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{Guest Post} Food & The Daily Battle

Welcome to Part II of the Women’s Health series here on Moi Contre La Vie. Today we’re going to hear more from Megan of Kaia F.I.T. Sacramento on the daily struggle to eat well. If you’re new to this series be sure to check out Megan’s bio {Guest Post: Women’s Health} and her previous post – Fashion of the Fitness World.

Part 2: Food… The Daily Battle

I love ice cream, especially cookies & cream. I love cheeseburgers and extra crispy french fries. I can put down a serious amount of pizza. I love crafty cocktails and champagne. I worked in fine dining restaurants for 10 years and was privileged to indulge in some amazing dishes and glasses of wine…

But now I work in the fitness industry. And I constantly try to balance my view of food… Fuel or Delicious Goodness? My answer is both.

The majority of the time, on the day-to-day, food is fuel. Looking at it that way leads me to eating cleaner, leaner, and healthier. I view myself like a machine and if I want to run properly, perform well in my workouts, and feel energetic all day, I need to provide myself with the best fuel available.

I personally feel the best when I eat multiple times throughout the day, always beginning with breakfast. I feel great when I eat lean meat and eggs, lots of veggies and greens, and fresh fruit. I like nuts and trail mix for snacks and dried fruit for dessert. Avoiding the starchy carbs, dairy, and sugar is essential to feeling good.

KaiaIV

However, coming from the restaurant industry, I love nothing more than a nice dinner out. I appreciate a perfectly cooked noodle and a salty piece of pork belly. And I absolutely love home-made ice cream and cookies at my mom’s house. These are the good things in life.

So, how do I balance it? When do I decide to devour a sandwich and when do I stick to a salad full of veggies? I practice MODERATION. I try to stick to healthy ‘fuel’ most of the time. When I treat myself to ‘carbs’ and sugar, I view it just that way… As a TREAT. I think it’s better that way anyway. I feel like crap when I eat sugar and bread days in a row and I stop appreciating it.

Everyone has to make their choices, each and every day. But awareness is where it all begins. If you never go without bread, dairy, sugar, alcohol, etc., how will you ever know how you feel without it?

Our go-to detox at Kaia FIT is 7 days without the following:

  • All starchy ‘carbs’ (bread, tortillas, rice, potatoes, etc.)
  • Sugar over 9g per serving (besides sugar naturally found in fruits/veggies)
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Processed Foods (if you can’t pronounce something on the label, avoid it!)

Eating clean is a great feeling and I highly recommend letting yourself experience it. And remember, “All things in moderation, including moderation.”

A big thank you to Megan for this great insight into her way of thinking about nutrition. It’s very easy to get into patterns of binging or restricting, so avoid all the negative side effects of both of those ways of eating and try practicing moderation as Megan has suggested.

What’s your personal approach to your daily diet?

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Beginner Fitness

In 2012 a reader came to me with a simple request – Could I help her ease into a workout routine that would put her on the path to overall better health? I documented a part of the process in the following series of posts – Want To Achieve Gym Goddess Status?, Part II, Part III, Part IV & Part V.

I’ve recently received a similar request and thought that 2013 would be a great time to share some of the details with my readers again because I think it’s such a worthwhile topic and achieving better health is widespread goal. I’m sure there have been countless New Years Resolutions related to this so why not get started on your path to health and happiness now?

In addition to providing short beginners workouts for the next few weeks, I’ll be recommending reading and do my best to keep you all motivated and inspired – Which is half the battle.

Workouts:

You want to ease into a new workout regime regardless of your current level of fitness, however if you’re not currently working out, attending classes, and/or running on a regular basis I would suggest starting with one or two small workouts a week and gradually increase to 3-5 as you start improving and feeling stronger.

Let’s start Week One with two short workouts to get us in the mood:

Day One

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of intervals on a machine of your choosing {See the suggestions under Warm Up}

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

*My recommendation is to turn this into a mini circuit workout – After your warm up do one set of planks, one set of lunges, and one set of squats, then repeat the process a second and third time to complete the circuit before your warm down.

Day Two

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

  • Reverse Lunges {FitSugar’s Back to Basics: Stationary Reverse Lunge} 3 rounds of 10 lunges on each knee
  • Crunches {Dummies.com’s How To Do Crunches} 3 rounds of 20 – Be sure to watch your form & keep your chin & elbows UP form is important w/ this move
  • Leg Lifts {Shape Magazine’s Double-Leg Lower & Lift} 3 rounds of 20

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Nutrition:

Following diets, participating in cleanses, and going through detox programs are interesting ways to find out how your body responds to things, but they’re not a way of life. Learning to eat well & make smart food choices on a daily basis is going to do much more for you than any short-term healthy eating “fix.”

Depending on your typical diet transitioning to a clean eating regime can seem pretty daunting, so to make the switch more manageable I’ll just recommend a few tips and suggest some things to cut out of your diet each week.

To start, it’s time to get cooking! Your first goal should be to cut out packaged, processed, and pre-made food from your diet. Don’t panic! That doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to order Chinese again or never enjoy a handful of chips in the future, but if you want to transition to a clean diet the first step is to eliminate all of these types of foods. So your mission for the next two weeks is to start giving up anything processed, stop hitting the drive-through, and spend more time in the kitchen and less time at restaurants.

PumpkinSeeds

Here are a few alternatives:

  • If you like chips or salty other snacks – Try raw almonds, butter-free air popped popcorn, or baby carrots w/ hummus
  • If you crave the beta-endorphin rush of sugary treats, baked goods, or candy – Switch these high calorie picks for fresh fruit, natural almond butter, or homemade sweet treats like Choosing Raw’s Cinnamon Caramelized Cauliflower or Maple Cinnamon Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Homework:

Understanding why you feel the way that you feel and how to improve your health is important. Anyone can blindly follow instructions, but learning about health, nutrition, and your body will help you for your entire life.

So with the goal of educating yourself and expanding your horizons here are some interesting articles you might enjoy:

  • Healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and nuts & seeds {in moderation} are an important part of a healthy diet. Learn more about this subject by reading Natalie Jill Fitness’s Eating Fat Will NOT Make You Fat…
  • One of the things that impacts your health almost as much as nutrition and fitness is stress. You need to pay attention not only to how much stress you have in your life, but how you deal with it – How Stress Affects the Body.

Stress

So what do you think of this new series? Are these topics and the information I provided above interesting and relevant to your life?

Disclaimer: I am not a trainer, doctor, or dietitian nor do I have any certifications associated with physical fitness or nutrition. I’m merely an enthusiast {and former athlete} who reads & does research daily and has worked out alone or with coaches & trainers since the age of 6. I am lucky enough to have access to a handful of blogs, websites, and trainers to answer my questions though. Prior to making any dramatic changes to your fitness routine or diet I suggest that you consult a physician.

For more inspiration, my daily workout routines, and more Moi Contre La Vie you can find me on these platforms:

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Links You’ll Love

Let’s start this Sunday off with some INSPIRATION – Wise Words: 24 Inspiring Prints to Start Your Day

Fashion:

I’d hate to label myself as lazy, but even I have to admit that I definitely get into fashion ruts so… Stop Being Lazy: 7 Chic AND Easy Switch-Outs from Refinery 29 with fun new options like trading your old, torn cut-offs for some adorable printed shorts or trying cropped trousers so you can give up your legging habit. Definitely some great ideas!

If you’re looking for some new products to add to your skin care routine why not take some Kiehl’s suggestions from Italian blogger and fashion It Girl Eleonora Carisi – I Can’t Live Without.

Need some fabulous fashion inspiration for your next tropical vacation? Unstoppable Style: Poppy Delevingne Shares Her Ultimate Summer Wish List.

Want to create the perfect pair of jean shorts this Summer? Follow The Glamourai’s step by step instructions and enjoy the fabulous results! { DIY } Denim Cut-Offs.

If you’re in the market for updating your accessories stash or just looking for some advice on styling, why not turn to a professional? Anna Dello Russo – 10 TOP Rules for ACCESSORIES.

Health & Fitness:

A major part of finding internal motivation to hit the gym or trails is feeling comfortable and confident in your workout clothes. A great pair of pants that highlight your assets are going to get you out the door much faster than a tattered, stretched out pair of yoga pants. Trust me. Check out The Fitnessista’s recommendations – Summer Workout Gear.

Who better to give health & fitness tips than someone whose livelihood is based on their body? Top model Izabel Goulart shares her Five Minute Brazilian Butt Workout with Modelinia. What else does she mention? Walking! I just can’t recommend it enough – Low Intensity Fasted Cardio!

If you need to amp up the healthy fats in your diet avocados are the perfect choice during Summer, so pick some up next time you’re at the store and take of these recipes for a spin – 5 New Ways to Use Avocado.

Finding the right snack to give you energy and satisfy you before a workout without causing a sugar crash or an upset or overly filled stomach is a balancing act. See what Fit Bottomed Girls suggest – 4 New Healthy Snacks to Put in Your Gym Bag.

In the mood to get a little creative in the kitchen? Why not whip up some healthy desserts in the form of vegan ice cream? I made Choosing Raw’s Blueberry Ginger Ice Cream and it was divine, so follow my lead and give one of these tasty recipes a try – Veg Out: Dairy-Free and Delish Ice Cream Recipes.

No matter what your diet is, putting together a good grocery list is a Must. Check out FitSugar’s 7 Grocery Shopping Tips For a Plant-Based Approach or Caveman Strong’s Grocery List Paleo Style.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend and has a great Sunday! I’ll be back tomorrow to share with you all weekend in sunny, secluded Fallen Leaf Lake.

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Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

Want some advice on stretching your existing wardrobe and how to make the pieces that you have work in multiple ways? Thought so! Everyday Reading – One Piece Many Ways.
 
Remember the adorable Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei romance Only You? The Design Sponge brings you clothes, accessories, and houseware products reminiscent of the sweet rom com – Living In: Only You.
 
Anna_DR_Joana_Avillez_CORRECTED
 
Fashion can be fun! Check out Refinery 29’s An Illustrated Guide To Fashion’s Biggest Icons featuring illustrations of fashion’s most legendary and colorful characters including Marc Jacobs, Anna Dello Russo, Daphne Guinness, Diane Pernet, Anna Piaggi, Iris Apfel, and many more!
 
I’ve adored Peter Pilotto’s last few collections and if you’re not familiar you should check out Olivia Palermo’s review of – Lines We Love: Peter Pilotto.
 
 
If you love resortwear with a fabulous vintage feel than the Caftan is probably right up your alley for your next vacation. Whether you’re throwing it over a swim suit in your resort, wearing it with leggings for dinner when the wind picks up, or just with sandals and chunky jewelry as you explore the city, it’s the perfect piece to invest in to give your vacation a fun, hippie twist. Don’t believe me? Read The Glamourai’s { In The Market } For Caftans and tell me you’re not DYING to try one!
 
 
Health/Fitness:
 
 
Interested in adding the oh-so-healthy chia seed to your diet for some much-needed nutrients and omegas? Read FitSugar’s Bring On the Omegas! Products That Contain Chia Seeds and try making OhSheGlow’s Easy Overnight Buckwheat Parfait with chia seeds.
 
Think you can get away with skipping weight training during your gym time? Nope! The Zen of the Barbell. Not convinced? Sports Medicine – Why Women Should Lift Weights.
 
Sometimes trying something new in the kitchen can be a little nerve-racking. Are you preparing it right? Will the recipe turn out? Should you have tried something else? Check out this Sexy Swiss Chard brought to you by Candice Kumai – author of Pretty Delicious: Lean and Lovely Recipes for a Healthy, Happy New You and the talent behind The Stiletto Chef blog –  and get a great tutorial on cooking the powerhouse veggie Swiss Chard.
 
 
Need some new low-calorie treat ideas for hot summer days? Are you a big fan of Greek yogurt? Check out YumSugar’s Taste Test: 15 Greek Frozen Yogurts.
 
Even fashionistas know the benefits of coconut oil! Check out The Stylist’s Coconut Oil For Skin, Hair, Body: 6 Things To Know About The Super Ingredient. Curious about how other fashion insiders approach health and nutrition? Check out this new video from blogger Shea Maria of Cheyenne Meets Chanel fame – Health 101: Eat This Not That Part 1.
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A Healthy Surprise

After my sad discovery about the closure of the healthy snack company Lollihop I was thrilled to find another snack delivery company out there called Healthy Surprise.

Not only was this little box was chock full of delicious goodies, Healthy Surprise really makes an effort to support organic, fair trade, green, and/or socially aware companies as well as expanding their reach each month to new brands and healthier, more diverse choices.

I was surprised by how small and sleek the box was, they do a great job with the package and there’s very little excess wrapping and packing materials, which is an eco-efficient approach that I especially like.

The contents were quite varied, the box included everything from bars and raw crackers to nuts and kale chips. I like trying new things and giving new flavors a go, which is one of the major reasons that I like these boxes (and CSAs) – They force you to get outside of your comfort zone and usual purchasing routines.

Apple Pecan Two Degrees Bar – The ingredient list for this bar are awesome. Vegan, gluten-free AND it containing quinoa, chia seeds, and millet. Oh, and it was absolutely scrumptious. Gooey, chewy, not too sweet, tangy, filling, and wholesome. Bonus? The company has a great program in place and for every Two Degrees bar you buy, they will donate a meal to a hungry child.

Seriously, does it get any better than this?

Apple Cinnamon Raw Revolution Bar – TASTY! I love Raw Revolution Bars, these organic live food bars have always been high on my list. The Chocolate Coconut flavor remains the reigning champion as far as I’m concerned, though the Apple Cinnamon was quite good. Side note – This bar was pretty small – it was gone in just a couple bites which is always sad.

That’s It Bar – “1 Apple + 10 Cherries in this fruit bar” is the tagline, which I think is great, more companies should approach their products this way. The ingredients are really just apples and cherries. Pure! 100 calories, 3 grams of protein and they’re gluten-free, kosher, vegan, and have zero fat. Quite the healthy little bar.

Livin’ Spoonful Coconut Curry Crackers – Gluten free, vegan, raw sprouted crackers. Don’t be intimidated by the name of this healthy snack, it’s DELICIOUS. Really light in flavor, with a great crunch and texture. Even the boyfriend happily enjoyed a few bites. To top it off, Livin’ Spoonful is a great little company focusing on healthy, gluten-free living and has the motto “a garden in every bite.”

Twin Cakes Cashew Coconut Biscotti – I mentioned my love of Twin Cakes (the North Carolina-based bakery run by the twins who write the Pure2Raw blog) when I discussed gluten-free products – Gluten: The Good, The Bad & The Itchy. I’ve ordered virtually everything that their site has to offer at one point or another and not a single product has disappointed. In the past I’ve especially loved their raw crackers and snack bites, however their biscotti is now my new favorite. So. Good. Very coconut-y and dense, but a little bit chewy. Delicious!

Alive & Radiant Foods Southwest Ranch Kale Krunch – Kale chips are a great snack, but an acquired taste for some. They’re baked greens so there’s not a ton of crunch, but they’re pretty satisfying nonetheless. I really enjoyed this flavor, I’ve only ever had a few vegan ranch flavored snacks that I’ve enjoyed, frequently they taste nothing like ranch and are a disappointment. Not these though!

Righteously Raw Chocolate Maca Bar – I wanted so badly to like this bar, the packaging is beautiful and the information on the bar is top-notch. Gluten-free, no refined sugar, soy & dairy free, contained over 55 phytonutrients, increases energy & vitality, and balances hormones & increases libido. It looks like a large Kit Kat bar but unfortunately I really didn’t enjoy the taste. I like maca and use it in smoothies regularly, but this bar was not to my liking.

Samba 99 Cupuacu – This “original antioxidant super fruit bar” contains organic cupuacu pulp, organic Brazil nuts, organic cane sugar, pectin, and citric acid. Not familiar with Cupuacu? This “super food” contains Omega 3 and 6, Vitamins B1, B2, & B3, essential fatty acids and amino acids.  It helps boost your immune system, and helps improve the health of your skin and hair. This chewy bar is a great pre-workout snack, a zing of sugar with a little protein, easy to digest and a great source of energy.

Hail Merry Orange-Rosemary Pecans – I don’t even like rosemary and I absolutely loved these nuts. Sweet and salty, and really satisfying. This snack is raw, vegan, and gluten-free and here’s what they have to say about their process: “Hail Merry first soaks her nuts to activate the living enzymes, which aid in proper digestion. We then dehydrate at very low temperatures to protect these enzymes as well as the delicate essential fatty acids.” Tasty and healthy, what more do you need in a snack?

I hope you find these reviews helpful, I really enjoyed my first box and I was thrilled with not on the variety of options Healthy Surprise provided, but also the types of companies they are choosing to support. Couldn’t have chosen better myself. So if you’re in the market for some healthy snacks, I highly recommend giving this company a chance!

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