Friends, Fam, Pinterest, and Spotify

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Week 2 has just started, and I’m feeling great! In general, I have more energy, I feel stronger during my workouts, and I am still way less bloated than I used to be before going grain free. I spent this past weekend at home in the suburbs, and my mom even thinks my skin is looking better. I’ve always had issues with acne and dryness on my face, so perhaps no grains will have other unintended benefits.

HEALTH:  My grain free diet has been going well. Again, it’s easy in some ways and more challenging in others. I have noticed that when I eat my main meals, I get full more quickly; my body signals about my fullness are definitely clearer than they used to be. That said, I do get hungry more often so one challenge has been snacking–more specifically finding snacks that are satisfying enough. I used to snack on grains–a piece of toast, crackers, etc. Those aren’t options so I grab nuts or veggies now. I just have to be sure to have plenty on hand throughout the week.

Related (if we can call desserts snacks), I have definitely been missing sweets. I definitely need to cut back on them, but so far, the only sweet I’ve been able to have is chocolate. Most other desserts–cookies, brownies, etc.–have grains in them. This weekend I spent some time on Pinterest in search of grain free dessert recipes. I FOUND A TON, including one for grain free donuts (that craving hasn’t gone away…). Feel free to check out my grain free board. I know, I know, there are a ton of things that don’t look particularly healthy but if you check out some of the recipes, you’ll see hidden vegetables like the vanilla cupcakes made with zucchini. Let’s be real, I’m not going to have a ton of time to bake all of these things so my sweets intake will still be limited. It’s still great to know I have some other options other than straight up chocolate. I’m super excited to try the cauliflower pizza crust and the sweet potato noodles. I’ve been missing pizza and pasta and I’m hoping these will come close enough to the real thing.

Also through Pinterest, I found my way to a super helpful blog called The Detoxinista. The author, Megan, has some awesome resources and recipes and they all go toward her mission to “make healthy living easier and more accessible”. One particularly helpful post, Going Grain Free, details seven reasons why you should avoid grains. You’ll see that #2 relates to my earlier comment about knowing when I’m full. I look forward to continuing to use her blog for info and recipIMG_20140119_131841es.

FITNESS: I surpassed my five strength and five cardio classes regime this past week–clocking in six strength and five cardio classes. This included Ballerina Bum Bootcamp on Thursday with my friends, co-workers, original MaZi accountability buddies Dwetri and Soukprida. We haven’t been at the same class altogether for a while because our schedules are all over the place. They also live in/close to Wicker Park so they take advantage of classes at the WP studio, too. I hope this happens more often though they might try to avoid me if I keep asking them to take pictures with me post-workout.

I had another successful at-home (or at-my-parent’s-home) workout today. Besides the MaZi YouTube channel, I utilize MaZi’s Spotify playlists for my warmup, cool down, and the strength videos. From their 2013 MaZi Faves playlist, I’m loving Pompeii for my warmup and Young and Beautiful for cool down; All Night by Icona Pop is becoming a new favorite.

Though he didn’t join me for my workout, my brother, Michael, did humor me and take this staged photo post-workout. I wanted to highlight Michael because he is one of my fitness inspirations–and general life inspirations, too. Michael graduated from Bellarmine University (Louisville, KY) in May, and I’m so happy he’s back in Chicagoland. Since June, Michael has lost 30 pounds and five inches in his waist; he’s on his way to a six pack. He has been extremely dedicated to his IMG_20140119_131655workouts–starting with standard weight lifting and interval cardio training. Then he began P90X in November and has stuck with it since then. I’ve done a few of the videos with Michael–Kempo and Cardio X–and though I enjoyed those, I had some failed attempts at other videos; it’s definitely not for everyone but it’s surely working for him.

He also completely changed his diet. Like many people in college, he had a lot going on and it was hard to plan healthy meals; he said he “pretty much ate anything and everything”. Now he is very conscious of what he drinks and eats. He drinks between around 90 ounces of water a day and the only other thing he drinks is tea; quite a contrast from his former liquid consumption habits of energy drinks, milk shakes, alcohol, and pop. He cooks meals in advance making big servings of different proteins and vegetables at the beginning of the week, which makes it easier to follow through the rest of the week because they’re readily available.

He also keeps consistent daily records of what he eats and what his workout was, which gives him a sense of accomplishment because he’s able to see a clean week of eating and workout progress from week to week. He said, “Change is going to take time, but the little things like keeping track and seeing how you’re doing, let’s you see minor accomplishments and keeps you going.” He also avoids grains; the only grains he has are oatmeal (Old-Fashioned Quaker Oats) to start off each morning, so he’ll be a help to me as I continue to pursue the grain free way. He’s sleeping better, he hasn’t been sick since he started working out, and he rarely has headaches anymore (before, he had about 1-2 a week). All that to say, I’m super proud of him and am so happy he’s feeling healthier.

He did just so happen to eat a donut…in front of me…(sounds like a contradiction but he clearly doesn’t usually eat them). I’ll live vicariously through him on this one.

 

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