Not-So-Lazy Sunday

After a busy few months, I was happy to fill my Sunday with things I love. I started the day with a free barre3 class taught by Courtney at Athleta with several of my close lady friends. It was really sweaty, but really fun! Easton Town Center is quiet on Sunday mornings and it was nice to avoid the chaos usually surrounding the area.

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Getting our upright core workout on.

After class it was time to hit the ground running. Later that day, I was hosting a Wildtree freezer meal workshop. Backing up a bit: my friend, Annie, is a rep for the company. I’m always weary of direct sales parties but the company’s founder is someone I can relate to and their products are free of preservatives, additives and fillers.

I decided to a host a party where each guest purchases a $79 Wildtree spice and oil kit, then buys and preps their meats and a few veggies in advance of the get together. You come to the workshop and finish preparing your meals (ranging from 10-20 depending on your family size) with the help of Annie and a few glasses of wine.

Three of us decided to head to Costco together to make a bulk meat purchase, which I absolutely recommend. It’s a LOT of meat. We were excited we made it out of there.

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$400 in meat later…

We went back to my house to prep before the party. Between the three of us it took 1.5 hours, which included separating the meat, chopping it and putting it into the correct meal bag.

Everyone came over around 6:30 p.m. with their cooler of freezer bags and chopped meats. We caught up for a bit and ate some snacks Annie brought over, as well as a few I prepared, then we got down to business. Since none of us have kids we decided to split the meals in half and prepared 20 of them. During the party we worked to add the additional ingredients to our prepped bags, including the oil and spices. After that, everyone packed their coolers and rushed home to get their creations in their own freezer!

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Spices and oil. Picture courtesy of Organize 365.

Overall, the workshop was really helpful. Annie did a great job of answering questions and walking us through the steps. I have 20 “fresh frozen” meals in my freezer and can’t wait to try them out. I’m making a Cajun Shrimp Pasta tonight.

I would love to do this once every few months. It’s nice knowing I just need to cook a side of rice or steam some veggies to go alongside my meal after a long day at work or a weekend away from home. I think most of us even feel comfortable enough to do it on our own without a Wildtree rep.

Also, while it might seem expensive purchasing everything for 20 meals at once, the cost breaks down to approximately $2.50/serving. It’s way less than I would spend at the grocery store on a normal basis, and the time-saving element makes it even more affordable.

Now onto taste-testing!

Bring It On, Fall Challenge.

It’s that time again! barre3 is holding a Fall Challenge from Oct. 14 – Nov. 10, with aspects similar to their other challenges, 28 to Great and 7 Day Body Blast. This particular challenge focuses on attending class five times per week and eating whole foods.

Those joining in receive a meal plan. The recipes are delicious and include foods I’ve never really eaten before, including beets and tahini. My weekdays tend to fill-up quickly so I did a lot of food prep on Sunday night, which included chopping all of my vegetables so I could easily cook with them during the week. I’ve also made the following evening’s dinner the night before.

I’ve had a lot of fun (maybe too much) with my meals so far:

Red Bean Quinoa Chili

Red bean quinoa chili. Rob-approved!

Beets

Cooking with beets for the first time ever!

Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas with cumin and sea salt.

Prep

Chopping station.

Ground Turkey and Kale Quinoa

Ground turkey and kale quinoa with beets and sweet potato, complete again with Rob’s seal-of-approval.

As with the other challenges, I plan to make this my own. I’ll still be drinking my coffee and having the occasional glass of wine/beer over the weekend. However, I know that by committing myself to the challenge, including the nutrition philosophy most days and five workouts per week, I’ll be better off than I would otherwise! I’ll be more mindful in stopping at one glass, ordering healthier when I’m out and scheduling classes in advance.

This challenge couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’ve fallen off the whole food train a bit over the past few months and hope to jump right back on it! I’ll keep you updated on my journey throughout the next month.

Celebrating a Very Special “Birthday”

A few weeks ago I received an email from Chobani’s community coordinator asking if she could send me some samples. Free yogurt? Yes please!

The yogurt’s arrival coincided with the five-year anniversary, or birthday, week of barre3. For those unfamiliar, I’m an instructor at the barre3 Columbus location. The company is all about being tuned into your whole self, and finding balance in your mind, body and life. Why not share my plethora of healthy yogurt with some of my favorite people?

The studio owners, Courtney and Whitney, welcomed the idea with open arms. I thought the 6 a.m. crew would be the perfect bunch to try out my barre3 Birthday Smoothie. I reasoned that they deserved the extra boost for waking up when most folks are still snuggled in bed. I was also happy to finally use my cupcake carrier. I have to document this day in case Rob ever forgets why we definitely needed to register for it. 

CupecakeCarrier

100 percent necessary cupcake carrier.

Here’s the recipe I created:

SmoothieRecipe

Note: Although it says Chobani Low-Fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt, it was actually non-fat.

It was fun and rewarding to see clients grabbing smoothies and chatting before running off to get their day started. We received lots of compliments and I’ll definitely be adding this smoothie to my list of regulars.

SmoothiesDesk

I’m obsessed with the little straws.

In case you’re wondering, to create the perfect smoothie sample I poured about 3 oz of smoothie into a 5 oz Dixie cup. I took flexible straws and cut about one inch from the top and two inches from the bottom so they fit nicely into the cups.

I definitely recommend trying the recipe, and then getting creative in coming up with your own smoothie concoction. Feel free to share your favorite recipe in the comments!

KatieCourtneySmoothie

Courtney and I enjoying some morning smoothies!

Final Thoughts on the 7 Day Body Blast

My life feels less chaotic now that I’m not trying to squeeze in teaching and taking a barre3 class, a full-time job and planning meals to a tee in a 24-hour day. But it was a great kick in the rear while it lasted! It reminded me that planning ahead is important and going into the studio for a class always feels good after a tough day. I’m still feeling great and will continue to use a lot of the 7 Day Body Blast recipes. They were that good.

It was great connecting with the other instructors and clients on ways to overcome and deal with challenges. We shared our struggles and what we loved about our days, in addition to swapping recipes.

After seven days, my seven biggest realizations include:

  1. My unhealthy Saturday looked a lot like my non-body blasting healthy days.
  2. My husband and I both love kale. And butternut squash smoothies.
  3. The barre3 community is unbelievably supportive.
  4. My body can’t talk to me, so a migraine is its way of telling me to take it easy.
  5. Turning leftover vegetables into vegetable soup is a breeze.
  6. Planning and prepping meals on Sunday is the key to weekday success.
  7. This quote: “If you’re not willing to eat a vegetable, it’s not hunger. It’s a craving.”

I loved this challenge because it reinforced that I am in control of my body. We all are. How I look is mostly because of what I eat. I always knew this but it wasn’t until I turned to a completely clean and healthy diet that I realized how true it was. Your body is ultimately made in the kitchen, not the gym. I give credit to 75 percent of Pinterest users for that quote, by the way.

I documented this journey to serve as a reminder that I’m strong and in control, and so I have something to return to when I want to do the challenge again. If you’re embarking on your own body blast journey, I’d love to hear about it!

And as promised, here is my meal plan and an easy-to-print grocery list:

7 Day Body Blast – Day 6 & 7

The weekend, which is usually where my healthy-eating mishaps take place, indeed brought some challenges. The weekdays are easy: I get up, go to work, come home, go to bed. While there are meetings, socializing and teaching mixed in, my eating schedule rarely changes. The weekends are a different story.

I drank a smoothie and went to an early morning barre3 class on Saturday. One of my husbands college roommates was in town so we met up with him and a few others for lunch at Moe’s Southwest Grill. I ate half of my burrito bowl, which was filled with tofu and a ton of vegetables, in addition to some chips and salsa (yikes!) Rob and I had dinner reservations at G. Michael’s in German Village so I had already set myself up for Body Blast failure. I had a glass of wine and a crab cake for dinner… and I don’t regret one bit of it. It was delicious! While this place is a bit pricey, it’s definitely worth it for a special occasion splurge.

On Sunday I reeled it in with a smoothie and teaching a full 10 a.m. barre3 class. Did I mention that’s my favorite way to start the day? I made some amazing vegetable soup for lunch with leftover veggies (see below). I sauteed onions, carrots, celery and garlic in coconut oil then threw it into a huge pot with vegetable stock, kale, kidney beans, diced tomatoes and corn. So good! For dinner I had rice and vegetable stir fry.

Vegetables

 

And there you have it. The barre3 7-Day Body Blast is complete, with only a few bumps along the way. Tomorrow I’m going to do a little reflection and upload my grocery list from the past week.

I’ll be coming back to these posts more than a few times throughout the year when I feel myself slipping back into old habits. Or maybe before my summer vacation to Ocean Isle? I’m thinking June 30 might be the perfect time for round two!

7 Day Body Blast – Day 5

Happy Friday! I have a lot to be thankful for today- first and foremost, my health. My headache is mostly gone and I’m back in the swing of things. I have a date with the ladies tonight and I’m glad I feel well enough to be excited about it. I’m going to squeeze in an extra workout tomorrow for my missed day yesterday. I’m sticking with today as my planned “off” workout day.

For breakfast I made a DIY smoothie, consisting of almond milk, flax seed, frozen cherries, 1/4 of a frozen banana, frozen mango and spinach. My lunch is leftover Sweet Potato and Cauliflower puree and a small side spinach salad with almonds and dressing via the Arugula Orange salad. In case you were wondering what coconut milk, water, sweet potatoes, onions and cauliflower look like when boiling, this is it:

Cauliflower and Sweet Potato
Innocent enough, right? WRONG. This mixture and I had quite the kitchen catastrophe on Wednesday night. If any of you use a small hand-held blender (I can’t be the only one…) be sure to let the mixture cool before blending. I did not and ended up with the top of my Hamilton Beach blender blown off and a blast of hot sweet potato to the face. If you ask Rob, this is a typical kitchen mishap for me as I have a tendency to spill anything and everything. But if I can help just one person avoid this disaster then sharing it is for the best!

As I said above, I’m looking forward to girls night. We’re heading downtown to see SPANK!, a parody play of 50 Shades of Grey. I’ve heard great reviews and can’t wait for a night of laughs. I thought I’d be tempted by a glass of wine but seeing as I still have an inkling of a headache, that temptation has disappeared. The world works in mysterious ways!

7 Day Body Blast – Day 4

Today took quite the unexpected turn. I woke up to get ready for work and just as I finished blow drying my hair my minor “sinus headache” resulted in a wave of nausea. A full-blown migraine soon followed.

It’s now well into the evening and I’m still couch-ridden. Thanks to my food prep, I was able to stick very close to the meal plan despite the slight setback. Plus it was nice to not cook and try to find food when I was feeling so sick.

I had a Green Colada smoothie for a not-so-glamorous breakfast in bed and Sweet Potato and Cauliflower purée for lunch. Rob brought home Indian food for dinner since I still couldn’t move, and I only snuck a tiny piece of naan with my aloo gobi! THAT is an accomplishment.

I am lucky to work with a wonderful team both at my full-time job and at barre3. I was able to take the time to rest and heal myself with no worries, something I know not to take for granted.

Lesson for today? Know your limits- when to push yourself and when to take a step back. I can’t wait for a new tomorrow!