Category Archives: General information

“Since you’ve been gone…”

Hey! So, it’s been about 4 months… This Kelly Clarkson song came to mind when I was trying to think about how to re-introduce myself into the blogosphere after such a long time!

Let me start with an apology. I truly had no intention of being away from my blog for months. Life got busy – days turned to weeks, weeks to months. And let me tell you, a lot has happened in those 4 months!

Here are some of the highlights that I negelected to blog about during the last 4 months:

  1. I went to 3 concerts. I saw Pearl Jam twice in May and Jack Johnson in July. All great shows!
  2. I fell in love with running! I have always wanted to be a runner, but I was never “good at it.” I thought it was boring; I thought of it as a chore. despite the fact that I could ride a Spin bike for hours on end, I just could never get my legs to run for more than 15-20 minutes. But one day in May, I decided I’d go out for a run, since I hadn’t attempted one in a long time. I’ve been running (and running and running) ever since.
  3. I signed up for my first half marathon!!! Time to stop talking about and just do it! I signed up for the Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon in October. I’m in the midst of a 10-week training program now. I’m getting fast by the day. My most recent run was 6.3 miles at a 9:21 pace. Not too shabby considering I never thought I could be a runner! Not only am I training for the half, I’m raising money for cancer research in the process! I need to raise at least $500 and I’m almost half way there. See my progress here. 

    (Source: rundanafarber.org)

  4. I got a new job! The job that I was at when I last blogged was a big part of why I was away from my blog for so long. Work got busier and busier with fewer and fewer people… I was putting in 9+ hours in the office, then coming home and working some more. And it wasn’t even work that I really enjoyed. Now I have a job that I absolutely love! I won’t reveal exactly where I work, but I will tell you that it is a healthy food company with a national brand. Sure, I traded in a 12-mile round trip commute for a 100-mile roundtrip commute, but I am soooo much happier! And they were willing to work with me on my schedule so I’m able to leave when I need to so I can get all the way back to pick my daughter up at daycare on time.

Ok, so if you read all that, there should definitely be something in it for you right?! 🙂 Well there is! I present to you the Family Fitness Fun Challenge giveaway pack!

The giveaway pack contains the following:

I still have a few products to try, so I’ll be posting reviews all week long!

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Visit TakeAHealthyBite.com and leave a comment here telling me which product you’re most interested in trying and what your favorite “outside the gym” fitness activity is. Don’t forget to to register for the Family Fitness Fun Challenge while you’re there! When you register, you’ll receive great coupons!
  2. For a second entry, tweet about my giveaway: @healthyfitmama.
  3. For a third entry, link back to this post in your blog and leave a comment telling me you did so!

The giveaway will end on Saturday, 8/27 at 11:59 p.m. So have at it!

Oh – and welcome back to my little blog. 😉

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Food For Thought

A couple nights ago, I sat down to watch Food, Inc. I knew going into it that it was likely to change my eating habits, but I had no idea just how much…

This movie was truly eye-opening. We really don’t know or fully understand exactly what we’re eating. When we buy chicken breasts at the store, we’re buying chicken breast meat that has been genetically modified and enhanced. We’re buying chicken that has been “cleansed” in ammonia before it was packaged.

Can you even believe it?! Bathing chicken in ammonia to clean it?! I don’t know about you, but ammonia is a chemical that I clean my kitchen counters with…and I don’t make a habit of eating my cleaning chemicals.

Basically it’s safe to assume that unless your tofu, soy milk, or any other soy product specifically says it’s not genetically modified (GMO), it’s safe to assume that it is. About 90% of the products on our store shelves contain some form of GMO derivative.

Essentially this film made me want to move to a farm in the middle of nowhere and grow my own crops! But since that’s not possible, I will be making the following dietary changes:

  • I will eat mostly vegetarian. If you have any good vegetarian recipes, send them my way!
  • If I eat chicken, it will be organic, free range chicken.
  • Any fish I eat will be wild caught.
  • I will seek out non-GMO products.
  • Whenever possible, I will avoid products containing soybean oil.

Have you seen Food, Inc? If so, did it change the way you eat?

1 Year Gym-Free

At the end of this month, it will be one full year since the last time I set foot in a gym. So hard to believe. The gym used to be my second home!

When I was 32 weeks pregnant, I was told I couldn’t work out anymore. That was the end of my gym going days.

After my daughter was born last March – and after I was given the go-ahead to workout again – I quickly discovered that I didn’t have time to get to the gym. I had to make due with whatever time I had at home. This is something I wrote about a few months back.

While I’ve been able to get back in shape and stay in shape at home, there have been some challenges – the biggest being boredom! I’m finding I have to be more and more creative these days to keep myself motivated to workout in the evening.

Here are some of the ways I’m keeping things fresh:

  • Recycling routines. I had been buying a new workout DVD every 6-8 weeks to beat boredom. Now that I have a good collection of videos, I’m cycling back to the ones I did several months ago.
  • Surf the web. There are some great sites out there offering free workout videos and exercise plans. My new favorite is ExerciseTV. You can mix and match shorter videos to create a great workout!
  • Read magazines. There are so many health and fitness magazines out there that have handy tear-out cards and pages with quick and effective strength and cardio plans. I like: Shape, Self, and Fitness.
  • Alternate. I never do the same thing 2 days in a row. In fact, lately I’ve been trying not to do the same routine more than 3 days a week. I’m much more motivated when I’m trying new things.

What’s your favorite outside-the-gym workout?

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It’s been quite a busy week, hence the lack of posting this week. You can rest assured though that I’ve been eating delicious, nutritious food and gettin’ my sweat on!

1/3 cup of oat bran, 1 small banana, vanilla, cinnamon, raisins, and PB

I was definitely a late adopter on the oats and PB mix, but now that I finally tried it, I’m hooked!

1/2 cup of egg whites + 1 whole egg

Apple, Chobani, Z Bar, chicken salad, and TJ's minestrone

I’m not usually a soup person (especially not canned soup) but I LOVE this Trader Joe’s low-sodium minestrone!! It’s loaded with veggies and they’re not overly mushy, like many other soups. It tastes homemade!

grilled chicken with roasted balsamic carrots

This is one of my new favorite ways to cook carrots. I cut baby carrots length wise and lay them out on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. I sprayed a little more cooking spray over the carrots too and sprinkled on some salt and pepper. I roasted the carrots for about 30 minutes, drizzling the balsamic vinegar over them about 5 minutes before I took them out.

My exercise tonight was more Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout. I have a love/hate relationship with this video. It’s 55 minutes of Jillian Michaels. Yowsa!

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I’m working on an exciting new addition to the blog. I’m hoping to have it up by the end of the weekend. Stay tuned!!

Eating Cheap – and Healthy!

It’s no secret that times are tough for many people these days – myself included. But just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean you have to give up your healthy diet. Don’t get me wrong – there are tons of specialty health foods that I love that are pretty darn pricey, and have been eliminated from my budget. But with a little planning, I’ve been able to slash my grocery bill quite a bit.

Here are some tips for healthy eating on the cheap:

  • Shop the freezer section. No, I’m not talking about frozen entrees! Instead of buying all fresh produce, stock up on store-brand frozen vegetables and fruit. They’re often just $1 or $2 a bag and are just as healthy (if not more so) than fresh produce. Frozen veggies and fruits are frozen immediately after being picked, preserving those oh-so-important nutrients.

 

  • Be a bargain hunter. Every Saturday, my husband and hit 2 grocery stores – Trader Joe’s and Stop & Shop. While I do love Trader Joe’s because of its variety of natural foods, I also love it because there are many things I buy on a regular basis that are actually cheaper than the regular supermarket. Some examples: eggs (just $1.49/dozen!), soymilk ($2.99/gallon), almond butter ($4.99/jar), liquid egg whites ($1.99/carton), and peanut butter ($1.79/jar), just to name a few…

  • Stock up! I used to be hesitant to stock up on things when they were on sale. I’d think, “Well, I don’t need [name of item] this week.” Umm, if I’m going to need it next week, why not buy it now while it’s cheaper?!
  • “Clip” coupons. There are some great coupon websites out there that allow you to browse and select coupons without having to buy up all the Sunday papers. Sites like coupons.com allow you to print coupons right from your computer. But if you’re like me and don’t always (or ever!) have ink in your printer, you might favor The Coupon Master. This is my new favorite coupon source. You can search for and select coupons, and have then sent right to your home. You do pay a small handling fee for each coupon (8-10 cents), but when you’re saving $1.00 or more on some of your favorite items that you’d buy anyway, it’s totally worth it. Net savings of 90 cents!

Unfortunately they're sold out of these now! I think I bought them all. 😉

  • Buy in bulk. Bulk items are definitely cost-effective! If you have the storage space, buy things like nuts and oatmeal in larger containers. You may shell out more in the short term, but overall, you pay less per serving.

Hopefully these tips will help you save a buck or two…and stay healthy at the same time!

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I’m having a hard time getting back into the groove of photographing every meal… So I don’t have pictures from each of the last few days. But here are today’s eats:

Breakfast

1/2 cup of oatmeal,1 banana, vanilla, cinnamon, raisins, and PB

1/2 cup of egg whites + 1 whole egg

This bowl of oatmeal was amazing! The PB mixed with the sweetness of a super-ripe banana tasted like a peanut butter cookie! 😀

Lunch and Snacks

protein shake, greek yogurt, apple, turkey and hummus on a whole wheat sandwich thin

Dinner

It was a fend-for-yourself night since the fridge was getting pretty bare…

greek yogurt mixed with cocoa powder and stevia, banana, and almond butter

Dinner of champions for sure…

Fitness

Tonight I did my Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout DVD. This video just came out last month, and I made sure I pre-ordered it! It is 50 minutes of pure, kick-ass Jillian Michaels. So intense! If you watch the show, you know that the last chance workout is no joke! I highly recommend this one if you workout at home, like me.

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I hope you all are enjoying my more focused blogging. I’d love to hear feedback! Also, if there are topics you’d like to read about, let me know!

Baby Food Making 101

Hey bloggies! I’ve been thinking a little more about my blog since I revived it this past weekend and I think for 2010 I’m going to be a little more focused in my posts. Part of the reason I let my blogging fall by the wayside is that it got too tedious – too much detail about my every move and every meal.

Going forward, I’m going to try to have a specific topic in mind for each post, and then highlight some of my latest and greatest eats, as well as my exercise at the end.

Hope you enjoy the new concept!

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Ever since my daughter started eating solid foods, I’ve been making her baby food myself (with the exception of meats – I can’t get into pureeing chicken breasts!). I want to raise her to favor whole, natural foods over processed, “fake” foods.

I was not raised on the most nutritious foods (sorry mom!), so I always chose Pepsi over water, Snickers over fruit, and Pop Tarts over oatmeal. It was a struggle for me to change my eating habits. I want to make healthy eating natural for my little girl.

When I first started making baby food, I used all fresh produce. Now that I’m on a tighter budget, though, I’ve discovered that I can make baby food that is just as nutritious using frozen fruits and vegetables. The only thing I buy fresh now is apples.

Which brings me to my baby food making how-to!

Making applesauce for babies is no different than making regular applesauce. I simply peel, core, and slice 1 bag (about 3 lbs) of apples, toss them in a saucepan with about 1/4 cup of water, and cook over medium heat until soft.

When my daughter was a little younger, I used to puree her apples in my Magic Bullet. Now that she’s almost a year old, I just mash them.

Once mashed, I fill up ice cube trays with the applesauce and freeze it. It’s easy to store and easy to use! I simply pop a few cubes in the microwave for a minute and voila!

I do the same with frozen veggies, like peas, carrots, corn, squash, and broccoli.

butternut squash

My freezer is full of bags like this:

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FOOD

I haven’t been great at photographing my food lately, but here are some of the highlights of my eats for the last couple of days:

banana and almond butter on a whole wheat sandwich thin with 1/2 cup of egg whites + 1 whole egg, scrambled

 

1/2 cup of oatmeal, 1 medium banana, vanilla, cinnamon, 1 tbs ground flaxseed, raisins, and 1 tbs of drizzly PB

Work Lunch - protein shake, turkey and light mayo on a whole wheat sandwich thin, apple, Z Bar, Greek yogurt

FITNESS

Monday – I was due for a day off so I took it on Monday. It felt great to relax my sore muscles!

Tuesday – 45 minutes on my Spinning bike

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As I mentioned above, I wasn’t exactly raised on healthy food. Our house was always stocked with Pepsi, Chips Ahoy cookies, chocolate ice cream, and more. What about you? What kind of foods were you raised on?

Happy New Year!

Happy 2010 everyone! I’ve been away from my blog for far too long!

I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions, but I did make a few this year:

1) Take my vitamins. This sounds like a small thing, but it’s really important. I haven’t been very good about taking my vitamins ever since I ran out of my prescription prenatal vitamins several months ago. I’m vowing to make vitamins a part of my daily routine, even if it means I have to put a Post-It note on the bathroom mirror!

2) Stop counting calories. This is something I’ve been doing for a few years now. I feel like I have a good handle on nutrition now. The closest thing to junk food I eat is Kashi Go Lean Crunch and Clif Z Bars. I’m not going to lie though – I’m already failing at this resolution. Perhaps by the end of 2010 I’ll finally let go of this…

Cheers to New Years! 1 cup of unsweetened soymilk, 2 tbs of Nutribiotic rice protein powder, 1 packet of Truvia, 1 tbs cocoa powder, 1/4 cup of nonfat yogurt, ice

3) Get back to blogging! Even though life is busy with work, mommyhood, household chores, and more, it’s really important for me to take time to do some things I enjoy – like blogging! I think this past 6 weeks or so have been a great “time out” for me to figure out how to juggle all my priorities. I found that I really miss blogging regularly. Although I most likely still won’t be able to blog daily, I’m going to try to blog at least 2-3 times per week. Having a creative outlet like this allows me to de-stress and handle my daily priorities better.

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All that being said, here are some things to look for from me in the next few days and weeks:

  • A long overdue POM Wonderful review – The nice folks at POM Wonderful sent me a package of 100% pure pomegranate juice about 6 weeks ago! (Thanks!!) I’ll share my thoughts soon.
  • Homemade baby food how-to – I’ll walk you through making baby food that’s both nutritious and cost-effective!
  • More tips for getting fit and staying fit at home – The end of January will mark 1 year since I last went to the gym! I used to be a gym rat, so it’s been quite the adjustment. Over the past year though, I’ve discovered that working out at home can be just as intense (if not more so) than going to the gym. Stay tuned…

Hope you all enjoyed the holidays! Fellow bloggers – expect more comments from me soon! 🙂

Quick Check-In

Hi everyone! Just wanted to check in and let you know I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth! I had planned to recap my weekend, but with the time change and all, I’m just too tired. I’ll just pick up tomorrow evening. Trust me when I say my weekend was full of fabulous food! 😉

In other news:

Hubby and I found an apartment on Friday. It’s not going to be the greatest apartment we’ve ever lived in, but it has everything we need, it’s in a nice area, and it’s just about the most affordable thing we could find in the area. The biggest negative – no dishwasher. Grrr… But it’s a trade-off; we do have a washer and dryer. Since we do ump-teen loads of baby laundry a week, the w/d definitely is more important to us. So, we’re moving again on Saturday! Yikes! I’m looking forward to making my first ever trip to Trader Joe’s on Sunday! I will probably have to devote an entire post to it!

We spent our Halloween out celebrating my new job over dinner and drinks with a couple friends. We had a great time. It was definitely the perfect way for me to spend my Halloween because, in all honesty, I strongly dislike Halloween. I don’t know why. I’ve just never liked it.

How did you spend your Halloween?

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Sorry for yet another lackluster post. I am currently trying to figure out how I’m going to make blogging fit into my life when I start working again. I just don’t know how I’m going to juggle a full-time job, motherhood, exercise, day-to-day chores/errands, and blogging. Any tips??