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WritersButt Wednesday: Inspiration through a compliment to another.

Hometown Sunset

Hometown Sunset

Something just happened in my day that compelled me to write this blog. I love how the universe works sometimes. Before I get into my story, I have a question for you all.  In the past 16 months of WritersButt Wednesday, I have shared quite a lot of information with you on health, fitness and nutrition and how they can positively impact your creativity.  When I come upon some nugget of inspiration or what I think is helpful information, I share it with you. I love sharing my family recipes with you. And I’ll never tire of inspiring you, if I can, to add more movement and fitness into your day.

What I want to know is … What do YOU want? I’d love to know what you’d like me to blog about in relation to health and creativity. Do you want more workouts? Do you want to learn more about healthy eating? More recipes, and if so, what kind are you most interested in? My goal with this weekly segment is to help, support and encourage you to live your life in the healthiest way possible to support your creative endeavors. This applies for all my writing friends, or other artists, or just anybody looking to become more fit and healthy.

So, if you have a topic you’d like for me to cover, or cover more thoroughly … let me know!

Now, back to what inspired me today. I had a phone conversation with a new CrossFit client who is going to start this week. She was so enthusiastic and friendly on the phone that I’m really looking forward to meeting her, and told her so. I even called my husband to tell him we have a really fun woman who will start this week.

This woman, why don’t I call her ‘Mary’, informs me that we have some common acquaintances, some clients and a couple friends. I remark that one of them is a very good friend of mine. Less than an hour after our conversation, Mary sends me a text thanking me for the encouragement and then tells me what a blessing I have in having one of our common acquaintances as a friend.

She proceeds to describe my friend using words like: genuine, kind, good and with a tender, precious heart.

I could not have agreed more with her assessment of my friend.  It made me feel even more blessed to call this woman one of the dearest people in my life. It also made me think so highly of Mary … to reach out to an almost perfect stranger to shower another with kind words. What an amazingly giving thing to do, a gift from the heart. The first thing I wanted to do was tell my friend of these kind words, not only because they are true because I know it will make her feel wonderful.

It also made me consider how I live my life and how I impact others. What would someone say of me? I can be opinionated (and I don’t mind sharing them!), bossy, sarcastic and stubborn. I don’t think these traits are all bad, mind you, as long as they are controlled and never aim to hurt others. I do actively work at this.

But when I read Mary’s compliments, it made me want to be a better person, the best person I can be. It made me view myself through others’ eyes.  That is not to say that I would live my life solely to gain approval or compliments from others.  Not in the least in fact. But it did make me see myself from a different perspective and take note. Do my outward actions and words represent who I am inside? I believe you can be yourself, true and honest, and still offer genuine kindness and consideration and respect to those around you, like my friend does.

I’m going to try to be the sort of person who would receive the same kind of appraisal as my friend so richly deserved.

What about you? Have you ever thought about how others view you? Does is change how you act, your choice of words or how you interact with other people? Do you have someone in your life who makes you want to be a better person?

I can tell you, it’s given me something to think about.

 

 

WritersButt Wednesday – Kill Your Excuses!

Whew, it’s WritersButt Wednesday again! Where do the days go? They seem to fly by so fast it’s often hard to fit everything in. In fact, one of the most common excuses I get from people for why they do not exercise is because ‘they do not have time’.

I’m not buying it.

IMAG1259

Nothing will convince me that someone is literally so busy every moment of their day that they can’t squeeze in some sort of workout. Remember, I’m a fan of workouts that last around 10-20 minutes or less! Yes, those workouts will be relatively intense, harder than say taking a brisk walk, but with added intensity your workouts get to be shorter. Also remember that intensity is a tailor-fit sort of thing. My intensity might be different from yours. The key is to push yourself to YOUR higher level of intensity.

You know how I suggest you do 10 ‘potty squats’ every time you use the restroom. That is a way to incorporate a good strong functional movement throughout your entire day. If you are a writer or work a desk job, this will do wonders for your creativity and productivity, your posture, your flexibility … your MOOD!

But I’d also like to suggest you squeeze in a mini-workout somewhere in your day that will get your heart rate up, leave you panting a bit, give you a great shot of endorphins.

An example of one mini-workout that you could try is one I recently gave to a friend. She finished this in 4 minutes and 32 seconds. Don’t even try to convince me you don’t have 4 ½ minutes for your health.

 

3 Rounds of:

5 Burpees

10 Squats (like potty squats)

15 jumping jacks

 

You will do 5 burpees, 10 squats and 15 jumping jacks and then you’ll repeat that same sequence 2 more times. In the end, you will have completed 15 total burpees, 30 squats and 45 jumping jacks in around 5-ish minutes.

How about I give you a few more to try, to vary it up a bit.

 

5 Rounds of:

10 walking lunge steps

35 jump rope (or 15 jump squats if you don’t have a jump rope)

 

3 Rounds of:

10 squats

10 push-ups

 

For Time: (this just means see how long to complete workout as written)

25 squats, 5 push up

20 squats, 10 push ups

15 squats, 15 push ups

10 squats, 20 push ups

5 squats, 25 push ups

 

These are all quick mini-workouts that you can do for sure in less than 10-15 minutes. First thing in the morning, right after you get home from work, just before lunch break while at home, even in a break room at work!

What will you get out of it? Energy, strength, mental clarity, creativity, flexibility, better sleep, higher sex drive …. shall I go on?

Don’t talk yourself out of working out. It’s doable, for everyone. I’m convinced of it. If you are in the habit of finding reasons you can’t do something, I challenge you to find solutions to all those excuses. Spend as much energy figuring out how you can do something than why you can’t.

And now, since I know you all love eating healthy after you treat your body to a fun little workout, here’s a recipe for a delicious soup I made last week when I hosted Book Club at my house. It was a huge hit and I barely had any leftovers, which clearly means I’ll have to make a bigger pot next time! I paired the soup with a salad of baby greens, fresh blackberries and avocado and crumbled goat cheese. Dressing was olive oil, vinegar, kosher salt, pepper and dried minced garlic crunchies.

Double Chicken Soup

Double Chicken Soup

 

Double Chicken Soup

 

Ingredients:

Couple tbls of coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)

Onion (finely chopped)

Garlic

Package of chicken sausage w/ green chilies (~ 6 links, other varieties ok as well)

Celery (about 4-5 stalks)

Parsnips (about 4-5)

Annaheim peppers (3-4) *You can use poblano as well or mix it up

Baby portabella mushrooms

Seasoning – I just used kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Appx 2 quarts of chicken stock

Chicken breasts (I used the meat from 3 whole cooked rotisserie split breasts)

 

Directions:

Add the finely chopped onion to coconut oil and sauté until translucent. Add garlic, making sure it doesn’t get scorched. Add your sausage by squeezing the meat out from the casings. (I find this gross, but it was worth it.) Once the sausage is cooked, add in the chopped celery and parsnips. Alternate stirring and letting it sit covered to soften the veggies. After a few minutes when hardy veggies are softening, add in your peppers and mushrooms. (Note: do not add salt until after the mushrooms are browned.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add your chicken stock. (Note: Chicken stock is not the same as chicken broth. It has a deeper flavor, more like homemade stock.) Pull all the chicken meat off of the bones, tearing it up into bite sized pieces. Once stock is warm, add in chicken. Adjust your liquids. I always have cans of broth and/or stock on hand to add a bit more if I used more veggies than planned. Heat up and serve!

This makes a pretty big pot of soup. I don’t really measure things and for this sort of soup, you don’t need to. Just get all the veggies you want in there and add stock according to your preference.  These veggies not to your liking? Experiment! You can use fresh or frozen broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus … almost anything!

I hope some of you will try one or two of the mini-workouts. If you do, I’d be over the moon if you put which workout you did and your time in the comments so we can all cheer you on and congratulate you!

Now, treat yourself to a large bowl of this delicious hearty double chicken soup!

Enjoy!

WritersButt Wednesday – Happy Birthday and Salsa

Happy WritersButt Wednesday!

Earlier in the week I promised on Twitter that I’d give you all my new salsa recipe that is so delicious and easy, you’ll always want to have it on hand. So that’s what I have in store for you. But before we get to that, I’d like to wish WritersButt a very Happy Birthday!!

I can’t believe I’ve been giving you all a weekly (most weeks anyway) post about health and fitness and how it relates to your creativity! It’s been a great year and I’ve loved getting to know so many of you who come each week so see what I have to say.  This weekly segment even led me to my very first live workshop at an international writers’ conference. Later this month, I will travel to Sacramento to present WritersButt to a monthly chapter meeting for a writers’ group. This is so exciting and none of it would have happened if you all hadn’t supported me, enjoyed the tips I had to offer and worked hard on your own at improving your health through fitness and good nutrition.

So, thank you, truly from my heart.

With that said, it’s the start of a New Year. I LOVE New Years. Not because it’s the time of resolutions as many people think of them but because it represents a fresh start, a BIG fresh start. I enjoy the start of a new school year for this reason. The first wildflowers bursting through the ground in the spring to turn their petals to the warm sunshine. The beginning of summer lake days. They all represent a shift, and an opportunity to make the best of what’s next.

Beginnings are hopeful and exciting.

And so are strong finishes! How did you fare last year? Are you feeling healthier, fitter, stronger, more creative?  If not, do you know why?

For 2013, let’s not ‘resolve’ to accomplish a list of tasks. Let’s create routines that will become part of our lives and which will support our lifestyles.

You know what the basics are but let me put them out there again, as a friendly reminder.

  1. Drink Water – 100oz a day!
  2. Get moving – exercise!
  3. Clean nutrition – Food is your fuel, what quality fuel are you giving yourself?
  4. Sleep – recharge, dream, create, recover
  5. Gratitude – A gracious soul is open to amazing gifts.

I’m here to support you! I will continue to use Wednesdays on my blog for recipes, workout advice, health discussions and as a place to use all these things to boost our creativity so that we produce more words that are rich and alive for our readers.

And now for my salsa recipe. I saw this on a TV show and it looked so easy and tasty that I had to try it and tweak it to my liking. I call it roasted, but the ingredients are seared/sautéed in a pan, but whatever.

Ginger’s Roasted Salsa

5-6 vine-ripened tomatoes (fresh organic is best)

4-5 whole cloves of garlic (I use a lot – vary for your taste)

3-4 Serrano peppers (again vary for your taste and ‘heat’ level) *

1-2 jalapeno peppers (ditto above) *

Olive or coconut oil for cooking

Fresh cilantro

Salt/Pepper

*Note: Obviously use more peppers if you like it hot and less if not. Most important though are the number of seeds and the amount of fleshy ribs you have to control the heat level.

**You can add onions if you like or other varieties of peppers like poblano, annaheim, etc.

Directions:

Heat up your oil in a large pan and add in first four ingredients , washed and whole.  Keep turning and keeping an eye on them until they are nice and ‘sweaty’ and slightly seared. Remove from heat.

Veggies in the heat

Veggies in the heat

Trim the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds and ribs if you do not like your salsa spicy. Leave them in if you do. Or go for middle ground and remove some and leave some. You will have to experiment with this.

Trim stems and remove any seeds to control heat level

Trim stems and remove any seeds to control heat level

Put all cooked ingredients in a blender, add in some kosher salt and cracked pepper and as much cilantro to your tastes. I like a lot.

Into the blender with cilantro and seasonings

Into the blender with cilantro and seasonings

 

Blend to the consistency that you enjoy and then …. ENJOY!

I LOVE salsa. If you have a tried and true recipe you’d like to share, put it in the comments so we can all collect more salsa recipes. You can’t have too many!

Have a great week.

WritersButt Wednesday – 2013 BRING IT!

Happy New Year WritersButt Warriors.

I know I’ve been MIA and for that I’m sorry. I have been spending time with my family and trying to manage the house-natives. :)

I promise to be back in full force next Wednesday with tips, motivation and recipes for all your health and fitness needs.  In the meantime, I ran across the video from my Dad and Uncle Ron that is purely AWESOME in 3D coolness.

Let’s make 2013 EPIC in all ways.  Your dreams and goals deserve nothing less than all you have to give them!

Don’t hold back!!!!!

 

WritersButt Wednesday – Onion and Honey Save the Day

Welcome to another WritersButt Wednesday where I talk about all things fitness and nutrition related and improving the mind-body connection to improve your overall health and boost your creativity.

Nothing puts a crimp in your creativity like being sick. With the winter months approaching, we’ll be spending more time indoors, houses shut up tight to keep out the cold, sharing each other’s cooties. In addition, people don’t eat as healthy during the winter months, consuming far more sugary treats, which suppresses the immune system and introduces all sorts of unfavorable side effects.

Tip: Your best defense against getting sick is to keep to the WritersButt course. Clean eating. 100 oz water daily. Physical activity throughout your day. Fresh air!

But getting sick is inevitable. My daughter just got over a case of parainfluenza. It started with fatigue and a sore throat moving into a fever of 101-102 for 3 days and full laryngitis for 4 days. (It was VERY quiet around Casa Calem) While she didn’t develop a hacking cough, when she did cough, it had the dry, barking sounds associated with croup.

Being that I have three children, ages 12-16 years, this was not my first trip about this block. I stocked up on ibuprofen, throat lozenges robitussin and poor-baby food. But Delaney just whispered one request, “Honey-Spoon”.

Let me explain. When our oldest was little and needed to take Dimetapp for allergies, we’d give it to him in those medicine syringes. It didn’t take him long to associate that syringe with yucky stuff. One time he needed antibiotics for an ear infection and he was not cooperating in the least. In the effort to trick encourage him, I told him he could have some on a spoon with yummy juice. (or chocolate, or soda … anything!) He was young enough that this sounded like it might be something fun. Ha! From that day forward, we’ve referred to meds as ‘spoon’ in our house. Allergy-spoon. Cough-spoon. Fever-spoon.

Onion, Honey, Lemon

But ‘Honey-Spoon’ or ‘Onion-Spoon’ is indeed special. It is a homemade cough syrup using onion, honey and lemon. It truly works. It does not taste bad. It’s cheap. It’s real food that heals!

ONION: Has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Also been found useful as a diuretic and as an effective expectorant (this would make it helpful for fighting coughs, colds and flu bugs). In addition, onions contain thiosulfi nate – a sulphurcontaining compound that reduces bronchial constriction. They are also mucolytic, reducing the viscosity, or thickness, of mucus, allowing it to be eliminated more easily.

HONEY: offers incredible antiseptic, antioxidant and cleansing properties for our body and health. ((Warning – do NOT give honey to any child under the age of 1.)

LEMON: control Blood Pressure, purifies blood, reduces swollen spleen, and strengthens immune system as it has vitamin C, B, B2, calcium and iron. It protects your body against germs and bacteria.

Directions:

Cut up a large onion in big chunks. Throw in a glass or plastic container that has a lid. Liberally drizzle honey all over the onion. Squeeze the juice of a few lemons over the mixture. Cover and wait.

Drizzle-Drizzle that honey

Over a few hours, the honey will extract the juice from the onion. I stir or shake up the container from time to time. I will add more honey if I feel it looks too dry. Eventually, you will have lots of ‘syrup’ at the bottom of the container. You may remove the onion chunks or strain it. Normally, I just tip the container and dip a spoon in there to fill up a medicine cup measuring a few teaspoons. Can be given every few hours. (2-4 tsp for adults every couple hours or 1-2 tsp for children every few hours.) Once you have a good ‘syrup’ in your container, store in the refrigerator and use within a few days.

This syrup will help loosen congestion, ease coughs and soothe a sore throat.

Helpful Tip: The unfortunate thing is that when onions are cooked, most of the beneficial effects we get from onions are greatly reduced or even lost during the cooking process, so you should eat them raw whenever possible. Some have even suggested juicing onions and adding two to three teaspoons of honey to the juice as a way to maximize their beneficial potential. This juice, taken for a period of about three weeks, will reduce the length and severity of a cold, the flu or other virus. A good buying tip is that the smellier and stronger the onion, the more potent its healing properties are.

Helpful Tip: Another great old-school trick to help with croup, you know that dry, barking cough, is steam. In our house, we use the smallest bathroom, put the shower on full heat and sit and read in there (on the floor or a stool) until the hot water runs outs and the steam dissipates. We even put a towel at the base of the door so no steam will escape. It’s also helpful to rub vapor-rub all over the chest and neck. (I’ve also heard that it’s beneficial to follow the steam treatment by going out into cold air immediately after. If it’s warm where you are, head into the freezer it is!)

Last Tip: Regarding Vapor Rub. You can make your own Vapor Shower Disks. I think making a bunch of these and having them on hand would be great throughout the winter! Thanks to Myndi Shafer for finding me that great link!

Speaking of Myndi, I’m making a version of her “Italian” chicken and veggies tonight for dinner. My stomach is already rumbling for what is to come!

Whew, that was a lot of tips and info. Anyone else have any at home remedies that you swear by for common ailments? I’d love to hear them.

AND – since we are not all children in this house, I’ll take all those hot-toddy recipes! Who’s got the best one?

Fist-Bumps for Everyone!

Is it Wednesday again? How the days fly by. I’m swamped under a self-imposed deadline but I couldn’t let Wednesday zip by without offering you a WritersButt post. I know how y’all are waiting, on the edge of your seat, clutching your water bottles in excitement for what I will offer you.

Okay, whatever.

Today I’d like for everyone to toot his or her own horn. I know you expect me to tell you to do this, don’t do that, eat this, avoid that … drink your water, eat fat, and do your potty squats! Today is your chance to tell me what you are doing about which you feel AWESOME.

This was prompted by a recent trip to my grocery store. I live in a pretty small town. I run into people I know every single time I go to the store. More often than not, the person will immediately start to justify the food in their cart.

“This is for the kids.” “It’s my wife’s birthday.” “I’m bad, I know.” “It’s my cheat day (week!)”

This sort of thing happens on Facebook and Twitter too. At one point there was the Twitter hashtag #donttellginger.  Cracked me up! And yet, I don’t feel anyone needs to justify any of their choices to me. If they feel justified in their actions, I’m cool with that. It’s yourself to whom you must answer, right? Not me? As I often say to my clients, “You’re only cheating yourself.”

Now, for all those things you think you’re doing ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’, I know you’re all doing a whole lot right in your life. I know this because I know you’re awesome!

So, tell me … what have you done in the last week, or even today that you feel good about.  It can be WritersButt related; did your potty squats all day, did a mini-workout with burpees and lunges, drank your 100 oz of water. Stayed OFF THE SCALE.  Let’s celebrate!  Or maybe you hit your word count, finally returned to your manuscript and just wrote something, did a random act of kindness, rediscovered a craft … anything that made you feel good and not that you were failing!

I want to cheer for you. I’m here waiting to give you a fist-bump, so lay it on me. Brag on yourself. You deserve it!

~*~

And now, I give you a recipe for Southwestern Frittata.  I made this last night and it was devoured!  So yummilicious.

INGREDIENTS

         1 tablespoon coconut oil

         1/4 cup yellow onion, finely diced (I had about ½ cup)

         1 small jalapeno, seeds removed and minced

         2 garlic cloves, minced  (I used 4)

         1 cup sweet potato, peeled and grated (I had more)

         1 pound grass fed ground beef (or any ground meet of your choice)

         1 tablespoons chili powder

         1 teaspoon ground cumin

         1/2 cup salsa verde

         12 eggs

Sea Salt and cracked pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350. In a large saute pan, saute the onions and minced jalapeno in the coconut oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Add the ground beef and cook just until it starts to brown and add the grated sweet potato and garlic.

Cook until the beef is completely browned and the sweet potato is soft. Add the chili powder, cumin, and salsa, stir and cook until heated through. Taste and season with a little sea salt if desired.

Transfer the meat mixture to a 11×7 glass baking dish and spread the meat mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the 12 eggs add pour over the meat mixture in the baking dish.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the eggs are set in the middle when you jiggle the pan.

DIG IN and LOVE!!  Have a great week.

WritersButt Wednesday – Is your scale the boss of you?

Happy Wednesday everyone.

I want to talk scales today, or more specifically, the common bad habit of routinely weighing yourself and placing a personal value on whatever that number is.  Here at WritersButt, I try to relate health and fitness to writing and creativity. I know there are tons of blogs out there, fabulous blogs solely focused on fitness and/or nutrition. So as I pondered the topic of scales, I tried to figure out how I could relate what I’m about to say to a writer’s soul.

This topic comes up a lot in my daily life, mainly with CrossFit clients or friends lamenting the fact that they ‘can’t lose weight’ or ‘want to lose 5, 10, 25, 50+ pounds’. What they typically mean is that they want to be smaller, leaner, fitter. I’m here to say that you can be all those things and not lose an ounce.  Or maybe you will lose some weight, but it will be a byproduct of getting stronger, fitter, healthier … not the goal itself.

Now, if you legitimately are ‘overweight’ as in classified ‘obese’, you might need an occasional weigh-in to make sure you’re on course, but I still believe by proper nutrition and smart fitness, you will not need to know how much you weigh to know you are making progress. Your clothes will start getting loose. Your entire shape will be changing. You will walk up a flight of stairs without breathing heavy. You will sleep better, have healthy bowel movements and all that fantastic stuff.

What is dangerous about weighing yourself often is that many people place too much value on that number. They step onto that square thing and have a visceral reaction to whatever digit pops up, as a personal value. Most often this reaction causes stress. Stress produces a hormone called cortisol.

(excerpt from link above)

“ … stress can cause the body to produce too much cortisol which can play a role in craving “comfort” foods, overeating, feeling fatigued, and storing excess body fat.”

If you take one thing away from my blog today, I hope it is to see and believe that how much you weight does not dictate how good/bad, fit/fat you appear.  To illustrate my point, check out this amazing image that has made the rounds on Facebook. I wish I could find out where this was originally posted so I could directly link to the source, which I bet has a wonderful story behind it.

So, tell me, would you rather the scale read 10 pounds lighter and have the body on the left, or does that 10 pounds not matter so much if you have the body on the right?  It’s all about your body fat percentage and not about how much you weigh.

Again, I’m not referring to people who are dangerously overweight to the point where it is risking their health and life. I’m talking to people who fixate over the desire/need to lose 5-10 pounds. You know, you can lose 5 pounds in a few days. Drastically cut your calories and water intake and in a few days you’ll be lighter. And hungry. And dehydrated. And sluggish. And constipated. And probably pretty darn grouchy.

Ah, I was going to relate this to writing, wasn’t I?

All right, so take that amazing book you’ve written. It’s published. It’s on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads, raking in the reviews. The plot of your book is its soul, it’s core and foundation, much like your own mind, heart and soul. Your book’s words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters are its life source, much like your nutrition and fitness.

I’m going to ask you to blur the lines between subjective and objective here for a moment. Even though a number on a scale is objective, the value you attach to it as it pertains to your body image is subjective.

With that in mind, I ask you to recognize that no book gets all 5 star reviews. You’ll have some 3’s, some 4.5’s maybe even some 2’s or GASP some crazy gives you 1 star. Does each one of those stars change what your book is? Is it better when it gets a 5 or does it automatically suck when it gets a 2? Of course not.

Your book is awesome. It’s strong. It’s beautiful. It’s funny. It’s vibrant. It’s soulful.

Just like YOU ARE.

And NO number on a scale or star from a review will change that.

Now, everyone turn in your scales to me! Come on. You do not need them to know if what you’re doing is right for your body and mind. Eat clean. Be Active. Hydrate. Sleep. Be Grateful. Your results will shine through YOU, not a number on a machine.

Do not let a scale have any power over you; make you think less of yourself, or a failure in any way. You are more awesome than a meaningless number.  You are the boss. The scale is your minion. It must be banished!

 

 

WritersButt Wednesday – An offer and a quickie

Happy WritersButt Wednesday.

So here’s the deal. I had a whole post planned for you today, jam-packed with recipes and it’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen because as per my usual, I didn’t have the post prepared ahead of time and now I’m manically trying to get my stuff together to zip off to Mexico with my honey. It’s our first vacation, just us, no kids, not visiting family, since we’ve been married.  Oh, in February, we’ll celebrate 19 years.  This is long overdue.

I’m sure I’ll post about our adventure in Mexico. We are going to a yoga retreat in Troncones. Just typing that sentence makes me sigh and want to close my eyes and listen for the ocean and taste the salt on the sea breeze.

In the mean time, I just couldn’t leave you completely hanging, now could I?  So I do have a quick idea/recipe for you and a great offer as well.

The offer comes from my friend, who is a certified health coach, Sandra Brougher, who has graciously guest blogged for us here for WritersButt Wednesday to help us kick the sugar-crack habit. She is about to launch a 12-week course called Fast Track to Hot & Healthy.

The concepts that Sandra teaches here will align perfectly with everything I’ve talked about here in WritersButt. It’s not about ‘dieting’. It’s about fueling your body of the highest quality food, food your body needs to be healthy. The healthier you are on the inside, the more energy you have to move and increase your strength, which all circles directly back to your mental state. This ‘perfect storm’ puts you at your healthiest, most creative and dare I say happiest as well.

Wann know more? Here’s a bit from her site:

Make a decision TODAY to end the daily battle with your waistband, mirror and poor health!

  Step inside the “Fast Track to Hot and Healthy – How to Look Good and Feel Great in 6 Simple Steps”, and for the next 12 weeks discover how to “Make Healthy the New Normal” and sustain it for life.

  • Say goodbye to cravings! 
  • Banish crabbiness to the curb!
  • Watch your skin glow and hair shine!
  • Lose weight!

Wait a minute…..how is this different from any other plan out there?  Good question.

Over the next 12 weeks you are going to learn how to turn your bodies internal system into a fat burning machine.  Your body will have a major transformation from the inside out.

The course is about to start. You can read ALL THE DETAILS HERE. Also, even though her early-bird price has expired, because Sandra is awesome, she is going to offer a $100 discount to anyone who mentions WritersButt when they register. For the record, I have absolutely no financial gains here. I don’t get a kick-back or anything of the sort. I asked Sandra if I could mention her program because I believe in it and that’s it.

Now, one thing I know Sandra does, and promotes, is having a delicious “Green Smoothie”.  I have created and fast and easy version when I’m in a pinch and want to grab something fast after a workout.

I don’t have one of those whoop-de-whoop blenders, which are lovely and I know pretty awesome. But I do have a magic bullet and it seems to work for me.  For this smoothie, I use the coconut milk you see pictured. Most important thing is that is says UNSWEETENED on the carton. To that, I added a scoop of ‘super greens’ (many varieties can be purchased at a vitamin shop or online), a scoop of high quality protein powder, couple spoonfuls of fish oil (lemon flavor), a bunch of frozen kale and spinach, small handful of frozen blueberries. Mix-er-up and ENJOY!!

If you have any questions for Sandra, ask them in the comments.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I have to pack up by bathing suits, my workout clothes, and my box of wine. Mexico or bust!!  Have a great week.

WritersButt Wednesday – Back in Action!

Well, Hello, Hello, Hello, my WritersButt Besties!

I want to know how you all are doing? Who’s been drinking their 100oz of water a day?  Who’s been grilling up a storm this summer – fueling your body with healthy food? Who’s been finding time daily to get in a little workout to fire up their metabolism and boost their creativity? Who’s been taking the time at the end of the day to list 3-5 things for which they are grateful? Who’s been getting enough sleep?

The paragraph above is your recipe for a healthy and fit self! Sure there are more components, but these are your core basics. Everybody can do this. We can all be hydrated, fueled healthfully, active, rested and grateful.

Excuses are what you are choosing to do to ensure that you do not attain your goals.

Before I get to some recipes for you, I’d like to update you on Jennifer’s journey. She has hit some roadblocks and been knocked off course a bit, but she is not giving up! I’d love if you’d head over to her blog and give her some support as she gets determined to stand back up and forge ahead.

When we got home from TN, there was nothing to eat in our house. I mean, of course not. We’d been gone for weeks. On one of the first few nights we were home, I ran to the store to get a rotisserie turkey breast and a large salad. My daughter begged me to make my ‘lemon-spinach’ so I put that on the list. I was so scatter-brained trying to assimilate back into home-life that I got home without two things. The turkey breast and lettuce. Yes, just the two main things. My husband offered to run back to the store for me. I could have run back to the store myself, but I didn’t want to. I thought I could punt and make it work.

Now, I know a lot of people, when faced with a night where they don’t want to cook or missing key ingredients, will immediately default to unhealthy choices they can find in their pantry or freezer.  I had all the fixings for the wilted lemon-garlic spinach, so I was good there. I also had a ton of hard-boiled eggs left from our car trip home.  So, I whipped up some egg-salad and made the spinach. I did have bread for whoever wanted that. I didn’t. This is what I did.

It was SO good. In fact, when my daughter saw my plate, she asked if I’d make the same thing for her.  This couldn’t have been simpler!

Lemon-Garlic Spinach:

Huge box of fresh triple-washed spinach from produce section

1-2 lemons – zest and juice

2-3 cloves of garlic – thinly sliced

Bonus: sprinkle of freshly ground nutmeg

In very large skillet or sauce pot:

Sauté garlic slivers in extra virgin olive oil until golden

Add in zest of lemons

Pile in all your spinach (it will be overflowing!) Start turning with tongs.

Add juice of lemons

Just turn spinach until it just starts to wilt. Take off heat.

Another thing I’ve experimented with this summer is homemade Pico de Gallo. It’s a condiment that is PACKED with flavor and you can give it as much kick as you can handle. If you’ve never tried to make your own pico, I encourage you to try because you can put in exactly what you like. For instance, I’m not a fan of raw onions. All store-bought pico comes with raw onions.

Every summer in TN, I drive into town on Saturday to go to the local farmer’s market. This is a tiny-little market in the center of town in Dandridge, TN. What was fun is that this one farm has gotten to know me and looks forward to when I start showing up on Saturdays. This year, when I said I was about to drive home, the mom came out from behind the table and give me a huge hug and said she’d miss me until next summer. How cute is that? I adore small towns!

Why am I telling you this? Well, because it’s heartwarming for one, and, if you can get to a farmers’ market, do it — especially if you’re going to make an awesome pico de gallo!!  :)

Some things I have used in my versions over the summer: various peppers from the farmers market, tomatoes (again from farmers market), cucumber, bell peppers, garlic, mango, apples …

Here’s a version we had last night with our eggs.

In our area of Texas, we’re in the Hatch-Pepper season. It runs for a few weeks and our local grocery store sells them raw and also slow-roasts them and packages them that way. For the above pico de gallo, we used a package of hot roasted hatch peppers, a large tomato (removing seeds and juice so it won’t be too watery), some sautéed onions, and apples. Seasoned with splash of vinegar, kosher salt, pepper and a bit of chili powder.  Seriously YUM! It can be used on eggs, on burgers, chicken, steak … anything. Or even with tortilla or pita chips if that’s your fancy. ~wink~

I have another recipe for you but I’m going to save it for next week. It was unbelievably good. Now aren’t you already excited for newt WritersButt Wednesday?

Finally, I’m going to give you a little workout challenge. We did this in our gym last week and I thought it would be a great short WritersButt workout for you guys. I’m going to give you the version we did at CrossFit Georgetown and I’ll give you a scaled version as well.

CFG Version:

AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) in 12 minutes of:

50 double-unders – OR 150 single jumps

7 Burpees

*note: You add 7 burpees each round. So round one you’ll do 7 burpees, round two, 14, round three – 21 etc.

Your ‘score’ is how many burpees you can get done.

WritersButt Version:

AMRAP in 10 minutes of:

75 jump ropes (if you don’t have jump rope do 35 jump-jacks)

5 push ups

*You will add 5 push-ups each round.

Questions? I’d LOVE it if you tried one of these and let me know how you did. How many burpees or how many pushups did you manage to fit into that 12 or 10 minute time cap?

Have a great week!

WritersButt Wednesday – Workouts on the road and a recipe!

Happy WritersButt Wednesday!  How have you all been this past week?

You all know that I’m away from home at my summer lake retreat on the lake. Because I’ll be away from home for over a month, I have to think about what sort of workouts I’ll be doing.  In years past, I’ve brought a lot of equipment with me. I’ve even dragged my Olympic barbell and weights out here. But you can do a lot of working out with very little to no equipment.

This summer, I decided to go old school and bring just two pieces of workout equipment.

A kettlebell and my jump rope

You can do a ton of things with a kettlebell – swings, cleans, snatches, weighted squats and lunges. It’s an awesome piece of equipment. Also, where I stay has a very steep private road that goes down to the house.  While I’m here, I do a lot of hill sprints. Nothing will kick your butt (literally) like some steep hill sprints.

People ask me all the time what they can do while traveling. You can get a great workout in anywhere, even in a hotel room, EVEN if they don’t have a gym! Think of all the different bodyweight exercises you can do.  Can’t think of any? Well … let me help!

Pushups – Squats – Burpees – Lunges – tuck jumps – situps – pike pushups – jumping jacks – jumping lunges – mountain climbers … just to name a few!  You can mix up various things with different reps and see how much you can get done. You are only limited by your creativity.

Some examples:

10 push ups, 15 situps, 20 squats – repeat for 10-15 minutes and see how many rounds you can get it.  Or – choose to do a set number of rounds, like 5 for example.

5 rounds of: 10 burpees followed by 25 jumping jacks

Or count down from a starting set of 10 reps down to 1 rep of Burpees and jumping lunges. So you’d do 10 of each, then 9, 8, 7 … all the way down to 1.

Make it hard so you will be winded fast. You shouldn’t have to workout longer than 15-20 minutes max, as long as you’re pushing really hard.  Then go and relax in the hotel’s hot tub.  I encourage you not to get stuck into thinking you need a gym with a treadmill or an elliptical to get a workout in.

Use your body as your machine! It’s an awesome thing.

Now that we’ve worked up a sweat and an appetite talking about all those burpees, how about I share a recent dinner I made.  Salmon packets alongside grilled asparagus with a fresh salad topped with crisp bell peppers and creamy goat cheese.

I love the beauty of fresh colorful food. It’s like heart-healthy art!

This salad could not be simpler.  Just fresh romaine, sliced bell peppers and crumbled goat cheese. Dressing is my usual of extra virgin olive oil, splash of vinegar, kosher salt, cracked pepper and a generous sprinkle of dried minced garlic. You can use any spices you want. A tip for you — try to use the same spices/flavoring in all the components of your meal so that it marries well.  For instance, in this dinner I used lemon zest and juice on the fish and on the asparagus and even squeezed a little on my salad. It was so fresh and smelled divine!

I know a lot of people are nervous about cooking fish. I was too. Lately our favorite way to eat fish is what we call ‘fish packets’. For this dinner I used salmon, but you can use tilapia, halibut, whatever. Cut a piece of heavy tin foil large enough for your fish and some cut up veggies. Put your fish in, season with olive oil and spices. I like to put in sliced lemon and often I’ll put in cut up veggies like zucinni, squash, onion, carrots … whatever you like.  You can cook these in your oven by placing them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. The timing will depend on how thick your fish it, etc.  You can also cook these right on the grill.  YUM-FACTOR overload. Trust me!!

So, tell me some your creative workout ideas you can while on the road. I know you all can think up some great ideas!  Have a great week my friends!

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