Snap Out Of The Recipe Rut

When the mood strikes me to cook, get out of my kitchen!  Occasionally I get tired of eating the same food and have the time to try something new.

Sunday was the case. I cooked roasted peppers, quinoa stuffed peppers, brussels sprouts, broccoli, sea scallops, a small piece of salmon, baked drum sticks (for my family), center cut pork loin (for me), and plain oven baked sweet potatoes (for me).  Lol!  Was in the kitchen from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  On the brighter side- By 7:00 p.m., my meal prep was completed for the week.  High 5!!

If you’re stuck in a recipe rut, I don’t have the answers, but Pinterest does… at least for me.  On Pinterest, I can find everything, so if you’re stuck, just search a favorite ingredient like avocado, quinoa, yams, rice, or whatever you’re into.

How do I go about selecting a new recipe? I look for:

  • a nutritious recipe or at least one I can change & make healthier
  • a recipe that has at least one or two main ingredients that I favor
  • an attractive dish; something that is pretty to look at
  • prep time – How much time do I have to spend cooking and how much time do I want to spend on cooking the dish
  • unconventional usage of an ingredient

Here are few of my favorites:

Recently I tried this Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

red stuffed pepper

Stuffed pepper before baking

yellow stuffed pepper

After baking. See what I mean about looking pretty?  How could you not want to eat something so colorful and appetizing?!

To make food interesting, sometimes it’s just a matter of preparing the food in a different way or swapping out ingredients to infuse the dish with a new flavor.

I now favor my broccoli roasted with fresh garlic and olive oil. I‘ve fallen in love with it oven cooked, plus it is less likely to overcook in the oven than stove top. This method is no fuss, quick, nutritious, and delish!  Once you go “oven style,” you won’t go back!  ūüôā

This Caribbean Salad is beautiful!  I can’t wait to try this one!!

Image & recipe courtesy of bestrecipes.com

Image & recipe courtesy of bestrecipes.com

Lastly, be open to try new foods.  I’m eating food that I didn’t know existed a few years ago.

One of my favorite easy go to is baked spaghetti squash.  First of all, it’s no fuss cooking. Second, it’s mild in flavor so you can mix it with just about anything.  Third, it’s like eating FREE FOOD!!  Lol!

1 Serving ( 250 ml/ 1 cup) of Spaghetti Squash is 33 calories and only 5 grams of calories from fat!

Protein:  .6g

Fat:         .6g

Carbs:    6.9g

Come on!!  Why wouldn’t you eat this!  Add grilled shrimp, salmon, sea scallops, or whatever else you chose and you’ll have the most delightful meal!

Wait one more!! I don’t eat ice cream and haven’t for many years now.  Recently I tried a new recipe and Lawd!!   I’m in trouble!!

I couldn’t wait for my “Healthy” ice-cream to completely freeze, but it was OUTSTANDING!!  My version of chocolate ice-cream is from, where else but Pinterest.  I ran out of peanut butter, so I added a two teaspoons of the coconut milk.  There’s a lot of fat in the coconut milk. 

  

Delicious!!  ūüôā 

I hope that I’ve inspired you to try and to seek out new recipes.   If you are on a journey to improve your lifestyle by getting fit and eating smarter replacing your old recipes with cleaner and more nutritious ones is an excellent first step.

Be encouraged and make it a fabulous day! ūüôā


My Figure Competition Recap

‚ÄúPersistence. Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane.‚ÄĚ

‚Äē¬†Criss Jami,¬†Killosophy

Since last week, I have been trying to sort through and compose all of my¬†fragmented¬†thoughts into a coherent blog post. I’m not sure that I’m quite there yet, but here’s a try.

To transform or to convert is to change

Once you whole-heartedly commit to bodybuilding, you experience a shift in your thinking and ultimately your body will transform into another entity.

“Whole-heartedly,” means not just consistently working out inside the gym, but more importantly, taking responsibility for your actions at home in the kitchen, in the grocery store, during your lunch breaks at work, at family and friends homes, the local convenient store, and while sitting at the table dining in restaurants.

It means committing to educate yourself on every aspect of developing and improving your physique. ¬†Want better…Learn better…Do Better… It’s an ongoing and never-ending journey.

Deviation away from the model is, well– less than 100% committed.

There’s no critiquing here– I am simply putting the truth out there. ¬†In terms of fitness goals, you¬†set your own goals.¬†¬†What you put into it is exactly what¬†you are going to get out of it. ¬†The process is not as complicated as people make it. ¬†Most people¬†want it¬†but are not willing to do what is required to get there and it’s okay if bodybuilding is not for you.

But if you really want to get in shape, the commitment is the same. Forget all the crazy quick fix programs out there, because they are not lifestyle changes. ¬†They’re a band-aid; a temporary fix. ¬†Eventually you will return to your old habits if not worse. Okay.. enough of my tangent.

I brought up the topic of “change” first because I am still flabbergasted by how bodybuilding¬†has sculpted my 49 year-old body.

If you are new to my page, this was my second figure competition. ¬†May 2014 was my first. I swore to myself that I would be a “one and done” competitor; however, I was wrong. My friend, who has and continue to help me reach my fitness goals, told me that I would do it again. ¬†Ha! ¬†She was right.

So this second go around was different from the first show.  After my first show, I continued training. The weight training, particularly, has become an extension of my lifestyle. I have worked out all my life; running, aerobics, martial arts, and CrossFit (which I still love!). Healthy living has always been a part of my life, but weight training has elevated my game.  Lol!  I love the results.

Second Show Musings

My decision to compete came about some time in December ’14 and only after nudging from my friend.¬† I figured, since I was already training, why not just do the show. The show was close to home and smaller than the Brick show.

The mechanics of how the body changes is an amazing process.  My first show was all about getting stronger so I could lift heavier and build muscle.  I never stopped training after the Brick show last year, so the strength was there and I could lift heavier.

On average, working around my son’s basketball schedule I trained three to four days per week; occasionally hooking up with my friend. The last two months, I worked out more like five days a week.

Seven Days Out

The week before the show, was hell! Yes, I said it!  Lol!

I weighed more going into it this time, which is good.  However, to lean out  I had to make two dramatic changes.

  1. Do cardio training twice a day
  2. Consume a strict diet of greens and proteins

During regular training, my daily caloric intake was 2400-2700. ¬†By the week of the show, my caloric intake reduced to 2200. ¬† Please don’t mimic this. ¬†Every human body is different. What works for one person probably will not work for another. ¬†This regime was completely different from my first show.

So what made the last week so ugly?

  1. Every morning after using the bathroom, I weighed myself, while hoping and praying I dropped at least a pound. ¬†Chile, ¬†this isn’t my normal! ¬†I rarely get on a scale. My clothes pretty much tell me how what I weigh. ¬†If my pants are tight, I gained weight, if they’re lose, I lost weight. ¬†¬†I didn’t like the anxiety that came along with the¬†anticipation¬†of meeting a “weight” goal. Ugh!
  2. I did cardio¬†before¬†work at 4 O’clock in the morning and after work! ¬†“Cardio” consisted of¬†20 minutes of¬†HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). ¬†What’s this?
    1. Something like…. ¬† 25 jumping jacks; 10-15 push ups; 30 seconds of mountain climbers, planking then repeating the exercises for several rounds.
    2. I also used the treadmill: ¬†Walking on an incline for a minute or two; running for a minute at a speed of 6.0, and then walking with no incline for a minute–then repeat.
    3. To mix it up and keep from getting bored, I incorporated Jacobs ladder and the beast The StairMaster
  3. Everyday I ate the same meal, chicken and spinach, every three hours: 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and 9 p.m. ¬†chicken and spinachI was so darn tired of eating chicken and greens, I actually dreamed, maybe hallucinated, about eating ribs. ¬†Hahaha! And I don’t even eat ribs, but I did in my dreams. ¬†Oh yeah… You wanna know the worst part? ¬†The damn chicken was NOT seasoned; neither was the spinach. ¬†The bland spinach was okay, but the chicken– well you can imagine. ¬†Half way through the week, I squeezed fresh lemon juice on the chicken; that helped a teeny-weeny bit. I don’t mean to gross you out, but when I pooped… that was dark green too!!¬†TMI (too much information).. I know.
  4. I learned that water is a natural diuretic, which is why I drank so much of it. At one point, I was drinking two liters daily, but closer to the end of the week, I slowly decreased my water intake.

My body was literally under construction.  The cool thing is that everyday I saw subtle changes in my body.  My abs started coming through, and the muscles that I worked so hard to develop became more evident.

Note:  When you see photos online and in magazines of professional body builders, they have leaned out for the sake of the photo shoot.  Most bodybuilders do not walk around perfectly cut everyday.

Five (5) days out I was so wired. ¬†Like hyped! ¬†I don’t know why, but I had trouble focusing at work. I felt like I needed to go for a ten-mile run to settle down. ¬†Lol! ¬†I’m not sure if it was the diet, anxiety, a combination of the two or something else. ¬†Thankfully, by Thursday, I was more settled. ¬†I felt calmer but yet short on patience. ¬†Hubby and B’Dazzle¬†can¬†speak on that. ¬†ūüôā

Nearly every day, I practiced posing in the fitness room at the gym.

To critique my body positioning, I wore super short shorts and a sports bra. ¬†You’d think I would be comfy with my body, but I¬†was still aware of the guys who walked into the room to do crunches, to hit the bag or something else. ¬†I learned to not care if they were watching. Wearing my ear buds, I’d “turn up and tune out” ¬†turn up the music and tune them out. ¬†Lol! ¬†Occasionally I’d peep folks standing on the outside looking in!

I struggled with song selection. During the show/competition and after “pre-judging” each contestant is given the opportunity to strut their stuff for about 30 seconds. You can get very creative with this segment. ¬†Small props can be used along with your favorite music.

While I had trouble coming up with ideas, my friend gave me a couple of cute ideas, but time and confidence was not in my favor, so I stayed with the basics.

My NEXT show–yup I said, it! ¬†My “next’ show, I’ll do a little somin’-somin’ ¬†Heck I couldn’t even decide on one song. ¬†I told my friend, “I’m not a stage performing” kind of girl. Give me a microphone and I will talk, but that’s it. ¬† As a young girl, I wrestled and played football with the boys. ¬†I didn’t take dance, gymnastics, or ballet, so coming up with some “girly” routine doesn’t come natural. I will definitely work on something for the next

Showtime

The day of the show, I woke up refreshed, but guess what? ¬†Since I was only privileged to a “sip” of black coffee with no sugar, I skipped it. ¬†I think I had like two ounces of chicken and a rice cake or two. Then the same thing a few hours later. Haahahahah! ¬†I did talk about commitment right? ¬†Actually, this wasn’t bad.

I was too busy trying to get my belly button re-pierced. ¬†I think my friend hit the roof when I told her that on my way to the competition I was going to the parlor to get it done! ¬†OMG!! Rightfully she was concerned about possible swelling or irritation. ¬†My previous piercing got infected from the spray tan and closed. ¬†I’d been meaning to get it redone, but… well, you know, my time is limited. ¬†Anyways, I got it done. ¬†I just had to have my belly ring for the stage. ¬†Thankfully, I didn’t have any problems. ¬†ūüôā ¬† If you want something, go for it.

I arrived at the show and we (men and women) were jammed into a small room, where hair, make up, and muscle pumping took place. Although the event is a competition, most competitors are friendly. ¬†I think there’s a deep level of respect because we all put the work in and made similar sacrifices.

Funny, I was the only black chick in this show. The show in Brick, NJ last year, had a hand full. ¬†For whatever reason, we’re few and far between. ¬†It doesn’t both me tho. ¬†The first show I attended, as a audience member, I noticed that that there weren’t any women of color on stage– that is one of two reasons I decided to do it. ¬†The other reason was out of pure curiosity of what I would like after training. Now I know! Hehe!

Walking on stage felt so good. I could hear my husband and friends in the audience cheering me on. ¬†Talk about feeling empowered. I did have a hiccup tho. ¬†I brought the wrong CD so I had to walk on a different song. ¬†It wasn’t a big deal because my attitude as it relates to stage presence was in my head not in the music. ¬†With that said, you bet it won’t happen again.

Overall I did well. ¬†I was the only competitor in Master’s (40 years old and older), so I got first place. ¬†I wish the division had others, but that’s for next time. ¬†ūüôā

I placed second in Figure, Open B.  Due to the number of figure competitors, we were split into Group A and Group B.  I was in Group B and placed 2nd.  The top two winners in Group A & B competed; I placed 3rd in open.

Final Thoughts 

I was shooting for 1st in open. ¬†I would be lying if I didn’t tell say that I was disappointed with my results, however disappointment is good for me.

Disappointment has made me assess all of the photos, mine and my competitors.

I critiqued my poses, my walk,  and my muscles to the T and know exactly what I need to do for the next show.

On the brighter side, I competed with and held my own against women who were much younger than I.  Now that sh** felt good!  Lol!

Equally as awesome is that many of these women are moms with kids. ¬†One gorgeous competitor has five kids! Isn’t that wonderful!! ¬†These women are empowered to care for their family and spouses, but also find time to engage in an activity that is important to¬†them, which is what we all should be doing.

Don’t put your entire life on hold for your family; that’s ridiculous and, in the long run, you won’t be happy. ¬†You think you will, but you won’t. ¬†You’ll find out… maybe years later. Carve time out for yourself. ¬†If you’re a mom and or wife, you will become a better person for doing so. ¬†Life is short. ¬†Yeah I know that’s a clich√©, but it’s true.

Find your passion and go for it! ¬†ūüôā

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My favorite picture from the competition.