Monthly Archives: February 2009

CFW Day 2 in review

For breakfast, I had a bowl (1.5 cups) of Multigrain Cheerios with 1% milk (1 cup) and 1 medium sliced banana. I was either very tired, hungry, or both yesterday morning because I have no recollection of even thinking about taking a picture of breakfast, oops! I also had a cup of black coffee at work after the gym.

For my morning workout, I did 15 minutes on the elliptical, upping my levels to 7-10, burning about 150 calories. Then I did some weights and other exercises for 30 minutes:

Chest presses – 10 lbs, 2×15

Bicep curl + Shoulder press – 10 lbs, 2×15

Tricep extensions – 10 lbs, 2×15

The upper body exercises were quite challenging since I had not done them in a week and I increased their reps for the first time!

Hip Adductor/abductor machine – 65 lbs, 2×15 (each exercise)

Lower back machine – 90 lbs, 2×15

Leg extension machine – 50 lbs, 2×15

Leg curl machine – 50 lbs, 2×15

“Regular” crunches – 1×20 + 10 “pulses”

Clamshell crunches – 1×15

Bicycle crunches – 2×30

Woo, I’m feeling it today too 😉

Since I worked out and burned off some calories, I became quite hungry around 10:30’ish and decided to go ahead and have a morning snack instead of that early a lunch or ignoring my hunger any longer. I had this bar on reserve: Planters Big Triple Nut Bar.

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This bar contains “honey roasted peanuts, almonds and cashews mixed with chewy granola.”

It tasted amazing! It sort of reminded me of a nutty candy bar only I can’t recall which one because it’s been so long since I’ve had most of them!

The nutritionals were okay, this bar comes in at 220 calories, 7 g protein, 3g fiber, unsaturated fat (from the nuts) and 110% DV of Vitamin E. I can’t remember all of the ingredients and can’t locate them on the site yet, but I do remember that this bar DID NOT contain partially hydrogenated anything, high fructose corn syrup, or common artificial sweeteners (that I’m aware of).

It was also a great snack…I did not need lunch for two more hours! I would definitely buy this bar again, in moderation, and once the peanut butter scare is over, I would like to try the other flavor, peanut + peanut butter. These bars were in a bin on sale at Kroger, 3/$1.

Lunch was another really great sandwich: Hormel natural turkey, 2% cheddar cheese, spinach and mustard on whole wheat bread. Speaking of which, here is the bread I am currently using: Healthy Life soft style 100% whole wheat bread.

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This bread was on sale this past week at Kroger and I picked it up because it had no HFCS, artificial sweeteners, and fit the 100% whole grain carb criteria. Each 2-slice serving is just 130 calories too, which also helped me out a great deal. I love really thick, dense breads, but those also tend to be calorie dense. I will get them every once in a while, but for sandwiches, I think I’m going to stick to moderate whole wheat bread to keep the calories a bit lower. Next time though, I think I will opt for the non-soft style type. Just a personal preference.

I also had some veggies, Green Giant’s Sugar Snap Peas. These were so amazing and I love how you can just throw the package in the micro for a few minutes and voila! These were really sweet tasting and were not drenched in sauce like some other veggies. I ate the entire thing (just over a cup)!

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I rounded out lunch with a pickle and an orange. It was a very colorful, tasty and satisfying lunch. I have done quite well with lunches this week, eh?

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I was so thrilled, this meal lasted me 4 hours! I even though about skipping my afternoon snack, but I did start rumbling before I left work so I went ahead and had it so I wouldn’t be starving when I got home.

This is major…I think I have had the best yogurt ever, in my life. I love a lot of yogurts but this one really got me.

Fage Total 2% with cherry

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I love how they keep the yogurt and the fruit topping separate! It makes it fun to mix up yourself 🙂

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I am almost speechless, this yogurt is absolutely perfect.

The consistency and taste were like that of any other greek yogurt. In fact I’d had Fage before, but never with cherry and I believe I got the fat free (0%) kind. I think the 2% is actually better. But oh that cherry flavor. I loved this yogurt so much that I took the tiniest bites possible to make it last longer!

I’m also impressed with the nutritionals…just 130 calories, 11 g protein, no fake ingredients! You can view their nutritional statement here.

Is that not a beautiful picture (above)?

I loved it because it really satisfied me and held me long enough to finish work, go home, walk the dog, and take my time cooking a very tasty dinner!

I knew I would be having chicken that I grilled on the George Foreman, but I decided to be different and add some Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper seasoning. I love the Mrs. Dash line because they are salt free, made from real ingredients, and just a little bit goes a long way for flavor, they also have a big variety. This added a nice touch to my chicken.

I also had some steamed brussel sprouts sprinkled with S+P, my other half of sweet potato, topped with cinnamon + fat free cottage cheese, and a slice of whole wheat toast topped with Smart Balance spread. I still wanted something to dip the chicken in, so I checked the fridge and read through the ingredients on our bottle of Habanero ketchup — no HFCS, sucralose, etc. So I had a little bit on the side.

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This was such a good meal and really hit the spot. After I ate, I flossed and brushed my teeth and sat on the couch with the dog watching the news. After my food settled, I got dressed and went to play volleyball for 1.5 hours!

It was such a good night, I definitely feel like I got my exercise this week not to mention my morning workout on top of it 🙂

When I got home, I treated myself to a nice bubble bath and then finished a great night off with some chamomile tea and applesauce topped with blackberries, plus some Nip/Tuck with the hubby.

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I’m feeling really great and blessed this week. Hope you all are too!

Review: Pure Protein Hot ‘n Healthy Oatmeal Squares

This is a product I have been looking for quite a while now. I happened to be at Meijer last week (which is now carrying some awesome Greek Yogurts!) and I found the Pure Protein Hot ‘n Healthy Oatmeal Squares in their vitamin/nutrition section.

I was so excited to try these because I had seen them on the blogs and they seemed to be like a healthier version of the Oatmeal to Go squares (which I used to love until I learned they contain partially hydrogenated oil and HFCS, come on Quaker!).

I tried two flavors of the Pure Protein squares…Chocolate Chip and Banana Nut.

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For more views, please refer to my post from February 20th because for some reason, I haven’t figured out why some pictures will not load on here if they are certain file types. Any pointers?

Here are some factoids from the Pure Protein website:

Introducing the next addition to the Pure Protein Brand, Hot ‘n Healthy™ Oatmeal Squares! These delicious Oatmeal Squares have 10 grams of protein, taste great hot or cold, and are a good source of fiber and Omega 3’s.

 

  • – 10 g protein
  • – Tastes great hot or cold
  • – Good source of fiber, protein, Omega-3

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My thoughts:

 

As far as taste goes, I definitely preferred the Chocolate Chip bar; I think the banana nut just tasted too fake to me, whether it was or not.

 

I really liked the overall consistency and chewiness of the bar but I could’ve done without the frosting on the top, especially on the chocolate chip one which was sweet enough thanks to the chocolate.

 

I used both of these bars as a snack and even though they contained protein and fiber, neither one held me for as long as I would’ve liked. Of course, it could’ve just been because I wasn’t eating well the rest of the time and completely unrelated to the product.

 

I ate the banana nut bar cold (well, room temperature) but I chose to use the heating option for the chocolate chip bar, which made it warm, soft and melted the chips a little bit (yum).

 

I do think I would buy these again but only every once in a while since they contain some sugar alcohols and have a somewhat lengthy ingredients list.

 

They were only $1 a piece.

 

I hope to find the Cinnamon Roll flavor, which I have a feeling would be my favorite if I could try it.

Am I being too lenient?

It’s Day 3 of Crap Free Week here folks and seriously, this is not hard at all. I know the challenges are coming…I’m having dinner out tonight and Friday, but still I am not worried because it’s easy to find things that are Crap Free (according to my guidelines) at most places, with the exception of high sodium.

So what’s the deal? Am I being too lenient? I’ve checked others blogs who are being a little more restrictive than I am and they are struggling, saying this Crap Free Week is a chore. Most of them gave up carbs and caffeine, which, if I had too, I would be a raging you know what right now. 😉

Since I only drink one cup of coffee per day (not from Starbucks) I didn’t see the need to give up caffeine. I’m avoiding diet sodas which will help cut back on extra caffeine I might not have realized I was consuming. And since I am limiting myself to ONLY whole grain carbs, I am naturally eating less of them throughout the day but not cutting myself off completely — that’s just not realistic for me at this point. But I have done the first phase of the South Beach Diet before, which I’ve chronicled on this blog at one point or another, and even that was pretty easy for me.

It’s only 7 days, so I’m not making any exceptions. I picked this week for a reason…no parties or birthdays or anything to celebrate this week. Those times will come again and because of what I have (re)learned from this week, I will be ready for them. I also picked this week because it will commence with Monday, March 2 which will be a great day for me to weigh in and see how the month of February left me numbers-wise. I’m still comfortable with my weight, but I am hopeful that this Crap Free Week (which could become a crap free lifestyle) will help me maintain or perhaps even lose a little because I’m ridding my body of the toxins I’ve built up. Because I am in a more comfortable frame of mind (as long as the number stays the same or goes down, I’m ok) I have considered going back to my weekly weigh-ins just to hold myself accountable and not let myself go crazy for a couple of weeks and then try to make up for it the next two. Does that make sense? Guess we’ll see!

Thanks everyone for the support, I really feel good about this and your kind words have helped encourage me too! 🙂

Already noticing

I’m only on Day 2 of Crap Free Week and I am already noticing changes!

For one thing, I FEEL BETTER. This was the most important thing about this whole experiment, what I wanted the most out of it. I feel great — my mood, my energy levels, my spirit. It’s all there. I’m in a much more positive frame of mind about my running too. Taking it one day at a time.

I am not constantly thinking about (and craving) food. At work, my mind has the tendency to wander which usually leads to boredom and eating snacks when I’m not hungry. This same thing happens at night at home, especially when I am less than thrilled with dinner. But so far, neither has been an issue! Also, my concentration at work has been better the past two days, hmm…which has in turn kept me from wandering thoughts about food, hmm…

I have been able to actually listen to my body and only eat when I’m hungry instead of following a set of prescribed “rules” of eating for the day. I used to get up every day and say “Ok, breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack…” and I’m realizing that maybe there will be days I won’t need a snack. And there will be days when I need an extra one. Every day is and should be different.

My meals are lasting me longer…since I am eating good foods and really bulking up my actual meals, I have been able to go much longer than I’m used to. Usually 2 hours after lunch, I am ready for a snack but yesterday and today both, I’m hitting the 4 hour mark. This is great because it means I’m not starving when I get home for dinner, which leads to a satisfying dinner, which means no crazy late night snacking. Funny how that all works out.

I really think the elimination of certain ingredients and empty foods, combined with eating more fresh and healthy foods really does have a positive effect on a persons physical and mental health. If you are feeling burned out, tired, bloated, whatever, you should really try something like this. I hope to keep most of these guidelines for myself long term, such as giving up sodas. I don’t see why I spend $1.29 for a bottle of something that is not going to benefit my body in any way. I would rather splurge on something with some value!

Sorry this post is kind of random and disjointed but I just have these thoughts going through my head and wanted to share them. Hope you are all having a blessed day!

Love of Oats Giveaway

For the Love of Oats, a blog ran by one of my favorite gals in blogland, is turning 1 year old this week. Congrats Lindsay!

She’s so cool that she is celebrating the birth of her blog by having a giveaway. There is one involving trivia, but the second one can be entered just by commenting on her blog birthday post. For that she is giving away a jar of PB2, a product I have been interested to try for a while (smoothies, anyone?).

Anyway, head over to Love Of Oats and enter the contest yourself!

Weekend product reviews

I ate this yogurt on Saturday before going out with some friends and knowing I’d be having a late dinner. I picked this up at Whole Foods…unfortunately 1 container was $1.99 but after drowning myself in HFCS-laden Yoplait for a couple of weeks, I was ready for a healthy yogurt splurge!

Enter…Stonyfield Farms Oikos! I can’t believe this happened but I just lost my picture of the container (meh). It’s great though, for those of you who’ve had Oikos before, the container now has 10% more 🙂

I’ve had just the plain Oikos before and liked it very much, so I was interested in trying the flavors too. This one is Honey and I decided to pair it with 3/4 cup of multigrain cheerios for a hearty snack.

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When it comes to Greek yogurts, Oikos hits the mark for me on both taste and consistency. I like it when yogurt is so thick that you can hardly stir it (I only had to with this one to mix in the honey at the bottom). Plus it felt great to give my body more natural and wholesome yogurt without all the added (artificial) ingredients. YUM!

 

Another new product I tried over the weekend was a new Kashi bar! They were also on sale at Target, so I picked up a box of a new (to me) flavor, which is right up my alley…Pumpkin Pie! It’s one of the new “TLC Fruit & Grain bars”:

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This bar was unbelieveable! The only downside was the sticky, pumpkiny layer on top made my fingers a little sticky while holding. It tasted great, not to sweet and I could really taste the pumpkin so even if I didn’t know it was made from real ingredients, I would think it was! I should’ve taken a pic of the bar itself instead of just the package, but to give you an idea…its sort of like a granola bar (just lightly sweetened toasted grains) covered with a thin layer of pumpkiny goodness on top. Don’t worry, I have a whole box so you will be seeing them again before too long. I would like to keep bars to a minimum though, during CFW at least. The cool thing (of many cool things) about this bar is that even though it was sweet and rather dessert-like, it only contains 8 grams of sugar and 120 calories!

I love trying new products! 🙂

 

** The Product Reviews page has been completely updated, check it out!

CFW, Day 1

The first day of my self-imposed “Crap Free Week” went really well. In fact, I feel so good that I wish I’d not let things slip so far that I needed to do a CFW. But it’s all good because I am now and hopefully these habits will stick, again 🙂

For breakfast, I used my other package of Kozy Shack Ready Grains and topped it with a banana and a spoonful of peanut butter. I went to Whole Foods this weekend, so this is the 365 brand all natural creamy PB, one of my all-time favorites…it had been forever since I’d had this one. Everyone thinks Whole Foods is such an expensive place to shop and it can be depending on what you buy. But this jar of peanut butter was only $2.19 which is cheaper than the majority of the brands sold at Kroger. Hmm…

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This must’ve been some powerful stuff because I did not eat again until lunchtime! I think on days that I don’t work out in the mornings, I should make it a goal to have a satisfying breakfast that will hold me until lunchtime. I also had some black coffee on the way to work that I made at home.

For lunch, I had a tuna sandwich (tuna + celery + tsp light mayo) on whole wheat bread (with no HFCS!) with spinach leaves; along with some Annie’s cheddar bunnies (where have they been all my life!), broccoli w/ cheese, and an orange.

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This was such a good lunch that it lasted me four hours! This is almost unheard of when I’m at work 🙂

The Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies were amazing. They are like the “goldfish” only with much healthier ingredients. You get 50 bunnies in a serving for 150 calories. When I have sandwiches, sometimes I like to have something a little crunchy like chips or crackers and these were the perfect substitute. Here are some facts about these amazing little things (and they were on sale for $2/box at Target!):

BEST INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC WHEAT FLOUR, ORGANIC EXPELLER PRESSED VEGETABLE OIL (SAFFLOWER AND/OR SUNFLOWER), SALT, ORGANIC CHEDDAR CHEESE (PASTEURIZED MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES), YEAST EXTRACT, ORGANIC PAPRIKA, ORGANIC ANNATTO EXTRACT FOR NATURAL COLOR, ORGANIC GROUND CELERY SEED, ORGANIC ONION POWDER, YEAST. (** uh oh Kath, onion powder!! haha)

They contain NO sugar, low sodium, 0g trans fat, low Saturated fat, no cholesterol — they do have a few grams of protein but no fiber, that is the only downside. But if you are getting enough elsewhere in your diet, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy this with your meal or as a snack. I will totally be buying them again and I saw that there is a sour cream & onion flavor, so I’ll be on the hunt for those soon!

I chose to exercise after lunch today because of my experience last week with just not feeling very energetic (lack of fuel) and putting in a poor performance. It was definitely better this time! I just did a quick 30 minutes on the treadmill, mostly jogging with just a couple walk breaks. It was awesome! I felt so refreshed and I think it helped me stay focused the rest of the day.

For my afternoon snack, I tried a new yogurt, Voskos Greek Style yogurt. I don’t say this lightly…this may be the best blueberry yogurt I’ve had. It reminded me a lot of the Whole Soy & Co blueberry, only it’s dairy instead. It didn’t have the same thick consistency as most greek yogurts I am used to but it did have tons of protein!

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From the website:

#1 Selling Greek Style Yogurt

Take your taste buds on a Greek extravaganza with Voskos Greek Style Yogurt.  Voskos Greek Style Yogurt is made with live and active cultures and is strained to naturally bring creamy taste and thick, smooth texture without gums or starches.  Straining make Voskos Greek Style Yogurt naturally low in carbs and calories and high in protein. It is delicious eaten alone or mixed with fruits or granola for quick energy snack or breakfast.

Thick & Natural
Smooth & Creamy
 

 

  • Strained

  • All Natural

  • High in Protein

  • High in Calcium

  • Low in Carbs

  • Low in Calories

  • Live and Active Cultures

  • No Artificial Hormones

  • No Trans Fat

  • No Gums

  • No Starches

  • No GMO

I really enjoyed this yogurt and certainly felt satisfied from it with all the protein and none of the nasty ingredients other yogurts have. I really do think there is truth to the idea that artificial ingredients, though low in calories, can actually cause you to crave more food, especially sweet things. This did not happen to me at all today! The orange at lunch was sweet enough and this yogurt carried me through the afternoon with no need for candy or chocolate.

I had class last night until 7, so while I was there, I enjoyed this bad boy, I picked up a box of these at Target after I read that’s where Lindsay found some (she’s my Target twin):

A better 100 calorie pack

A better 100 calorie pack

I’m usually not much for 100 Calorie packs but I made an exception for these! They were also on sale and I saw that they had some cocoa dusted almonds as well, but when I viewed the ingredients I saw Sucralose, bummer. Perhaps I could make my own?
When I got home for some reason I was really in the mood for some beans & rice — luckily I had some on hand 🙂 I got these great cups of brown rice from Minute Rice, which is not just a clever name, it actually only takes 1 minute to cook the rice. I was so stoked, I plan on buying more soon, plus there was a coupon inside the container!
1 cup = 170 calories and lots of yummy (and moist) brown rice!
I topped the rice with some Garbanzo beans (aka chick peas) and had half a sweet potato with Smart Balance and cinnamon on the side. This was the perfect end to a very non-crappy day. I satisfied my hunger, my craving and my nutritional needs, it just doesn’t get much better than that.
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I laid on the couch with the dog and watched “24” with the husband during which I had a cup of Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea and some fruit (blackberries & grapes):
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Fruit really is a perfect (and definitely crap free) dessert 🙂
Hope you all had a good night, be back real soon!

My own CFW

After following the blogs of Caitlin, Lindsay, and a few others who have tried something called a “Crap Free Week” I couldn’t help but want to do it myself. Since I document what I eat every day, I can see that I do take in lots of crap without realizing it a lot of times. And I know that when I eat crap, I feel like crap. And that’s no fun.

I reviewed everyone’s guidelines and made modifications to suit my lifestyle. I only drink one cup of coffee most days, so I didn’t see the need to cut that out at all. I am however, addicted to diet soda even though the chemicals in these things haunt my sleep at night. I went for a long time without having them before so I know I can do it again!

I also don’t feel like I need to cut out cereals or breads as long as they are 100% whole grain and don’t contain a lot of sugar or HFCS. I also added a few notes about behaviors I hope to change through this process.

So here it is folks, starting today…

Sarah’s Crap Free Week rules

Crap Free Week is : Monday, February 23rd – Monday, March 2nd

To Enjoy:

          Fruits & veggies (whole or frozen)

          Lean proteins (chicken, turkey, pork, salmon, tuna)

          Beans, nuts

          Nut butters (all-natural only, no added oils)

          Whole grains: bread, cereal, brown rice, etc.

          Yogurt (with no HFCS or artificial sweeteners)

          Lowfat or fat free dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)

          Soy products & meat replacements (i.e. veggie burgers)

          Water, tea and coffee

To Avoid:

          Sodas (all)

          High Fructose Corn Syrup

          Trans fats (hydrogenated oils)

          Sucralose, Aspartame, Nutrisweet, etc. (artificial sweeteners)

          Added sugars

          Enriched or refined flours

          Candy, ice cream, pudding

–     Chips

          Products high in sodium (canned soup, frozen dinners, etc.)

To Minimize:

          Excess caffeine: Limit to 1 beverage per day (coffee or tea)

          Bars and other convenience snacks, even if they fit CFW criteria

          Sugar free chewing gum

          Sugar alcohols

Focus on:

          Eating more whole foods – fewer processed items

          Learning to eat only when I need to (hunger) and to satisfy that with foods that are better for me, will make me feel better.

          Getting lots of rest (and sleep)

          Exercise!

          Get control of nighttime snacking by eating more (and better) during the day

Please please ban it!

I just read an article from my local newspaper that the city government is considering the banning of trans fats!

Health department to consider ban on trans fats

I don’t except it to happen anytime soon, it took forever to get a smoking ban passed but I was so glad when it finally did. Let’s hope this one makes it through, someday…

Stay tuned!

Hey guys….

I don’t really feel like posting food pics today — I do have some products that I would like to review and perhaps I’ll give you a “highlight” of my weekend later on, but  the weekend was spent using up some stuff in the house, eating out for a family birthday and an Oscar party last night, so let’s just say, I’m ready to start a new week!

I’m also instituting my own “Crap Free Week” (which you may have seen on lots of other blogs) starting TODAY! I’m really, really excited about it too. 

Please stay tuned, I will explain exactly what I’m doing and how I think it will give me a much needed boost 🙂

Happy Monday!