Friday, July 20, 2012


I truly enjoy the benefits of eating a "back to the basics" "primal" diet of predeominately vegetables, fruits, and small portions of quality meats.  To some this lifestyle choice may sound restrictive, but in modern times (specifically during this internet era) amazing recipes and alternative food ideas emerge every second!  For many parts of the year I can maintain the level of fitness I desire and the figure (weight/bodyfat percentage) I prefer by simply being cognitive of my portions of these wonderful foods and my sugar intake from natural sources such as: honey, pure maple syrup, dried fruits, fruits,,,,,, but sometimes I lose track of my goals and grow a little careless with both my portion control and sugar consumption.

When this occurs I turn to the smart phone (I phone in my case) App, MY NET DIARY PRO.  In an effort to remain at optimal condition (based on my personal preference) tracking my macronutrients becomes an essential part of the day and this App has proven to be my favorite thus far.

There are countless"calorie counter" and "diet aid" App options for smart phones available to download. What makes MY NET DIARY PRO different?  In my opinion:

1.  It is the most user friendly App of its kind!  Not all calories are created equally.  Will you lose "weight" eating 1,000 calories of cake?  Yes.  Will you lose fat?  Perhaps a little.  Will you lose muscle tone and impair your health by sending your body into starvation mode?  Yes.  Now, ,,,, If you consume a proper amount of calories from plant matter and quality protein sources, will you change the composition of your body and improve your health?  Yes! This easy to navigate program enables you to track (and graphs) your macronutrients. 

2.  The analytics are easy to understand and informative.

3.  There is a barcode scanner and a 430,000 foods database.  Plus, you are able to create custom foods and recipes.

4.  Tracks your water intake, which is an INTEGRAL component to health, fitness and weight/fat maintenance.

5.  Gives you carb, fat and protein "budgets" with percentages to help you achieve your goals. 

If you decide to give MY NET DIARY PRO  a try please let me know!  I'd love to hear your success stories!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Me, Myself and I

These are the five questions for the link up party with My Crazy Beautiful Life! 

1)  What is your biggest phobia?  I am concerned (and lose sleep) about many important issues. . . but I consider phobias to be more trivial. . . After some contemplation I've come to the conclusion that crawling, flying, hopping, slithering creatures completely do me in for no logical reason! 

2)  If you could relive any day of your life, what would it be and why?  I hate to live with regrets.  It is far better to be content (but not complacent) with your life.  All of my decisions (to include the lousy ones) have lead me to today.   
3)  If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?  I'm so content right now!  36 feels pretty damn good!  Next year I hope to say the same thing,,,, and the next,,,, and next,,,,

4)  What celebrity do you get mistaken for?  Not mistaken for.... but I've been told on numerous occasions I look like Nicole Kidman (albeit a Nic with a little more meat on her bones).

5)  What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
  • Angel, Aerosmith:  my favorite song in 5th grade
  • High, The Cure:  my favorite band in high school
  • The Best, 2 Skinnee J's:  loved this band in college
  • Can I kick it?, Tribe Called Quest:  because I love, love, love, Hip-Hop/Rap
  • Midnight City, M83:  love this song; rocks my workouts
  • Come Pick Me Up, Ryan Adams:  haunting and raw; I love songs that reach deep inside
  • Apache, The Sugar Hill Gang:  simply because my twin three year old daughters know how to do the little lasso dance!

This was a really fun post to write! Thanks so much for reading! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kicking Excuses in the A@$- Workout with my Gym Boss

My schedule the past two months has been INSANE.  Before moving from Virginia to North Carolina last month, I hit my gym HARD (miss you friends at Health and Fitness) knowing time dedicated to creative workouts would be limited during the transition.  Then I allowed myself one week to simply rest my muscles and allow them to repair.  That week could have turned into two, because my schedule was crazy:  setting up a new house, registering children at school, researching summer activities for children and enrolling them, researching and prepping for two huge parties and one smaller event, guests galore in town,,,,, the list could go on and on and on!!!! 

I could literally only spare a few minutes for myself.  In an effort to stay true to my goals (and to who I have become as a person) I turned to very short high intensity workouts.  TABATAs!  Have you heard of them? 

Izumi Tabata, a scientist from Japan, compared moderate high intensity training with high intensity interval training on two groups of athletes. His research revealed the high intensity interval training athletes improved their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic systems while the moderate high intensity training athletes only improved their aerobic system and had little to no increase in their anaerobic system.

Current tabata protocol consists of:

  • 5 minute warm-up
  • 8 intervals of 20 seconds all-out intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest
  • 2 minute cool down

  • My hectic week lead me to the outdoors.  I needed open space.  So,,,, I packed up the three Bs (Brenden, Brielle and Bridget) and took them to the local track to kick my excuses in the a@$.  Now I'm hooked.  At least once or twice a week I've _got_ to feel the sun on my skin as I push myself to new levels of health and fitness with short bursts of energy.

    The Bs at the track!  Are they perfect?  No!  Do they interupt me?  Yep!  But I still can get a crazy good workout!

    Not one to follow protocol, I take traditional tabata workouts and give them my own flair!

    Tabata inspired workout I completed this week: 

    8 rounds of each pair:  20 seconds on followed by 10 seconds rest

    High Knees (20 seconds)
    Rest (10 seconds)
    Burpees  with 10 mountain climbers (20 seconds)
    Rest (10 seconds)
    {Burpee with mountain climber explanation:  Do a burpee; when in plank position rep out 10 mountain climbers}

    Jumping lunges (20 seconds)
    Rest (10 seconds)
    Pushups (20 seconds)
    Rest (10 seconds)

    Plank knee tucks (20 seconds)
    Rest (10 seconds)
    Low jacks (20 seconds)
    Rest (10 seconds)
    {Plank knee tuck explanation: in plank jump feet towards hands; jump in and out as many times as possible}

    I can tell you 10 seconds never felt so short and 20 seconds so long!  I followed up this workout with five minutes of stair sprints on the bleachers surrounding the track.  Then I grabbed up my kids (who were playing in the field in the center of the track) and walked a few laps around the track as a family!   

    This workout wouldn't have been as efficient without my GYMBOSS

    They are so easy to use.  Set up the interval times of your choice (20 seconds/10 seconds or.... 30 seconds/30 seconds- whatever you desire).  Select the number of rounds you wish to complete.  Press start.  Your GYMBOSS will beep and vibrate (in case you're rockin' some loud music on your Ipod) between each interval.  No need to stare at a watch or clock and disrupt your focus!  As you can see mine has seen some abuse! 

    Now get out there and kick your excuses in the a@$!

    Thanks for reading!

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Versatile Blogger

    I am so grateful to be nominated for my second blog award!  Thank you Erin from Crafty Biggers for nominating me!  It is an honor knowing there are people out there that actually enjoy a bit of what I write.  Please take the time to visit Erin's blog page Crafty Biggers.  She has some adorable crafts posted!

    Here are the requirements for the award...

    1. Thank the blogger who nominated you for the award
    2. Include a link to their blog in you post, as well as the award image
    3. Give 7 random facts about yourself
    4. Nominate 5 other deserving bloggers for the award
    5. Include links to the nominated bloggers' sites
    6. Let the other bloggers know that they have been nominated for the award

    Hmmmm..... 7 random facts about myself:

    1.  My favorite vegetable is white cabbage. . . followed by raw spinach.
    2. My favorite television show is currently Game of Thrones on HBO.  Nerdy much?  Yes!!!  It is so well-written, well-acted and unique.  Can't wait for the new season later in the year.  If you know of where I can find a "Winter is Coming" tank top tell me now!  Ha!!!
    3.  I am a reformed beauty junkie (shhhhh.... but still adore all beauty products). 
    4.  I rode an elephant in Thailand.  Amazing experience until it decided to reach for leaves over the side of a cliff.  There are different security standards in Thailand.
    5.  I worked on Korean television for a year and was featured on billboards!  LOL!
    6.  My heart is far too tender, and I cry easily.
    7.  I have three strong-willed, precocious children with tempers, Brenden, Brielle and Bridget.   What does that say about me?  Hmmmmm....

    In no particular order here are five blogs I would like to nominate (plus 2 more because I'm a rebel: 

    Vegetarian Mamma - page dedicated to healthy choices... what's not to love?
    3 girls and 1 boy - a fellow military wife with tons of kiddos... gotta show her some love!Live, Love and Learn with Ms. Mommy HH6 - Household 6 (HH6) is a commander's wife call sign... fellow military wife... in her 30's... so much in common!
    Local Sugar-easily one of my favorite blogs.... Nicole is amazing.... you will want to move to Hawaii yesterday
    What Jean Likes - another favorite blog of mine.... Jean captures the most amazing pictures of Hawaii...
    Fit, Crafty, Stylish and Happy - Cassidy is all of these!
    Richly Middle Class - Smart, funny, diverse.... a must read....

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

    205 lbs . . . Before Picture

    I have been getting requests lately for a "BEFORE" picture.  I got my scanner working and found a picture of me about a week out from delivering my twin daughters.  I find that before and after pictures can leave readers feeling discouraged on occasion.  Sometimes the before resembles someone elses' goal.  Not one person can dispute my pregnant belly was beyond huge, however!  I had 14 pounds of baby ALONE in there!  It is hard to believe that less than four years ago I walked into the delivery room carrying twins at 205 + pounds. Now I write a health and fitness blog hoping to inspire other people to achieve their fitness goals, , , while working on my personal training certification.

    My life prior to striving to move forward with my fitness goals included: making excuses to avoid pushing myself to my fullest potential, succumbing to sugar cravings with bouts of binge eating, and living with a constant restlessness in my heart as I struggled to find balance.  I lost 60 pounds of my baby weight and worked out regularly, taking my body fat back down to “acceptable levels”, but nothing motivated me to continue to progress and make true fitness goals that inspired me to the core.

    The moment I decided to move forward with my life came when I reached a fitness plateau, became complacent, and stood by idly while my excuses grew:  you’ve had three children, your body will never be the same after having twins, multiple abdominal surgeries left your core weak, you’re no longer in your twenties. My body and my heart literally ached for a change!  I hired my first personal trainer in an effort to kick-start my new attitude on life, but this particular trainer didn’t fit my needs, leaving me even more unsettled.  I started to gain weight back and my motivation to be _truly_ fit waned. 

    It was time to take action toward with the new life I craved.  Enter my new personal trainer, Gary!  He took my inspiration to move forward and blasted it to new levels!   Gary challenged me to try things with my body I never thought possible.  I became that FIERCE woman at the gym- strong and lean who is confidant in my appearance and abilities.  If a trainer is in your budget, hiring the _right_ one can change your life!  If a trainer is out of your budget, stay motivated by working out with friends or following fitness fan pages and blogs for new material to keep your workouts challenging and interesting. 

    What is life like now?  I am proud of my body for the first time in far too many years.  I love feeling confidant in my appearance despite the c-section scar, hernia surgery scar, and the fact that the skin around my belly is not as taut as it used to be.  I sport my bikinis with pride- not because I have the best body,,, because I have finally come to peace with myself.  More importantly, however, I’ve never been physically stronger (I whipped out 14 pull ups the other day), and I’ve never been so determined to fuel my body with the healthiest food options available. 

    205 lbs. . .
    You can do it!

    Clean eating is key to your health and fitness!  Small changes to your diet add up to large successes!  I can't tell you the last time I used mayonnaise in anything.  I switched to stone ground mustard for everything.  Sound crazy?  It's not!!!  Mustard spices up tuna, chicken, ground turkey,,,,, everything. 

    Currently, I am loving Eden Organic Brown Mustard . With all natural ingredients and sugar free, it is the perfect condiment to liven up all of my dishes!

    Here is a quick little recipe to illustrate just how versatile and delicious brown mustard can be:

    Ground Chicken "Muffins"

    2 pounds ground chicken (turkey or lean beef can be substituted)
    1 cup cooked quinoa
    3 T brown mustard
    1 T rosemary
    1 tsp cumin
    dash of turmeric
    salt and pepper to taste
    Mix all ingredients.  Line a muffin tin with baking cups.  Drop spoonfuls of mixture into cups.  Bake 350 degrees or so for about 30 minutes.  This recipe is so healthy and incredibly yummy!  You can pack individual servings into lunches or enjoy them for quick snacks!

    --Featured Blog of the Week: --Cave Princess--

    Thank you Jean and Nicole for giving me this opportunity to shine!  The Aloha Friday Hop has just exploded these past two months, and that has everything to do with your amazing posts, engaging writing, generous spirits, and all around positive vibe.  I love being apart of this community and feel so fortunate to be the featured blog this week!
    It is hard to believe that less than four years ago I walked into the delivery room carrying twins at 205 pounds.  Now I write a health and fitness blog hoping to inspire other people to achieve their fitness goals.... all while working on my personal training certification. I chose to create Cave Princess to illustrate how being FUELED BY NATURE changed various aspects of my life for the better. I wanted to share a feminine perspective on feeding the body with plenty of natural food, and how a healthy relationship with food can facilitate a peaceful balance for the rest of your life.
    Please come see me at my Facebook page Cave Princess sometime!  I'm also on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.  I ALWAYS make it a priority to follow any guests back!



    This is all about sharing the Aloha spirit with other bloggers out there and helping each other to gain some exposure and find some awesome blogs to read!!!  You don't have to be from Hawai'i to participate!  In fact, we encourage and welcome people from all over the world to join us on this Aloha Friday Blog hop!

    What's neat about our Blog Hop:

    **Leave a comment with your blog address if you are new to our hop so we can follow you back**

    Happy Aloha Friday!

    Remember, if someone follows you, follow them back! Show some Aloha!
    If you want to embed this blog hop on your blog, click the link below where all the thumbnails for people's blogs are. It's called "Get the code here.."

    Enter YOUR Blog to be the next Aloha Friday's Spotlight Blog of the Week!!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Thursday, June 28, 2012

    Blog Award. . .

    My first blog award. . . what a lovely surprise!  Thank you so much for selecting me, Jenny @ Cassandra's Corner. I have been following Jenny's blog for a few weeks after stumbling across her page,and since then have enjoyed a few laughs!  You should check her out sometime!

    So with this award comes some responsibility. Here are the rules:
    #1 Choose 5 up and coming blogs to pass along the Liebster Blog. Each blog must have less than 200 followers.
    #2 Show your thanks and appreciation to the blogger that gave you the award by linking back to them.
    #3 Share 5 random facts about yourself.
    #4 Post the award to your blog.

    This is me with my husband!

     5 Random Facts About Me

    1.  On average I have moved every two years of my life.  I'm 36 years old today.  Do the math. . . that's a lot of new homes!

    2.  I went to three high schools and five colleges (yet managed to graduate on time)!

    3.  My Nana passed away when I was a child, but I feel completely connected to her.  We're kindred spirits. In my heart, I believe her spirit watches over me.

    4.  My blog is centered around the philosophy of making the healthiest food and exercise options you can on a daily basis, but I struggle with a wicked sugar addiction!  I cannot be trusted with certain sweets in the house (i.e. quality cakes with superior icing, dark chocolate in most forms, chocolate chip cookies).  It takes incredible will power for me to avoid them.  To challenge myself and beat those cravings, I purchase dark chocolate bars and keep them in the pantry!

    5.  The pets I adopt/save turn out to be crazy (or maybe my family drives them insane).   Jolie (the cat I rescued while living in Korea) was the sweetest, most loving animal imaginable at the shelter but turned into a devil cat upon taking her home.  She'd howl at the corners of the walls, scratch people randomly, dive attack . . . Then there was Clancy, the sled dog from Alaska.  He escaped daily- while chained to a stake in a fenced-in yard!  He'd pull the stake out of the ground, hop a six foot fence, and run down the middle of the road with stake and chain trailing behind him... Now we have Rookie Belle, the Norwich Terrier.  She is gaining on two and yet still prefers pooping in the damn house! If you have any suggestions on breaking her of this nasty preference, I'm open to any and all ideas!

    *Bonus Fact:  If I die tomorrow... I die knowing I did three things right in this life:  creating Brenden, Brielle and Bridget.  They are my world.  Shane, my husband, knows I love him fiercely, but there is something so basic, innate and overpowering about a mother's love for her children!

    I try to do product reviews on Friday, but I had to put my review on hold for this post!  This week, I'm going to promote 5 blogs in leiu of my favorite product. 

    Blogs to follow:  I'm not sure if all them have less than 200 followers, but I really enjoy these up and coming blogs!!! 

    Vegetarian Mamma - page dedicated to healthy choices... what's not to love?
    3 girls and 1 boy -  a fellow military wife with tons of kiddos... gotta show her some love!
    Live, Love and Learn with Ms. Mommy HH6 - Household 6 (HH6) is a commander's wife call sign... fellow military wife... in her 30's... so much in common!
    Two In Diapers- hilarious... with some good advice along the way!
    Strawberry Snails Photography- amazing photos... and a lovely personality... an "old" friend of mine from middle school/high school in the very late eighties/early nineties... what???

    Thanks so much for stopping by Cave Princess :)

    Sunday, June 24, 2012

    This Post May Make me Unpopular Part Two

    Have you ever caught yourself mid-judgement of a fellow woman?  I strive to keep my thoughts about other people very positive; you never know what struggles life has thrown at them.  My post Unpopular: Part One centers around acceptance, so why do I find some female behavior so disturbing?

    I'm all for women embracing their singular sexuality and sensuality.  What could be a more feminist philosophy than accepting and revering that which makes us female?  We should be proud of our bodies and unafraid of displaying our confidence. 

    But, when does that confidence shift to a need for attention?  I applaud women confidant enough in their appearance to wear figure enhancing outfits.... and find absolutely nothing wrong with showcasing the beauty of the female form (there are so many amazing shapes and sizes out there).

    For the past week and a half I've been working out at various gyms on a military instillation.  Army bases often post dress code guidelines of appropriate gym apparel. For example, sports bras may not be worn alone and shorts must provide adequate coverage. Regardless of location, on a military base or in the civilian world, most women I have observed generally dress in the range of modest to tastefully sexy when working out in mixed company. It fills me with pride to see women of all ages, shapes and sizes looking strong, feminine, sexy, confidant and powerful on the gym floor, on the track, in a spin class, in a yoga studio, etc.

    One of the functional gyms (Crossfit oriented but very adaptable to my style of fitness) on the fort has quickly become my favorite.  I feel incredibly comfortable there and enjoy all of the equipment.  At night, it tends to house a younger crowd looking to impress (hey,,,, we've all been there at some point in our lives).  I've noticed Crossfit girls in trendy little outfits frequenting this gym.  I truly find them adorable and am impressed by their fierce abilities (I'm talking about multiple muscle ups), but sometimes these same girls feel the need to "cool off" by tying their tanks up under their sports bras and folding their short shorts down past the hip bone. Shortie shorts are fabulous.  I own and wear a few pairs, but I DO NOT DEADLIFT IN THEM!!!!  I HATE to be a critical person, but every time I see this behavior I roll my eyes.  What looks good for a photo shoot does not necessarily translate into an ordinary day at the gym.

    It is human to seek approval and enlightening to revel in confidence, but when does pride in your feminine appearance shift to pleas for attention?

    Thursday, June 21, 2012


    It is official. . . I am obsessed with chocolate green smoothies.  A picture from the Eating Like a Bird blog inspired me to create my own antioxidant concoction.  This recipe is absolutely DIVINE.  I'm very proud of it and want to share such delicious nutrition with everyone!

    1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
    1 scoop chocolate protein powder
    1 T raw cocoa powder or carob powder (I've been using carob with yummy success)
    1/2 cup pineapple
    1/2 cup cherries
    2-3 cups spinach

    Approximately six months ago, I started drinking spinach, kale, romaine, you name it . . .  My inspiration came after viewing an insightful documentary. (See previous post What I Should Eat).  Ever since, experimenting with various blends has evolved into a little hobby. Some recipes have been merely palatable while others (specifically the one listed above) rock my morning.  If you're hesitant to give green smoothies a try I am making you a promise:  you can't taste the spinach at all!

    I use a wide variety of protein powders to accommodate all of my yummy alternative protein recipes:
    Tera's Whey (I wrote an entire review on this brand in my post Busy Army Wife)
    Jay Robb
    NOW (I purchased mine on Amazon; it is not organic but uses no artificial sweeteners; the taste is very mild and blends nicely.)

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

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    Super Hero Princess

    Wordless Wednesday

    In my post Unpopular, I stress that health and a positive body image, despite how others perceive you, should be the messages we convey to women, specifically our little girls.   My daughter, Bridget, refers to herself as a super hero princess.  I LOVE that about her!  I want both of my daughters to be strong, healthy women, proud of their bodies and more importantly proud of their minds and souls.  All three of my children have lovely little spirits.  Today I wanted to share a glimpse into the special, determined mind of Bridget!  Next week I will spotlight Miss Brielle!  And of course,,,, Mr. B (Brenden, my son) will be my inspiration for "Wordless Wednesday" in the upcoming weeks as well!

    My little super hero princess!

    Sunday, June 17, 2012

    Flirting with my Husband and a Killer Workout

    My husband, Shane, is active duty in the Army.  Last week we PCS'd (Permanent Change of Station) from the DC area to Fort Bragg, NC. . . home of the 82nd Airborne Division.  I did not step foot into a gym for ten days opting to run stairs, take long walks, or just sneak in quick little workouts here and there while I set up my new house (which I happen to love - not always the case with military quarters). 

    Shane and I left our three children with visiting grandparents (Ray Dog and GinGin Sugar) and hit one of the numerous gym facilities on Fort Bragg.  It was a perfect way to start off Father's Day with my husband,,, doing something active with the father of my children.  Not only does exercise make you look and feel wonderful,,, working out can be a fun way to flirt and show off your physical capabilities with your mate.  It always seems to reaffirm our attraction to each other! 

    Today's workout represented a determined refocus and commitment to habitual exercise! I needed a break.  My muscles craved some rest and my motivation required a bit of rewiring.  Now.... I'm back... and ready to hit it hard!

    The workout:

    Shane and I challenged ourselves with a deck of cards.  Each card represented a different body part and number of reps.  Here is how we broke down the deck:

    Hearts- Pull ups
    Diamonds- Push ups  
    Spades- Core
    Clubs- Shoulders

    Sample of what we did:

    7 of hearts = 7 pull ups
    Queen of diamonds = 10 push ups
    King of spades = 10 sets of 10 (or 100 reps) mountain climbers off the wall
    5 of clubs = 5 heavy shoulder presses

    Get it?  Shuffle the deck and see what you get!  We kept switching up the exercises.  For pull ups we did chin ups, classic, assisted, etc.  Our push ups included diamond, incline, decline, classic, on a medicine ball, etc.  Some of our core exercises included holding planks, off the wall mountain climbers, roman chair leg lifts; with the core work sometimes we multiplied the card number by 10 in order to achieve a good burn.  Our shoulder exercises hit the front, medial and rear part of the deltoids.

    Um.... yea.... I'm having a difficult time lifting my arms right now.  Love it!  Give this idea a try sometime.  The variety is limitless, and you can be so creative.  Please share some of your ideas with me!!!

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    Daily Menu- Example of What I Eat in a Day. . .

    In the past two days, multiple sources have requested for me to provide a sample menu of what I typically eat.  Here are two sample menus!

    Eating totally clean menu:

    Breakfast: Protein pancake made with a small portion of fruit.  This morning I made a chocolate protein pancake with 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1/4 cup egg whites, 1/8 cup unsweetened almond milk, roughly 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 packet Stevia.  
    A green smoothie . . . my favorite vegetable smoothies usually incorporate pineapple and spinach.  I eat a protein source with every meal, so I might have scrambled egg whites or  something I've batched cooked, such as a protein muffins, chicken muffins, mini egg muffins (made with cooked quinoa rather than oats or flour). 
    Snack:  1 can pole-caught, low mercury tuna fish (I prefer it packed in olive oil because I don't use mayo), handful of raw walnuts crushed by hand, brown mustard served over a bed of greens or with cucumber slices.
    Lunch:  Veggie omelet scramble. . . 2 eggs scrambled with vegetables using coconut oil.
    Snack:  This is the time of day I can get into trouble...grazing while I make dinner... so I like to keep ready made snacks around such as:  protein cake balls, protein cookies, mini egg cups, turkey muffins (all of these recipes can be found on my Facebook page Cave Princess).
    Dinner:  My dinners consist of 4-5 oz. of meat or eggs and vegetables.  On occasion, I eat quinoa (it is a seed not a grain) which is a very clean carb loaded with protein.

    Indulging a bit menu:
    Breakfast:  Same as above. 
    Snack:  Same as above.  More prone to grazing.
    Lunch:  Same as above.  More  prone to grazing.
    Snack:  Dark chocolate 70% or greater, Greek frozen yogurt, Fage Greek Yogurt with my favorite chia seed homemade jam.  When I indulge in dairy why Greek?  Frankly, I prefer the taste and texture, but it is also packed with less carbs and more protein! 
    Dinner:  Same as above.  Steal bites of my children's dessert.

    See a trend?  On my off-days I'm going to indulge in something sweet and steal bites from my family here and there.  I'm not training for anything specific, but I feel better when I eat clean.  Of course I live my life:  eat birthday cake, enjoy dinner with friends, etc.  Last night my family and I went to a huge party honoring one of our military friends.  The event was catered with pasta, garlic bread knots, a chicken dish and salad.  I ate a big plate of salad greens (no dressing) with the chicken on top.  The chicken was breaded and covered in a brown sauce, but I didn't sweat it, because I wanted to enjoy myself with friends, and I wasn't tempted by the pasta and bread.  After dinner I stole a few bites of Brenden's (my son) cannoli!

    Now here is my product review!  Every single day I drink about a gallon of water and herbal tea or green tea. Recently, I won a tea giveaway featured by Two Moms a Little Time and a Keyboard

    Tiesta Tea
    As a huge consumer of herbal tea/green tea I was pleasantly surprised by this fruity, green tea concoction from Tiesta Tea.  First, it smells divine.  I keep it in the cupboard with my tea cups.  Every time I open the cabinet door a lovely smell greets me.  Second, it has a pleasantly full taste that satisfies a little little sugar craving; nothing too sweet just a nice fruity note.  Finally, caffeine can make me jittery, but I am able to drink two cups of this in the morning and early afternoon with no issue!  I will definitely purchase this tea!

    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    This post may make me unpopular. . . Part One

    This post may be make me unpopular with some people and may run contrary to fitness perspectives.   Conversely, my goal with Cave Princess is to be inclusive and accepting of all individuals interested in understanding their bodies.  With that comes the acceptance of different beliefs and different body types.  That is why I research numerous books and articles on different diet philosophies: vegetarian, vegan, paleo, raw, and allow all of them to influence my food choices.  Clearly there is no "one size fits all" solution to healthy living.  Consequently, my research is focused on best practices from a variety of resources.  Again, my objective is to share knowledge with those individuals who are pursuing their healthy living goals.     

    I recently read a rant written by a particular woman who was experiencing insecurity from within the paleo community.  In short, she felt that people considered her to be not “lean” enough to represent a nutrition movement.  Initially, I felt connected to the writer.  After all, it is not easy being a girl; we have a ton of pressure to be petite and pretty!  As I read further I grew very uncomfortable with the scale and scope of her analysis. 

    The writer threw around what “appropriate” bodyfat levels for women should be, and how women who go below a certain percentage (which happened to be rather high) might experience fertility issues.  You have to dip pretty far down into the low teens/single digits to stop menstruating.  How do I know?  Because I’ve been about 12-14% BF (measuring bodyfat is not an exact science-count on 2-4% inaccuracy) and my cycle was completely normal.  I chart my fertility consistently and found I ovulated on a regular basis as well.  Women don’t have to be 25% BF to be considered fertile creatures.  We should be applauding each other for reaching our goals!  Women can be sexual and fertile at various bodyfat levels.  I'm not advocating single digit BF levels; however, a woman can remain and lean and fertile! 
    The subsequent comments at the bottom of the post were incredibly harsh.  "Real women have curves; men don’t like women with six packs".  Guess what?  I naturally have a six pack.  Losing fat comes from my stomach first- not my waistline, not my face, not my arms or legs,,,,, from my abs.  (Don't ask about my butt...fat loves to linger there!)  Am I not a feminine woman because that is where I lose fat first?  Why bash?  Are your insecurities so pervasive?  I follow various Facebook fan pages.  On one of those pages Cameron Diaz was featured.  I'm not a huge fan of Cameron Diaz, but women were bashing her for having "man" shoulders, muscular abs, and no boobs.  Really?  Is that where we are?  Insulting women for being too strong and lean?  Making fun of women that dedicate part of their lives to fitness?  Now women are either too fat, too skinny or too fit?  No wonder young girls suffer from distorted body images.

    This is a picture of me (I just ran to the bathroom to take it).  It is the end of the day, I had some Greek frozen yogurt (cheat meal), and my stomach is bloated; I have been eating clean but not monitoring my diet closely and exercising sporadically this week due to my move to North Carolina.  My abs are still visible.  Does that make me less feminine?  I hope not!  

    My daughters already talk about wanting to look pretty.  I heard my three year old daughter Brielle mention she didn't want to wear a particular outfit because it didn't make her look pretty.  I could not hide my tears.  This is Brielle eating one of my gluten-free paleo chocolate chip cookies during her last day of (three year old) preschool.  How can that precious little thing worry about being pretty?  I already monitor what I say about food and fitness around my children. 

    We should be thinking about our daughters, our nieces, our granddaughters, our friends, our sisters when we judge and comment negatively on the appearance of other women.   I'm proud of my body, even my abs- though some may find them unfeminine.  Maybe one day I will be confidant and brave enough to share a picture of my least favorite part!  If you can't discern what that is.... scroll up and read again! 

    Tell me what part of your body you're most proud of. . . I hope some of you will say your brain!

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

    Busy Army Wife- Stayin' Fit on the Road

    It's time to PCS (permanent change of station) again!  Our movers arrived this morning at 9:00am-"ish".  I left Shane home to deal with the boxes while I took the twins with me to the gym!  Ahhh.... such a nice change.  Last summer (when we moved to the DC area from KY) I had to do EVERYTHING on my own!  You better believe this summer I'm taking full advantage of my husband's presence.

    I'm very excited about being featured on a fitness blog this June or July (I will announce it when all of the details become finalized), but I'm also NERVOUS about submitting current photos after a stressful and time-consuming move to another state.  Exercising always takes a back seat to setting up your new home, registering kiddos for school, locating and signing up with a new gym facility, etc. etc. etc.  And,,, it is always more challenging to eat an ideal diet while being denied access to a full kitchen stocked with healthy basics. 

    My diet and exercise program isn't going to be perfect over the next few weeks, but I don't want to derail my good habits.  Here is my game plan to stay in shape while I transition to life in North Carolina:  I hope you can use these tips the next time you travel!

    1.  Fit in workouts whenever feasible.  It is so easy to dismiss workouts because you don't have time.  I am going to make time.  If I have to set my alarm for 5am to get in a workout in the hotel gym
    while Shane and the Bs sleep,,,, then I will!  When I arrive in NC, I will give myself permission to train for my goals.  Life is about balance.  The children need exercise too.  No matter how tired I may feel, I must take them to the park, or to the pool, or on early evening nature walks, or all three!  The house doesn't have to be set up in a day.

    2.  Stock up on protein powder.  I post protein powder recipes on my FB page Cave Princess and blog all of the time.  I prepped, baked and froze many protein pancakes, protein bars and protein muffins to sustain me during this transitional phase.  I made sure to set aside multiple coolers and ice packs to use while hopping from refrigerator to refrigerator.  The powders I use are all natural and chemical free, so I feel comfortable giving the children these same snacks.

    3.  Protein shakes are also easily mixed while on the road.  In a pinch  all you need is powder and water.  My new favorite powders are SunWarrior (vegan) and Tera's Whey (organic whey protein from a small Wisconsin farm).  My favorite flavor so far is the Bourbon Vanilla,,,, but the Fair Trade Dark Chocolate is pretty darn good too!  You can find Tera's Whey in health food stores, but I also know carries it as well.  Tera's Whey mixes well, tastes good but more importantly...  in their own words....

    all of our products, whether they be rBGH-free, organic, or goat, are made from:
    • fresh whey sourced from the heartland of Wisconsin - direct from the small, artisan cheese makers.
    • natural flavors that we selected for their taste and healthful functionality - high antioxidant superfruits, real fair trade dark cocoa, and real natural vanilla.
    • low glycemic index stevia or an unsweetened, plain option.
    unique products. we were the first manufacturing plant in the U.S. to concentrate organic cow and hormone-free goat proteins:
    • organic whey: offers an alternative to conventional products for people who are concerned about chemicals in their environment and bodies.
    • goat whey: contains the same high level of protein as our cow whey proteins and is a valuable alternative for people who cannot tolerate cow dairy products.
    • rBGH-free (hormone-free) whey: provides a source-identified, hormone-free protein concentrate option.

    tera'swhey® organic plain whey protein

    4.  Stock up on tuna fish.  One of my favorite things to eat for lunch is tuna packed in olive oil, German mustard (brown mustard), and a handful of chopped walnuts (super brain food).  I use various cut up veggies as my utensils or I like to grab a big collard green leaf and roll the tuna inside.  This week my knives have been packed, so people have enjoyed watching me eat my tuna with a whole cucumber....

    5.  Turn sandwiches into salads.  When dining on the road just ask if you can put the sandwich ingredients on a bed of greens!  You won't even require dressing.  I do it all of the time with happy compliance from most restaurants!  Not ideal.... but in times of need even Subway offers salad options. 

    6.  I'm not a huge fan of protein bars.  Most taste like chemicals to me (probably because most are loaded with crazy additives and harmful sugar substitutes).  In a pinch, however, I have been known to eat Think Thin bars, Lara Bars and Luna Bars.  The "Chocolate Covered Nuts" Think Thin bars taste good and are low in carbs....and the "Lemon" Luna Bars are actually DELICIOUS.  I try to eat grain free, dairy free all natural foods that I have created, but these protein bars might help out when you just need a quick fix.

    I hope these strategies keep me fit and healthy the next few weeks!!!

    Here is my favorite protein pancake recipe I've been eating this week! I'm sitting here thinking about warming up another!

    2 scoops Tera's Whey Bourbon Vanilla protein powder
    1/4 cup egg whites
    1/2 mashed banana
    1/8-1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
    1 T chia seeds
    1/4 tsp pure almond extract
    Stevia to taste (I find with the banana I don't need any Stevia)

    Mix everything up in a little bowl, and make yourself one big healthy and delicious pancake!  Top with chia seed jam.  You can find the link to that recipe on my Facebook page Cave Princess.  Thanks for visiting me!

    Saturday, May 26, 2012

    Army Wife Thanks Memorial Day Weekend

    My husband, Shane, is active duty in the Army.  I don't show my appreciation for his service enough.  Poor Shane works _crazy_ long hours (I'm talking 18-24 hour days on occasion), travels on temporary assignments weekly, has deployed three times and deals with a level of stress most of us can not comprehend.  How do I show my appreciation?  "Shane,,, take out the trash!"  I guess that is marriage.... providing levity.... but I wanted to take this Memorial Day weekend to say thank you for his many sacrifices.

    Brielle and Daddy at Shane's promotion.  I chose this picture because (a) Shane looks really cute (b) Brielle is demonstrating just how much we take such an honor for granted!

    But,,, I did get him a big "Airborne" cake!  May I brag on my husband for a second?  Shane is an Airborne Ranger... pretty hot!

    Plus,,, he gives his mother flowers. . .

    and amazing hugs!

    Sometimes this life can be very hard.
    Brenden greeting Daddy at the airport after a long deployment.

    Brielle and Bridget greeting Daddy!  He missed so many of their early months . . .

    Brenden's sixth birthday.  Where was Daddy?  He misses so many milestones . . .

    But,,, sometimes the military life can be very exciting!  Don't worry,,, the good outweighs the bad!  I just wanted to show Shane that I understand and respect his sacrifice.   

    Your family loves you!  Honoring your service this Memorial Day weekend!

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Sea Snax- Strangely Addictive

    In honor of Product Review Friday I had to share my love for these little seaweed snacks from . .  The company's tagline is that they are "strangely addictive".  And you know what???  They are just that!  I mean, they're seaweed. . . come on. . . isn't it a little strange that I'm contemplating getting up out of my chair to grab a few right now?

    In their words:
    SeaSnax is a nutrient-packed roasted seaweed snack which is vegan, gluten free and Non-GMO Project verified. It is made using 100% olive oil and just a pinch of sea salt. This vegetable of the sea is all natural with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. SeaSnax is a healthy & delicious snack for you and your family. It tastes great right out of the bag - just rip it up and chomp it down! Or, you can use it to make rice rolls, put into your favorite soup or salad or even throw a fun California roll making party and get everyone involved.

    Give it a try but don't blame us if you get hooked on SeaSnax - it's strangely addictive!

    I totally agree!

    I haven't had a chip in years.  Honestly, I don't crave them so why waste the calories?  But,,, sometimes you really just want to snack mindlessly on something crunchy and salty.  

    Where do you turn? 

    Directly to SeaSnax!!! 

    An entire Grap N Go Box is only 16 calories.  Are you kidding me?  And they have some nutritional value!

    Even my children love these "snax from the sea".  Bridget just stopped by the computer and commented, "Look, Mommy,,,,SeaSnax!  Pictures of SeaSnax!  Red are spicy but blue are not.  May I have some blue ones?"  All three children dig these healthy alternatives to crackers and other junk!

    My children also can't get enough of the Sea Sprinkles!  These are sweetened with agave, so I don't eat the sprinkles as much when I'm looking to lean down, but they too are incredibly delicious! 

    I'm always sharing recipes and fitness tips.  Please come check my Facebook page Cave Princess!

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. What should I eat?

    If you haven't rented/streamed the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead take 90 minutes to watch this film.  It made an impact on my diet.  Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead chronicles the journey of an obese man, Joe Cross, on a 60 day vegetable and fruit juice detox.

    I am in no way, shape or form suggesting anyone embark on a 60 day juice detox.  For the majority of us such a lifestyle choice would prove to be dangerously unhealthy and an ineffective long term means of fat loss.  I chose to briefly write about Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead to highlight the importance of vegetables.  One message from the film resounds with me... if conventional health methods are failing you, take a more holistic approach.  Your body has a remarkable ability to heal itself when given the proper tools.  Joe's health _drastically_ improves by changing his diet.

    Prescribing to one dietary philosophy proves to be far too difficult for me.  I'm always questioning theories, rationales and evidence.  But one principle holds true throughout each belief.... EAT MORE VEGETABLES... and specifically to eat more raw vegetables.  No wonder I'm fascinated by the raw and vegan movements and incorporate many raw and vegan recipes into my diet.  I post paleo, vegetarian, vegan, and raw recipes/ideas/tips on my Facebook page Cave Princess daily!

    EASY STEPS to incorporate more raw vegetables (and fruit) into your diet:

    • Eat a BIG OLE salad _before_ your dinner.  Minus the heavy dressing of course.
    • Eat cut up veggies _before_ your lunch or as your lunch.  I make tuna salads (with mustard), chicken salads, Sunbutter dips, etc. and use various veggies as my utensils.
    • Eat a small portion of fruit in the morning or after a workout.
    • Lettuce wrap your sandwiches and burgers (whether they be beef, turkey or veggie).  Do you really need all that bread?
    • Make "green smoothies"!  Drink them _before_ your breakfast or lunch or as your breakfast or lunch (depending on your appetite and activity level that day).
    What is a "Green Smoothie"?  It is essentially a lettuce based drink.  Sounds horrible.  Right?  Actually, they can be quite refreshing!  I'm totally addicted to them and drink "green smoothies" daily.   

    EASY STEPS to making a "green smoothie":
    • Purchase a juicer or high speed blender.  If you "juice" (this is what Joe Cross favored in the documentary) you will remove much of the fiber found in the vegetables and fruits.  It is believed the body can absorb the other nutrients more efficiently in this pure juice form.  Personally, I use a Vitamix blender (they are expensive, but I use it literally everyday).  I prefer the fiber and enjoy a thicker drink.  Your blender has to be of good quality.  The lettuce has to be pulverized in order to achieve a good texture.
    • Stock your fridge with spinach, romaine, green leaf, kale etc.
    • Stock your fruit bowl.
    • Experiment with various recipes. There are so many variations on the "green smoothie".   (Be warned, I tried mustard greens one time,,, not wise and not recommended). 

    Below is just ONE example of how you can combine the seemingly infinite vegetable/fruit concoctions. This recipe is two servings for me.  I store the half I don't consume covered in the refrigerator.

    Not Scary...

    Basic Green Smoothie:

    1 1/2 cups filtered water
    1 head romaine lettuce
    1/2 head spinach
    1/2- 1 cup pineapple
    1/2 -1 cup peach or apple or pear
    1 banana
    squeeze of citrus fruit (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit juice)
    1 T chia seeds (optional- they will gel and make your drink much thicker)

    Thank you for stopping by!  Come see me over at Cave Princess on Facebook!