Garden Of Life Organic Plant Protein Review

It’s no surprise that I’ve been a long time fan of Garden of Life products and I’ve been sharing them with you all for a while now. Recently they launched a few new items that I’m excited to share with you – Organic Plan Protein (Grain Free) and the RawFit in new flavours, Smooth Chocolate and Real Vanilla.

Garden Of Life Organic Plant Protein

 

The thing I enjoyed most was that it mixed well with just water – I don’t like to bulk up my shakes with any kind of hemp or almond milk. Naturally, I prefer the vanilla and it was delish. Several of my co-workers live on coffee so I brought them some samples of the coffee flavor to try and the LOVED IT!

My diet often includes lots of protein bars and shakes as I’m usually coming from or going to the gym. While those shakes are tasty and convenient they can often includes lots of extras like sodium and fillers – these Garden of Life proteins are simple, basic, and pure, and most importantly they taste great!

When I’m looking for more of a meal replacement shake that’s when I use the RawFit. I have been using the RawFit for quite sometime and had only tried the original – the Vanilla is AMAZING! If you’re looking for a weight loss jump start, they actually have a program called just that and it works along side the RawFit to help you get started on your weight loss path – it’s great even if you just need a little re-boot as well!

Check out my other reviews on Garden of Life Products as well, plus these favorites:

Perfect Food Real Apple

Baking with Marley Coffe RawFit

Instagram Ate My Blog

Yikes – time sure does fly. I’ve been busy these last few months living my dream of teaching fitness full-time and working on some fitness related social media accounts. I’ve started to re-work how my time is spent and given the physical nature of my job I’m taking lots of time for self-care and family. There’s over 2 years of content for you to read thru here about my 150lb weight loss journey. I’d love for you to keep up with me via Instagram, which is where I’ve chosen to focus my quick moments of time for now. It’s become a micro version of my blog! Come play!

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ESSIO Aromatherapy Shower

I got to test out the Essio Shower Essential Oil Infuser last week and it was a great way to start & end the day! Plus the bathroom smelled amazing!

ESSIO Aromatherapy Shower Kit

ESSIO Aromatherapy Shower Kit

This kit included 3 scents – all of which smelled amazing. The shower arm was super easy to install and difused a nice amount of scent into the room. I showered with my contact lenses in and I was worried it may be an issue with the oil coming into the water but all was well. It was such a nice was to end a long day at the gym! ESSIO is hosting a giveaway and you can win your very own by check out http://bit.ly/1yo40J4 ! Good LUCK!

What Are BCAA’s?

Two common questions I get about one of my supplements is “What are BCAA’s? “Why do you take them?” My trainer introduced me to BCAA’s just over a year ago when I was training for a competition and on a special fat loss diet that included fasting days (on which only BCAA’s were consumed). I truly do notice a difference when I’m taking this supplement. In short, BCAAs help increase muscle size and strength, protect hard-earned muscle from breakdown, reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, increase athletic endurance and enhance recovery. When looking for a BCAA supplement look for one without sugar, and ideally with nothing artificial (colors etc). Dose is specific to your goals so check the label of the supplement you choose.

What are BCAA's?

 

Among the most beneficial and effective supplements in any sports nutrition program are branched chain amino acids. These are the essential aminos leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. When you eat a protein food (i.e. eggs, chicken, etc), it gets digested in the stomach and intestine into individual amino acids and short chains of amino acids that are small enough to be absorbed into the bloodstream. These amino acids have far reaching effects in the body from building and repairing tissues, to producing chemicals that enable our brains to function optimally.

What Is The Difference Between Essential and Non-Essential Amino Acids?
Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body. You must get them from complete protein foods or combinations of incomplete vegetable foods. There are 9 essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and valine. Your body can make non-essential amino acids by itself from vitamins and other amino acids.

The term “non-essential” can be misleading since all amino acids are essential for proper metabolism and certain non-essential amino acids, such as glutamine, become very essential. The 13 non-essential amino acids are alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, cysteine, cystine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, hydroxyproline, proline, serine, & tyrosine.

The essential branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) are of special importance for athletes because they are metabolized in the muscle, rather than in the liver. Here’s how this works: After digestion once protein is broken down into individual amino acids these aminos can either be used to build new proteins or be burned as fuel to produce energy. [SOURCE w/ some edits made]

 

It may not seem like the metabolic process of different amino acids matters as long as the end point is muscle tissue. The truth is that the manner in which amino acids are metabolized plays a large role in their functions within the body. The metabolism of BCAAs is different that the metabolic processes of other amino acids. What truly makes the BCAAs special is how they are metabolized. While most amino acids are metabolized in the liver BCAAs are metabolized primarily by muscle. Despite their structural similarities the three branched chain amino acids have different metabolic routes. The breakdown of leucine is accomplished solely through fat pathways.  Valine is broken down solely through carbohydrate pathways, and isoleucine through both. The different metabolic pathways of these three amino acids lead to varying requirements for each.

BCAAs, unlike most other amino acids, are metabolized in within muscle tissue, allowing them to be oxidized (used as energy) by muscle cells to produce cellular energy in the form of ATP. ATP is the primary source of energy that fuels muscle contraction and allows you to lift weights.

The fact that leucine, isoleucine, and valine are metabolized within muscle tissue allows them to be a quick energy source when the body needs it. There is a significant increase in BCAA metabolism during prolonged exercise simply because the body requires more energy during periods of stress such as training. This makes BCAAs incredibly effective when taken around workout time.

The unique metabolic processes, requirements, and versatility of BCAAs allow them to impact nearly every aspect of training.

BCAAs And Fat Loss

The effects of BCAA intake on fat loss is something that has only been explored in more recent years. Newer research is showing that BCAAs can have a positive effect on fat loss. This doesn’t mean you can eat pizza at every meal with a side of BCAAs and the fat will just melt away though. BCAAs seem to maximize fat loss when one is already on a fat loss diet. On any fat loss diet, carbohydrates will need to be lowered to some degree. It seems that BCAAs ability to spare glycogen and increase insulin sensitivity may play a role in speeding up the results of a fat loss plan.

BCAAs should also be used as a supplement during any fat loss plan because of the muscle preserving effects. On any calorie restricted plan muscle tissue loss is a serious concern that must be addressed. All of the positive effects that BCAAs have on muscle growth will also serve to protect muscle during periods of calorie restriction. It is always important to remember that anything which builds muscle will also preserve muscle.

[SOURCE]

How To Make Tortillas

Feeling inspired this afternoon I ventured over to Pinterest in hopes of finding an easy DIY bread recipe. After getting sucked into the vortex that is Pinterest I found a few that may work – now I just need a bread maker. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I love a good spelt wrap, in fact I eat one if not 2 per day. At $5.99 a pack they can get pricey so I thought I’d attempt to make my own.

DIY Tortillas

These are hot off the stove so I’m going to guess they taste best day of, however, if you let them cool properly they should keep in the fridge for a few days! You’ll need only 4 ingredients for these! Here’s a quick video so you can get an idea of the process….

Ingredients:

  1. 3 Cups Flour – I used Spelt
  2. 1/4 Cup Oil (olive oil or coconut oil)
  3. 3/4 Cup Cold water
  4. 1 tsp sea salt

Process:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a fork, then switch to your hands when dough gets thicker.
  2. Separate the dough in half, then make 4 balls from each half.
  3. Sprinkle a little flour on your clean counter and roll out each ball – use a rolling pin or your hands. Keep other balls in a covered mixing bowl.
  4. Place in a frying pan (non-stick) and cook for 30-45 seconds per side, you’ll be making on tortilla at a time.
  5. As they are ready place them on a damp cloth and keep them covered.
  6. Repeat the process and keep adding to your stack!

If you want to get creative you could add some spices in and make flavoured ones! These are a little more fragile than the store bought ones but go easy on the fillings and you should be just fine! For crispier chips, bake in the oven after cooking and use them for a base of a taco salad or for dipping!

Life From The Chair: Day 5 Post-Opp {Abdominoplasty}

Greetings from the big brown recliner! It’s been 5 days and I’m starting to go a little crazy in my chair. I’m aware I can’t do too much or it will slow my healing process which will keep me here for longer so I’m trying to be good and hang in the chair as much as I can. Going from extremely active, exercising 1-2 times a day, my legs are starting to cramp up and I’ve had restless legs the last 2 nights. It’s like they don’t know what to do with themselves when they’re not depleted on a daily basis. While in my chair I try and keep my legs moving, ankle circles, flexing feet up and down and trying to change up my leg position. Going from training athlete to sitting in a chair day-in-day out is HARD – mentally and physically. Keeping a diet low in sodium is super important to keep the swelling to a minimum, and to say I’m now bored of eggs with spinach, protein shakes, and baked apples is becoming an understatement. What I really want for dinner is a taco salad or burrito!

Boo to no hot sauce :(

Boo to no hot sauce :(

Yesterday I had my first post-op appointment and I was able to get the pesky drains out. I feel like a new person without those things in. Even the simplest movements were hard and painful before as the drains would pull a bit. The doctor gave the all clear to shower and begin trying to stand up as straight as I could! It was also the first look at my post-op tummy! I think once the swelling goes down it’s going to be great!

4 Days Post Abdominoplasty

4 Days Post Abdominoplasty

This I even climbed the three steps into the kitchen to warm-up some pancakes for breakfast – ALL BY MYSELF! My mom came over and helped me shower and wash my hair and that meant more stairs which were surprisingly easy. I even did a little tidying around the dining room table. Of course that was followed by a nap!

For those of you who are here for the workouts and recipe content I hope to be back to posting those next week but it’s hard to feel inspired to create a workout when I can’t do them myself! I’m excited to be able to climb the stairs into my kitchen so that means I can cook again soon! As weird as it sounds I actually miss going to the grocery store, it’s something I really enjoy doing so to write a list and send someone else is hard to do!

The pain is very manageable today and I have only need to take 1 pain pill. For 5 days I think I’m doing pretty great!