Saturday, June 23, 2012

Getting back to where I feel most comfortable...

If you read my very first post, you know that after months and months of testing, I had an extreme...I am talking dangerous B12 deficiency requiring 2-3x weekly injections for 6 months and then tapering off to 1x a week for another 6 months.  I was also told that I needed to start eating naturopath even suggested some buffalo...the thought alone made me want to gag.  As a vegan for more than a decade, the thought of meat in my diet made me I started with eggs. 

I then started researching the Paleo Diet and starting trying out the recipes.  I was cooking chicken, using coconut oil, even baking bacon (which vegan or otherwise, it smells good even if it doesn't taste great to me), making Paleo bars, etc...and I tell you, it takes a lot of time.  I did a 21-Day Sugar Detox to see if the conversion to being a meat eater would be easier.   I tried weeks where I would ditch my morning smoothie (which, BTW was awesome back then, but seriously rocks the boat now...more on that soon).

I tried balancing out my meals with eggs or protein, healthy fats and lots of vegetables and some fruits.  As a vegan, I was used to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and rice and sometimes gluten free bread.  I will be the first to admit that I love bread and if there is going to be something worth cheating's going to be a warm french baguette from the Farmer's Market or from Good Earth.  I was hard.  I kept telling myself that now that I was CrossFitting, shifting to Paleo would improve my performance, I would get leaner, stronger and but a lean, clean, wrecking machine.

Unfortunately for me that didn't happen.  I was having serious digestive issues all the time (even after a year of taking digestive enzymes), I was finding that I was having sensitivities to foods that are big in the Paleo Diet.  I was gaining weight...not of the lean muscle mass kind, but the kind where I couldn't fit into half the clothes in my closet - WTF, that is NO BUENO.  I didn't feel better and I didn't think that I was performing better ~ runs were sluggish and I felt thirsty all the time.  I decided to start toying with my diet again to see what changes might make me feel better. 

A friend turned me onto Shakeology ~ a chocolate shake that included all of the ingredients I wanted and needed without needing to add anything extra?  I crunched the numbers and this was a better choice than my old smoothie, so I decided to give it a try for one month and see what happened.  Well, it's not Paleo, because it contains Whey - but guess what, it takes me about 6 minutes to make and freeze 3 breakfast smoothies!  After a month, I felt better, digestion was getting better and I had more, decision made ~ shakes a staying.  I love these so much, that I stand behind them and offer them as part of my fitness and nutrition coaching.  I have done the 3-Day Cleanse with these with great success.  I am super excited that they are coming out with a Vegan Chocolate Shake using Peaberry and Rice based proteins...the current berry one is a little too sweet for me.  Check out the ingredients for yourself. 

I wanted to keep moving in a positive direction and see how I could feel completely better again.  Was there a way where I could get back to where I was a year or so again, moving back closer to being Vegan without ending up with that B12 deficiency again?  If I were going to move back in the other direction, I needed to make sure that the protein choices I made were smart choices and that my diet was rich in B12 sources that would not lead to deficiencies.  Well, with Shakeology, the B vitamins and protein are there and with eggs keeping one yolk, I am getting the fat and the B12 I need.  Now, I don't need gluten...that just tears up my stomach, but I like brown fact I really like it.  Not necessarily every day, but I like to make a big pot of it and have the option of the entire family having this over the week.  So brown rice is also back in.  Also, my kids love homemade baked cookies and I love toying with healthier recipes, so back come the cookies using Rice and Quinoa flour, grass-fed Irish butter and vegan (dark chocolate) chocolate chips.  These come out light and almost cake light tasting...these are a hit and a great treat.  As for fruits and vegetables - there are lots and lots of them...and I don't have to count calories or measure these foods...folks don't get fat from eating lots and lots of vegetables...especially not all of the greens I love to eat. 

I am now about 3 weeks into moving back to being quasi-vegan keeping eggs and Shakeology and I feel a world better.  I feel stronger.  I have lost weight and am leaner (only 5 more pounds to go to get back to where I was).  I don't feel sluggish.  I am sleeping better.  I am not counting calories or measuring food.  I feel satisfied.  My runs are stronger and faster.  And guess what, some exercises I was really struggling with in CrossFit I can now do.  Is it because of all of these changes?  Who the heck knows for sure, but what I do know is that I feel so much I am sticking with these changes for now.  I will do blood work in about 3 months to see where my levels are, but I think that I have found a winning balance here. 

I know that Paleo loving CrossFitters may not agree, but ultimately, I support and follow clean eating and finding a balance with good healthy food choices that help you feel and perform well every single day.  For me, I have found that balance.  So for now, I am going to be a quasi-vegan, running mom, CrossFitter, fitness instructor, enjoying a thick chocolate shake every day and eating omelets packed with spinach, salsa, olives, broccoli and lots of spicy seasonings...YUM YUM.

Hope you all can see that finding that balance for yourself is really important...listen to your body!

Enjoy the weekend folks.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ode to I dream of's time to wake up Amy!

I am so amazed at how quickly time passes and how my commitment to being a regular blogger has begun to wane.  This was meant to be my avenue, my channel, my medium to share and sometimes vent about how crazy life is and how crazy it sometimes makes me trying to balance it all.  This was my forum to share with other moms that it is really difficult to find balance and for me, it is a constant struggle.  This is my forum where I get honest about how it really is and what I am doing each day to make it a better world for my kids...for me. 

I am a mom.  I am a wife.  I am a lawyer (but not in the traditional, highly paid sense...I won't digress).  I am a fitness "pro" (I still feel that I need to put that it quotations as I am not sure that I am a pro at anything).  I am a sister.  I am a daughter.  I am a friend.  But more than anything. I am tired.  So tired.  Sometimes physically tired.   Sometimes emotionally tired.  Sometimes mentally tired. 

Life is hectic....but that is my own doing and it must be my own undoing if things are ever to change.  I stand on my soapbox preaching balance all the while seemingly be the role model of the gal who can balance it's all a facade.  Just like every other busy mom who sometimes feels like she wants to pull her hair out and is pulled in a million different directions, I forget appointments, am late to meetings, often show up at work with something spilt on my clothes, I yell, I sometimes use my husband as a verbal kicking bag and I sometimes forget that my kids are...well, just kids.

I will be the first to admit that I struggled with my identity when I had kids.  Before kids I was pretty certain of who I was...I was a frickin' rock star!  But then again, why the hell wouldn't I be ~ I had all the time in the world just for me...can I hear a WOO HOO...especially from those moms who know what I am talking about.  Sure, I was a lawyer working in a big law firm, with the big billable hours and sure, I was still teaching fitness classes...but it feels like I had SO much time!  I did yoga, read lots and lots of books, saw friends, went on trips...I was spontaneous, fun-loving and even a little attractive.  Fast forward and in a life that sometimes feels like a daze, I have lost sight of who that person was...the person I am.  I must admit, I am a little jealous of who she was sometimes ~ come on moms, it's okay for us to admit that sometimes we would like to spend a few days being that former self.  I would never want to camp out there permanently because even though things are crazy and hectic and I am tired, I have the best gift in the entire world ~ two super awesome kids.

Today I am on my soapbox not to share healthy recipes, not to share workouts, my teaching schedule or talk about how I balance it all...I am on my soapbox to admit that life sometimes feels like TOTAL mayhem, not just for me, but for all moms out there.  For as crazy as life is and for as scattered and tired as I feel, I know that I am lucky - seriously, really lucky.  Two fantastic kids and a husband who is an amazing father who works every day to make this life a better, more fun-loving for all of us.  He knows he is a rock star...yep, imagine that!  He used to be a rock star and little has changed since we met and our life together has changed.  I could take a cue from him now couldn't I.

It's time to throw some caution to the wind and give myself a break and let myself life to happen and embrace what comes next.  My kids aren't going to be malnutritioned if all their meals are not cooked from scratch.  No one is going to judge me if the clothes aren't perfectly folded (hell, they rarely are anyway).  Instead of trying so hard to make things perfect...I am going to spend a little more time just letting things happen.

Tonight the kids will have grilled cheese instead of baked chicken and rice...why?  Because I have a date at the playground with my son for an extended tetherball match.  I will play until he has had enough...or until the sun goes down. 

If life is about balance...and balance and being balanced is why I started this blog in the first place, then I had best get out there and start living.  I don't want to look back years from now when my kids are grown and realize that I spent so much time trying to make a perfect life and I completely neglected just simply kids deserve better, I deserve better.

Carpe Diem Mommies!
~ Amy

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chocolate Cravings, Switching Up Workouts & Tackling Sleep Deficit

This is a challenging week with some added work and personal responsibilities that are taxing me.  This is the week of crazy chocolate cravings.  This is the week where I am adding in some endurance drills to improve my running speed and explosive power.  This is the week where I am going to be challenged to stay focused and catch extra sleep wherever I can.

Chocolate Cravings!
Yep, I get them too!  Big problem, I can't do soy and just look at the ingredients list on even the darkest organic chocolate bar and you will find soy lethican as one of the ingredients.  Sure, the traces are meant to be small, but even small, it is soy and highly processed ~ genetically processed soy.  So what is a girl to do to tackle these chocolate cravings...especially during the 6-Week Paleo Challenge?

The Answer:  The Paleo Candy Bar!!!  This recipe comes from - they have some really amazing recipes! 

Makes about 4 (2″x2″) bars.
Approximate cooking time: 15 minutes, with 2 hours of refrigeration=


  • 3 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbs raw honey
  • parchment paper


  1. Melt the honey and coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once combined, add the cocoa, ground nuts and coconut and mix together.
  3. Pour mixture onto a small baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Form into a square when cool enough to touch.
  4. Refrigerate until hardened. Cut into 4 servings.
I cut them into squares instead of bars, so you get 8 servings.  It is that perfect square of chocolate heaven with the coconut that I love.  You have got to try these out.  I am working on modifying this for my kids who don't like hopefully there will be a follow up recipe soon.

Switching Up the Workouts!
Like so many people who either workout or teach within the fitness industry, boredom sometimes settles in ~ the routine sometimes feels mundane...which is probably why I like Crossfit so much.  Crossfit breathes new life into my workouts and also gives me an opportunity to just focus on my own workouts.  The workouts are fast, intense and are allowing me to develop the skill and strength that I want and can't obtain while teaching others. 

Switching it up also means that I am changing around my runs and how I train.  I am starting to work on endurance training and utilizing the explosive power I am gaining from all of those 20" box jumps.

Switching it up also means taking on new challenges and teaching @ new locations.  Sometimes a simple change in scenery is enough to change your attitude about your workouts.  There is nothing worse than dreading your workouts...that is a big signal that it is time to make a change.

Tackling Sleep Deficit!
Wow - now this has really got to be the worst one of all.  The lack of sleep that I get becomes so blatantly obvious as I am doing the 6 Week Paleo Challenge.  You earn points for getting 8.5 hours of sleep each night....I am wondering how I carve out 8.5 hours with my crazy schedule?  On the nights when I am able to get to bed by 9(pm), I sometimes lay in bed unable to quiet my thoughts so I can fall asleep.  AND, even with a 9(pm) bedtime, that still only gets me 7 hours of sleep.  I would have to be in bed @ 7:45(pm) to get a full 8.5 kids are just brushing their teeth to go to bed at that time.  I realize that my only hope is to get at least 2 days where I can get 8.5 hours of sleep.

Why is lack of sleep not good?  First off, it makes it really difficult to get through the day.  Even the strongest cup of Peets coffee can't make up for lack of sleep.  Workouts suck and decreased performance, strength & endurance are so obvious.  The other problems?  The longer you are awake in the evening, the more you tend to eat = weight gain...holy smokes, who wants that?  No thank you.  Lack of sleep also throws your cortisol levels into overdrive, throws off your hormones and taxes your adrenal glands.  Guess what, if your hormones are out of whack, it doesn't matter how often you workout and how great your diet is, you can end up holding onto the weight you want to lose, or even worse, packing on additional pounds.

So, knowing how important sleep is, why the heck don't I get more of it?  Crazy schedule - YES...but I need to do a better job.  A well-rested mom is a happier mom.  A happier mom = happier kids and a happier home.  This alone should be a greater incentive.  The Paleo Challenge is showing me that I need to cut corners where I need to and try to plan a little better so that I can get more that my entire family can get more sleep. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Eating Green..Getting Lean...Sometimes a Little Mean

My big goals for 2012 were to drop the 7 lbs I put on as a result of all my injuries the second half of 2011, to clean up my diet and keep moving towards a more Paleo inspired diet and well and to train mean (but not be so mean) :o).

I am coming to the end of week 1 of the Paleo challenge and I feel pretty good.  I didn't get enough sleep this week, which is defnitely hindering my performance, but I know that I am going to have to commit and get focused on the sleep for the coming week.

This week also revealed some training changes that I will need to make to be successful.  I am only able to get in 2 WODs a week @ RVC, which means that I need to earmark some times during the week to conquer two additional WODs on my own.  Because I also like the idea of training for endurance, I am starting to look @ SFCF as their trainers are incredibly knowledgeable in Crossfit Endurance training. 

12 Weeks to Change!

My hope is that I can reduce the number of classes I teach and increase my own training over the next 12 weeks.  While the RVC Paleo Challenge is 6 weeks, I am adding another 6 weeks for my own personal challenges and to hit my goals.  I want to be leaner, stronger, faster and have markedly improved endurance for my runs.

Changes/Realizations @ the end of Week One of the Paleo Challenge?
  • my digestion has improved.  I had the worst time transitioning over to the Paleo diet and experimenting with lots of foods.
  • the food diary not only keeps me accountable, but is helping me to determine which foods are good for me/make me feel good & which foods make me feel like crap.
  • I am a little less really, it's true.  I am sure that more sleep will only help this.
  • that there are days when I don't sleep enough or drink enough water and my performance and overall mood is greatly affected on those days.  My Tuesday run was slow and sloppy as a result of both of these.
  • how I eat.  I pretty much knew that I was a grazer, but by tracking all of my food/drink intake, I realized that I basically eat about every 2 hours.
  • some of the inflammation is gone and my sinuses are improving.
  • the point and prize system & knowing that I am going on the Fat Truck in 5 weeks is a strong incentive to stay on target.
Because I prep all of my food for an entire week, there wasn't a lot of variation in my diet this week, but I made sure that I had lots of foods available to me.  I also realized which foods I like most and the times of day in which I enjoy them.

This week I will experiment with a few of the recipes and will post them later in the week.

Off to RVC now - fully fueled and hydrated and ready to go!

~ Amy

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Paleo Challenge w/ RVC - 6 weeks to a better me? Hopefully!

Yes, another challenge ~ as if my life isn't busy enough already, I add yet another element into the mix.  My argument is that this will hopefully improve my overall life: better sleep (perhaps), lose weight (sure hope so, gotta dump these 7 lbs that creeped on from all of last year's injuries.), increased energy (how I long for more energy), increased strength (I am banking on this) & improved endurance (another one I am banking on).

So first, let me say a BIG THANKS to Stephanie & Nick @ Ross Valley Crossfit for doing the Paleo Challenge for all of the members that want to participate. 

Here is how this challenge works: everyone tosses $40 into the pot.  Why?  Because this challenge comes with perks and incentives in the way of money & prizes - OH YEAH!  That alone is a strong motivator, right?  Let's sure hope so.  Fitting into my jeans is also an added bonus.  Everyone is working on a point system - we start the week with 100 points and get bonus points for doing the WODs and for getting enough sleep (8.5 hours).  Realistically, I know that I can only do 2 WODs a week and can only bank on maybe 1 day a week of getting 8.5 hours a sleep (sadly, it's true - 7 hours a night is generally where I land if I can get to bed on time.), so I will never get more than 3 bonus points per week.  That means that I have win points on being as strict as possible with the Paleo diet.

For me, I have found recently that I have allowed two things into my diet that have thrown me off: dairy & excess calories.  I have eliminated the dairy, with exception to the single scoop of the Whey Factors undenatured whey protein, which I have decided to stay with for the convenience of my smoothies.  The excess calories come at night.  I usually get home and am starving and start picking and grazing from dinner for the kids before I eat my own dinner ~ not allowing that 20 minutes for my food to settle and my brain to register that I am full.  I am determined to do a better job.  How?  More water and grabbing those cut up fresh veggies until I can sit down.  I am also going to force myself to go to bed earlier so that I don't do that snacking that is really just a substitute for exhaustion - food won't give me energy at that point, sleep will!  I preach it; now I need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

I am going to log my daily progress and post regular recipes that I use during the challenge.  Hopefully, blogging my progress will keep me on track.  As a first recipe, here is my daily breakfast smoothie:

- 8 oz water
- 5 oz of either unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 1/4 apple (I can't do bananas, but 1/2 frozen banana adds a nice smooth texture and kills the "green" taste)
- 2-3 cups organic spinach
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp hemp seeds
- 1 tsp dried goji berries
- 1 tsp Maca root powder (my preference is MacaForce brand)
- 1 tsp unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup frozen organic blueberries
- 1 carrot
- sometimes I toss in kale too and spirulina if I feel that it is needed.
- 1 scoop of whey factors undenatured whey protein (less than .5 percent lactose, no sugar) - you don't have to add this.  You could swap this for a pasteurized egg or two.

Here is where I landed for day one (yesterday, the 6th) with food, drink, sleep & exercise:

Early AM - 4:30(am)coffee w/ unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon and vanilla; 4 walnut halves
Post-Workout 8(am)1.5 carrots, 1 celery stalk
Breakfast 9(am)shake: undenatured whey Protein (less than .1% lactose), maca, hemp, chia, 2.5 C spinach, 1/4 c. blueberries, 1/4 apple, 5 oz. unsweetened almond milk, 10 oz water, goji berries, 6 ice cubes 
Lunch @ Noonishegg + whites, spinach, olives, salsa, coconut oil, zucchini, squash, mixed greens + broccoli
Snacksnap peas (raw) + 5 raw walnut halves
Dinnerapple crepe w/ apples, blueberries, unsweetened almond milk, eggs + whites, coconut flour, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut oil
Snackbraised greens in coconut oil, minced garlic, himalayan salt & coarse ground pepper
carrot, jicama, celery and 3TBSP of raw coconut chips
Water Intake4 liters
ExerciseTeach 6(am)/4(pm)
Wake Up Time4:15(am)

Let's see how I do on Day 2!  Inspired?  Let's sure hope so.  Feel free to ping me if you have questions or suggestions as I am still learning and enjoy learning from others.

~ Amy

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Now how about those amazing cookies...the gluten free ones?!?

Wow - the week AGAIN ~ is completely getting away from me and my "To-Do" list is getting longer and longer.  This is my busiest quarter of the year, so things are hectic, I am not getting enough sleep and my goals feel like they are slipping away.

My goal of dropping the 7 lbs I put on from all of my injuries last year is getting harder because I am not sleeping enough or eating well enough and I am certainly smart enough to know that working out alone will never get me there.

My goal of teaching more of the classes that I love and I get excited for is still in the works...though I am going to give myself a little credit here - we are just in January.

In any event, I need to get back to the purpose of this blog post before I get too tired and this ends up a draft for another 2 weeks.

Here are those amazing, gluten free cookies that I believe I have finally perfected and they taste SO yummy!

Coco-Choco-Chia-Almond Cookies!
DRY Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/3 c. almond flour/meal
1/3 c. quinoa flour
1/2 tsp. Celtic sea salt
1/2 tsp. Baking soda

WET Ingredients:
1/3 c. Coconut sugar
3 eggs
1 egg white
1/4 c. Coconut oil (melted)
1/4 grass fed butter
enjoy life chocolate chips
2 tsp vanilla

mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately first before blending. I also add 2 heaping Tbl of chia seeds. I bake @ 325 until cooked brown - these take awhile - more like 13 minutes. They are good and packed with fiber from the coconut flour and chia seeds.