Hey there! It’s been a while since we’ve just chatted. You know about life, fitness, and non-recipes.
Sometimes we have to do that. To just catch up. I hope this doesn’t bore you.
First let me start out by saying that I LOVE salad bars. All of the healthy quinoa salads, kale galore, and every veggie you could imagine is a dream.
Usually I tend to go vegetarian at the salad bars but if I’m extra hungry I’ll get a little chicken. Then there’s always spinach, kale, and romaine for a bit of crunch. I top my salad with chickpeas, grape tomatoes, olives, red peppers, peas and mushrooms. Oh and red onion! I adore red onions. Lastly I drizzle a bit of red wine vinegar and sometimes a dash of sesame oil. TOTAL NOMS.
Few things are better than salad bars.
Except for chocolate.
My favorite is the Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee. It has a hint of wine and blackberry flavor.
SO SO GOOD. What’s your fav?
I”m very fond of Greek Yogurt. Actually no, I would say obsessed.
Here’s a fun twist on it I found. YUMMY.
I get to do cool things for work. Like hang out with this guy!
I wanted to tell you about an amazing non-profit organization called Echoing Good who is currently hosting an online bake sale auction to raise money for some really incredible projects in Uganda. And guess what? My Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt are up for bidding! That’s right, bid the highest amount and I will personally ship you some these heavenly cookies.
This cause is incredibly important to me, and an easy way for us all to contribute to something good. In fact, 100% of the proceeds of will benefit Echoing Good and the amazing project work they do.
From Echoing Good:
How to bid: Please help support this wonderful cause by simply heading to Echoing Good’s Facebook page, make sure you like the page, then start bidding on some sweet treats by some very talented food bloggers! The bidding ends July 20th at 2pm Pacific. Winners will be notified within 24 hours, and treats will be shipped within a week.
Let me know if you guys have any questions!
Let me tell you about this guy I used to date.
He was nice, fun and quite interesting. Adventurous, too! Unfortunately, he was also incredibly challenging. Quite frankly, he annoyed me quite a bit… but in that good sort of way. Does that make sense?
Anyway no hard feelings there. The point I’m getting across is that my relationship with him is quite comparable to my relationship with yoga.
It’s challenging, yet rewarding. Both fun and difficult all at the same time. Most of all it’s something to experience. Because who are we, if not for our experiences?
I’ve been practicing yoga for about 3 years and find it to be one of the most rewarding workouts. Not to be a complete hippie, but it’s really taught me a lot about myself, reduced my stress, and kept me happy during tough times. Obviously better than any boyfriend.
So, what’s this yoga challenge about?
My yoga studio offers several different types of yoga classes, all in a heated environment. They recently posted a yoga challenge called Mount Everest, and I was immediately curious. The goal of the challenge is to yoga every day for the next 6 weeks. Whoever reaches 35 classes first wins! You can also double up on your classes; I’ll probably do that two times a week.
I wanted to share this all with you and document my experience, and also perhaps offer a little inspiration and encouragement along my journey.
Here’s what I’ll be sharing:
- Calories burned: I just purchased a heart rate monitor off of Amazon, so as soon as it arrives in the mail, I’ll be wearing it to all of my classes to help document how many calories I’ve burned.
- Food: I don’t plan on posting what I’m eating all the time, but instead include some photos of my meals in weekly recaps. For the next month, I’m giving up alcohol, peanut butter, and most wheat. I’ll be sticking to a high protein diet, healthy gluten free grains, and avoiding anything processed. I’ll also be switching to organic fruits and veggies. It’s a good thing I’ve been saving up recipes to post!
- Weight loss: I’ll track weekly any weight loss along with how I’m feeling or if I’m noticing any changes in my body or emotions.
- Recaps of favorite work outs: I’m not going to jotting down my moves while in class, but I might share a fun move or how many sit-ups I did, etc.
I’m curious, what has your fitness experience been? Have you tried yoga?
Have a wonderful 4th of July! xo
It’s time to talk nutrition, clean eating and weight loss on Ambitious Kitchen. I’m sure you all know how important it is to feed your body with nourishing, good-for-you foods. You could run for an hour every single day but if you aren’t eating right, you’ll never see the results you desire. To top it all off, there are SO MANY diet out there; how do you even know what’s right? While I agree that it’s best to eat for your body type and what makes you feel good, I am also a huge advocate of clean eating.
So, what is clean eating? It’s basically a no-junk approach to your diet, plus it’s actually incredibly simple AND delicious! You don’t have to sacrifice the things you love, you just make alternative choices.
Here are some examples:
- Roasted vegetables with herbs instead of chips — I roast veggies with a tiny bit of olive oil and an array of spices. YUM!
- Sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes — Sweet potatoes are a complex carb, which means they take longer for your body to break down. I love topping mine with a tiny bit of almond butter or maple syrup.
- Water instead of juice or a latte — Always reach for water. Most of the time when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty.
- Nonfat plain Greek yogurt instead of sugar-packed ice cream — I could go on forever about the benefits of Greek yogurt and how I like to use it in recipes. My favorite swap is adding a packet of Truvia to Greek yogurt, then swirling in fresh fruit, pumpkin butter, peanut butter, or sometimes cocoa powder. Amazing!
- Whole grain bread instead of white — If you must have bread, always go with whole grain or whole wheat. Read labels and watch out for breads with sugar added or high fructose corn syrup. Sprouted bread is great too.
- Eggs instead of waffles every morning — It’s best to start your day off with a healthy breakfast. Think high protein and low sugar. Make a great choice to start the day, and you’re likely to stick with it.
So you’ve probably heard all of those before, right? Yes, eating clean is a conscious choice but it can also be a constant battle. Come on, are you kidding? I’m not perfect. I drool over Bon Appetit magazine and sometimes I just really crave an ice cream cone from McDonald’s. However, I live by the 80/20 rule which means most days I’m eating simple and clean. This makes me feel better, more confident, and in general, happier. I love the way my body feels when I’m eating healthy foods. Simply put, eating an apple is much more energizing then eating an Oreo. Wouldn’t you agree?
Now I’m not an expert or a nutritionist, I can only speak from my own experiences with weight gain/loss, dieting, and in general being a female. Obviously there’s a huge amount of pressure on women these days, and it’s easy to feel uncomfortable in your own skin. Most importantly, you also have to remember that only YOU are in control of your habits. If you want to make a change, you have to start somewhere. It’s certainly not going to be an easy road, but the good news is that little changes absolutely lead to BIG results!
If you’re not sure where to start on your road to clean eating and weight loss, here are my biggest tips:
- Know how many calories you should be eating, then write down everything you eat. Yes, this is annoying but it will be a crucial part of your success. Monitoring what you are putting in your body is SO important. Most of the time we are unaware of how many calories that we’re actually consuming. I like to use the MyFitnessPal app on my phone, but you can also access it online!
- Read nutrition labels. Nutrition labels are available to you for a reason. There are also serving sizes for a reason. Try to stick to these! Don’t make it a habit of purchasing foods with ingredients that you can’t pronounce.
- Eliminate all of your ‘pleasure’ foods, but one (for a little bit anyway). This sounds difficult, and it is! Think of it more as a challenge. If you can take a look at your diet and see what foods you don’t need, then try to slowly eliminate them. I used to really love ice cream so every week I would go to Dairy Queen for a really big Reese’s Blizzard. I realized that this wasn’t making me feel good and that I didn’t really need it. Other examples would be cookies, pastries, your morning latte, chips at lunch, sodas, extra cream in your coffee, that sweet ‘granola’ bar, sugary cereals, etc. Keep one of your pleasure foods for one day a week to enjoy, then don’t feel guilty about it. Moderation is key!
- Prepare, prepare, prepare, AND eat out less! Having healthy foods available to you will make eating healthier a lot more easy. Grill a couple of chicken breasts, make healthy breakfast burritos with egg whites, prepare oatmeal and soups in your crockpot for the week. Do what fits your lifestyle best, but try eating at home as much as possible. You will save calories and money! Here’s an example grocery list I created for The Food Network.
- Try your best to NOT eat for emotional reasons: I have done this countless times, and perhaps it’s personally my biggest obstacle. Know what your triggers are. Currently I’m reading a phenomenal book on emotional eating. It’s really helped me in managing my stress and understanding my eating habits and triggers.
- Always eat breakfast. Breakfast is the best; it kickstarts your metabolism, and allows you to stay on track the rest of the day! I love yogurt with fruit and nuts, an egg white omelet, or oatmeal!
- Watch your fat and carb intake. Don’t get me wrong, healthy fats are wonderful. I love coconut oil, avocados, and nuts; however, these foods are easy to go overboard with and the calories quickly add up. Just make sure you watch your serving sizes — especially with cheese! As for carbs, I love them! They give you energy and make you feel happy, but you don’t need to eat a 6-inch Subway sandwich to feel good all the time. Look for good carb sources such as fruits or whole grains like oatmeal and quinoa. Power foods!
I hope that you’ll find some of these tips useful. I’ve found them successful for myself, but I’m definitely not an expert. I’m only sharing my knowledge based on what I’ve read and experimented with in my own life. You can consider that a disclaimer.
Now I think we can all agree that snacking is so much fun and it’s really difficult not to reach for that candy bar at 3pm. But I’ve got a brand that I think you will absolutely love! Quest Nutrition makes protein bars that taste like candy bars. Seriously, I think if I could eat these bars every day for the rest of my life, I would. Yep, obsessed!
Recently Quest Nutrition reached out to me and kindly sent me a sample package of their protein bars. OH MY GOODNESS, I was shocked at how incredible they were. These bars are truly perfect for someone who either loves to work out, is watching their figure, or for a low carb lover.
So let me tell you a little bit about their bars: they’re gluten free, contain at least 15g of protein, are low-carb, and have no sugar is added. Yes, they are as amazing as they sound — I’m not kidding! For me these bars were wonderful before or after a workout or if I needed a quick breakfast in the morning. My favorite flavors are chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate, peanut butter chocolate, vanilla almond, and strawberry cheesecake. And all of them taste incredible when microwaved for 15 seconds.
I can’t recommend them enough and lucky for you, Quest has agreed to sponsor a giveaway.
Here’s how it works: I will randomly selecting TWO winners who will receive a 12-sample pack of Quest Nutrition Bars.
How to enter:
- Like Quest Nutrition on Facebook.
- Leave a comment below and share either a tip for healthy eating/weight management or your personal weight loss story.
For additional entries: Each follow on one of social networks below will get you an additional entry, just make sure you let me know in the comments that you have done so.
- Like Ambitious Kitchen on Facebook
- Follow AmbitiousKitch on Twitter
- Follow me on Instagram
- Follow me on Pinterest
*Disclaimer: Quest has agreed to sponsor a giveaway for this post, but as always opinions are my own. I’m not an expert on health or nutrition; I just love sharing my experience.