Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day!

Motherhood comes in all shape and sizes, in all ways and forms.  

My own mother has been running a non-profit for almost 30 years that has proved just that, guiding birthmothers on a journey to adoption, informing potential adoptive mothers that they will be mothers, encouraging communication between families.  She’s seen gradmothers, aunts, best friend’s mothers and teachers take the place of a mother for a teen who is just trying to figure this world out. 

My mother’s own journey into motherhood was a bit skewed as well.

After being told she couldn’t have children, her and my father applied for adoption.  Then a great bundle of joy (ME!) came -- and then she gave birth to three others.

I remember asking about my birthmother when I was little.  I remember others asking me if I knew my “real” mother.  Honestly, I sort of wrote my birthmother off as one of those teenage girls who was sitting in my mother’s living room, hoping to right poor decisions.

It wasn’t until my own friends started having children could I only imagine what it took to spend nine months caring for a child that wouldn’t be yours.  And not only that, she had no idea who the parents would be; my adoption was closed.  She made a brave choice, a wise choice, realizing for whatever reason she was not ready to parent and rather prove “haters” wrong, she would take a leap of faith.

My own mother took a leap of faith. Because my adoption was closed, she wasn’t a part of the pregnancy.  She didn’t have the ability to meet my birthmother. Her world changed overnight. It's very brave to adopt a child, a child without your DNA, without your genetics.  A child whose history and background is vague. 

 But perhaps that's the cool thing about motherhood.  It's experiences, not blood, that grow relationships.   

I never considered my mother my "adoptive mother."  She is my real mom.  She is enough.

So Happy Mother’s Day to my mom. 

To all adoptive mothers. To all birthmothers. To all the stepmothers. To all mothers who had a child and had to say goodbye too soon.  To all those mothers in waiting. To all grandmothers, aunts, teachers or others who have stepped up for a child whose “real” mother is absent for whatever reason.  

To all moms.

my grams

my mother-in-law, Anne

My sister-in-law Shannon, the newest mother, who just gave birth to Baby Josh earlier this week

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sweet Potato Pizza

It's the weekend!  

Not that it means much since I don't have a job nor do I have classes ... 

For some reason the weekend makes falling off the healthy eating wagon a bit easier. 

Even though I'm not competing anymore, and my diet isn't nearly as restrictive (typing as I nosh on trail mix), I don't go all crazy with junky food.  

I still start EVERY MORNING with egg whites, asparagus and black coffee. 

Guess which part of breakfast is my favorite? 

I have been craving some pizza.  However, I haven't been "good enough" with my eating or work out to warrant "real" pizza.  

I failed miserably at the cauliflower pizza crust fad.  
(Ask Hubs, there were tears). 

So when these pizza recipes from popped up on my newsfeed, I was skeptical.  

I made the gluten-free one, not because I'm trying to be gluten-free, but because I had all most of the ingredients handy. 

(Gluten-free = another fad, I believe, unless you are in the 1% that have celiac disease (a genetic disease). Yes, I believe there is a gluten intolerance, especially since so much of our breads and like products are highly processed, but people get on the bandwagon without realizing that a lot of gluten-free foods in the store are also highly processed.  And gluten-free doesn't mean calorie free.  It's a lot of work, ask anyone who truly has an issue with gluten. There is also yeast intolerance -- yeast and sugars (candida diet)  -- which can have symptoms similar to a gluten intolerance. For example, I am fine with gluten, but I tend to have a yeast/sugar intolerance.  I began taking a probiotic, watch my diet and my digestive system has been AWESOME. I am still sensitive to a lot of sugar,  but we all are.

And let's be honest here, you need carbs for "optimal health," but in reality your body could function without them. Protein and healthy fats are essential.   I don't recommend not eating carbs (lord knows I am 100% happier with them), but be smart about it.  Sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, a lot of veggies ... all "good" carbs and all gluten-free without even trying to be cool

Moral of the story: know your body.)

Okay off my soap box, and on to pizza! 

I didn't have the proper flour, but this mix worked perfectly.  
I'm assuming regular baking flour would too. 

I only used 3/4 of a small sweet potato (not the one pictured), and I peeled and microwaved it until soft (normally I would bake it, but I didn't have time).  

It will look like soup. 

I didn't have a cake pan so I made 3 mini-pizzas. 
I could have used a baking square pan, as sweet potato expands a bit. The "crust" is more like a pancake than a pizza crust, so if you are expecting a doughy crunch you will be disappointed.

None the less, a few toppings, a bit of mozzeralla, and yum! 

WAY better than the cauliflower pizza. I was surprised how much it it the spot, and it was really light. 

Since I am a pescetarian (so trendy) and I haven't acquired a taste of fish on pizza yet, I didn't have a protein with this meal. (Carnivores could add chicken or steak).

 In the future I will add a bit of vanilla or non-flavored protein powder to the "dough" portion.  Or even better, adding tuna, salmon, hard boiled eggs or scallops to my a small side salad would yield protein. 

So if you have a craving for pizza this weekend, try this easy and yummy meal, without ruining your hard work or breaking the calorie bank ... in fact you may have enough left over for some fro-yo.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Get to Know Me.

I need to study

But I haven't written in a while, so I thought a little "Get to know Me" post via Pinterest & Someecards would be appropriate. 

1. I'm deaf. 

Right before my junior year of college, I lost my hearing in my left ear. 

I often forget I'm deaf until I'm at a dinner party and I creepily squint at whomever is speaking.  It's so I can read their lips, but it pretty much guarantees they will never make eye contact with me again. 

It hasn't really changed my life except I still can't always differentiate where sound is coming from. So if you really want to have some fun, hide my phone and call it.  

2. I have a great memory ...

For trivial facts.  Yet, when it comes to remembering my four years of Spanish or Chinese Herbs, forget it. 

Example: Hubs and I had lunch Monday at my favorite Mexican restaurant.  I rattled off the meal he had the last time we ate there, which was nine months ago (For his birthday.  He wasn't feeling good, so he had the mahi wrap with mashed potatoes, which came with little tortilla strips in the colors of the Mexican flag.  He also ordered a tequila and OJ, opting for 1800 brand.  This time he just had Cuervo Gold).  

This happened a lot in college.  Luckily, most of the time the other person was a bit inebriated, so they weren't as freaked out when I told them I knew them because they sat in the third row, on the left in such and such class we had together.  Between the Zeta that was a Rho Gamma last year during rush and the guy that always wears baseball hats.  I didn't tell them I remembered and liked the answer they gave in class two weeks ago ... that might have been too far. 

 3. Douche Canoe

ALWAYS hear, "I'm really sorry. I shouldn't say that in front of you.  I don't want to corrrupt you."  

Child, please! 

I probably one of the most inappropriate and politically incorrect people.  I often joke that I have the sense of humor of a 15 year-old boy. 

However, I still don't find Tosh.O funny. 

Oh and I have a dirty mouth.  Sorry mom. 

4. I am a bit OCD

My clothes hang color-coded and by style (sweats, shirts, tanks, etc). 

I freak out at Hubs if he doesn't place the veggies in the veggie tray or leaves cheese in the "main area" of the fridge rather than the appropriate drawer.  

I will re-load the dishwasher after Hubs loads it. 

... These are just a few of my favorite things. 

Don't feel bad for Hubs ... he has his own obsessive-complusive issues to deal with. 

5. I love coffee.

I truly wake up excited to get my first cup. Nothing better. 

Except breakfast food. 

And tacos. 

6. Exactly the reason I am an acupuncturist. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

An Inclination for Inclines

I've been absent from blogging due to studying for my acupuncture boards. 

Anyone who believes Traditional Chinese medicine, is not medicine, I will throw my Materia Medica at them, following by my Manual of Acupuncture

I have found it best for focus and concentration that I hit the gym.  I'm not competing anytime soon, so I am nowhere near the 2.5-3 hours a day I spent in the gym last year.  I'm also trying to work out smarter and harder, not longer.

Therefore, I have been following the Jim Stoppani's 12-week Shortcut to Size program on  I'm trying to get stronger.  I'm on week two and I love it. It's challenged me to lift heavy, which can be intimidating, especially for women. But you feel like a badass afterwards. 

But this post is about some cardio.

 I hate cardio.

I have ADOW ... Attention Deficient ... Oh, WEIGHTS!

I much prefer lifting, but cardio has its place. 

So to keep me going I often change up routines ... every minute. :P

Not quite like this ... 

I was inspired by my bestie, Kel, who is attempting to run a half-marathon.  Last weekend after running a pretty long race, she doubted her ability to eventually finish a half-marathon since the race she recently ran was a hilly. 

I may live in perpetual sunshine, but some days it's too hot to even walk outside, let alone run.  And I know most of you reading this are just coming out of the snow. 

Beside mild weather, Florida lacks something else: HILLS! 

(Not everything is classy either.)

So, I usually run on the treadmill, and I always do it at at least a 3% incline.  It will make the routine a tad more difficult.  

I actually did the treadmill workout below on a 0% incline for the first half, and I wondered why it was so easy. When I realized my mistake, I bumped it up to 3% and my legs started asking, "WTF?! WHY?!" 

So my treadmill workout with incline:

Start at a 3% incline
0-1 min: jog (I do 6.5 mph, but go at your own pace)
1-2 min: sprint (I go 9-10 mph, but go at your own pace)
2-3 min: jog
3-4 min: sprint
4-5 min: jog
5-6 min: sprint
6-7 min: jog
7-8 min: sprint
8-9 min: jog
9-10 min: sprint
10-11 min: jog
11-12 min: sprint
12-13 min: jog
13-14 min: sprint
14-15 min: jog
15-16 min: sprint
16-17 min: 6% incline, walking lunges on treadmill, 2-2.2 mph
17-18 min: 10% incline, jog as fast as you can 
18-19 min: 7% incline, run backwards, 3-3.3 mph
19-20 min: 4% incline, jog with 5lb. 
20-21 min: 10% incline, jog as fast as you can, no wts.
21-22 min: 6% incline, walking lunges on treadmill, 2-2.2 mp
22-23 min: 10% incline, jog as fast as you can, no wts.
23-24 min: 7% incline, run backwards, 3-3.3 mph
24-25 min: 4% incline, jog with 5lb. 
25-26 min: 10% incline, jog as fast as you can
26-27 min: 7% incline, run backwards, 3-3.3 mph
27-29 min: 10% incline, jog as fast as you can
29-30 min: jog, decreasing the incline as you go 

My gym has a stepmill.  I don't know what it is about it, but within 5 minutes, I am dripping sweat. So I found an interval session to do. 

0-2 min: level 9
2-5 min: level 10
5-8 min: level 11
8-10 min: level 12
10-10:45 min: level 20
10:45 - 11:30 min: level 5-6 (slow)
11:30-12:15 min: level 20
12:15-13 min: level 5-6
13-13:45 min: level 20
13:145-14:30 min: level 5-6
14:30-15:15 min: level 20
15:15-16 min: level 5-6
16-16:45 min: level 20
16:45-17:30 min: level 5-6
17:30-18:15 min: level 20
18:15-19 min: level 5-6
19-19:45 min: level 20
19:45-20:30 min: level 5-6
20:30-21:15 min: level 20
21:15-22 min: level 5-6
22-22:45 min: level 20
22:45-23:30 min: level 5-6
23:30-24:15 min: level 20
24:15-25 min: level 1
25-27 min: level 11
27-30 min: level 9

You feel like you are running up the stairs for those 45 seconds, which is great if you want to cross-train. 

** Please note, if any of these speeds or levels are too difficult, go at your own pace, but when you are suppose to sprint or a high level is noted, it SHOULD be difficult.  Don't sell yourself short. **

Another thing about inclines:  Try to push through with your heels, especially in the lower levels with the stepmill.  It will help to strengthen your hamstrings.  Interestingly, a trainer that coached female college gymnasts noticed her girls were often tearing their ACLs and/or injuring their knees.  She started having the gymnasts focus more on hamstring exercises. As a result, there were less injuries. 

While climbing/stepping may sound counter-intitutive for those with knee problems, it can really benefit the strength and recovery process.

 (If you do have a recent injury, please get advisement from your doctor or physical therapist before going all out.)

Don't forget quads though, as they stabilize the patella. The above treadmill routine is great for quads and hammies, with the sprints and inclines.

Stepping through the heel also gives you a nice little booty. 

Alright, getting my butt back to the books! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hungry for Change

Ugh! I tried to write this post for about two weeks now. Seriously.

Life has gotten in the way of both this blog and of my 4% challenge.


Huck is our adorable new Dane baby, who came to us with a less than stellar digestive system.  In the first two weeks with him, we spent more time in the emergency vet office than out of it and more money than I spent on my wedding dress.

Thankfully he seems to be on the upswing.  And he is terribly cute and goofy.

But Huck, and his  **surprised ** vet visits and mid-night/early morning potty breaks, have thrown off my routine. So I did not lose the 4%. 

I also added a job in there, and finally finished school!!!! (yeah!)

Needless to say the gym fell by the wayside as I opted for sleep over the gym with any free time I had. 

However, I had focused more on my nutrition.

I am a firm believer that, while working out is great, the number one thing you can do to become healthy is change your diet (notice I used “diet” as a noun, not a verb).

Yesterday, between yelling at Huck to stop eating our potted palm trees and studying for my boards, I stumbled across a documentary on Netflix called, “Hungry for Change.”

In short, it’s about how as a nation, we have an abundant of food, but we are starving to death (from a lack of nutrients).  It’s a bit scientific, so if you are nerd, like me, you’ll love it. Seriously, I LOVE learning how the body works, and this doc definitely explains why and how the body gets fat.

While I think you should watch it, some points I’d like to share:

-       Biologically we seek fats and sugars.  I believe I read once, that back in the hunter/gatherer days, sweet food equaled safe to eat.  So our ancestors knew that if food was sweet (like a fruit), they wouldn’t die from consuming it.   That being said, we still have that instinct to eat when we see food due to our biologic-program of feast/famine. Except nowadays, there is no famine.

- I pulled a line about “abusing sugar.”   We’ve all heard fat-free basically means other chemicals added to food.  One of the experts mentioned he could slap a Fat Free label on a 2lb. bag of sugar. But once ingested, sugar spikes blood glucose (blood sugar).  The pancreas responds by secreting insulin  -- a fat-inducing hormone.  Insulin also increases our drive to eat.  So people that do fat-free diets are usually constantly hungry.  FATS DON’T MAKE YOU FAT.  It’s important to eat HIGH GRADE fats in avocado, chia, flax and salmon.

-       They likened white sugar and white flour to cocaine; all are processed products of a natural substance.  (Coca tea/mate de coca is a very widely used medicinal herb with no addictive side effects). All cause disruptions in your body.

Finally, they touched on that in order to protect itself from the chemical/toxins in our processed food, our body either produced mucous or fat. Most of these chemical are fat-loving, so not only do they induce fat, they are stored in fat.  Cleanses are important, but none of this cayenne pepper-lemonade only cleanse.  The best cleanse is to start with high quality organic chlorophyll-rich greens, include parsley with cleanses blood and cilantro with binds with heavy metals (very important if you eat fish!)

Also, gelatinous foods are good too: chia seeds, aloe, seaweed. They become like a gel, bind to toxins and impurities and then pass them.

I know for a lot of us, buying everything organic or completely cutting sugar isn’t realistic.  Here's a handy little chart of what is important to buy organic, and those you can lax on.

I hope these little insights can help you make a healthier decision this week. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

4 Weeks, 4% Challenge

It's February!  I love new starts.  They are a great time to evaluate your goals.  How have your health and fitness goals been going since January 1? 

Mine, not so well.  While I really had an itch to compete in a competition in March, I have not been mentally focused enough to go through with competition prep.  (Part of the reason is my future life UN-plans; my mind is just somewhere else.)

Recently, I have been following the FB page of The Anti-Jared

He has lost over 200 pounds, and I really like his posts.  Most are real-life inspirational (none of this "Aim to Fly High and You Will Soar" bullshit) and he puts priorities on non-scale victories (NSV), which are just as important (if not more) than seeing the number drop on the scale. 

He recently had a post about the Dietbet

It's a weight-loss challenge to lose 4% of body weight in 4 weeks. So, as he explains, if you weigh 200 lbs, by the end of February you should lose 8 lbs.  It's a pretty attainable goal.  You can participate in his challenge (a $50 entry fee, and if you attain the goal, you can split the pot with others who have also accomplished their 4%) if you want. 

I am going to do this challenge on a personal level.  One of my new year's goals was to stay within 5-7 pounds of my competition weight.  But I have failed.  So 4% would put me back into that range.   

I also have a NSV I would like to achieve.  After watching a video of IFBB Bikini Pro Brittany Tacy rock out a bazillion pull ups, my new goal is to do 1 UNASSISTED PULL UP!

I have NONE! NIL! ZIP! ZERO! upper body strength.

Don't let those muscles fool you; I can get lean and toned, but building muscle is hard for me. While I can hold on with death grip to the pull up handles, I can't really move more than an inch. 

I will post some workouts and recipes as I go through out the month.

If you so feel inclined, I ask that you follow with me, and if you don't need to lose weight, make a NSV for yourself; clean dinner 3x/week, bringing lunch to work everyday, healthy protein-fueled breakfast every morning, go for a run/walk 4x/week, attempt a new exercise or a new class, try to lift the dumbbell weight up from where you are, etc.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

New Beginnings

Oh hey! Remember me? I use to blog.

I have been quite busy lately, which as left this blog sad and unwritten.

Here’s what’s kept me away:

- Finished my clinical hours; so only one more class and I will be done with my Masters! (And hopefully a working acupuncturist!) 

-I've been spending time with Hubs.  6 months: This is the longest time we have spent together since we've met almost 5 years ago.

- Took a month off to travel to Ohio and Hong Kong, where I was able to celebrate with my mother-in-law’s birthday, enjoy time with family we don’t get see often enough, and “meet” my still-in-the-womb-soon-to-be-world’s-most-handsome nephew.

- Attempting to figure out what to do with my life ….

- And we're EXPECTING ....

... To MOVE into our very first HOUSE!  

Way back in November, we decided to "look into" buying a house.

Hubs has lived on a boat for the past 16 years and I have moved over 12 times in the last 11 years.  

Trying to put down "roots," something the Hubs and I haven't really had in years, was a bit overwhelming.  And let's face, no place will be as close to my heart as Cincinnati is, so I was a bit indifferent about the whole situation. 

Not only that, but I insisted on a very good school district.  Hubs insisted on a pool and/or water view.  Both add up to: $$$$.  

  And everything in our price range, in the school district I wanted, with the water options that Hubs wanted, were second-homes for snowbirds; great for entertaining, not great for having a family (small out-dated kitchens, small bedrooms off the kitchen, no yards and relatively unchanged since being built in the 70s and 80s).

Hubs is a bit stubborn. A trait that I love and loathe.  This time it pulled through.  After realizing no matter where we lived we'd have to renovate EVERYTHING (also equaling $$$$), he asked the realtor about new builds. She quickly responded that there are no new builds in the area we were looking. 

So we decided to stop looking for a bit.

Two days later she called with a new build.  Three days after that we turned in our deposit check. 

I absolutely love it, and I can't wait to take pictures.  The house won't be finished until spring, but it's been fun to figure out how to make this house a home. 

Obviously I have not left the Pinterest site since December.  Here are some of the home porn that I have dreams about: 

Nicky Hilton's dining room.  I saw this years ago and fell in LOVE with the Martinique wallpaper. 

For the entry way. 
Wish I had the balls to do this ...

But I am more of a neutral chick. And these are the colors of our kitchen.

I love the subway tiles and the lighting! I need this lighting.

Dream bedroom.  No, actually I will make ours as close as possible to this.

Any homeowners have tips or lessons learned from moving in and breaking in a new house?