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Archive for July 2013

Ultimate Reset: The Recap

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Three weeks ago Mike & I started Beachbody's Ultimate Reset Cleanse. You can read about our start here.

Beachbody Ultimate Reset
The Ultimate Reset is a program from Beachbody. Learn more on their website. This is just my experience.
The idea behind this program is that we live in a toxic environment and sometimes we need to "reset" ourselves and get back to what we probably already know is good for us. That statement is a little weird. I would say it's true for most people, but I certainly understand that plenty of people simply don't know much about nutrition or healthy living. Or perhaps they have different ideas about what those things mean.

In any case, Mike & I do know a bit about health and nutrition- but sometimes we choose to ignore our knowledge and eat pizza and drink sodas instead. Because they are tasty. And we are lazy.

Before starting this cleanse, I had several specific goals in mind. If you ever try this program or any other, or just want to change something in your life, try writing down your goals so you'll have something to help keep you on track. How else will you know if you've been successful if you have no criteria to judge by?

Beachbody Ultimate Reset
Fresh, yummy staples. I actually cooked with them!

So these were/are my goals and how the Ultimate Reset did (or didn't) help me achieve them:

Eat at home. We all know eating at home is healthier than eating out. Fresher ingredients, more control over preparation, and better portion sizes are the big reasons why. One of the reasons I was most excited about this program was because of the meal plan. Beachbody told me what to cook & eat every day. It took very little effort on my part and considering how lazy I've been in the kitchen lately, it was exactly what I needed. Most nights pre-cleanse went something like this:

What do you want to eat?
I don't know. What do you want?
I don't know. Do you want to eat here or go grab something?
I don't care. I don't really want to go anywhere but I don't want to cook either.

Yeah, winning! <-- I SO need a sarcasm font. That's NOT a great way to eat healthy or to enjoy time with your spouse.

So did the cleanse help? Heck yeah it helped! It was awesome! Having a predetermined menu was fantastic and the fact that it was all healthy, fresh food was a major bonus! The food was so delicious and we both felt so satisfied that we're going to stay on this eating plan for a while longer. We were never hungry and there was plenty of variety for us. I mean, we LOVE food and neither of us would be happy if we had to eat the same thing day after day. 

Determine the effects of sugar/grains/bread/dairy/meat on my digestive system. My reasons for this one are too complex to go into on a blog, but I have been concerned that my diet is the source of some issues I've had for some time now. I struggled with which ones to eliminate first. Beachbody took care of that for me. During the first week, the program starts eliminating animal products and breads. By the 3rd week, it's totally vegan. Now I have the joy of adding things back and paying attention to how I feel as I do so. I firmly believe that food is either our greatest medicine or our slowest form of poison. I want to continue shifting towards the former.

My results? After 3 weeks, I feel fantastic. I have had no GI distress except for the one time I cheated (more on that below). Living without meat, wheat, sugar and dairy isn't so hard. In the spirit of full disclosure, I continued to have some Greek yogurt in the morning (not every morning, just on days I wanted it) and sometimes I still put a little Feta cheese on my salads. I don't overdo it in either area and I've noticed no negative effects from either one. I'm also going to keep fish in my diet a couple of times a week or so. It's delicious and I love it and it doesn't make me feel bad, so it stays. As for red meat or lamb, I don't know. Since I usually only crave them once a year or so, it may be a while before I eat them again. I'm not a big fan of chicken and even less so after cutting it out for these past few weeks. I just don't care for the texture. 

So, yeah, the Ultimate Reset gets another great big thumbs up for this one, too!

Have more energy, without stimulants.

Result: Yup! Done! My list of projects completed over the past three weeks: 2 bathrooms reorganized, all of the laundry kept up with and put away (I didn't know this was humanly possible until these past few weeks), planning a living room redo is well in the works, my long term clothing storage cleaned out (well, I've finished the first clean out; I'll look at it again in a few days to see what else I can cull), my daily closet cleaned out and reorganized, my entire house is mostly clean on a daily basis, I cleaned out the junk drawer (I only ever do this when we're moving), the dog has been to the groomers, my library/sitting room is cleaned out, my home files are sorted, and I'm sorting stuff for either a yard sale or donation. 

Seriously, I don't usually have that much energy. Cleaning out ONE room might take me 2 or 3 weeks after I finally got motivated enough to do it. Some days I just couldn't stop moving. And, no, there was no jittery, over-stimulated feeling like diet pills cause. My body just felt like it was functioning properly. 

Exercise daily- at least some yoga, a nice long walk with the dog, and something more challenging. "Challenging" could be running or lifting weights, an exercise video or a swim- whatever I feel like doing that day, but I need to Move Every Day.

Ok, I failed here. I did yoga most days and I kept moving almost all of the days. Lola was walked regularly (but I can't swear to every day). I completely failed at the "challenging" part. I have big plans to do better in this regard, but in the spirit of full disclosure, some days I felt ... worn out. I wasn't tired, exactly, I just didn't have that abundant energy every single day. I'm chalking it up to detoxing. Overall, I felt great but some days I just needed a nap. So I took one. 

The good news is I can totally get on track now! There's nothing holding me back. I feel fantastic.

Losing a few pounds and/or inches would not come amiss. I mean, I do have a bridesmaids dress to wear soon! And my over-achieving, already gorgeous sister is doing crossfit to get in shape for the wedding. CROSSFIT! Shaking my head....

Isn't this what most of us care about? Show me the numbers! So, did it work? A big, fat heck yeah! I'm down just over 2.5" from my waist and 2" from my rump, a full inch from my upper arm and about 1.25" from each thigh- and keep in mind that I didn't exercise hard. I didn't even exercise lightly every single day. I'm calling it a win.

Beachbody Ultimate Reset
You can't tell me that doesn't look delicious! (Oh, and it was! This salad was a favorite for us.)

Just for S's & G's this is what I wrote weekly:

Week 1: At the end of week #1, I am down about 3" - 1.5" from my waist and 1.5" from my ghetto booty.  I have no idea if I've lost pounds because I don't own a scale - they are SO 80s! Even though I realize it's mostly water weight, that's not a bad start. Also, I feel great! I'm not hungry and have more energy than normal - without coffee. GASP! I did try a cup of coffee one day with Truvia and almond milk (rather than sugar & creamer) but it just didn't taste good. In addition, my KP (keratosis pilaris) is clearing up. It's just a vanity issue, but I love that it's going away. My seasonal allergies are also much better. OH! And my house is clean! I have so much energy it's easy to keep things nice & tidy. The worst part of this week has been avoiding chocolate. I've realized that I eat when I'm bored. The moment Mike leaves for work, I turn on a movie or TV show and I want to snack. I've gone to the pantry several times this week and stared down the chocolate but it hasn't beaten me yet!

Week 2: Confession: I cheated. This week has been harder. We've been busier so I haven't been prepping and cooking as much. We've eaten a lot of salads because they are fast and easy, but even with that option we got caught out too late one night and we got way too hungry. We went to a restaurant for dinner where I had a chicken cesar wrap, thinking it was probably the healthiest thing available and what was the big deal since I could have a couple of pieces of toast last week? Well, let me tell ya about my reaction. Three hours later I had a splitting headache, my sinuses were stuffy, my neck and shoulder hurt like the dickens (they don't normally hurt if you're curious). The next day my KP was back on my arms and I had a new patch on my stomach. 2 days later, I'm still bloated. What the heck, man? So I'm sensitive to either wheat and/or gluten. I'm going to get my diet nice and clean for a while and then try some instant oatmeal. Why oatmeal? It's wheat free but still has gluten. If I react to that I'll know gluten is a culprit. If not, it's probably just wheat. 

Week 3: If I thought last week was hard, this one has been harder but in different ways. We're pretty much operating on salads and apples right now because this week suddenly got crazy busy. I don't crave the junk food or the convenience foods like I did the last 2 weeks, but I miss having the home cooked meals from week 1 so I need to get back to that. But you know- Mike & I talked about it and we're both pretty happy eating this way. I know he misses meat - I see his eyes light up when he sees me pack a chicken breast with his lunch. It's very satisfying and the food is delicious. Also, I had a bit of chocolate last night. I just had such a long day and needed something comforting. Enter dark chocolate with sea salt caramel filling. But you know what? I had one square and it was enough. Normally I would have had the whole bar and then maybe another one. Followed by some chips. I'm not going to feel guilty about it.

Update from the next day, RE: Chocolate splurge. Apparently a square of chocolate isn't a terrible thing. I'm not bloated today and I didn't gain 5 pounds overnight. My measurements are exactly the same today. Guess it's true what they say about moderation.

That's it for the Ultimate Reset. Think it sounds awesome? It is. I think this is definitely something we will come back to from time to time. We're definitely keeping the food plan and recipes, but to varying degrees. Mike isn't interested in being vegan at all but I feel good when I eat less meat & dairy. He seems fine with wheat and rice; I do better without them and - more surprisingly - I don't even miss them. We both thrive on fruits & veggies and I've learned lots of new ways to cook them and fun new combos!

It's all about finding what works for your body and finding balance.

Beachbody Ultimate Reset
One of our favorite recipes that came in the Ultimate Reset Book: Roasted Corn & Edamae Succotash. 

That picture above? You can't tell me it doesn't look delicious. (Oh, and it is!) And it only takes about 15 minutes of easy prep to prepare. It's supposed to have red bell peppers and cilantro as well, but I forgot to buy them and I'm not going back to the store right now.

All the disclaimers:
We're all adults here, but just in case: I'm not your doctor. I'm not a doctor at all and this is not intended to be medical advice. I have no idea if this is a good program for you. If you have concerns, speak to your health professional of choice. The Beachbody website (linked above) does state that this program isn't recommended for those who are pregnant.

About gluten sensitivities & intolerances: If you suspect you suffer from either one, talk to your doctor while you're still eating gluten. A simple blood test can tell you if you're producing the antibodies required for diagnosis but you must have gluten in your system for it to show up. For more info, check out The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

My doctor wouldn't run the sensitivity test; she'd rather blame my GI problems solely on my pancreatic trouble. I have no idea if she's right or not. What I do know is that wheat & gluten cause chronic inflammation. Inflammation isn't good for your pancreas (or at least, it isn't good for mine). I don't know for certain if the two are related, but I do know that I feel 100% improvement from not consuming either wheat or gluten for the past 2 weeks. I've had ZERO pancreatic pain. And neither wheat nor gluten is required for a healthy diet or lifestyle. (Worried about folic acid? Take a vitamin. <-- Again, just a suggestion. Not intended to be medical advice.)

I'm not your lifestyle guru, either. I don't know if yoga and clean eating is something that will help you physically or spiritually. I don't know if they will balance your karma or your chakras or buy you points in heaven. Those are questions for someone far smarter than I am. My guess is they could have as much impact as wearing a red kaballah bracelet, but I've never worn one so I don't know from personal experience. (Please don't get your panties in a bunch, that was a joke.)

This blog is a personal account of what I did and my results from it. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

So now that that part is out of the way, let's talk! What are your thoughts about this program or programs like these? Are they awesome or just a waste of money? Do you like eating clean or do you find it too hard to maintain every single day? Do you ever do random things partly to torment your husband (or wife) just because you secretly find it amusing?

London 101

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

London, England

I feel like I should apologize in advance for how long this post is, but at the same time I don't want to apologize at all because London is Awesome! That's right- 'awesome' with  capital A! I sort of want to apologize for only showing you a few of the highlights. Seriously, this is such a fun city! If you get the chance- GO!

London, England
Union Jacks & dudes in kilts?! London's streets are great for window shopping and people watching!
We only had three days in London. WAHHHH!!! It was not enough. Not.At.All. In three days, you can see the highlights (quickly) but not much else. I want to go back and explore more of the history and more of the "off the beaten path" places. 

I might have to move to London for a bit to get to do everything I want to do there. Ahem.

London, England
Some of the more popular sights.
This was our last stop on our vacation with my mom - hi, mom! - and probably the part she was most excited about. One of the things she really wanted to do was a hop-on / hop-off bus tour. Confession: I thought that was going to be totally lame and completely touristy. I was so wrong. I could not have been more wrong. It was tons of fun! Ok, it was a bit touristy but using that bus system to get around the city was fantastic. The tour guides were really funny and interesting and we learned a lot that we probably wouldn't have learned any other way. Also, it was easy. And that's not to be undervalued when you're going to a city the size of London. The bus tours take you to all of the major sights. Yay!

I would absolutely do another bus tour. 

London, England
St. Pauls Cathedral- the seat of the Church of England- and views from the top.
I love to visit churches. You've probably noticed that already. I like seeing firsthand the architecture I used to study in books in college. I love how every country has it's own take on each major architectural movement. It's fun for me to see how different religions depict their holy stories. I'm intrigued by how different peoples, even if they subscribe to the same religion or denomination, worship. They are all so unique.  

St. Paul's is one of the more interesting churches we've visited. If you like history, you probably already know a bit about this church and the Church of England. It's pretty cool to get to see it for yourself. Also if you're interested in history, tons of people are buried here - Alexander Fleming, Christopher Wren, Anne Herbert - and you can read their tombs in English. That's something else not to be underestimated.

England does not, however, allow photography inside their churches. I have a love/hate relationship with this rule.

London, England
The Tower Bridge
The Tower Bridge was decorated for the Queen's Jubilee while we were there and I thought it was rather fun. I overheard several people saying they thought it was gaudy and ugly but I didn't think so at all. I thought it was a great blend of old and new... just like pretty much all of London.

On my next trip, I've got to get a night shot of this bridge. What was I thinking???

London, England
It was freezing on the bridge. Mom didn't walk out there with us. And, yes, that's how my hair looked the whole time we were in London. Rain is not my beauty friend.
If you like museums, the one inside the bridge is pretty cool. Definitely worth a look-see. And it was included with the London Pass. Planning a trip to London & you don't know about the London Pass? Definitely look it up. I think it was worth it. I'll probably buy it again when we go back. So many places give you "free" admission (of course you've paid plenty for the pass so it isn't truly "free") and head of line privileges. That alone could make it worth the cost. Plus there are so many places included that you might not have considered visiting. This was certainly the case for us. We also loved the free boat ride that came with the Pass. (One also came with our bus tour so we got to do two different ones - score!)

London, England
London Calling? He had way more fun in London than he thought he would. 
Have I mentioned yet how FUN London is?!? The Brits do such a fantastic job of mixing history and sarcasm and modern and humor. No one does it better. 

Seriously, no one. You're just going to have to see it for yourself to really get it.

London, England
The Tower of London
I thought The Tower of London was worth a cursory stop. I mean, it's got some rather significant history dating back to William the Conqueror and is pretty important to the Royal Family, right? 

This turned out to be one of the cooler places we visited. So many fun and interesting museums and displays to check out! We got to see changing of the guards (we didn't do that at Buckingham- not enough time), the Crown Jewels, and a museum dedicated to war armor. They even have displays of animals made out of concrete and what appeared to be chicken wire all along the menagerie. Yeah, it was really easy to imagine one of the Boleyn girls walking along those casements or someone being brought as a prisoner by boat to the Traitors Gate. Awesome stuff.

London, England
The London Eye- magnificent!
I should probably be more embarrassed by this than I actually am, but I loved The Eye. I think it might have been my favorite part. (To be fair, I didn't get to go to the Sherlock Holmes Museum- I'm telling ya- three days is not enough!) I just kept going back to it and looking at it. I think I saw it at least twice every day we were there. Fortunately, we stayed at a hotel in Covent Garden and it was only about a 10 minute walk away.

London, England
Riding The London Eye and mom chillaxing.
Mom didn't want to ride the Eye. No idea why. She missed out. Maybe she doesn't like huge ferris wheels as much as I do. Or maybe she was exhausted by this point. Or maybe she just thought it would be easier if someone sat with our luggage since our flight was leaving only a couple of hours later. 

London, England
Westminster Abbey
This is terribly unpopular of me, but I liked Westminster more than St. Pauls. I think everyone I've spoken to who has been to London likes St. Pauls more, but not me. Westminster is just so pretty and peaceful inside. I could have spent all day there. 

But, again, no photography inside. 

London, England
London at Night
And, of course, my night shots. I love how cities come alive at night. It's such a different vibe from the daytime. 

That second picture up there? Yeah, some turdy kids were playing near me and shaking the hand rail for sooo long that I finally gave up. It was freezing cold out there and I was tired of waiting for them to stop being jerks. I guess that's another shot for the "next time" list.

And there will be a next time!

Pisa in Pictures

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pisa, Italy
Pretty magnificent, yeah? We didn't climb it because we had climbed pretty much every tower in Florence and Rome. That's a lot of towers....

Pisa, Italy
The Baptistry. We didn't get to go inside because I lost track of time while we were relaxing in the grass and it closed.

Pisa, Italy
The Cathedral. The marble work of all of these buildings was stunning.

Pisa, Italy
Some details of the city of Pisa.

Pisa, Italy

Pisa, Italy

Pisa, Italy
Inside the Cathedral.

Pisa, Italy

Pisa, Italy

Pisa, Italy

When in Rome...

Friday, July 19, 2013

A short list of things to do When In Rome... 

Check out The Colosseum, of course! Be sure to walk all the way around and enjoy the views.
Maybe go inside. Even though there are colosseums all over Europe, this is the most famous one.

Rome, Italy: The Colosseum
Explore The Roman Forum. It's pretty cool to see the ancient foundations of this magnificent city.
Walk a real Roman Road. Realize you really did not do enough research on this area and
plan to take the tour next time you come back. Try to recall all you can about Roman Mythology.

Rome, Italy: The Roman Forum
Rome, Italy: The Roman Forum

Take a minute (or 10) to be goofballs.

Rome, Italy: The Colosseum

Find something extra tall to climb and enjoy the view!

Marvel at the once far reaching Roman Empire. Be amazed at how much it has diminished.

Make your way across town to Vatican City if you're Catholic, interested in Religion and/or Christianity, or an art buff.
Be slightly annoyed that no matter how long you stand there waiting for people to move to get your
"perfect shot," someone will always step into your picture. Give up and move on.
Be sure to arrive early enough to go to the roof if you'd like.

St. Peters Basilica | Vatican City | Rome, Italy
St. Peters Basilica | Vatican City | Rome, Italy

Steal some Holy Water from St. Peter's.
Random thought: Does it lose it's holiness if it's stolen?

St. Peters Basilica | Vatican City | Rome, Italy

Later, check out the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, but don't take a picture of it because it's forbidden and they will confiscate your camera and/or SD card if you try. (I won't tell you how I know.)

Vatican Museum | Vatican City | Rome, Italy

Don't forget to see the Trevi Fountain. It's pretty spectacular and one of my favorite spots in the city.
Toss a coin in to ensure you'll visit Rome again!

Trevi Fountain | Rome, Italy

Finally, go all the way back across town to see the Colosseum at night.
It's worth the trip no matter how tired you are.

Colosseum | Rome, Italy
 Colosseum | Rome, Italy


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Next up on our Italian Getaway: Florence

(You can read about how we kicked off Italy in Venice, here.)

Florence, Italy

I was hesitant about this stop but Mike seemed pretty excited about it and then a good friend told me how much she loved this city and the surrounding area. Now?

Now I can't wait to go back. I love Florence. She stole my heart somewhere on her winding, tiled streets. It's absolutely gorgeous. The city is beautiful in an old world sort of way. If you read at all or are a history buff, you can easily imagine yourself transported back to the Italian Renaissance. You can almost imagine the Medici era happening all around you. 

Florence, Italy: Medici Chapel
Left: The Medici Chapel. Right: An altar in the Baptistery.
It was completely absurd to me the massive amounts of wealth on display in both Florence and in Rome. The churches were magnificent, to be sure, but to think about the wealth of these families (primarily the Medicis and the Borgias, respectively) and how they spent it to bolster their power and to essentially try to buy their ways into heaven... well, it did taint the experience a bit. I wonder how much good they could have done for their citizenry with even a fraction of the money they spent promoting themselves.

On the other hand, they were extremely influential patrons of the arts and sciences and helped to usher Italy into a new, more prosperous era. I find them infinitely fascinating. I cannot get enough of their history and culture.

Florence, Italy
Around and on top of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Yes, we climbed 463 really old steps to the top. Totally worth it!
Florence is not very big and all of the tourist hot spots are very near each other. It's an easily walkable city. The line to see the statue of David was crazy long (it wrapped around several buildings) so we didn't do that. The line to see the fake David was super long, too. We decided to have lunch instead.

I sometimes wonder if I'm going to look back and regret not standing in that line. Meh. Maybe we'll go back one day and maybe I'll get to see it then. It gives me something to look forward to. Travel Tip: you can book the Accademia (the museum that houses David) in advance so you don't have to wait in the long lines. We had a very fluid a basically unplanned itinerary so that wouldn't have worked for us, but I think next time I'll take advantage of that and try to see some of the other museums as well.

Florence, Italy
The Baptistery of San Giovanni. It's much smaller but I liked it better than the Duomo, maybe because my legs didn't feel like jelly.
Probably one of my favorite parts of Florence would have to be the markets. Streets and streets filled with pop up tents stocked with leather goods and sunglasses and shoes. It was a Shoppers Delight. I so need to go back and do that again because I did not take advantage of it this time around.

Florence, Italy

I've heard the leather workers are impressive artisans and that some of them will show you how they work. I certainly enjoyed admiring their purses! I talked myself out of buying 1 (or 10) because I thought the shopping would be better in Rome. It wasn't. Woe is me!

From Florence to Rome
Views from the train on the way from Florence to Rome. I told you this area is beautiful!
Wanna know how we spent our time in Rome? Check it out!


Paris. Venice. Florence. Rome. Pisa. London. 
France, Italy, and Great Britain. 
Planes, trains and automobiles. Oh, my!

Forget Gangnam Style. We roll Griswold Style!

In case you think I'm a horrible person who forced this itinerary on my mother... well, I sort of am, so I deserve it, but she said she wanted to see Europe! (You can read about our day trips and our girl trip to Paris to see what I tortured treated her with before our Big European Vacation.)

When she first started planning her trip over here, I asked mom what she would like to do and this is part of my take on that conversation:

"I really want to go to Italy." 
Ok, mom, what part of Italy?
"Um, I want to see the gondolas in Venice and I guess Rome. Or the ocean." 
You know the ocean is cold this time of year, right? 
"No. Maybe not the ocean, then. How about London? I'd like to go to London." 
London isn't in Italy; that's a whole other country. 
"Yes, I know, smartypants. Can we only go to one country the whole time I'm there?" 

So, yeah, mom, you asked for it! You wanted to see the Eiffel Tower? 2 hour train ride and tons of metro hopping, but you saw it! You want to see Italy? Dude, we saw the whole northern part of Italy! London? You got it! But that's another post.

I know she was worn out (heck, we all were!), but I really do hope my mom had as much fun as I had on this trip. Italy is fantastic! If you haven't been, I highly recommend it. We flew into Venice then took the train to Florence and Rome and Pisa. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't let Mike be in charge of buying train tickets. It cost roughly double for the fast trains but would have been so worth it! As it was, each train ticket only cost around 20-25 euro for each leg of the trip. Even at double for the nicer train and better itinerary it would not have been cost prohibitive at all AND we would have had more time to walk around and see more stuff. But I let Mike handle it and he loves saving money so we took the slow train.

Visiting Venice, Italy
Hanging out in San Marco Square.
I only planned one day in Venice and if you've got other places to go, that's plenty of time to see Venice. It's very small. We meandered along the canals to San Marco Square, had a snack and some coffee, and then walked back along the Grand Canal for a bit before hopping onto the water taxi. Travel tip: In Venice, there are several "water taxi" companies, to include the pricey gondola rides. The least expensive option is the public transportation. Think public buses or streetcars but on water. I think it was around 8 euro each for a hop on and off pass for a few hours. I don't remember the details because we were simply heading back to the main hub to catch the train to Florence, but it didn't cost very much even for a day pass. Some of the other companies cost as much as 20-40 euro per person for a couple of hours and the gondola rides were 80 euro for a 30 minute ride. Of course, those options have the benefit of a tour guide so decide what will work best for you. We just wanted a ride from point A to point B. I wish I had done a tiny bit of research and known about the public water taxi because some of the canal streets were very crowded and it was hot out. Riding along the Grand Canal was a really pretty way to see Venice.
Visiting Venice, Italy
"It is the city of mirrors, the city of mirages, at once solid and liquid, at once air and stone."
Erica Jong, Shylock's Daughter 
What's funny to me is how my feelings for and/or about Venice change constantly. One moment I'll be ok with not visiting there again. The next instant I want to book a trip for Carnivale or just a long weekend. Perhaps Venice really is a "splendor of miscellaneous spirits" (John Ruskin)... and perhaps I've been touched by one.

Fresh Fruits & Veggies, Oh My!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sometimes we do things besides traveling to awesome places all over Europe. Sometimes- oftentimes, actually- we do perfectly normal things. Like grocery shopping and vacuuming the house. 

Ok, alright! Maybe the vacuuming doesn't happen all that often- it's actually been a while since 
the vacuum has seen the light of day, but I digress.

Today I spent my morning at the Commissary (our grocery store on base) where I ran into a great friend (that's one of the greatest things about a military community- you see your friends all the time!) and we did our shop together. Normally that would be kind of annoying since we'd probably be buying different things but today was different - our shopping lists were nearly identical! How did that happen, you ask? 

Beachbody Ultimate Reset Review

You probably didn't ask, but I'm going to tell you anyway because I'm an over-sharer, remember?

Tomorrow Mike & I (and this fabulous friend of mine) are starting Beachbody's Ultimate Reset Program. It's a 3 week cleanse that has a rather detailed eating and supplement plan and is supposed to be really great at kicking your butt into gear. I need that lately. I've been very lazy about cooking and exercising. We've been eating out a lot and seeing lots of movies. I can feel it taking it's toll. 

Beachbody Ultimate Reset Review
I know a lot of people are critical of cleanses like this - and with good reason, our health is nothing to take lightly- so I thought I'd share a little about this one, from where I am right now. 

Each day you follow their supplement schedule. The supplements are:

  • Alkalinze- to maintain alkalinity since most of us are in an acidic state and that's not optimal for health or performance.
  • Soothe- reduces inflammation in the body and enhances digestive health. This is especially exciting for me since I have pancreatitis. I'm willing to try anything that will help with that. The Soothe supplement has a lot of Aloe in it and that's supposed to be especially good for folks like me.
  • Mineralize - adds minerals. This one is a powder that you shake into water. I tasted a little of it. It tastes like salt. 
  • Detox- helps get the poop out. 
  • Revitalize - brings good flora back to the gut. I'm curious about this one because until now I've always thought that live cultures were better, but we'll see. Plus, I can eat yogurt so it should be ok.
  • Optimize - improves metabolism. This one has lots of amino acids and some herbs and enzymes. Again, if it'll help my pancreas function a little better, I'm all on board!

Beachbody Ultimate Reset Review

Beachbody Ultimate Reset Review

In addition to all of that you eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies, some meat (but not every day), minimal grains and very little dairy. I'm pretty happy with all of that. The Reset box came with a book of recipes and a lot of them look really good. I'm excited to try them. The food really focuses on eating fresh produce rather than convenience foods. We are tweaking the food plan just a little to fit our lives more. I don't like sushi, so I am certainly not going to make my own. Also, Mike will get a little bit more food and more meat than I will. It's what he needs to function at work and to keep up his exercise schedule.

I read where some people were criticizing this program for pushing Shakeology shakes on the participants, but I've read all the info in the box and online and I don't know where they are getting this idea. The program does say that to use Shakeology on occasion is ok, but they don't encourage it. The goal is to learn to eat properly. If you don't know what it is, Shakeology is Beachbody's powder mix - sort of like protein powder- that you put in smoothies or milk or water for a quick meal on the go or for post workout treat.

I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. Once I get moving I really enjoy it and usually tone up quickly, but I'd much rather sit on the couch and watch a movie or read a book. If only I could get skinny by reading.... I'm kidding, "skinny" is far, FAR from my list of goals. There are so many things I'd rather be than "skinny." But that's another topic, and again, I digress.

Exercise. The program book recommends taking it easy on your body during this cleanse. A nice daily walk and maybe some yoga or Tai Chi and that's about it. My friend (from above) has done this cleanse before and said she had so much energy she was able to keep her normal exercise schedule (and she's ambitious at the gym!). I think this is an area where I will just listen to my body and do what feels right. It's also one of the places I want to improve and get back on track. 

Beachbody Ultimate Reset Review

So that's about it. I've spent today shopping, washing and prepping food, cleaning out my refrigerator, and enjoying my last Snapple and the end of my chocolate chips (yes, I eat the semi sweet chips right out of the bag- they are delicious frozen!). Oh, I didn't mention drinks did I? Well, not surprisingly, you drink water. Lots of water. And then some more water. The program allows a cup of green tea or black coffee, too, but I probably won't drink those. Maybe some green tea, we'll see. I actually have a new one I like a lot- it's a mix of lemongrass and spearmint and it is delicious! On second thought, I'll probably keep that.

I'll post an update in a couple of weeks to let you know how it's going. In the meantime, wish me luck! 

Oh, and if you have specific questions, feel free to ask; I'll try my best to answer them or find an answer for you.