GIVEAWAY

150 posts and 305 email followers later, my blog is celebrating it’s 2nd birthday! In celebration, I have teamed up with vitamart.ca to do a giveaway! 2 lucky winners will win 2 360g container of newly released Progressive VegEssential All in One protein in either chocolate, vanilla, unflavored or natural berry.

How to Enter:

1. Like theffitlife’s Facebook Page

2. Like Vitamart.ca’s Facebook Page

3. Comment below letting me know what your favorite flavor of protein is!

Contest ends March 10th

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All Calories Are Not Created Equal

Soooooo way back when, okay really not so long ago, when I first began my journey, my life was consumed by CALORIES. If it had 100 calories it was okay right? Oh no! Just because it is low in calories, DOES NOT mean it’s good for you. It took me way too long to learn this. I would eat a 100 calorie granola bar, because it was low in calories, and what I didn’t realize is it was really just a chocolate bar with some rolled oats! Not cool Quaker! Consuming only 500 calories at a meal of pizza isn’t the same as 500 calories of lean meat, beans, vegetables, fruits, yams, brown rice, or oats.

All calories are not created equal. Just because the box says it is low in calories and “healthy” doesn’t always mean that. Just because a muffin is 250 calories doesn’t make it a good choice for breakfast. Drinking diet pop because there is no calories doesn’t make it a better choice than no calorie water. It doesn’t change the fact that it is a chemical and sugar sh*t storm. Food companies do an EXCELLENT job or shoving crap in our faces and telling us it is healthy and what I have come to realize is that you have to take responsibility for yourself and what you put in your mouth. What does this mean? Reading labels is really important. NO not the nutritional label, the ingredients list. If there are more ingredients than you can bother to read, or ones you can’t pronounce, it probably isn’t a good choice. If it looks like it was made in a lab, there is a good chance that is was! Try to choose foods with limited ingredients (usually 5 or less). Take it back to the old school and buy things that you know are good for you, not ones that these food companies tell you are healthy.

Also I don’t like the word moderation. I don’t really believe in it. I don’t believe in white sugar, white grains, processed, sugar laden, corn syrup soaked foods in moderation. I know, I know. We all have cheat days, but those are RARE (not everyday occurrence’s). A lot of companies remove the fat from their products to save on CALORIES, and what do they replace that with? Sugar! So there we have it, we save on calories, but not nutrition.

Quality needs to trump quantity. Your body needs food for fuel not for pleasure. It’s sad I know :). We need to put foods in our body that give us energy, and fuel our daily activities. That make us feel good, and not in the 10 seconds of pure bliss when putting that chocolate cake in your mouth and then feeling like crap for the next couple of hours, but the kind that make us feel full of energy and healthy. If you feel foggy, groggy, lethargic, and unmotivated, there is something you can do. Change your eating habits. Instead of that 3 o’clock chocolate bar at the office, try a fruit cup or homemade granola bar. Also, trust what you know. You know chemicals, sugar, salt (the refined version) and processed foods are bad for you. You also know that vegetables, fruits, lean meats, healthy grains, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes and healthy fats are good for you.

Here is a list of foods that dawn my grocery cart or are in my cupboards, and can hopefully help you put together a list of your own!

Meat

Lean turkey

Skinless chicken

Seafood

Shrimp

Scallops

Salmon

Grains

Rolled oats

Brown rice

Quinoa (white, red or black)

Beans & Legumes

Chickpeas

Navy, kidney and or black beans

Peas

Nuts & Seeds

Peanut & almond butter

Sunflower and pumpkin seeds

Chopped pecans, walnuts and peanuts

Flaxseeds

Chia seeds

Hemp seeds

Oils

Unrefined cold pressed coconut oil

Extra virgin olive oil

Milks

Almond milk

Fruits

Granny smith apples

Raspberries, blueberries and blackberries

Bananas

Frozen mangoes and berries

Avocados

Oranges

Lemons (great for water, especially if you don’t like plain water)

Vegetables

Spinach

Kale

Mixed greens

Bok Choy

Carrots

Celery

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Brussel sprouts

Cabbage

Snap peas

Frozen spinach and other vegetables

Dairy Products

Goat cheese

Plain Greek yogurt

Condiments

Mustard

Dad’s BBQ sauce

Spices

Cinnamon

Mrs. Dash (all varieties)

Ginger

Garlic Powder (not salt)

Dill

Pepper

Himalayan salt

Sweeteners

Stevia (look for a pure version)

Coconut sugar

Honey

Maple Syrup

Dates

Baking Supplies

Baking soda

Baking Powder

Cacao powder

Cacao nibs (only ingredient is cacao)

Gogi berries

 

I have probably forgotten something, but these are mainly what we eat 🙂

 

Special Annoucement!

I am so excited to share with you all that I am now a VITAMIX AFFILIATE! Yay! I couldn’t be happier to be working with a company I whole heartedly believe in. So if you are in the market for a Vitamix, I am your lady! What does becoming an affiliate mean? It means that when you use the code below when placing an order it will entitle you to FREE standard shipping and handling ($25US/$35CN value) and also will support me as I will receive a commission. I will only represent companies that I believe in, trust and most importantly, actually use! I have owned one for the past 2 years and couldn’t live a day without it! If you would like to support me, you can purchase your Vitamix by clicking on the link below. Please don’t forget that I won’t get compensation if you don’t enter my code.  Please share my affiliate code with anyone you know who is looking or considering purchasing a Vitamix, I would truly appreciate it!

https://www.vitamix.com/Home?COUPON=06-009585

I have been working extremely hard on my blog and Facebook Page over the last couple of years, and love sharing my journey, recipes, articles, motivation and anything else I can get my hands on with my followers, that I have decided to jump on board with Vitamix, and continue my journey on the health and fitness path. I would eventually like to branch out into personal training and other outlets in helping me to create a small profit for myself, but I am going to take it one step at a time, and keep doing what I am doing, because well….. I LOVE IT! Thank you to all my followers and supporters who have been with my from the beginning to those who have joined me since then! I appreciate each and every one of you. I hope you continue to enjoy my blog and Facebook Page, and follow me along the rest of my journey.

But now, here’s a little word about my favorite blender!

The Vitamix is an extremely powerful blender and can do just about anything! The Vitamix can make chop, churn,  make creamy smoothies, soups, juices, dips & spreads, frozen desserts, dressings, batters, flours, purees, dough, milks, whip cream, nut butters butter, baby food, and more. It is capable of even heating foods! I know these blenders are more pricy then your regular blender but they replace SO many appliances in your kitchen, make living a healthy lifestyle so much easier, and after using one you will understand why. It took a while to persuade my husband into purchasing one, but he even agrees that he couldn’t go a day without ours! If you have any questions, please let me know if I can help!

https://www.vitamix.com/Home?COUPON=06-009585

Priority #1

Life will always be full of priorities, and it is up to you to choose which ones come first and which come last on your list. YOU should be first on your list. Like the saying goes, you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. We are mothers, wives, husbands, fathers, partners, students, full-time employees, business owners, caretakers, stay at home moms and millions of other things, so it is hard to do everything and be PERFECT. As a mom I had to let go of perfect if I wanted to make myself a priority. If I wanted to work out during Beans morning nap, the laundry would have to wait along with the dishes. Which I am a little OCD when it comes to having a clean house before I can even begin to workout or do anything else. BUT this had to change, and it did over time. Once my workout was done I had so much more energy to do the things I put aside.

I found myself feeling guilty the other day, my husband was at home with my daughter, and I was heading to the gym. I always love when I can get to the gym, but for some reason guilt had come over me. I felt like I should be at home spending time with the both of them, as a family. But what I had to realize that I was making me a priority and didn’t need to feel any shame for that. I am taking care of me so I can take of my family to the best of my ability. I don’t make health and fitness a priority for the sake of what I look like on the outside. I do it because of how it makes me feel and keeps me sane (most of the time). I am strong, I am healthy, I can keep up with my baby, I can keep up with my family, I can set a good example for my little girl and most of all I am happy with myself. I don’t drag my a$$ all day because I have no energy, I don’t have to drink coffee, I don’t eat my feelings, I take care of myself.  Did it take a while to get to this point, definitely, it certainly didn’t happen over night. Do I treat myself every now and then, absolutely. I LOVE cookies, yes the kind with all the bad stuff, but I only eat one every few weeks if even. I used to designate a certain day where I could have a cheat, but I got to the point where I eventually got my eating under control and didn’t want to have a treat (this day will come :)).

This doesn’t apply to only moms. It applies to everyone. Everyone has commitments. They should be studying, they should be staying late catching up at work, they should be grocery shopping, doing laundry, and the list goes on. But take one hour a day and do something to make you a priority. Never feel guilty for putting yourself first. Never over commit yourself. If you find yourself overwhelmed with commitments, take a step back and say “no” when you have to. It can be hard, but not taking on too much leaves a little extra time for you. Never sacrifice your health. If a workout isn’t possible, take your kids or dogs with you for a walk. Take a quick study break, do a few push ups, squats and a quick stretch. If you have time to be one Facebook looking at the pictures of everyone’s crazy weekend, you have time for you!

Hope everyone had a great weekend and Family Day. I also want to thank all of my followers for sticking with me while I haven’t been blogging as much. Life gets in the way, but I will never quit, so thanks for sticking it out with me and continuing to read!

Real Women Have Curves?

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had an excellent Christmas and New Years! I can’t believe it has been a little over 2 MONTHS since I have blogged! Shame on me, but life has been exciting and BUSY! Bean is almost 7 months old, scary to think about actually, and growing, learning and continually amazing me.

But before I give you an update of what’s going on in my personal life, I wanted to tackle an issue that has been bugging me. I continuously see on Facebook and Pinterest, memes that say “Real Women Have Curves” and “When Did This Become Hotter Than This?”. My answer to that is, NEVER! Real women have curves, real women have flat bums, real women have saggy boobs, real women have unbelievably perky boobs, real women are thin, real women are tall, real women are short, have scars, have cellulite, are toned, have stretch marks, some have not one stretch mark, bounce back after child-birth, take 10 years to get their pre-pregnancy body back. Real women come in all shapes, sizes, colors and weights. Skinny girls never became hotter than curvy girls and curvy girls never became hotter than skinny girls. Everyone women is beautiful in their own way. Some women would die for an @ss like JLo, but will never be able to achieve it. And what you look like on the outside does not define how beautiful you are. You can have the prettiest face, hair, legs, bum, abs, arms and whatever else and be ugly on the inside. True beauty comes from inside, and no one gets to tell me how beautiful I am by the amount I curves I was blessed with.

Our society places too much priority on looks. You never know what that person you envy went through to look the way she does. Maybe she has hair extensions, maybe she works out every single day for 2 hours, maybe she has an eating disorder, maybe she starves herself, maybe maybe maybe. What you need to do…is be happy with yourself the way you look. Put more focus on your health and the rest will follow. Be healthy so you can keep up with your kids, grandkids, husband, boyfriend, friends, dogs, and the list goes on. Take the time to focus on healthy eating and exercise. Exercise doesn’t have to include going to the gym, go to the park with the kids and do the monkey bars, go swimming, skating, tobogganing, running, surfing, take the dog for a walk, push your baby in a stroller. Do things you enjoy. Instead of heading the McDonald’s to celebrate a big win at your child’s hockey game, go home and promise to make their favorite healthy dish. I know it doesn’t sound as enticing or “cool” but when your children look back they will be thankful one day.

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Now that I have that off my chest I will give you a little update on my life! Like I said Bean will be 7 months on the 19th! She is sitting, just about crawling, has 4 teeth (yes 4!), talking (no not for real, more like babbling), and makes me smile day after day! We are still exclusively breastfeeding, and I truly love it. Christmas was so much  more fun this year with her.

Since it is the new year I thought I would also share my resolutions with you!

1) BLOG MORE! I sincerely apologize for not getting my fingers typin’ more often, but now that the holiday season is over, I will be on here more. It is a great outlet for me to share my journey.

2) Do more cardio and get into superwoman shape. This one isn’t really by choice :). My family has registered as a team for the Spartan race, so if I want to survive I best get at it.

3) Spend more time with family. Since Bean has come along, I have truly realized the importance of family. Not that I didn’t before, but children bring something out in you that make you realize how important family is.

What are your New Years Resolutions??

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Recipe Staples

My husband and I were talking last night and discussing how incredibly hard it would be to begin a healthy and exercising if we hadn’t begun this lifestyle before Bean was born. I am thankful everyday that over the last couple of years I have taken the time to have taken my previous lifestyle and give it a 360 degree turn around. Without a healthy diet and exercise regime I can honestly say I wouldn’t have the energy to keep up with my peanut. I want to be a mom who can chase her little girl at the playground, go for long walks and just keep up with her period!  It is a lifestyle that takes commitment, I 100% perfect agree with that, BUT that doesn’t mean it can’t be done with or without children.

You need to take that first step and commit yourself. Start by making time (you won’t find it, trust me). If this means involving your kids in helping prepare food, then by all means, get them involved. As a bonus, they will grow up watching you prepare healthy meals and expect it. If your kids are picky eaters, it’s going to take some time to change their minds and their palettes, if you have kiddos that have just begun eating solids, lucky you, now is a great age to start introducing healthful foods and to avoid giving them foods with no nutrition. Excuses won’t get you anywhere, only 100% commitment will.

Once you have made healthy recipes a couple of times, you will become quicker at it each time and pretty soon you will be able to whip up a healthy meal just as quick as that oddly orange-colored macaroni and cheese (maybe a hotdog or two ;)). Here are some recipes that are easy and taste great (well to me and hopefully you!). Hopefully a few of them can become staples in your home!

ENTREES

Turkey Burgers – Instead of egg whites I suggest using in the recipe, I actually just use a flaxseed egg now by using 2 tbsp flaxseed and 6 tbsp water mixed in bowl and let sit for 2 minutes.

Sweet & Sour Crock Pot Chicken – Try and find an organic version of salsa that is sugar-free.

Chicken Stir Fry

Baked Salmon with Garlic & Dijon (one of the best salmon recipes I have ever tried)

Breaded Chicken Fingers

Veggie Burger (definitely worth a try, they are delicious)

THEFFITLIFE Veggie Burger

Bean & Rice Lettuce Wraps

Spaghetti Squash – Makes for a great substitute instead of noodles. Pair it with ground turkey and a sugar, salt and preservative- free pasta sauce for a delicious meal.

BREAKFAST

Crock Pot Oats

Oat Protein Pancakes (doesn’t use protein powder, just hemp seed!)

Quick Blueberry Oatmeal

SIDES

Dill Veggie Dip

Kale Chips (they may sound weird, but they sure are yummy!)

Sweet Potato Chips (I use yams)

BAKING & SNACKS

Oat Flour

Banana Mango Smoothie

Almond Butter Cookies

Almond Joy Cookies

Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter Protein Muffins – I now use vegan Sun Warrior Protein

Guacamole

Polka Dot Banana Bread 

Granola

Blueberry Banana Walnut Muffins

BABY

Baby Food (Can’t forget about healthy nutrition for the little ones)

I hope these can help get you started! Once you have the basic ingredients in your house, it becomes very simple to whip up a quick meal, snack or breakfast. Most of the ingredients you can now find in any grocery store which makes living a healthy lifestyle that much easier. Yes eating healthy does cost a bit more money but it is so worth. Fewer trips to the doctors, less missed days of work, keep up with the kiddos, have so much more energy and better quality of life. If you also start to incorporate more vegetarian type meals into your weekly diet you will be buying less meat, and less face it, MEAT IS EXPENSIVE! Beans are super cheap! You can use beans/lentils in so many recipes, chili, soup, bean burgers, paired with rice, baking. I would rather spend a little more on eating nutritious than eating out, going to movies, shopping, or something else I don’t really need.

Happy Halloween, have a safe and fun night!

By the way, today is the day I found out I was pregnant with my little girl! I will never forget the utter excitement we felt that day. I can’t believe she is already 4 months and 1 week already!

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This Is How We Do It……

Okay, well what I mean is this is how “I” do it. I have been getting a lot of questions about eating lately and getting started on eating clean and working out, so if there are more of you out there that are wondering the same thing, I am going to share how I got started and stay that way!

Number one, get your eating together. This is definitely easier said than done. Everyone has an excuse why they think they can’t do it or don’t have time to eat healthy. Everyone has time to eat healthy, you just have to make time. You have 3 kids and they are picky, you are pregnant and eating for two, you work 10 plus hours a day, you are exhausted when you get home from work and just feel like something “quick and easy”, and just plain and simple too, shall I say, lazy. That was me, I was lazy and after a long work day all I wanted was just something quick and easy, which usually resulted in chicken fingers and potato wedges (no vegetables). Trust me, I GET IT. But if you want to change you have to do something different, because obviously what you are currently doing, I feeling I know all too well. I was extremely unhappy with how I looked, but most of all how I felt on the inside. I felt tired, lethargic. lazy, and completely unhappy with how I looked on the outside. I got to the point it was difficult to even look in the mirror, as I would criticize myself to death. Not a good place to be. I eventually hit my own version of rock bottom and wanted to change. This is when the magic happened. No one can make you want to change or become healthy, you need to feel that want all on your own. You need to want it so bad, that nothing or no one will stand in your way.

Okay, enough about that. Here is how I got started.

I cut the crap. Literally. I threw all the crap out of my house. No more chips, chocolate bars, cookies, granola bars, pop, juice, ice cream or candy. That seemed straight forward. I could live without those things, although I did LOVE chips (it was my worst habit, a bag a day keeps the doctor away, JUST KIDDING), they were the obvious diet destroyers. But even after cutting them out, I still wasn’t seeing the results I wanted, and this is when the swapping began. I would take one bad thing out and add one good thing in. For example, no more sour cream (yes the full fat delicious version) and substitute with plain non-fat Greek yogurt, I cut out butter and substitute with olive or coconut oil, swapped wheat/gluten products (pasta, bread, bagels, wraps)  for healthy grains and carbs like brown rice and yams.

Take one food you love , for me it was chips and make a deal with yourself to cut it out for 14-30 days (whichever seems achievable to you). If you want to do more than one, go for it! Every 2 weeks – 1 month take something bad out of your diet. If you are someone who can go cold turkey without failure, all the power to you, and cut it all out at once.

If the crap isn’t in the house, you are less likely to eat it. If you live with a crap eater that refuses to give it up, ask them kindly to keep it in a special cupboard all of their own.

Now that you have taken out the crap, what on Earth are you going to eat??? My daily diet (a word I use to describe what I eat, I am NOT on diet) includes:

Lean meats & seafood: chicken, turkey, fish, shrimp

Vegetables: Spinach, mixed greens, carrots, snap peas, peppers, celery, onion, garlic, bok choy, beets, yams *or whatever veggies you like. *They are low in calories and keep you full, so eat up!

When I’m not breastfeeding I also include: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage

Nuts & Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts, pecans, hemp seed, chia seed, flaxseed

Carbohydrates: Yams, brown rice, oats, quinoa, beans

Nut butters: Peanut and almond *the only ingredients are either peanuts or almonds

Fruit: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, Granny Smith apples, oranges, bananas (limited), pineapple (limited amounts as it’s high in sugar), avocado, cherries,

Fats: Avocado, coconut oil (used for high heat cooking), olive oil, nuts

Beverages: WATER, coconut water and unsweetened almond milk. I really try to avoid drinking my calories.

Sauces: Dad’s BBQ sauce. I make my own salad dressings.

Beans & Legumes: Black, navy, kidney and pinto beans and lentils *before I started breastfeeding I consumed A LOT of beans. It seemed to work great for my digestive system.

Baking: I think I began to love baking for the sole fact that I needed to eat something sweet and yummy without completely sabotaging my diet. I needed to create things that tasted good, but were also good for me. So forget those store-bought granola bars, cookies, donuts, bars and make you’re own at home.

Number two, enlist a friend, husband, mom, dad, partner, sister, brother, or whoever you need to stay accountable to. Mine was my husband, he jumped in with me like a dirty shirt. He was there to eat all of my good dishes and not so good dishes without a complaint! Trust me, in the 2 years I have been on this journey, I have cooked up some pretty horrid things. Check in with this person at least weekly, share you feelings, your struggles and your triumphs. Every bit of encouragement helps. Someone sending you that text message at 8 pm telling you to put that cookie down.

Number three, allow your taste buds to change. I remember the first time I ate a Larabar I thought who on God’s green Earth would succumb themselves to such crap and enjoy it? Well now the answer to that is…ME. It takes some time to get your taste buds used to the taste of vegetables without butter on them, chicken without cream sauce or melted cheese on top, rice without adding salt and butter, fruit without sprinkling with WHITE sugar (yes I did this) or any other foods you alter the taste of. You will begin to appreciate the taste of real food without adding crap to it. I genuinely enjoy salad without dressing, yams without butter, chicken without calorie laden sauces, rice without butter and just truly enjoying  food the way it was meant to taste. Give yourself more than 1 day or 1 week. Give your taste buds time to change.

Number four, allow for time to change. It has been over two years for me now and I am still changing. Changes on the outside won’t happen overnight, it takes a lot of dedication. But I can say changes on the inside happened much quicker, I was feeling soo good, I had energy and wasn’t feeling lethargic and lazy anymore. If you are a mom, especially a new mom, be realistic. You just gave birth to a human, that is AMAZING and your body has been through some crazy sh*t. It takes time to get back to normal. This is something I am still dealing with, do I want a six-pack, of course, but is that realistic for me right now, NO. What’s realistic for me right now is that I eat healthy, breastfeed, workout, and take care of a beautiful baby girl. You need to find what is realistic for you without making excuses. If a 20 minute workout is all you can manage with 2 children’s different nap schedules, or you have to workout after kiddos go down for bed and you leave them home with your hubby so you can get in some exercise, then that is your reality, everyone’s is different.

Number five, use technology. Here are some great resources to help keep you on track:

Myfitnesspal. I cannot say enough good things about this website and app. You can track just about every single thing you consume during the day.

Calorie Calculator – Calculates the number of calories you should be consuming for the weight entered.

Ideal Weight Calculator – This calculator will let you know your ideal weight based on your gender and height. Just be aware, that if your body has more muscle than a regular person, you may weigh more than what this calculator suggests you should. I would just use it as a guideline, rather than an exact number.

Number six, stick to your guns. This part was extremely hard for me in the beginning. I did get a bit of negative feedback from others regarding the way I was choosing to eat. I was either “boring, “needed to live a little”, people were hoping I wasn’t on a diet, or I “wasn’t any fun” anymore because I wouldn’t shove deep-fried hot wings or sundae’s down my gob. When I went to restaurants, I made and still make healthy choices. There is nothing worse than feeling like an oompa loompa everytime you go out for supper. Stick to easy choices, yes I know it’s boring, but it’s worth it. A standard for me, and most restaurants have amazing salads. I just add beans, chicken or shrimp and asked for my meat to be cooked without  butter or oil (they use the cheapest oil they can find). If your friends can’t understand why you are choosing to eat healthy, choose new friends. Your friends should support healthy changes in your life.

Now for the workout portion. Do what works best for you. Is it impossible to get to the gym, workout at home, if you are able to go to the gym, GO, if you don’t have equipment at home, they’re workouts for that too.

Here are some awesome programs I have come across:

Jamie Eason Livefit Trainer – 12 week weight lifting program, that takes you through each day step by step. This is what got me started in weight lifting and I highly recommend it. Best part is that it’s FREE!

No equipment, no problem. You can follow Zuzana’s workouts for free! They are challenging and trust me, you will get a sweat on.

Tatianna also has some awesome at home workouts you can do in small spaces.

Currently I am doing Jame’s Wilson’s Fitnessmap 12 week program. He has a gym or at home version you can choose from. I have loved everyday so far! All you have to do is visit his page and private message him.

When it comes to fitness you have to be realistic here too. Don’t start off committing to 6 days a week for an hour a day. Start with 4 days a week 20-40 minutes each session. Hire a personal trainer if you need. Enlist a workout buddy. Meet them at the gym for every workout or just once a week where you workout together and touch base as to how things are going, your progress, your struggles and your goals.

Hope this can help a sister or brother out!

Nighty night!

P.S this blog marks my 145 post! Holy crap, where does time go!!!