eat clean challenge

Eat Clean Challenge: Approved and Unapproved Foods

eat clean challenge

Brandon and I decided to start an eat clean challenge.

The hubs and I decided to start an “eat clean” challenge this week. I am running it in combination with my online boot camp program which runs for another 5 weeks. The goal is not to lose weight, but to tighten up our eating and become less dependent on sugar. I am also hoping to redistribute my weight a bit  — basically, I want to be able to see my abs for bikini season.

On Sunday, we created a list of “approved” and “unapproved” food items. We also went grocery shopping and did some food prep including my favorite egg casserole. You can find the recipe on this post from my pregnancy with Cole.

Here is my list of food items for the week. I will also include a sample meal plan at the end. Please note — this is not a diet plan for you to follow. It is simply a listing of what foods I am focusing on this week. I do not count calories. I eat when I am hungry and to satisfaction. I am not working to drop pounds, (I don’t even own a scale) but rather removing nutrient void foods from my diet.

Approved foods:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Steak
  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Green pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Onion
  • Lettuce
  • Oats
  • Sweet potato
  • Almonds
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sugar free hard candy and popsicles
  • All-natural peanut butter

Unapproved foods:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Sugar and treats
  • Carbs (except complex carbs from approved foods list)
  • Fruit
  • And anything NOT on the approved foods list
eat clean challenge

Sunday food prep with Baby Cole.

Here is an example of what my food log looked like yesterday:

Tuesday Food Log: 

Breakfast:

  • Egg casserole
  • Black coffee
  • Water

* I did have half an avocado as well 

Mid­-morning snack:

  • 10 almonds
  • Water
eat clean challenge

Yum! I am loving the egg casserole for breakfast.

Lunch:

  • Chicken breast
  • Sweet potato
  • Water

Mid-­afternoon snack:

  • 10 almonds
  • Peanut Butter with celery
  • 2 sugar-free popsicles
  • Water

Dinner:

  • Steak
  • Broccoli
  • Water

Evening snack:

  • Smoothie: 1 cup spinach, 1.5 cups of mixed berries, ½ water, 1/2 banana
  • Water

* I added the smoothie because I am finishing off my berries (even though fruit is on the “unapproved” list for the week. Here is a great article referencing the importance of not eating too much fruit. Eat high carb fruits in moderation (ie: bananas). 

eat clean challenge

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Give-Aways and Paleo Pancakes

"Sweating for Two" shirt for our give-away next week!

“Sweating for Two” shirt for our give-away next week!

Did you enjoy the “Healthy Christmas Gifts” give-away partnership I ran shortly before Christmas (including those cute Under Armour running shoes)? Well, I have great news for you! I have partnered with several FitFluential ambassadors again, and we are brining you a series of give-aways next week to get you excited about working out in 2013!

Most of the gifts will be for fit pregnancies, but stay tuned, because we will likely have a few gifts that you can use if you aren’t pregnant. Of course, you could also enter and give the fit pregnancy gifts to your friend who is pregnant. After all, us pregnant ladies like gifts too, and sometimes feel slighted when the only thing we receive for birthdays is baby clothes.

The photo to the right is a little sneak peek of one of the shirts we will be giving away from For Two Fitness. So cute, right?

I am currently sitting in the guest room with Emma early on a Sunday morning, and I can smell the Paleo pancakes my hubby is making for us downstairs. That’s right — Paleo pancakes! I have been hearing a ton from my FitFluential friends about the Paleo diet this year, and I decided to give it a try while Brandon is out-of-town for the next two weeks.

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to see the three ingredient recipe and a photo of the Paleo pancakes.

Small filet, brocoli, and sweet potato for dinner on Friday night.

Small filet, brocoli, and sweet potato for dinner on Friday night.

I started researching Paleo on Friday, and ate a small filet, sweat potato, and brocoli for dinner. Yum! Yesterday, we had a LOT of eggs,  bacon, veggies, fruits, and water. I felt really good all day — versus Friday where I felt bloated even though I was “trying” to stick to a wheat free diet. I think my body will respond well to removing dairy, and I’m very excited to see how I feel after two full weeks of Paleo.

So, what is Paleo? Here is an ultimate guide that sums it up nicely.

The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Eating-Paleo

Three ingredient Paleo pancakes. Delicious!

Three ingredient Paleo pancakes. Delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of nut butter (almond butter is preferred)
  • Optional (a touch of cinnamon)

Directions:

Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add the egg and almond butter. Mix until combined. I also opted to add a tough of cinnamon. Heat the frying pan on medium heat and use 1/4 cup measuring cup to pur each pancake. Once you start seeing bubbles on the pancakes, flip them.

I topped them with a tiny bit of local honey, but they are great plain too. Delish!

How to Cure Morning Sickness

Thanks to Tonya Baise from choosinghealthandwellness.com for this expert advice on how to cure morning sickness. Tonya is a licensed dietician and a friend of mine. Follow Tonya on Twitter @tonyabaise for more tips and updates.

I have gotten a lot of questions from my pregnant clients about “how to cure morning sickness.” Often, severe morning sickness makes it hard to properly fuel for a workout, and therefore, workouts suffer in the first trimester of pregnancy.

I recently emailed a former client of mine who is now a licensed dietician to ask for advice on how to cure morning sickness. Here is her response:

Tonya Baise, Nutritionist

Tonya Baise. Wife, fit mom, and nutrition expert.

“Morning sickness” is due to an increase in a hormone called HCG. Your body is craving more vitamins and nutrients than normal and these particular vitamins are necessary and can help stop some of the sickness that you may be feeling. Vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, iron and the need for zinc increases. Supplements of these usually stop even the worst cases of pregnancy sickness. Eating small, frequent amounts of fruit or complex carbohydrates like nuts, seeds, or whole grains can help too. With the supplements, I would recommend you get 400 mcg of folic acid, 20 mcg of vitamin B12, 50 mg of vitamin B6, 15 mg of zinc, 300 mg of calcium, 200 mg of magnesium, and 12 mg of iron.

Also, very important to pregnancy are essential fats, especially the omega-3 fat DHA, and choline. Research has shown that getting a good supply of choline during pregnancy helps restructure a baby’s developing brain for improved performance as well as improve memory for mommy. To boost your levels, eat lots of eggs and sprinkle with lecithin granules (you can get these at the health food store on Fairfield Rd) on your cereal every morning. It would also be well worth supplementing your diet with essential omega-3 and omega-6 fats GLA, EPA, and DHA as well as eating some fish, if you can stomach it.

Another little tip that might help to cure morning sickness: Zinc boosts smooth elastic skin helping you fight off any stretch marks!! Foods high in zinc are nuts, fish, peas, and egg yolk. Also, make sure you are getting a good supply of Vitamins C and E. Cravings are usually a sign of mineral deficiencies, so if a mother to be boosts levels of zinc, for example, cravings usually disappear.

I hope that advice from Tonya helps you on your quest of finding out how to cure morning sickness. I know how frustrating it can be when you are exhausted and nauseous! Keep working to cure your morning sickness by supplementing your diet, and I promise, workouts will help “cure” some of your other nasty pregnancy symptoms.

Three Ways to Encourage a Fit Baby

Tara Sabo is a fit mom featured blogger, certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, wife and mother. She writes about these roles and more at www.adailydoseoffit.com, and can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

One might call this post “how to raise a fit baby,” but that sounds so definitive and by-the-book when most parents know that raising a baby is anything but. Especially when it comes to raising a fit baby. It’s not like an infant can do drop sets or sprints. But an infant can, with some guidance, embrace a fairly fit life.

As a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and new mom to a vibrant girl of seven months—I am a huge fan of the fit life. I live it, teach my clients about it, and hope to pass it on to my daughter. But the fit life is something one can’t force on another. It can only be encouraged with guidance and by setting an example.

That, of course, is the essence of being a parent: We are tasked with the opportunity to guide by example. Therefore, it is truly possible to encourage a fit baby.

THREE WAYS TO ENCOURAGE A FIT BABY

1) Have fun with healthy foods. Don’t put Baby on a diet, but offer healthy foods to encourage Baby to choose them on their own as they grow. Breastfeed if you can, but don’t sweat it if you can’t. And when the time comes, make your own baby food—it’s so easy.

Raise a fit babyLike, five minutes for 10 servings easy. Or go the baby-led weaning route and offer fresh veggies, wholesome grains and more. Baby’s food, like yours, doesn’t have to come out of a jar or box. And if Baby doesn’t like something, don’t make them eat it. Healthy eating should not foster dread or disgust.

2) Promote active playtime. No matter how old your baby is, stimulate them with engaging activities that encourage movement. Hold and move hands and feet as baby lies in awe of you. As Baby grows, tummy time strengthens the upper body and leads to rolling, crawling and more. Bouncers help legs develop strength. Balls give little bodies something to chase. If you sit your child in a chair all day, well…they won’t need to use their muscles as much. Just remember, Baby will need a break from all the activity—and that’s perfectly fine.

3) Teach by example. Get outside and take your baby for walks in the stroller. Use a jogging stroller when Baby is old enough.

running with baby strollerLet your baby see you working out (and eating healthy). Babies are incredibly absorbent from day one, so foster an environment that helps them absorb healthy habits from the get-go. It might take them some time to comprehend said habits, but it’ll click someday.

Throughout all of the above, remember to talk to your baby as well. He or she might not comprehend exactly what you are saying, but you can rest assured that they are working on it from the get-go. Someday they’ll get why cheese is better than cheese puffs. Or why walking is more fun than riding in a stroller, or that a bike seat is better than the couch cushion.

Question: How do you encourage your children to live a fit life?

Is it Possible to Get Your Pre-Baby Body Back After Multiple Pregnancies?

Is it possible to get your pre-baby body back after pregnancy? Maybe it’s possible to get your body back after one pregnancy, but what about after multiple pregnancies? Read this fit mom featured blog by Khristine, mother to 3 daughters. Khristine’s story and body transformation after 3 pregnancies is truly inspiring.

My name is Khristine, and I blog over at BeautyAndTheBrute.com. It’s a fitness and beauty blog that I share with my husband.  I’m a 26-year-old mother of 3 girls: ages 6 Years old, 4 Years old, and last, our newest bundle of joy, just turned 4 months old.  I’m currently a LVN going back to school for my BSN. I’m a fitness junkie and beauty/makeup addict at heart.  I love all aspects of fitness and love trying new things … from weightlifting, to yoga. I love switching it up and pushing my body to its limits!

I actually was not always a fitness junkie. In fact, I am relatively new to fitness. I have only been weightlifting for about 2 years (on and off).  Before this, I was your typical girl who tried the latest yo-yo diets and always wanted the easy way out. I would be happy with crash dieting for special occasions (like to fit into a dress for a wedding etc) … but found that to be too exhausting on my body. I was never really happy with how my body looked after pregnancy, and hated how I couldn’t keep up with my children. Luckily for me – my husband introduced me to the fitness lifestyle and showed me the way to health and wellness.

After my first two pregnancies, I didn’t even think about exercising to help get my pre-baby body back. And unfortunately, I got hit with postpartum depression. PPD hit HARD after my 2nd pregnancy – where it nearly cost me my life. (I did experience a mild case of PPD after my 1st, but wasn’t nearly as bad as after my 2nd pregnancy). I’m so thankful that I had the support of my husband and family to really get me through such hard times that I don’t ever want to relive or wish on anyone.  But I’m proud to say that I’m 4 months out from my 3rd pregnancy and have not experienced PPD one bit! I exercised during my whole pregnancy and at 6 weeks postpartum, entered an online body transformation contest on BodyBuilding.com (to try to motivate me to lose weight and get my pre-baby body back – and the Grand Prize of $10k didn’t sound too bad either).

After delivering my 3rd daughter and having to take “before” pictures, it really opened my eyes to what pregnancy did to my body.  I had gained so much weight and was unrecognizable (and really was not happy with my body), so I set out on a journey to get healthier, not only for me – but for my children. I wanted to set a good example for my girls and show them that you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of others.

Khristine’s body transformation after baby number 3.

So with that said, I’d like to share my 3 month progress pictures. The before pictures were taken 6 weeks after I had my 3rd daughter (I was breastfeeding at the time, which probably also added to the weight gain). The pictures were taken in April and the end date of my challenge was on July 22. For my “before” picture I was 154 lbs.  My “after” picture I was 131.8 lbs and I took into consideration that due to my intense weight lifting, I’ve gained lean muscle (which I’m very proud of!).

Khristine’s back transformation after baby number 3.

I want to share my journey with as many women as possible.  I know a lot of moms who think it’s impossible to get your pre-baby body back after pregnancy.  Some women are blessed to be able to lose the baby weight and snap back to pre-pregnancy, but for others like myself – It’s really a journey.  We all need to remember that during pregnancy, It took 9 months to gain weight, and it’s going to take some time to get it off! But consistency is key when trying to reach your goal.A lot of women ask me, how did I do it? I honestly just changed my eating habits (meaning I would eat healthy foods, and wouldn’t eat a bunch of fast food all day), I watched my calories and stayed in a caloric deficit (used an awesome calorie tracking system called MyFitnessPal – It’s FREE!) and did intense training. I loved seeing results every week during my 12 week challenge.  Just knowing that my hard work was showing, pushed me to work harder, especially because I had just delivered my 3rd baby.

I have shown great perseverance and dedication throughout this challenge even through the stressors of being a wife, mother, and nursing student.  I have inspired my family and friends to live a healthier lifestyle (or at least start).  This challenge has given me the confidence I needed. This is definitely not the end of my transformation.  I still want to achieve my lean, sexy body, and in the future possibly become a personal trainer.  I also would like to step on stage and compete in a bikini competition someday.

For more information about Khristine and her transformation, visit her blog at www.BeautyandtheBrute.com, www.facebook.com/beautyandthebrute, www.twitter.com/beautyandbrute, and www.youtube.com/beautyandthebrute.

6 Pack Abs After Pregnancy

Is it possible to get 6 pack abs after pregnancy? Absolutely yes! But, as with anything else, it will take hard work and commitment. The good news is, you already have 6 pack abs after pregnancy. The bad news is, they are covered in fat. 6 pack abs are something that all women want, but few achieve. and unfortunately, you cannot get a 6 pack by doing millions of crunches alone. But here are some steps that will help you toward nice abs after pregnancy.

  • Get 6 pack abs after pregnancy by burning mid-section fat.  Add strength and resistance training to your daily post-pregnancy workout routine. If you need to lose a few more pounds of “baby weight,” I would recommend that you do 60 to 90 minutes of cardio 5 times per week and at least 2 days of strength training. Unfortunately, it is not possible to “spot train”, but if you want a 6 pack, you will need to be around 15% BMI anyway, so get to burning those fat calories! You will burn 50 calories while stationary per day for every pound of lean muscle that you have. If you typically only do running for your cardio, add some resistance training on the elliptical or stepper. Be sure to keep your abs nice and tight the entire time you are on the machine.
  • Get 6 pack abs after pregnancy by adding interval training into your daily post pregnancy workout. Adding plyometrics and/or sprint drills to your daily workout routine will effectively burn fat calories! I typically do sprint drills at least 2 times per week (short and long sprint with back pedals and shuffles). I also do plyos almost every time I workout for at least 5 minutes. Visit my exercise video page if you need some ideas on good plyo circuits.
  • Get 6 pack abs after pregnancy by doing pilates and other ab exercises. It is important to keep your belly button in toward your spine when you are performing ab exercises after pregnancy. Do not push your abs/stomach out when you are doing the movement. Work on all areas of your abs — including your transverse obliques. It is also important to strengthen your lower back and hamstrings to stay balanced.
  • Get 6 pack abs after pregnancy by eating clean. Nice abs are made in the gym and in the kitchen! You can workout all day, but if you are not eating the right foods, you are working out to achieve a 6 pack in vain. Log your food on caloriecount.com to see if you are getting the right amount of nutrients. Stay away from white carbs and empty calories. Instead, eat whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean protein, and good fats. If it comes from the ground or has a mother — it’s fair game.
  • Try this post pregnancy ab circuit.

Before I got pregnant with Emma, I did not have a 6 pack. There were times that I had good definition in my abs, but I usually ruined it with eating too much ice cream. 🙂 However, I was satisfied with how my abs looked. After I delivered, my stomach still looked pretty flabby for the first week. 10 days after I delivered, my abs looked fine under clothes, but it took me a couple months to get my abs to a place that I felt comfortable with in a bikini. A couple months can seem like a long time if you are used to having a 6 pack. But if you are in that spot right now, don’t quit! Commit to eating well and doing the right kind of workouts, and be patient! In honestly, even now, I do not have a “6 pack” (can’t stay away from that ice cream — I need closure to my day :), but I am happy with how I look, and my core feels very strong. I hope you find the same satisfaction! But remember to keep things in perspective. Best wishes!

Tonya’s Top 10 Diet Tips

Tonya Baise, Nutritionist

Tonya Baise. Wife, fit mom, and nutrition expert.

As the obesity rate in America is on the incline and for the first time in history, our children’s expected lifespan will be less than ours, more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of our diet. The Surgeon General’s report on health states, “What we eat may affect our risk for several of the leading causes of death for Americans, notably, degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer. These disorders, together, now account for more than two-thirds of all deaths in the United States.” That may sound discouraging, but know that YOU can make a difference and change that statistic for you and your family!

About a century ago, Americans ate food that was much more “clean”. There were not as many preservatives and pesticides applied to our fruit and veggie crops. We ate less processed food and much less refined flour. Now we start the day off with chemically laden coffee and sugary doughnuts for breakfast. We also eat out at fast food restaurants more than most did 30 years ago, filling our bellies with nutrient starved “food” lacking natural rich foods such as fruits and veggies, beans and lentils, and of course we find ourselves attempting to quench our thirst with our supersized sodas (the #1 culprit of our sugar obsession).

So, where do we start if we want to change the statistics? Here are my top 10 diet tips to help you find your way to optimum health this summer!

  1. Eat a tbs. per day of ground seeds (like flax) or 1 tbs. of cold pressed seed oil.
  2. Eat 2 servings of beans, lentils, quinoa, soy or “seed” vegetables a day.
  3. Eat 2-3 pieces of fresh fruit a day such as apples, pears, bananas, berries, melon, or citrus fruit.
  4. Eat 1-2 servings a day of whole grains such as basmati rice, millet, rye, oats, corn, quinoa or whole grain breads, or pasta.
  5. Eat 3-4 servings per day of dark green, leafy, and root veggies such as watercress, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, green beans, peas, and peppers.
  6. Drink 6-8 glasses of filtered water, diluted juices or herbal or fruit teas a day.
  7. Eat whole, organic, raw food as often as you can.
  8. Avoid fried, burnt, or browned food, hydrogenated fat, and excess animal fat.
  9. Avoid sugar and refined or processed food with chemical additives, and minimize your intake of alcohol, coffee, and tea. Limiting yourself to one a day of any of these.
  10. Supplement a high-strength multivitamin and mineral, 1,000 mg of vitamin C, and essential omega-3 and omega-6 fats every day.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and just want to forget it all. So, don’t be hard on yourself. Start slow … take one thing a week or month or however long you need to make it a habit and watch the changes take place! Hoping you choose health and wellness, Tonya Baise.

Gluten Free Made Simple

Follow me on Pinterest for some gluten free recipe ideas!

Follow me on Pinterest for some gluten free recipe ideas!

My doctor confirmed this week that I have a sensitivity/allergy to wheat. It appears that pregnancy triggered the allergy (thanks Emma). In the past several months, there were days when I felt extremely bloated, had intense intestinal pain, and was practically doubled over while training clients in the gym. I thought that I must be having too much fiber from fruits and vegetables.

However, the problem became more frequent when I stopped eating desserts for Lent to support one of my gym clients who was doing the same. Because I wasn’t eating any sugary products, I replaced sweets with crackers and hummus, cereal, etc. The worst intestinal pain that I experienced was on a Friday night when I had eaten 2 servings of mini wheats earlier in the day and had a 6 inch Subway sandwich for lunch. By the time I got to the gym, my stomach felt like someone was stabbing it with daggers and twisting them in my intestines. I was doubled over in pain the entire time I was training clients. I looked back at my food log, and realized that there was a common theme … an increase in wheat on the days that I was feeling sick. So … I went to my doctor who confirmed a wheat allergy.

And that is why I am now eating gluten free! Ever since I removed wheat from my diet, I have felt awesome! I haven’t had one day of abdominal pain or bloating, my energy level (and mood) is up, and I will never go back! Here is an example of a wheat free day.

This particular day was around 1300 cals (no workout that day), and I had the proper amount of carbs, protein, fiber, sodium, fats, iron, cholesterol, and vitamins A & C I was a little low on calcium and potassium though. I plan to take a fairly simple approach – lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean meat. I bought a few gluten free cereals that get an “A” on calorie count (Honey Nut Chex) and purchased a few protein bars as well to get me through the afternoon at work. There are so many gluten free products out there, I think it will be a fairly easy transition! I certainly don’t feel deprived at all because my favorite foods are still good to go.

Breakfast:

  • Honey Nut Chex: 200 cals
  • Skim milk: 43 cals
  • Banana: 100 cals
Mid-morning snack:
  • Chocolate Brownie Cliff Bar: 240 cals. This can have “traces of wheat” but not enough to affect my tummy 🙂

Lunch:

  • Chicken breast: 116 cals
  • Brown rice:  100 cals

Mid-Afternoon snack:

  • Apple: 100 cals
  • Carb master yogurt: 80 cals
Dinner:
  • Organic spinach: 15 cals
  • Mushrooms: 15 cals
  • Walnuts: 48 cals
  • Lighten Up Vinegarette – Cranberry Walnut: 70 cals
  • Raspberries: 25 cals
  • Green beans: 45 cals
  • Carrots: 30 cals
Evening snack:
  • Frozen blueberries and yogurt: 100 cals

Total: Approx 1300 cals. Below you can see the nutrient breakdown

240 g
62 g
30 g
5.5 g
65 mg
1,115 mg
31 g
11,297+ IU
161 mg
574 mg
20 mg 
2,523 mg