staying hungry : two protein-packed meals

As we chatted about on Tuesday, I’m currently channeling my inner body builder and doing P90x. Which means that protein is my new BFF.

I’ve been upping doses of the usual suspects: egg whites, greek yogurt, beans, and all things carnivorous, for starters. But these two meals have helped to mix things up a bit!

This bowl is kind of like a thick smoothie you can eat with a spoon. Which means it’s basically ice cream you can eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner. And who isn’t on board with that?! Here’s the basic rendition:

The Beginner Bowl:

  • 1 frozen banana, cut up into chunks
  • 2 scoops protein powder
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • sliced fruit for toppings

This is so easy: put everything (minus the fruit) in the food processor and blend until smooth. Top with fruit and you’re good to go!

But really…if you want to have a good day…you want to make this one:

The Real Deal:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 scoops protein powder
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 Tbsp dark chocolate cocoa power (1 more gram of protein!)
  • 2 Tbsp powdered peanut butter (5 grams of protein!)
  • slice fruit for toppings

Same situation. Blend and enjoy!

Next on the list: quinoa! My lunch feels weird if there’s nothing green on my plate. I just really like vegetables, especially in the middle of the day. To up the protein quotient of my normal salad I made this savory quinoa to go along with it (if you’re feeling especially in need of protein you could add grilled chicken or fish, too!):

Lemon Balsamic Quinoa:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 4-6 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook your quinoa as per usual. Once cooked, fluffed with a fork, and slightly cooled, add in the balsamic, lemon juice, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add to your salad and enjoy!

Do you guys have any suggestions for protein powerhouses? I’m always looking for new ideas! Shout ’em out in the comments!

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staying athletic : P90x

So, I’m doing P90x.

For those of you who haven’t seen the turn-yourself-into-the-Hulk infomercials, P90x is an extreme at-home fitness program based on the principle of muscle confusion, which basically means your body never gets a chance to plateau.

It also means you will feel every muscle in your body in ways that you never have before.

I mentioned in passing to the family I nanny for that someday in the far and distant future when I am much more lean and muscular than I am right now I wanted to give P90x a try. Imagine my surprise when they answered, “Oh! We have it! You should totally take it home and try it!”

I think this is what the old sage meant when he advised, “Be careful what you wish for.”

But honestly, their generosity has been a huge (HUGE!) blessing. I LOVE P90x! Here are just a few reasons why:

  • I don’t have to pay for a gym membership anymore. Even though I love access to cable Planet Fitness and it’s 1/10th of the price of other gyms, it’s still nice not to pay a monthly fee. Especially since the only thing I do is run and running outside is free.
  • I don’t have to go to the gym anymore. Now, this one isn’t entirely a bonus because previously I had been meeting my friend Karen at the gym fairly frequently and that was the best part of the whole deal. But aside from that, it’s nice not to have to drive an extra 15 minutes, take the time to get changed, workout, get changed again, and drive home. Now…I just drive home and workout and when I’m done…I’m already home! Major bonus.
  • It keeps me accountable. There are 6 different workouts and one rest day for each week. If you miss a day, it’s doable to catch up again, but that prospect is so unappealing because it either means doubling up (basically impossible for normal humans) or rearranging the schedule (change a schedule?!) so you really don’t want to miss a day. There is no such accountability for the gym. What there is with the gym is a pile of “reasonable” reasons not to go. Too tired/not enough time/don’t want to spend the gas money/I’ll just run when I get home or maybe walk instead or maybe work extra hard tomorrow instead? Yep, I’ve used them all and then some! Before this I thought that I was working out consistently. I honestly did. But what I’ve learned since starting P90x a month ago was that I had been intending to work out consistently. What I was actually doing was making excuses consistently. With P90x, there is literally no reason why I can’t fit 6 workouts into 7 days, and no desire not to.
  • It gives me over an hour of uncluttered mental space 6 days a week. Tony Horton, the mastermind behind P90x and leader of each workout, is great at starting with a reminder to clear your head and get your mind right. I get to stay present in the moment: no thinking about to-do lists or tomorrow’s activities or what to make for dinner. It’s the type of mental discipline I’d like to achieve 24 hours a day, but an hour a day is a good start.
  • It’s HARD. For real…it’s hard. I started a month ago but because I’m crazy because I appreciate a job well done I restarted with Day 1 again last week. It took me the first 3 weeks to really acclimate to the workouts and the schedule and just figure out what I was doing so I wanted to start from scratch and start strong. What surprised me was how much of a difference those short first 3 weeks made even though they were full of stumbles; I even graduated from 5lb weights to 8lb weights! (Seriously…this was a big accomplishment for my cardio-lovin, no-weight-training-ever-please, self.)
  • I love the variety. You don’t have a chance to get bored because the program is always changing. There are 12 DVDs and a schedule that changes every 3 weeks!

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be doing jump squats in my living room until further notice.