EAT

Cali Girl Gets Macros!

Welcome to the wonderful world of macros which is both exciting and terrifying, for those who don’t know how to get started! Starting in January 2017, I decided to try using macros to calculate my nutritional goals because I saw a lot of people achieving great results with it. Below, I outline how to get started, but if you are already a macro veteran, you can bypass the How I Got Started section and scroll down to Lessons Learned.


How I Got Started

I heard the acronym IIFYM everywhere, and learned that it stands for “if it fits your macros!” I discovered that the site has a free macro calculator here: https://www.iifym.com/iifym-calculator/, so I used their free calculator, input the required information like age, height, weight, activity level, and goals. A lot of this is based upon how much exercise you commit to every day.

After entering your information and goals, the site gives your macros based on what you input (mine are below)! The great thing about it is that you can PERSONALIZE this to fit what YOU want to do with your body and what you want to consume. I actually adjusted mine a little bit to increase the protein, increase the healthy fat (to accommodate nuts and avocado), and reduce the carbs. The values all have a relationship (so as you change protein, fat, carbs, etc. the others change to fit within the same total number of calories). You can change it too! This is what I came up with for my goals.

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The IIFYM.com website has a place where you can sign up for their specific meal and fitness plans, but I decided that I’m going to put together my own meal plan. I love seeing how things work, and the DIY method is FREE! I asked around to find out what friends use to calculate daily macros, and the first app that was suggested to me was My Fitness Pal.

I downloaded the app, and it seemed very intuitive. You search for a food that you ate or plan to prep, weigh it, and input it in the app. The app then tells you the amount of calories and all of the macros in that food or meal! Easy enough right?

I started with chicken. I got a value pack of chicken breasts, cut them up, and weighed them on my food scale (I use that little “tare” button to offset the weight of the plate so that it’s not included in the weight of the chicken). The food scale that I have is unfortunately not available anymore, but here are a good selection of ones you can try from Amazon if you don’t have one already!

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From there, I input the foods from my recipes into myfitness pal individually. So if my recipe contains 6 ounces of chicken as seen above, 1 tbsp of basil, a dash of paprika, 1 tbsp of parsley, 1/8 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper, I enter all of those ingredients into myfitnesspal. From there, if I add a salad to my mealprep, I enter all of those individual ingredients as well to get the totals for that particular meal.

After entering all of the information in, this meal below came out to the following (I did not add dressing to my salad in case you were wondering why it wasn’t listed):

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As I mealprepped more and more meals to the week, I added them all into my app, under the categories Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks.

I then can make sure that my calories and macros fit within the guidelines I got as a result from entering my information into the IIFYM.com website!

I have to say however, that I’m not extremely strict and rigid with the calories and macro counts; I just keep them in mind and make sure they don’t fall too far out of range.

And that’s it! You enter in all of the foods you prep, or if you’re not a mealprepper, you can just add foods per meal as you eat them and get a daily total!


Lessons Learned

And now… for the lessons learned. So much information all in one week!

1 // My Fitness Pal Contains Incorrect Information

I was going along and entering in my food, checking the calories/macros for all of last week, blissfully without questioning the information in the My Fitness Pal app. After all, MFP  was designed for this, and should be smarter than me, right? WRONG! Here are some reasons why your information might be incorrect

  • User Generated Errors – MFP contains foods that are generated by users, meaning that anyone can enter information and it might not be correct. If you search for and find these incorrect entries and add them to your meal plan, this incorrect information will throw off your totals. I made the mistake of looking for a complete meal and found this “Western Omlette.” I recreated it not knowing that the user who input this was incorrect!

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  • My Fitness Pal generated errors – MFP has “verified” foods, noted by a little green check mark as seen below. Most of the time they’ve been pretty accurate, but for some reason, several times I’ve calculated the calories based on the macros and sometimes they too have a slight margin of error. For this reason, I did some research and learned how to verify the calories using simple math.

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2 // Verify the Calories Based On the Macros

I learned that:

fat = x 9 (that’s a multiply sign)

carbs and protein = x 4

To show how this works, let’s look at a nutrition label for gluten free pasta.

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If use the basic formula here, Fat (1 x 9) + Carbs (42 x 4) + Protein (5 x 4) = 9 + 168 + 20 = 197. That’s pretty darn close to 200 (I think they round up). I now have learned to double check to make sure that the total calories look correct/are within close range to make sure my counts are accurate!

3 // Scan Your Food

My Fitness Pal has a scanner feature, where you can scan the barcodes of most foods and it will show the information without you having to enter it directly! This saves me lots of time!

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4 // Getting Your Totals

A really awesome person from Instagram shared with me that if you turn My Fitness Pal to landscape format, it gives you your total macros per meal and for the day! Being a person who keeps the rotating feature on my iPhone currently on lock (so that it doesn’t rotate), I had no idea and was adding things up manually! But look no further to modern technology…. woohoo!

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A Huge Variety of Apps

There are a lot of tracker apps for this, and MFP is not the only one you can choose from. I didn’t have a lot of time to try them all, but I did download Lifesum, and really liked its fun and sleek user interface as seen below. However I think based upon some of the research I did, most of these apps are about the same in accuracy, but MFP has a larger database of food. If you’re looking for more information and not sure which app you might want to use, this article (http://www.imore.com/) has a great detailed breakdown of some of the most popular ones! The article is a few years old, so if you know of some better apps feel free to leave a comment in the box below!

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To Sum It All Up

So remember those results I posted from the iifym.com website up there? It recommended my daily totals be: 1969 total calories, 153g protein, 105g fat, and 103g carbs.

This is my meal schedule for the week and my totals are 1982 calories, 149g protein, 105.5g fat, and 110g carbs. I came pretty close!

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Well that’s all, folks! I hope you enjoyed my recap of my first week with macros, and hope it helps you get started if you haven’t already. I’ll be posting my weekly meal plans on my Instagram page @caligirlgetsfit, so feel free to follow along and tag me in your photos so I can follow your journey too! I love that so many people are doing this and we are helping each other learn and get better. #strongertogether

With love and yummy tummies from California,

Shannon @caligirlgetsfit

Supplements: Protein and BCAAs

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Every week when I post my meal plans, I get a lot of questions about supplements: how they benefit my workout, and how to choose between a sea of different brands. Here, I’m going to go over the two supplements I’m currently taking: protein and BCAAs and how they help my workouts!

Whey Protein

According to research, bodybuilders, and other fitness professionals, drinking protein during or after you train can help to create faster gains, i.e. improvements in strength and muscle development. This can also help with recovery. Probably the most popular supplement out there is whey protein, which is derived from milk protein. The protein in cow’s milk is 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein.

People love whey protein because it digests quickly and builds lean muscle, meaning that if you drink it around the time of your workout, you can get the benefits right away around the time that you work out out those muscles. Thus, in my opinion the best time to take it is either before or after your workout.

Pea Protein

However, if you are vegan or lactose intolerant, whey protein is not for you. One suggestion from a vegan friends is pea protein as a dietary supplement. Pea protein is a safe alternative for people with allergies to dairy, those who are lactose intolerant, vegetarians, or people soy allergies. Plant proteins have some of every essential amino acid. However, one primary difference between whey and pea powders is that whey is a “complete” protein, meaning that it contains all essential amino acids, and pea is an incomplete protein. It’s a great place to start but it’s not appropriate to use as the primary source of protein in your diet (source: Livestrong). People taking pea protein may have to take additional supplements or get additional protein sources from food.

BCAAs

BCAAs stand for branched chain amino acids, and the these help to not only facilitate muscle growth, but they also help to provide fuel for your body. On days that my workouts are very intense, such as lots of HIIT or cardio-intense intervals, they are very beneficial. We can get a lot of these BCAAs from certain foods, such as chicken breast, beef, salmon, eggs, and quinoa, however on super intense workout days, I like to incorporate a BCAA supplement into my training around the time of my workout. A trainer told me that BCAAs help to promote muscle growth, repair your body, and reduce  muscle soreness. So I started taking them after HIIT and did notice I was less tired and less sore. If you’re curious, it’s definitely worth a try!

The current supplement I’m taking is the Women’s Best protein and BCAAs. I chose this one specifically because of the taste and that the products fit well with my training routine. I currently drink my shakes in the afternoon either before or after my workouts, and the BCAAs after intense training sessions. If you have any questions about the products or are interested in trying them out, you can visit their website here!

Shrimp And Polenta

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One of my favorite things to eat is polenta, and it’s such an easy thing to make. It also works great for mealprep, because it reheats well and lasts in the fridge for a long time. I decided to make this for my prep this week! Here are the simple ingredients:

Polenta

  • The ratio of this recipe is 1 cup firm polenta : 4 cups water. Adjust accordingly to the volume you are making.
  • Salt to taste
  • Butter or margarine (optional) approx 2 tablespoons per cup of polenta

Shrimp

  • 12/ cup Bertolli garlic and basil tomato sauce
  • Large shrimp
  • Salt and pepper

 

Make the polenta:

Boil the water on high heat and add a pinch of salt to taste per your own preferences. I use very little. Once the water is boiling, add in the polenta gradually, stirring with a wire whisk. Continue as the polenta starts to thicken.

Cook for approximately 30 minutes, stirring periodically to make sure the polenta does not stick to the bottom of the pot. When all of the water is absorbed and it’s a nice thick consistency, you can spoon onto a plate\.

Make the shrimp:

Boil about half a cup of the tomato sauce in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, boil the shrimp in a separate pot with a pinch of salt for about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pot and combine with the tomato sauce pot and boil it for about 2 more minutes. Remove from pot and spoon over your bed of polenta in step one. Season with pepper and your choice of herbs. Enjoy!

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Nice Cream is Never Naughty!

Have you been naughty or nice this year? Well, one thing is for sure, nice cream is ALWAYS nice! This week’s recipe was created by a good friend of mine, Melissa, who is the author of So Much Yum Blog. She makes the best plant-based creations, is a registered dietician, takes the most beautiful food photos, and loves kitties. What’s not to love about all that?

Hope you enjoy her recipe below and try it out for the holidays! Happy healthy holidays everyone!


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When people ask me if it’s hard being vegan, my honest answer is always an enthusiastic no. Why? Because NICE CREAM. Now if nice cream didn’t exist, my answer might be different. Ice cream is essential to life, and I’ve found that NICE cream is a completely delicious alternative if you can’t have the real deal dairy stuff.

Of all the nice cream I’ve made, this rocky road version is my favorite so far. Ice cream? Like, who even needs that when you have THIS! Creamy chocolate goodness, sweet (vegan) marshmallows, crunchy toasted almonds. Your world is about to be rocked with this one.

Ingredients:

  • 6 extra large ripe bananas, pre-sliced and frozen
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon agave
  • 1/2 cup sliced raw almonds, toasted (see directions below)
  • 1 cup vegan mini marshmallows (or regular if not vegan)

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Directions:

  1. If sliced almonds not already toasted: Preheat oven to 350°F. Evenly spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool completely.
  2. In a food processor, blend the frozen bananas until completely smooth and creamy. This will take several minutes. Scrape down the sides and lid as needed. You may need to blend in two batches if your food processor is small.
  3. Add cocoa and agave, and continue blending until completely combined.
  4. Transfer banana mixture into a large bowl. Add almonds and marshmallows, and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer nice cream into freezer-safe container (I use a metal loaf tin), cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 4 hours or until at desired firmness. If left overnight, the ice cream will harden but will still be scoop-able with an ice cream scoop. Nice cream can also be eaten right away without refreezing but will be more like soft serve (which is as equally delicious).
  6. Enjoy!

bm-23About Melissa:

Melissa was born in Portland, Oregon, and spent the first 20 years of her life there before moving to Southern California (where she currently resides) to finish her nutrition degree. She is now a registered dietitian, board certified specialist in sports dietetics, Jazzercise instructor, ACSM certified personal trainer, and author of the plant-based food blog So Much Yum.

She also recently got married to a hunky firefighter who acts as taste tester and occasional photography assistant. When not being a dietitian, teaching Jazzericse or blogging, she loves doing crossword puzzles and daydreaming about when she will finally get to adopt two fur-baby kittens! For more about Melissa, you can visit her blog here or check her out on Instagram!

Chia Chocolate Pudding

The thing I love the most about the BBG community is the warmth, kindness, and sense of belonging that everyone extends to one another. The second BBG sister that I met  a year and a half ago was a beautiful girl named Almut from Germany, who was traveling the world and tasting the world (her IG handle fittingly is @tastingtheworld)! Getting to know her and spend a few hours together, although brief, was wonderful, and we’ve been long-distance friends ever since!

She has the most beautiful food on her IG feed, so naturally I thought it fitting to ask her if she would be kind enough to share one of her amazing recipes on my blog! She decided to share her delicious chia chocolate pudding!

If you love this recipe or try it out, leave a comment below!


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A couple of days ago I was asked by Shannon if I could share a one of my recipes. “Sure, I would love to!!” I answered. However, I did not know how difficult it was to finally make up my mind and to write the measurements down. I am this kind of person in the kitchen who creates dishes by sense of proportion and intuition, so please let me know if this recipe does work for you.

The chia chocolate pudding is one of my favorites when it comes to satisfy my sweet tooth, but the healthy way. Why? Well, chia seeds are loaded with important nutrients and an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are also rich in antioxidants, fiber, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium. So, whenever you decide to treat yourself, why not making this simple pudding? I always have a jar of soaked chia seeds in the fridge, to be able to make this beautiful and simple dish within minutes.

Please note: table spoon = the big spoon you eat with (I don´t have any kitchen tools from the US, but I believe it does work either way)

Ingredients:

  • 3 table spoons of chia seeds
  • Triple as much water or any plant milk
  • 2-3 table spoons of a sweetener of your choice (maple sirup, honey, dates etc.)
  • 3 table spoons of raw chocolate powder
  • 1 full table spoon of white almond butter (or cashew butter. Optional: coconut fat from a top of a can)
  • a pinch of maca and lucuma powder
  • a little vanilla bean powder
  • a little lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt
  • a probiotic capsule (optional, but makes it even healthier)

Please note: table spoon = the big spoon you eat with (I don´t have any kitchen tools from the US, but I believe it does work either way)

 Directions:

  1. Mix chia seeds and water/plant milk and set aside for about 30 min. Stir from time to time to avoid clusters. Soaking not only improves digestibility but creates the “gel” we want to get the right texture.
  2. Put all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until very smooth. Be sure to taste the pudding as you go and feel free to add more sweetener or less cacao…
  3. Pour the pudding into two to three serving dishes and add some toppings of your choice.

The chocolate pudding goes well with banana, strawberries or raspberries. I like to add something crunchy as well, just to have all kind off different textures on one spoon 🙂


About Almut:

I grew up on a small organic farm in Germany. Homegrown fruit and veggies, raw milk, fermented products – that’s what we lived on. Going fully plant based and gluten free a couple of years ago was only a logical step. Ever since, I love creating healthy and tasty dishes which are simple and easy to prepare.

The other part of me loves traveling, yoga, working out, spirituality and mindfulness. Follow your heart and you will find peace and love.

Vegetarian Japchae Recipe

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Japchae has been a Korean staple in kitchens for a long time! It’s made with sweet potato starch noodles and stir fried with vegetables and meat (optional). It’s very easy to make, and when reheated tastes just as good as when it’s made fresh. For that reason, it’s one of my favorites for mealprep!

It may seem labor intensive – you have to cook each of the ingredients separately and then combine them, but it definitely makes the dish delicious, because each of the ingredients has a different texture and cooking time. Added together, they create delicious flavors that compliment each other perfectly! A lot of recipes use brown or white sugar, but I have eliminated it for clean eating/health purposes and replaced it with honey.

Here’s how I made this. Let me know what you think!

You will need:

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  • 1 package sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 small bag of carrots, sliced into strips
  • 1 bundle of spinach
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 12 oz or 1 bag Korean vermicelli (sometimes called starch noodles, glass noodles or sweet potato noodles), called Dangmyun in Korean
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

Instructions:

1.  Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add the bag of vermicelli noodles.  Cook for about 4 minutes or until the noodles are soft. Drain then place in a large mixing bowl. Rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking.

2.  Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to the pan.  Add the carrots.  Stir fry over medium heat until the carrots are slightly soft.  Once done, remove from the pan and add to the mixing bowl, on top of the noodles.

3.  Add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil to the pan along with the mushrooms.  Stir fry for a couple of minutes until the mushrooms have become browned.  Remove from the pan and add to the mixing bowl, on top of everything else.

4. Add the sliced bell pepper into your already oiled pan. Stir-fry until they are slightly soft, yet still have a slightly crunch texture. Add to the mixing bowl.

5. Cook your spinach. Wash it and bring a pot of water to a boil. Dip it into the water for about a minute, then take it out, squeeze out the water and add to the bowl.

5.  Using your hands, add the rest of the sesame oil, garlic, and soy sauce, and honey and mix all of the ingredients together.

6.  Do a taste test — if you think it needs more soy sauce or sesame oil, add it in at this time, then mix some more.

7.  Season with sesame seeds, and serve as a meal! Enjoy!

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Carbs are not the enemy

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about low-carb diets, and I think for some people, it can help them lose weight and be healthier. In fact, I have a good friend who went full keto and was able to lose over 100 pounds through the keto diet + exercise! However, for me, I truly believe carbs are not the enemy. My 95 year old grandpa has been eating carbs all his life, especially white rice, and he is one of the healthiest people I know. His diet is balanced, combining the carbs with healthy protein from fish and chicken along with lots of vegetables. He still teaches a ballroom dance class, drives, climbs ladders to pick fruit off of his trees, and takes daily walks.

My point is that I think we all need to find what works for us, and any diet that is too restrictive and extreme is difficult to maintain for the average person. I believe the key to health is moderation and having a well-rounded diet. In addition, I walk an average of 5-7 miles per day (to and from work + errands), plus work out almost every day. Without carbs in my diet, I would feel sluggish from lack of energy!

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Here are some facts that I found on health.com supporting the campaign for carbs:

Eating carbs makes you thin for life

A recent multicenter study found that the slimmest people also ate the most carbs, and the chubbiest ate the least. The researchers concluded that your odds of getting and staying slim are best when carbs make up to 64% of your total daily caloric intake, or 361 grams.

Carbs fill you up

Many carb-filled foods act as powerful appetite suppressants. They’re even more filling than protein or fat. These special carbs fill you up because they are digested more slowly than other types of foods, triggering a sensation of fullness in both your brain and your belly. Research done at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom found that consuming Resistant Starch in one meal caused study participants to consume 10% fewer calories (roughly 150 to 200 calories for the average woman) during the next day, because they felt less hungry.

Carbs control blood sugar and diabetes

The right mix of carbs is the best way to control blood sugar and keep diabetes at bay. In one study at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Center at the USDA, participants who consumed a diet rich in high Resistant Starch foods were able to lower their post-meal blood sugar and insulin response by up to 38%.

Eat the carbs you want, but you need to combine them so that they don’t cause a spike in your blood sugar. Instead of eating white rice, switch to brown and combine it with beans, corn, or other high Resistant Starch foods that keep your blood sugar more balanced than low-carb diets.

Carbs speed up metabolism

Carbs high in Resistant Starch speed up your metabolism and your body’s other natural fat burners. As Resistant Starch moves though your digestive system, it releases fatty acids that encourage fat burning, especially in your belly.

These fatty acids help preserve muscle mass—and that stokes your metabolism, helping you lose weight faster. Researchers set out to fatten up two groups of rats, feeding one group food that was low in Resistant Starch. A second group was fed Resistant Starch-packed food. The rats fed the low Resistant Starch chow gained fat while losing muscle mass. Rats that ate the high Resistant Starch meals preserved their muscle mass, keeping their metabolism moving.

SOURCE: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20359383,00.html

IMG_3906Gluten free pancakes from my kitchen!

So I’ve concluded for myself that carbs are an essential part of my diet!

The moral of this story is that it doesn’t make sense to overly restrict any foods. Or as my friend Brooke says, foods do not have moral components; they are not either good or bad. I personally feel my healthies when I eat a balanced diet including carbs, protein, healthy fat, and natural sugar.

 

Of course each person’s results will depend on their level of activity, genetics, and type of carbs you eat. But the moral of the story is that it’s A-OK to stick with healthy carbs, like quinoa, brown rice pasta, and beans for a well-rounded balanced diet!

 

Why Chopsticks?

A lot of the food posts on my instagram show chopsticks as my only utensils. I’ve gotten a few questions about why I eat with chopsticks so often, and it’s not just because I’m Asian!

Although I’ve been using chopsticks pretty much all my life and consider myself rather adept with them, using them causes me to eat more slowly! And health experts have discovered that eating more slowly is better for the body overall. So next time you’re hungry, pick up a pair of chopsticks rather than a fork! Your body will thank you!

Here are some of the benefits of eating slower:

  1. Stopping when we are full. According to scientific research, it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that our body is full. This means that if you eat too fast, you might eat past the point of fullness, yet not really even know! Ever had that feeling after eating to fast of feeing “gross” or bloated? Chances are that by the time your brain caught up with your body’s feeling of fullness, it was too late, and you already over ate. By eating slower, you can still consume your favorite foods, but not overdo it!
  2. Better digestion. Eating more slowly allows you to more thoroughly chew your food, which in turn helps your body to fully digest it.
  3. Overall enjoyment and satisfaction. As in anything, if we take the time to enjoy it, we will be happier! Food is one of the wonderful and amazing things in life, and like a beautiful sunset or first dance, there is something calming about being able to fully enjoy the meals that we consume! I’ve found that slowing down during meals and taking time to enjoy them have helped me to not only be more mindful of what I put in my body, but to also appreciate all of the tastes and flavors!

Bon Appétit! I hope this post will inspire you to eat a little slower, enjoy your next meal, and maybe even try out a pair of chopsticks!

Love,

Shannon

 

Meal Prep On The Go!

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Life for me has been a bit crazy between my office job (I work at an architecture firm), workout schedule, and photoshoots (I work part time as a lifestyle model/commercial actress in SF). Most of the time, I’m running late for something, don’t have time for food, and end up eating unhealthy snacks or not eating at all, only to leave myself eating one big meal a day. This is HORRIBLE considering it’s bad for your metabolism to starve your body or to eat all at once. My solution? Meal prep the night before!

This was my first attempt at “meal prep” for a whole day of snacks for on the go. I had a business lunch planned for the day, so I didn’t need lunch, but at least my breakfast and snacks were planned so I could avoid stopping by a fast food place when I get hungry!

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For breakfast I packed some rolled oats, which was easy to make at the office by adding some water. Topped with a few strawberries, and it was good to go! I had a lot of driving to do, so the nicely boxed little snacks were convenient to eat in the car while on the go.

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I brought along my water infuser by dropbottle to infuse my water with lemon to keep me hydrated!

I was always hesitant to pack food to go in the past because I was worried about it not lasting in the car or getting spoiled or too hot from the California sun! I recently got a special insulated bag to carry my meals in that also holds ice packs to keep it all fresh! I highly recommend The Shield bag by Fitmark, but really any insulated cooler bag can work. The great thing about this bag however is that my snacks are accessible from the top AND the side, perfect since I have been driving a lot lately! They’re running a 4th of July sale right now – JULY4 for 20% off!

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I would love to know your experience with meal prep, how often you do it, and has it made a difference in your fitness results/health! I plan to continue this for a bit to track  my own results as well, so I’ll be posting what’s in my bag regularly on Instagram – @caligirlgetsfit!

Have a Happy 4th of July, beautiful fit people!

xx,

Shannon

Protein Powder

Protein powder is somewhat new territory for me. When I think of it, I would envision men with muscles drinking protein shakes to get more bulky! But after talking with both male AND female trainers, I learned that it can help me to gain lean muscle mass.

I did a little bit of research into the different types of protein shakes – everything from whey (the most popular) to soy, rice, pea, and even hemp protein. I decided to try the whey protein because in addition to helping to reduce fat and gain muscle mass, it has also been reported to improve the immune system (source: Men’s Health).

And that’s not all. According to Women’s Health, women may benefit even more than men from protein supplements because we don’t always get enough in our every day diet. The average woman consumes 46 grams of protein per day, but the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that athletes consume between 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram body weight per day. For a 140-pound woman, that would be between 76 and 108 grams of protein per day. (Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/protein-powder-guide)

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I decided to try the Designer Whey Protein because it was recommended by a friend as tasting good, and has no added sugars, hormones, or preservatives (this is not an ad or in any way sponsored by the protein powder company). I got both the vanilla (pictured above) and the chocolate (shown in the blender bottle below) and mixed it with  water, and it ended up tasting pretty good! I liked the chocolate slightly better. I’ve been drinking it for the past 3 weeks, and so far so good; I’ve seen some improvement in muscle tone!

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I also tried several different protein powder shaker bottles (I got one for free from GNC, and one from a friend), and ended up getting the Trimr shaker bottle. I found out that a whole bunch of people in my fitness circle love the bottle too because of its sleek yet efficient, spill-proof design and straw (rather than just a big hole at the top that can leak). I’ve chatted with some friends over there, and they’ve graciously offered a 15% discount to all of my readers with the code TRIMRGRAM if you want to try their bottles too! (This is not an ad; I don’t get commission or anything, just want to pass along the savings to you guys)!

What’s your experience with protein shakes? Please share in the comments; would love to hear recommendations from you guys!