I Have Been Missing

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I have been avoiding my blog for a while.  I have gotten a lot of questions as to why.  And there are a lot of answers.

I think one of the obvious reasons is I lost my momentum.  I started to feel like all of this was a job, and a not fun job at that.  I stopped seeing results, I got frustrated, I got tired, and what killed it was I didn’t have my support to back me anymore.

Today is a year since Jake and I broke up, and even though I am over it, I can’t say that this blog doesn’t remind me of him when I look at it.  So much of this blog included him.  And so much of my healthier me adventure had him in the background.  It got hard when I lost that.

That sounds like I depended on him too much, and I didn’t… I still have the drive but sometimes it gets boring by yourself.

This year has been a year of dating.  A year of finding all the people I DON’T want to be a with.  A year of feeling like I am some big weirdo that has hobbies that don’t go together and that the person I am looking for is a unicorn, and most likely probably not in Brooklyn, heck, probably not even in NYC.  I mean seriously, you know you’ve looked high and low when you meet someone from the Bronx (no offense, but thats like a long distance relationship lol)

This year turned out to be a really hard year, and for reasons that a lot of people don’t know.  I honestly never wanted to talk about it, because my family reads this, because my friends read this, and because well enough people read this and I don’t want phone calls, I don’t want to talk about it.  I don’t want you to ask me any questions about it (Dad), I have already talked about it, and I am okay.  But then I realized I should talk about this because I am not the only one that has been through it.

This year was hard because I was basically assaulted by someone I trusted.  Someone that I thought was a good person.  Someone that made me question my judgement on people.  And he hurt me enough to make it so that there was a good amount of time that I couldn’t work out.

We worked out together, he was actually a person that pushed me, he was there the first time I squatted 205.  Heck he was the one that filmed it.  He was a cool person that liked me, that I had things in common with and was a lot of fun.  We could talk for hours, he lived close, he used to drive me to work in his giant jeep when it snowed and I couldn’t ride my scooter and he understood where I was mentally and what I needed at the time, so I thought.

His downfall, he worked on military ships.  I met him when he had a few months off, but then he got a job on some giant radar ship and had to sit in the middle of the ocean for two months.  We kept in touch, he texted me every morning before he went on his shift, I wasn’t waiting for him, but I suppose I wasn’t actively looking for someone to replace him either.  It all changed when he came home though.  When he came home he was a different person.  He was mean, and he took advantage of the situation.  He was huge and a lot stronger than me.  That time I squatted 205, he was squatting over 500.  When I dropped the bar, he picked it up with one arm and just re-racked it like it was 10 pounds.  and he used all that to his advantage, and then he walked out when I said stop.

I feel like a jerk because i didn’t take the situation to where it should have gone.  I texted him that he hurt me, and then I let him slide and go on with his life.  I felt like I wasn’t going to win, I didn’t want to keep talking about it, and I didn’t want to have to go through the hoops I would have to jump through to get him in trouble.  I also didn’t think he hurt me as bad as he did.  I figured I would give it a week or two and my back would be fine, I would just take some time off from heavy lifting and I’d be back to it in no time….

I was wrong.  That was in May… I am not saying I am still hurt, but sometimes it still acts up.

You are probably wondering why I am talking about it now and on here, when I just said I didn’t want to talk about it.

It’s because I realized the other day when I was sitting there thinking about how I failed this year… about how I didn’t meet any of my goals, and about how I gave up on this blog.  That I did what I had to do, and that I didn’t fail, I just had new things I had to tackle.

I probably lost a lot of my readers by now.  I probably disappointed a lot of people by losing sight of my goals, but I had other things I needed to be strong about this year and there is always next year to get back to reaching the goals I have to improve my outside.

I guess this year I didn’t get physically stronger, but I got mentally stronger.  And while I didn’t do everything right, I still know I was strong enough to say no, I was strong enough to realize things had to end, and I was strong enough to confront the person that was originally so much stronger than me.

I have no clue where he is, probably on another ship in the middle of no where.  I hope that the conversation that we had after the fact changed him.  I am scared that it didn’t.  I hope that he never does to someone else what he did to me, and it sucks that I can’t promise that because I didn’t go through the motions of reporting it.  But I also in a way think that he didn’t mean for it all to happen and got embarrassed.

I just hope that everyone does end up as strong as me, or stronger than me even, and doesn’t let something like that keep happening to them.  And knows that no matter what, they are better than any person that decides to hurt them for their own pleasure.  You are stronger than anyone else that says “you should just take it” or calls you selfish for saying no.

It is never selfish saying stop, it is never mean to say no.  If you are not comfortable say it.  And if that person walks out on you, take that as a good thing, because you don’t need that in your life.  No one deserves that ever.  I realize that it is hard, I only told a few close people.  I am just glad that I understand my worth, and I know I am worth more than him, or anyone willing to harm someone, be it physically or mentally.  At some point I blamed myself because there was a moment there that I was being self destructive. (I bought a motorcycle 2 weeks later, you be the judge lol)  But when something like that happens, it’s never your fault, even if in the beginning it is totally consensual.  Please remember that.

So now that we are close to reaching the end of 2014, I am both happy and sad.  I am ready for a new year to start and hopefully get better.  I am hoping to start reaching more of my goals that had been pushed aside this year, and I hope that I keep getting stronger.  Maybe even finally meet that perfect lifting partner for me, that isn’t allergic to cats, and can also appreciate my style and other hobbies as well…. and preferably has a shaved head, doesn’t really drink much, doesn’t do drugs, has tattoos, will let me paint them up like a zombie sometimes, and will run a tough mudder with me and lives in or near Bushwick, Brooklyn.  okay thats a lot, but a girl can dream can’t she?

there are probably a lot of typos in here, and I am sure could be edited, but honestly I don't want to read this over and over. I hope that the message is still there.

I will Triumph…. Even If I had to Buy It.

If I was going to do update photos, it was for sure going to be with my Bonneville.  Honestly my body hasn’t been changing much lately.  But given all the stresses that I have gone through lately, I can’t really blame it.  With that said, I am not saying I am still not constantly pushing myself, and I am still improving.  I am still hitting PR’s with back, biceps, triceps, and shoulders.  I suppose I am in the muscle building stage.  And the motorcycle adds to my “bad ass” building stage.  Not totally related, but just as important. MOTO_6_small

This is pretty much the exact bike that I wanted, I didn’t settle, I searched, I did my research, I know more than I ever thought I would know about his thing, and I keep learning even more every time I ride it.  Like you can’t start your bike in 1st gear with the kickstand down.  And if you try don’t think you broke it, just put it in neutral. oh man.  I also learned not to drive with the choke on.  But now I will never forget!

MOTO_3_smallYou know how else I know I am getting stronger?  I might have lightly dropped it in a turn. Then I had to pick all 495 pounds of it up, all by myself.  Tell me if you can do that.   I can, and I did.  My dad said i should get a smaller bike because you should be able to lift your bike if it falls.  Now he is convinced I only started working out for this moment.  Maybe that was always in the back of my mind when I started. We will never know, but at least I know I can do it.  Hopefully I won’t drop it again though.

MOTO_1_smallThe best part of my bike is I am meeting new people.  I obviously don’t trust leaving this on the street so I am parking it with a motorcycle club.  I don’t know what I would do without them.  They are the nicest coolest guys ever, and even came to my rescue when I made a silly mistake.  The only bummer is that I can’t join because I am a girl.  That’s lame  but in my internet searches, I found an all girl club based in Brooklyn and I am waiting to find out how I can join.  I hope it’s official and I get patches.  I want those patches like the boys!

MOTO_9_smallI love how surprised people get when they find out that this is mine.  Why is that so shocking?  Just because I like pink doesn’t mean that I can’t be tough!  The other day when I was sitting in the Trader Joe’s parking lot on my bike a guy came up to me asking why I was sitting on my man’s bike without him.  Maybe that was him trying to figure out if I had a boyfriend, but that approach totally backfired.  When he asked me for my number, I told him I don’t give my number out to guys that don’t believe that this is mine.  I win.

As far as my eating goes, I am giving eating mostly raw a shot.  I have done it for almost a month.  Not 100% raw, but I’d say about 90% raw.  If I want something cooked I’ll eat it, but honestly I haven’t really missed too much.  I start my morning off with 32 ounces of water with a lemon squeezed in, and have been eating just fruits and vegetables.  None of those designer raw meals that take hours to cook.  I have literally just been stoping at my local produce stand and buying whatever fruit is ripe and eating it just like that.  I have been noticing that my skin has been looking amazing, my weight seems to be slowly creeping down and I feel energized.

I know the first thing you are going to ask is “But what about protein”  Greens have protein.  I don’t feel like I have gotten weaker, I still have a baby bicep peak, and you can see the head of my tricep still, so honestly i just don’t believe the huge protein hype.  1 gram per pound I think is excessive, I didn’t see any changes following that rule, and I haven’t noticed any negative changes by eating how I am eating.  While the fruits and veggies are plentiful I am going to stick with this diet, and once the season dies down, I’ll figure it out from there.

Thanks to Lydia Hudgens as usual from taking amazing photos of me!  I love them!!!!!

Run With Me! Let’s Get Messy Together! The Neon Dash 5k 2014

We all know I love to do the 5k runs that are messy!  Mud, colored powder, zombies.  You name it I’ve tried it.  And now there is one that combines what that I loved when I was in my early twenties (neon and backlights!) with what I love now (running and being healthy).  It couldn’t be a better combination and its called the Neon Dash.

The Neon Dash looks like it was made for me.  Not only does it start later in the day so this goth girl doesn’t have to get sun burnt, but its full of super fun loud music, tons of black lights, and all the neon you can handle!  I can’t wait to pull out some of my old neon club clothes to wear and maybe bribe my sister to make me one of the tutu’s that she makes so well for her daughters.

Just look at these photos from past events!  I am seriously so excited!  And even more excited if I get to meet some of my readers to run with me!

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Now for the best part!  Neon Dash actually gave me permission to giveaway a free entry to one of you to run with me on August 2nd at the NYC Neon Dash!!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Complete any or all of those options to enter!  It’s free to enter, and all ages can enter, but if you are under 18 please have your parents permission.  The contest ends July 9th at noon!  and I will let the winner know by Monday July 14th.

Share This post and get your friends and family to join in!  We are going to have so much fun!  And don’t forget if you go use the hash tag #LiveBight and #MyFitDecisionGlows, I want to see all the messy neon instagram photos when its over!

See you there!

Too Busy To Blog, but I’m working on it

Well I haven’t been around in a while.  I feel kinda horrible about it, I have to catch back up.  What have I been doing?  Buying a motorcycle that’s what!!!! well that and going back and forth to the court and to the district attorney’s office about my stollen scooter… when will it end!?

We all know my scooter was stolen last month, and while I do appreciate the extra cardio with that mile walk to and from work everyday, I miss having wheels, so I have been shopping and researching and calling, and e-mailing tons of people with motorcycles that I wanted.  It took a while but I finally found pretty much the bike of my dreams!

10308482_10203261483273228_5650791433349663428_nsay hello to my 2009 Triumph Bonneville SE!

It’s perfect, its everything that I wanted!  I had to go on an epic road trip with my dad and my friend to go get it, but it was worth it for sure.  It is the perfect bike for me (and at the almost perfect price) I don’t have it in my little hands yet, I am storing it at my friends place in New Jersey for a little bit because I still need to learn how to ride it.

I literally picked the bike up all day sunday, then raced back to NYC Monday and started my motorcycle lessons.  Three days and 15 hours later, I am now a licensed motorcyclist!!

1969125_10203281240767153_8043961198759814290_nWell that is my waiver, not my license, but its basically the same thing, I have to make an appointment at the DMV to swap it out.

I am still going to take my time getting on my bike, I learned on a much smaller bike in this class, and honestly I can’t say that I am highway ready to say the least, but at least I know what I am doing and I can’t wait to get back down to NJ to try out my bike!!!!  What should I name it??

Other than that, I have been living life, one of my favorite bands ever, VNV Nation came and did two shows and my friend Carly even came up to visit and we got to go to both nights!

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I have some posts planned, some recipes planned, and a cool photo shoot planned, I just need to fit them all in my schedule, and I am.  Court should be finished by next week (hopefully) my motorcycle is purchased, i got my license, now I can go back to my usual routine that I so missed.

I’m Still Here, I Didn’t Quit

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new hair!

The other day I was talking to my Dad and he asked me if I quit running and stuff.  That made me think about my lack of updating on myself.  I suppose if you follow me on Instagram you will see that I am still going, but as far as updates on my progress here, I haven’t said much.

The last few weeks have been extremely busy and I have been missing some workouts, like last week, my beloved scooter was stolen, then found, but broken.  Dealing with the police and the district attorney, and scooter shops trying to get it fixed has taken up most of my free time.  It’s so aggravating that some jerk kid gets to steal my scooter, destroy it, and then I get to pay for everything and take up all my free time to deal with it. But now I am looking at motorcycles, even though my family isn’t too happy about it.  I just want to go FAST!  (in a safe kinda way Dad!) and I want to look like a bad ass and a scooter wasn’t quite hitting the nail on the head in that department.  I suppose the one perk of not having my scooter is that I am walking or riding my bike to and from work everyday, which is a mile each way.  So at least I am getting a little extra cardio in.

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my last big ride on my scooter was at least a fun one, speeding down the West Side Highway with a giant Lime Crime bag hooked on after IMATs

I have been changing up a lot of things lately.  I have definitely been concentrating more on weight lifting.  The end of February I switched my workouts to lighter weights and more reps with less rest in between to turn my strength training into cardio. It didn’t work.  For me that is.  I really didn’t see any results, and it wasn’t nearly as satisfying so I am starting back on the heavy lifting plan.  And I am kind of finding it funny that when I work out at Planet Fitness I am usually curling the same weight, if not more than the other guys there.  I think that is my new thrill.  Beating boys at their own game.  Though I have a long way to go before I pass most of them in the strength department, unless its my squat, I’m pretty proud of that.

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Lately I have been doing about an hour of strength and then running at least a mile after.  Can I say that it is making a difference, no.  Would all this be easier if I had a trainer sit there and make me the perfect this will work guaranteed workout? yes.. but where is the fun in that.  I am kind of liking all the experimenting.  Even though it is slowing down my progress quite a bit, it is cool to figure out everything on my own and learn from my own body.  I’m stubborn like that, and I like taking all the credit.  ALL THE CREDIT!  What I can say is that my legs are getting super strong looking, my biceps are starting to show a little peak, and my triceps are coming a long pretty great too.  So I’m not complaining.  I’m still going.  I promise

I guess judging from the things that I wrote in this post, my new goal is to be tough… lift heavy, run hard, drive fast, and beat boys.  But I still want to wear pink while I am doing it, because I’m fancy like that

Healthy Tuesday : Junk Food Redo : Back to Nomatron

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In my last post I wrote about losing a friend of mine, Chris.  Chris was an awesome guy, he opened a fancy little deli in the same building as my salon.  We all opened around the same time and our businesses grew together.  It was a cool little family.  Chris was always experimenting with food, and had a giant mirrored sign with probably about 20 different sandwiches that he made up written on it, all with crazy names to go with it.  My favorite was called the Back to Nomatron, which is simple, just barbecue “chicken”,  jalapeño peppers, and cheddar cheese.  I decided to make it healthier and vegan, since his version was on a giant ciabatta roll, with soy meat, and real cheese.

It is a fairly simple recipe so I am not really going to include a proper recipe but this is all you need

  • Seitan strips
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Daiya cheddar cheese shreds
  • Jalapeños
  • Wraps

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To start I just threw the seitan strips in a pan to brown them.  Once they were browned I mixed in the barbecue sauce and jalapeños, and cooked it until the sauce thickened

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Sprinkle some cheese on your wrap then all you have to do is pile the seitan on top.  Or you can take this one step further and throw the wrap and the cheese under the broiler to toast the bread and really melt the cheese ( I was too hungry for that step hehe)

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The wraps I used are great, they are only about 100 calories each, versus if I were to use a ciabatta roll, it could have been over 300 calories!!  I swapped the soy chicken, for seitan because I try to avoid processed soy, and the daiya cheese is a great swap for real cheese! It’s soy free and it actually melts (if you give it a chance) and so much healthier, not to mention cruelty free!

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Work Out with My Fit Decision April’s Playlist!

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Happy April!  Yesterday we got a little snow and a lot of rain, today the birds are chirping, the sun is out and it looks like I am finally going to visit a really cool park in the city that I have wanted to go to forever.  This mix is all about good memories, the songs might not be about that, but they have good memories attached to me.

If you are in or around Bushwick Brooklyn, you probably know that last week Chris DeMarco was very tragically taken from us, while I was close enough to call him a friend, I hadn’t seen him in a long time because we didn’t run in the same circle.  He opened a deli in the same building as my salon at the same time.  While the deli didn’t last long, we still talk about and miss his food, especially my favorite sandwich.. the Back to Nomatron.  I have no clue what that meant, but it was barbecue vegetarian “chicken”, jalapeños, and cheddar cheese on a Chibatta (this was pre-diet shut up lol).  Chantal and I would order that sandwich almost daily.  His mom would come up from Pennsylvania and cook all the Bushwick kids amazing meals like she was our mom too, her mac and cheese was to die for!  Chris was such a cool guy, always smiling, always laughing, and always excited for any milestone that anyone had big or small.  If you walked into his deli, you could be there for hours and not even realize it because you were having so much fun.  So here is to the memories and to not taking yourself too seriously, and to living every day doing what makes you the happiest.

My Fit Decision Workout Mix: April 2014 from KristinJackson on 8tracks Radio.

Some people have put together a fund to help with Chris’s funeral costs for his family, if you would like to contribute, you can click this link to donate

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail : My Meal Prep This Week

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Still meal prepping.  Still loving it.  If you missed my previous post about the importance of meal prepping check it out, I think this a great easy way to help you reach your goals, whatever they may be.  I tend to eat the same things so these posts will be few and far between because it would get a little redundant, but I wanted to share an entire 4 day meal prep with 3 different meals and a side salad for each day.

stackedmeals I recently upgraded to Pyrex containers.  I had been using gladware for a while, and I just don’t really like using so much plastic.  Plus something I made a few weeks ago was so garlicky I couldn’t get the smell out of them, after that I decided I was done and needed to invest in some glass.  It took a bit of research to figure out which Pyrex containers I wanted and how to get the best deal on them.  I didn’t want to buy sets because I wanted 12 of the same size container, and the sets came with all different sizes.  The best deal for what I have is to buy the glass dish separate from the lid, so silly how that works.

To start my meal prep I start with the things that take the longest.  For this week it was roasting the mixed vegetables and the sweet potatoes.  I set my oven for 400 and start chopping up my veggies.  My mix tends to be bell peppers, onion, green and yellow squash, grape tomatoes, and garlic.  I don’t add any oil just a teeny bit of Himalayan salt and pepper.

veggiesFor the sweet potatoes I sliced them into wedges, then coated them in a bit of coconut oil, chipotle chili powder and chopped garlic.  Sweet potatoes aren’t a norm for my meal prep because of the carbs but I was really craving them this week so I gave in.  This is why I paired the sweet potatoes with the cauliflower rice, it saved on carbs but added another yummy texture to my meal.  I was going for something Chipotle inspired, and the basis of all their meals is their rice!

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After I put those in the oven, I started cutting up a head of cauliflower to make an adaptation of the cauliflower rice I made before and put two pots of water on to boil, one for quinoa and one for my Mung Bean Pasta.

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My kitchen is teeny tiny and I don’t have much counter space, so I use a folding table to lay out all my dishes and once everything is done I start measuring everything and putting it into the containers.

pyrexI love my OXO scale, all I have to do is put one dish on it to start and hit the zero button then I can start layering each thing in so I can make sure I get exactly the serving that I want of each item

100gQuinoaFor my first meal I did 100 grams of quinoa, 1 cup of roasted vegetables, and 56 grams of tempeh

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meal number two is 150 grams of cauliflower rice, 60 grams of black beans, 100 grams of sweet potatoes, and 100 grams of sweet fire marinated beets by love beets

sweetpotatoes1Meal number three is my staple meal because it is a great source of protein for me.  Each serving of mung bean pasta has 23 grams of protein!  This is 165 grams of mung bean pasta, 1/2 cup of roasted vegetables, and 125 grams of muir glen roasted garlic pasta sauce.  125 grams of sauce is a serving of this sauce, I really liked the sauce, but that serving size was too big, so next week I am going to cut it down to 100 grams.

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Along with the pasta I made a small side salad, with 100 grams of romaine hearts, a few grape tomatoes and some bell pepper and I use my homemade salsa for dressing

saladsHalloween everyday with these bat printed Pyrex bowls!!!

Now For the Food Porn!

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4 days worth of meals, 4 separate meals for each day, about 3 hours of work, and I don’t have to cook again until my next day off!  Seems like a lot effort, but it really isn’t.  I enjoy cooking, and this way for the next 4 days, I know that I have no excuse to not eat healthy after a long day at work.

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In addition to these meals I have a Vega One Nutritional Shake for breakfast and a True Nutrition Custom Vegan blend protein shake. This all adds up to 1,271 calories.  I think I have gotten pretty good at stretching calories out, I really don’t think there is a way to be hungry with all of this food, at least in weight loss mode, and an off day from the gym.  If I go to the gym and work out hard I might add another snack, or another shake.

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 I also ate more fiber than sugar and under 1000 mg of salt, beat that standard american diet.

Do I make this look to easy?  It might take a little planning, and some practice, but after you figure out the foods that you like to eat and how to mix them it becomes super easy and totally worth the effort.  I just try to make sure that I get all the colors in my dishes so that I know I am getting all my micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals) in while sticking to my planned macro nutrients (protein, carbs, and fiber).

Healthy Tuesday: What is Maca Root and Why Should You Try It?

healthytuesdayI’m pretty much caffeine free, except for maybe the caffeine in my chocolate if you can count that.  I don’t drink coffee, I don’t really drink tea unless I am sick.  I don’t take pre workout supplements, but if I did it would be one without caffeine, but sometimes I need a boost.  Though I am happy to say that I am lucky enough most days to get enough sleep and wake up on my own when my body decides, I know not everyone is so lucky.  I get it that some of you need that morning coffee, but why not try maca root.  On top of giving you a natural energy boost it has a ton of other benefits that almost all of us need!

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Top Benefits of Maca Root

  • Natural Energy and Stamina Booster – No caffeine but helps boost your energy levels and workout harder
  • Nutritionally Dense – A great vegetarian source of B vitamins as well as C and E.  It also contains calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorous, and amino acids which are all very important and sometimes lacking in a typical diet
  • Helps Balance Hormones – Stimulates the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.  Instead of providing actual hormones to the body, maca works as an adaptogen which means it adapts to what your body needs.  If you are producing too little or too much of a particular hormone it helps balance your body out.
  • Helps Reduce PMS and Menopause symptoms – This is related to balancing the hormones.  It has been shown to relieve cramps, hot flashes, and mood swings
  • Fertility and Libido Enhancer – Great for both men and women, but men see the most benefit here!
  • Reduces Stress – Helps balance your mood to reduce stress and anxiety, some even say it helps with mental clarity and focus
  • Clear Skin – Again hormones play a big part in your skin, balance your hormones and see a balance in your skin, less pimples and less oil!
  • Improves Glucose Tolerance – It has been shown to lower the glucose in the blood, which can help diabetics type II and pre-diabetics
  • Increased Muscle Mass and Less Fat – In relation it improved glucose tolerance, a better tolerance to glucose means less insulin spikes in the blood.  Less insulin spikes mean less fat storage, and more muscles

Maca is super beneficial for people with hypothyroidism* because it gets to the root of the problem instead of supplementing a particular hormone.  It promotes the body to balance and heal itself helping your body produce more of the hormones it is lacking.  By taking in a synthetic hormone that is usually prescribed your glands can get lazy and produce even less making you reliant on the supplement.  It is always better to address the route of the problem, rather than supplement from a synthetic source.

Maca Root is grown in Peru and related cabbage, cauliflower and other vegetables in that family.  It is great for men and women to take.  It has a nutty flavor (though I think its kinda chalky) and it mixes well with a lot of food.  I add it to my morning nutritional shake.  You can buy maca in powder form or in pills.  I prefer to just mix it in with my food than take more pills, so I use the powder by Vega.

You can also buy maca in raw form or what is called gelatinized.  There are people who go back and forth on which is better.  I go for the gelatinized even though it is cooked.  To make gelatinized maca, the maca is heated and put under pressure to remove all the starches.  This makes the maca more digestible, but also kills the live enzymes and removes some glucosinolates.  Glucosinolates are not super important nutrients, but they do have some health benefits in small doses (like cancer prevention), in large doses however, they can be toxic.  If you choose to go the raw maca route it is best to cycle off a few days, or even do a cycle of raw maca and a cycle of gelatinized maca.

When to choose Raw Maca

  • If you want to make sure you get the full nutrient spectrum including the live enzymes and all glucosinolates 
  • If you are interested in building muscle mass because all the starches and sugars are intact

When to choose Gelatinized Maca

  • If you are interested in balancing hormones, gelatinized maca has the starch removed so it is more dense gram for gram of the chemical compounds that are beneficial 
  • If you are looking to increase bone density.  Again gram for gram this type of maca is more nutrient dense in calcium and magnesium
  • If you have stomach or digestive issues
  • If you are looking to have higher protein levels in your body

I personally feel that everyone should try maca.  It is a super food with so many benefits.  It can help heal the damage that our diet and processed food has done to our bodies, and can also help with hormone related issues that many of us girls have.  Why not try it and see for yourself how you feel!

 
 
*We all know I am not a doctor, in my research this is what I have found and believe is true. Please do your own research and decide what is best for you and your body.  I believe in making my food my medicine over taking a prescription always.

Healthy Tuesday: DIY! Your Own Healthy Natural Deodorant

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I am sure this morning after you got out the shower you didn’t think twice about rubbing your antiperspirant under your arms. Maybe you did, but you told yourself that you sweat too much and just have to deal with using unnatural chemicals on your body so that you don’t smell…

I used to think that way too, especially once I started doing hair.  I shampoo people all day, which means my armpits are in peoples faces, and when I am not shampooing them I am blow drying hair with a super hot blowdryer.  The more research I did about the dangers of traditional antiperspirant the more I decided enough was enough and I had to find something more natural but it also had to work in extreme situations.

The main danger of antiperspirant is the aluminum.  If you look at the ingredients they are usually listed as aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex, aluminum chlorohdrate, or aluminum zirconium.  These ingredients are all considered carcinogenic and toxic.  Aluminum effects the nervous system there have been some links to breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease which is so scary!

Along with the aluminum there are some other scary ingredients like:

  • Cyclomethicone is a form of silicone.  This keeps the skin from breathing and is also a skin irritant
  • Parabens which are preservatives linked to breast cancer and tumors
  • Talc, an ingredient that honestly deserves its own post about how horrible it is, is basically one step above asbestos and carcinogenic
  • Propylene glycol which is one of the main ingredients in anti-freeze!!!!  It is literally in everything, even cake frosting which is scary.  It damages the nervous system when applied to the skin and the urinary system when you ingest it 
  • Chemical fragrances could be a mixture of many different chemicals along with some that have been show to be endocrine (hormone) disruptors

The past few months I have literally bought 5 different natural deodorants and each one had something I liked and something I didn’t.  Some didn’t absorb any wetness, some I didn’t like the smell of, one was too hard and hurt to apply, one left oil stains everywhere, and one (my favorite one) I was sadly allergic to.  After that I was done, I decided thats it, I am going to make my own!  So I did, and I don’t know why I just didn’t do it in the first place.  Not only was it super easy, but I got to choose the smell (sort of) and I know everything in there is super healthy.

All you need is a few ingredients and a little bit of time (only 15 minutes tops!) and you will be stinky pit free for months!

I am giving most of my measurements in grams, mostly because its easier to get the proper amount but also I am not really sure how else to measure raw cocoa butter chunks accurately

ingredients

  • 50 grams of raw cocoa butter
  • 40 grams coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Jojoba Oil 
  • 3 Tablespoons baking soda
  • 3 Tablespoons arrow root powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Bentonite clay
  • 20 drops of essential oil (I chose vanilla)

*I used cocoa butter in my recipe because I learned that shea butter can act as a natural latex which I am allergic too, but if you prefer shea butter go for it!  You would have more choices in scents because shea butter doesn’t smell as strong.

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To Start take your cocoa butter and coconut oil and melt them over a double boiler, once they are melted take it off the heat and add in the jojoba oil.

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Wait for the oils to be cooled enough to the touch then add your dry ingredients to your melted oils and whisk until it is all combined.  mixed

yep, its green!  But that is only because of the bentonite clay.  You can experiment with other clays such as kaolin clay, but I have a huge container of bentonite clay, and it works just the same.  Your skin won’t turn green, I promise!

After you have the ingredients whisked together let it cool a little further, so it will thicken up a bit, I like to whisk it again just to make sure everything is combined, then just pour it into your jars.  For me this recipe fills the 4 ounce jar, maybe a little over, so this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you want to make a few containers.  Let the jars set for a few hours or a few minutes in the fridge to harden and you have a perfectly good healthy safe deodorant that will last a long time!

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Now for the weird part I suppose.  You are probably thinking, but how do I apply this stuff?  The answer is with your fingers.  I know that seems weird at first, but after a few days that will seem totally normal.  Take about a dime size amount for each underarm.  The deodorant will warm up with your body heat and melt into the skin.  I have seen recipes to make deodorant with beeswax that can be poured into stick form, but if I am going to take the time to make something from scratch I am going to make it vegan.  If you absolutely have to have a stick, try it with beeswax, but believe me this won’t even bother you after a few days.

So what do you think?  Will you try this out?  I hope you do!  With so many unhealthy ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants at the drug store, and so few great healthy alternatives, this is the best I have found so far!

Fit Thursday: Pilates! Why Everyone Should Try It!

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1546068_10202419583546261_141464576_nI have a confession….

I’m crooked.  I slant up to the right.  My pelvis is apparently not tilted the right way.  My hips are tight.  My legs are way stonger than my core.  My chest is stronger than my back.  I breathe backwards.   And I learned all that on my first Pilates Session.

But its okay, because we are fixing it.

Pilates is a great work workout to try out for anyone.  It is a total body conditioning workout that is low impact, and helps build flexibly and helps lengthen and strengthen the muscle, as well as balancing out any imbalances you have in your body (with a personal trainer building a routine around your body of course)

Meet Emily my Pilates trainer, She’s awesome.

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When I first met Emily she was sitting in my chair at the salon and I was coloring the ends of her hair turquoise.  We started talking about fitness and she invited me to try working out with her.  This was just after I hurt my ankle and she said she could help me get it back to normal.  And she wasn’t kidding.

I have to admit, I was skeptical and I didn’t think I would like it.  I tend to go for faster things like running or lifting heavier, but I was open and willing to give it a shot.  I tried 3 sessions and signed up for a package immediately after!  Now Tuesday (my Pilates day) is one of my favorite days of my workout week, just after leg day!

My first session with her she assessed my body imbalances and talked to me about how we were going to address them.  See my list above, it was a lot to tackle.  When I first started with Emily my ankle still hurt, I couldn’t run because of it.  Now I am back and better than ever!  There have definitely been amazing changes in my body since I started working out with her that I never would have been able to achieve by myself or with my regular workout routine.  When I started my balance was way off and I didn’t have a good mind to muscle connection with some parts of my body (my back, and my core for sure!) and we are still working on those but she has totally made a difference in how I workout even when we aren’t together.

What I love about Emily is she is always so positive, and never judges anything I say.  In fact she opens communication completely the moment I walk in her door, she isn’t just Pilates.  It’s just me, Emily, and her cat.  Even without the impact she has made on my actual body,  the impact she had on my actual life, and body issues has been well worth it.  She even helped me get through my very difficult breakup, that I really think without her I would probably still be in bed with a tub of ice cream and candy bars, not kidding.

The best advice she gave me was that I had to do what I was waiting to do when I finally got skinny now, because if I don’t I am holding myself back and will never reach my goals.  That was kind of the kick I needed.  She is right, it shouldn’t matter where I am now, I should do whatever I want whenever I want, and now I do.

Thats what’s cool about Emily… She works your body and your mind at the same time, and its super fun the entire time.

I realize that private Pilates sessions once a week is a big investment.  But honestly I could have never seen the benefits that I have seen in a group setting.  For starters I would have done every move WRONG!  Working out with a personal trainer is super important for a workout like this, at least in the beginning while you are learning all the movements and learning about your body.  We all know me, I am stubborn and independent.  I like doing things on my own even if they take longer, but I wouldn’t trade my workouts with Emily for anything.  She is amazing at what she does and totally worth the investment.  I honestly probably wouldn’t have liked Pilates if I took a group class first because I would have never gotten the results.

Want to learn more about Emily and her awesomeness?  Check out her website ReceiveEverything.com and if you are in Brooklyn, or NYC in general (she is worth the trip even from the Bronx I swear! and nothing is usually worth the trip to or from the Bronx haha) Try out a session or two, and let her know I sent you!  You won’t be let down at all.

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I know I am always pushing VNV nation, but I feel like this song is fitting

It’s March and its Still Cold Enough to Wear This Coat…. My Two Year Gym Anniversary

PURPLE_2_smallLast Month was my two year anniversary of my [new-ish] lifestyle.  I wanted to take update photos but the snow wouldn’t stop, it was freezing, and it was just all around miserable and cold.  Well the sun finally came out.  It didn’t warm us up any but at least the sun is out and trying.

Last week I met up with Lydia for a photo shoot.  The plan was to do a few shots in my coat that finally fits (just in time for spring of course!) but I looked so uncomfortable in all my just dress photos I decided to make this about the cute coat and save the dress for later.  I would link you to the coat, it is by BB Dakota, but it looks like it is already gone, but honestly… it wasn’t warm anyway.

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The only thing that is on me that is still available is my boots, which are of course Dr. Martens.  They STILL aren’t broken in, and they still hurt my heel after about 6 months, but I am staying optimistic that one day they will be comfortable.

So what changed this second year over the first?  I started really lifting weights and doing less cardio. I began doing squats and dead lifts last March with only a 40 pound barbell, right now I have gotten my squat up to 245 pounds, but I am doing 165 pounds for reps, and 135 pound dead lifts for reps.  I would say that is quite in improvement in a year.  My weight has fluctuated for sure, but that doesn’t really bother me because I am still slowly getting smaller, and my clothes are fitting better.

PURPLE_7_smallWith 2 years of working out under my belt, I can totally say that the gym and fitness has become part of my life that is here to stay.  My goals have changed from just wanting to lose weight and get healthy, to wanting both of those, plus I want to start doing power lifting.  I basically want to become a beast in a dress, and it will happen.

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I can’t wait until it is warmer so the coat can come off and I can show you how cute the dress that I wore under it is!!

Thanks to Lydia Hudgens for the photos!

Barbie is a Badass and Why that Matters

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It’s Kristin Barbie!!!

I am constantly asked what my obsession with Barbie is since my sleeve is usually the very first thing people notice about me.  Usually I just cast the questions aside and throw out the answer that she has so many great shoes… but that isn’t the only reason.  In fact that is hardly the reason.  Sure I grew up with Barbie, but I didn’t really like to play with her.  I have a huge collection, but that is more out of tradition.  I get the holiday Barbies for Christmas every year.  Except those few years my mom (I mean Santa) forgot.  But I love her.  And it’s because she is a Badass.

It always bothers me when Barbie gets torn up in the media because of her body.  It’s a plastic doll, its not reality.  Maybe it was my upbringing but I never expected or felt ashamed of myself because I didn’t look like Barbie.  I never felt inadequate, or sad about myself.  What I always think is funny is that this finger pointing at toys for showing a distorted body image is only really pushed about girls.  Have you seen boy’s toys?  When I was a kid it was He-man, Thundercats, Transformers, and GI Joe.  Have you looked at these dolls!? (oh! I mean action figures)  Their bodies are insane.  Giant biceps, 6 pack abs, huge quads, these things look like they have just dehydrated and tanned themselves into a body building figure competition.  Yet only Barbie gets ripped on for having big boobs and a little waist.  It’s just another way that we are creating our own problems for young girls, not a doll

Barbie is more than big boobs, and great shoes, in fact that is the last thing that I think of when I think of Barbie.  I think she is a great role model for girls and we shouldn’t judge her body or discount her other great qualities because of her appearance.  If fact isn’t that illegal?  Okay fine its a doll, and she will never take you to court but you see where I am going with that.

So go ahead… be like everyone else.  Ask me why am I so drawn to Barbie….

Barbie is badass.  She has had over 130 careers and been good at every single one.  Barbie has been everything from an astronaut, a chef, in the military, a nascar driver, a police officer, a teacher, a vet, even a paleontologist, the list goes on and on.  Wanna see the list?  go here.  She has done so many things, even careers that are dominated by men and still did them with style.  Barbie taught me that if you want to be something to go for it and try!  She taught me not to be scared to try something new, even if it’s not a “girls” job and also that if you try it and its not for you, on to the next adventure!

Barbie also taught me that I don’t need to lose myself or my femininity to get to where I want to be.  I think that is the most important.  It’s important to stay true to yourself, and not to change just because other people are pressuring you to.  Barbie has stuck to her guns.  She keeps her body, she keeps her feet bent into the perfect shape for a stiletto, and she will never change.  She has tried getting tattoos, colored her hair crazy colors, been a cover model in her skimpy bathing suit, and been the center of so much controversy.  But you know what she never did, apologize for things that aren’t wrong or for being herself.  And I think that is the most important.  No one should every apologize for being themselves or discovering who they really are.  Barbie backs up everything she does with style and grace and that makes her a badass, and my role model.    

Barbie taught me to work hard at everything I set out to do.  She taught me that I can do anything I want, and to not settle until I find what makes me happy.  So that is what I am doing, all with style and great shoes and I think Barbie would be proud.

Healthy Vegan Shamrock Shake

In honor of March and my love for the Shamrock shake, I decided that it was time to repost this awesome recipe.  It’s so good, and this is going to be my breakfast shake every morning until St. Patricks day now!  Enjoy!

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Well its shamrock shake time at McDonalds.  I never eat at McDonalds, but I can’t help but to love the shamrock shake.  I usually get one a year just to get a taste of it but this year I decided to try to make my own.

Sure there are a million recipes online and I suppose I could have just followed one of those, but a lot of them had ingredients that I just wasn’t into.  I don’t want to drink an avocado, and I cannot stand bananas, and pistachio pudding? was in one of them.  Maybe there is pistachio in the original but all I taste is a sweet mint, so I went with that.

I drink a Vega One shake for breakfast every morning and usually I just mix peanut butter with it, but after about a year it can get a little boring so now I am trying to switch it up.

All you need for my version of the shamrock shake is:

ingredients

I used my Ninja Pulse Blender for this and it made it perfect.  You can of course adjust these measurements to taste this was just how I liked it.  The Vega One and spinach will turn your shake green by itself, not neon green like at McDonalds, but do we really need that? No way

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fresh mint garnish look limp? use spinach instead!

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Get Fit with MyFitDecision: Workout Mix for March 2014

mixtape_bannerGeez…. Welcome March.  If only March meant that the snow was over and it was going to get warmer out.  Maybe it has everywhere else, but right now it is a whole 10 degrees in NYC.  It’s killing me.  I am not usually a wimp in the winter, but this winter has been really difficult for sure.

As usual this play list has a little bit of everything.  I think I have included VNV Nation in every mix that I have put up.  There is kind of a reason for that.

1- they are one of my favorite bands, and 2- they are really motivating.  Their motto is “One should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret”  I feel like that is a great motto to live by, never just sit there and wish, get up and do something about it.  Even better get up and exercise towards it!

 

Meeting and Beating my Goals! Squatting 245!

You might remember last month I went to the gym to figure out what my max squat was and that day I hit 205 with one rep.  I was excited but I was hoping to get to 225 which is two 45 pound plates on each side.  I ended up giving myself the goal of two plates in two months.

Two weeks ago when I walked in the locker room at my gym a competitive power lifter noticed my lifting shoes and started talking to me.  She asked me how much I was up to with my squats and when I told her I maxed out at 205, she challenged me to go for more and asked me to workout with her.  Nervously I accepted her challenge and invitation.  Her friend loaned me their lifting belt and I went for 225 and I got almost two reps.  Her trainer was there and said he could tell I was scared of the weight and that I could have done more and better.  I sadly didn’t get any pictures or video of me doing the 225 because I didn’t want to bother them since they were being nice enough to let me in on their workout.  But that made me even more curious as to what weight I could do.

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me and Lauren after the gym

This Sunday my friend Lauren and her boyfriend Lex came to the gym with me to do a leg day.  He is a body builder and is getting ready for his first competition, and was excited to have someone that could spot him while he went for a heavier squat, and I was excited as well to have someone to spot me that I was comfortable with as well.

So here is my most recent squat video.  3 reps of 245!! Should I have added 20 more pounds and seen if I could have gotten 1 out of 265?  Maybe.. but we still wanted to do front squats after so I didn’t want to totally exhaust myself. Next time.

Since I beat my last goal of 2 plates in 2 months by 20 pounds and an entire month, I decided I deserved a little gift.  So I bought new gym sneakers, the Saucony Fastswitch 6 and the Mirage 4

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The best part about the Fastswitch6 is the bottoms!!

I also started working out with a new trainer.  I actually hired the powerlifting trainer from the group that invited me to workout with them.  So far I have worked out with him once on Monday, it is now Thursday and my whole body is still sore.  I told him to make me a beast on the inside but still dainty in a dress.  If Monday is any taste of what there is to come, I have a feeling he will succeed for sure.

Healthy Tuesday Meal Prep: Cauliflower “Fried Rice” with Teriyaki Tempeh

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For the past two months I have been consistently doing meal prep days where I make large batches of healthy meals and package them up for the week.  I had previously posted about my meal plan and meal preps here, but didn’t give any recipes, then the requests started rolling in for them. This has seriously been helping me not only eat healthy and control my calories, but it has honestly saved me money as well.  I haven’t eaten out or ordered from GrubHub in ages because I haven’t needed to.  Pre-packing all my meals has totally kept me on track and on my way to my goals.

Obviously my meals are going to be mostly vegan, but you can easily substitute out the veggie option for something more meaty if you wanted to go that route, though I can’t promise you the calorie count will be as low.  That is the one bonus about not eating animal products veggies go so much further!

so without further ado here is the first of my meal prep recipe ideas!

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Cauliflower Fried Rice with Teriyaki Tempeh

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 2 cups frozen mixed veggies
  • 3 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 2 packages of Tempeh
  • 4 tbsp of Teriyaki sauce

Start by cutting the cauliflower from the stem and putting them in your food processor to make a rice type consistency, you will probably have to do this in a couple batches unless you have a really big food processor.

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Next chop up your onion and throw it in your pan with the garlic and start sautéing it until they are translucent.

onionsAdd the cauliflower rice and liquid aminos, sauté for a few minutes until the liquid aminos is well combined then add in the frozen veggies and cook until they are thawed.

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Put this aside and start on the tempeh.  Cut the tempeh into small triangles.  I like to cut each block in half then cut each half like this so that each piece is a similar size.

tempehrawAdd all the tempeh to a bowl and stir in the teriyaki marinade so the tempeh is well coated.  I found a great gluten free one from San-J that is only 20 calories per serving.  cookingtempehCook the tempeh until it is browned on all sides and set this aside to cool a little bit before packing.

This makes about 5 servings.  I divided into containers as 1 cup of the fried rice, then weighed out 84 grams of tempeh in each container.  Such an easy meal and it is only 230 calories!

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So good that even Calamity wouldn’t leave me alone when I was trying to shoot it!

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What other meals would you like to see me make healthier?

A Scoop Shouldn’t be a Serving Size : Why You Need a Food Scale NOW!

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Chances are if you are reading my blog you are either a friend being nice, or serious about losing weight and getting healthy. I hope its both honestly.  If you have been following my blog you know that I have gone on and off the MyFitnessPal wagon and also gone from pre-packing my food to eating whatever and then going back into pre-packing my meals.

As much as we all hate to admit it, doing all the meal preps, measuring your food, tracking all your macros (macro-nutrients i.e. calories, protein, carbs etc) works, even though it is a pain.  I tend to drive myself a little crazy with it, which is why I stop sometimes.  I am an all or nothing kind of person, and that personality mixing with this lifestyle can make me a little insane because I tend to get super detailed and it takes over my life.  That can be both good and bad.  I have finally figured out ways to make it easier for me.  I have worked out time saving meals that are low on calories and even not that expensive.  But one of the most important things to this whole thing is a Food Scale.

I always had a food scale but it was a little dinky one that was a little confusing and used those little flat batteries that are so annoying, so I have to admit once those batteries died it just started collecting dust.  I recently bought a new fancy food scale and I love it.  I ended up with the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale with Pull-Out Display and it is great!

You might be thinking, but why can’t I just measure things out in measuring cups and tablespoons?  I am going to demonstrate why using my Vega One nutritional shake powder.  I used different flavors so it would be easy to tell the difference.

onescoopIf you use protein powders or nutritional shakes, you are familiar with this as a serving size, one scoop.  But which scoop?  Each scoop I tried to fill it and flatten it down.  But really, is one scoop a sifted scoop? a pressed down scoop?  I dunno.  If you look on the nutrition facts it also says 37.6 grams.  That is a better measurement, and if you have a food scale you will know that you are getting exactly what the label says nutrition wise, which is important for someone trying to manage their caloric intake.

VegaOne_LargeTub_FrenchVanilla_US_V1_FINAL-PDon’t believe me that a scoop is way off?  Look at these three scoops, and see how different they are.  In fact one is way off and would make you consume a lot more calories than you think

thisscoop1This was the first scoop I took, and it was also the one that I tried to level off and make as exact as possible.  I ended up with 50 grams of powder!  that is 12 grams extra and will add about 40 extra calories to your meal!!  That is a lot when you are restricting your calories.

thisscoop2This one is a little closer to what a serving is, but now it is just under.  I need every gram of protein I can get, this scoop would minimize my chances to getting to my protein goal for the day

thisscoop3This one surprised me because the chocolate scoop looked the least full, and it was the closest one to the actual serving size!

A serving size should never be a scoop, its just not accurate at all as you can see, that was the simplest example but the same goes for oils, nut butters, you name it.  If you are trying to keep a very precise food diary there is just no way to do it without a scale.

I will admit my scale was pricey, it was about $50, but I decided on this one because it was highly rated, takes AAA batteries, the top comes off to clean it, and the biggest selling point, the number pad pulls out so that you can see it even if you put a big plate or bowl on it.  When I had my little one I couldn’t put a plate on it because it would cover the weight, and the weight didn’t stay if I took the plate off to look which was a huge bummer.

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scale2Worth it!

My version is stainless steal and weighs up to 11 pounds, but OXO also makes smaller black version that weighs up to 5 pounds and is only $30!  Both are great options and will totally help you reach your goals, whether it is trying to lose weight or add weight.  Just ask any body builder and they will all tell you that they can’t live without their food scales, and neither should you!  Trust me, it will make a huge difference in how you eat, and how well your diet works.

Healthy Tuesday: How to Keep Your Hair Healthy While You are Getting Healthy

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A lot of people always ask me what the best shampoo and conditioner is.  That is a tough question to answer because not everyone has the same type of hair, plus a lot of times people dry out their hair because they wash it too often.  I try to only wash my hair twice a week, generally on Wednesday and Saturday that way I have nice hair for work.   What type of hair do I have?  DRY, coarse yet fine hair.  I do the Brazilian Blowout treatment on my hair to smooth it and prevent frizz, but because of the treatment I have to use a sulfate free shampoo and a silicone free conditioner, but so should everyone and here is why…

A lot of hair care companies especially the low end brands, in order to keep their product cheap, use low cost, high lathering agents to make their shampoo work, these are called sulfates.  They come in many forms, Sodium lauryl sulfate,  Sodium laureth sulfate, and Ammonium lauryl sulfate, which are the most common.   So you are probably wondering what is so bad about these being in your shampoo.  The problem is these sulfates are VERY harsh, in fact they are also used in most household cleaners as well, such as dish detergent.  These detergents are very good at removing dirt and oil.  In fact they are too good, often they strip your hair of all its natural oils which will dry out the hair.  Hair care companies know this, so to help fix the damage that their shampoos did to your hair they often make a coordinating conditioner full of heavy oils and silicones to coat the hair, lubricate it, and make it look healthy.  But that is the key word, LOOK healthy.  The funny thing is using these silicones and oil to coat the hair and make it shiney is a catch 22.  Most of these silcones are not water soluable, which means that they get stuck on your hair and can build up, and that means that your conditioners and hair oils can’t fully penetrate the hair to help heal damage.

So what do I use?

haircareI actually have a bunch of shampoos in my shower right now, but these are two of my favorites.  I like to use a color depositing shampoo fairly often.  Not only does this help me deepen my new growth area so I don’t have to color my hair as often (I’m lazy), but it also helps me keep the rest of my hair black.  I love this one, Giovanni Colorflage Shampoo in Black and its coordinating Conditioner.  They are super gentle and they have just enough color in them to even tone my blonde bangs and keep them white.  My other favorite line is the Shea Moisture Raw Shea Restorative Shampoo and Conditioner.  I have to admit I am horrible at doing masks on my hair, but when I actually remember I really like the Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Hair Masque and Shea Moisture Organic Yucca & Baobab Anti-Breakage Masque.  The anti-breakage mask is protein based, which isn’t best for every day.  I prefer to use that one when my hair feels a little too soft, as the protein actually hardens your hair.

Hair color wise, I am obviously not a natural level 1 (black in laymen’s terms).  I actually just color my hair with Redken Shades EQ Color Gloss.  I love it because it is demi-permanent color that does not lift or disrupt my natural hair color.  Since I am going darker there really is no reason to put a strong developer on my hair.  This is super gentle and still strong enough that it can keep my hair pretty black for a couple of months.  Usually by the time it fades, I am ready to color my new growth anyway.  Shades EQ is also amazing for people that notice that their hair color is fading between services, and is a great color refresher, so even if you don’t want to color your hair black this is a great product for you.  It has to be applied in the salon, but it is usually less expensive than permanent color,  and it processes faster so you won’t be in the salon all day getting your hair done.

I might be cheating here.... gotta love extensions

I might be cheating here…. gotta love extensions

Product wise, I also like to use a hair oil, the oil in the photo, Macadamia Oil Natural Oil Healing Oil Treatment, I have to admit has silicone in it which I talk about here and how I don’t really like it.  This oil, while it has silicones in it, doesn’t seem to build up on my hair so I am going to continue to use it until I am finished the bottle.  I like to keep a dry shampoo around for that 3rd day gym hair, this one by Got2b smells great and works really well.  Dry shampoo helps me a ton.  Since I go to the gym 6 days a week, and work out really hard, my hair gets sweaty and this is one of the only things that helps me not wash it so often.  Before I started working out I could get away with washing my hair only once a week, I kind of miss those days, but at least I got it down to only 2 times a week now.

The last two items in my photo are accessories.  My hair doesn’t really get knotty, but my extensions do, so I also love this Michel Mercier Detangling Brush for my clients that have super knotty hair.  This brush doesn’t pull on the hair or get stuck which helps prevent breakage to your hair.  Another important accessory are metal free elastics.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t workout with my hair down.  The problem with most pony tail holders is that they have a small metal piece connecting them together.  I prefer these Goody Ouchless No Metal Elastics, they might not be as sturdy as the ones with the metal clips on them, but they are safer for your hair, and cause less breakage.  Really they are so cheap who cares if some snap every once in a while.

That’s it, I’m simple, and I think that is the key to keeping your hair healthy.  I am about to be the worst hair stylist in the world and say you don’t need all those products.  Just a good hair oil, and shampoo and conditioner and you should be good.  If you do a lot of heat styling include a heat protectant, but that is it.  Don’t clog your bathroom up with products, unless you have a guy roommate that shaves his head like me, then take up all the space.. We know he isn’t using it hehe.  But really the less junk you put on your hair the better, I try to keep it to one of two styling products and call it a day.  Your hair will be happier, your wallet will me thicker, and you won’t have to work as hard either

What are your favorite hair products?

Healthy Tuesday: My Skincare Routine

healthytuesdayThis month I decided to make my Healthy Tuesday posts about beauty.  I was kinda of surprised that I didn’t do this sooner.  Seems like such an obvious idea given that I am a hairstylist.  I am starting with skin care, then going into some quick make-up looks, then switching to hair.  If you have any questions feel free to ask them here and I will try to answer them in later posts.

I get a lot of compliments about my skin, I have even been asked if I have botox!  No one ever believes that I am 32, I still might lie about it sometimes though.  I am lucky enough to have good skin, so what I do might not work for everyone, in fact, it won’t…  Wouldn’t that be easy if everything was one size fits all and it really did fit all?  My skin is definitely combination skin, though it has been getting more oily lately.  I don’t really suffer from breakouts ever, I might get one every couple of months, and even then it’s little and goes away quickly, and I guess I still have enough pudge in my face that the wrinkles haven’t really set in yet (phew!)  I try not to do a ton of steps, but the steps that I do take I make count.

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So here it is, this is everything I use.  Notice there are no fancy face masks, no crazy contraptions unless you count my Clarisonic, just some simple face washes, and moisturizers.  I will even be honest and say I usually don’t wash my make-up off before I go to bed.  Though I have been keeping wipes next to my bed and trying to get into the habit of at least taking off most of my make-up.  The one thing that I ALWAYS do though is wash my face after the gym!  It is super important to get all that sweat and grime off your face as soon as possible (and your body too honestly)

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I have talked about these Yes to Grapefruit Brightening Facial Towelettes before, and I love them.  They are great when you don’t have time to wash your face after working out, and as I said great to keep by your bed to wipe off your face when you are too tired to get up to actually wash your face at the sink.

I am lucky enough that my gyms are right around the corner for my apartment so I just walk home and hop in the shower and start my skin care routine from there and get ready for work, but If I had to get ready at the gym, I would still carry these things and use them all.

If I still have eye make-up on, which I pretty much guarantee that I do, I start with my Skin79 Smart Clear Deep Cleansing Oil. I know what you are thinking, oil cleanser!  That’s crazy!!  But hear me out…  It’s amazing for your skin, even if you are naturally oily.  A lot of people think that if you are oily that you need to strip all the oil off your skin, but really you should do the opposite.  When you strip your skin of all its natural oils you are telling your sebaceous glands to produce more oil and then you are caught in this cycle where you are constantly fighting the shine.  Oil cleansers balance out your skin and are also great for gently removing all your make-up.  When I get in the shower, before I wet my face I pump a few pumps of this in my hands and rub it all over my face, including over my eyes, it gets all my mascara and eyeliner off without pulling out your lashes or drying them out.  After you rub the oil all over your face wet your hands and emulsify the oil, it will start to foam up then rinse your face and everything is gone, super easy.

After that I like to exfoliate, I put a couple pumps of my Aveda Botanical Kenetics Gel Cleanser on my Clarisonic PLUS and follow the beeps on each section of my face.  I have probably been using this Aveda cleanser for at least 8 years, it works great with my skin so I never felt the need to change it.  I also live for my Clarisonic, it makes my skin feel super smooth and clean, I feel weird if I don’t use it everyday.  I know it is definitely a splurge, but I think it is totally worth it, especially if you get the PLUS because it comes with a body brush.  

After I get out of the shower I spray my face with a toner, use an anti-aging serum and then put on an eye cream and a moisturizer and I’m done.  Honestly those products have changed throughout the years, right now I am using a line that my friend used to work for called Veria ID.  I have most of the line, and I have to say I really like it.  Price wise it is even pretty reasonable.  I am using the Toned up Hydrating Toner, More is Better Serum, Drink it In Day Moisturizer, and See the Difference Eye Cream.

Obviously these products aren’t going to work for everyone, but the steps are pretty universal.  I try to use mostly natural products, but I still have to be careful because I am sensitive to some oils like tea tree.  The most important thing to healthy skin is to use cleansers that don’t strip your skin of all its natural oils and to moisturize after.  NEVER skip the moisturizer, unless you want to look old and wrinkly early, and no one wants that ever.  I am not a huge mask user, I feel like if you find proper skin care that works for your skin you don’t really need it.  The combination of my oil cleanser and Clarisonic keep my face pretty clean so why add extra steps or other unnecessary chemicals.  Plus who has time to sit there with a mask drying on their skin regularly?  I can’t even wait for my nail polish to dry.

What are your tried and true skin care products?

Workout with My Fit Decision: February 2014 Mix

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I can’t believe it is February already!!  I am totally not ready for this year to fly by as fast as last year.  This mix is not Valentine’s day themed, or independent woman themed, or broken hearted themed.  It is just music that I like to listen to at the gym that keeps me going.  It has everything from Iggy Azalea, the mandatory Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears with some industrial and other electronic music thrown in.  Give it a shot and see what you think.

 

Fasted Cardio Kept me Fat: The Importance of Listening to Your Body

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cardi-ohhhhh

If you haven’t noticed I haven’t lost weight in a while.  I haven’t complained much, I am still gaining muscle and getting stronger, my endurance is still getting better but my weight hasn’t budged, in fact I gained… I sat back and looked at everything that I have changed since I stopped losing weight and most of them were positives.  I started taking Pilates, started doing spin classes, my workouts have gotten more challenging and longer.  The only thing that I changed that was controversial was adding fasted cardio.

I don’t even remember when I started doing fasted cardio but it has been a long time,  Probably at least since the summer.  The idea behind fasted cardio is basically since you are doing cardio without eating theoretically your body will use its fat storage for fuel since your body is in a fasted state and therefor you will burn more fat overall.  Maybe in some people this is totally true.  But for me it wasn’t.  The other studies have shown that running on an empty stomach puts your body in a catabolic state, and makes your body burn muscle for fuel.  I think that is where my body was. It has also been shown that eating a small meal before you work out can increase your body’s thermogenic response and makes you burn calories longer.

I can say that I did like running without a bunch of food in my stomach, I felt like I was able to run so much further and a lot of my friends were telling me that fasted cardio worked for them, but my body was telling me otherwise and I was ignoring it for a while because I just wanted it to work.

With the new year I decided that I was going to re-work everything that I was doing since what I was doing previously wasn’t working anymore.  I listed last week all the meals that I was eating, and that included a nutritional shake in the morning.  Yes that included a pre-workout meal.  Guess what happened.  I have lost almost 4 pounds since I started eating breakfast and preplanning my meals.  I suppose I should have listened to my body sooner, but hind-sight is 20/20 of course.  In my head I was thinking I am just stuck at a plateau, I will just work out harder and I will break out of it, but that wasn’t the case.  My body was saying feed me, and if you don’t I’m holding onto what you eat. And that it did, and then some.

So am I saying fasted cardio is bad?  No.  Like I said for some people it actually works.  I am saying it didn’t work for me.  The most important thing is to listen to what your body is telling you and do it.  And that is true with everything.  You’re body knows what it needs and what it doesn’t, it is our job to listen.  I know that is hard in the beginning, but as you continue on your workout path things that work and don’t will become more clear.  In the beginning your wants and cravings might be stronger willed than your body’s needs, but once you get closer with your body you will start to realize what works and what doesn’t

I really should practice what I preach I suppose, and this little experiment proved it.  My body was telling me it wanted food before my workouts, which made total sense, my workouts are intense.  But I wanted to not give in because I was hoping that not eating would help me burn more fat.  It didn’t at all, in fact it slowed my progress a lot.  I am my own worst enemy, and I need to stop that and be my own best cheerleader.

Do any of you do fasted cardio?  Does it work for you?

No Fuss Healthy Eating With Just A Little Bit of Healthy Planning

healthytuesday

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.

Apparently thats a thing I suppose.  Since my body has been stuck at this awful in-between area where I am getting stronger but not skinnier and it is driving me insane, I decided to take things one step further and go the body builder(ish) route of pre-packing and planning my meals.

I know that seems painfully annoying, but it makes the biggest difference and its honestly really simple to do.  A lot of weight loss is in your diet, you can lift and lift and lift and get your muscles stronger, but if you aren’t getting rid of the fat covering those muscles up, no one will  ever know.  So here goes my 1,200 calories a day diet, and how I make it honestly not a horrible, I am so freaking hungry, miserable time.  Of course my meals are vegan, so this won’t help everyone but hey its good to incorporate a meat-free meal into your life every now and again.  Plus veggies are basically free in the calorie scale so you can eat soooo much more than if it were a piece of meat or something.  I honestly wouldn’t even call this a diet,  I would call it smart eating that is sustainable.  Diets to me are when you do something extreme like cutting out carbs or only eating foods that are brown, or eating cabbage soup.  Those aren’t sustainable, or sane for that matter, what I am doing is just being smart and conscience about what I am eating so my body can break out of this weight loss rut.

1526163_10202459646347806_1003102605_nThat is my fridge.  I went cooking crazy, but I have it down to a science now that I can get it all done in a couple hours and then I am set for 4 full days.  My work week is 4 days, so that is why I go for 4, plus a lot of things that I cook come in servings of 4.

One of the greatest discoveries that I have made recently is this Explore Asian Mung Bean “Pasta it has 25 grams of protein per serving and 11-12 grams of fiber per serving!  So much better than pasta, and its a great way for me to get my protein in.

This is my meal plan for this week.

Breakfast

  • 1 cup homemade cashew milk
  • 1 Scoop French Vanilla Vega One
  • 1 tablespoon Peanut Butter 
  • 1 tablespoon Cocoa powder (I have vanilla protein and I don’t like it so I make it chocolate lol)

= 286 Calories  

Lunch

  • 1/2 cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Black beans
  • 1/2 cup Roasted mixed vegetables
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Roasted Carrots

= 264 Calories

Dinner

= 235 Calories

Snack #1

  • 1 Romaine Heart shredded
  • 2 cups Mixed greens
  • 1/4 each or red, yellow, and green bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup Red kidney beans
  • 6 Grape tomatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons salsa

= 213 Calories

Snack #2

= 207 Calories

Grand Total = 1,205 Calories

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I like to have a few things that I can eat hot or cold.  The quinoa is a good one for that.  We don’t have a microwave at work, so if I don’t get to eat my lunch before I leave I can bring it with me and eat it cold and it is still really good.  Maybe this sounds a bit boring to eat the same meals everyday, but honestly I am a creature of habit and I really don’t mind eating the same thing for a week, plus this just really makes life easy, so I am not cooking a million things, and at this point I have it down to a science.

I start by preparing my veggies to roast.  Usually it is 1 large onion, 1 whole red, green and yellow, bell pepper, a pint of grape tomatoes, and 1 or 2 green and yellow squash.  That usually makes about 4-5 cups once they are cooked down. The veggies take the longest to cook so I always throw them in the oven first then start on everything else..

Then I start preparing the salad greens, making sure after they are washed I run them well through my salad spinner, the trick to keeping salads for a few days is to make sure they are super dry when you put them away, also putting a paper towel over the top helps as well.  I put together my salads and once they are done I start rinsing my quinoa and put water on to boil for the mung bean pasta.  Usually by the time the quinoa and pasta are done, the veggies are pretty much done.  Then I lay out the rest of my containers and start portioning it out.  Id say I can get the whole thing done in about 2 hours.  It might seem like a lot of effort on my day off, but it makes eating clean and healthy minimal effort when I don’t have the time or energy to put the effort in, which is totally worth it.  By prepping your meals ahead and having them already portioned out you have your own heathy fast food restaurant in your fridge ready for whenever you are hungry!

Do any of you pre-pack your meals?  What are your favorite things to pack? 

Maxed Out: The Day I Squatted 205

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Last week I talked about the importance of mini-goals and how I wanted to put the “big girl” plates on the bar to squat.  Since I was able to do 3 sets of 15 easily at 135, I decided that this week I wanted to see what my max squat was.  To start out I did a few reps of 135 to warm up, then moved up to 155, did 4 reps easy, moved up to 185 and did another 4 reps! … still surprisingly pretty stinking easy…  After that we decided just to jump up to 205 and that was my wall.  I was able to get one and a half reps.  You can’t see my attempt at a second rep, but I ended up losing my balance a bit and grabbed onto the side.  Luckily I didn’t fall and was able to save it, but 205 was definitely my max for now.  I was really hoping to get to two plates which is 225, but I will get there for sure, and probably sooner than I thought!  I am giving myself 2 months.  Two plates, in two months.  I’ll hopefully see you in March with another video.

I also upped a lot of my other exercises, did 3 sets of 8 reps of 135 pound dead lifts.  Raised my curls and extensions to 75 pounds, and even raised up my standing calves to 100 pounds.  But I got 3 sets of 15 of all those easily so next week, its on. You can see up top on my heart rate monitor that I had a slow workout pace, but I was giving myself a lot of rest between the squats so I could do it.  Either way I burned a decent amount of calories and look at that percentage from fat!  That is why you lift weights girls, not to get bulky.  Stop being wimpy, the end.

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My friend posted this on my Facebook wall and I thought it was funny.  Though I definetly don’t want a beauty, I want a guy that is more of a beast than me haha.  Taking applications for my new beast now, must live in Brooklyn, Queens, or Manhattan, not have allergies to cats, and like training with a girl that has every workout accessory she needs in pink lol.