My quest to find a good tasting protein powder

One of my top health and fitness tips is to fill up with protein after exercising. The calories your body burns during exercise need to be replenished. If you fill up with unhealthy food, your body will hold onto those calories. This is why it’s important to be careful what you put into your body. The less processed food is the best (hence the popularity of ‘whole foods’). Protein is essential to building muscle tissue and is essential for your body to function. You don’t have to be perfect with your diet, but doing small, important things like getting enough protein will definitely benefit your body and overall fitness. I have a few favorite post work out food items like protein bites, eggs, bananas, etc and also like protein powder drinks- but not all powders!

Protein Powder Basics

If you’ve ever walked into a supplement shop, you might be overwhelmed by all the choices, brands, types, etc. The protein powder I use is basic whey protein. I like that a protein powder drink has overall less calories and fat that a protein filled food meal. However, you cannot use protein powder or supplements as your sole method of caloric intake. For a large container, the price varies but is approximately $40-$50 dollars. This initially seems like a lot but I only use 2 scoops a day.

How Much Protein Should One Consume

You should aim for .36 grams per pound (of body weight). If you’re trying to bulk up, have an intense training/workout schedule, have a special diet, medical conditions, etc. this may be different for you. The amount of protein in 1 scoop of protein powder varies. Of the brands I’ve tried, they have 20-22 grams of protein.

How to Use It

You can add protein powder to things such as water, milk, oatmeal, juice, smoothies, etc. The only way I use it is with water to make a protein drink. I don’t drink milk because I don’t like the taste or smell. Many common protein powder flavors are sweet or dessert flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, etc. Unfortunately for me, all the dessert flavors taste gross! I’ve been on the search for flavors that have a decent taste and a powder that is easy to use in a BlenderBottle (ie it dissolves well and doesn’t clump).

So far, I’ve found 2 flavors that (to me) don’t resemble milk – strawberry and orange. I found the strawberry at GNC which has locations nationwide (or online) and the orange from BodyBuilding.com.

I add 2 scoops of protein powder to approximately 12-16 ounces of water. I add the metal whisk ball that comes with the blender bottle, close the top, shake the bottle about 30 seconds, let the foam settle, then drink. I actually really like the combination of both strawberry and orange so I’ll use one scoop of each. Lots of people like all flavors of protein powders and protein bars but it was important for me to find ones that don’t taste gross! These fruity flavors mixed with water taste like watered down juice or flavored water. There are tons of recipes for protein shake smoothies, I just always use water because it’s the fastest and easiest to make.

strawberry protein powder gnc

tire flips nike protein drink

What’s your favorite way to clean the house?

Like most women and especially fellow moms who don’t work outside the home, I would love a spotless home 24/7. With 2 kids and a dog, things can get messy if we don’t keep up the effort to keep the house relatively clean. A few years ago, I read a tip I really liked: keep your house in a condition as if guests were coming in 10 minutes.  How much could you tidy up in 10 minutes? If you think someone is going to be coming into your house, it’s easier to try and tidy things up, wipe down surfaces, and keep clutter to a minimum. While real life happens and it’s always more important to spend time with my kids versus clean, I’ve tried to stick to this advice. It’s helped us get in the habit of putting things in their place and cleaning as we go rather than letting things pile up and try and clean a lot later. This doesn’t mean that our house is clutter free but the mentality definitely helps.

My favorite chore is definitely vacuuming! It’s relaxing and nice to see instant results of a clean floor. We’ve never had a fancy vacuum but even a regular one has been sufficient. We recently upgraded our dust buster hand vacuum from one we had since we got married 10 years ago and it’s so nice with increased technology ha, ha. We got this Shark model that’s advertised especially for pet owners ($35).

shark hand vacuum for petsOur Texas home and current home we’re renting have all wooden and tiled floors and I’ve had my eye on robotic vacuums (like a knock off Roomba) – which would hopefully keep the floor cleaner in addition to vacuuming the area rugs we have. That being said, I guess my least favorite chore is sweeping. I feel like you always miss some debris. If we stay in Chino Hills for a while and are able to buy a home, I think we’d choose wood/laminate floors with some carpet in the bedrooms.

top cleaning tip

*our favorite dog products for cleaner home here

The Perfect Weekend

One of my earlier memories is when I was probably 3 or 4, around Tessa’s age, and we were at the beach with my family. I was collecting seashells all afternoon and had a full bag. Right before we were about to go home, we noticed one shell was actually a little hermit crab. It was gross to me and I remember being so sad (and probably cried) that I had to dump out the entire bag. This memory may not be 100% accurate because why we didn’t just take the crab out of the bag we’ll never know, ha, ha! Anyway, even though we don’t live super close to the beach we are excited to be living a lot closer than before!

newport beach

CA newport beach

This weekend Brent didn’t have any Saturday sports (the pee wee sports he’s been doing through the city rec center) so we decided to check out Newport Beach (which only took us about 40 minutes). It was a little chilly at first which was actually perfect because the beach seemed less crowded and we found a front row parking spot. I underestimated how much the kids would want to play in the cold water so we didn’t dress them in their swimsuits but we still had fun wading in the water, watching surfers, and building sand castles. Neither of the kids had any interest in collecting shells but were very into the waves. The weather turned out to be perfect and it was fun to see the kids’ excitement since the last time we were at a beach was when Tessa was 6 months old.

newport beach

newport beach

CA newport beach

After the beach, we went to Hop Doddy, which is a gourmet burger place that we had tried in Austin. If I had to compare it, it would be similar to Shake Shack in price and restaurant vibe but like 10x better than Shake Shack. I like Hop Doddy’s quality of meat, variety of burgers, the basic fries are very flavorful and they also have shakes which I’ve heard are delicious. Luckily for us, there are a few locations outside of Texas including  Southern California (the one we went to was in Tustin).

hop doddy classic burger

Because of all the rain this winter, the wildflowers are in full bloom and everything is more vibrant and lush than normal. It is gorgeous in Chino Hills with all the rolling hills and the highways lined with yellow and purple wildflowers. We wish every Saturday could be like this!

CA wildflower bloom

 

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

I usually struggle finding pants, skirts and dresses that are a good length for me (short girl problems ha, ha) I enjoyed this post about how to style a long coat for shorter females

A comprehensive list of ethical shops online

How gorgeous is this black dress?! I love the details on the sleeves.

blackdress bell sleeves

Today is my parents’ 38th anniversary! Here’s to many more to my amazing mom and dad 🙂

Stop now and do this stretch!

One of the most use body parts that we often forgot to stretch is our hands and forearms! Most everyone uses their hands all day whether it’s kids playing, writing at school, typing on a computer or phone, working, cooking, cleaning, driving, etc.

This stretch below is one of my most favorite stretches that instantly relieves any tension in the wrist and forearm. It only takes a few seconds but is crucial for good wrist health and flexibility. This stretch and other simple stretches such as wrist rotations can help prevent wrist fatigue, pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome or overuse.

Extend arm with fingers towards the ground. Use the opposite hand to gently pull fingers back towards your body. (Stop if you feel any pain!)wrist forearm stretchwrist forearm stretch

Extend arm with fingers pointed towards the sky. Use opposite hand to gently pull fingers back towards your body.

wrist forearm stretch

These stretches are so great for any repetitious action especially working on a computer or phone. Even after playing the piano, cleaning, washing dishes, knitting, or driving for a long time my hands, wrists and forearms can be tight or exhausted and I find it so beneficial to stretch them.

Other awesome stretches for the hands, wrists and forearm include wrist rolls, squeezing a tennis ball or stress ball and the prayer pose stretch.

Create

The main reason I started making jewelry a few years ago (before I started my Etsy shop) was because I could picture the jewelry I wanted that was my style but couldn’t find it in physical shops or online. I experimented with several different methods, designs, materials, suppliers, etc and through lots of trial and error and google, was able to design and create the pieces I was looking for. While my work needs a lot of practice and work, it makes me happy to be able to turn my vision into an actual product.

Here are a few new earrings I’ve been experimenting with – my first experiment with wire hoop earrings. The top pair has details of tiny gold geometric seed beads. The bottom pictures are similar design with a leftover herkimer diamond (from a necklace I made) paired with the same gold seed beads as the top pair of earrings. I’m pleasantly surprised with how they turned out and that all my tinkering and manipulating the wire turned out ok 😉

gold hoop earrings

gold hoop earrings

gold seed bead wire hoop earrings

gold hoop earrings

gold hoop earrings

gold seed bead wire hoop earrings herkimer diamond

 

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We’re headed to an NHL game tonight (Anaheim Ducks vs. Buffalo Sabres)! We didn’t realize it was St. Patrick’s Day but it’ll be a fun way to celebrate. This will be our 2nd hockey game – the first was in DC to see the Capitals and it was so fun!

We’d love to go back to Ireland one day! We were in Dublin for a few days when we moved back from Edinburgh and I’d love to see the Cliffs of Moher:

cliffsofmoher

Love this dainty horseshoe good luck charm necklace:

6 ways to get more from your workout

I’m excited to share some tips that can help all of us achieve our fitness and wellness goals. They are all great reminders of how to get the most out of a workout. My favorite part and something I always can improve on is making sure to fully stretch after exercising. We are members at 24 Hour Fitness and use their Kids Club as childcare while we’re there. I sometimes find myself rushed after a workout or fitness class to get back to the kids, other commitments, errands, etc. Thanks, Maurine Anderson for guest posting!

Want to get more out of your daily workout? Finding the motivation to get that daily workout in is hard enough as it is, so it’s good to know that there are a variety of techniques out there that you can use to make the most of your workouts. Here are 6 simple ways to get more out of every workout.

Eat a pre-workout snack.

Even if you like to work out first thing in the morning, your body is going to need some fuel first before hitting it hard. Enter: the pre-workout snack. The ideal pre-workout snack contains simple carbohydrates, which are absorbed quickly and offer quick energy, along with complex carbohydrates, which will sustain you throughout the duration of your workout. (Many say that a good pre-workout snack also includes protein, and while some protein helps, protein is ultimately much more important as part of your post-workout meal.) You should plan on eating your pre-workout snack 30 minutes to an hour before working out, as this article states. Some ideas for pre-workout snacks:

  • Whole wheat toast topped with fruit
  • Oatmeal topped with dried fruit
  • Greek yogurt topped with fruit
  • Fruit smoothie that includes oats
  • Cold brown rice topped with fruit
  • Banana slices and peanut butter

Warm up first.

Many people confuse warming up with stretching. Warming up involves doing a lighter version of the exercise you are about to engage in, at the beginning of your workout. If you’re about to go on a run, for example, warming up should involve fast walking or slow jogging to get your heart rate up. If you’re about to engage in a synergistic workout, jumping jacks make for a great warm up. You should warm up for about 5 to 10 minutes at the beginning of your workout, gradually increasing intensity throughout the course of the warm up. Doing so will increase blood flow, loosen the joints, and prepare the muscles for high intensity work.

Cool down and stretch afterward.

Cooling down and stretching are essential for preventing injury and aiding in muscle recovery. They can also help improve flexibility and range of motion. A good cool down is a lot like a warm up, only it involves gradually decreasing intensity and incorporating some stretching. Start your cool down by gradually decreasing the intensity of the exercise you are engaging in, and finish by stretching the muscles you worked. A cool down should be about 5 to 10 minutes long.

Don’t forget your recovery meal.

If you work out regularly, your post-workout recovery meal is perhaps the most important meal of the day. Your recovery meal should be rich in both protein and carbohydrates, and you should plan to eat it within two hours after a workout. (It’s also best to consume some carbs within 15 minutes after your workout to replenish your muscle glycogen supply.) Your recovery meal may also include some fat and fiber as well, as you’ll have more time after you work out to digest those things. Aim for a recovery meal that’s between 200 and 400 calories. Here are some examples:

  • Grilled chicken and mixed vegetables
  • Whole wheat toast and a vegetable omelette
  • Chocolate milk and some raw almonds
  • Whey or soy protein shake
  • Energy bar and fresh fruit

Get a massage.

Here’s a tip that you won’t need me to tell you twice. Getting a quick massage after a particularly strenuous workout can actually improve and speed up your post-workout recovery. Studies have shown that getting a post-workout massage reduces muscle inflammation and increases the number of mitochondria in muscle cells (which generate the energy your muscles need for recovery).

Go for a soak.

Here’s another tip you’ll like hearing—soaking in a warm bath or hot tub after your workout can also help you get the most out of your workout. The heat of the water helps increase your circulation and relax your muscles. The key with this, however, is to time it right. It’s best to wait for your heart rate to go back down before immersing yourself in hot water. You can read more tips on incorporating hydrotherapy into your workout regimen here.

Maurine Anderson originally hails from Washington, DC, but is now enjoying life out west in Salt Lake City. She is a professional writer and blogger who in her free time loves to create new cake recipes, travel, and practice her hand at photography. She tends to geek out over linguistics, cats, and all things Scandinavia. Check out more of her writing at MaurineDashney.com and find her on Instagram @maurinedashney.

More motivation and fitness tips from guest bloggers here

Favorite family activity: flashlight walks

One of our favorite things to do as a family is nightly walks. It’s great exercise and we’ve found a way that makes it enjoyable for the kids too.  When we first got married we would go on an evening walk usually on Sundays since it’s a more relaxing day and a nice way to start the week, talk and enjoy nature. When we lived in Virginia and I was pregnant with Brent we walked a ton since it was supposed to help induce healthy labor. Plus we also had Bruce and it was good exercise for him, and us. When Tessa was a newborn we continued to do our daily walks even though it was winter in Utah. It was fun to bundle up and get out of the house (we would push Tessa in her stroller that had a zipped winter cover).

When we lived in Texas, we still wanted to do our walk and since it was so hot, we usually wouldn’t go until the sun went down and we had the kids bring their mini flashlights which they absolutely love! It makes it fun for them especially if we’re going for a long walk and they’re in the stroller. We’ve still been doing our favorite family activity with the flashlights and it’s still great to stretch your legs at the end of the day, relax, breathe fresh air and talk together. If you’re looking for a way to walk more, get more exercise and feel refreshed, adopt our evening walk tradition! 🙂

favorite family activity evening flashlight walks

favorite family activity evening flashlight walks

[mini flashlights from the dollar store, we love our BOB Sport Utility Duallie double jogging Stroller from my parents and I always wear my nerdy runner’s vest similar to this one with a blinking bike light in the safety vest pocket]