For those of you who may be interested in starting up a vegetarian lifestyle, this blog is for you. I feel like more often than none people want to try something different but they don’t know how to go about it or how it works. I have known people in the past who have started up being vegetarian and either soon became vegan or decided it wasn’t for them. Nonetheless, I feel as though no matter which path you choose; this may help you decide how serious you want to take this lifestyle and if it fits what you want to achieve. In the meantime, for those of you who are not necessarily wanting to go vegetarian but want an understanding of this lifestyle choice, this will be a good blog for you as well.
Vegetarianism- Choose to not eat meat, fish or poultry.
There are multiple forms of vegetarianism, but we will talk about those in a later post (vegan, etc)
- Depending on what works best for you, some people gradually start to become vegetarians or move into it rapidly. Do what is easiest for you.
- Vegetarians can have optimum amounts of protein as long as they eat a variety of foods and consume enough calories to maintain their weight
- Most vegetarians have a better understanding on weight control and are less likely of becoming obese (doesn’t mean they cannot be obese
- Most vegetarians are vegetarians because of their religion, morals or health reasons. Some choose this lifestyle based on their own personal reasons
- Reading labels is key, depending on how far you take your vegetarianism.. since some things may be animal by-products
- Find support, this may seem odd, but not everyone will support your decision to be a vegetarian and so it is a good thing to surround yourself with others who a support your lifestyle.
Sample of Vegetarian Food choices:
- whole grains
- soy foods
- dairy products and eggs
Sample Vegetarian Dishes:
- fruit salad
- peanut butter and jam
- corn flakes
- french toast
- vegetable soup
- pizzas- no meats
- spaghetti – meatless
- bean tacos and burritos
- fruit shakes
- mac and cheese
- french fries
- grilled cheese
- vegetable pot pies
- vegetable lo mein
- soy burgers
Now those are just samples, obviously a small list compared to what it is out there. This particular vegetarian lifestyle would suffice for someone who is a “lacto-ovo vegetarian” and this means they eat dairy products. I will discuss in later post the other 2 categories of vegetarianism. For those of you interested in more information about this particular category of vegetarianism or want more information regarding recipes, I would highly recommend reading:
For others of you who may want more information regarding someone’s personal experience with becoming vegetarian, I would check this link out from a blog I found: https://www.theveggietable.com/blog/vegetarianism/becoming-vegetarian/ This link will help you get started and hopefully give you a better grasp on becoming vegetarian. Thank you for reading.
Your Fitness Blogger Shay-lon xoxo
So, I have been thinking lately because I have been doing “better” at grocery shopping, but I still have rough patches where it becomes really hard to grocery shop because I don’t know what to buy or what to cook; if that makes any sense. Sometimes, I have these ideas and then realize eh.. maybe not.. then sometimes I go with what I “usually” would buy and then think.. eh.. I don’t really want to eat that again this week. Then I have my days, where I am buying random items that have no place in mind what I am going to use it for until I make something up. I have had my rough patches with grocery shopping for 1) because I am a college student 2) I like budgeting my finances 3) I don’t love grocery shopping 4) I never know what I want to eat & do horribly planning ahead sometimes & 5) If I don’t have a list made, I am screwed.
With this all being said, I am interested in how many of you have a hard time grocery shopping & why? Whatever the reason may be, I want to know because I am going to share some interesting helpful tips, information, etc that will help some of you, hopefully. Since I established that my skills are wack, I will be helping myself as well.. This list of how to grocery shop came from other people who wanted to share their way of shopping, my own experience, my mom, other college students, and some of this information is from helpful sites that I used to see if they could spread some knowledge my way so that I can share it with you. I will say using some of these ideas has personally helped me to become a better grocery shopper; like I said, I am not the best yet but I am making small steps toward progress. Enjoy.
How to grocery shop like a champ:
- Use coupons (online, newspapers, in-store ads, apps)
- price match
- have a list of what you need/want & if you are like me, it will be broken down to cold, shelf, etc sometimes
- match your lifestyle with your grocery shopping. If you are paleo, vegan, low carb, etc then know what is the goal when you shop to find all those foods that fit that lifestyle
- learn to cook so that you can avoid processed foods, frozen dinners, etc.
- buy at least 1 thing from the produce section, why? because it ensures you either bought a fruit or vegetable 🙂 but in all honesty, you should do the majority of your shopping in this part of the store.
- Use Pinterest. This sounds crazy but it helped me to find recipes that were of interest to me
- set a budgeted amount you want to spend & stick to it. If you don’t have a budget, all the merrier.
- buy what you can afford. I know people who shop say healthier options are more expensive. Let me be the first person to tell you: I don’t always shop organically, gluten free; If I see chicken breast for 8 dollars and organic chicken breast for 10 dollars, and I have a budget I stick to then HELL YESS will buy that non organic chicken breast for 8 dollars. I won’t regret it either because that is my budget and I know I can afford it.
- If there is a “reduced” or “low” sodium option for the foods you buy, make use of it. It taste the same and usually priced the same.
- I buy frozen veggies because they last longer; some people buy fresh and that is fine as long as you know how to preserve them so they can last longer if you aren’t going to use it right away
- use the store points cards. I like using Kroger’s card, it saves me money on gas and groceries
- Take advantage of the buy one get one free and the sales on items that normally are more expensive.
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store where the better options are (avoid the center isles because they normally have the junk food)
- Try to be more aware of the ingredients especially on canned foods and boxes.. (5 or less is usually better) when it comes to ingredients; which is why I avoid canned foods for the most part and don’t buy boxed foods either.
- Choose the better of the oils, try to use oils that are better for you. I use coconut oil and love it
- Don’t go shopping when you are hungry because the chances are high that you will end up buying something that you didn’t need because it “looked good”
- Keep things stocked for easier meals so that you don’t have to keep running to the store when you run out of something
- Buy in bulk when it makes sense. If you know you use a lot of something, then it probably would save you money to buy it in bulk. I never used bulk but I know people who do.
- If you don’t know how to cook then try investing into a crockpot; heard these work wonders.
- Try the “store” brands. I know we all like our “name” brand items (Even I am guilty of this) but sometimes it is worth trying the store brand; sometimes it can save you money
- Be watchful at the register, make sure you watch the scanner to look for mis-priced items
- Go during slow times, if you are like me then you have anxiety and shopping at the busiest times drives you crazy and makes your anxiety heighten
- Avoid corner stores and gas stations. These are usually priced more expensive because of the convenience.
- Rain check for any items they run out of and are on sale
- Drink more water to avoid having to spend money on pop, certain sugary drinks
- when it comes to household items, try to have these items stocked up so you don’t have to buy them each and every time you are at the store.
This list is fairly large but I know some of you may have some things you would like to add to it and by all means I would love that! Hopefully this gives you a general idea on how to grocery shop and what to look for when you do. Keep in mind, we all have different dynamics going on in our households so nothing on this list is a million dollar answer to everyone’s problems but if you have a problem with grocery shopping that you don’t think this list addressed, feel free to shoot me a message & I will make sure to post about it or send you a personal answer.
Your Fitness Blogger
I have this love-hate relationship with the phrase “eat clean”. For one reason, everyone says it and never actually explains what it means and secondly, “eating clean” means nothing when you consider yourself a “healthy” eater. In my opinion to eat clean can have so many different definitions depending on the person’s perspective & their lifestyle choices. For example, one might advertise to “eat clean” and that first thing that comes to you is “no carbs, no pop, no candy” but to the person speaking to you, it could mean “go paleo” or it could mean “become vegan”, etc. You never really know because all we are taught is to eat healthier and yet no one has an answer as to what it means to actually eat healthier. Want to know why? because there is no gold standard to eating “healthy”, it’s simple; eat in moderation, eat a variety of food groups and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Why make this whole eating clean thing, much more complicated then it has to be, and why make it so people don’t understand what it means? If eating clean was so easy, then everyone would be doing it!
This is where I come in and remind you of why I don’t believe in this whole “eating clean” lifestyle. Eating clean is a commercialized phrase to catch a person’s attention, it reeks of failure, it has no significance and does a poor job of explaining how to eat clean and what makes certain foods more clean than others. “Eating clean” becomes a fad, defines a standard that everyone should compare to and is only said to symbolize eating healthy, which again is another phrase that goes nowhere fast when someone doesn’t know what is considered “healthy” eating. So, there you have it, my reason for why I don’t believe in this whole “eating clean”; although nice try in trying to reel me in while you had the chance! Now want to know what I call someone who makes lifelong healthy decisions for their body? I call it “permanent changes that fit you” because no matter what you eat, whether you are no gluten, paleo, vegan, etc. you are choosing to make a permanent change to your life. You have chosen to follow a certain lifestyle change that makes you happy AND this lifestyle change should be permanent. For example it doesn’t count if for only a week you went vegetarian and then decided after that to go paleo and then after that you decided no carbs and after that you decided IIFYM. That is NOT permanent change. That is changing with the seasons (changing because you cannot make those habits a permanent change, so you change them when you get bored or fail).
- find something that works for you (vegan, veg, paleo, low carb, no carb, IIFYM, etc)
- research it
- find out what your exercise routine is
- will this eating lifestyle fit your exercise routine?
- will you be able to sustain it and maintain it for the long term
- can you afford this lifestyle?
- will it bring you results?
These are some questions to ask yourself, once you can answer all these questions.. it will no longer be about “eating clean” but it will be about permanent changes for you.
Your Fitness Blogger Shay-lon xoxo
This post won’t be me telling you which one you SHOULD do, but instead giving you a perspective on both so that you can decide for yourself which one fits your goals, challenges you, and interest you. I think for the most part people have a clear understanding of what free weights are and what machines are in the weight rooms, but just in case some people may not. I will go over that because I want everyone to know. When I think of “free weights”, I think of jumping off the high dive for the first time. because in my case it was scary and I didn’t know how I wanted to jump off or when, I didn’t even know what to think of it other than what happens once I touch the water. Free weights give some people the same fears: scared, not sure, confused, anxiety, sometimes frustrations, and you feel like one wrong move and either your embarrassed or you fail and you give up. Most people have less reservations about using machines because if you don’t know how to use it, it usually has a sticker for you read or because it is easier to ask someone how to use a machine vs a free weight. Now in my situation, I get intimidated by machines because there is constantly new ones and they all look and work differently.. I think of machines as a learning experience sometimes because just when you think you know what you are doing, you find out you haven’t been using it correctly. In both cases this is why some people stick to the treadmill or the elliptical to avoid having to deal with either one & I don’t think this is a good idea because you should want to feel confident using a weight machine and free weights as confident as you feel when you are walking on the treadmill.
Today I am going to talk about both and hopefully this will challenge people to try something different, give you the okay to explore, and motivate you to step outside your comfort level to give something a go. I think the hardest part about this challenge is not knowing if what you are doing is the right way of doing it and feeling insecure because you see people around you lifting heavier weights and using equipment that intimidates you. Trust me I have been there in both situations, for the longest time I stayed away from free weights at the gym because I was scared of what others would think, I didn’t feel confident doing the workouts, I felt weak compared to others and I didn’t want to humiliate myself trying to better myself. Same went with the machines, if there was a machine I have never seen and didn’t know how to use it, I would avoid it for that reason because I didn’t want someone else to think I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t want to look incompetent. It took the longest time for me to slowly progress outside of my comfort level and try something new; I think my classes helped me and my learning from others helped me to better understand workouts and how they should be done. If anything the most important thing you need to worry about when you do either of these is making sure you have the correct form and technique down.
- Dumbbells, kettlebells, barbell, body weights, sandbags, weighted bars, weight plates, medicine balls, stability balls, resistance bands, etc
- dumbbell curls, kettlebell swings, barbell curls, plated bicep curls, medicine ball throws, etc
- Allows you to train functional movements
- Can use full range of motion
- Places a greater demand on stabilizing muscles
- Endless variations
- train anywhere
- less expensive equipment
- Takes skill to learn proper technique
- Greater risk of injury when not done properly
- Need a spotter when lifting heavy weight during a squat and bench press
- good for rehab purposes
- athletes should free weights
- bodybuilders should use free weights
- most people can benefit from using free weights (anybody)
- Easy to learn and use
- Isolate muscle groups more efficiently
- Allows you to train with heavier weights without assistance
- May be more useful for the elderly population and some types of rehab
- None functional – won’t train the complete human movement patterns
- Neglects smaller stabilizer muscles
- May cause injury directly and indirectly
- Fill up during peak hours at the gym
Both of those list have the pros and cons and give you a perspective on how to go about deciding which path to take. In my case I do a mixture of free weights and weight machines because I want to gradually learn and challenge myself on both; not to mention some exercises are best on one or the other depending on the muscles you are working on. Anybody can do either one and everybody should try to do either one just to see where you stand with it. Exercise is about what feels right to you, and no one can tell you which one is best for you, except for you (depending on your own goals). I can recommend to my clients what one I would have them do but it doesn’t mean they like it for themselves, I can tell someone I prefer free weights but doesn’t mean they have to prefer free weights, everyone is unique and will find their “niche”; takes time but you will find it! Good luck!
Your fitness Blogger Shay-lon xoxo
I would like to start off by saying that this post isn’t about the supplements one use for bodybuilding and or exercise (fat burners, aminos, whey, BCAAs, preworkout, post workout, etc) that is for a later post by itself. This post is for supplements such as: Vitamins, Botanicals, Minerals and Amino acids, etc. In my opinion people have gotten so used to wanting to substitute supplements for simple foods that can and will provide the same or more than what you need. The reason behind some people’s logic is that don’t believe they are getting all they need from their “diet” and don’t know what foods provide what naturally; it all honesty some of you could save more money if you knew how to get the proper dietary aids if you know what to eat and how much of it. Now there are situations where one would need to take a supplement(s) and this happens because they are either allergic to the foods that provide it, their Dr. recommends it because they are deficient, they have a disease or illness that requires them to, or because they are on a strict diet. So with that being said not everyone doesn’t need supplements but on the other hand I believe supplement pushing isn’t a bright idea either because some of them come with risk (if not all of them).
I will admit that for a while I was taking fish oil pills because I had someone tell me I should because of what they provide and all of its benefits, not to mention they told me especially if I don’t have the omega’s in my diet, it would help with it. So I did, I took it religiously and if anyone knows the cost of this supplement (it’s outrageous) and I went through so much money keeping up with it. I finally read some articles and studies because I was interested in what I was taking and how my body responded to it; well what I found out at the time was how it didn’t show much proof of helping with the heart, it provided more omega’s than necessary for one person and it didn’t prove to have the benefits that everyone prides it for. For this reason, it made me wonder if I was wasting money, so I stopped taking it. I have’t taken it since then and I would say it has been a little over a year now. Now I won’t say that Fish oil pills have no use for others because I have family members who take it, but it shown no improvement for me and I know other ways to fit omega’s in my diet now (more educated than I once was) and by this time, I am sure there have been more studies looking into it; so it is possible that fish oil pills may prove to be reliable after all.
What is a dietary supplement you ask?
Is any product that contains a dietary ingredient intended to add to the diet. The ingredient can be any of the above: vitamin, mineral, herb or botanical.
- Vitamin A: Naturally present in many foods and is a fat-soluble vitamin. The importance of vitamin A is it helps with vision, immune system and reproduction. Helps the heart, lungs and kidneys as well. The amount of vitamin A needed depends on your age, and reproductive status. (14 and older between 700-900mcg, and women who are nursing should take 1200-1300 and younger than 14 should take lower doses). The foods that provide a sufficient amount of vitamin A: beef liver (organ meats), salmon (among other fish), broccoli, carrots and squash(green, yellow, orange veggies), cantaloupe, mango and apricots (among other fruits), dairy products & fortified breakfast cereals. Being deficient in vitamin A is rare, but can cause an eye condition especially for young children and women who are pregnant. Getting too much vitamin A can cause dizziness, nausea, coma and death, turn the skin yellow-orange. I won’t go into full detail but here is a link for more information on vitamin A. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-Consumer/#h7
I won’t go into all the vitamins and minerals because the list is very long but at the end of the post, I will put a link down for a website that might be handy and also add the FDA site on supplements so that you are aware of their part in this.
- Vitamin D: Need to aid in strong bones, and people who do not get enough vitamin D will end up with soft and brittle bones. The amount of vitamin D you need is based on age. Foods at provide vitamin D: Salmon, tuna and mackerel (fatty fish), beef liver, cheese and egg yolks (provide small amount), mushrooms, milk, some breakfast cereals, orange juice, yogurt and margarine (check the labels). The body makes vitamin D uwhen the skin is directly exposed to the sun. If you consume too much vitamin D it can be come toxic and cause vomiting, nausea, poor appetite, constipation, weakness and weight loss. Here is a link for more information on vitamin D: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/
- Zinc: Helps the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses. Zinc helps wounds to heal and is necessary for proper senses of taste and smell. Depending on the age will determine how much zinc your body should consume regularly. Zinc is found in these foods: Oysters, red meat, poultry, crab and lobster, fortified breakfast cereals, beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products. Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss, diarrhea, eye and skin sores, loss of appetite, weight loss, problems with wound healing, decreased ability to taste food, lower alertness levels. Too much zinc intake can cause: nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and headaches (among other risk). If you want more information on zinc: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/
- Iron: Helps with growth and development. The amount of iron necessary depends on the age of the person. Iron is found in these foods: lean meat, seafood and poultry, iron fortified breakfast cereals and breads, white beans, lentils, spinach, kidney beans and peas, nuts and some dried fruits. Iron deficiency can cause: tiredness, lack of energy, G.I upset, poor memory and concentration, less ability to fight off germs and infections, less of ability to control body temperature. Too much iron can also be a risk: upset stomach, constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting and fainting, organ failure, coma, convulsions and death. For more information on iron: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/
Botanicals (Plant based herbs):
- Flaxseed: Normally used as a laxative but can be used for hot flashes and and breast pain. Flaxseed should be taken with tons of water because it could worsen constipation and cause blockage. For more information on flaxseed: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/flaxseed/ataglance.htm
- Green Tea: Has been used for weight loss, cancers, mental alertness, protecting skin from damage and lowering cholesterol levels. Green tea contains caffeine and caffeine can cause insomnia, upset stomach, anxiety, nausea, diarrhea, and frequent urination. It contains vitamin K and this means it can react to medications such as Warfarin. For information about green tea: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/greentea
Like I said I didn’t name all the vitamins, minerals and botanicals but it is something everyone should look into before taking any of these supplements, especially if taking supplements is new to you. I would highly recommend that before you start taking supplements that you try to at least get these nutrients first from food because that will help with the risk and complications. I think the more you know about this type of stuff, the better off you are. I will have a couple of links down for reference in case any of you are interested in other vitamins, minerals and botanicals that I have not listed. Feel free to provide me with any questions. Also if you use any vitamins, etc.. don’t be afraid to share with me or comment, especially if you think it is beneficial or even if it something you would stay away from.. I am sure it would help someone out! have a good day!
Your Fitness Blogger,
Has it yet occurred to anybody that all of social media is trending abs and flat stomachs. Both males and females are chiming in on this 6 pack abs ordeal and making money from being able to tell people how to have stomach like theirs. Whenever I am on social media anymore, it seems like more people are concerned with their abs than any other part of their bodies and not mention is seems to be the hardest part of the body to “perfect” for tons of people. I won’t lie looking at someone who has a 6 pack or nice flat stomach isn’t such a bad look, but I don’t want people to think it is the “must” in the world just because everyone is hopping on this particular bandwagon. In my opinion, I believe having the “perfect” core depends much on your genetics and how much work you put into it. Most people have abs and don’t know it because it is under the fat in their abdominal area and without losing that fat, you won’t see it essentially. While losing the weight shouldn’t be too difficult its the aftermath, being able to do core strength exercises so that your abs are more prevalent and can be seen without having to flex. So people want to know the secret on how to get a flat stomach and/or a nice 6 pack:
Strength training &
but, along with these 2 things that hardly people do together or enough of..
Eating habits make the biggest difference in the body
Most people with abs or a nice flat stomach have a low body fat percentage & when it comes to wanting to look like the crossfitters, the gymst, and wanting to have the same body as your personal trainer .. you have to consider their body fat percentage. To make your abs stand out, you really need to be able to lower your body fat percentage and how that is done is through proper eating habits and combing strength training with cardiovascular exercises.
I hate to mention this again, but believe it or not genetics does play a role in being able to have the “perfect” set of abs because not everyone is destined to have a 6 pack; but you can definitely prove your genetics wrong.. if you discipline yourself enough to the point where you properly meal plan and exercise your core. I personally do not have a 6 pack any longer, but I would say my stomach is flat but not “lean” , my body fat percentage isn’t blow 20 percent yet, but close. I have more things I need to do before I am there yet but train hard & eat properly; you will get that much closer.
The other half of this..
You don’t need a 6 pack or flat stomach to be “fit”, it doesn’t have to come down to you starving yourself to get your body fat percentage down. I personally liked having my abs and flat stomach but it was because it was something I LIKED not because everyone else was doing it and I felt the need to follow along. I believe the pressures we have put on others to follow the same path as us is ridiculous; if having a decent stomach is good enough for you, it is good enough for me. I always said its not what you look like, it is being “healthy” inside and outside that matters to me & that is what I will preach to my clients as well. We might have physical goals ( I know I do) but the only standards it needs to stand up to are your own. Keep this in mind in everything you do.
I hope this helps and gives you some perspective on having abs and flat stomach. Feel free to contact me if you have questions!