as little as 20 to 30 minutes.

RE: Jillianmichaels.com reports circuit training is an excellent way to simultaneously improve mobility, strength, and stamina. The circuit training workout is composed of two to six different circuits, each containing two or more strength/cardio exercises that are completed one right after the other, with little or no rest in between. The strength training works your muscles, and the cardio keeps your heart rate up.

Here’s is my sample circuit:

Pushups- 12

Jump squats -12

Pull-ups- 8

Burpees- 12

Squat with bicep curl -12

Tricep Pushup/Plank Jack combo-12

Plank- 1 minute

Repeat 3x

 

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An Unhealthy Vegetarian Lifestyle?

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The vegan lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular these days. A common reason people consider converting to a vegetarian or vegan diet is to lose weight, improve health, avoid contaminants in meat, and compassion for animals. However, it’s imperative to research the proper way to plan meatless meals to avoid serious nutritional deficiencies.

If you are considering a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you may want to start by reducing your meat intake and incorporating more meatless dishes into your weekly meal plans. Further research and experimentation can help you determine if a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is right for you.

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There can be some confusion regarding the terms vegan and vegetarian. Vegetarians eliminate meat but some include dairy products and eggs in their diets.

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Vegans, on the other hand, eliminate all animal products, dairy, eggs, and often avoid any products made from animals.

Global Healing Center explains the

Differences Between Vegan and Vegetarian

A vegetarian excludes meat, poultry, and seafood from their diet. Some vegetarians also exclude dairy, some don’t, and some may consume eggs. Likewise, vegans avoid meat, poultry, and seafood, but they also take it a step further by eliminating all animal products from their diet. This includes any type of animal milk and eggs. Vegans avoid foods produced using animals or animal products in any way, including honey. Many vegans also avoid household products, clothing, or other items made from animal products or tested on animals.

Additionally, the terms vegan and vegetarian can be difficult for many to differentiate as some people think the words have the same meaning.

To add to the confusion, some vegetarians are called “lacto and or ovo” and include dairy/eggs in their diet.

So as you can see, the term “vegetarian” can mean different things to different people:

  • A true vegetarian eats no meat at all, including poultry and fish.

  • A lacto-ovo vegetarian eats dairy products and eggs, but excludes meat, fish, and poultry.

  • A lacto vegetarian eats dairy products but not eggs.

  • An ovo vegetarian eats eggs but not dairy products.

Therefore, when considering converting to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle it’s imperative to do your research. Make sure you are clear on the differences between the diets and that you have a good understanding of what’s involved in the switch.  Making the change to a more restricted diet can be challenging to follow. Many restaurants don’t offer vegan options, so understand your choices for grabbing food on the go will be limited.  Also, making meals will require more preparation and pre-planning.

It’s important to make sure meals are well-balanced and include sources of vitamin b12, essential fatty acids, iron, calcium, and vitamin d.

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Per Dr. Josh Axe a wellness physician certified in clinical nutrition, popular radio show host, and sought-after national speaker points out some important issues when considering a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Switching to a vegan diet is considered a healthy move by many, but it may not be all it’s cracked up to be in some bases. Below are some of the downsides to eating a completely vegan diet long term (more than several months): (6)

  1. Protein deficiency (lack of amino acids). Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle and are important for cellular health and proper metabolism. Too little protein can call muscle wasting, cognitive changes, mood swings and weakness.

  2. Low levels of vitamin B12. You can only get vitamin B12 in substantial amounts by consuming meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, so vegans usually need to take supplements.

  3. Lower intake of other nutrients like zinc, sometimes calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.

  4. Higher intake of antinutrients like phytic acid. There are grains, beans and legumes, such as raw soybeans, lentils and mung beans, that may contain trypsin inhibitors. These inhibitors can block key digestive enzymes. Also, grains can contain phytic acid that can keep you from digesting calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. However, soaking and sprouting your grains and legumes can greatly reduce phytic acid.

  5. Potential inability to put on muscle. This may be due to the lack of certain vitamins that we normally get from meat and fish.

  6. Overconsumption of carbohydrates. One of the most common trends I’ve found from working with hundreds of vegans and vegetarians is that they tend to overconsume carbohydrates and hidden sugar foods. Eating too many carbs can cause candida and yeast overgrowth along with weight grain. There are some vegans who have created a better balance, but this is far from the majority.

  7. Fatigue and feeling exhausted. Again, this is usually due to the lack of certain vitamins and minerals that we normally get from meat and fish, such as iron and B vitamins.

SOME ALARMING CONCERNS FOR KIDS:

The issue of children consuming vegetarian/ vegan diets is controversial. Some experts report it’s not safe for children while others state it can be perfectly healthy if followed properly.

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Per EurekAlert! an online, global news service operated by AAAS, the science society : reports that when:

parents pursue a vegan diet for their child, they must seek and strictly follow medical and dietary advice to make sure their infant receives adequate nutrition. Both mother and infant should follow advice regarding supplementation” advises Professor Mary Fewtrell, chairman of ESPGHAN’s nutrition committee comments:

The biggest risk to vegan children is that of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Foods derived from animals have been shown to be the only reliable source of vitamin B12 and a deficiency of the vitamin can have devastating effects. Vitamin B12 is essential to the creation of DNA, indispensable for the maintenance of the nervous system, and a lack of it can result in hematological and neurological disorders, causing damage in young children which can be irreversible.

Therefore problems can arise when parents are unaware of the associated risks of switching to a more restricted diet….

Per CBS news:

Stories of vegan parents being arrested for malnourished children pop up every few years in the U.S., and the cases in Italy have made international news.

In Arizona, Kimu Parker was arrested in April 2005 for nearly starving her three children with a diet she and the children’s father called vegan. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison; the father, Blair Parker, got 15 years.

In Florida in 2005, Joseph and Lamoy Andressohn got probation for neglect in the death of their 6-month-old son, who was fed only wheat grass, coconut water and almond milk.

In Georgia, Jade Sanders and Lamont Thomas were sentenced to life in prison for the 2004 death of their 6-week-old son, who starved to death after they fed him a too-limited diet of soy milk and apple juice.

Therefore, do your research! Know that if you make the decision to change to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you must make sure you and your family get the proper nutrients. It can be challenging with a busy schedule and eating out can be difficult with many restaurants offering limited or no meatless options. It can be easy to fall into the trap of relying on unhealthy choices such as junk food, pizza, fries, and desserts due to the lack of available choices. Meals should be well balanced with complete proteins and you may need to consider supplementation.

Be sure to consult your child’s pediatrician, family physician and or certified nutritionist to ensure you and your family are getting the proper nutrients in your diet.

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Converting to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle can be a great way to help the environment, combat obesity, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol. However, make sure to consult with a nutritionist and your physician on proper guidelines.

Follow these tips to make sure your diet is healthy and provides the proper nutrients:

  1. Include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables with all your meals. Make smoothies and juices to make it more appealing for kids and picky eaters.
  2. If needed consider supplementation with a multivitamin that contains b12, iron, zinc, and vitamin d. Discuss this with a nutritionist or your family physician.
  3. Make sure you get enough protein in your diet- beans, nut butter, protein supplements, etc.
  4. Have regular family check-ups with complete blood workups to make sure you and your family are getting adequate nutrients on a daily basis.
  5. Plan your meals and snacks each week to make it easier to avoid eating processed foods loaded with sugar and unhealthy ingredients.

Super Coffee Creamer

I love coffee and believe it or not, it’s actually a great incentive for me to hop out of bed early most mornings to get things done.  Also, if you’re like me and you drink a lot of coffee, you may want to read my article,  Is Your Coffee A Healthy Brew?

Therefore, needless to say, I’m always on the lookout for new brands and flavors of coffee and creamers. I recently found this coffee creamer in our local grocery store.

 

 

It contains MCT oil and monk fruit for a super boost of creamy flavor to your morning coffee. Per Healthline.com

Monk fruit, or lo han guo, is a small green melon native to southern China and named after the monks who first cultivated it centuries ago. The health benefits of the fruit have been well-known in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for decades, but its sweet little secret is finally making it into the wellness mainstream. It’s a sweetener that has zero calories and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Per Medical News Today

Medium-chain triglycerides are a type of fat that is found in certain oils and dairy products. MCT oil is a supplement made of these fats.

MCTs have many potential health benefits, and taking MCT oil supplements may also be beneficial.

While MCTs may not lead to dramatic weight loss, they may be able to play a role in overall weight management. They may also help boost energy and endurance, although more research is needed to prove this benefit.

A growing body of research also suggests that MCTs may improve a person’s ability to think and fight the effects of conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

I never add sweetener to my coffee and most creamers have unhealthy ingredients.  This creamer is a big hit with me, with natural ingredients that add a delicious, creamy- slightly sweet flavor. And best of all, I might be imagining this but I felt a boost of energy for my workout.

 

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The Importance Of Fueling Before And After Workout

Our bodies need to be properly hydrated and nourished to function at optimal levels.  Proper nutrition is vital to feed our cells, boost metabolism, and provide fuel for an active lifestyle. If you want to maximize your workout results, make sure to follow these tips:

Pre-Workout Fuel:

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Water– You should drink water before, during and after your workout. WWW.WebMD.Com reports:  Drink fluids throughout the day before you exercise. Then follow this formula :

  • One to two hours before your workout, drink 15 to 20 ounces of water
  • 15 minutes before you begin, drink between 8 and 10 ounces of water
  • During your workout, drink another 8 ounces every 15 minutes.

Complex Carbohydrates/Protein: Medical News Today reports:

Ideally, a person should eat a meal rich in complex carbohydrates and protein around 2–3 hours before exercising.

Avocado and eggs, on organic whole wheat toast

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Organic oats with berries, greek yogurt, and walnuts

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Post-Workout Fuel:  Fuel your body with a good source of protein, carbohydrates,  healthy fats and water to help muscle growth and repair. It’s ideal to get a snack or a light meal within 20 to 30 minutes after your workout.

Protein Smoothie –   Almond milk, scoop of whey protein, blueberries, 1/2 cup of greek yogurt, tbsp organic coconut oil, tbsp flax seed

 

Additional post workout fuel ideas via Very Well FIt:

  • Brown rice and boneless skinless chicken breast – Prepare with your favorite low-sodium spices or salsa for a nutritious recovery meal. This can be done in the crockpot, stovetop, or oven. Some athletes prefer white rice over brown to reduce possible stomach upset. 
  • Power smoothie – Blend your favorite fruit with plain yogurt, almond milk, soy or favorite tolerated dairy, some water, and ice. A great boost of healthy fats can be added with a spoonful of your favorite nut butter. 
  • Egg scramble – Easy one-skillet meals where one whole egg, egg whites, vegetables, and sweet potatoes can be tossed with favorite spices and sprinkled with fresh black pepper. 
  • Pass the peanut butter – The all-American favorite sandwich on whole-grain sprouted toast is a post-workout pleaser. Leave off the sugared jam and enjoy with a drizzle of local honey. This nutrient-dense meal contains quality plant protein, healthy fat, and high fiber. 
  • Check the leftovers – What you cooked the night before is calling your name and ready to refuel that body. Do you have cooked quinoa ready to go? Toss on salad greens and sprinkle with balsamic for a well-balanced meal.
  • Wrap it up – Whole grain high fiber wraps are a great start to a wonderful recovery meal. Add some fresh avocado, lean meat of your choice, greens, beans or whatever suits the theme of the wrap, roll up and enjoy.

Additional snacks to enjoy recommended by the American Council on Exercise:

  • Non-fat Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup fruit or banana. 
  • Banana with 1 tablespoon almond or nut butter.
  • Low-fat chocolate milk
  • 4 ounces of albacore tuna on 1 slice whole grain toast.
  • Whole wheat English muffin or whole wheat pita topped with a slice of low sodium turkey meat and hummus.
  • Protein shake with 2 scoops whey protein and 1/2 banana blended with water.

Have You Evaluated Your Workout Program Lately?

Have you thought about the time you put into your workouts each week? Are your exercises efficient, effective, and geared towards your goals? Many people perform the same workouts mindlessly week after week because it’s comfortable and familiar. If you want to stay healthy and strong, you may want to re-evaluate your fitness program.

Do not start your workouts without a goal or workout plan? A fitness plan can ensure that you have a well-rounded program that includes stretching, weight training, and cardiovascular work. If you do random workouts each week, you run the risk of overtraining some body parts and neglecting other areas, putting you at risk for muscle imbalance and injury.  Consider creating a fitness plan to help you schedule your workouts, add accountability, and help you incorporate variety into your fitness routine.

Plan your workouts at the beginning of the week and make sure to include cardiovascular work 2-3 times per week, weight training 2-3 times on non-consecutive days, and flexibility training 3-5 times per week.

Are your workouts structured to help you attain your goals or are you blindly going through the motions each week without results?

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It’s important to evaluate your current fitness routine and determine if it’s working for you or against you. Crosstraining is vital for health and longevity. Our bodies thrive on new activities that challenge us to change our normal routines. When you constantly perform one activity and neglect other muscle groups, you are setting yourself up for plateaus and overuse injuries. If you’re still doing the same routine you were doing last year, it’s time to tweak your program to include cardio, strength, and flexibility components.

When evaluating and setting up your program, ask yourself these five questions:

1. Does my program include resistance/weight training, cardiovascular work, flexibility, and balance (stabilizer) work?

Many people perform their favorite weight training workouts, go to the same group fitness classes, or do the same elliptical or treadmill routines week after week. Body builders, dancers, yogis, runners, professional athletes, or anyone who performs the same activities each week are more prone to muscle imbalance and overuse injuries.

Consider hiring a personal trainer to design your program if you need professional advice. If you don’t have sufficient knowledge of what exercises to do or an understanding of proper form and technique, your workouts will be ineffective and increase your risk of injury.

A certified fitness trainer can create a well-balanced fitness program by considering your goals, current fitness level, and assessing any areas of weakness. For example, if you are a runner, you may have tight hamstrings and weak quadriceps, which can lead to poor performance and injuries. A trainer can suggest you incorporate other activities, such as yoga and weight training to improve hamstring flexibility and increase strength in the quadriceps.

Therefore, it’s vital to include resistance training, cardiovascular work, and stretching into your current routine. Also, don’t forget to incorporate balance exercises to help strengthen your stabilizer muscles and joints.

Per runtastic.com

Many people, when starting their fitness journey, are drawn to the machines at the gym that are only isolating a single muscle at a time. This is really common and, the truth is, we don’t really know any better. We think we are “supposed to go to the gym” and we see all the machines when we get there – it makes sense, right? Wrong! The truth is, the foundation of your fitness routine should be stability and balance training in order to activate and strengthen the core and the many stabilizing muscles, improve coordination, decrease the risk of injury and work to eliminate overcompensations that probably have developed over time.

2. Do your workouts contain an appropriate warm-up and cool down?

A proper warm-up is essential to help prepare your muscles and joints for a more intense workout. Neglecting the warm-up can lead to a pulled muscle, strain, or other injuries. Your warm-up should include movements you will be doing during your workout. Therefore, begin your warm-up at a slow pace and gradually build up the intensity over a period of 8 to 10 minutes. For example, start with a slow-paced walk, transition to a faster pace walk, and then a jog.

The cooldown and stretch are just as important as the warm-up. A proper cool down allows your heart rate time to return to normal. Stretching will help elongate the muscles, improve flexibility, and help promote better muscle recovery.

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Always allow for at least a 20 to 30 second stretch for each muscle group at the end of your workout.

3. Do you evaluate your progress and change your program periodically?

Make sure to monitor the progress of your fitness program. Consider starting a fitness journal to set goals and track your progress. A journal is a great way to monitor improvements such as increased strength from lifting heavier weights, improved endurance when running, or participating in an intense Crossfit workout.

Change your workouts approximately every six weeks to create muscle confusion. If you constantly do the same activity week after week, your body becomes adapted to your routine. You will develop strength that is specific to the exercise you are doing. However, repeated use of these same muscles and joints can lead to overdeveloped muscles in some parts of the body and weak underdeveloped muscles in other areas. Muscle confusion is simply changing your workouts on a consistent basis to prevent plateaus and adaptation.

A good time frame for changing your workout routine is every 4 to 6 weeks. For instance, if your current weight training workout is heavy weights, you could switch to increased reps and lighter weights the following month. If you are a runner, you could do long runs for 4 weeks and then switch to a month of shorter and faster interval runs. This creates muscle confusion and is great for increasing overall fitness and performance.

Being able to visualize your goals and progress on paper is a great motivational tool to help you get progressively stronger and increase your fitness level.

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4. Does your weight training program address all the major muscle groups: Chest, Back, Biceps, Triceps (all three heads), shoulders ( ex. medial, lateral, and anterior deltoids), quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, core, and lower back (erector spinae). I hear many clients tell me they want a six-pack and they only want to work abdominals or men who only care about a big chest and biceps, but neglect their lower body. However, it’s important to work all major muscle groups to stay strong and injury free. Check out the following link for setting up a well-balanced fitness program:

Per Weight-lifting-complete.com

8 Reasons for Building a Balanced Body

Here are 8 reasons why you MUST focus on building a balanced body:

  • Prevents injuries
  • Symmetrical appearance that is more pleasing to the eyes
  • Improved posture
  • No muscle imbalances in size
  • No muscle imbalances in strength
  • Prevention of aches and pains
  • Get stronger faster because all muscles are strong and contribute to overall strength
  • Build muscle faster due to greater strength and targeting all major muscle groups

5. Do you evaluate your exercise selections in your workout program? Or could some of your exercises be on this video “Most Dangerous Gym Workout?”

Some exercises may look cool but – is it appropriate for you ( age appropriate and fitness level)? Is it safe and effective or is there a better alternative? Always evaluate risk versus reward.

Per The Foundation Personal Training

Enter-trainment”

Unfortunately the current fitness climate is hot for something I call enter-trainment. Much of what we see in the gym is fueled by social media. You only need to look through any fitness feed to see a multitude of handstands, olympic lifts, human flags, couples squatting each other, 1000 rep challenges etc etc.

Better to be safe than sorry and stick with the basics to avoid injury. There are countless safe and effective exercises that will help you reach your goals.

For more information on crosstraining, check out my blog: Crosstraining is important for overall fitness

When Exercise Crosses The Line

 

 

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RE: workingwellresources.com

“Every single thing has a balance and the moment we overdo that balance something has to give and we are punished by fate in one way or another
 Ilwaad isa

I first heard about rhabdomyolysis in an article about the dangers of CrossFit workouts. Exertional Rhabdomyolysis— “sometimes called exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis —  is one of many types of rhabdomyolysis that can occur, and because of this, the exact prevalence and incidence are unclear.”   

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The Mayo Clinic reports other types of rhabdomyolysis occur from trauma to the muscles due to automobile accidents, snake bites, drugs, alcohol, and performance-enhancing supplements.

During extreme exercise exertion, a breakdown of muscle can result in the myoglobin(contents of the muscle cells) leaking into the bloodstream; this can lead to kidney failure and possibly death.  Exertional Rhabdomyolysis is often associated with dehydration, overheating of the body such as exercising in high temperatures, and heatstroke.

Although rhabdomyolysis is considered a rare occurrence, I’ve known two people who have been hospitalized with it related to their participation in CrossFit workouts.  Exertional Rhabdomyolysis can occur with any kind of extreme conditioning program such as CrossFit, boot camp classes, military or football training. Other program examples could include,  high reps of one single muscle group in a short period of time AMRAP (as many reps as possible), or high reps that focus on the “eccentric” part of the exercise, and also prolonged exercise without recovery.

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Some Common Symptoms include:

  • Extreme muscle pain
  • swelling of the muscle
  • extreme weakness
  • dark colored urine

Per Priscilla M. Clarkson, Ph.D. SPORTS SCIENCE EXCHANGE

“Generally, this syndrome is brought on by the performance of unaccustomed, excessive, repetitive exercises such as push-ups and squat-jumps. Rhabdomyolysis can also occur after strenuous recreational activities such as marathon running, hiking, or performance of excessive strenuous exercise during the first days of a new training program. Mild cases of rhabdomyolysis do not require hospitalization, and individuals recover within one week. However, in certain individuals, rhabdomyolysis can be severe. The combination of heat stress and rhabdomyolysis can produce acute renal failure, which, in rare instances, can result in death. The few individuals who have developed severe rhabdomyolysis generally have never shown any prior symptoms. These individuals may have a latent, sub-clinical muscle disorder that predisposes them to the most negative consequences of rhabdomyolysis. For strenuous exercise in the heat, precautions such as adequate fluid intake and acclimatization are critical. All exercise training programs should start with mild to moderately intense exercise and should progress gradually. These safeguards will not only prevent subsequent muscle pain and optimize performance, but they may also save lives.”

Therefore, remember to exercise caution when participating in advanced training methods. Evaluate the instructor’s qualifications and the appropriateness of the workout for your particular fitness level. Make sure the instructor is certified and understands program design; one that includes the entire body rather than one specific muscle group. Additionally, always make sure to consistently hydrate before, during and after exercise. 

And above all- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY; always use common sense when performing intense exercise programs and allow for appropriate recovery.

Protein Packed Oatmeal Pre and Post Workout Snack

I love this yummy oatmeal for a pre or post workout snack.  It’s a quick and easy option for breakfast, pre-workout for runs, and post workout for weight training.

PROTEIN PACKED OATMEAL

Prepare one Package of Organic Nature’s Path Oatmeal and stir in one scoop of your favorite protein powder ( I Love chocolate Sunwarrior Protein Warrior Blend). Add in one tsp of chia seeds and cinnamon.  Then top with sliced bananas and walnuts.

Simple Energizing Green Juice

Love this easy, healthy green juice. Place ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add crushed ice and enjoy.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of organic carrot juice

1 handful of fresh organic spinach

1 organic granny smith apple

Juice from one organic lime

1 tsp of chia seeds

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