Tag Archives: elf4health

I Heart Veggies

12 Dec

I haven’t talked about #Elf4Health on the blog in a few days, but I’ve definitely been following the challenges!

I have a great new elf, Kim (you can find her here), and she’s been pretty awesome about tweeting at me and keeping me on task. I may have mentioned that I’m feeling a bit under the weather lately, so it helps!

Today’s challenge was to eat 3 servings of veggies before 2:00 PM. Now, I am the queen of the veggie breakfast scramble, but with the addition of cardio into my daily LiveFit Training, I was running late this morning and totally forgot about the challenge.

almost called it a wash until some leftovers appeared in the kitchen at work from a party last night. There was a big green salad with carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes that looked really good, so I loaded some of that into my to-go container from breakfast and carried it home for lunch, where I loaded up on the veggies in my fridge:

veggie overload

A salad topped with a lentil veggie burger (the salad also had carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes), roasted brussels sprouts from last night, and raw broccoli with a side of cheese. Yum! So, I definitely had my 3 servings before 2:00 PM! Success!

The above image was created by me in Gimp. I’m trying to teach myself to use it, because I can’t afford to pay someone to redesign this blog when I need it. As you can see, I have quite a bit of work to do!


In other news, the LiveFit trainer workouts are getting pretty intense. I’m turning into a pro of the weight room…with some help. The guy who works the early shift in the weight room has basically become my new BFF. He doesn’t shy away from showing me how to do the exercises I’m doing wrong, and this morning he was my spotter. I had to do 5 sets of bench press: The first set as a warm up, three regular sets of 8, and then one negative set of 3-5. Uhhh, I had no idea what a negative set was before today!

Negative Set: A negative set loads the weight beyond your maximum and only performs the exercise in the muscle lengthening (or eccentric) movement. 

FUN! That’s what a negative set is. I did my warm up set with just the bar (45 lbs), then loaded it with 10 more pounds for my regular set. For the negative set, we put another 10 on (65 lbs!!), and started at the top of the movement. The goal was to lower the weight as slooooowly as possible, and then he would raise the weight again for me. It was awesome! I felt like the strongest girl in the world!

Question of the Day:
Have you ever done negative training? 

Veggie Burger Round-Up

3 Dec

I love a good veggie burger recipe.

It’s really easy to whip up a recipe of veggie burgers on your own, for a lot less than it costs to buy a package of the frozen pre-made burgers (although I do love those as well!)

This weekend, I finished off the last of this recipe:

veggie burger

I know the burger kind of blends in with the bread, but trust me, it was delicious. I topped it with a slice of cheese, mustard, a little ketchup and a few dill pickle slices. Burger heaven. I think that most veggie burgers are more flavorful than regular burgers, also. In honor of the #Elf4Health challenge for today (increasing fiber intake), keep in mind that a burger patty (with beef OR turkey) has 0 grams of fiber, so eating one of these on some whole grain bread or a whole grain roll will increase your fiber by the # listed next to the burger. Here are some of my favorite veggie burger recipes:

  • Mushroom Veggie Burger (8 grams fiber per patty)  I found this recipe on About.com, it says it was adapted from a recipe on WeHeartFood.com, but I couldn’t find the original recipe on that site. This is the one pictured above and it’s very good. This burger does have eggs, so it’s not vegan, but in the comments section of the recipe one person says that they have had success with egg substitute. This burger is delicious! It tastes almost like a fried stuffing patty. I love the flavor it gets from sauteing the mushrooms, onions and garlic first. I find that mushrooms really add a “meaty” texture to a veggie burger, if that is what you crave. 
  • Mediterranean Lentil Burger (5 grams fiber per patty) (vegan) This is a recipe from Sarah at Peas and Thank You. Most of the burgers on this list are hers, because she makes the best veggie burger recipes! I made this recipe a couple times the summer before last for a few different barbeques and they were a hit, even with the carnivores. The kalamata olives, basil and sundried tomatoes give this ‘burger’ a distinctly Mediterranean flavor that is to die for. You could eat these burgers plain on a bun and you would have plenty of flavor, but adding a little feta cheese (which would make the burger non-vegan, obviously) really makes the flavor pop!
  • Yukon Gold White Bean Basil Burgers (3 grams fiber per patty) (vegan) This recipe was my go-to veggie burger recipe for a while. The flavor is mild enough to not clash with any of your favorite burger toppings, yet still gives a good complexity to the burger. Mama Pea does it again 🙂
  • Black Bean Burger (Mama Pea style) (8 grams fiber per patty) (vegan) Another Mama Pea recipe that really packs a fiber punch! I love this mexican style burger, the addition of corn really makes it for me. This is a great burger that you can top with salsa and cheese. Yum!
  • Thai Veggie Burger (9 grams fiber per patty) (vegan) I swear, this is the last one on the list from Peas and Thank You! This burger can only be found in Sarah’s book, and it is AMAZING! If you love the Thai flavors, you can’t miss this one. I’ve added Sarah’s book to my Amazon store under the Healthy Living Tab.
  • Red-lentil Burgers (about 6 grams fiber per patty) I love this burger with red lentils, carrots, and marjoram. Yum! Here is the recipe. Again, the addition of mushrooms adds a ‘meaty’ texture.
  • Falafel Burger (9 grams fiber per patty) Recipe here. Can you tell I love the Mediterranean flavor? Falafel is great, but you can also make it a burger. It’s really good with some plain yogurt, onions, tomatoes and lettuce on top. Yum!

Hopefully you’ll try one (or all!) of these recipes for your next Meatless Monday!

Question of the Day:
Are you a vegetarian? If not, do you have designated “meatless” days, do you just eat meatless once in a while, or do you eat meat at every meal? 

I’m an #Elf4Health

28 Nov

Boy, am I loving the #Elf4Health challenge! It has really pushed me to get back on track with my health and fitness.

Yesterday was hard, you guys. As I have mentioned a few times here, I have put on a few pounds since August. Ok, let’s be honest: I’ve gained approximately 7 pounds since August. A little more than 2 lbs a month. Things that I know I can do to combat the weight gain: Track my calories, increase my weight training and decrease my cardio (i.e., running). I know that last one sounds counterintuitive, but when I’m running a lot, I get hungry, and when I’m hungry, I eat. I will not starve myself!

Anywho, yesterday I woke up at 3:00 AM feeling just….terrible about myself. Negative thoughts were racing through my head and I just felt bad about myself. I have no idea why my negative thoughts choose to manifest themselves at 3:00 AM, but it’s quite annoying. I decided that it was time to use the skills that I already have to get rid of the extra weight. Luckily, the #Elf4Health Challenge is in full swing!


It’s nice to have people cheering you on, so I’m grateful for this challenge right now. We’ve had a couple of challenges so far:

  • Go Meatless! — I shared my favorite meatless recipe with my (vegan) partner (Mama Pea’s Roasted Chickpea Tacos — yum!), and I made myself a new veggie burger recipe. I used to make myself veggie burgers all the time — homemade are so much better than the frozen store-bought ones — but I’ve fallen out of the habit. Zach and I have burger night at least once a week, and I’ve been lazy and just eating his beef burgers, which I know isn’t good for me. The veggie burgers are so much healthier. So I made a batch of these mushroom veggie burgers and boy, am I glad I did. I can’t wait to have another for lunch! In fact, it has inspired me to do a post on a veggie burger recipe round-up tomorrow.
  • Send a hand-written note — I used the opportunity of yesterday’s challenge to get a jump start on my Christmas cards! Thanks #Elf4Health, I’ve been meaning to get that done 😉
  • Try a new workout — This is today’s challenge. I woke up this morning and I did a 10 minute warm up on the elliptical and today’s LiveFit Trainer workout (legs — and in week three, it’s getting tougher! My legs have been jelly ever since!), so that doesn’t count. Since I work at the library, I think I’ll head downstairs to the fitness DVD section later and see if I can’t find something different to try 🙂

So, to say that this challenge has benefited me would be absolutely correct. I’m “meeting” new people (and finding new blogs to read — my favorite!) and trying new things, and most importantly, getting things done!

Another thing I’ve been inspired to do is to start logging my meals again on My Fitness Pal:

Just a sample of yesterday’s food log.

I have sort of a love/hate relationship with keeping  a food log, so here is my pro/con list:

  • Pros
  •  Logging keeps you accountable for what you eat and it makes you conscious of your food choices.
  • It’s easy to do, especially with the internet and smart phones, but even if you prefer writing everything down, it’s easy enough to keep a notebook on you all the time.
  • It works if you are trying to lose weight — it is the #1 thing you should do if you want to lose weight. It has been proven that if the only thing you do is start writing down everything you eat, you will lose weight.
  • It’s easy to keep track of all your macros (protein, fat, carbs, etc) to see what you’re getting too much of or not enough of.


  • Cons
  • It makes me feel tied down.

Yep, that’s the only con I have, but it’s a big one because it provides this huge mental block for me. I feel tied down to this app, like I can’t just do what I want. I get kind of down on myself, like, “I should be able to eat sensibly without this ball and chain!” I don’t have a fear of commitment until it comes to my diet, it turns out.

Well, yes, I can eat sensibly without it. I did it for over a year. But sometimes you need to re-set. Sometimes you need to be strict with yourself to re-learn lost lessons, and that’s what I’m doing by logging again. I make a lot of promises on this blog — sometimes I keep them, sometimes I don’t, but today I’m pledging to stick with logging my meals for one month — taking a break for my birthday/Christmas (same day). I need to re-learn lost lessons. If I’ve seen progress in that month (which, duh, of course I will!), then I will reassess. Please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram — whatever! — and get on me to keep it up, please!

What do you find is your biggest challenge as far as sticking with a healthy lifestyle?