Inside My Medicine Cabinet

I've taken supplements on and off since I was a teenager. I've also been on the diet pill bandwagon, here and there. Everything from Dexatrim to Hoodia has been in my bathroom...obviously none of them had worked. The truth is there really is no quick fix to weight loss. It's taken me quite a while (and lots of trial and error) to figure that out. Lately, I've been trying to stick with natural/whole vitamin supplements or herbal remedies. I don't take all of these pills religiously, although I try to take a multi-vitamin daily. Here is what is in my cabinet right now:

  • Multi-Vitamin: A must. We just ran out of our usual Centrum so I'm on the search for a really good one in pill or liquid form.
  • Vitamin D: This vitamin has been all over the news lately. Few foods provide it and we get most of our daily dose from the sun. The benefits are astounding. The recommended dosage of Vitamin D (400 IU/day) is considered too low. I take about 4xs that amount. It has been said that taking it regularly will extend one's life by years.
  • Complete EFA: Essential Fatty Acids are not made by the body. Most Americans are EFA deficient (specifically omega-3) because of our over-consumption of processed foods. It's been found to reduce inflammation, depression, memory loss. EFAs may reduce the risk of a variety of infections and some illnesses. My brand contains fish oil, flaxseed oil, borage oil, ALA, Omega-6, EPA and DHA.
  • Flax Oil: Basically another EFA source. It's also believed to help in weight loss.
  • Green Tea Pills: I take an all natural brand. Green tea has tons of health benefits including being linked to preventing certain cancers and cardiac diseases. Other benefits include reduced risk of infections, preventing tooth decay, increasing metabolic rates, as well as preventing and curing many other ailments.
  • Tongue Scraper: Not a supplement, but worth a mention. Tongue scraping removes harmful bacteria, prevents tooth decay/oral diseases, and cures bad breath. I get colds and sore throats pretty often. I just started scraping and hope it will lessen the amount of colds I get.

Great Articles:
Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2007
Five Supplements to Avoid
Online Vitamin Database

Video: Top 10 Best Foods

Here's a nice video I found. I've been eating pretty cleanly lately...not so much during dinner, though. I'm trying to incorporate more "super foods" into my diet so these are great suggestions. I'm lactose intolerant so I try to stay away from eggs and milk. Try being the operative word. Smart Water is awesome...I love how "clean" it tastes. Quinoa...hmm...must try it! I must find sprouted grain bread!

Pardon the Interruption: Weekly Reflection - Week 3

It's been a tough week. While my fitness routine has sort of fallen apart, things have been good on the nutrition side of things. I don't want to say I've picked up the good habit of eating nutritiously, but I'm pretty close. I still am having issues with drinking enough water. I missed last week's reflection so here is a brief version:


  • Continued to eat properly.
  • Had a slight weight loss.

  • I let stress get the better of me.
  • Didn't exercise!!

  • Felt guilty for not working out when I should have.

Lessons learned
  • I have to learn to put my health higher on my priority list.
I'll be back soon to talk about rewards. Hope your week has been better than mine.

Stress is Sabotaging My Goals

The last two days have been extremely rocky for me. There have been big changes at my job and a lot of people were unexpectedly laid off. Luckily, I still have a job but this has turned my whole fitness routine upside down. This brings me to the subject of stress eating (or lack of.)

There is no way I can eat during a stressful event or when depressed. Nope, not going to happen. Some people run for the fridge, while I try and untie the knot that is my stomach. Now, the aftermath is a different story. In yesterday's case, I didn't eat for 10 hours straight. Repeat: 10 HOURS. Tons of meetings, work to be done, and fear of getting the pink slip stole my appetite. When I finally did eat (at 9pm) I grabbed what was quick, tasty and familiar. 2 1/2 slices of pizza. I gave in. I didn't have the willpower to make good choices.

I also haven't exercised since my bonus workout on Tuesday. I know I should have since it would have relieved a lot of stress, but all I could do is sit still when I got home. I'll be back on track tonight no matter what.

Yup, I need to get it together. I need to create a plan of attack for these types of situations because there will be many to come. I feel completed drained mentally and physically. I'm looking forward to this weekend. Hopefully, I can relight the fire that has gone out.

My Favorite Healthy Foods

The supermarkets around my home don't carry many healthy food options. However, they are getting better about it. We usually take a trip to Trader Joe's once a month to stock up on our healthy picks. I find Trader Joe's to have an amazing variety of pre-packed ethnic foods (we love Indian food), and other hard-to-find, or usually over-priced healthy foods. Most items are very affordable, which is a plus. Our monthly food budget has only gone up about $50 since choosing healthier items. I think it's totally worth it.

side note: I find that most of TJs dairy, bread and produce items spoil very quickly. Is it because they ship these items from California?

Anyway, I'd like to share some of the healthy foods that get love in our home.

• wheat bread
• basmati rice (not especially light, but loved)
• naan bread (same as above)
• oranges, bananas & avocados
• salsa (green and red)
• frozen peas & frozen broccoli
• frozen fruit (all types of berrries, mango, passion fruit, coconut)
• onions, garlic paste, fresh and pickled ginger
• Edy's slow churned ice cream/bars
• sunflower seeds/almonds/walnuts/pecans
• romaine lettuce
• tomatoes (plum & cherry)
• soups (boxed and canned)
• tomatoes (plum & cherry)
• 2% milk
• chicken breast
• low-fat yogurt
• low-fat popcorn
• diet soda
• whole wheat pasta
• pecan praline granola
• olive oil, red wine & balsamic vinegars
• tons of spices

• reduced-fat cheese puffs
• tortilla chips
• fat-free brownies (I'm rethinking this-high sugar)
• fat-free half & half
• low-fat cheese (hard to find)
• red & white wines
• whole wheat tortillas
• protein powder (mainly for my husband)
• light string cheese
• eggs (have you seen the price lately?)

Fitness Isn't Achieved in a Day

We all know that Rome wasn't built in a day. So how can we expect ourselves to change years (even decades) of bad habits overnight? Yesterday was pretty rough for me. Everyone wants to be at their ideal weight NOW...including me. This is definitely one of the reasons why I've failed to lose weight over the years. I'm guilty of this way of thinking. Actually, it's this way of thinking that zaps my motivation. It's a vicious cycle. On my way to work this morning, I began thinking about where I'd like to be. One month from now...three months...6 months...1 year. The next thought that ran through my head is being exactly the same at those milestones. It's hard taking it one day at a time, even one meal at a time.

I have a fitness binder. This is just one motivational tool I use. It's stuffed with pages from magazines, inspirational photos, tips, spreadsheets and more. I pull it out whenever I need at little push. Reading blogs, fitness articles and before & after photos also help me stay focused. This blog has also helped me to stay motivated. :)

One of my favorite magazines is Men's Health. I find the mag to be much more to the point (I love bulleted lists), full of tips and beautifully designed.I'd say 80% of the content is unisex. I subscribed to Shape and Fitness for a while, but lost interest. Too many fluff articles on What to Wear to the Gym and not enough What to Do at the Gym. It's been a couple of years, so I may pick them up at the newsstand to see what's new.

How do you stay motivated?

Mastering the Power of Lunch

Today was pretty laid back. I've been low on energy all day. I felt guilty not exercising (I'm not even scheduled to work out today!), but I decided against it and listened to my body. The hubby and I indulged for lunch. I had a chicken quesadilla and fries. Our rationing for this is that it'll keep us from cheating during the week. Thankfully, I couldn't finish the whole meal!

No major lunch prepping this week, although I did make whole wheat rotini pasta w/ chicken and veggies for tomorrow. I learned that salad doesn't last very long in baggies. Besides, there are way too many tasty foods to limit myself to salad. I've been searching for healthy lunch ideas. Bento boxes are really interesting. Click the image for a closer view. It really is an art form in itself, but I've been checking them out simply for healthy lunch combinations.

I'll probably take lunch with me only 3 days this week. To avoid temptation, I've created a list of healthy takeout options I'll allow myself to have around my job:

  • sushi!
  • salad (of course)
  • soup (tons of options)
  • fruit (if I'm not very hungry)
  • Subways or Blimpies chicken wrap (no cheese, oil and vinegar dressing)
  • parfait
I had a 1 lb loss this week but don't feel happy about it. I was expecting more...until I reflected on the past week. Too many desserts , and late night snacking may have been contributing factors. But I'm happy that I stayed in control. Hopefully tomorrow will be a brighter day.

Goal of the week: drink at least 6 cups of water a day (this is difficult for me.)

Weekly Reflection - Week 2

Here's a rundown of my successes, failures, problems, and lessons learned.

Week 2


  • 1 lb loss.
  • Prepared and took lunch to work every day!
  • Exercised 3 times this week.
  • Ate consciously.
  • Felt a little more energized.
  • Didn't strength train.
  • Changed dinner plans spontaneously.
  • Couldn't finish the whole cardio section of my DVD.
  • Didn't drink enough water.
  • Ate too many desserts (albeit low fat.)
  • Still making excuses.
  • Weighing in mid-week.
  • Eating when famished...instead of just hungry.
  • Have to take vitamin/supplements daily.
  • Being too hard on myself.
Lessons Learned
  • Being adaptable keeps me determined...and sane.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help/support!
  • Planning ahead really keeps me on track.
  • Variety is the spice of life! Having lots of healthy food options around keeps me from cheating.

Great Food Choices

I didn't exercise yesterday. We got in late from dinner and I was just beat. I'll make it up tonight by doing cardio and strength. I made good food choices today. Actually, I made pretty good food choice all week. I'm surprised at how easy it seemed. Planning my meals out may have been the key.

Tonight's dinner was delicious. Shrimp with basmati rice and Brussels sprouts. Please give Brussels sprouts a chance if you're not a fan. They're packed with Vitamin K and C and other nutrients...even protein! The trick is to not overcook them. I love them steamed or boiled but you might want to try blanching them and then roasting with a little olive oil. I even got my husband to eat them! Here's my recipe for the shrimp:

Lemon-Ginger-Cilantro Shrimp
1 lb large shrimp (shelled)
1 piece fresh ginger (about 1 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Juice from 1 lemon
1 small onion, diced (I used red because it was on hand)
1 tsp minced garlic
.5 tsp chili powder
.5 tsp red pepper flakes
.5 tsp paprika
4 Tbsps white cooking wine (optional)
1 Tbsp olive oil (or cooking spray)
salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except olive oil and onion in a bowl. Toss and put aside. Heat olive oil. Sautee onions on low/medium until tender. Add garlic for about 30 seconds. Toss in all remaining ingredients. Cook until all shrimp turn white-5-7 minutes. Enjoy!

I'll be prepping lunches for the week tomorrow. Probably a different menu. I learned a few things from last week's adventure. I'llbe sure to share them tomorrow along with a weigh-in.

Choose Wisely When Dining Out

Tonight will be my dining out test. It was between Japanese and Mexican. My husband chose Japanese, thinking there may be healthier choices on the menu (even though he doesn't like sushi!). We will soon find out, but until then I'm preparing myself.

I've been to this restaurant once before. I might have chosen the least healthiest dish, A variety of meats fried in tempura batter. It was so oily I had a tummy ache afterwards. I just had a light snack (baked potato chips) to avoid eating everything in sight. Luckily, I can browse the menu online and make some wise decisions before-hand. I think I'll go with a bowl of steamed edamame for an appetizer, a sushi platter as an entreƩ and a glass of wine. No dessert.

Hopefully I don't throw everything I said out the window. Hey, I do get one free day a week, right?

EDIT 8:27pm: We caved. Went for the Mexican spot (The Japanese spot was packed.) I had chicken breast with a corn salsa and one glass of sangria. He had salmon. Mexican hot chocolate, chocolate cake and dulce de leche ice cream for dessert. Oh well. I guess this was my free meal of the weak week.

Kick Cravings to the Curb

Check out this video to get the scoop on battling cravings with...of all things...cinnamon! I am very intrigued by homeopathic/all natural remedies and medicines. I will be trying this tip in the very near future, like tomorrow morning! Ms. Token Fat Girl has an awesome recipe which incorporates a decent amount of cinnamon. I'm a huge fan of smoothies and actually bought one for breakfast this morning. A local Mexican restaurant has a huge array of foods to create your one-of-a-kind smoothie. I had the Strawberry/Granola/Pecan/Splenda today. Splenda smoothies take a little getting used to, but the benefits far outreach the taste. Plus, I felt full for hours!

A quick search on craving control yielded a ton of helpful articles and tips. A few tips that caught my attention were:
• Brush your teeth/chew gum
• Fill up with water
• Keep your triggers out of the house

I added a countdown above the calendar. It's set to end in mid-February (my birthday) 2009. Yes, I'm shooting for great health by 2009. However, entering my 30s in great health is more important to me than looking good for New Years Eve.

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