Operation Nutrition

nutrition, fitness, motherhood, & everything in between

Category: General Healthy Living (page 1 of 4)

Bikini Series 2017

Hi there! I wanted to share my latest journey in fitness and nutrition! I recently signed up to do the Tone It Up 2017 Bikini Series.

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(Full disclosure, I’ve signed up for some of their previous challenges in the past and didn’t complete them).

Looking back, I know that I stopped the challenges in the past because the amount of time required to exercise wasn’t realistic for me.

This year’s challenge has been perfect though. The workouts vary in length, but they average around 35 minutes. This is totally doable with my schedule. Today marks the start of Week 2 and I’m feeling amazing! I’m not following the Tone It Up meal plan though because I find it way too restrictive for the amount of activity I do each day. I’ve been following the Fitness Blender’s meal plan (mostly for dinner ideas), and I really like it. It focuses on whole foods, healthy fats, lean protein, vegetables, and fruit. It’s a very realistic plan to follow and I definitely don’t feel deprived. In fact, I’ve actually increased my calorie-intake. I was so surprised to see that I’ve lost 3 pounds after the first week and I’m always feeling comfortably full.

These are some of the meals I’ve been enjoying this week:

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One of the things that has really helped me with this challenge is planning. On Sunday, I write out my meals & workouts for the week. So far this has helped me stay on track. I am looking forward to completing this challenge. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the journey!  If you’re looking to start a weight-loss program, or just trying to live a healthier lifestyle, you might find this article,  “How To Lose Weight Fast: 5 Evidence Based Steps Anyone Can Follow” to be a great resource. It lists 5 easy-to-follow steps that will help you reach your health goals.

Are you doing the 2017 Bikini Series? I’d love to hear how things are going for you!

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Blog Make-Over

Hi friends! My last post was in April! Holy smokes! I’m not even sure how many people are still reading here. I obviously took a break from writing. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to write, but rather, I didn’t make the time to write. But the truth is, I missed it. A lot. So, I’m back and will be posting more frequently. But, this time my posts will probably be a little different.

As you can see, Operation Nutrition has undergone a make-over.

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Not only did I want to make-over the appearance here, but I also want to change up the content a bit. I feel like I’m at a different place in my life than I was when I first started blogging in 2010.

I still have the same passions I had when this blog started. I’m most definitely still into nutrition, fitness, and all around healthy living (probably more now than ever since having a baby). But, as we all do in life, we evolve. My plans for the blog are to include all of the same topics that I’ve always written about, but sometimes I will also include my love for essential oils and random posts about motherhood. Another aspect that will be a little more different here will be that I will write more “openly”. Over the past 6 years, I’ve also grown in the sense that I no longer worry about what others think of me. Let me explain, I felt like when I first began blogging, I censored my own posts (for fear of unwanted criticism). For instance, if I posted a recipe that wasn’t 100% nutritious or “clean”, I worried that I wasn’t being “healthy enough”. If I posted that I was using a product that wasn’t completely toxic-free, I worried that people would say I’m a hypocrite since I write about my journey using nontoxic products. And so on. When I started to censor my own writing, blogging wasn’t enjoyable anymore. It was almost a chore.

I was always honest in my blog posts, but I always “had a wall up” (which was exhausting).  Now that I’m older, I realize that I no longer need to censor my work. I am who I am and I love who I am. I’m not perfect and I will never claim to be. I will feature recipes that I love (even if they are not the healthiest options). Operation Nutrition is a place for me to share the things that I love and my personal journey finding that healthy balance in all aspects of my life.

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I’m so excited for the new & improved Operation Nutrition. Smile  Whether you’re a brand new reader, or a long time reader, I hope you enjoy reading here.

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Nature’s Promise: Organic

A couple of weeks ago, I received a nice surprise in the mail from Giant Foods. They were kind enough to send me some products from their very own organic line.

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My family eats organic foods about 90% of the time.  I feel like more and more consumers are aware of the health benefits of eating organically. It’s so great to see major grocery store chains carrying more organic products. Giant Foods line is called, “Nature’s Promise”. Here’s some more information about what makes something organic (source: Giant Foods).

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I loved everything they sent me (especially the peanut butter). You can tell that they use high quality ingredients. I especially love that their organic line is very affordable. If you live near a Giant Food Store, I highly recommend that you check out their extensive Nature’s Promise product line.

Full disclosure: Giant Foods sent me the products to sample. However, this review and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Forget Crash Diets, Here’s What A Sustainable, Healthy Diet Looks Like

Happy Thursday everyone! I hope you’re having a nice week. We are enjoying some beautiful and warm weather here in Maryland. I took the little one out for a run this morning. Running outside was such a nice change compared to running on the treadmill. I feel like it’s so much easier to be active once the weather breaks. Along with the warmer weather, I know a lot of people (including myself) start thinking about getting in shape for the summer. It’s also the time of year when you’ve probably noticed an increase of “loose weight now” or “quick weight loss” commercials on the radio and on television. The media sure knows how to appeal to our desires. However, anything that seems “too good to be true”, probably is.

Here is an article about crash diets I’d like to share with you.

It is very common to overlook what the definition of “diet” is the dictionary. At its most basic roots, the word “diet” means the foods you routinely eat. In the 21st century, however, “diet,” has been a buzzword for losing weight. Most diets are thought of as a means in which we change our eating pattern to induce weight loss. The trouble, though, is that most people approach dieting wrong. They think of it like, “If I just do this for a little while, I will lose weight, and then I can go back to eating how I normally do.” Or people think dieting is a magic fix for poor eating habits, believing dieting will “reset” their metabolism and get them to finally enjoy unseasoned chicken and bland, raw vegetables. So how do we change this? First, we must understand what a sustainable, healthy diet (or eating style) really is. It is four parts: whole food based, balanced, simple, and enjoyable.

Crash diets don’t work for a variety of reasons, but the major piece to the puzzle is understanding that good, healthy eating is a lifestyle, not a 30-day reset. Crash diets work on the premise of “cleansing” you of your rotten ways instead of establishing habits that make the doing part easier. Think of the last time you binged on a bag of chips, candy, or popcorn. Wouldn’t it be sweet to do the same thing with something healthy? Healthy eating is not about making you eat less, but instead finding the best foods for you, and eating them until you aren’t hungry. Sustainable, healthy diets are built to, well, be sustainable, and this just isn’t found in your typical crash diet.

Whole foods are the basis of any sustainable, healthy diet. Whole foods do most of the work for us when it comes to weight management, energy, and of course better health. Fiber is a major component of whole food. Not only that, but fiber helps us feel full longer, and more importantly, sooner, than food without it. One of the reasons so many people over eat is due to the low amount of fiber found in processed foods. Why is this so important? It is important because while eating a sustainable, healthy diet, you don’t need to worry about counting calories as much, which is a big proponent in losing weight. Fiber helps tell your brain when you have had enough food, which naturally keeps you from eating more than you need.

Balance is also important in a sustainable, healthy diet. While it is great to consume most of your calories from whole foods, you should not feel guilty for indulging in sweets from time to time. This balance is actually easier when you follow a whole foods based diet because you consume less of the sweet stuff than you did before. Why? It is simple. When you are hungry, you want to eat everything, am I right? But, when you regularly eat whole foods, you won’t be as hungry, so you won’t want to binge on sweets. This balance creates a more well-rounded relationship with food that only furthers a better, sustainable eating style.

Lastly, a sustainable, healthy diet needs to be simple and enjoyable. Yes, it might be a pain to have to prepare your food ahead of time, or cook every day, but the positive turn around for your health is tenfold. Start small if you are a beginner. Instead of just having pasta with sauce, add a few vegetables you like to the mix. If you are a yogurt fan for breakfast, try finding one with less sugar and adding your own sugar in the form of fruits. Little changes like this make all the difference, and they follow the sustainable, healthy diet strategy we have talked about without making the experience intolerable. This ties in nicely to enjoying the process. Try not to think of changing your eating habits overnight. Understand that for many this takes time! It is hard to go from a processed food heavy diet to one where every meal, seemingly, need to be cooked or prepared at home. Some days you might not be able to cook that vegetable stir fry you planned on because of a last minute event. That’s okay! Get it tomorrow night. The idea is not to feel guilty for not being perfect, but rather strive to do your best every single chance you get. Once you have a plan and are focused, you can nail it!

This is a guest post written by Ivii Clement, a proud contributor to NutritionInspector. If you have never checked out this website before (www.nutritioninspector.com), I highly recommend you check it out. There you will find a plethora of information on nutrition, fitness, supplements, and weight loss. Also, if you enjoyed this article, make sure to share it on your social profiles. Stay healthy!

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Just a little update & Strength workout

Hey everyone! It has been a long time since I last posted. I haven’t tried many new recipes, but I have some in the works. Hopefully, that means I’ll be posting more often. I haven’t had much to write about and I have been super busy enjoying my days with my sweet toddler. It’s hard to believe she’s a toddler already. When people told me it goes by fast, they weren’t kidding. She is always on the move and I love watching her learn. I can easily get 10,000 steps in (according to my Fit Bit) each day, by just chasing and playing with her. It’s fun and every day is a new adventure!

My 2015 Holiday Shred wrapped up and was a huge success. It was so very inspiring seeing everyone’s encouragement and successes. We had a great time. I hope to do another one in the summer.

Food Update

Like I mentioned, I haven’t tried many new recipes, so meals have been a little more boring lately. We are really lucky though because the little one is an incredibly good eater and eats pretty much everything we do. Every week we’ve been enjoying Zoodles. My husband and I like these because they are a healthier alternative to regular pasta and the little one just gobbles them up! I use this spiralizer to make them. It works SO well and cleans up very easily.

Workouts Update

I usually have about 30 solid minutes to workout, so I’m all about quick and effective workouts. I typically do 3 days of full body strength training, 1 day of HIIT, 1 day of steady-state cardio, and 1 or 2 (depending on the week) rest days.

I finally got back into taking Zumba on a regular basis. Besides strength training, it’s my favorite workout. For my HIIT workout, I’ve been doing 20-minute sprints on the treadmill (30 seconds as fast/hard as I can go with 30 seconds rest). I’ve never been a fast runner, but this past week I was able to sprint at 7.5mph. This was a big deal for me since I have only ever been able to sprint at 6.0 mph.

I’m really looking forward to getting outdoors and running this spring. I signed up for a 5K just to give me a little extra motivation.

Here’s my current strength training workout. All you need is a set of dumbbells and a timer.

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2015 Holiday Shred

My 2015 Fall Shred just ended and the results were astounding! As a group, the members lost over 40 pounds! Not only that, but during this time, they took part in daily challenges,encouraged one another along the way, and they overall got healthier. In fact, we had so much fun that we decided we’re going to do another shred called the “Holiday Shred”.

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It can be hard sticking to your healthy goals during the holiday season. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, eat healthier, or just want to do something different, the Holiday Shred is for you!

Think of this, you’ll go into the New Year already halfway through the shred! You won’t need to make any resolutions because you’ll already have begun your healthy journey!

Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand, so by signing up you’ll get over a month’s worth of workouts, meal ideas (not a meal plan) and chances to win prizes.

There will be a STRONG focus on workouts. If you’re a beginner, no worries, there will be modifications. If you’re an expert, no worries, there will be advanced options. There will be something for everyone!

Here’s everything that you’ll receive for signing up:

Meal Ideas:

  • Every week you will be emailed a couple of meal ideas (sometimes the recipes with include links to other websites). Meal ideas will include breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, & dessert options.
  • All meal ideas will be fast, healthy, & perfect for those busy week nights.
  • Prior to beginning this challenge, I can do a free calorie assessment for you, so that you know how many calories you should be eating each day.

Fitness Plans:

  • Every week you will be emailed a fitness plan for the upcoming week.
  • The fitness plans will consist of 5-6 workouts that include cardiovascular training & strength training.
  • The workouts included in the fitness plan are extremely flexible so you can do them anywhere (at home, at the gym, etc.)
  • The best thing about the workouts is that you can tailor them to meet your individual needs. They can be pretty challenging, but there are modifications that you can make to get a great workout.
  • You will not need expensive equipment to do the fitness plan. You will only need dumbbells ranging from  5 lbs. to 20 lbs. (depending on your fitness level). You can even use your body weight for most of the workouts.
  • I will be providing videos to demonstrate proper form and certain exercises.

Additional great things you will get:

A Private Fall Fitness & Nutrition Challenge Page

This will be a private Facebook group where you can interact with others that are doing the challenge. It will be a place where you can ask questions, and encourage and motivate one another.

Coaching (This is the part that I’m most excited about!!!)

I will be helping you throughout this entire challenge. If you have questions, need modifications, or just need clarification, I’m here for you. You’ll be able to contact me whenever you need to!

Prizes

Throughout this challenge, I will be giving away prizes. This is just a fun way to keep everyone motivated. Smile

What is the cost to participate in this challenge?

The cost is only $20!!! This breaks down to about 57 cents a day for an entire month’s worth of meal ideas, workouts, and a private group (not to mention some pretty cool prizes too)!!!

When does the challenge start?

The challenge begins on Monday, December 14, 2015.

When does the challenge end?

The challenge ends on Sunday, January 17, 2016.

When does registration begin?

Today! Wednesday, December 9, 2015.

When does registration end?

Monday, December, 14, 2015.

Sign up here: (By clicking on the “Buy Now” button, it automatically signs you up for the Holiday Shred) 


Sign up



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Spicy Veggie Hash

Hey there! I hope you’re having a great start to your week. It has been awhile since I’ve tried (and posted) a new recipe. We had this for dinner last night (and luckily there are leftovers for lunch today)!

I feel like weeknights are so busy, so I always try to plan dinners that are quick to prepare and healthy at the same time. I came across this recipe in the latest copy of Cooking Light magazine. It was definitely an easy recipe to make. Peeling & slicing the sweet potato was the most time consuming part of this recipe. Everything else was a breeze. It was delicious & healthy! Timesaver tip: peel & slice sweet potatoes ahead of time. Store in a covered bowl in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.

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Spicy Veggie Hash

Servings: 4
Calories: 318
Fat: 12.1 g
Carbs: 42 g
Protein: 12 g

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups diced peeled sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp. oregano
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed & cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp. adobo sauce
  • 1 (15 oz.) can unsalted black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 oz. queso fresco, crumbled (about 1/2 cup) (this was my first time trying this kind of cheese, it was SO good)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1 plum tomato, seeded & diced

Directions:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl.

Add potato, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. salt; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add cumin, cinnamon, red pepper, garlic; cook 1 minute.

Add 1/2 cup water; cover, reduce heat, and cook 5 minutes. Uncover; cook 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Bring remaining 3/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and green beans; cook 4 minutes. Stir in adobo sauce & black beans. Place 1/2 cup potato mixture in each of 4 shallow bowls; top each with 1/2 cup bean mixture, 2 tbsp. cheese, 1 tbsp. sunflower seeds, and 1 tbsp. tomato.

Enjoy!

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Fall Shred 2015

 

Fall Shred

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Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand, so by signing up you’ll get over a month’s worth of meal plans, workouts, and chances to win prizes.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, eat healthier, or just want to do something different, the Fall Shred is for you!

If you did my Fall Fitness & Nutrition Challenge back in 2013, you’ll find that the format is very similar. However, there will be one major addition to this year’s Fall Shred. I’ll be posting videos to help you with some of the fitness moves.

Here’s everything that you’ll receive for signing up:

Meal Plans:

  • Every week you will be emailed a meal plan for the upcoming week (usually on a Friday).
  • Meals will consist of breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, & dessert options.
  • You will have a couple of options to chose from in case you don’t like certain foods or have dietary restrictions.
  • Meal plans will come with recipes that are fast, healthy, & perfect for those busy week nights.
  • Prior to beginning this challenge, I can do a free calorie assessment for you, so that you know how many calories you should be eating each day.

Fitness Plans:

  • Every week you will be emailed a fitness plan for the upcoming week (again, usually on a Friday).
  • The fitness plans will consist of 5 different workouts that include cardiovascular training & strength training.
  • The workouts included in the fitness plan are extremely flexible so you can do them anywhere (at home, at the gym, etc.)
  • The best thing about the workouts is that you can tailor them to meet your individual needs. They can be pretty challenging, but there are modifications that you can make to get a great workout.
  • You will not need expensive equipment to do the fitness plan. You will only need dumbbells ranging from   5 lbs. to 20 lbs. (depending on your fitness level). You can even use your body weight for most of the workouts.
  • I will be providing videos to demonstrate proper form and certain exercises.

Additional great things you will get:

A Private Fall Fitness & Nutrition Challenge Page

This will be a private Facebook group where you can interact with others that are doing the challenge. It will be a place where you can ask questions, and encourage and motivate one another.

Coaching (This is the part that I’m most excited about!!!)

I will be helping you throughout this entire challenge. If you have questions, need modifications, or just need clarification, I’m here for you. You’ll be able to contact me whenever you need to!

Prizes

Throughout this challenge, I will be giving away prizes. This is just a fun way to keep everyone motivated. Smile

What is the cost to participate in this challenge?

The cost is only $30!!! This breaks down to about 85 cents a day for an entire month’s worth of meal ideas, workouts, and a private group (not to mention some pretty cool prizes too)!!!

When does the challenge start?

The challenge begins on Monday, November 2, 2015.

When does the challenge end?

The challenge ends on Sunday, December 6, 2015.

When does registration begin?

Today! Wednesday, October 21, 2015

When does registration end?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sign up here:





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Shakeology vs. Vega One

Hey there! I hope you’re having a nice weekend! I wanted to share some of my recent research with you.

I’ve been going back and forth between ordering Shakeology. I first heard of Shakeology from the Beachbody workouts.  I’m a huge fan of Beachbody workouts! Some of my current favorites are: PiYo, Turbo Fire, T25, & 21 Day Fix. If you’ve ever done any of the workouts, you’ve seen the commercials for the “healthiest meal of the day”.

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I started my research by locating a brand that had similar ingredients to Shakeology. The brand that I found to be most comparable is Vega One.

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Since I’m a visual learner,I put together a table comparing Vega One and Shakeology.

First, I must start off by saying that this is just a quick snap shot of the two products. The serving sizes are not exactly the same, but they are close (within 1 gram). Here are my findings:

Vega One vs Shakeology

In my opinion, both products have pros and cons.

  • Vega One has more protein, less sodium, less carbohydrates, and less sugar than Shakeology.
  • For the most part, Shakeology has more vitamins per serving.
  • Vega One is made without dairy or soy ingredients, whereas the regular Shakeology is made with dairy (they offer a vegan version though).
  • Shakeology does not contain soy, but it manufactured in a facility that processes soy.
  • Vega One is certified gluten free.

According to the Beachbody website,

“Although Shakeology is made with gluten-free ingredients, all Shakeology formulas are in a manufacturing facility that also processes known allergens such as soy, milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts and wheat (gluten) ingredients.”

As far as tastes goes, I prefer the vanilla Vega One (however, I did not like the chocolate). To me the vanilla has more of a milk shake type flavor. I’ve only tried the chocolate Shakeology, and while I think it tastes good (although a little chalky), I prefer the Vega One.

In the end, I decided to go with the vanilla Vega One. I am impressed with the high amount of protein, low carbohydrates, and the low amount of sugar and sodium. While the Vega One may have less vitamins and minerals than the Shakeology, I get those from my daily meals and multi-vitamin. I’m not here to sway anyone’s opinion, I just wanted to provide you with my research just in case you were wondering how the two compare.

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New Addition Here!

Hi everyone! I hope you had a nice weekend. Ours was productive. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but we are getting ready to throw a first birthday party for my little one!!!!! Time is going by so fast. I cannot believe she’s turning 1! I’ve been practicing my cake-making skills (I’ve never really made and decorated a homemade cake before). I’m in the process of trying to perfect a cake for her “cake smash”.

Originally, I was going to make her a healthier version, but then I decided that you only have a first birthday once, so why not go all out and enjoy a traditional cake. I found a lot of recipes and tutorials on Pinterest. I didn’t photograph  my first attempt (thank goodness, it wasn’t pretty). Here’s my second attempt:

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I think it’s starting to look good. I just have to adjust the color a bit.

So, there’s a new addition here at Operation Nutrition! I created an entire section in the menu bar (titled “Non-Toxic Living” for information about my quest in removing toxins from my every day life. I plan to post anything and everything related to my journey of non-toxic living. I hope you enjoy the new addition!  If there’s something specific you’d like to see, please let me know. Smile

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