Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Week 5......Memorial Weekend

 Spent Memorial Day kayaking the Flint River at Holloway Dam. Got a great upper body workout while paddling upstream on the way back....Next time we'll take two vehicles so we can check out more of it. 
Got to play with three orphaned baby skunks. They were the cutest things ever, I just wanted to take one home.

Back To Reality

After eating picnic foods and playing all weekend it's back to the gym! Only gained 1 lb. so I guess that's not too bad considering the two helpings of the most delicious potato salad I ever ate, yummy Polish kielbasa, and a few adult beverages ; )    So far on this fitness journey I've gained endurance and strength, now it's time to get serious about losing those last few pounds. 

Shedding The Belly Fat

Non-Dairy Broccoli - Sweet Potato Soup
This is a delicious and healthy soup that is creamy without the cream. I used sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes and added more of the veggies. 

Quinoa and Roasted Veggies

This was my first time cooking with Quinoa and it was amazing

1.Cooked the Quinoa in low sodium vegetable broth and then added toasted pine nuts (make sure to rinse Quinoa before cooking). 

2.Roasted zucchini, summer squash, sweet potato, asparagus and green onions tossed in olive oil, curry powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning and pepper for about 20 minutes. 

3.Plated the Quinoa, spooned the roasted veggies on top, squeezed a little lemon over all and grated Romano cheese on top. 

I will be using Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah) in place of rice from now on and am looking forward to creating some delicious dishes with this wonder food.

I remind myself of this quote every time I'm on the elliptical!

Happy Journey,

~ Deb

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Week 4....Seeing Results!

Going into my fourth week of my 50 week journey now and seeing results is such a feeling of accomplishment. It may not be a huge deal to some, but to me it's feeling great! I'm going to the gym every other day and alternate between upper body and lower body exercises on those days. The main cardio I'm doing is the elliptical but I will be trying out Zumba one of these days.
Changes in 3 weeks
  • Added 10 minutes to my cardio ( that's big for me because I get super bored with cardio)
  • Added 5 lbs. to some of my free weight exercises ( mainly back exercises)
  • Arms are stronger  
  • Can sleep on my side without shoulder pain ( most of the time)
  • Can do squats without knee pain (most of the time)
  • Energy level has increased
  • Sweets cravings are almost gone ( I was so addicted to Erma's custard last summer!)
  • Weight loss is 2 lbs. ( not focusing as much on weight loss right now)

Turkey Taco Salad

  • 1 lb. Lean ground turkey cooked till no longer pink
  • Add 1 small chopped onion
  • Add 1/2 chopped green pepper
  • Cook till veggies are softened, about 5 minutes
  • Add 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (or 2 tbls. of homemade)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup homemade enchilada sauce or 3/4 cup of bottled.
  • Simmer all together for about 10 minutes.
  • Spoon into lettuce leaves or bed of greens of choice
  • Add chopped tomato, shredded cheese (I used monterey/pepperjack), lite sour cream, and black olives

Favorite snack
I keep a baggie full of these or my own combo of unsalted nuts and dried fruit with me at all times. Helps with those emergency hunger attacks! Just a handful will curb the beast!
Worried about the fat in the nuts? Read this and it may relieve some fear.......Healthy fats

This cracked me up! it's so true!

Raspberry Kiwi Banana Smoothie
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 small kiwi peeled
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup no fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop ground flax
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 scoop ground Chia seeds
  • Blend and enjoy!!

I'm not a runner yet but one of my goals is to add running to my cardio. Due to a severely broken ankle in 2008 I now have a plate, screws and pins holding it together. I'm fortunate that it healed very well and I have good mobility but I was extremely vitamin D deficient at the time and didn't know it, so I believe this was the cause for the severity of the break. Make sure you're getting enough vitamin D ladies!

What I'm up to when I'm not blogging, kayaking or hiking .... My Website

Happy Journey,


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Week 3 - Oh Sunshine!

 It's that time of year again........

Warm sunshine and longer days...... 

Nature is calling.....get outside!!

One of the many things I love about kayaking is the simplicity. You can take a kayak just about anywhere, uses no gas and gives you a great upper body workout. My kayak only weighs 39lbs. so I can easily lift it in and out of the water, throw it in my truck or on top of a car and go. Many parks rent kayaks, so if you haven't tried it yet you really need to.

Top 10 Health Benefits of Sunshine

1. Reduce risk of Type 2 diabetes. Once considered an adult-onset disease, type 2 diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions in our kids. It’s a lifelong disease, and harder to treat in the young.  Some studies suggest that vitamin D can reduce the risk of developing it (one study found that those with high levels were 40% less likely than those with low levels).
2. Reduce cancer risk. There are lessened mortality rates for 15-20 types of cancer in regions of higher solar UVB exposure, particularly for breast, colon, and rectal cancer. Those patients who had higher vitamin D blood levels when diagnosed had nearly twice the survival rate of those with the lowest levels.
3. Strong bones for better bone health. Vitamin D boosts calcium absorption for strong bones, which means you’re less likely to develop bone diseases, fractures and osteoporosis.
4. Protect eye health. Vitamin D has been tentatively linked to lower incidence of cataracts, and studies indicate good D levels correlate to a lowered risk of macular degeneration as you age.
5. Boost immunity. Researchers believe that vitamin D is integral to proper function of the body’s T cells— the immune system’s first line of defense.
6. Improve metabolism; fight obesity. Several studies show correlation between sun exposure and an increase in metabolism, although the reasoning isn’t cut and dry. One hypothesis that makes a lot of sense to me is that decreased time in the sun leads the body to believe it’s winter, causing the body’s metabolic processes to shift into a winter fat-storing mode. More about that here.
7. Lower blood pressure. The warmth of the sun can improve circulation, and heightened vitamin D levels have been shown to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive subjects— perhaps as effectively as medication.
8. Reduce stroke risk. There are likely a lot of factors at work here, but in one survey people who lived in areas with less sun exposure had a stroke risk that was 60% higher than those who lived in sunshine-y regions.
9. Sleep better. Daily time in the sun helps to regulate circadian rhythms for a better night’s sleep. And sleep has its own host of health benefits.
10. Feel better. Sunshine has been shown time and again to improve mood, fight Seasonal Affective Disorder and lessen stress. Not to mention, we’re more likely to MOVE when we’re outside basking in the sun. And physical activity is definitely good for you!
Vitamin D deficiency is also implicated in a lot of other health complaints, from muscle pain to the resurgence of rickets (!) in children.
(article courtesy of

Morning Yoga

I've been thinking about taking up Yoga and this video looks pretty easy for first thing in the morning except for the swinging arms at the end....still working through my Frozen Shoulders, OUCH!

 7 minutes to toned legs and butt

*For an additional workout I added ankle weights.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Green Beans

Roasted veggies are one my favorite things to eat. When I recently combined the sweet taste of sweet potatos with fresh green beans I was in heaven.
  • Sweet potato peeled and diced
  • Fresh green beans
  • 2 tbls. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp.cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Toss veggies in oil and spices, spread onto baking sheet, bake for 30 minutes at 375.

Beet / Purple Carrot juice smoothie

I found this wonderful Beet juice at Trader Joe's....yummy!
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup no fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup beet/purple carrot juice
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 scoop ground Chia seeds
  • 1 tbls. ground Flax seed                            

*What I do when I'm not Blogging*   ..........My Website

Happy Journey,


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Week 2- Inspiration

Holly Recreation Park   Holly,Michigan

Alum Cave Trail    Gatlinburg,Tennessee

Mt. Rainier,  Washington

Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities and one of my biggest inspirations to getting and staying  fit. I've been blessed to be able to hike some of the countries most beautiful parks, mountains, caves and forests. Fresh air, sunshine, nature and exercise.....Life doesn't get much better than that!

                                                     Ruth...100 years young

Inspiration to get fit comes in different ways for everyone. I've gone through the years when I wanted to get in shape to wear a bikini, wanted to look thinner for a special occasion, fit into a special pair of jeans, ect. Now my inspiration is people like Ruth that are active and fit well into their golden years. I want to be able to take my future grandchildren hiking, biking, and kayaking, sit on the floor and play games, and just be a healthy role model for them and my children. Wearing a bikini is far less important to me than living to see my grandchildren graduate college,...funny how priorities change as we get older.

                                                  Dr. Oz's     Banishing bat wings

Since my weight loss I have been battling the dreaded "bat wings". I recently watched an episode on Dr. Oz about exercises to work on this problem. It looked kinda fun and got me up off the couch...always a good thing. I also have a pair of 5lb. weights sitting on an end table in my living room  so I can easily work out my upper body while "standing" and watching tv....HGTV junkie here. I also like to sit on the floor and stretch, do crunches or leg lifts while watching tv....
 Here's another good one while watching tv:
Triceps Dip: Get seated near a step or couch. Sit on the floor with knees slightly bent, and grab the edge of the elevated surface and straighten the arms. Bend them to a 90-degree angle, and straighten again while the heels push towards the floor. 

My inspiration for great arms is none other than:
 Jennifer Aniston

Amazingly inspiring video

I made these for dinner last night and they were awesome. I microwaved the potatoes instead of baking to save time and I replaced the cream cheese with no fat plain Greek yogurt. Sweet, spicy, healthy and delicious ...what more could you want?

Remember the Chia Pet? Well, come to find out, instead of smearing the seeds all over the funny looking little clay animal we should have been eating them! They are actually healthy and very good for you. I've been adding a scoop to my smoothies and have noticed an incredible change in my energy.  Here's a little history:

Blueberry banana oatmeal smoothie

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup no fat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 scoop ground Chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground flax seed
  • 2 tbls. quick oats (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup Acai berry V8 juice
Blend and enjoy!

Homemade Protein Bars
                                          Recipe adapted from

I like fruit and nuts in my bars so I modified the original recipe a bit. I also didn't have chocolate so I used cocoa powder. My version isn't overly sweet but I like them that way.
  • 2 cups quick oats  
  • 3/4 cup almond butter 
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried Crancherries
  • 1 cup vanilla whey protein powder  
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. 100% cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Kiwi Melon Salsa

  • 2 servings salmon filet
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbls. olive oil 
  • salt and black pepper to taste

  • small kiwi diced
  • 1/2 cup melon diced (I used cantalope)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice 

Place salmon in a nonstick pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper for 1-2 minutes on each side. Wisk vinegar, honey, olive oil and black pepper. Add to pan and cook until fish flakes, about 5 additional minutes.
Combine salsa ingredients in a separate bowl.
Plate fish and spoon salsa over top.

Great video for total body workout at home

This is what I do when I'm not blogging.... My Website

Happy Journey,


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Week 1.....Goals

This blog is dedicated to all my friends turning 50, already 50, or anyone just looking for some inspiration for getting healthy. I'm in no way a doctor, nutritionist or health guru. I am a 49 year old woman discovering that age has slowly started to decrease my ability to do the things I love to do and therefore I am taking a 50 week journey to regain what age has tried to take away. My goal is to feel healthier than I ever have by my 50th birthday.

In January 2010 I set a goal for myself to lose 1 pound a week for 52 weeks. By changing my diet, eliminating junk foods, and walking as much as possible, I reached a loss of 48 pounds by December 2010. Now that most of the weight is gone it's time to regain muscle loss and improve overall health through clean eating and exercise.
                                        Me, summer of 2009....Best pic ever! Hahahaha!

                                                   Me, spring of 2011...48 lbs. lighter!

While hiking in Hocking hills Ohio during Easter break, I realized I needed to get in better physical shape if I want to continue doing the things I enjoy, which is hiking and kayaking. Even though I'm not carrying the extra 48 lbs, I still found myself out of breath while climbing hills and pain in my legs. The next day after returning home I joined a gym and after only a few weeks I feel stronger already!
                                       Lots and lots and lots of steps in Hocking hills......

                                                       But so well worth the climb!

                           Just one of the many beautiful waterfalls in Hocking hills state park
                                   that I would have missed if I could no longer hike.

Goal for week 1 is:  Organize Something 
If you're asking yourself "What does this have to do with getting healthy?"
I say, "A healthy mind is the start to a healthy body". If I'm bogged down by clutter I find it difficult to focus. The fridge is a good place to start organizing by removing outdated foods and making room for the "healthy" stuff. Making a shelf in the freezer dedicated to cut up fruit for my smoothies was my first goal. Next, I'll be tackling my spare room to make room for my new easel...No more painting at the kitchen table! Yay! Decluttering to me is like having a brand new clean canvas to start a beautiful painting.

Battling the Sugar Cravings
I grew up in a party store my parents owned for 17 years. Since the age of 10  I had unlimited access to candy, cookies, donuts, Slurpees, you name it. So I naturally developed a huge sweet tooth, not to mention many cavities :(..... I was watching Dr.Oz one day, talk about sugar cravings and the things to do to combat it and he suggested eating more fruit, so I began eating a banana for breakfast every day and an apple in the afternoon. I did see a decrease in my sugar cravings pretty quick but got bored with eating a banana and apple every day so I decided to try an alternative and that's when I became a Smoothie junkie. 
I found this great cup with lid and sturdy straw at the Dollar store for $5....( don't ask me why it's called a dollar store when they sell $5 items) but it was perfect to take on my way to work and enjoy my Smoothie.
To make it as convenient as possible to make one before work, I buy my fruit, wash it, cut it up and put it in freezer bags. I wash out my blender after every use so it's ready for the next "Treat" as I'm calling them, and I'm ready to go. Throw in a scoop of vanilla protein powder, a little Greek yogurt, 1/2 frozen banana, some other fruit of choice, almond milk, flax seed and I have a delicious sweet treat that's actually healthy and satisfying at the same time.When I'm feeling really adventurous I throw in a handful of spinach leaves, carrot juice, and Acai berry V8 juice for a very tasty and sweet veggie Smoothie. It's really fun coming up with different combos and beautiful colors.
 Now I can have a variety of sweet flavors in a healthy drink and no longer crave the cookies, ice cream and's a miracle!!!
***Note that I only have one smoothie in the morning and maybe a small version later in the day if I feel a craving for something sweet. Even though they are low in fat they are not sugar free and the calories can add up if you drink too many.  

Smoothie recipe: Banana Oatmeal Breakfast smoothie
                                                                            366 calories

  • 1/2 frozen banana 
  • 2 tbls. quick oatmeal (uncooked) 
  • 1 tbls. almond butter
  • 3 frozen strawberries 
  • 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c no fat Greek yogurt 
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp. ground flax seed
  • I like my smoothies extra thick but if you like  yours thinner just add more milk or maybe carrot juice.

Here is a breakdown for smoothie calories

Since everyone makes their own version of smoothies here's a helpful guide to calories:

  • unsweetened almond milk (Almond Breeze) 1c. =40cal.

  • EAS vanilla whey protein 1 scoop=75cal. 

  • ground flax seed 1 tbls. = 35cal.

  • Chobani no fat greek yogurt 1/2 c. = 70cal.

  • 1/2 banana = 50cal.

  • 1/2 c. melon =32cal.

  • 1/4 c. quick oats uncooked = 75cal.

  • almond butter 1 tbls. = 95cal.

  • 1/2 c. strawberries = 24cal.

  • 1/2 c. blueberries = 41cal.

  • 1/2 c. fresh pineapple = 37cal.

  • 1/2 c. golden delicious apple = 30cal.

  • 1/2 c. fresh pear (about 1/2 medium pear) = 48cal.

  • Acai berry V8 juice 1/2 c. =55cal.

  • 100% carrot juice 1/2c. = 40cal.

  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves = 14cal.

Clean Eating  
When I've dieted in the past, like many, I turned to processed diet foods for their convenience. Lean Cuisine was my go to for many years,but after a while I would get bored and usually go off the diet. I've been reading so much about the junk they put in processed foods that now I'm getting away from all of it and making my own clean and healthy food. Don't get me wrong, I still love to go out to restaurants, but even there I try to make healthier choices such as steamed veggies instead of fries and in most cases, only eat half of my meal and take home the rest for lunch the next day. I know it takes dedication and some extra time to eat clean and processed foods are so convenient, but I've decided to "make" the extra effort by turning the time I use to sit on the couch watching tv into making a nice healthy meal. 
For this chicken salad recipe I bought an already cooked rotisserie chicken and shredded carrots in a bag, threw in the rest of the ingredients and Presto! delicious, clean and healthy meal in just a few minutes.

I used pecans instead of sliced almonds......Delish!!

                                               Healthy fruit & yogurt pops
1/2 cup no fat Greek yogurt
1 cup Acai V8 Fusion juice
1/4 cup blueberries
1/2 chopped and peeled yellow apple
1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein

  Blend in blender till smooth

Pour in Popsicle molds....( I found these at Kroger)
Let freeze then enjoy!
The kids would love these too!

Homemade flavored water
photo and recipe from

For those who can't stand the thought of drinking 8 glasses of plain water every day or if you're like me and don't want to drink diet drinks with Aspartame or all the other junk in diet drinks, try making your own flavored water by the jug full, put in a pretty glass with a straw and enjoy your clean and tasty flavored water.

3 qts. water
1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
10 spearmint leaves.
leave in the fridge for a few hours or overnight and in the morning you'll have a cold and really refreshing drink. 

Clean eating isn't just for grown ups
 I am guilty of feeding my kids lots of processed foods when they were young...shame on me. You can bet my future Grandchildren will be drinking a green smoothie or two ;)
This website has some great recipes for getting the young ones to drink their veggies.

If you would like to share a healthy recipe, tips for getting fit or just say hi I would love to hear from you! This journey is just getting started so lace up the hiking boots and join me, there is so much more to come!

Happy journey!


My website: