Three Things Thursday: Alyssa’s Wellness Check Up

Hey everyone! Is today your Friday? It’s mine, and I’m so psyched to head out to Paso Robles with Matt for a quick trip. I first explored Paso Robles on Fitcation, and I can’t wait for some hiking, hot spring soaking, and olive oil tasting.

I had a couple random things about my health I wanted to tell you about, and because “Random things about my health I wanted to tell you about” doesn’t seem like a very good blog title, I decided to add some alliteration (copywriter’s favorite) and call it Three Things Thursday. So without further ado, here are three things on my mind this Thursday about wellness, health, weight loss, and my general state of being. In the spirit of full Alyssa disclosure, I did receive complimentary Blue Diamond almonds for free in exchange for discussion 🙂

1) About two weeks ago, something clicked for me that to be my best self, I need to be active every single day. I decided to make a small promise to myself — on days I wasn’t doing yoga, cardio, walk training, or hiking, I needed to walk at least one mile every day. That doesn’t sound like much, but on days when I literally walk only the distance from my bedroom to my kitchen, it will help. I ended up racking up about 14 miles over my weekend in Savannah, and I’ve come to realize how much I *like* walking. Especially when I can be with a friend, sight seeing, or talking on the phone — walking is a very calming thing! I’ve been making good on my promise, logging at least 1.6 miles consecutively every day for the past four days, and tonight, my Yoga Meltdown dvd from Jillian Michaels. Hooray for change!

2) Another thing has clicked for me, and that is that I don’t eat enough. Let me rephrase that. There are times when I eat too much. But then, there are times where I eat only my three square meals (or worse – I skip), and for someone with near PCOS insulin resistance, that’s no good, because hunger makes me cranky, shaky, and anxious. I’ve turned into the girl who carries a snack in the back pouch of her purse – something small, like a Health Warrior bar, or lately, Blue Diamond Almonds. You guys know about my love/hate of almonds – I am sad to admit that on their own (raw, unsalted), I’m not a fan. But dress them up in sexy clothes like Rosemary Black Pepper, Smokehouse seasoning, Coconut, or Blueberry, and I’m all good. These in particular taste like Fruity Pebbles! I’m down. So down — they taste like junk food with minimal sugar — and how patriotic, red, white n’ blue almonds!

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3) I’m stating here for accountability that in addition to being active every day and eating more regularly, I also need to get back to taking my vitamins. I’ll do really well for a few months and then get super lazy. Lately, I’ve noticed I’m battling some day time fatigue — just a general sense of low energy. Well — I forgot about my ridiculously low Vitamin D levels, and then remembered the fact that I haven’t taken my vitamin D in… oh, several months. DUH. So now, all my vitamins are stacked up eye level on the bathroom shelf, staring at me every day. I’m taking a high quality women’s multi, Vitamin D, Biotin, EPA, and soon, some Horsetail extract to help with the tons of hair I lose (thanks, PCOS).

4) I lied — I have four things to tell you about. I got mentioned in a rap!!! My awesome friend Dre from Mission Meltdown celebrated Fitbloggin’s birthday by creating a hip hop blog soup. You’ll hear an Alyssa shout out mid way through. I’m so sad I missed this in person – I was running late for the key note session because I had just come back from a long 5 mile walk of Savannah and needed to get a shower in. I’m so glad it’s on video. Watch for my Fitbloggin recap soon, in addition to a fun giveaway for you all for some non-GMO, non-chemical stevia SweetDrops, a natural soda replacement.

HAVE AN AWESOME FOURTH OF JULY!

xoxo

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

The Double Chin Diary ExpoWest Recap

Hi there! I had a fantastically busy weekend, which combined with the time change, has me doing a little bit of yawning. but I’d rather be tired and busy than tired and bored, ya know? On Saturday, I picked up the fabulous AJ from Confessions of a Fat Girl and we were on our way to Anaheim for ExpoWest, a natural food and product show with over 2,100 exhibitors and last year, over 63,000 attendees. I had a list of brands I wanted to connect with based on previous reviews here on the DCD, but I also had a few new ones I wanted to meet. Below are some of my favorites from the show, and stay tuned in the next few weeks for some reviews and giveaways for you. I promise, there’s some good stuff comin’! (Note: I’m writing this post of my own desire. This is not sponsored in any way, though I did eat my way through most of these booths on free samples!)

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Alyssa’s personal heaven with Jeff’s Naturals.

1) You guys know how I love olives. A relatively new joy of mine, I embraced the olive when I first went low-carb and was looking for something deliciously salty without any sugars. I started with Kalmata olives and then graduated into the green olives, and finally found my briny passion, the Castelvetrano. I splurge every now and then on a tub of them from Whole Foods, but the price point makes me try not to go wild on ’em. I always thought Whole Foods Castelvetrano were the cream of the crop, but I was wrong — it’s the Castlevetrano olives from Jeff’s Naturals. These things are buttery, nutty, rich and delicious! They were kind enough to send me home with a jar and I actually sent an awkward selfie of myself and the jar to my husband with the caption “day made.” Even cooler? It was a happy coincidence when I noticed the company is based in Petaluma, which is where I grew up! I’m hoping we can do a giveaway soon, because you guys have to try these. Deeeelish! (The jar is already half gone. For reals. I have an olive problem!)

2) Remember how I had a weird fear of ‘fish burps’? They were enough to keep me away from fish oil for a long time, and I finally got over it after trying some Nordic Naturals on Fitcation. For the past few months, I’ve been diligently taking Nordic Naturals Omegas. The reasons for wanting to take omegas are plenty; they reduce inflammation in the body, can help lessen stress and anxiety, improve arteries, lungs, joints and bones… all good stuff. While you pay a little more for a premium fish oil brand like Nordic Naturals, when researching fish oil and learning about how the oil is harvested, I’m happy to plunk down a few more coins for a fantastic fishy experience rather than something that just stinks like a dead fish. The folks at Nordic Naturals dressed up me up in this lovely Gone with the Wind get up, and then I got to try some of their new products, like gummy vitamin D-3s, which are mixed berry flavor.

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Did Scarlett O’Hara like Omegas?

3) You know I couldn’t go to ExpoWest without paying homage to the ruler of the snack world… POPCORN! I had to stop by and give some love to SkinnyPop, who have recently introduced a black pepper, cheddar, and sweet popcorn to their mix. The cheddar popcorn was my desired crunch snack of choice during the trafficky drive home. Thankfully I had yummy corn and AJ’s fantastic rendition of “Let It Go” to keep me from going bonkers at 10 miles per hour. I also popped my top for:

  •  Pop Gourmet, who had a mind-blowing parmesan garlic popcorn and SRIRACHA POPCORN! Respect the rooster! They also had a “Rogue Blue” blue cheese popcorn which I didn’t try (was trying to conserve my belly space), but rumor had it it was pretty fantastic.

    PopGourmet's offerings include Sriracha, Garlic, Kale, and many more!

    PopGourmet’s offerings include Sriracha, Garlic, Kale, and many more!

  • Quinn Popcorn, which has a notable new snack in that its the first “do it yourself” organic microwave popcorn with cool flavors (hello, herb and olive oil). The paper microwave bag is fully compostable, and after you pop the corn, you toss it with the included oil packet and then add the seasoning packet. I got to meet the founder of the company, and I loved that he started the company with his wife, and named it in honor of his son Quinn.
  • Kettle Pop, which started as kettle corn in Farmer’s Markets and is now packaged. This corn is 100% organic and has a lovely lightly sweet, fluffy taste. I have a couple bags in my pantry now and I love that they come in 100 calorie packs — giving me my popcorn fix without the “Oops, I just ate 1,200 calories worth of popcorn in one sitting” problem. (True story.)

There were a bunch of other popcorn peeps I missed, but that’s ok — I’ll catch them next time, when I haven’t eaten 10,000 olives.

4) I was on a mission to discover new teas, and discover, I DID! Did you guys know Numi makes savory teas, in wild flavors like Carrot Curry, Fennel Spice and Beet Cabbage? I tried both the Carrot and Fennel, and it wasn’t bad at all. They reminded me of broth based soups. Not necessarily what I’d go for for my cuppa, but as a pairing to a meal, I could definitely see it working. While I’m a little more traditional with my tea, I loved the creativity of it. I tried a super yummy Cacao Earl Grey, and I need to get my hands on some “Emperor’s Pu-Erh”, which was a really earthy, full-bodied tea that some use as a coffee alternative. Mighty Leaf also opened up my eyes to some delicious Arnold Palmer recipes, in addition to their organic African Nectar.

4.5) Some other notable people I met with that I can’t wait to learn more about? BioRay, who has a detox product I’ve been using for quite awhile that I love and will share about soon, New Chapter, which are vitamins you can take on an empty stomach, and Oregon’s Wild Harvest, high quality organic vitamins and tonics.

5) The best thing about ExpoWest wasn’t the things: it was the people! I was so happy to get to meet my friend Jody from Truth to Being Fit, and then catch up with my pal Annabel from Feed Me, I’m Cranky, Monica from My Life is a Journey, and Angela from Nine More Months. It’s always so wonderful to see the faces of people you interact with all the time online. Hugs just aren’t the same virtually 🙂

 

 

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Top left: Me and AJ from Confessions of a Fat Girl. Top Right: Angela, Monica and Me. Lower Left: Me and Jody. Lower right: Me and Annabel.

So as you can see — ExpoWest was a fantastic whirlwind experience. I have no idea how some people do it for four days — after one day and 11,000 steps, my dogs were barkin’ and I was ready to sit on my duff and eat popcorn and olives. However, I didn’t have much rest before my next adventure… waking up at 4:00 A.M. to bring my husband to the Los Angeles Marathon! Stay tuned for the next post about his courageous 26.2, and I’ll be talking to you soon. Have a wonderful day!

 

Minerals, Vitamins and Supplements for Weight Loss

One thing that’s recently been uncovered in my medical mystery tour is that I need to be more consistent about vitamins. I previously would occasionally pop a daily multivite, usually a giant horse pill from Costco, and hope that would fill any glaring nutritional gaps in my diet. When my Vitamin D was tested, my levels were super low, not too uncommon for overweight folks with office jobs. The glowing light of a computer screen just can’t replicate sunshine. I added a 5,000 mg supplement per my doctor, and will have my levels re-checked in a few weeks. I also was advised to start taking daily Emergen-C packets for the anti-oxidant boost. I’ve been not doing so great on sticking to that, because quite frankly I think they taste like powdery, flat soda. So I need to get back into that habit. I take a daily gummy vitamin, probably not the best form for delivery, but I look forward to taking my “candy” everyday. I figure if it helps me remember to take it, no big deal. I also used to take gummy fiber, but I learned a good lesson about gummy fiber not being something you want to take too many of. Yeah, I went there.

Ha! I don’t believe this about myself but it made me smirk when I read it!

I’m also now getting weekly B12 shots. I have mixed feelings on the B12 shot. Some people love them, claiming to have renewed sense of energy, sparkling eyes, clear skin and a miraculous clearing of stress. Each time I’ve had them I’ve had none of the good side effects, just another pin-hole on my arm. I remember I had one done last year at a grocery store and wasn’t wowed by the results then. However, the doctor recommended we try it weekly for six weeks, just to see what happens. I’m on week three and so far no dice, but I’ll happily stick it out for six weeks in hope that I get some positive results.

I’ve been thinking more and more about supplements lately because of the various health claims that all of them have. For example, my sister bought me some Natural Vitality Natural Calm magnesium drink packets, and I tried one out of curiosity a few days ago. Magnesium is supposed to be a mineral chill pill, and after I drank it, I did feel a sense of “Ahhh” relaxation. It’s been a pretty nutty past couple of weeks with how crazy my schedule has been, so maybe it was the magnesium, or maybe it was just me deciding I wanted to believe in a placebo. I think I’ll buy some magnesium supplements and give it a go, as I could always use some “natural” relaxation methods.

I know I’ve read that I should be on calcium now to prevent osteoporosis, and that fish oil is great for non-fish eaters like myself. However, I always get freaked out by the label “no fish burps”. Even if it says no fish burps, just the idea of fish burps is enough to convince me that omega-deficiency is worth avoiding sardine stench in my mouth. Gross. I’m always on the look out for natural ways to boost my energy, as I’m feeling pretty sluggish lately even though I’m sleeping well. I’m somehow not getting the energy boost from the Metformin that I talked about last time I tried it (darn it!), and I know that both PCOS and wacky thyroid can sap energy levels. Short of guzzling coffee and amping up the exercise, what are some natural ways I can put some pep in my step?

Tell me about your vitamin and supplement routine. Do you take anything? Which and why?

 

 

 

Thailand 20 Tuesday: Week 1 Results

Hello friends! Today marks the first week complete of my Thailand 20 Tuesday and I am happy to report I am starting the week right on track with a loss of two pounds!

McCormick Fiesta Citrus Salt Free Seasoning on Cucumbers

This week I made lots of changes that helped me be successful – like eating tons of veggies! For lunch one day, I paired my turkey sandwich with some fiesta style cucumber slices – just cucumbers, lime juice and McCormick Citrus Fiesta seasoning I got from FitBloggin’. Yum.

Then for dinner, I bulked up my meals again with yummy things like roasted peppers and brussels sprouts with a spritz of Balsamic vinegar. Of course, I tracked everything on MyFitnessPal, too.

Brussels sprouts on the stalk! Just mist with EVOO and balsamic vinegarette and roast at 400!

I also stayed true to my word of entering “beast mode” and exercising as much as I possibly could! Not only did I hit the gym, but I did things around the house like washing the cars, weeding and doing laundry.

Sweaty and pink from a great cardio workout!

A couple other small things I did: I started a new vitamin regimen (more on that later), I drank tons of water and tea and tried to cut out my beloved diet coke (Sad.), and I was mindful of being hungry when I ate – not just bored or looking for a fix.

All in all I’m thrilled that week one was a great start – and now it’s time to keep it up for week two! Yay!