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Trader Joe’s Haul

Anyone else love Trader Joe’s? Well, it is a super popular place so I imagine there are a few of you out there who think it is kind of awesome. :-) I probably only go once every other month and have developed a routine of favorites. However, when I am there I am always on the lookout for new gems to try out. Their value cannot be beat especially when it comes to produce. I made a pilgrimage there on Monday so I thought I would share the details of my purchases and my reasons behind them.

I do not really have a set routine for grocery shopping. I try to go once and usually on a week day. Stores are usually busier on the weekends so I try to avoid it so I do not have to be stuck in those lines! However, there is always one or two things I forgot that I find I am dashing into a store to buy. Sometimes I also like to scope out Whole Foods for specialty items and Trader Joe’s for fun. It is a little bit of a drive so it is only an occasional excursion when I can get there.

Welcome to my haul!

Trader Joe’s Haul

Trader Joe's

Vegetables

We go through a ton of veggies during the week between salads, roasted vegetables and quick sautés. I know there is a lot of debate as to whether or not it is necessary to buy organic. Since we all have to be aware of cost I always evaluate this decision too.

I buy organic for the top vegetables listed on the dirty dozen lists for pesticide use. I buy conventional when I can, but I always make exceptions. For example, I would normally buy regular carrots, but I have not seen any the past few times I have been shopping. The difference is not that significant so I buy the organic label.

If it is a big cost increase I will live without it or try to find an alternative. I love avocado, but if I only see organic I skip it. That cost increase is significant enough. For carrots, bananas, or lower price point items I will buy organic if conventional is not available.

Trader Joe's

  • Organic Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Organic Baby Broccoli
  • Organic Baby Spinach
  • Organic Beets
  • Organic English Cucumber
  • Organic Carrots
  • Organic Peppers
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Butternut Squash

Fruit

Berries are not quite in season yet! They are a huge favorite of mine, but I am staying clear until we are closer to summer. Not only is it better to buy in season, but fresh berries are at a premium right now and the cost reflects their lack of abundance. So frozen it is!

Trader Joe's

  • Organic Granny Smith Apples
  • Organic Pink Lady Apples
  • Organic Grape Tomatoes
  • Tangelos
  • Bananas
  • Avocado
  • Organic Strawberries (Frozen)

Drinks

Trader Joe’s has awesome and delicious cold brew. It is great when the weather is warmer which it already is in Austin! Plus it is a big time saver since I do not have to boil water and clean out our French press. I use a lot of coconut water in my protein shakes and the addition of aloe sounds interesting.

Trader Joe's

  • Coconut Water (with Aloe)
  • Cold Brew
  • Green Tea

Extras & Baking

I have been making a lot of bread with almond flour using this recipe. I like to experiment and make some treats with it too. Whenever I make Elana’s bread, Scott tells me what I am an amazing baker. Flattering, of course, but I usually remind him that it is from a recipe.

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s is a great source for affordable baking – especially the almond meal. Those ingredients can add up quite a bit. I remember the first time I lived on my own and bought maple syrup. It was quite an eye opener at how expensive food can be!

  • Organic Ketchup
  • Organic Mustard
  • Sundried Tomatoes
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Maple Syrup
  • Almond Meal

Meat/Fish

  • Wild Caught Salmon

Trader Joe's

We already had a lot of meat in our freezer so it was not a necessary purchase. However, I did grab several packages of single portion Wild Caught Salmon. We eat a lot of it and the price cannot be beat at the TJ’s. Farm raised salmon typically contains a lot of dyes and chemicals since the fish are raised in an unnatural environment. I will always seek out wild caught.

So there you have it! A little view of my Trader Joe’s Haul. This trip was fairly typical for me except for the absence of nut butter. I find I am always grabbing a jar of some kind! I always enjoy it when people share their purchases so I hope you liked this round up.

You Turn:

What are you favorite things to buy at Trader Joe’s?

How often do you go grocery shopping?

Xo,

Lauren

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Get Moving

Mondays are a tricky beast. Sometimes I greet them with open arms. Monday – I am so ready for you! I am going to dominate this week! However, there are those weekends where Monday comes along and I need to take a deep breathe. Alas, I am not ready to “ramp it up” and jump into the rat race. Regardless of how you welcome the fresh start of Mondays they arrive nonetheless. The positive and excited attitude is absolutely the better way to go. Sometimes it is just easier than others to embrace it. :-)

As I get older, the more I see that attitude is everything. It carries over a lot into fitness too. Some workouts I really looking forward to doing. Other times, the weather is not great or I feel tired and blah. I go through the motions, but the enthusiasm is waning. Outside of my regular workouts I like to do things where I do not necessarily have an agenda. For all of us, tt is so important to get moving and find things we simply enjoy doing.

Get Moving

Get Moving

For example, I have recently added running a few times a week to my schedule. I do not track miles or pace and I do it because I like it. If the weather is nice, there is really nothing better than feeling the wind in your hair. Just because you work out or have a routine does not meant you cannot branch a bit. Sometimes I feel I see two approaches to exercise. Some people think every workout should be totally different and want to try every new craze available. Others are slogging away at the same routine they have been doing for years. I have been both people, and I think the beauty rests in the middle ground.

Overhead Press

My weightlifting routines do not change that much on a regular basis. A lot of time it is working the same movement and getting stronger through an increase in weight or repetitions. That is the goal and I love the time dedicated towards that pursuit. However, I also really enjoy mixing in new things like running to keep things interesting and to move more. In a world where we sit for everything sometimes it is just nice to get out of the chair or off the couch.

Cyc Fitness

Recently, I tried a new spinning class with Sweat Pink. It was challenging and fast paced. Sometimes group fitness can be awesome because you get the benefit of everyone’s enthusiasm. It pushes you a little harder. The studio was great, but a little far from our apartment and the individual classes were a little pricey. Not everything is going to be the perfect fit. However, it is important to sometimes get out and try these things just for fun.

Sweat Pink

When is the last time you changed up your workout routine or went to try a new class or hiked just for fun? I think it is really important to not be closed off when it comes to fitness. You never know when you could discover a new passion. Do not worry too much about how it will fit into the overall scheme. Go for it and know that everything has its place. Yoga is a huge compliment to my workouts. I am thrilled I discovered it a few years ago because I decided to give it a go one night at my local gym. It turned out to be just what I needed. I am not an all-star yogini by any means. However, I do not really worry if I need to modify a pose or do not possess the flexibility I would like.

Run, walk, or dance. It is all important. It all counts. Get moving and embrace the excitement of trying something new. Sometimes that is the key in bringing that winning attitude to the start of the week.

You turn:

When is the last time you tried something new?

What is your favorite way to simply get moving?

Xo,

Lauren

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Easy Breakfast Plantains

Plantains have been my new thing lately. I have described my eating style in the past as Paleoish, but lately it has been leaning more towards the Paleo side. This was partially due to the fact that I decided to take a little dairy break. Losing some items that were a major part of my daily diet had me thinking I should branch out. What else is a girl supposed to do when she has to pass over Greek yogurt at the grocery store?

Easy Breakfast Plantains

Easy Breakfast Plantains

As a result, I have been enjoying some new foods that I do not usually make. My new go-to dish has been plantains for breakfast. They are not the only thing I eat, of course, but they really do steal the show. They smell so delicious that Scott wandered out into the kitchen the other morning and asked if I was eating pancakes. I love those too of course, but the comparison makes you realize just how delicious these little yellow circles can be.

Plantains are also rich in vitamins and minerals, inexpensive and easy to find. I found these at the regular grocery store – a Whole Foods stock up was not even necessry.

I almost hesitated to share this when I was contemplating a fun recipe to share on the blog this week. It is so simple that I wondered if it made the “recipe” grade. However, sometimes these are the things that often get overlooked. When a new food enters my midst I realize I often have no clue what to expect or how to make it. Simple dishes are what I gravitate towards most. The easy creations are the ones that I choose to replicate in my kitchen. If it is too complicated or needs too many ingredients it often falls off my radar. I say I will go back and make it, but it is a little rare that will happen.

So I present to you the easiest of dishes – Easy Breakfast Plantains. Minimal ingredients required!

Easy Breakfast Plantains_Ingredients

I thought plantains were just jumbo bananas, but they are a little different. They are larger, yes, but they are also less sweet and should be cooked rather than eaten raw. Peeling the skin is a tad strange too because it is very thick. I thought at first that they were not ripe enough. Not so! They are just that difficult to peel.

To whip up these bad boys, you only need a few simple ingredients and a few extra minutes in the kitchen. I eat them for breakfast typically, but they can really be eaten for any meal. Anyway, moving onto the recipe now.

Wishing you the best of weekends! Get out there and have fun.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Easy Breakfast Plantains
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Sharing a quick and easy recipe for my new favorite - plantains!
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Paleo, Vegan
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 Plantains
  • 2 teaspoons of coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of all spice
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Melt the coconut oil over medium heat in a saucepan on the stovetop.
  2. Peel and cut up your plantains.
  3. Place the plantains in a bowl and add the cinnamon, all spice and salt so that the plantain slices get covered.
  4. Add the plantains to the heated saucepan and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve!

Easy Breakfast Plantains Your turn:

Do you like plantains?

What is a new food you have tried recently?

Xo,

Lauren

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Weightlifting Gear for Women

If you ever told me I would be working out dressed like this I would have thought you were crazy.

Workout

Weightlifting Gear for Women

What am I even wearing? Well, knee compression sleeves, weightlifting shoes and lifting straps. Yup, I had never heard of those either. Backing up a little bit here to give some context. I have been weightlifting for about four years now. When I first starting working with Scott as my personal trainer I was introduced to things like dead lifting, squats and this thing called the barbell. I never would have made a beeline for any of these items on my own at the gym. I feel like lifting can be a little bit of a restrictive club because someone almost always has to give you the key to entry. I had never perceived myself to be athletic so I never would have found weight lifting on my own. I think this lack of confidence can be totally common with women. We stick to the safe parts of the gym because it becomes a comfort zone. In my case, I needed a trainer to show me what I needed to be doing.

Playlist-Image_1_thumb.jpg

The rationale behind any training gear no matter what the sport is to have a little assistance to protect certain areas of your body. As I l have learned more I can recommend these things as items you should clearly have to help. So here is a little breakdown of what I am wearing and why…

Lifting Gloves

Gloves

Scott stuck a pair of these in my Easter basket years ago because I kept complaining that the barbell was chaffing my hands. Maybe I wined. Just because I lift weight does not mean I am now tough. You can take the Barbie weights away from the girl, but you simply cannot take Barbie out of the girl. Besides being an accessory, gloves simply protect your hands from excess wear and tear.

Weightlifting Shoes

I like to call these magic shoes, but the fairy dust is rather simple. Weight lifting shoes help you lift more weight. Most traditional sneakers or running shoes are designed to absorb force. Rather than absorb your goal when you are lifting is to create as much force as possible. More force helps you lift more weight. When we lift more we get stronger.

Weightlifting shoes have a raised heel. This puts us at a major advantage because it allows you to squat deeper and get into a better position.

Girls who Lift

Mine are purple. :-)

Knee Compression Sleeves

The sleeves help because it increases your stability and allows you to produce more force. You are allowing mobility to happen at the ankle and the hip to control the position of the knee. The elasticity of the knee sleeve takes some of the force off the patella tendon which means less pain in the knees. There is also a warming effect (blood flow) that helps to mitigate the stiffness that comes with weight training and elevates blood temperature which helps it contract more effectively.

Knee Sleeves

For women, they can be very helpful because women naturally have a wider pelvis and hips. To get the knee cap over the middle toes you have to get your knees out further. If you struggle with getting your knees out wide you can be a little more susceptible to injury.

It is a smart measure to prevent injury when learning to squat and you are not yet proficient in the movement.

Lifting StrapsWrist Wraps

It makes a lot of sense that my legs are stronger than my grip, right? Well if you are using your grip in an exercise you do not want to be limited in how much weight you can handle due to a weak grip.

I use them mainly for RDL’s (Romanian Deadlift) in my training.

Bikini Training

Your turn: Do you lift heavy weights?

Use any “gear” in your style of training or workouts?

Xo,

Lauren

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Keeping a Food Diary

Last week I revisited an old habit. I dusted off a notebook from my closet to keep a food log. I maintained a food diary fairly religiously with the details of my meals, beverage intake and weight for quite a while. It was back in the day where I had a very different relationship with both the number on the scale, and the foods I was eating. Namely I was a little too focused on the number of calories I was consuming, and avoiding carbs. After growing up on “low fat living” suddenly carbs were the new enemy. Sometimes I feel like the changes in what is deemed “good for us” can make our heads spin. At least it does for me. Back in those days, a bad reading on the scale could ruin my day. It was a totally unhealthy attachment to weighing myself. Plus, combined with all the daily diary entries it was beginning to feel totally neurotic. I am a bit of an all or nothing type person so I abandoned both altogether for quite a while.

Keeping a Food Diary

Keeping a Food Diary

Nowadays I weight myself about once a week just to see if I am on track. The food log comes out to play when I feel a need. A food diary is a wonderful tool to understanding a lot about what we eat. If you are trying to lose weight I thoroughly recommend it for some insight. If you see something that maybe is not helping you get towards your goals you may have consider cutting it out or limiting it in your life. This is certainly not the end of the world. A lot of times it could be something you do not even really like! Maybe you are just eating it because you think you should. Is it worth not feeling good? Probably not.

Keeping a Food Diary

My recent food diary was because I was not feeling totally awesome. My stomach was “off” and I decided to keep a food log for a few days just to determine if there was any kind of pattern. Food diaries allow you to see things that you might not normally. Unless I take a food picture for Instagram – I do not even necessarily remember what I ate a few days ago.

My pattern was two items I had been eating in small amounts (a few times a week) had become regular items. I have an abnormal affection for Greek Yogurt. I could eat it at least twice a day, and then have some cheese as a bonus too. You would think after years of eating Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese as a pre-workout snack and then suffering with stomach pains on the Elliptical may have taught me something. Ha…not the case. The other is wheat. I was having bread and Greek yogurt daily and my body was not at all pleased with me. I was also eating more processed foods like bars or Grass-fed beef jerky because they were easy snacks to eat on the go.Keeping a Food Diary

The lesson I want to share is that we often have to look a little more closely to see what is good or bad for us. There are common sources that can trigger symptoms in many of us that have nothing to do with healthy foods or even following a plan of what we should or should not be eating. They can range from wheat, grains, sugar, dairy, corn, soy or legumes. The bottom line is that a food diary keeps us honest. If we have to write everything down, and review it, then we have to consider if we want to eat it in the first place.

If you struggle with any health symptoms, weight loss or lack of energy I would definitely try a food diary and see if you can be your own detective. Cut out a food that might be the culprit for a little bit and bring it back into the mix after a little break. This is the method many experts use as part of their elimination diet plans.

There are also a lot of online tracking options out there like My Fitness Pal which you can use on your phone. Or you can be old fashioned like me and dust off a notebook. :-)

Your Turn:

Have you ever kept a food diary?

How often do you weigh yourself – if at all?

Xo,

Lauren

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