I’ve *bean* meaning to make a meal plan…

I’ve been meaning to a make a meal plan for myself for around the same amount of time as I’ve been meaning to finish my palm tree I made from yarn.  It’s been about a year now that I started both of these personal projects.  My palm tree was to fill the awkward blank corner of space in my bedroom and recording my nutritional changes were to take away the lack of discipline I struggle with.

The yarn palm tree with no trunk.

The yarn palm tree with no trunk.

Unfortunately both of these great ideas have been left unaccomplished for far too long.

In the realization of my birthday weight gain, I decided I could do better.  My friends have been so great on myfitnesspal at recording their food and I’m using  them as motivation to start doing it too.

On Sunday night I jotted out a quick meal plan for me to stick to.   It wasn’t too hard to figure out what I wanted to eat since my lack of time requires my meals to be quick to prepare and packed full of as many essential nutrients as possible.  Using my logic I gained from The Four Body, I’m sticking with beans as my staple carbohydrate though I’m not going to beat myself up over eating whole grain bread and the occasional pasta.  I think beans are a great source of not only carbohydrates, but the amount of fiber and protein you get per serving makes it a valuable resource for weight loss.

pilatestest3

If you’re eating your beans canned, there is a high chance of them containing a lot of extra sodium.  Some of the nutrition facts I found had over 1,000mg of sodium per one cup!  NOT good.

However, homemade beans where you control the salt content can greatly reduce your sodium.  Home boiled black beans only had 2mg of sodium per one cup.

My favorite beans are the Trader Joe’s organic black beans.  As you can see in the picture, they have a nice amount of protein, fiber, and just enough calories to add an awesome boost to my giant bowls of lettuce and other mixed veggies.  The sodium content is pretty high but I know I’m not getting much sodium anywhere else so I’m not going to worry too much about it now.

So… I realize I totally just went off on beans.  Can you sense my enthusiasm over this loved legume?

Anyway, this week’s meal plan was pretty repetitive each day and was not solely bean based as I had all sorts of carbs like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, oatmeal, cereal, and mac and cheese.

I won’t go into the actual foods I’m eating because you can look at my daily food journal on myfitesspal if you’re interested.

I’ve been proud to see that I’ve been sticking with my plan and have been consistently around 1,600 calories each day by eating a ton of vegetables with around three servings of carbohydrates a day.

I’m down two pounds from my birthday gain and hopefully will have the rest of that weight off soon!!!

Do any of you make meals and/or track your meals?  Do you find you behave better when you do it?

I’ll be back tomorrow with a blog on “keeping fit while vacationing” as Alyssa is WORKING DILIGENTLY on her thesis revival since she GRADUATES with her Master’s degree in  less than a month.  WOOOOOO!

 

Until then,

AprilSignatur

 

 

April’s review of an amazing Mother-Approved bra!

Happy Friday!!!!

I’m excited that my third week of school is over and I have three whole days to relax… sit around… do whatever I feel like doing…

I wish!

Instead of lounging on the couch just chillin’ in my snuggie pretending I’m Bruno Mars in The Lazy Song I’ll be babysitting for three nights straight for two kids (7 year old boy and 5 year old girl) that I regularly watch.  I’ll appreciate those moments that I get to sit down while driving the kids to and from the weekend’s activities. I’ll also be appreciating the lack of a HARD METAL WIRE stabbing me in  the bosom as I am on the ground picking up the trail of stuff that kids tend to always leave all over the house.

The awesome folks over at fullbeauty were incredibly generous and sent both my sister and myself a wireless and comfortable bra of our choice to try out.  As you might remember from Alyssa’s earlier post, we both randomly chose the same bra, even the same color!  And it’s not like this company only has the choice of white, beige, and black likeMOST of the bra choices in life tend to be.  The camisole style of wireless bra I chose came in TWELVE colors, but Alyssa and I were thinking practicality I suppose when we chose the color white.

FullBeauty Lace Cami SoftCup Bra in Lavender Tulip

FullBeauty Lace Cami SoftCup Bra in Lavender Tulip instead of white for the sake of showing another awesome color choice

I have had this bra for a few weeks now and it’s definitely received constant use.  After washing it, the bra has gotten really comfortable, it’s almost like I’m wearing a sports bra because of the soft fabric it’s made out of.

As Alyssa discussed, one of the benefits of a bra like this is that it helps you manage a modest appearance in shirts that may otherwise make men ogle your lovely chest.  Hello, nurse!

Thank you to Daniel's Blog for this Animaniac love!

Thank you to Daniel’s Blog for this Animaniac love!

Before I got this lovely gift of coverage in the mail, I was wearing one of my common winter shirts about to go out to lunch with a guy I have been randomly seeing for a little while now.  As we walked out of the house we ran into my Mother, whom this new guy had never had the pleasure of meeting before as we aren’t at that level of “meeting the parents” yet.  My Mom tends to be pretty friendly, some would say bold (mostly her children), when it comes to meeting attractive men and after she gave him a big hug and praised him on his rugged good looks, she turned to me.  Immediately she cracked a joke about my “boobs hanging out” in front of him and pulled up my top for me, trying to cover up the nice cleavage I was rocking.

Rocking my shirt appropriately at the Hooters in Zurich, Switzerland

Rocking my shirt appropriately at the Hooters in Zurich, Switzerland

That story alone is a great example of why wearing this camisole bra from fullbeauty could have saved me loads of embarrassment in that particular situation.

Check out the proof in the pictures and get on over to fullbeauty before March 31st, 2013 for 20% Off Highest Priced Item + Free Shipping on $50+. (Expires 03/31/13).  Use coupon code: FBA9009. You should also check out their semi-annual bra sale, where some bras are up to 75% off.

My Mother-Approved improvement to my shirt with the addition of the fullbeauty camisole bra

My Mother-Approved improvement to my shirt with the addition of the fullbeauty camisole bra

I hope you all enjoy your weekend and I look forward to updating you all next week on the awesome progress the month of January brought me!

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur

 

Changing the way America eats

It’s that time of year again!  It’s ten days into 2013 and people everywhere are biting their nails and wishing for that one cigarette, that one beer, that ONE MORE GORDITA. Grrr.

I stopped making actual resolutions a few years ago when I realized that nothing I do is ever within a particular time frame.  Even with writing that sentence, I realize that I only have four months and two days to accomplish many of the goals on my “30 before 30 list!”  Upon looking at that list, I realize there is no chance for many of those goals to happen just because my priorities in life have COMPLETELY changed.

2012 brought forth a lot of changes in my life that mostly revolved around my visit to Europe in April.  While I was there, I got to experience how other countries are run.  The biggest difference that changed my prospective was the European food system.  The food was REAL.  People in Europe weren’t hobbling down the street in pants with an elastic waistband and I didn’t see a single billboard telling me to “Get hot.  Get fit. Get the elastic band” once!  I also didn’t eat a single tum while I was there nor did I once feel that I ate too much.

Unfortunately I had to come home after my three glorious weeks of country hopping and was immediately thrown back into my typical American way of life.  I drove the mile to the grocery store and I drank 32 oz. of soda as one serving.  As I continued to observe the rest of my fellow Americans live their lives in similar manners, I realized a few things.   I am truly the only one accountable for my unhealthy weight but I feel that if I lived in a country that didn’t make being unhealthy so easy, perhaps myself and the 65%+ of Americans wouldn’t be as overweight as we are.

Check out this awesome graph I found from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

overweight

It’s interesting that I base this comparison off my time in Europe since many of their countries are on this graph too.  The graph also fails to show the countries of Naura at 94.5% and Tonga at 90.8% of overweight population,  according to this article that quoted the now deleted Guardian survey. But the point is, America is covered with opportunities to being fat by the need for convenience of transportation and our food.   Who wants to spend time growing and preparing their own food in a garden when they can easily drive to the store down the street, buy lettuce chopped up and ready for us in a bag with dressing, croutons, cheese, and even dried sugary cranberries with only the effort of prying apart two thin sheets of plastic?

I do.  I know that I definitely do.  Being able to sustainably grow my own food is one of my most important life requirements.  That reason is exactly why I have chosen to spend 2013 making this the year that I learn skills that I can use for the rest of my life.  I’ll spend my three months of summer back in Europe learning the ways of the farm through WWOOFing, shoveling compost under the hot Portugal sun, and making the fat that has been hanging from my arms for 15 years slowly melt away like butter on a hot potato.

I shall return to this country of ours and do what I can to encourage people to start making the change from processed crap to whole foods that came from the ground, not the grocer.   I really want to use my education in agriculture to help make the changes that I think are necessary for our American citizens to live a healthy and sustainable earth.   So many of us are just so used to the way we have been doing things and then are still times when I find people who won’t eat “organic food” just because they don’t know what organic actually means.  I hope I’m able to work more with community gardens and organizations like Petaluma Bounty, that help provide produce for people in need.

You all will be stoked to know that I managed to lose 3 pounds this year already, as I am back on the weight loss wagon and working hard to stick to eating only whole foods.  I also finally utilized my free three months at 24 hour Fitness and have been going MILES while staying in the same place quite a few times now! Haha!

Gotta love cat memes.

Gotta love cat memes.

I however still need to drop another 3 pounds to get back down to where I was before the holidays.  I bet within  the next two weeks I’ll get back down there and probably even lower than December!  Alyssa and I are both in a weight loss competition that the lovely KJpugs started so that’s helping me stay motivated besides the strong yearning I have to drop some serious pounds before my trip.

I hope you all have had a great year so far and thanks for reading!

Peace and monkeys,

AprilSignatur

 

 

Discovering the ingredients of our food – By April

One of the most valuable things I learned while working at the women’s gym years ago was about nutrition and the way our bodies process our food.  I never really thought much about what went into the food I was eating.  Cheese could come in powder form within a dulled silver bag and I would eagerly dump that package of happiness into my already melted combination of milk and butter.  I would slowly stir my sauce and watch the electric orange color of the cheese slowly fade into a golden and buttery sunset over the ebony darkness of the pan.  Oh Kraft, you’ll always hold a special place in my heart.  Literally, because I bet a few of my overweight pounds are thanks to my adoration of Macaroni and Cheese.

My nutritionist taught me the art of reading labels and how our bodies respond best to products with the LEAST ingredients.  As in applesauce that is made of apples or peanut butter that is made from peanuts.

For example,  here are the ingredients of a popular peanut butter brand: ROASTED PEANUTS, SUGAR, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (COTTONSEED, SOYBEAN AND RAPESEED) TO PREVENT SEPARATION, SALT.

The same company that makes that particular peanut butter also makes a “natural” version that lacks the funky hydrogenated oils but still has added sugar and palm oils.  If you spend some extra time checking out the other brands, you’ll probably find a peanut butter than only consists of peanuts.  It might cost more but it could end up helping your health which to me, is very worth the extra $1.

Once I learned to cut out the products in my life that had ingredients like hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup, my health dramatically increased.  I suffer from heartburn and on the days I manage to go without anything that has either of these food additives, I don’t get heartburn.    Plus, once I lost weight the heartburn was one of the quickest things to go as well.

I also discovered that products made with aspartame and other sugar substitutes seemed to have a direct correlation to these weird headaches I would get.  They were very particular and unlike any other headache I had before.  I noticed this problem when I was drinking a light lemonade every day for four days in a row.  While I do get headaches often, this just seemed wrong. I finally figured out it was because of the lemonade I was drinking and the artificial sweetener that was replacing the sugar.  There has been times when I had eaten baked goods or even broccoli salad unknowingly that this particular sugar substitute was included and would end up with a raging headache soon afterwards.

Learning about the ingredients in my food opened up a whole new world of obsession for me.  I would say knowing what I am eating is one of my top priorities in life not only because it greatly affects my health but because the direction the American food system is heading just plain FREAKS ME OUT…

::For the sake of not writing 1,000 words right now I am biting my tongue on everything I could say on genetically modified food::

With the help of amazing books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and the education I have gotten from my nutritionist and sustainable agriculture classes, I have a very deep passion for learning about our food.  My passion is so strong that I plan on volunteering next summer to do some WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) around Europe so I can further learn about our food. For those of you who don’t know, I am working towards a degree in environmental studies and sustainable agriculture so I look forward to being able to take my passion even further.

I tend to go off on this topic as you can plainly see so I would like to start writing some separate blogs about a few of the things I mentioned like high fructose corn syrup and the genetically modified foods.  My environmental studies courses expose me to a lot of worthy information that people just aren’t being told and I would love the opportunity to share that with all of you.

Have you ever had any health experiences when it comes to the foods you put into your body?  Does anyone else get heartburn from high fructose corn syrup products?  How about headaches from artificial sweeteners?

I’d love to know!

Peace and Monkeys,