Chia Seeds are Awesome!

This morning, one of my awesome Ginger Fit & Healthy Facebook fans, asked me about the benefits of Chia Seeds If she is curious, I know others are, too!  So, check out the info and comment below with questions OR if you’re already including chia seeds in your diet, share how you use them.  Have a fit & fun day!  ❤ Jen the Ginger

Why you should add chia seeds to your diet!

Why you should add chia seeds to your diet!

The Cooking Bug & Why Just Showing Up Isn’t Enough

Lately, I have been enjoying my time in the kitchen more than ever before.  In the morning I check out what’s in the fridge and freezer, take out meat or fish to thaw, then type into Google the ingredients I have to work with, and add the word “Paleo”.  This normally yields dozens of awesome recipes.  I quickly look over the first and second page of the results, and save my favorite one or two recipes (If I like elements from multiple recipes, I combine  them).  Then, I don’t have to worry about dinner the rest of the day.

Ken is loving this.  I’ve been cooking nearly every night and he is impressed with how delicious eating healthy can be.  Check out the Quick Paleo Lamb Stir Fry I made last night using my left over grilled lamb from dining out Sunday night at the Turkish restaurant.

Even though it’s fewer than 300 calories, it was really filling and flavorful.   So, even though it’s Summer, the today here in Boston is only in the low 50s and I’m craving a hot soup.  I’m working with chicken tonight and think I’m going to try one of these Paleo soup recipes:  Thai Coconut Chicken Soup , Chicken-Coconut-Lime-Basil Soup, or “Creamy” Chicken Tomato Soup.

Do you have a Paleo recipe I should try?  Post it in the comments or on my Facebook Page.

On a different note, you have probably heard those motivational quotes saying things like, “Getting to the starting line/out the front door/lacing up your shoes is the hardest part,” and I know what they’re getting at, but it’s not true for everyone.  In the last week I have seen so many people who completed “the hardest part” by making it to the gym, getting their workout clothes on, and even climbing onto a machine, but were burning no more calories than they would leisurely tapping their feet while sitting on the sofa watching Seinfeld.  Standing off to the side of the treadmill, and texting does not burn calories.  Sitting on an exercise mat and checking your email doesn’t burn calories either.  If you make the time and take the effort to go to the gym – freaking BE AT THE GYM.  The emails are going to be there when you are done.  Your friend will understand if you text them in an hour.   Do you feel like you aren’t getting enough out of your gym time?  Here are some tips:

* Leave your phone in the locker room/car/at home.  If you want to listen to music, use an iPod.

*Don’t read on the cardio machines.  Opt for an audio book or podcast instead.  Focus on your speed, the effort you are putting into it.

*Make a plan.  Know what you are going to do when you get to the gym and have it written down.  Know what exercises you are doing, in what order, how many reps, sets, etc.  That way you aren’t standing around trying to decide what do to next.  Also, it’s good to be flexible on the order.  If a machine is in use when you need it, go on to the next exercise is possible as to not waste time.

*If possible, arrive at the gym in your workout clothes to avoid crowded locker rooms.  This is a great way to cut down on time if you workout during peak morning/lunch/evening hours.

*If you suck at going to the gym – you are distracted by good-looking people, obnoxious weight lifters, socializing, consider taking your workout outside – run, bike, try a rowing class, rollerblading, or workout at home.

Get in. Get it done. Get out.

Do you have gym productivity tips?  Share them in the comments.

Riding 50 Miles and Not Getting Anywhere + The Big Challenge of Dining Out

Yesterday, the weather in Boston was awful.  I rained all day and was just down right dreary.  Ken and I slept in until about 8, because who doesn’t like to stay in bed when it’s gray out.  Then, after eating a bit, I went to the gym in my building for a nice ride on the stationary bike.  Basically, I spun my legs for 2 hours and 49 minutes, riding a total of 50.02 miles.  When I tell people of these long rides on the stationary bike, they ask how I can do it.  How can you just sit there for that long.

I looked out on a gloomy Boston during my 50 mile indoor bike ride

Well, here are my answers:

1.  I work with what I have.  My building has a small gym I have access to for free.  It has 2 elliptical machines, 2 treadmills, 1 regular stationary bike, 1 recumbent stationary bike, a decline abs bench, and a circuit weight machine where you can do a total of 7 exercises, I believe.  I don’t have a good road bike (it’s on my wish list), nor do I feel confident to ride long in the Boston traffic, so the stationary bike does me just fine.

2.  On the stationary bike, I’m in control of everything.  No need to worry about traffic, stop lights, flats, excessive wind or rain.  I just set the resistance and go.  Now, I do think that the factors of biking outdoors are part of what makes it fun, but I often enjoy the simplicity of hitting the gym especially when it’s nasty out.

3.  I love NPR.  While I’m on the bike, I enjoy listening to NPR or some good music.  The time actually flies by when I’m laughing at Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, Car Talk, or humming along to a favorite song.

After knocking out my 50 miles, I cooked a recovery meal of eggs, sweet potatoes and avocado, ran some errands and did some cleaning.  I love that I am strong enough now that I can run or ride a significant distance, and feel pretty dang awesome afterward.

After my 50 mile ride

So, last night’s dinner out with friends at Brookline Family Turkish Restaurant was a bigger challenge than I anticipated.  I checked out the menu beforehand and had chosen salmon with eggplant and an arugula salad.  When looking at their menu, I didn’t see any alcohol offerings, and I thought I remembered my Turkish pal, Sean, who has eaten at the restaurant several times, saying they didn’t have alcohol.  I didn’t think I’d have that temptation.

Well, when I arrived I saw that they did have wine and beer.  I decided then that I would have a couple of glasses, but no more.  When I told Sean what I was going to order he said that wasn’t even Turkish and recommended the Grilled Lamb served with a tomato, cucumber and onion salad.  I decided that would be a healthy, Paleo, Turkish option.

As everyone dug into their Turkish pizza appetizer while we waited on another friend to arrive, I drank water, sipped my Cabernet,  and answered questions as to why I wasn’t eating.  Everyone was supportive and didn’t bug me too much.  When our main course rolled out I was amazed at how much food was there.  I decided that I would eat the salad and half that grilled lamb.  I had to estimate on the calories (especially on the amount of olive oil used on the large salad), but in the end I think dinner was around 765 calories without drinks.  Wine added another 245.  So, 1000 calorie meal out, something I can’t do often and shouldn’t be doing at all during this challenge. But, I was really hungry after riding 50 miles on the stationary bike and feel like I made smart decisions up until this point.

Then, dessert came out.  I was strong.  I was offered “just a bite” a couple of times and declined.  But then, I was confronted with my weakness again.  The crew wanted to go out for a couple of more drinks.   I had already reached my self-imposed two drink limit but I had only had one drink on Friday, so I rationalized and told myself I could have Friday’s second drink now.  So, off to The Asgard we went.  Ken climbed into the car with our pals Sean, Bea, and Paula to give them directions, and I rode with a new friend, Phil, who I discovered is an ultra runner!!!  We talked the whole way about the 100 miler he did a couple of years back (San Diego 100 – I just checked his results and he finished in 23:41.  Pretty awesome!), the differences between road and trail running, future running goals, races, and the beauty found out on the trail.

You’d think all this talk would make me super honed in on my 30 day fitness goal, but the moment I walked into the bar, I was ready to order what I had decided was my last drink of the night.  I ordered a Stoli dirty martini and sipped it for the next 45 minutes, primarily because they had made it so dirty I couldn’t bear to drink it any faster.   But then, the curve ball was thrown – someone ordered Patron Silver shots.  I took the bait.

Image Credit: lechicelefant.com

So, just two days into my 30 day challenge and I failed to follow my own rules.  I’m chalking it up to a learning experience and going to do my damnedest to succeed from here on out.