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.


Monday, January 16, 2012

What's for Dinner? What this busy mom does...not always mom approved, but it works!

When I think about when I grew up, my mom stayed at home.  Sure she babysat kids during the day, but she was always there before school and after school.  She was always there to help with homework, she always made dinner...which we all had together and it seems like she always managed to have us bathed and into bed by 7:00(pm) and the house was clean no later.  Oh yes, and we didn't have money for a gym membership back then - and honestly I am wondering if many people went to gyms back then.  In any event, my mom was up just before 6(am) in her leotard and tights, exercising to Joannie Greggins (remember her, I do as I started doing this with my mom too).  My mom was a tough act to follow, she was sweet, nurturing, loving and one of the most loved people I knew.  She wasn't June Cleaver, but she was top notch.

Fast forward to 2012 and I am not that kind of mom.  Sometimes I wish I could be, but other times I know that I am wired differently and would not be a good stay at home mom.  How am I completely different?  I work - A LOT - too much - and I commute TOO long (for me, some people are okay with commuting, for me, I don't like wasting the day getting from one place to the next).  I do my best with meals, homework, play dates, etc.  Our house is not always spotless and the laundry is often only half put away.  I love things to be clean all of the time, but I am not around often enough to get them done.  I was going seriously go nuts, so I had to create a short list of what I needed to have cleaned each week: 
- Kitchen
- Living Room
- Main Bathroom
- All floors mopped
- All laundry washed, folded and put away (this is a lofty goal in our house)

Doesn't seem too bad right?   It seems like I do the above 4 times over the weekend.  Because time is tight and we have to get two kids from two separate cities in the evening (I will have to share the reasoning for that another day), so all grocery shopping is usually done on Saturdays.  If I can, I try to bring along one of the kids or both of them to give my husband a break because he takes them to karate and has them in the morning while I teach.  You working moms know that when you are carving out time, how important it is to try and balance things out with your husband so neither of you grows resentful.  Honestly - it still happens, each parent feels like they are doing so much more than the other.  I get it - it's what busy working parents do.  So I am constantly trying to remind myself that no matter how busy I think things are for me, they are often just as busy for my husband.  His strengths are different from mine, but equally important to our family.

What's for dinner is usually stuff that I toss together from food prepped on the weekends.  I have picky kids, which means there is only a portion of what we eat that the kids will also eat.  I have one kid who will only eat brown rice with black beans and another who hates beans and only eats brown rice with brown rice becomes a staple for the meal.  Here are some food preps that I do on Sundays for the week:

(1) Big pot of brown rice, I brown onions and garlic in coconut oil, add rice, turmeric, paprika, 2 Tbsp fresh chopped tomatoes, chili powder & salt/pepper to taste.  I cook in chicken broth.  It is the same as cooking regular rice - 1 cup rice to 2 cups broth.  I cook on low so that the brown rice is tender.
(2) Baked Chicken - marinate the chicken for several hours in the refrigerator with olive oil, minced garlic, salt& pepper.  I take it out of the marinade, brush with melted coconut oil and bake @ 375 until cooked all the way through.  It is really tender.  This adds well to lettuce tacos, chopped in quesadillas for the kids (rice tortillas as we are gluten free), chopped on salad, etc - this is a staple in our house as myself and the kids don't eat red meat or seafood (don't ask).
(3) Roasted vegetables - I make these as they pair well with most meals and are also flavorful to add to veggie scrambles.  When not doing the sugar detox, I usually roast beets, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, shallots, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and asparagus.  Right now I am just doing shallots, broccoli, zucchini, squash and tomatoes.
(4) Shredded Fresh Vegetables - I used my small food processor to shred vegetables: squash, zucchini, celery, carrots all to add to salad. 
(5) Raw Kale Salad - this is the season for kale and I love raw kale salad.  Here is the dressing that I make: 1 T Sesame Oil, 1/8 C Olive Oil, 1/8 C + 1T Rice Vinegar, 1 T Sesame Seeds, 1 T Raw Honey, fresh cracked pepper and a pinch of Celtic sea salt.  Mix the dressing, pour over and let it sit for about an hour.  The kale salad is the curly green leaves, shredded purple cabbage and shredded carrots.   Sometimes for lunch I take this and add a liberal amount of mixed greens, raw vegetables and chicken to make a big salad that is really filling.
(6) Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip balls/Cookies - So I make these each week and freeze them.  I give some to our neighbor and our kids have them for dessert in the evenings.  Here is the current recipe, which I have been testing for a really long time:  WET Ingredients (mix together): 1/4 C melted grassfed butter, 1/4 C melted coconut oil, 1 regular egg, 2 egg whites, 1 T vanilla, 1/3 C palm sugar.  DRY Ingredients (mix together): 1 C coconut flour, 1/3 C almond meal, 1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2 T chia seeds.  Mix dry and wet ingredients and then I add 1/2 bag dark chocolate chips (70% or higher).  Coconut flour is crumbly so you need to make small balls with the dough (not too tight).  I don't make these very big as coconut flour is dense.  Bake @ 375 for about 10 minutes until just brown on the top of the cookies (if you take these out too soon, they will be doughy inside).  This makes about 2 dozen or so cookies and my picky kids love them.
(7) Pre-made Grilled Cheese and Quesadillas - I usually pre-make a few of these and add them to lunches.  My daughter's school can heat up lunches which is great.  I usually warm my son's and put it into his thermos to stay warm.  Since we are gluten free, we use rice tortillas and bread.
(8) Cheesy Pasta - this is a staple for our kids.  I use quinoa pasta, one cooked, I add in 1T grass-fed butter & liberal olive oil and mix.  Then I add cheese and cook on low heat.  When my son was little, he used to love the Mac & Cheese from Rigolo in San Francisco and one day I asked the chef how it was made: butter, olive oil & Gruyere cheese - simple, yet super tasty.
(9) Bacon - I put the entire pack on a tray and broil, then chop for later use for salads, romaine lettuce tacos, for my husband to add to chili (he does a mean, spicy turkey chili).  I also save the bacon fat which he uses as it adds a really smokey, flavorful taste to food.
(10) Wash, cut & portion out fruit - I make sure that all fruit is cut and in small containers for easy grab and go for kids lunches.
(11) Turkey or Chicken rolled around Mozzarella Sticks - it's really hard to get my son to eat enough food during the day, which then often leads to a very unsuccessful 2nd half of the school day.  I try to keep it simple and sometimes he eats, sometimes he doesn't.  I get presliced Applegate roasted turkey or chicken and wrap it around a mozzarella stick for his lunch.  He will usually eat these and they pack a protein punch. 
(12) Chia Seed French Toast - I bake french toast for the week for the kids and freeze.  We take out slices in the morning, heat and serve with grade B pure maple syrup.  The french toast is just a mix of eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon.  I top with ground flax seeds and chia seeds and bake @ 375 - you have to test this out as I don't watch the clock exactly, but maybe around 12-15 minutes, I turn it over and bake for another 10 minutes.  The kids have this and yogurt in the morning - so we know that they are getting a decent breakfast before they head to school.

For my personal food success, I have to prep all my food for the week and portion size everything so I don't eat when I am hungry and am pulling together the meals for the kids in the evenings.  So in addition to the above, I do all of the following for just me on the weekend:

(13) Veggie Scramble - Egg yolks are on my food sensitivity, so I only use the whites: Coconut oil to heat and cook chopped zucchini, yellow squash and minced garlic, add a liberal amount of spinach, chopped tomatoes, green chillies, Spanish olives.  Once all are cooked to where the spinach is soft, I add in about 4 egg whites and cook.  I repeat this 5 times (or if you have lots of pans, you can do bigger batches) for morning breakfasts.
(14) Baked Apple, Blueberry Crepe - I tend to love a breakfast sweeter food in the evening, so this I love in the evenings after have the scramble and large salad in the morning.  The crepe mix is simply egg whites, unsweetened almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon and added coconut flour.  The mix isn't too thick so not a lot of coconut flour.  For the apples, I baked them until soft with added vanilla and cinnamon - best aroma in the house.  I make the crepe and add in the baked apples and about 8 fresh blueberries and fold it over.  This is sweet enough from the apple and blueberries, so you don't need to add anything else.  BTW - I use coconut oil for cooking.

Hope the above is helpful and while it is a lot of work, it makes the craziness of the weekdays a lot easier.  I usually cut and wash all fruit on Saturday evening during movie night and then do a lot of the cooking early morning Sunday and afternoon post-run (while food is cooking, I do laundry, sweep, clean bathroom - basic mommy multi-tasking). 

~ Amy

Friday, January 13, 2012

Welcome to Crossfit!

Yes, it is true, I have joined the community of Crossfitters.  Why, some ask as I am a fitness instructor.  My answer, it is because I am a fitness instructor that I was dying to join. Because I also have a full-time desk job, when I teach is generally the only time that I get to workout ~ which is less than ideal.  When you teach, the focus is on your students, their form, their movement and their modifications.

I wanted to join last year, but my husband said I didn't need to because I teach all of the time.  I conceded and was silently envious of his trips to our local Crossfit gym.  I would see him come home drenched in sweat, riding on the endorphine high of a workout that kicked his butt...all along I was wishing to ride that same endorphine high.

I'll admit it, I am a total endorphinoholic.  I bank on that ride to get me through my day and I just haven't had it for a really long time...such a bummer.

Lucky me, I scored a Living Social deal to Ross Valley Crossfit - WOOT WOOT...all the way back in October.  I fractured ankle, followed by two broken toes kept me from my envious all along that I might someday be able to use my Living Social Deal.

2012 is a new year and FINALLY, I claimed my I am wondering why the HELL I waited so long (oh yeah, injuries) to "Play."  Play?  Yes, for me this is Play time.  Time to have fun doing what I enjoy doing  Time just to focus on me.  This busy mom is going to carve out this time so I can be a better instructor and I can start to hit my personal goals.

So I have made it through week 1 and while I can only carve out 2 days a week to get it done, I am doing that and I am loving it!  Coach Nick (one of the owners) is really awesome and the community of members, equally fantastic.  If you haven't checked out RVCF, you should.  Who DOESN'T love chain squats?!? Way to get that core engaged and those gluts fired up.  Both this morning and Wednesday morning I woke up feeling sore ~ not that sore that I get from not getting enough sleep and my entire body aches - that kind of sore that tells you that you WORKED - really WORKED.

I am looking forward to getting on track with my fitness and nutrition goals in 2012.  I am looking forward to that next WOD.  I am looking forward to having someone push me to be the best me.  I am looking forward to having my ass handed to me and to working so hard that I collapse.

Welcome to Crossfit to me!  Welcome to sore...seriously, sore never felt so good.  Welcome to a new and better me!  GAME ON!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sugar Detox ~ Quick Workouts ~ Cutting Corners

Happy Sunday Everyone!  Happy because I have my Peets coffee in hand.  Happy because half the food prep work for the week is done.  Happy because the bathroom is already clean and all that is left is mopping.  Happy because it is January and the weather is topping the high 60s ~ nothing like a 8 mile run in shorts and a tank in January.

Wow - how sad is it that I started this post on Sunday morning and am trying to finish it at 5(am) on Wednesday morning.

As a busy mom and fitness instructor I have been trying to find ways to carve out time for myself, get in quick workouts when I can and also get through the 21-Day Sugar Detox.   Here are my quick tips for busy moms/parents:

Workouts - keep them short, but really intense - 30 minutes or less works if you really kick your own butt.  These can be all body weight, some weights, whatever you can do.  There are some basic exercises that I like to include in all workouts because being able to do these exercises effectively really helps with every day life chore/activities:
- Squats
- Pushups
- Burpees
- V-Ups

You can download the Tabata Timer onto your computer and do 30/30 or 60/30 or 50/10 depending on your fitness level (first number is working as hard as you can/second number is recovery time).

I post regular workouts on my fitness website @ - check them out.  Start at a level that works for you and don't get discouraged.

Cutting Corners - this is basically food prep work.  I wash all vegetables and fruit, I baked and cook in large batched.  I use a food processor the cut vegetables for salads in the evening.  I bake several chicken breasts on Sunday while cleaning, laundry, etc and add these to dinners for everyone.  I make a large batch of brown rice with chicken broth, onion, garlic, salsa added, tumeric, chili powder & paprika - it's not too spicey for the kids, but flavorful for my husband.  I bake healthy versions of cookies for the kids as snacks for the week.  I pack all lunches the night before while putting dinner together so everything can be grab and go the next day.  I pack all backpacks the night before as well. 

Sugar Detox - check out my fitness blog for recipes and updates as I am trying to post there regularly.  Also, like my Facebook page @!/pages/BASE-Fitness-Marin/120869794663976


2 Fit Mommy Approved Recipes that Pack a Nutritional Punch

Busy schedules mean easy meals to avoid hitting the candy dish at work or grabbing sugar/processed packed "energy" bars.  I wanted to offer up some recipes that pack a serious nutritional punch, are tasty, can be made in advance and are great breakfast options.  I have to pack all of my breakfast/lunch/snacks into a bag @ 5:30(am) so this takes a little advance planning to grab and go, but it is worth it.

Coconut Packed Shake - I blend and freeze this the night before and then take it out of the freezer in the morning.  I drink it as it thaws over the course of the morning.  It's super filling and tastes good.  No sugar added and the 1/2 frozen barely ripe banana kills the taste of the spinach and kale for those of you who are not fans of "green" drinks. 
- 4 ounces water
- 8 ounces unsweetned coconut milk
- 2 tsp coconut butter (I love Artisana brand)
- 2 T shredded coconut
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp flax seeds
- 1/2 frozen banana - just barely ripe (I peel a few of them and freeze them in a ziploc bag)
- 1 tsp Maca Root Powder - I really like MacaForce
- 2 tsp Spirulina
- 1 tsp Chlorella
- 2 tsp fresh ground almond butter.  I like grounding it myself at Whole Foods, if the machine is down (which happens sometimes) grab Artisana brand - there is nothing added and it is tasty
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 cup kale

Frittatta sans the Potatoes
- sliced yellow squash
- sliced zucchini
- finely chopped kale
- loose baby spinach
- shallots
- bacon fat (gives this a smokey taste, but you can use coconut oil or ghee)
- fresh salsa
- tumeric
- paprika
- cayenne
- pinch of celtic salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- garlic
- eggs (whites)

I put ghee, bacon fat or coconut oil to soften the shallots and garlic.  They I lay down pieces of squash and zucchini so they cover the entire pan and then just add kale and spinach.  I put a top on and let everything cook a bit (about 5 minutes or so) - then I add the salsa and egg whites (I have sensitivities to egg yolks, but you could add one yolk and a few whites for the added nutrition) and seasoning and then I cover and let it cook on medium low heat until it is relatively firm.  I use a pizza slicer to cut into 4 sections and then I turn it over to firm up the other side.

I pair this with mixed greens or kale salad and raw vegetables and it is really yummy.  Each one is about 2 servings, make two and you have lunch for most of the week.