Ghee, What a Pal

I’ve recently started adding a certain fatty substance to my diet and cooking, and I wanted to share it with you all today.  As a Paleo based {eh, more so dairy-free} type of person, I shockingly haven’t been with the times, and utilizing this substance like many already do.  But let’s be honest here, when I say “Paleo”, what I really mean is dairy-free combined with clean eating as much as possible {lean meats, subbing veggies for grains whenever I can, etc}.  Some Paleo alternatives can get really “fatty” if you’re not careful, which is obvi no bueno.  It’s all about doing your research and understanding the who’s, what’s, and why’s as to what you’re putting into your body.

Anyway, cue announcer voice…

Coming into the ring, at a mere 8oz as a buttery yet non-dairy cooking oillllll…Ghhhheeeeeeee

{Jock Jams, Let’s Get Ready to Rumble, plays in the background}…are you hyped up yet?

So, what is it, you ask?  Traditionally found in the Indian culture, it’s also known as Clarified Butter.  Basically it’s cooked down, grass-fed butter that doesn’t include any water, milk solids, or preservatives.  So it’s butter, without the whole casein, dairy component.  It still has some fat, so you know, don’t go crazy and eat cups of it or put it on everything, but there are actually a lot of great benefits that go along with this cooking substitute.

Here are some of the reasons that I’ve chosen to include ghee in my diet.

High Smoke Point

This refers to “how hot” ghee can get in the pan before decomposing and smoking.  I’m sure if you’ve experimented in the kitchen before, you’ve noticed times with other oils that you’ve accidentally left on a high heat for too long, the pan literally starts to smoke.  Well, with ghee, it’s found to have a higher smoke point than most oils {olive, coconut, etc}, even regular butter, making it great for cooking.

No More Moo-Moo

We’ve already covered this, but because ghee is clarified butter, the milk component is outta here!  Which is great for those attempting to avoid dairy.  **Ehhemm**

Aids in Digestion

Due to the fatty acids that are found in ghee, many believe that it triggers an immune response that decreases inflammation and aids in digestion.

Healing for the Skin

Disclaimer, I have not tried this, but it was something that I found during research.  Similar to the same anti-inflammatory properties we just discussed, it is said that when ghee is applied directly to the skin it can help with things like swelling and burns.  I would test it out for you guys, I really would, but I have to draw the line there.  I don’t think my skin could handle it.  If I burn myself while cooking, I’ll let you know.  Not going out of my way to test that one.

Vitamins

Ghee is also found to be rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Can Help Lower Cholesterol and Risk of Heart Disease

Because of the fatty acids and compounds found in ghee, it is shown to help lower cholesterol AND the risk of heart disease by protecting you against things like carcinogens and artery plaque.

Now, although we’ve covered all of these great benefits….I want to point out that this is still a FAT.  I kept stumbling upon the idea that ghee is a “miracle weightloss fat”.  That’s a claim that I’m neither going to confirm nor deny.  Yes, ghee has all of these amazing benefits, and when used appropriately and sparingly in your diet, like many other cooking fats or Paleo-based substitutes, this can have a great and positive impact on your overall health.  It’s all about balance.  Figuring out what works for you, and YOUR body, and going from there.  Do I think ghee is your answer for losing weight?  Honestly, no, and I couldn’t go sleep at night if I condoned something like that.  I do, however think it’s a great addition//alternative to one’s cooking and eating habits.  Hence, why it is in my cupboard.

Plus, I forgot to mention that it still tastes all old-fashioney buttery.  Like the kind grandma used to use.  Only, without dairy.

Want more info?  Click here, here, here, and here.

What do you guys think?  Have you ever included ghee into your cooking?  How do you feel about it?

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Peppery Breakfast && Missy Elliott Inspired Playlist

Good morning all!  Today’s actually going to be a double blog day {douubblleee bllloogggg}!!  Just wanted to stop in and share my breakfast and workout inspo before going over part deux a little later.  This afternoon is going to be a real #TransformationTuesday, if you know what I mean.

This morning I got up extra early for a 5:30am Bodypump class at my gym.  That’s been my Tuesday/Thursday ritual for the past week, and I’m excited to keep it going.  I increased my weight for today’s class….shewwwieeee, baby!  Definitely glad I did that, definitely going to be sore tomorrow.  I stayed after to run through a 9-mile stationary bike interval workout {I’m a little behind on my #150byVday}.  While I was biking I listened to my new and most favorite playlist.  In honor of Missy Elliott arriving at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, I created a Misdemeanor-inspired collection.

If you follow me on Spotify, you can “follow” this playlist and it will sync directly with your own Spotify app.  If you don’t have Spotify, I still wanted to make sure you guys got it!  {{P.S.- not all of the songs on here are edited, I just went with what I could find on the app}}.  In total it’s about an hour long and totally took me back to high school.  Do I know every word to every song on the playlist?  Maybe.  I freaking loved Missy Elliott, and seeing her on Sunday night made my week.  I’ll be honest I was waiting for Snoop Dogg or Juicy J to come out with Katy Perry since they’ve collabed together…but seeing Missy was better.  These throwback jamz are definitely what I needed to get through a fun workout.

For breakfast I reheated one of the Paleo-Stuffed Bell Peppers that I made last night for my frat bro’s and myself.  In total I made four, but there were some leftovers.  The recipe was banging, for lack of a better term, and I’m super proud of myself for coming up with it off the top of my head  {the ingredients part, not the whole “stuffed pepper idea”}.  Jimmy gave it multiple thumbs up {= two thumbs up, on numerous and separate occasions}.  I promise to share it with you some time this week.

You can turn anything into a “breakfast food” once you slap a fried egg on it.  I LOVE FRIED EGGS.

Coffee, grapefruit, and squeeze a little avocado in there…because I can.

Alright, off to get a few things done today.  Be back later with that Transformation Tuesday post I was talking about {hint:  it has nothing to do with weight loss.  Although, there is a loss of something here}.

BBL

That means “be back later”, for those of you who didn’t use AIM.  What can I say?  I was just talking about Missy Elliott.  I can’t help myself.

What did you guys have for breakfast this morning?  Were you as excited to see Missy Elliott as I was?

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Breakfast and January Volunteering

Good morning, everyone!  It’s already been a great day, that’s for sure, so let’s keep this train rolling!  I started the morning out first with some in-home yoga.  The great thing about the Google Chromecast that Ryan got me for Christmas is that I can not only watch Netflix/Hulu/HBOGo right on my tv, but I can also cast YouTube.  This means ALLLLL the free workout vids I want, straight to my TV {hellooo Popsugar/Fitsugar, Tone It Up, etc}.  This morning I started out with the Popsugar Yoga Video that I always rave about, with Mandy Ingber.  I plan on lacing up the sneaks and going for a 5-mile run this evening, but I wanted to start the morning out with some activity.

You get the idea…our DVD rack game is strong.

For breakfast, I had some of my faaaaaavorite Sweet Potato & Brussels Sprout Hash, with a fried egg, and basil chicken sausage on the side.

Close-up

Plus a little grapefruit action…

Man, I love a good grapefruit!

I also wanted to fill you guys in on how my New Year’s Res is going…

This past Tuesday night, I took part in my first Charlotte volunteer activity with Hands On Charlotte,  as a part of my 2015 New Year’s Resolution to volunteer at least once a month.  I absolutely loved it.  I wish I could just spend all of my time volunteering {{anyone want to help me win the lottery so we can make that happen?}}.  My brother, Ryan, has actually been participating in this same Tuesday night volunteering program for the past few weeks and he recommended it to me.  Just to give you a brief rundown, we spent the evening at a local recovery center, that helps chemically dependent families get back on their feet.  Here, we played with the kids at the center while there parents go to classes, run errands, etc.  Having 20 younger cousins of my own, it definitely reminded me of when my family used to get together and we all would play.  The kids had so much energy, and they were so funny.  Due to the fact that it was cold we had to take it indoors.  We basically played hide and seek the entire time.  It was so much fun just to go and spend time with them, and act like a kid again.  I’ve already signed up for next week and I can’t wait to go back.  I’m also keeping my eyes out on the volunteering calendar for other opportunities.

If you guys haven’t yet, I highly recommend getting involved in your own communities in any way that you can.  Even if you’re donating something every now and again, every little bit helps!

What did you guys have for breakfast today?  How do you participate in your communities?

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#FiveThings {Jan 23 2015}

Why hello there, Friday.  Nice to see you’ve decided to show up.

It’s Friday, people and that means another edition of #FiveThings!!  Here’s what I’m digging this week…

American Sniper

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, please go this weekend.  It is a powerful, powerful film.

Jimmy and I went to go see it on Wednesday night, and I don’t think I’ve ever left a theatre where the entire audience was silent once the credits finished rolling.  It was eeire, and the ending was quite honestly a lot to process.  I knew that it was a true story, but I wasn’t sure how it was going to end.  Having both friends and family in the military, it sheds a light on the sacrifice that our soldiers and their families make every day.  I know that there are other military-based movies out there that do the same thing, but this one….this one was different.  I always have been, but it reminded me and made me even more proud and thankful for our military and their families.

Huntington Bound

Some of my friends are getting together in Huntington this weekend.  I get to see them.  I’M SO EXCITED!  And it’s much needed.  Cue the nostalgic warm fuzzy feeling.

This Moisturizer

Stop what you’re doing right now and go buy this.  During this time of year, like many people, I struggle with dry skin.  I’m all about moisturizing, especially at night.  Recently, the body butter that I had gotten from a certain Shmath and Shody Works just wasn’t doing the trick anymore.  I originally learned about this product from a sample out of an old Birchbox, and I went to Sephora pretty much the next day to buy it.  The FAB {First Aid Beauty} Ultra Repair Cream can even be used on your face.  It even works well with my skin, and we all know how cooperative my face can be {that’s sarcasm if you’re just joining us}.

LUSH Bath Bombs

Remember that time I said anything but an Epsom Salt Bath was stupid?  I would like to formally retract that statement.  My friend Abby raves about the LUSH Bath Bombs, and I decided to give one a try.  Holy moly, what have I been missing out on?? {Side note:  I still shower after a bath, I can’t quite justify the whole bath=clean idea}

They’re fairly inexpensive, especially for a luxurious bathing experience.  As a whole, I LOVE the LUSH company.  They’re a clean company of handmade ingredients, with green, ethically purchased products…oh, and they’re also against animal testing.  Click here to check out the full story.

Dairy Free Yogurt

What I thought was once an oxymoron is no more.  When I found this this week, I felt like I discovered Pluto.  Since leading a mainly dairy-free diet, the main thing that I’ve missed was yogurt.  While grocery shopping for Jimmy and his wisdom tooth surgery diet, I found this in the yogurt aisle.

This is the same company that makes the Coconut Creamer that I love.  It’s kind of obvious that this isn’t regular old dairy yogurt, but it is a great alternative.

What are your #FiveThings for the week?

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Breakfast and 2×4 Ab Workout

This morning’s breakfast was kind of a “cook whatever’s in the fridge” type of deal.  The great thing about veggies is that as long as you saute them, they go great with eggs.  Today’s veggies included some organic kale, asparagus, red onion, red bell pepper, and basil chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, spinach is like the Houdini of vegetables.  You can put it in a smoothie or virtually any meal, and you barely taste it…if you even taste it at all.  Kale, on the other hand is kind of like spinach’s knobby kneed thirteen year old cousin.  It’s still awesome and has a lot of great benefits, but you can definitely taste a difference when included in a meal/bev.

Kale, God love it.

To include kale in something like this, I will first steam it with the red onions in some type of a broth.  I had veggie broth on hand today.  This was also going to turn into a “scramble”, but at the last minute I made a game time decision and fried the eggs instead {with some Cajun seasoning}.  I heart dippy eggs.  Plus some avocado and coffee, because what’s breakfast without it?

I found this mug at World Market before Christmas.  As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make the purchase.  As a tall girl, I identify with the giraffe.  Plenty of people have referenced a giraffe when speaking about me over years, including my friends.  Who call me a “baby giraffe” when I’m in heels and have had one too many adult beverages…

And then this little motivational piece on the other side.

One thing I’ve really been needing to focus on lately is the mid section.  With the holidays, and sitting 24/7 with work, all I have to say is, thank goodness it’s not bikini season yet.  Like I’ve mentioned earlier, I can get bored with ab workouts.  So to make sure I get through the whole thing, I like to break it up.  Just like with this workout below, take two moves at a time and run through three sets of each before moving on to the other pair of ab workouts.

If you’re not sure what one of the moves means, click the links below:

Spidermans

Criss Cross

Flutter Kicks

How did everyone’s day go?  How do you get through Ab Workouts?

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Post Run Green Drank

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but it has been down right beautiful in the Carolinas the past few days {part of the reason why I moved back 😉 }.  Had some time today to squeeze in a 4-miler before the sun goes down, and I wanted to share my post workout recovery drink with you guys!

The Ingredients::

::1 cup of coconut water
::1 cup/handful of kale
::2-3 spinach cubes {spinach, blended up and formed into ice cubes…I’ll discuss later} OR 1 handful of organic spinach leaves
::1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
::1 Tbsp Flax Seeds
::1/2 avocado
::1 cup pineapple {can be frozen}

Blend the ingredients above and viola!

I also hand a handful of almonds for a protein kick while I cleaned the kitchen. {it neeeeeds it}

Disclaimer::

This drink tastes very GREEN.  I know some people still can’t quite get over the “veggies in liquid form”taste//texture…which I can understand, it takes some getting used to, it did for me as well.  One way to still get all the benefits of this bev is to add some additional fruit to overpower the kaley-ness of it all, like an apple or a ripe banana.  Or even a few drops of agave nectar/raw honey.  Just a thought.  If you’re wanting to be able to handle the taste of a GREEN drink, but you can’t quite get past the taste, start by adding different fruits and then week by week remove one piece of fruit until there are zero fruits {not sure if this is proper grammar here…probably not}.  But you get the idea, it’s like weaning yourself off of a fruit smoothie.  Works like a charm.

Tonight Jimmy and I have plans to see American Sniper and I absolutely cannot wait.  I’ve heard nothing but good things!

See y’all tomorrow!

What do you guys like to recover with?  Have you seen American Sniper yet?

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Rain Delay

At no one’s fault but my own, the weather derailed my workout plan last night {okay, okay…I didn’t check it before mapping out my plan of attack..rookie mistake}.  In addition to regularly visiting the gym, I’ve also been pretty great about distance running 3-4 times a week.  A problem I’ve been struggling with the past few months.  Last night it poured the rain and to be honest, running five miles on the treadmill was the last thing I wanted to do, so I rearranged my schedule and spent some time indoors with the Tone It Up girls.

Source

Love these babes.

Like I said, I have been running a lot again lately and although I know that how you recover is just as important as how you workout…I’m not a big “stretcher” {yikes!…hence why I had to purchase a Foam Roller and MELT Balls}.  I decided to take last night to do some circuits and focus on stretching/taking a “personal” workout day.

Here are the TIU videos that I covered:

Kettletoning {personal fav}

HIIT Training {this is a great one to wake up 15 minutes earlier for before you hop in the shower!}

Bikini Abs {the reason why I’m sore this morning}

And then wrap it up with the Foam Roller Routine

Once I was done I made dinner for Jimmy and myself– sauteed brussels sprouts and lemon pesto chicken. Very simple, very tasty, and a very nice way to make sure I’m cleaning out the fridge before Christmas break {we’re down to the basics here, people}.

Bluuugghhhh, I hate the awesomely horrible fluorescent lighting in our kitchen…oh well, the food still tasted great!

I even went through the MELT Foot Treatment while I was food prepping {aka chopping/sauteing brussels sprouts and waiting for the chicken to bake}.  It definitely required some extra brain power moving my hands and feet simultaneously {hopefully that makes sense…you know, like when you move you hand counter-clockwise and your foot clockwise?  It’s difficult.  Near impossible}.

What did you have for dinner last night?  What do you do when the weather messes up your workout plan?

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