Wednesday, June 29, 2011

KW Collards- Eat some Slammin' Good Greens!

It's a Fit2Flex first!  Happy dance!  Our first blogging product review!  We blog because we love to share our tips and fit ideas with you...product reviews...well this is an added perk!  
Try a healthy product and write about it?  I think I will!

My first review is for KW Collards - a ready to serve, no-meat, full-flavor collard green.

Those of us with Southern roots are familiar with collard greens. My experience prior to this review was slim.  I knew of collards from my Grindad.  He had them on the table each Christmas dinner.  Here's how my Mom made them.  Open can.  Dump in dish.  Microwave.  All I remember is that I hated the smell and never ate them.  Now that my Grindad is passed away, we still honor him by having collards at Christmas.  We just keep them in the can and put a bow on it!  I think Grindad would be happy to hear that this year I think I'll actually eat the long as they are KW Collards!

Here's what we're digging about KW Collards

  • They are slow cooked and come to you seasoned perfectly and ready to eat
  • VEGAN!  They are NOT cooked in meat or animal fat
  • Gluten-Free
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • They don't "smell" up your house
What I liked best about KW Collards were the actual chunks of tomato I could see.  I love tomatoes and I was happy to see them in a "foreign food".  Once I tasted them I fell in love with the spicy flavor and the delicious vinegar backbone.  
I am honest- I was a little skeptical of collards, but the tomatoes and vinegar made me a believer! I had it for dinner...and now lunch!

The creator of KW Collards, Kizito, is from Kenya where collards are a common food staple.  He wanted to recreate the flavor he loved from home without the added fat and yuckiness of animal fat!  Good call Kizito!  Since these collards contain no pork they are also popular among Kosher food markets.

To eat my KW Collards I just heated them on the stovetop.  Easy peezy!  Last night I served them alongside some cumin spiced chicken.  I spiced the chicken with cumin, cayenne, and garlic.  I browned the outside and then baked it with red beans and diced tomatoes.  
Just heat and eat
Chicken, Red Beans, and Collards
Today's lunch featured the collards too (I told you I'm hooked)!  This is a FANTASTIC vegetarian lunch.  My lunch included 1/2 cup quinoa, leftover red beans and tomatoes, and KW Collards!  It was so filling and hit all flavor elements.  I recommend this next time you have some vegetarian friends over.
Quinoa, collards, tomatoes, and beans
Nutritionally collards are from the same family as cabbage and broccoli. Collards are high in Vitamin C, soluble fiber, and several cancer killing antioxidants!  Collards are also a weight loss friendly food. Why? A quarter pound of collards has 46 calories- that means you can eat a lot with little caloric damage.  As cooked, KW collards have 100 calories per 1/2 cup with healthy fats from EVOO.

If you want to try KW Collards for yourself you can buy them online at the KW Collards website.  
If you live in North or South Carolina then you can you get some collards today!  They are available in Healthy Home Market in four branches, South boulevard, and Independence blvd in Charlotte NC, South Grifith street in Davidson NC and in Hickory NC; The Common Market on South Tryon and Commonwealth st in Charlotte NC, The Bradford Store in Huntersville NC, The Peach Stand in Fort Mill SC, and The Wild Radish in Greenville SC.

 I had told some of my classmates that I would give them some collards to try. I kinda love them so much I don't want to share!  I'm conceptualizing a recipe for an egg white, collard scramble.  Thoughts?

This was a fun first product to review.  I learned to love a new food.  What do you think?  Could you give vegan collards a chance?

Love and leafy greens, 
Carissa & Kyle

Note:  I was not paid by the above company for this review.  These are simply my opinons on a product I was asked to try.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Prepare to succeed

I think one of the biggest factors in long term diet/workout/healthy living success is planning ahead.  

To me this means planning out my meals and workouts for the week as well as taking extra time each night to prepare and pack my meals for the week ahead.  It's when I'm without a meal or without a plan that I'm tempted to reach for treats or I just get soooo hungry that I grab the closest carb!

Plan ahead and pack up those healthy meals.
I also sit down with Kyle each week to schedule when I can get my workouts in.  With school & work no 2 weeks are alike for me, so planning and communication is key.

We do our meal planning, shopping, and workout scheduling typically on Sundays.  

A stocked fridge is a happy fridge.
Here's a peek at next week's dinners (we'll use the leftovers for lunch the next day):
Sunday- Grilled chicken with grilled onions and baked sweet potato fries
Monday- Rotisserie chicken, spinach, walnut, and berry salad
Tuesday- Sauteed chicken with red beans and KW Collards (NEW product!  They sent me a sample to try and I'm excited to do my first product review this week!)
Wednesday- Turkey kielbasa orzo casserole
Thursday- Crock pot shredded BBQ chicken
Friday- ???? And the weekend is where things get hairy, huh!

Yes, I am doing walking lunges in boxing gloves.
Workout schedule:
Monday- Full body workout + PM sprints
Tuesday- FB am workout
Wednesday- Cardio - 2-3 miles
Thursday- off
Friday- full body workout
Saturday- power yoga
Sunday- off - time to plan for next week!

What's your plan for next week????

Love and lists, 
Carissa & Kyle

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No excuses breakfast- overnight oats

If you've ever talked to Kyle and I about trying to lose weight these are 2 things we probably told you:

1. Eat breakfast
2. Eat more often

If you're a breakfast skipper (tsk,tsk) you probably have very busy mornings.  It might be hard to squeeze in breakfast...but please try!!!  

You need to get your metabolism firing in the am. When your metabolism is firing, you are burning food and not storing it. Skip breakfast...your body will start storing fat because it thinks your starving!  Eat Papa eat!(Quick what movie is that from?)

The overnight oats I first talked about last week are a great way to get oats, fiber, and complex carbs quickly.

It takes 5 minutes the night before and these babies are ready to be gobbled with minimal am prep. This week's addition of chocolate was phenomenal.  This is def jumping to the top of my breakast list.

Chocolatey Overnight Oats

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or your milk of choice
  • 1T Cocoa powder
Stir and let sit overnight in the fridge.  In the morning I added: 

It was sooooo good!  It was chocolate...what's not to love ladies?

Love and cocoa, 
Carissa & Kyle

Monday, June 13, 2011

Overnight pumpkin oats

I've seen a lot of buzz in the healthy "blogosphere-sphere" about these things called overnight oats. Have you heard of them? 

Apparently you put oatmeal in the fridge overnight with milk or Greek yogurt and it's a delicious meal in the am. Hmmmm.. You've got my interest. Quick oatmeal in the morning that doesn't require a pan. I'm in.

Maybe it's because I'm blonde, but I kept scouring blogs to see if you heat the oats in the am or if you still eat them cold. Seriously. I never saw a definitive answer. I know. I should be smarter than that. So I ate mine cold. It definitely was different. But fast and good.

The base recipe I used came from one of my favorite blogs - PBfingers

The pumpkin flavor made me miss fall. But it was tasty, but I would've liked it a little sweeter.  Now I have 2 cups of leftover pumpkin in the fridge to use! Haha! Look for more pumpkiny blogs this week!

Pumpkin Overnight Oats

  • 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • 1/2 c. almond milk
  • 3 oz. vanilla Greek yogurt (I didn't use but it's recommended)
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin (I used Libby's)
  • Pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon
  • In the morning I added 1 scoop of vanilla protein and walnuts
Like I said, the combination are probably endless.  I'm thinking a chocolate oat bowl could be in my future.  Or something what granola on top?  Except I never buy granola...but I'm just brainstorming here.

Give it a try- let me know what you think!

Love and cold oats, 
Carissa & Kyle

HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT me baby, one more time! :)  Love me some Britney....anyway...

HIIT, or high intensity interval training,  is short intervals of high intensity work followed by intervals of slower-pace, active recovery.  The high intensity work should be done around 90% of your maximum heart rate.
As I've said before doing intervals is a great way to burn more calories in less time.  How is that?  Intervals raise your body's oxygen intake post-exercise (EPOC), and keep it elevated for close to 24 hours. 

 So that means that not only do you burn calories during the run/workout/whatever, but your body keeps burning at a higher rate after you're done.  More calories = good. :)

Want more proof?  A recent study at the University of New Wales reported that a group of women who took part in a 20-minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) program of 8-second sprints followed by 12-seconds of rest, lost 6 TIMES MORE BODYFAT than the group that did 40-minutes of steady state cardio. 6 times more!  Are you serious?
Proof.  It's science.
In the same study, it showed that the HIIT group also burned on average 10% more calories in the 24-hours following exercise than low-intensity exercise group.  Burning calories sitting on the couch?  Yes please!

We usually do a sprint workout on Mondays for you runners who want to get in on the HIIT action.  You can also use HIIT principles when lifting weights by moving quickly through a super set of compound exercises.

HIIT can also me done outside with no equipment.  Try kicking your own butt by doing alternating high and low intensity intervals of jump squats, jump rope, jumping jacks,  burpees, or pushups.
Just think of all the calories you'll be burning!  Burn, baby, burn!

And if you're still not convinced...think of it this way.  Instead of spending 40 BORING minutes on the elliptical, you could hit the streets for 20 minutes of intervals and burn more calories! Then you can take your extra 20 minutes and catch up on the Real Housewives of the OC! *grin*

 I added a chart of HIIT intervals at the bottom of the blog to help you get started.

I bet you want to do some intervals right now!  Get some!

Love and fuego,
Carissa & Kyle

Sample HIIT Cardio Workouts

 Week  Warm  up Work Interval (Max Intensity) Recovery  Interval 
(60-70% MHR)
 Workout  Time
 1 5 min. 1 min. 4 min. 2 times 5 min. 20 min.
 2 5 min. 1 min. 4 min.  3 times 5 min. 25 min.
 3 5 min. 1 min. 4 min.  4 times 5 min. 30 min.
 4 5 min. 1.5 min. 4 min.  2 times 5 min. 21 min.
 5 5 min. 1.5 min. 4 min.  3 times 5 min. 26.5 min.
 6 5 min. 1.5 min. 4 min. 4 times 5 min. 32 min.
 7 5 min. 2 min. 5 min. 3 times 5 min. 31 min. 
 8 5 min. 2 min. 5 min. 4 times 5 min. 38 min.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day of Clean Eating in photos

I ate clean today.  I followed our clean eating diet plan.  And I have the pics to prove it!

730am - Grapefruit + coffee

815am- Protein smoothie with berries, chocolate dessert protein powder, oatmeal, flaxseed, almond milk, and spinach

1030am- 1 pack of  Tuna Salad, 2 rice cakes, cucumbers, and 4 baby carrots

1pm- apple

Yup.  That's a picture of an apple.
230pm- Leftover Tuscan Chicken with a spinach and walnut salad

5pm- Dessert protein shake with almond milk

530- Grapefruit and water with chlorophyll
I ate all my grapefruit!
And the citrus has made me crazy.

630- Brain food.  Study snack!  Pecans and blackberries

745- Greek salad with spinach, cucumber, tomato, sweet bell peppers, black olives, and rotisserie chicken

Now I shall devote my evening to the Gods of Organic Chemistry!  My first or-go exam is in the am.  What a day to not be able to have chocolate!

Love and alkynes, 
Carissa & Kyle

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tuscan Chicken

Random, but Polie was jealous Asia made the blog earlier and she didn't.  Check the white spot.
My husband is a good griller.  And I am thankful for that.  I've never attempted to grill.  It's his domain.  I'm content to chop veggies and clean cutting boards in my air-conditioned kitchen.

Tonight's menu started off as a kabob....psst- did you know how many spelling there are for kebab?  According to Wikipedia the list looks like this- kebapkababkebobkabobkibobkebhavkephavkebabieCevap.  Good to know.

We didn't feel like skewering so we chunked some green bell pepper and Vidalia onion, tossed in some grape tomatoes (I love these because they have no goo! I distain tomato goo!), and skewered some mushrooms. Kyle chunked the chicken (I also distain cutting raw chicken) and spiced with a great Tuscan spice mixture. 
Chicken cutting champ
We got the "Tuscany Blend" spice packet from one of Kyle's clients, Cindy, who picked it up from Downtown Disney.  It is a great addition to grilled meats and good for a homemade salad dressing.

The food was grilled and we dug in. 

We were careful to save some leftovers for our Clean Eating lunch.

The fridge is ready for a super clean eating week.
Tomorrow starts the big clean eating push so I made a totally weird, but delicious to me dessert tonight.  I shall call it GREEN STUFF!

It's one package sugar-free pistachio pudding mix, Lite Cool Whip, and half a can crushed pineapple with juice.  It's all sugar, honey!  And I like it!
Green stuff!
Do you have any weird family desserts that you make?

Love and goo-less tomatoes,
Carissa & Kyle

Thursday, June 2, 2011

No whining workout

Today was June 1, which means my goal of less whining and more working in the gym was in effect!  How do you think I did?

I had class this morning so my brain got some hard work in.

Kyle and I also wanted to tweak my eating a little. We think I may be eating too close to my workout time, which may make me feel sluggish...and that could make anyone crabby! :)

I had a berry protein shake at 745am with coffee, a Optimum Nutrition organic energy bar at 1030, and a small green apple with a nibble of PB at 1. <br> <br>

My workout started at 215.

Here's how it went down....high intensity style:
-outer hip abduction machine
-lateral single leg step up with one arm shoulder press. 15 on each side
-plyo step ups
-even stephens machine row
-other hip abduction machine
-lateral step up with shoulder press
-plyo step ups
-even stephens machine row
-single leg, leg extension machine
-back lunge off box with db lateral raise
-chest fly machine
-single leg, leg extension
-back lunge off box with db lateral raise
-chest fly machine
-hamstring curl burnout set
-burpee box jump
-jacknife crunch on the bosu ball
-burpee box jumo
-jacknife bosu

And here's the verdict from the horse's mouth.

"Did I whine less today?"

Kyle- shakes head yes. Apparently he's not much of a talker! :)

Lunch was leftover spaghetti squash with turkey mushroom marinara. <br/ >

How's your June 1?

Love and super sets,
Carissa and Kyle

Ps-sorry its a text mess. I wanted to send it out from my phone. I will edit soon! :)