This week in my kitchen…

This week I tried a bunch of new recipes at home! I love trying things I find on Pinterest & tweaking them to make them healthier. I rarely measure out or write down my recipes, so I am vaguely sharing. A lot of times I just see a picture of food and it helps me come up with something from what I already have at home. I always have tons of produce so that helps.

If you are needing some ideas for breakfast here are a few that I like:

Nature’s Path Organic Waffles (choose any of their varieties – chia, honey/whole grain, flax, etc). I like to top the waffle with Peanut or Almond butter (read labels! The ONLY ingredient should be the nut itself. look in the natural/organic section of your grocery. Second best option is one with the nuts + salt only) I also often add a tiny bit of raw honey because it can’t help fight off germs in your system. Another option is topping your waffle with Ricotta cheese. Then you can also add fruit or a salt free spice mix on top of the ricotta. **Don’t put syrup on your waffles! They are already made with (healthy) carbs, lets not ruin it but soaking it in sugar!

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Loaded up scrambled eggs. I usually crack 2 eggs in a bowl (lightly coated in olive oil) and add whatever veggies I want, scramble them up, and then microwave until cooked through. So easy. I often add: spinach, tomato, jalapeños, onion, avocado, etc. Make it however you like!

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Oatmeal Smoothie. I tried this recipe for the first time today actually. It was like dessert. I’m not a huge oatmeal fan, so this was a way for me to get in some oats. I may only do this one once a week or so. The carbs can add up so be careful, it would be good on a day when you have an intense workout day.

Here is the original recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/851771/oatmeal-smoothies

I omitted the ice. I used oikos organic plain fat free greek yogurt. I used unsweetened Almond milk, instead of coconut water (I only added a small amount that was needed, not a whole cup). I also added a few dark chocolate chips 🙂 Ok. So maybe it was dessert. But it is Sunday!!

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Here are some other things I made this week:

Salmon Salad. I buy a big bag of frozen WILD caught Salmon. Cook it as directed. I usually wrap it in aluminum foil to cook and sprinkle a salt free spice mix on top + red pepper. I like spicy 🙂 I put the cooked salmon in a bowl and stir with a fork to get it broken up (like shredded chicken). Then I add greek yogurt, fresh or frozen dill, about 2 teaspoons of mustard, a little chopped onion, some chopped tomato & avocado, and a splash of lime juice. I LOVE this recipe. Sorry I don’t have measurements, but play around with it. You can always add more if needed. I often eat it plain, or on a slice of Eziekiel 4:9 bread, or in a wheat pita.

P.S. If you are not a fan of salmon, or any fish, this is a GOOD recipe to sneak some healthy fish in your life! Also, try making tacos with tilapia!

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Egg/Asparagus dish. This is SO good and SO easy to make. Just eggs, asparagus, pepper, olive oil, and parmesan cheese (although I left out the cheese and it was still amazing!) Here is the link to the recipe I used: http://www.prevention.com/food/cook/asparagus-recipes-easy-ways-cook-asparagus

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Turkey Burgers. Super simple. I just added chopped onion and spinach to ground turkey meat along with my salt free spice mix. Then patted out and cooked in a skillet. I served it with purple sweet potato chunks that I tossed in olive oil + tiny bit of salt + pepper. Bake at 430-440 degrees for 15 min on each side (On a baking sheet lined in aluminum foil).

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Stuffed Bell Peppers. Here is the link that I used for general cooking info to cook the peppers: http://greaterdc.wholefoodsmarketcooking.com/recipes/11795_roasted_bell_peppers_stuffed_with_quinoa

I just used ingredients that I had on hand. I first cooked ground turkey in a skillet then mixed with chopped onion, parsley, carrot, jalapeño, tomato, spinach, and shredded mozzarella. Then cooked as directed. Use whatever you want!

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Hope these recipes help anyone who is stuck in a food rut! Let me know if you ever have questions about certain dishes, recipes, or anything! Play around in the kitchen. Also read up on what foods do what for your body! A lot of my weight loss involved getting in foods that my body NEEDED to burn fat, build muscle, protect joints, recover, build immune system, and keep in balance.

Happy Sunday! I took my first REAL yoga class today. It was a 2 hour class!! I was kinda nervous, but actually did really well for a first timer apparently! My teacher (she’s legit & learned from a hindu woman who was very immersed in the yoga world), even asked if I was a dancer/gymnast. I have kept so much flexibility from gymnastics when I was little. And I dance around my apartment on a daily basis 🙂 I even got a few of the arm stands/crows position/handstand/whatever you call those crazy balance things. NEVER let fear hold you back from trying things! I am now making this yoga class a part of my regular Sunday routine! Perfect workout for a Sabbath day. 

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It’s never too late, or too early, to be whoever you want to be.

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. — F. Scott Fitzgerald

Happy (almost) New Year! I have never been one to set goals or make “resolutions” for the new year, or at any point at all, until now. 2012 taught me the importance of goals and I have seen so many great results!! I think what held me back before was fear of failure. I mentioned before that letting go of fears was one life-changing thing that I did this year. I cannot stress it enough… It has rocked my world. The less room that fear takes up in your life, the more room for pure joy and excitement.

Now that I set goals in my life, all those things I wished would happen for years, are actually happening. Challenge yourself! I was never competitive with myself until this year. Now I know what a strength it is!!

I have goals in all areas of my life for 2013. I encourage you to make some of your own. I am working on generosity. It is something I have struggled with in many areas. I also have big and small fitness goals.. from increasing muscle endurance for pushups (they’re not easy for me!) to lowering my body fat by another 5-7%. I am constantly learning to embrace who God made me to be rather than to try to be anyone else! This media filled, superficially focused world is tough. I have a passion for ALL things beautiful… not only the breath-taking things God made, but also fashion & trends & all things expensive! I am working on self control and moderation 🙂 God wants us to have all kinds of blessings in our life, but we must also reflect wisdom with what we are given!

I am also buckling down for the next 2 months to finish up my studies and get my PT certification and nutrition specialization. I am so excited for this part of my life and can’t wait to share more of the journey in hopes that it will inspire you!

I am never good at keeping up with blogs often.. but mainly because I only write when I am really inspired to. So bear with me on that! May you all grasp on to the strength to become who you always desired to be. Happy 2013!! Let’s kill it!

Tips for 2013:

Ladies: Do NOT be afraid to train like the men! You won’t bulk up from lifting weights.  It will actually help you burn way more fat!

Guys: Read “Wild at Heart” an inspiring book that will teach you so much about yourself that you didn’t even realize was true. It will impact all aspects of your life!

Ladies: Read “Captivating” It changed my life!  It affected my confidence, my beauty, my relationships, and my passion!

Everybody: Read “Mastering Your Metabolism”  to learn more about Nutrition and the false advertising of “health” food in the world today.

If you are looking for inspiration, a new gym, workout buddies, stress relief, or a place to socialize… Come visit Results Fitness! I promise, you’ll love it. The first class is free! 

http://resultsfitness.me

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My Journey to Health

I am a little buzzed off of this endorphin-high right now, so pardon my enthusiasm. I just took a kick-ass spin/core/stretch class at Results Fitness Nashville (only THE best).

On the way home I was realizing how it is officially holiday season already. Which makes everyone all sentimental and all that ooey-gooey stuff that I totally feel too. I was thinking about how the best gift I am going to have this holiday season is health.

A year ago I moved into my current apartment, began learning a lot about nutrition, and began “training” myself. I was greatly encouraged by a friend who was studying personal training. I worked out for hours a day. I started eating strategic meals, focusing on what specific foods and nutrients my body NEEDED to recover and perform. I then found a gym that has inspired me 10 times more. They have kicked my butt, changed my body, & encouraged my passion.

One extremely important point is that I was never aiming for skinny or a certain weight. My goal is health. I  was careful along the way to never starve my body or over-work it. That wont give you health. My favorite foods are chocolate & tex-mex/southwestern. I still eat those all of the time! But I cook at home with whole, organic foods and just have about 1 oz of dark chocolate. 🙂

A year ago, I was at my heaviest weight of my life, that I can recall. I felt beautiful, and I was beautiful. I have always loved having curves and have no desire to be thin, but I knew I wasn’t my healthiest. Now, I am an ATHLETE. I was the girl who skipped PE in high school & wore very unflattering clothes haha. Now, fitness is fun for me. Before, I was scared to run, honestly, but now its therapeutic! I am constantly challenging myself, which was never part of my personality before.

I decided that in 2012 I was not going to let fear have any hold on my life. THIS WAS THE BEST DECISION I HAVE MADE in my 24 years (Ok, following Jesus as the ultimate best!). At this point, I am nearly fearless. Which makes life so much more peaceful & joyful. It is easier to discover new passions!

I also made this a year of “self-care” in ALL aspects of health. I make sure I get great rest. I take time for ME. That has become a necessity. I can’t tell you how important it is to sloowww down your schedule. I am putting my Trust in Jesus & my spiritual growth is a top priority. I am learning new things. I spend time with friends & family. My family has been so greatly blessed this year. We have never been closer. I am so grateful for the things we have learned this year. Most importantly that family is there to support you.

I hope that others can be inspired to pursue things that they have wanted to do for years. I prayed for probably 10 years that God would be my strength & teach me the discipline to get healthy. His timing has been PERFECT. His blessings have been unbelievable. I have been gifted with so many wonderful people and things in my life that got me here. I am so grateful!

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….Now I will got rinse off this sweat I’ve been sitting in. ew. 🙂

Meet Me.

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My name is Leigh. This is what I currently look like. I say currently because I have changed a lot over the past 6 months to a year. I lost about 30 pounds, went from very dark brown hair that I had all through college, back to my natural dirty blonde, then cut off 8 inches of hair!

I have a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee (Go VOLS), but due to my indecisiveness and pickiness about jobs, I currently work as a nanny & part-time in a gym daycare nearby. Obviously I love kids. I interact with mommies & kiddos more than people my age. They teach me a lot! I actually got into Social Work because of the beauty I found in adoption.

My plans for this blog are to document so many of the beauties I am discovering. I am constantly discovering new passions. The biggest one I have discovered this year is health. I have become so passionate about nutrition and exercise, that I am now looking into becoming a certified trainer and nutrition specialist. I will update you on that journey along the way!

I am also very passionate about culture – I love learning new things, tasting new foods, and experiencing the art of cultures around the world. I love fashion. I am a shopaholic. I think beauty can be expressed in your home, your clothes, your food, and anywhere imaginable. I love to cook. I love to explore. I love being active. I love wine.

This year I decided to let go of fear. It has been the best decision of my life! I am loving all of the new things I am learning and can’t wait to start sharing more! I plan to alternate between topics of health/fitness, recipes, life lessons, good finds, and whatever inspires me at the time! I would love to hear feedback if you have questions, or have any topics you ever want me to talk about. That is, if anyone ever reads this 🙂

“Sometimes the most ordinary things can be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people.” -The Lucky One (Nicholas Sparks)

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