The Transformation Workout

by admin on July 7, 2014

I have been on a little exercise hiatus lately, so it’s been hard to write about my previous workout plan knowing I haven’t been following it lately.  I must admit, I’m in a rut.  I had some minor surgery a couple weeks ago to remove some abnormal cells on my cervix (which all came back non-cancerous, thankfully), but it has set me back quite a bit on my fitness goals.  But I wanted to share what I was doing BEFORE this hiatus, because I liked the routine so much that I can’t wait to get back to it as soon as I get the all clear from my doctor!

As I mentioned in my This is 40 post, I started a new workout plan a few months ago.  This “Transformation Workout” I more than loosely followed (not loosely followed, but not strictly followed either) for a good couple months before summer started.  There were definitely missed days and small changes I made to the plan, but for the most part, this workout gave me great guidelines on what muscle groups to work out together.  Here is how it came about:

Hubby:  What did you work out at the gym today?

Me:  Arms.

Hubby:  (slight pause with a stare)  Just arms?

Me:  Yup, that’s all I really had time for.

Hubby:  *shaking his head*

Me:  What?!  

Hubby:  How long have you been working out?  You know better than to just do arms.  

Then he goes on to explain to me how I should be working out larger muscles primarily and then compliment with the smaller muscles.  Blah, blah, blah.  I guess I did know this, but chose not to follow because I didn’t want to spend more time in the gym?  I needed more time for things like Pinterest, of course.  Which obviously paid off when I came across a pin for The Transformation Workout.  It was all part of the plan, see?

So in a nutshell, this workout is a monthly plan of cardio and weight training, 5 days a week.  Every day of the workout you do cardio.  Not 2 times a week, not 3 times a week, FIVE times a week.  This should be some indication on how important cardio is to a fitness plan, right?  The cardio alternates between interval training on the treadmill and interval training on a stationary bike.  Here was one of my tweaks….I think i may have cycled once or twice over the past few months.  Almost all my cardio was treadmill work.  5 minute intervals of a 2 minute fast-walk incline and a 3 minute flat jog.  I just don’t like the stationary bike, period.  If I’m doing a spin class, fine, but it is not my freestyle cardio of choice.

The weight training followed a pretty standard pattern which made it easy to tweak as necessary (maybe there were exercises I didn’t like doing or a piece of equipment wasn’t available at the gym.  I could easily swap out another exercise from one of the other days).  It consists of various exercises for large muscle groups with a compliment of smaller muscle groups.  It went something like this:

Quads

Shoulders & Triceps

Back & Biceps

Plyometrics/Hamstrings

Butt & Chest or Back

After a couple months I noticed the number on the scale going UP?!  What?!  I was getting really discouraged, but was happy with what I was seeing in the mirror so I stopped stepping on the scale.  Then recently I’ve had to weigh myself a few times and noticed the number was going DOWN, but I hadn’t been exercising and my eating habits were mediocre at best.  That’s when it dawned on me that the Transformation Workout was increasing my MUSCLE MASS.  Cha-Ching!!  That’s what I wanted all along.  

So…as soon as I am able, I am going to start back on this workout plan.  Summer will be spotty since the kids are home and refuse to go to the Kids Club at the gym anymore, so my plan is to start some morning runs once my doctor says it is okay.  But come fall, this will be my go-to plan.  Maybe NEXT summer I’ll have the lean, muscular body I was trying for this year.  In the meantime, no bikinis for me this year.  But that’s quite alright with me.

 

IMG 4971

 

 

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This is 40

by Angela on June 4, 2014

I turned 40 on Easter, and I’m okay with it.  I’m fine with the age 40 and saying that I am now 40, but I would be lying if I told you I didn’t FEEL (or feel I look) 40.  It wasn’t until Easter Sunday came and went that I started noticing little things here and there that I never noticed before.

I’m tired.  Not tired like I was at 39, but an amplified tired.  4pm hits and I could lie on the couch and nap….and I don’t nap, ever.  So I don’t sit down, at all.  If I sit, it’s all over.  So I push, push, push until I literally fall into bed at night.  This is a new thing I just don’t understand.

My skin has aged.  The other day I noticed the skin on my upper back is sun-damaged.  Oh the things I would tell my teenage self.  I never noticed the spotted skin on my upper back before, but for some reason it jumped out at me.  Probably the age gods sticking one to me.

And my vision??  I actually had to do it the other day…I put something I was reading at arm’s length and looked down my nose to read it.  What is that?!

The other day I was filling out a registration for something and I had to scroll down to select my birth year.  And I kept scrolling, and scrolling and scrolling.  And those age range options?  I’ve jumped from the 30-39 age range to the 40-49 age range.  That kind of sucks.  Unless I’m participating in a race or fitness competition (haha, that’s a joke), then I’m the youngest in my age group!  Bright side, always looking at the bright side.

40 belly fat is no joke.  I put on some winter weight, as I do every year, and it’s never been a problem before.  I buckle down, start exercising again and eating right after the holiday madness and it usually disappears.  That didn’t happen this year.  That extra weight seems to want to enjoy summer as well, by hanging around my waist and ass.  So I started this new Transformation Workout I pinned and the last few days have been following this Flat-Belly Meal Plan (more on these later).  I have 2 weeks until I’m at the beach.  TWO WEEKS.  I took “before” pictures a couple weeks ago.  Then I deleted them.  No one has any business seeing those. Maybe I’ll do “after” pictures.  Maybe.

The way I think I look in my mind isn’t always reflected back at me in the mirror.  About 50% of the time I’ll look in the mirror and think, okay, that’s what I was hoping to see.  But the other 50% I look at myself and wonder when the bags under my eyes and wrinkles around my eyes appeared, and what are all those freckles??  And don’t get me started on #selfies.  It’s not that I’m one of those people who take selfies all the time, but out of the few times I’ve goofed around and done it, 99.9% of the time it doesn’t come out the way I imagined in my mind so I just delete it.

Here is an honest, fresh, no-makeup view of my 40s.  This is 40, people, and despite everything I’ve said here, I’m okay with it.  But first, let me take a selfie:

 

IMG 4776

 

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040413_1354_TracyAnders2.jpgSo those of you that have been following us for awhile, probably will remember that I started Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis Workout last April.  I wrote about the first 10 days of the of the workout in this previously posted article.

And while I went on to complete a few more weeks of the workout series, I totally neglected writing about it. Then something came up and I would miss a day or two of the workout.  And then I just lost interest in picking it back up again and felt that the results wouldn’t be conclusive since I wasn’t being consistent.

But as with most things, I hate not finishing something once I’ve started… so while it may be almost a year later I have kicked off this workout plan once again.  I’m currently on day 9 of the workout series.   Yeah me.

Of course I have my lessons learned from the last time around… I paced myself with the cardio workout the first couple days.  I also have my own set of music that I listen to during the workouts.  And  instead of doing Tracy’s cardio workout daily, I run every other day.  My run is an interval training on the treadmill run that looks like this:

Speed Miles Total Miles Interval Time Total Time
5.7 0.50 0.50 5.16 5.16
6.6 0.55 1.05 5.00 10.16
5.5 0.20 1.25 2.11 12.27
6.6 0.55 1.80 5.00 17.27
5.5 0.20 2.00 2.11 19.38
6.6 0.55 2.55 5.00 24.38
5.5 0.20 2.75 2.11 26.49
6.6 0.55 3.30 5.00 31.49

 

Both Tracy’s cardio and my interval running last for about a half hour…  And if I’m doing them both with my full intention then I am drenched with sweat with either cardio option.

Also, I tend to separate the cardio and mat workout into a morning and evening workouts.  Tracy recommends doing them both at the same time.  But I just prefer splitting them up mostly so I can get on with my day in the morning.  And it really just depends on my mood as to which one I do first.

Here’s to hoping I  actually complete the full 90 days this time around because I really don’t want to be writing a similar article again this time of year next year. ;)

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Mason Jar Salads

by Angela on January 9, 2014

This one is a long time coming.  I have perused Pinterest for various pictures, recipes and tips for mason jar salads but it has taken me months to finally make the effort to try this out.   Blame it on the new year and all those attempts at resolutions for making this finally happen!

Mason Jar Salads Closeup

Let me start by saying I’m not a big fan of salads.  I never feel completely satisfied after eating one and never in my life have I craved a salad.  But I wanted to try this mason jar thing to see if I could get into the habit of eating more salad during the week by making it easy.  

So this time around, since I’m starting mid-week, I made 4 jars, 2 lunches each for my husband and I.  According to everything I have read, the salads stay fresh for about 4-5 days in the jars, so I’ll wait until Monday to make more for next week (I guess depending on the success of this round!).  I planned out pretty basic recipes, purchased all my veggies and came home and started prepping.  I washed my mason jars, hard boiled eggs and chopped the veggies, all with these two salads in mind: 

Chef Salad:  Romaine, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, eggs 

Greek Salad:  Spinach, mushrooms, olives, eggs, feta

 

Mason Jar Salad Vegetables2

 

Then it was time to assemble!

If you want to put dressing in the jars, that should be the bottom layer in the jar.  This is great if you want a salad on the go and just want to shake it up, pour onto a plate or in a bowl and enjoy.  Both my husband and I work from home, so we will just add dressing when it comes time to eat.  

After the dressing should be your hard vegetables…carrots, cucumbers and radishes, for example.  For our greek salads, olives were the bottom layer (the picture below I had already added the mushrooms).  I was a bit unsure on deciding how much of each veggie to put in the jar.  It is much easier to judge when it is spread out in a bowl or on a plate!  I guess I’ll find out tomorrow if I got it right!

Mason Jar Salads Layers 1

 

After the dressing, olives and hard vegetables, then layer in the softer ingredients, such as mushrooms, tomatoes, eggs and cheese.  This time around I didn’t have chicken or ham to add to the salads, but next week I plan to have one or both, and it would layer in above the hard vegetables as well.

 

Mason Jar Salads Layers 2

 

And the final layer is your leafy green of choice.  I was able to pack it in pretty tight, which I read is best to minimize the air in the jar.  Seriously, how pretty do these look??

Mason Jar Salads completed

 

Mason Jar Salads

 

I felt pretty domestic and healthy after making these!  I can’t wait to try one tomorrow for lunch!

Some additional notes:

-I read that things like avocados and onions should not be added until ready to eat.  Avocados will not keep well and onions are too strong and fragrant.  Makes sense to me!  I’ll probably add some red onions to the greek salad and avocados to the chef salad when I eat it.

-I had both wide-mouth and regular mason jars.  Obviously the wide-mouth ones work much better, which I didn’t think about when I bought a pack of 12 (!!) jars.  Oops!  Fortunately I already had a couple wide-mouth ones I could use.  I have a feeling when we go to pour out the salads in the regular mason jars, we will have to help the veggies out a lot more than the wide-mouth jars.  So if you’re buying a new set of mason jars to try this out, make sure they are wide-mouth!

-I used a salad spinner on my romaine.  I think getting as much of the water out as possible will make it stay crispy longer.  

Salad Spinner

-Finally, I had some leftover chopped vegetables that I didn’t use, but stored away to use for next week’s batches.  Do any of you use Tupperware FridgeSmarts?!  These things are amazing.  They use a vent system and rigid bottom to keep your food fresh.  I didn’t believe they would actually work, but I’m a sucker for good marketing and it actually paid off this time!  I put all my leafy greens in one and they never wilt or get slimy before I get a chance to use them all.  And you know those huge clamshells of strawberries from Costco?  How many do you end up throwing away because they get moldy before you finish them?  Put them in one of these Tupperware FridgeSmarts and it will last for weeks.  And I swear I’m not a Tupperware rep!!

Tupperware FridgeSmart vents

 

The label on the side tells you which vegetables need 2 vents closed, 1vent open, both vents open, or no refrigeration at all.

Tupperware FridgeSmart

It’s genius I tell you!  ;-)

But I digress.  So one more picture of this scrumptious (I’m stretching, people) lunch waiting for me in my fridge for tomorrow:

Mason Jar Salad looking pretty in fridge

 

Healthy Eating!

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Meat Free Monday: Vegetarian Hoppin John’s

by Deena on January 6, 2014

vegetarian hoppin john simmeringHave I told y’all about our yearly New Years day meal?  I can’t remember.  My parents are Southern and with that come traditions. Traditions that go back so far, no one dares to mess with them.    This particular tradition consists of  eating Ham, Black-Eyed Peas, and Collard Greens for our New Years Day meal.  The only saving grace was the fresh corn bread.

I wish I had a photo from back then.. I’m sure it would have consisted of my parents happily dishing out the meal while my brother and I grimaced and tried to figure out if we could hide the peas in our napkin.. or just how far we could spread everything around our plate to make it look like we’d eaten more than we had.  (My parents never fell for either… but it was always worth a shot).  Needless to say we hated that meal.

One year, on a fluke, I spent New Years Day with a girl friend… and her family’s tradition was take out Chinese Food.  You can only imagine my delight and my confusion in that I thought EVERYONE ate the same terrible meal on New Years as we did.  Apparently not – my parents were just “mean“.

I’d like to say that my poor kids have been spared the miserable New Years meal… but they have not.  They attempt the same food hiding/spreading around/complaining that we did… and when asked “WHY DO WE HAVE TO HAVE THIS??”  I simply say “Because it’s tradition” and then turn away so they can’t see me giggling.

This year I kept all of the usual dishes from our traditional southern meal but decided I also wanted to try something new with the black-eyed peas.  All these years later I still barely tolerate them on New Years Day.  I searched around and found a dish called Hoppin’ John that was getting rave reviews.  Wanting it to be vegetarian I modified it slightly and I must say it was delicious.  I love a good Cajun Red Beans and Rice dish… and that is very similar to how this ended up tasting to me.

Vegetarian Hoppin’ John

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of dried black-eyed peas (these will need to be soaked overnight)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/2 chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 chopped green pepper
  • 1 chopped jalapeno (remove seeds for less spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon tabasco
  • 1 to 2 vegetarian sausage links –  chopped ( I used Field Roast Grain Meat Mexican Chipotle)
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (drain them)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup prepared rice (follow rice cooking instructions on box/bag)

 

1.  Soak black-eyed peas 8 hours or overnight – Make sure the water is about 2 inches over the beans.

black eye peas soaking

 2.  Chop peppers, onions, and jalapeno

diced veggies

 3.  Heat olive oil in large pot or dutch oven and saute garlic

saute garlic

 4.  Add diced onions, peppers and jalapeno to garlic, saute for until vegetables are tender about 6 mins.

sauted veggies

5. Add paprika and the next 9 ingredients (through bay leaf).  Stir to combine. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover.  Let simmer for 50 minutes (peas will be tender).

veggies and diced tomatoes

6.  Remove bay leaf.  Stir in prepared rice simmering dish.

7.  Serve and eat.  Yum

Vegetarian Hoppin John

This dish got rave reviews from everyone who joined us for New Years Day meal.  It probably could have been a little spicier for me but nothing a little added Tabasco sauce couldn’t fix.  To make it less spicy, you could go with a regular vegetarian sausage (vs the chipotle one I used), remove the jalapeno, and hold off on the Tabasco sauce and just let people add it to the dish once plated.

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2014 Intentions

by Angela on January 1, 2014

I hate to be so cliche, but I really do like the whole New Year’s Resolution thing.  I like coming up with my list, trying to think of new ways to improve myself, and then attempting to carry them out sometime during or by the end of a year, usually failing miserably, but the intention was there.  So here goes my list for 2014 (not in any particular order).

1.  Spend more time on our blog – Deena and I debated on shutting down Everyday Road to Healthy this past year.  Neither of us were giving it enough (any) time, and couldn’t foresee a lot of writing in our future.  But I just can’t let it go.  This blog idea stemmed from our hearts and our experiences.   We put a lot of effort into the name and logo and spent time building it up a few years ago.  We had a system.  But life got in the way, things far more important, but why can’t Everyday Road to Healthy be important again?  For me, writing is always stressful.  I want to make sure I say the right things and I thought I had to write something great that made people say “Ahhhh, yes!”.  But that’s not what e.r.t.h. is about.  It’s about sharing knowledge, that’s all.  It’s about every day life and talking about things we are trying out to make our lives better.  It’s about our successes and our failures.  I’m not going to write anything that will have publishers banging on my door or that will go viral on the internet.  I’m just going to write about life, at least once a month, that’s my goal.  I can already mark January down as a success!  :)

2.  Take better pictures – Last Christmas my parents bought me a kick-a$$ camera.  It takes great pictures in auto mode, which is all I’ve ever really done.  So back in June (yes, like 6 months ago), I paid for an online photography course through Momtographie.  The course was just what I needed and wanted.  I could print up all the material, which was very user friendly, and complete the course at my own pace.  Unfortunately my pace has been slower than molasses.  Summer came and went and I never found the time to complete the lessons.  Then school started and I thought I’d have time then, but the fall and winter holidays were upon us too quickly.  So one of my goals for 2014 is to take more pictures with my fancy schmancy camera NOT in auto-mode.  Hopefully as the year progresses, the blog will benefit with better pictures!

3.  Be IN more pictures – I lost a friend to breast cancer this year, and while attending her visitation, I sat and marveled at all the pictures her husband and sons were able to pull together to show us the life of Sharon some of us never knew.  Her life as a young bride and young mother made my heart ache and sing at the same time.  Marriage and motherhood are such special times in a woman’s life, and it was wonderful to see my friend during this time in her life.  I vowed that day to get in more pictures with my kids.  Not just me, but my husband too.  We’re always behind the camera, focusing on the kids only.  But one day we will want to look back at this time in our lives and see the smiles and love reflected back in our own eyes.

Of course with my husband behind the camera, I get pictures of myself like this (caught off guard, food in mouth…).  Lovely.

2013 12  christmas eve me

4.  Learn to say no - I saw this on another blog post and it rang so true for me.  I volunteer for everything.  I’m usually quiet at first, but when asked, I always say yes.

Always.

I like to be busy and if I know I have a free moment, which I always find one, I say yes.  My to-do list grows from about 2 or 3 important things to about 6 or 7 (or 8 or 9), and all are equally important and must be done NOW.  I can’t go on like this.  :)  The not so important things (though still important) are suffering.  So what if I can’t sit down for 30 minutes with my kids and read books, or take the dog for a long mind-cleansing walk, I have “more important” things to get done.  But really, they aren’t more important.  I’m missing out on what is truly important, and that is taking a moment, enjoying a moment and just breathing it in.

5.  Relax - I don’t mean feet up, cocktail in hand, enjoying a good book, although that’s not a bad idea either.  I mean lower-the-blood-pressure relax.  I’m wound up pretty tight.  On more than one occasion I have yelled at the kids for just being kids.  I have 2 boys.  They are loud, they are high energy.  But I expect them to be….girls.  Why won’t they sit nicely and play with stickers or dolls (er, I mean action figures).  Seriously though, I am the mother of two high-energy, rough and tumble, goofy boys.  I need to let them be who they are.

2013 12  Christmas 1

 

So for 2014 I wish you love, health and happiness.  I hope you will dance like no one is watching, love like there’s no tomorrow, and forgive with your whole heart.

Peace out 2013.

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As 2013 ends…

by Deena on January 1, 2014

As 2013 ends, Angela and I discussed what each of us would write to kick off the New Year… it was decided that I would write a year in review while she focused on the upcoming year.   I’ve rewritten this article so many times now trying to think about how we collectively would have experienced 2013.  But the truth is I can only write from my own perspective and hope that somehow there is something that holds true to you too.

My friend Tracie labeled 2013 the “Year of Deena”… which when she first said it I rolled my eyes and sighed.  But truth be told in the end she was right.  2013 was all about losing and finding myself once again.

2013 didn’t start out that way… it started out much like the previous year had but then April rolled in.  And in the same week that my family and I would be acknowledging the 1 year anniversary of the passing of our oldest son, Owen..   I lost my job of 13 years.  Which came as both a bruise to my ego and a loss of part of my identity.  When I couldn’t claim that title as part of my persona I felt a sense of failure or let down.  Being a mom, wife, friend, all the other adjectives I could use to describe myself didn’t seem like enough.  And somehow in my soul I knew that was wrong.  And so I decided to let myself sit in that space…

And in doing so I felt myself and my family begin to heal.

Looking back at 2012, I think I was just going through the motions… I was able to avoid as much heartache as possible by keeping myself really busy.  Work, kids sporting events, homework, etc.  Anything to keep me from being to present in my grief.

In 2013 I had to learn to grow and accept my life for what it is… heartbreakingly beautiful.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I would make a good stay at home mom.  I knew I was a good weekend or after work mom.  But full time with a 4 and 10 year old – I doubted myself a lot at first.  I worried that if I was teaching my 4 year old and not a preschool that he would somehow fall behind or not be social enough.  And was I disappointing my 10 year old because I wasn’t working.  Would he be embarrassed that I was just a mom now?

As the year ends what I’ve found is that my kids are doing just fine.  I feel them healing from the loss of their brother in the stories they tell and reveling in our time together.  I see them excelling both in their school work and their social life.   I still struggle a little bit when people ask what I do for a living.  I’ll feel myself wanting to say oh I’m a VP for a charity, instead of just saying I get the privilege of raising these 2 boys.  What can I say, I’m a work in progress.

My health?  Well I’ll be honest I always thought well if I was a stay at home mom I’d be in phenomenal shape.  I’d have plenty of time to work out without the stress of having to commute and work, etc…  I can honestly say I’m in no better shape physically than I was when I was working.  I do however feel that I am healthier than I’ve ever been.

Instead of using exercise as a way to force my body to be something it may never be.  I use it to bring about what I need for that day.  I run on days that I need to release stress or pain.  In releasing pain, it’s the ache I feel in my heart over the loss of Owen.  Running is the only way I’ve found that can make the rest of my body ache as much as my heart.  And in doing so it helps to release the pain.  I also discovered power yoga.  For me, power yoga is like getting a deep tissue massage where at times it hurts just enough for you to recognize the sensation.  Then it releases and with it the tension eases too.  I use yoga to center me and to bring about a feeling of peace or relaxation.  And then there is my guilty pleasure, horseback riding… which brings me a sense of pure exhilaration and joy.  I believe everyone should have one activity that just makes their soul sing while doing it.  For me that is horseback riding.

Spiritually, I found that meditation and charity work has enabled me to find more peace in my life; to recognize how blessed I am with what I have and to be thankful for what I’ve been given.  Charity work reminds me that there are others that need help.  And as cliché as it sounds any charity work done probably helps me heal far more than I am ever helping anyone else.

I’m looking forward to 2014 with a renewed sense of self.  I wish you courage, strength, and knowledge that you are enough exactly as you are right now.

From my family to yours “Happy New Year”  - Deena

holidays 2013 220_sm

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Over the past few years, I would go into my jewelry box to find a certain piece I wanted to wear… only to notice that the piece was tarnished.  I would tell myself ok, next time I go to the store I need to see if I can find something to clean them with.  Only to remember that quest the very next time I went into my jewelry box to look for something. (sigh)

So today, in discussions with a friend – she says just use water, aluminum foil and baking soda to remove the tarnish.  Who knew?  Well probably everyone but me…

 

1.  Here are the pieces I decided to clean.  They are all sterling silver.

dec 2013 011

2.  Close up of one of the rings

dec 2013 012

3.  To test it out, I used the following:  small glass bowl, a piece of aluminum foil that I crumpled, a tablespoon of baking soda, and boiling water

dec 2013 013

4.  I placed my jewelry into the bowl and boiled water in the microwave (about 2 1/2 mins for 2 cups).  Then I poured the bowling water into the bowl, using just enough water to cover the jewelry.

dec 2013 014

5.  I stirred the concoction using a plastic knife and let it sit for about 10 mins.

dec 2013 015

6.  Afterwards I rinsed off the jewelry in warm water and dried them with a towel.

dec 2013 017

Close up of the ring post cleaning… dec 2013 018

I would highly recommend this to anyone needing to clean sterling silver.  I certainly will use this again vs any store bought chemical cleaner.

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Do Not Fear the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

by Angela on August 4, 2013

I know the thought of cleaning your face with oil sounds absurd.  I thought the exact same thing when I first heard about it.  But before I go into the details, let me tell you why I like the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) and have stuck with it for over 6 months now:

- It uses 2 ingredients I can pronounce and buy at my regular grocery store.

- My skin is more balanced now than it has ever been in my life.

- I don’t need any other product on my face (however I do choose to use a daily moisturizer with SPF and an eye cream).

- It removes ALL my makeup, including waterproof mascara!

- It is inexpensive.

- It is easy!

OCM  face

I’ve always struggled with face cleaning products.  I grew up thinking that my breakouts were caused by too much oil, so I was always trying to “dry out” my skin with harsh products, only to end up with even oilier skin as it tried to balance itself out.  And I never had “go to” products.  I never knew what brand to use, do I need toner, what moisturizer, and now, unfortunately, what age defier.  I’ve tried many brands, I’ve used prescription lines, department store brands and mixed and matched drugstore brands.  And still I was in a constant cycle of my skin being tight and dry, then super oily, and back to dry again.  But finally, for over 6 months now, my skin has been balanced!

I had a conversation about a year ago with my friend, Kate, about how an older relative of hers put petroleum jelly on her face every night.  I gasped in horror thinking how this would result in me waking up to a minefield on my face of connect-the-dot zits.  She nodded in agreement but said this woman had the most beautiful, softest skin.  We laughed at the absurdity but you know what?  It all makes sense now.  Here’s the science behind it:

OIL DISSOLVES OIL

It’s that simple!

(by the way, sorry this is all sounding like an infomercial!  Not my intention at all, but I’m real excited about sharing this discovery with you all!)

What is the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)?

Go ahead and google Oil Cleansing Method.  You will get tons of result, including something on Wikipedia (so it must be legit, right?!).  But the gist of it is, you use natural oils to clean your skin.

OCM requires 2 ingredients:

1.  Castor Oil – Castor oil is a vegetable oil derived from the castor bean and is commonly used for medicinal purposes as a laxative.  So it’s highly recommended you don’t take a swig unless you really need it!  I have found my bottles in the infant medicine section at Walgreens and even my local Harris Teeter.  The role of castor oil in the Oil Cleansing Method is to draw out impurities and cleanse.  It is very drying and a little goes a long way, so this will be the smaller portion of the two oils in your mix.

2.  Natural, cold-pressed vegetable oil – This is the carrier oil and is used to dilute and moisturize.  I have been using sunflower oil and have been very happy with it, but you can also use olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil, just to name a few.

 

OCM  ingredients

Side note:  I have read some articles where people have added an essential oil or tea tree oil to their concoction, but I haven’t tried that yet.  Why mess up a good thing, right?

Anyhow, my first mix that I made several months ago, I started with about 25% castor oil and 75% sunflower oil.  After a couple days with this mixture, my skin felt very tight.  So I have since changed my mixture to about 10% castor oil and 90% sunflower oil.  You may need to adjust your portions based on your skin type, but a good start is:

Dry Skin:  10% castor oil, 90% carrier oil

Normal Skin:  20% castor oil, 80% carrier oil

Oily Skin:  30% castor oil, 70% carrier oil

I just eyeball it, try it out a day or two, and adjust as necessary.  In this picture below, I actually had too much castor oil and a few days later had to add more sunflower oil because it was making my skin feel real tight:

OCM  castor oil

OCM  Sunflower oil

How does the OCM work?

I pour a small amount of the mixture in the cup of my hand before I step in the shower at night.  I’d say it’s about a nickel or quarter-sized amount.  Then I spend a couple minutes massaging it all over my face, gently rubbing over my eyes, and even onto my neck.  Then I wet my washcloth with hot water and lay on my face for a couple minutes.  The oil will dissolve the oil on your face that is filled with impurities such as bacteria and dead skin cells, and the steam from the washcloth will loosen it and draw it out.  Then you wipe it all away.  It’s that simple.  Every once in a while I will take a small amount and rub on my face after my shower just as an added moisturizer, but I don’t do it every night and certainly don’t feel the need for an extra moisturizer.  And that’s really it.  Simple, right?  The only negative I have experienced with this new skin care regimen is the amount of washcloths I go through or have to wash on a regular basis.  But it’s really not that bad considering I do laundry almost every. single. day.

 

OCM  face full bottle

You will see I am using an olive oil container.  I started with a  plastic travel bottle, but I switched to glass because glass is just better, plus I can throw this in the dishwasher before I have to make a new batch.  It’s highly recommended to thoroughly clean your container when making a new batch just to avoid introducing unnecessary bacteria into your mixture.

You may also notice in the background of one of the pictures that I have another similar bottle labeled “Body”.  Many moons ago, Deena wrote about the benefits of grapeseed oil as a natural body moisturizer.  So that is what is in the other bottle.  I’m just a walking bottle of vegetable oil.  Friends, please let me know if I start smelling like fried foods!

So that’s it.  Another major lifestyle change for me that I feel good about.  I’ve eliminated most skin cleansing chemicals from my life and feel safe with what is being absorbed into my skin.  I can mark that one off my list!

I’d love to hear if anyone else gives this a try and what you think!

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Meat Free Monday: Chickpea Curry

by Angela on June 18, 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve done a meat-free recipe post.  But I’ve discovered one that is worth sharing.  If you like curry, you’ll love this recipe!  I’ve made it a few times now.  A couple times I added cubed chicken, but today I made it completely meat-free.  It’s actually an altered version of a recipe I found on Allrecipes.com (link to original recipe at the bottom of this post).  My modifications make it a little less processed and almost dairy-free (1 Tbs of butter can be replaced by a dairy-free option).  I served this over brown rice with a side of steamed broccoli and thought it was deeee-licious!

 chickpea curry1

Chickpea Curry

printable version

Ingredients 

1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans,drained
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
2 cubes vegetable bouillon

Directions

1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Cook and stir the onion and garlic in the melted butter for about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent. Sprinkle in curry powder, garam masala, paprika, sugar, ginger, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook and stir 3 to 4 more minutes, until spices are lightly toasted.

2. Mix in the garbanzo beans, sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and bouillon cubes. Simmer the curry over medium-low heat for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Serve with rice or naan.

 

Recipe adapted from Easy Chickpea Curry recipe at AllRecipes.com.

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