Nutrition & Exercise Smoothie The Combination for Inspiration

Yes! You Can Do Obstacle Runs With Your Kids!

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Ridiculous Obstacle Course Races with your kids!  

I’ve participated in Mudd Runs, Spartan Races, and Obstacle Course runs, and last summer was the first time my youngest was old enough to participate – and she’s the athletic one in the family. When I saw this latest challenge I knew this would be a great way to include my daughters in the fun.

I strongly believe in doing activities with my children instead of spending money on objects they’ll be bored with in a few days, or will end up getting donated in the future. I love trying new things and I hope by showing my daughters what I do, or having them participate with me, they’ll in turn continue to be active when they’re adults. (And, maybe share these types of moments with their kids one day, too!)

I chose this ROC Race (looks cool, yes?) since my daughter was so young, but she proved to be braver than the two of us. Several times she said “I want to go first.” Or “I want to do that obstacle over. I want to try the harder route.” It really impressed me and made me proud. She ended kickin’ both our butts! I only hope I’m a good role model to them.

The best part was the fun we had. We laughed the whole time, pushed each other, and motivated each other through every obstacle. No fear! I kept saying: It’s not fear, it’s excitement, and it was! At the end, we wanted to do it again, and we’re sad that it was over.

I know a lot of people are afraid of these runs, but unless you’re competing for prizes or money, no one watches you or makes sure you’re doing the obstacles correctly or doing them at all. If you feel something is too hard or scary: you just skip it. No one is forcing you or pushing you. You can walk, You can stroll. You can run. You can help each other. It’s supposed to be fun for a reason. There were people of all different ages, physical fitness levels, old, young, overweight, men, women, kids, grandparents, etc.

I did a Mudd run with my girlfriends last year and we had nothing but fun. Some obstacles were hard, but we helped each other through all of them. We even helped strangers and they helped us back, cheering each other as we went!

My point being, have some fun this summer. Get a group of guys or gals, your kids, your spouse, and sign up for something. Enjoy the weather, do things you’ve never done before, push yourself out of your comfort zone, check it off your bucket list, and have a blast! Life is short. Memories last longer than ‘things’.

P.S. I started the ROC race hoping to inspire and motivate my kids. I wanted to push them out of their comfort zones and let them see their full potential. See how strong they really are. At the end of the day, they ended up doing it to me. There was a Marines challenge where you had to hold yourself in a chin-up pose for as long as you could hold it. Throughout the long day, many women tried. The woman that was able to hold it the longest, held it for 1 minute and 30 seconds! I watched as several of them tried and saw how difficult it was.

My daughters told me to do it. I initially told them no way. I hadn’t done a chin-up, or pull-up since my Cross-Fit days. I was lucky if I could hold it for 10 seconds let alone a MINUTE AND A HALF! To make matters worse, the Marines stood around as you did it and SCREAMED at you, called you names, tried to wear you down. I have to admit, I was afraid. Once I signed up, it was too late though.

I climbed up, held my arms in a chin-up pose, bent my knees, and closed my eyes, and tried to breathe. After the initial screaming at me that I wasn’t so special, as I hung there and they laughed at the girl in the pink shorts and pink polka-dot T-shirt, they started cheering me on. Everyone. The Marines. My daughters. The crowd that was forming. I had no idea how much time had passed, how long I was hanging there, but I felt strong. I could do this!

When I finally let go I had held on for 1 minute and 48 seconds!  I was the new champ. And, this was after 2 hours of running in the obstacle course!

Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary. But, when you do, it’s the most rewarding feeling ever. Just Do It!

Have you ever done any obstacle course, fun runs, Mudd runs? If so, I’d love to hear your stories! Which was your favorite? Which one would you sign up for this summer?

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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High Fiber, Healthy & Hearty Meat Sauce

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High Fiber, Healthy & Hearty Meat Sauce

I planned to post this 2 weeks ago when Long Island was hit with that nasty snow storm. It would have been perfect. But, time got away from me and then a week later it was 67 degrees and we were at the beach with our new puppy!

Now that it’s cold again, i decided today would be the best day. A nice, warm, home-cooked meal on a cozy Sunday.

This is my family’s and my favorite tomato sauce for pasta. I originally found it in a Clean Eating Magazine (or maybe it was Oxygen) but it was a clean eating pasta sauce. I had posted it on my Nutrition & Exercise Smoothie Facebook Page  but never got around to making it. My cousin Debbi invited us down for Thanksgiving weekend one year, and was making it!  I was so excited. She said she makes it all the time and her kids love it.  I was equally excited to try it – which we all did and it was indeed delicious.

Since then, I make it, and tell everyone about it. Today I will share the recipe with you.

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This is her original email she sent me almost 7 years ago!  I still have the scrap of paper, although it doesn’t look as shiny & new as this one.

The part that takes me the longest is the chopping up of all the veggies. I don’t have a food processor, and my Mini-Chop it too small. I must admit, the last time I made this, there was a large bag of chopped carrots, celery and onions in the supermarket, just sitting there on the shelf, smiling at me. I did a double take and then snagged the bag off the shelf. It was all there: the 3 ingredients I needed, already chopped and waiting for me. It cut my prep time in half.

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After chopping up all the veggies (or if you’re lucky enough to find a bag like I did) add to a large pot that has olive oil heating up on the bottom of it (I found the cooking spray was too little, but I did use it to coat the entire bottom of the pan, and then added a tiny bit of the olive oil) and then add the turkey breast crumbles. My husband was wary of using turkey chop meat but once he tasted it – with all these wonderful ingredients – he absolutely loved it.

Afterward, I just added the flour, milk, can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and water, with all the seasonings, and stirred. That was really it. I let it simmer for at least a half hour. I used such a large pot because I usually double the recipe above. One time I tripled the recipe! (Of course that was the time I didn’t have that nice bag of chopped up veggies. It took me three times as long to make this!)

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Mmmm. Can you smell it! The whole kitchen smells great. Time for a sauce sandwich! (Anyone know what that is?)

After it cools for a bit, I transferred it all to plastic containers and stored it in my freezer. There’s always sauce ready and cooked in my house. One year, when we had a huge veggie garden, my husband used the plum tomatoes from the garden to make sauce. It took forever but was delicious. Unfortunately several of the glass jars cracked and we had to throw it all out! Now we use plastic and make sure we don’t fill it to the top.

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Healthy, hearty, packed with protein, high in fiber from the veggies, and delicious.

What do you think? Do you have any favorite recipes to share?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Healthy (and Delicious) Meal Plans for Weight Loss

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Healthy & Delicious Meal Plans for Weight Loss

I’m often asked: “What do YOU eat every day? What’s a typical day look like in your life?” I decided to take up the task of taking photos of my typical meals. I hope these visuals help you make better choices with your own meals and snacks. I have many people ask me what they need to do to lose weight and when I tell them they grumble. They hope I mention some quick fix. A pill. A fat melter.

Recently, I spent almost 45 minutes giving a coworker advice and examples of some healthy alternatives, even mentioned specific food items that we have in the cafeteria, and then I see her a week later in the cafeteria eating a bacon cheeseburger, french fries, FOUR David’s Cookies and a 20 oz bottle of Coke. I seriously wanted to sit down in front of her with my salad and say “Are you even trying? Thanks for wasting 45 minutes of my time that day.”

I know it’s hard, but when I spend a great deal of my day helping people that I work with (when I should be seeing patients) I expect some degree if “trying.” At least make an attempt, and if you see me in the cafeteria, ask me what would be a good choice. Not say “Screw this, It’s too hard.”

Yes, I’m a tad angry today. Anyway, I am here to show you a few visuals of what I eat and if you have any questions, or suggestions please let me know! 🙂

Breakfast

My standard breakfast when I’m at work is one egg over well, with turkey, tomato, and onions, 8 oz skim milk.

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If I’m off from work, I make a variety of Protein Shakes (Click to see recipes)

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Mid Morning Snack

I’m a creature of habit, and if something works for me, I use it. I’ve tried to just eat a piece or two of fruit, but recently while writing a lecture for COPD patients, I learned certain fruits like apples produce gas, which it turn bloats my stomach and makes it feel like it’s empty and then I just want to eat more! So I stick with my Kashi Go Lean (NOT Crunch) cereal, with 4 oz Skim milk, and some kind of berries: A high-protein, high-fiber snack.

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Lunch

When I’m at work, I usually choose whatever the protein is of the day, with a side salad. If there’s no good protein, I just grab some cold grilled chicken from the salad bar or a hard boiled egg. I drink a large glass of water with it, too. I used to eat that David’s double chocolate cookie every day, but have since given them up. After the holidays, the remodeling of my bathroom, a trip to Disney (with too many desserts) and we just rescued a puppy from a shelter, I am actually sickened by desserts. Yes, me.  I’m not saying I’ll never have them again, but enough was enough. My husband and I came home from Florida and removed the desserts from the house. He’s been eating cereal for breakfast and salads for lunch. Dinner is protein and veggies. He even gave up his rice!

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Dinner

I’m fortunate to have my hubby cook dinner every night and I usually have whatever the meat is, and then add raw fruits or veggies. I don’t eat potatoes, rice, etc, so veggies it usually is.

Salmon and cherry tomatoes:

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Grilled chicken with fresh pears (I split this piece of chicken with my daughter)

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Black Bean Edamame Burger

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Desserts

I havent eaten any desserts since Disney, but before the trip, I tried not to eat anything after dinner, but would occasionally have a small dessert before dinner like a chocolate chip cookie, or something healthier like these desserts (Click link for recipes). Since Disney, I don’t eat desserts at all, and instead I decided to immediately run downstairs to my basement and work out. (Distraction is awesome)! Then I play with the puppy. I take her for a walk around the block when it’s not pouring rain (or a Nor’easter hits us)! When it gets warmer, I plan to go for longer walks and jog with her. I’ve also noticed that since we adopted the puppy, she’s kept us SO busy (just like a toddler) I haven’t had time to even think of eating. Sometimes I just eat a bowl of cereal for dinner!

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That’s usually my day. My breakfast and mid morning snack is point on, my lunch varies since I’m never really sure what they’ll have in the cafeteria, and my dinner is usually healthy and small. In the past, when I went off during lunch because something tempted me, I just had a very small dinner to try to counterbalance it. Since Disney though, I’m sticking to the salads with a protein and I’ve been bringing fruit in for my lunch dessert. (Today I had a clementine and yesterday I had a few mango pieces). If I have tea after lunch I’ve been bringing in a Stevia packet to put in, to save calories (and 1 carb) from the 3 packets of sugar I was using. Like I’ve always said: There comes a point in your life when something just “clicks”, and you get sick of the way you feel, the way you’re eating, the lack of exercise. Luckily that happens often for me. Don’t let the setbacks go on for too long, though.

My gym membership ended on November 30th, and I did not renew since I knew it was going to be a stressful month. I have a full gym in the basement though and have been back to my summer routine down there. My husband even started working out, too! Since I NEEDED to put our puppy on a strict time schedule, I decided to do the same for myself.

Meet Princess Leia!

What new techniques have you been trying since the New Year? Remember, it’s always a work in progress. There will always be ups & downs. Theres will always be obstacles.

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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