A New Chapter

It’s definitely been a while since I’ve posted. Life somehow got in the way, and quite honestly, with all that was changing in my life I didn’t feel inspired to write on the matter of fitness and wellness. For anyone who still checks in on this blog, my heartfelt thanks for staying interested in what I have to say. For you, and for anyone who’s new, let me explain what has happened in the last months.

To put it simply, in April 2009, I found out I was pregnant! Not planned at all, so much to our surprise, Rommel and I were going to be parents…ready or not! Throughout the following 7 months (I was already almost 8 weeks along by the time we found out), I went through many physical, emotional, and mental changes. I ran through the gamut of emtions – from sheer terror to doubt to excitement to contentment. I gained 33 pounds, my workouts got more basic and light, my nutrition went from perfection in the first 2 trimesters to mediocre in the 3rd, as I unfortunately gave in to many cookie and ice cream cravings.

And before I knew it, I found myself in a hospital getting ready to begin the journey that I both longed for and feared – motherhood.

My blog may sound a little different going forward. I’ll still occasionally remark on nutrition and wellness concepts, as that’s an everday part of my life, but it will have more of a motherhood spin. I hope to chronicle my journey as a new mother so other new moms can learn from and share in my joys and trials.

For those of you who enjoyed my blog before this shift, I hope you’ll still find themes that you find useful or somewhat interesting. For those of you who are new, welcome! Please comment, share your thoughts, emotions, and arguments, advice, or similar or differing stories here.

I look forward to sharing with you!

My Hubby’s Blog on Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training!

I know, I know…I just posted a blog last night, and most of you probably haven’t even read that one yet. But I just had to throw this up this morning too. I’m so excited!

My husband is the guest blogger on Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training fat loss blog! Check it out here! Woohoo!

Craig Ballantyne is a workout and fat loss expert, and writes for Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines.



30 Blocks? No Problem.

Hi all,  I know it’s been a few days since I’ve posted.  And I promise I’ll post Part 2 of my “Eating in a Pickle” series this weekend.  I haven’t posted because I’ve been too busy gallavanting around New York City!  So I’m a West Coast girl, and I’d say a city girl (farms and forests are quite foreign to me even though I live very close to both), but this is my first time to this great city called the Big Apple.

And what a city it is!  I’m only here for a few days for work, and although I unfortunately have to sit in a classroom all day, I fortunately get to play at night.  I experienced Times Square, Central Park, Macy’s holiday window displays, Radio City Music Hall, NBC, Carnegie Hall etc. all in one walk! 

My friend told me that you can walk 30 blocks in Manhattan, and it feels like nothing.  She was surely right because I literally walked from Macy’s on 34th all the way up to 67th in the Upper West Side, and looped around quite a bit.  And it really felt like nothing.  Although we did take a break to marvel at the crowds of people surrounding Rockefellar Plaza due to the tree lighting tonight.  Talk about crazy!

So anyway, I got a nice, brisk walk in today for some physical activity after sitting on my you-know-what all day in a hot classroom with no windows.  My nutrition while I’ve been here hasn’t been bad.  I’m technically not on vacation, so I can’t throw out all my rules of thumb out the window.  Tuna steak and greens and a yummy hot tea called “Once Upon a Tea” (red rooibos tea with dark chocolate, vanilla, and mint hints) at a cute little joint in Tribeca.  But sometime this week, I do need to utilize my 10% cheat rule and try a famous slice of NY pizza. 🙂

Anyway, cheers, and I’ll post Part 2 of “Eating in a Pickle” when I get home.  Ciao!

Eating in a Pickle: What to do when you need something quick and easy.

Well, I can honestly say I enjoyed my pumpkin pie last Thursday.  There was no leche flan or kare-kare, so that was a little disappointing.  But I did have plenty of cassava cake.

In Filipino culture, it’s customary for all your guests to help themselves to the leftovers after the party is over.  So as the host, you better make plenty of extra food so they can have food to take home.  Our guests definitely got their share; we’ve already run out of leftover turkey and green beans, and it’s only Saturday!

So now I’m searching for something to eat for lunch.  We’ll probably end up going out to eat, so I was reminded of a comment that Rachel left on my post about HFCS.  She asked:

“I appreciate the alternatives you mentioned for HFCS. I find, however, that it’s VERY difficult to find foods without fake sugar of corn syrup in them. Yes, clean eating is ideal, but what do you do when those are not an option? We all want to be able to plan ahead and pack our food so we’re not caught in a pickle – but what do you do when you inevitably are in that pickle? What are the best options?”

Rachel is exactly right.  Sometimes life gets in the way of planning ahead and packing all our food.  And sometimes you don’t want to bring a sack lunch to certain occasions – business lunches, weddings, dinner with a friend, etc.  Or sometimes you just don’t have time to make your own food.  Like me right now.

So I’m going to talk about a couple different scenarios where you might feel like you’re “in a pickle” and what I do when I find myself there.


You’re at home, and you need to grab something quick to eat before you pick the kids up from school or before Grey’s Anatomy starts.  But you don’t have time to cook anything.  What are your options?  Well, you can always pick up the phone and order a pizza or Chinese takeout, or you can make a quick run to the McDonald’s drive-through for a quarter pounder with cheese and small fries from the dollar menu.  Or you can do one of the following:

Option #1: You can throw together something small and quick.  I like to keep my freezer stocked with emergency food in cases just like this.  In my freezer you’ll always find turkey meatballs, heat-and-eat edamame, and frozen berries.  In my fridge you’ll always find a jar of almond butter and flax seeds.  So with this emergency stash, you have two options:

    1. You can have a tasty and healthy meal of turkey meatballs and edamame.  Just heat and serve!  You can find both in Trader Joe’s freezer section.  There are also plenty of other emergency freezer goodies in that section, like grilled chicken and buffalo burgers (lean and high in protein).
    2. You can throw together a quick shake.  Just throw some rice or soy milk into a blender with a scoop of chocolate protein powder, a handful of frozen berries, a teaspoon or two of almond butter, and a tablespoon or two of flax seeds for added fiber.

Option #2: You can go out to eat.  There are plenty of quick and easy food options near where I live: McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, sushi, pasta and pizza, Subway, Trader Joe’s, QFC, Thai food, Chinese, etc.  So how do I decide?  When I’m looking for something quick and easy, I’ll keep the following guidelines in mind:

    • The meal must include some kind of lean protein and fibrous carb (fruits and vegetables).  If it includes a starchy carb, it must be either made from whole grains or there shouldn’t be too much of it. 
    • Nothing fried
    • No creamy or cheesy sauces, minimal butter and cheese
    • Stay away from the places that are likely to use MSG, overload with sodium, or use plenty of artificial ingredients.

That usually rules out the fast food places and many Chinese restaurants.

My husband and I will usually go to Subway for a turkey sandwich on wheat, loads of veggies, and dijon mustard. (Skip the mayo and heavy sauces!) Or we’ll run to Trader Joe’s for a chicken wrap, to QFC for a custom turkey or roast beef sandwich on whole wheat with a cup of non-cream-based soup (like a chicken noodle soup, vegetable soup, or tomato soup).  And on those occasions we feel like something fancier, we’ll get some sushi for some omega-3s from the fish.  However, we’ll eat the fried variations in moderation and we always use the low-sodium soy sauce.

So, to address Rachel’s point that it’s hard to find food without corn syrup or fake sugar in them, all I can say is do the best you can.  When you stock up your fridge with your emergency food, do your shopping at places like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods – grocery stores that are known to use whole, natural ingredients. 

When you decide to go out to eat, choose the places that are more likely to have “real” ingredients.  Alwyn Cosgrove, author of The New Rules of Lifting and The New Rules of Lifting for Women, calls this Three Degrees of Clean Eating.  “If you can’t visualize it roaming, growing, or being extracted from something that is roaming or growing, you probably shouldn’t eat it.”  You may not always know exactly what’s in everything (Subway’s bread might have HFCS in it), but you can do your best to minimize the amount you’re ingesting.  When you find yourself in a pickle, it’s the best you can do.

In my next post, I’ll talk about Scenario #2: You’re out to eat with a client, colleague, or friend, and you want more than just a green salad with balsamic vinaigrette.  What do you do?  I’ll list some of my favorite restaurants and what I choose to eat there when I’m in a pickle.

Now, off to Subway…