Tag Archives: improving

The de-junkification of a kitchen

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I promise you this won’t turn into an exclusively foodie blog, but we can’t deny the connection between physical health and the food we eat. Fitness and healthy food go hand in hand, and while you most certainly can work out your body and shape it with exercise, the equation will be complete when you introduce wholesome meals that take care of your insides as much as you take care of your outside.

With this in mind I figured I’d rid my kitchen once and for all of all the stuff I no longer want us to eat. This sounds really easy, and for the most part it is– the only tricky bit is to keep in mind that I share a life with another adult who can very well choose for himself what he wants to eat. Stephen has gotten better and better at trying some of the healthy stuff I make, with mixed results for the most part (he loved the vegetable whole wheat wraps, hated the quinoa-hemp homemade energy bars).

This is what my pantry was like before:

Top shelf:

Canned ‘goods’. And I use the term lightly because really, after reading the sodium contents and knowing that toxic chemicals leech into the food from the can, how good can it be?

I got rid of all the canned soups (yes, even the Shrek one. Or actually, the Shrek one especially. I won’t want my kid eating any of that again) and most of the canned vegetables. Admittedly, I kept two cans of red kidney beans because I felt safe knowing they’re there if I ever need them for an emergency chili or similar. Quite honestly, I’m thinking those will fly out the window soon as well, because with a little organization I can continue to cook and freeze my own dry beans.

Second shelf:

Crackers, pasta, nuts, seeds and grains.

Not a lot of it was bad, though I did get rid of all the white pasta and white crackers, as well as the ever-evil Kraft Dinner. I kept the good stuff like my whole wheat noodles, rye & buckwheat crackers, the walnuts, chia seeds, flax seed, brown rice.

Third shelf, odds and ends:

Got rid of the breadcrumbs and the sugary peanut butter. Kept the almond milk and all the yogurt containers you see, which keep my dry beans and lentils (of course!)

Fourth shelf:

Holy. This one was bad. It has all my baking stuff, so lots to weed out.

I got rid of the white sugar, white flour, chocolate chips, table salt, pre-packaged bread and cake mixes, pancake mix and muffin mix. Whew!

Lower shelf:

This one was something else, too.

Got rid of the bacon bits (why was this ever in my house in the first place? What was I thinking?!), the pre-packaged meals, ramen noodles, and a bunch of  sauces and dressings I had in stock.

 

I know it can be overwhelming for some to transition away from what they’ve always had to eat, from what they’ve always cooked. If it helps, here is my humble list of some of the substitutions I made to replace the bad stuff I won’t be seeing in this house again:

I got rid of                             Substituted with

Canned tomato soup          Fresh tomatoes to make my own

Canned vegetables            Fresh vegetables, for freezing in batches

White pasta                         Whole wheat pasta, brown rice pasta

Small pasta for soups         Barley grains

White rice                            Brown rice, quinoa

Soda crackers                    Wasa rye and buckwheat crackers

White sugar                        Stevia, pure maple syrup, molasses

Breadcrumbs                     Freshly ground flax seed

Sugary peanut butter        Natural peanut butter

White flour                         Whole wheat flour, ground oats

Prepackaged mixes          Google for homemade versions!

Table salt                           Iodized sea salt

White bread                       Whole wheat bread, rice cakes

Bottled dressings             Olive oil with balsamic vinegar

Sugary cereals                 Oatmeal, buckwheat, spelt

Meat                                  Beans, beans, BEANS!

 

 

Tying up men. You know, the usual.

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We went to the summer festival hosted by my city and stopped to watch a magic show. When the magician asked for a parent volunteer my daughter waved her hands, pointed at me and pulled me up. With that I became the magician’s assistant.

My job? To tie up the man in a straight jacket. DEJA VU. I mean. What?

I won’t bore you with the details, and since this is a fitness-oriented blog I’ll focus on the fitness perspective: Today I learned I really love my arms! This is the first time I get to see what my arms and back look like in an everyday situation, and I was pretty surprised when I saw the pictures.

I'm the one in black (I'm pretty sure because last time I checked I wasn't a dude in a straight jacket)

Yep, still the one in black

I’m loving me my strength training.

Lift heavy <3

The bike and me

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A time or two I fell into the ways of a common saying, expressing I have a love-hate relationship with the bicycle. As logic dictates, this expression is erroneous and nothing but an illusion, because regardless of my affirmations the bike has remained neutral and I’m pretty sure it has never loved nor hated me.  Of course in our logic we know this, and yet we still manage to state what is not. Habit? Excuse? Self-sabotage? And, why?

I bring this up because this specific workout session on the bike taught me lots. Aware of many limits that needed to be broken I hopped on the machine and pedaled, focusing only on my breathing. The first indication that things were changing for the better came when Amaru (my trainer and boss) asked if I had been doing something during my three-week holiday, because I was performing much better than I had before. No, I hadn’t worked on my cardio for over three weeks; the only difference was that this time I wanted my cycling session to be better.

As I kept going and many minutes passed the first recognizable signs of tiredness appeared: my legs felt heavy and my breathing was coming out of synch. Soon after I focused on these signs it was like my mental auto-pilot kicked in and immediately jumped into old ways. “I can’t!” I said.

As soon as the words came out of my mouth my awareness came back, allowing me to learn a valuable lesson. I noticed how instantly after saying the words my legs felt many times heavier, each pedal a difficult task. I could sense my body slouching by the second, pain on my shoulders. The heat coming from my face was so intense it reminded me of the sensation previous to passing out. I felt like I was shrinking into a puddle of sweat that would quickly dissolve entirely. I gave myself a moment to observe what I had done, not mad or reprimanding, simply knowing.  I corrected myself out loud “Yes I can.”  and my eyes fixed on a spot on the wall as my conscious effort to overcome mental barriers began.

I visualized myself riding the bike through a beautiful forest, up a hill and down another. Then I saw myself pushing hard to finish a race in first place. I even had an inner chuckle when I thought to myself  ‘just pedal like you stole something’ (nice to know that even in times of full concentration I can keep my sense of humor!). At some point I noticed Amaru had been talking for a while, and I tuned in just to hear  “You’re not even hearing what I say right now, you’re gone into another world. Good. Keep going.”

And I did. For a total of 32 kilometers, which is much much more than I had ever done before.

Our very own milestones

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It all began when I was offered a job as a Personal Trainer, which was rather odd considering I hadn’t worked specifically in that field before. Also, my fitness level was far from impressive, at least far from what the average expectation would want a PT to be. Regardless of all the reasons I had for saying no I chose to dive into the yes, which proved (once again) that taking risks and leaving the comfort zone can have astounding rewards.

I initiated my training on May 23rd  and today, 50 days later, I was able to squat with 135 lbs on me. To light some perspective: on my first day of training I attempted the same kind of squats using only the 45 lbs. barbell on my shoulders and– well, I felt I was going to die; my legs were giving out, my shoulders where in pain, my lower back was not happy and I felt very weak. To have been able to do my series of squats today with three times that weight made me ecstatic!

My accomplishment may not seem like much to some and that’s ok. This is my own milestone, the first of many more to come. I think that fitness, like life, is less about following the path and more about creating it. In this my success today has been significant and has filled me with joy. What else could I ask for?

With this journey just starting and it being something entirely new for me I thought it a good time to track my progress, thoughts and other things here. Welcome!