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Monday, October 26, 2015

Exercise of the Week - October 26

It is another new week which means another new exercise for you to try out.

So, we all know that pushups are really great for us. Engaging many muscles in our body. Strengthening our abs (if we are doing them right), legs are tight. Shoulders, chest, triceps are all working.

This week we are going to do Negative Pushups.
The Eccentric phase (lowering) of an exercise is where we make the most strength gains! Many peop

Your muscles work much harder on the eccentric phase. Think of this, if you walked up several flights of stairs all day, but took the elevator down, your legs would be tired, yes. But, if you took the elevator up and walked DOWN the stairs all day, your legs would be much MORE tired.
Many people do not know this. So, if you want to improve your pushups, negative pushups are the way to go.

Here is how it should be done. Start in a pushup position (on toes or on knees depending on level). Then SLOWLY lower for 6 counts (one thousand one, one thousand two.....) and do 6 reps. You will lower yourself all the way to the ground, SLOWLY, with your arms at a 45* angle.

You can either push back up within the pushup position. Or you can go onto hands and knees and bring yourself to the starting position. I am not as concerned about the concentric contraction, here, so much as the eccentric contraction.

So 6 reps of a 6 count lower. See if you can do 2-3 sets and don't be surprised if it is a little harder to brush your hair  the next day ;)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The easiest, best beef roast, ever!

Some days the crockpot is your best friend. Today is that day in my house. I taught Spin this morning, my parents are in town (yay!) and tonight both girls have Dance which means a late night for us.

So in the Crockpot goes my Favorite beef roast recipe

Beef Roast (3ish lbs)
1 Jar Sliced Pepperoncini
Salt and Garlic

Yep, that's it. How easy is that.

Put your Roast in the bottom of the crock pot, pour the whole jar of Pepperoncini's on top (including the juice), toss a little salt and garlic on top. Cook on low for 8 or on high for 4. Shred and make beef tacos or Beef sandwiches. So easy and very flavorful. And it isn't spicy at all for those of you who have sensitive taste buds!

Serve with some blanched broccoli or a salad to keep it short and sweet in the kitchen. Easy on time/effort but full of flavor.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

DIY Face Cleanser/Moisturizer in one

Hey everyone! I had a crafty weekend on Saturday with some girl friends. We made natural Hand Sanitizer, CinnaMint Lip balms, Homemade Healing Salve and this homemade Face Cleanser/Moisturizer.

I have used it a few times since then and I really like it. It leaves my skin feeling moisturized without feeling greasy! In the morning my face doesn't already have that oily shine like it usually does after I wash my face at night. Plus the smell from the Geranium oil (YL) is amazing!

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Exercise of the Week- October 19th

Sick of doing the same old exercises?

At the beginning of each week I'm going to try to give you an exercise to try. It may not be "innovative" but it might be something you forgot about using at the gym (or at home).

Today we are going to do Single Leg Squats to a Box (or chair, if you are at home)

This is a really great single leg exercise and is great for your glutes. If you have ever taken a class of mine, you know that Glute activation is something I stress. Because, as a society we sit a LOT and therefor have "glute amnesia". Nope, not making that up, Dr. Stuart McGill explains "Gluteal Amnesia" in this way: "People with troubled backs, generally walk, sit, stand and lift using mechanics that increase the back loads They tend to have more motion in their back and less motion in their hips. A common aberrant motor pattern known as gluteal amnesia".

Essentially, because we sit (in a glute lengthened position) so much, our backs and hamstrings start to take over the work because we fail to activate our glutes when standing up/moving around, which puts more and more pressure on our lower backs. 

So back to the exercise, this is really great for our glutes because this is a slow and controlled movement, did you hear that, slow AND controlled.
 Place your foot slightly in front of the box/chair, you want to keep your knee over your ankle. On the way down you are squeezing your glutes as you slowly lower to the box. You don't rest on the box, you only touch the box (while keeping your glute activated) and then you stand up by, yep, you guessed it, Squeezing your glutes! You should return to standing by squeezing your glutes and come into a fully upright position before beginning your next repetition.

Your arms are there for counter balance, start with them by your sides (don't follow the picture here) when you are standing, then as you sit you will bring your arms up in front of you to allow your hips to move back (and activate your glutes) and giving you a good counterbalance.

Aim for a set of 6 reps on each leg. Perform 2-3 sets. If this is a new exercise for you start with a box or chair that will cause you to be slightly above 90* when you are touching the chair/box. Then you can lower it down until you are at 90* or below as long as you can stay tight and controlled through the whole movement.

Since this is something that can be done at home, no excuses, do it now!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Slow your roll and gratitude.

Today I had the immense privilege to doula for a friend, to help welcome their sweet son into the world. To shed happy tears when he was placed on her chest and to listen to his sweet little newborn cries. To watch two happy parents with their love swelling for one another and for their new baby. To hear them whisper how much they already love him and how they will take care of him. What an honor to be a part of such special first moments.

I was thinking about how newborn cries fade into cooing.... that fade into belly laughs....that fade into babbling....that all of the sudden turn into words and sentences and much, much more.

Piper just turned 5 months old the other day, I feel like I was just holding her to my chest when she was born and listening to her sweet little newborn cry. But, those sweet little cries are in the past now, only in my memory and when I hear another little newborn cry it transports me back there.

Now, we have full on belly laughs (which are SO FUN) and babbling and her learning how to make different sounds with her mouth. All of the exploring and changing she is doing is so fun. But, sometimes I just want to snuggle her and tell her not to get any bigger. Can I do that?

Can't I keep her small for a little longer?

 I think Clayton asked Hannah if she would not get any bigger a while ago, but yet, she gets bigger and older every single day.

Since I know she is only going to continue to get bigger it makes me treasure nursing her to sleep at nap and then laying next to her watching her sleep. Enjoying her open, relaxed hands and her completely content face.

I can make a complete fool out of myself to make her laugh, to hear and enjoy those joyful sounds and her big toothless grin. To let her grab my face and give me big slobbery kisses. To blow raspberries on her belly and get more laughs. To watch Lucy and Hannah do their own special things to make their sister laugh. It's all such a joy to experience in the moment.

Let's be clear, all of the moments aren't unicorns and rainbows. But after reading 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp I am reminded that counting these little blessings in life are what brings contentment and joy in our life. To see these things for what they are, little things that later we realize were the big things is to help us to enjoy life to the fullest. To not always be looking to the next "best" thing. I am as guilty of it as the next, to be thinking about what the future holds, instead of enjoying the moment God has placed me in now. The good ones, the hard ones, the funny ones, the sad ones and the snuggly ones. They are all moments to be treasured.

Take a moment today to write down 5 things that happen today that are little blessings. Ones that you may not have thought of as being a "blessing" but that if you were to look back on it, it would bring a tear to your eye or a smile to your heart.

Like me calling Piper Stinky McStinkerton when she needed a diaper change and the smile and laugh that came after that. Dirty diaper, a blessing? Ha, well maybe not so much, but that moment was! It is all dependent on the view in which you are looking at the situation. Do all dirty diapers illicit this response in me? Well no, of course not. But sometimes when I slow down and look around, there are so many things to be thankful for, that normally I just pass by.

So here's to counting more blessings every day and enjoying the joy and contentment that come from practicing seeing these moments.

So here are my 5 things today.
1. Lying next to a sleeping, content, Piper
2. The moment a mom holds her newborn baby.
3. Newborn baby cries.
4. Piper's Belly laugh when I kiss her
5. Lucy and Hannah loving each other with genuine words of praise.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sauces: Day 3

Ok, so we have covered Mayo (Link), Ranch Dressing (link  ) and now today Chimichurri sauce!
We used this on Turkey Meatballs the other night, yummy and fresh and bright!

Chimichurri Sauce
½ cup Peas (cooked from frozen fine)
½ cup cilantro leaves (torn from 1 bunch, some stems ok)
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

2 drops Young Living Lime oil or Zest of 1 lime

Get out your Food processor for this one. Place your peas/Cilantro and spices in first, then add your oil and vinegar. Pulse 10-15 times, then turn it on for 30 seconds or so. You want it to be incorporated but not completely smooth.

Use with Chicken/Turkey/Steak or over your veggies!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sauces: Part 2

Ok, yesterday homemade mayo, today homemade Ranch....tomorrow The World, or maybe a day off. Back with another awesome sauce on Monday ;)

Basic Ranch:
2/3 cup avocado oil or light olive oil 
1 room temperature egg (IMPORTANT)
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp dried herbs or handful chopped fresh herbs (I use Dill, Cilantro and Parsley)
2 Tbsp full fat canned coconut milk or coconut cream

Put all ingredients in a 16oz Wide mouth ball jar, starting with herbs and working up the list. Use your immersion blender and blend it all together. After you have made it into a dressing add the 2Tbsp of Coconut milk. 

Ta-da- Serve on your salad or as a dipping sauce!

Friday, October 9, 2015

I have been missing out!

Ok ya'll, we are in the thick of the Whole30 over here! Day 12 over here, I am actually feeling really good, my clothes are fitting better, and I feel more calm. All good things!

Not gonna lie, Tuesday night I doula'd (did I just make up a word? was a doula....) for a friend, Wednesday night when it was bedtime I REALLY wanted some dessert. Some serious cravings. Part of Whole30 is to identify triggers, well I could tell that me being tired definitely made my sweet tooth come out. Good to know going forward.

What this post is really about is SAUCES and how awesome homemade sauces are. Seriously, I have been missing out. Homemade mayo- amazing. Homemade ranch- does not even compare to store bought, Chimmichurri....Red Pepper sauce, yep all amazing.

So, I'm going to share some of my favorite Whole30 approved sauces over the next few days!

Today we are going to go with Basic Mayo

It Starts With Food Basic Mayo:
 1-1/4 cup of light olive oil
 1 egg (room temp, this is important!)
 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/2 to 1 lemon, juiced 

Use an immersion blender (if you don't have one, get one, for real). Add all ingredients to a wide mouth 16oz ball jar. Make SURE your egg is room temp, to do it quickly place in warm water for a few minutes. Put your immersion blender in the bottom, turn on and in about 30 seconds you have delicious home made mayo!

If you want to change it up, add some garlic or onion powder, cilantro, jalepeno...there are a ton of options!

Tomorrow, come back for Ranch dressing!