You Don’t Have to be Perfect! Motivation for Friday 8-14-15

Happy Friday!

 

Fitness Motivation

You Don’t Have to be Perfect.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the non-sense that is “perfection”.  What one person deems as perfection may be another’s failure, what matters is that you are happy with you.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Instead, measure your growth against yourself.  Realize how far you’ve come and be proud of yourself no matter where you are on your journey.

 

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

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This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Foodie Friday: Healthy Recipe Round Up Gluten Free Edition

Foodie Friday Gluten Free Edition

Happy Friday!  Yesterday I shared my personal experience with going gluten free.  Today I wanted to share some of the tasty recipes and resources that have been really helpful on my journey so far.

Recipes

From Blender Babes: How to Make Gluten Free Baking Flour Mix.  Gluten free flours and baking supplies can be pretty pricey.  This simple recipe allows you to make a staple for a fraction of the cost.  I do have to say that grinding rice at home has proven fairly difficult without a grain mill.  I am also a bit reluctant to use my Vitamix because I don’t have a dry container.  If  making flours was something I really began to find important in my cooking then I think I would purchase a grain mill to make the job easier.

From Running to the Kitchen: Paleo Blueberry Thumbprints. Thumbprints are among my very favorite cookies and since I was already on a blueberry kick these really hit the spot.  What I like about this recipe is that it is totally up to your preferences on what you fill the cookies with.  If you love blueberry you can go with the recipe as is.  If you don’t have time to make the filling you can use any gluten free jam, jelly, or even lemon curd or Nutella.  With a simple base cookie so many filling options you’re sure to come up with a cookie that anyone will enjoy.

From Against All Grain: Blender Bread. This link will take you to a video posted from the Today show and will show you just how easy it can be to make bread without gluten.  No kneading or fussing with this one; everything goes into the blender and you’re basically done.  Is this bread like sandwich bread?  Definitely not.  It’s much denser, like a quick bread.  It can be toasted though and makes a fine canvas for butter and jam.  This recipe is a bit on the expensive side, but does yield a generous loaf.

From Cassidy’s Craveable Creations: No Oats Oatmeal. Now oats are naturally gluten free, but from what I understand they are often cross contaminated with wheat during processing which makes them a no-no unless specifically marked as gluten free.  This nut-based version alleviates any potential issue and creates a hearty breakfast which is remarkably similar in texture to oatmeal.  The are lots of no-oats oatmeal recipes out there, but I liked the combo of pecans and chia in this one.  The chia provides a good thickening agent and helps approximate the texture of real oatmeal.  I did a few pulses in the food processor, rather than use a blender.  Any combo of nuts can be used and I’ve tried subbing some of the pecans with almonds and pistachios, both of which were very tasty.

Resources

From The Whole Trinity: How To Heal Your Gut After Going Gluten-Free. I don’t even remember where I came across this article, but I was immediately interested in it. The author, Hannah, actually has some education to back up her suggestions for helping your gut heal which is a pretty big deal given the amount of useless, oft-repeated and incorrect, if not sometimes even dangerous BS that can be found floating all over. This is not to say that her advice is correct or even useful to everyone, but the suggestions are definitely something you could discuss with your doctor to see if they might be helpful to you.

From Gluten Free Guide HQGluten Free Restaurant Menus. When I first saw this I was really excited to discover that there were so many potential restaurants that could cater to gluten free needs.  Once I started looking I discovered that this was more of a teaser to buy something, but what it gave me was a resource of places I knew would have something gluten free.  Once you check out the list of restaurants it’s as easy as popping over to the individual restaurant’s website and looking at their menus to nail down what they have available.

I hope you enjoy this Foodie Friday and if you have an excellent, gluten free recipe or resource posted on your site please feel free to leave a comment below!

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Going Gluten Free – My Personal Experience

Going Gluten Free
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After a long struggle with health issues going gluten free seemed to be the next logical step in trying to feel better.  There was, and still is, no certainty that it is the answer, but in an attempt to continue ruling things out going gluten free was next on the list.

Despite being well versed in eating well, being very familiar with trying various styles of eating and being generally open to all things that should contribute to my health, even the idea of going gluten free pained me. I knew it would be cumbersome and I fought it hard by basically ignoring the need to actually start doing it. Finally one day I just gave in and stopped fighting it. I stopped eating gluten and that was that.

In no specific order these are some of the things I have discovered after several weeks of being gluten free:

Restaurants
Restaurants have been a very difficult challenge in being gluten free. It’s not impossible, but fairly difficult to find restaurants that have something you can eat and being able to trust them. The internet is a valuable resource for checking out what restaurants have to offer before you go. Asking questions and discussing food with the staff has become majorly important. Most people seem very happy to accommodate, but cross-contamination, even with the best of intentions seems to be an unavoidable issue some places. I’ve had decent luck with Chipotle, Noodles & Co. and some local restaurants.

Cooking at Home
Cooking at home is more important than ever. The only difference now is knowing everything about your ingredients is key to avoiding gluten. I have found some stellar cookbooks and websites for gluten free recipes. With some good research and willingness to try it seems like there are very few things you can’t replicate without gluten.

Another part of cooking at home is the importance of having ready to eat options.  Much like any other way of eating, you need to be prepared or you could find yourself very hungry.  Stocking appropriate snacks and making sure I have at least a meal or two ready in case of a time crunch has been key to not putting myself in a bind.

Dealing with People
People are weird and sometimes rude. People ask weird questions. People think you are on a “diet”. People want to know if you are really sick. The list goes on and on. First, if you come across someone that has dietary issues or specific needs do not (DO NOT!), ask them if they are on a diet or sick or whatever. It’s none of your damn business. If someone chooses to volunteer information about their reasons then that’s cool, but until then just respect the fact that they don’t/can’t/won’t eat gluten (or anything else for that matter).

What I Miss Most
Beer. I’m a huge beer drinker and am deeply missing my cellar of beer. I’ve discovered that almost all ciders are naturally gluten free so it’s been fun expanding into those. There are also a number of gluten free beers available. I was pleasantly surprised to find Omission’s lager actually tastes like regular beer. It’s not a perfect replacement though and I still miss the really good stuff.

The Hardest Part
Hidden sources of gluten. Soy sauce – I’m looking at you. Gluten hides in all kinds of things you might not even think about. Pasta, bread, crackers – obviously. Salad dressing, beer, malt vinegar? These are the kinds of things you may not even realize could have gluten in them. This is where you have to put on your detective hat, search the ingredient list, consult the internet and otherwise investigate every single thing you put in your mouth.

Gluten Free does NOT Mean Healthy
Say what? Aren’t lots of people eating less gluten to be healthier? Eating gluten free can definitely be healthier, but it’s not an automatic. Removing gluten containing products like bread, tortillas, cakes, pastries, etc. can be great but there are gluten free replacements for all of these items. Some of these replacements do have higher fiber or better nutritional profiles, but on the whole they aren’t really healthier, just different.

Like any other way of eating, you get out of it what you put into it.  If you put in the effort to make good choices then you’ll likely see good results.  If you continue to eat junk food, even gluten free junk food, you won’t experience the nutritional benefits of eating better.  Of course, even gluten free junk food will be better for someone who has gluten-related issues.  This sort of leads us into that gray area of going gluten free.  Unless you have issues it may not be a better way of eating for you.  To each their own.

Favorite Store
Aldi rocks my world anyway, but their gluten free options elevate them even higher in my book. Have you seen the price of a loaf of gluten free bread? Yeah, it stings. It’s still pretty darn expensive, even at Aldi, but if you really want bread it’s a good option. The same goes for tortillas/wraps, crackers, pretzels and other G-Free stuff. In addition, I find their labeling to be some of the easiest to navigate. Gluten free foods are clearly labeled as such.

As I continue to be gluten free I imagine things will become more automatic and easier. I look forward to trying new recipes and cooking new things.

Have you gone gluten free?  What are your biggest challenges?  Do you have any tips for newbies?

Come back tomorrow for Foodie Friday where I share a roundup of my favorite gluten free recipes and resources.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

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Disclaimer: This post chronicles my personal experience while eliminating gluten. This is not a recommendation or suggestion for you to do the same, nor is it an endorsement. Before you begin any diet or exercise program you should discuss it with your doctor or qualified health care provider to determine whether it is safe for you. This post is based on my personal situation and is for information purposes only. Anything contained herein should not be treated as guidance or advice.

Foodie Friday: Healthy Recipe Round Up July 2015 Edition

Foodie Friday_mini

Happy Friday!  On this last day of July I’ve rounded up some of my favorite recipes from the past couple of weeks to share.  These recipes capture the flavors of the summer perfectly

From The Big Man’s World: No Bake Blueberry Muffin Energy Balls. The pictures of these blueberry studded balls were immediately enticing.  Who wouldn’t love the ease of a no bake treat studded with lovely blueberries?  I can see this recipe being endlessly adaptable too.  Different nut butters, flours, dried fruit, etc.  It’s the perfect healthier treat.

From The Healthy Maven: Blueberry Muffin Energy Balls. So I was on a bit of a blueberry kick I guess.  Where the above energy balls were studded with blueberries, these balls took it to the next level by actually processing the blueberries right into the “dough”.  The dark blue/purple balls practically burst with fruit flavor in every bite.  I like that this recipe is nut based which makes it truly different from the one above.  Either way, both are a smashing way to enjoy one of my favorite summer fruits.

Preserves
Homemade blueberry and strawberry preserves over Greek yogurt

From Northwest Edible Life: How to Make Pectin Free Jam. Since starting a garden I’ve discovered that it’s famine or feast.  When you only have two people in your house it can be hard to scarf down 2 pounds of strawberries in a couple of days so I wanted to turn to preservation as a way to deal with some of the excess.  Without a bunch of sugar or a special trip to the store this recipe, which is really more of a guideline or suggestion, gives you the framework to create lovely preserves without much fuss.  My very first attempt, a blueberry/strawberry combo, came out as well, if not better, than any store bought jam I’ve ever had.

From Ree Drummond: Asian Noodle Salad. If I’m home on Saturday mornings I usually try to put Pioneer Woman on.  There isn’t a recipe of from Ree Drummond I’ve cooked and haven’t loved.  When I saw this Asian Noodle Salad a few weeks ago I knew I just had to make it.  What I love about this recipe is that it’s really just a suggestion of what ingredients can be put together.  For me, the spaghetti didn’t work so I subbed in gluten-free rice noodles.  If you aren’t a fan of bean sprouts, carrots, peppers or whatever, you can omit them or just add more of what you do like.  Top this salad with a little protein (I used shredded pork!) and you’ve got yourself an easy summer meal.

From Food Network: Peach-Oat Breakfast Ice Pops. When I first saw these my immediate reaction was “Gross!”.  Something about oats in a popsicle just seemed totally wrong.  The more I thought about it though, the more I changed my mind.  Oats make great oat milk so putting all the ingredients in a blender would make a smooth and creamy pop without extra fat.  Since it’s very similar ingredients to a typical breakfast these would be really fun as a quick substitute or addition when it’s just too hot to bother fussing with much else.

I am a recipe collector of sorts and my bookmarks are brimming with both good for you and less than healthy recipes that I am anxious to try. I hope you enjoy the recipe round-up for today and if you have an excellent, healthier recipe posted on your site please feel free to leave a comment below!

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Guest Post: Shape up with the Best Health Insurance Plan

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Pixabay

Today’s article was written by guest author Tina Hamilton. If you’d like to contact Tina please check out her social media and contact info at the end of the article.

Whether you are young or old, staying in shape is critical to increasing the odds of a long and happy life.

With that said, you would think that more Americans would make sure they had all their ducks in a row when it comes to taking care of them. Unfortunately, too many studies/reports show that being in tip-top shape is not all that common for many folks, with millions officially coming in as being out of shape.

So, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who is not in the best of shape, how can you change that? More importantly, why should you change that?

Fitness Matters to Your Long-Term Health

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that taking care of one’s self is the smart thing to do.

As everyone ages, their bodies have to deal with numerous breakdowns in bone strength and structure, energy levels, and overall ability to recover from injuries and/or illnesses. As a result, being in tip-top shape can certainly become more of a challenge.

With the fitness challenges that come with aging, it is important for individuals to make sure they are eating an exercising properly, taking preventative steps to avoid injuries and illnesses wherever possible, and also being insured against such problems.

Now, ask yourself if you have the proper health insurance plan in place should you need to use it? If the answer is no, you have some work to do.

Make Your Finances Healthier with the Right Coverage

Over the last couple of years, the implementation of “Obamacare” has meant many things for many people.

Most importantly, having access to ACA subsidies and other health insurance options improves the odds of better and sustained good health for millions.

As part of your efforts to cover all your bases, keep the following in mind:

  • Fitness – You can’t get yourself in shape if you call the couch home, make never-ending trips to the refrigerator, or do things such as smoking or drinking routinely. Create a fitness plan that not only helps you get in shape, but one that will motivate you. This can include finding a workout partner or partners, giving you more of an incentive to put in the time and effort;
  • Insurance – With the right health insurance plan in place, you lessen the chances of a major financial setback should you fall ill or be seriously injured. This is also true as it relates to your fitness plans to get in better shape. One major mistake individuals make is trying to get into shape too quickly. As a result, injuries are more likely to happen. Take your time to improve your fitness (see below), while also making sure you are financially covered;
  • Goals – Finally, set fitness goals for you from day one and review them regularly. With goals in mind, you can pace yourself and arrive at the desired fitness pinnacle without a ton of problems along the way.

Tina Hamilton HeadshotAuthor Bio:
Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. You also find her on Twitter.