May your Faith be Louder than The Objections of Others

Never pass up an opportunity to learn and grow no matter how much pressure you get to stay a bystander. I was nervous to compete in my first powerlifting competition. I had many people try to put down my dream and tell me I was making a rash decision. They told me if I was serious about my training I would have paid a trainer to teach me or paid 150 dollars a month for some ritzy gym.

What they don’t know is I have been serious about weight lifting for over two years now. The objections, “you could really hurt yourself” or “wow you must emasculate so many guys” simply became background noise to me. Some oppositions even fueled my preparation and helped me train stronger and smarter because I wanted to prove them oh-so-wrong.

It also helps having spent years networking online building my online turned real life fitfam. These people have become a wealth of knowledge throughout my fitness journey. They have helped me find strength plans online or have given me weights, splits and reps to work with to meet my goals.

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My first meet was the Shenandoah Open Raw Bench Press-Deadlift Championship. Although I only competed on one lift and it was unsanctioned it was a great way to get the feel for a meet. I was shooting for a PR at the meet and I went in and did exactly what I was hoping for. I lost weight for the meet as I expected to do and competed at the 123 lb. weight class but ended up weighing in at 120 lbs. Even though I weighed a little less than I wanted to I was still able to pull 285 lbs. as my final attempt for a new deadlift PR!

The meet also allowed me to key in my training and really focus on improving my deadlift, form, grip and strength. At my next meet I plan to complete a full powerlifting meet competing on deadlift, squat and bench. My bench and squat need a lot of work but I know if I work hard and train properly I will be amazed at the results.

My Deadlift Warm-Up at the Meet:

  • 138 lbs. X 8
  • 155 lbs. X 5
  • 185 lbs. X 3
  • 205 lbs. X 1

Deadlift Final Attempts:

  • 1st attempt: 235 lbs. completed
  • 2nd attempt: 255 lbs. completed
  • 3rd attempt: 285 lbs. completed
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  • (Me powering through 285 lbs.)

That’s It Zesty Bars Review

I have always loved the That’s It bars for their simplicity. They never add extra sugar and are sweetened only by fruit. They make an amazing pre-workout snack to have before working out because they are portable quick to digest carbs. I always carry them around with me as a pick me up before I lift. They have no preservatives and are simply just fruit and spices.
Apples & Cinnamon
This is my favorite out of the Zesty product line. It tastes just like fall and makes me feel like I’m cozying up by a fire with a glass of mulled cider.

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Apple + Mango & Chili
This bar has a kick to it. If you are sensitive to spice this might not suit you but I found it to be refreshingly different. If you love dried mangos this could be your new favorite energy bar.

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Apple + Pear & Ginger
This had an overwhelming ginger flavor. It was not equally balanced with the pear and apple. It was a bit gritty as well. This wasn’t completely terrible but also not my favorite.

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Overall I would recommend these bars to anyone looking for an easy way to get more fruit into their diet or looking for convenient healthy carbs. If you sign up for their mailing list you can get 15% off today at http://www.thatsitfruit.com/.

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1-Minute S’mores Pizookie

This ginormous pizookie is the answer to your prayers. You’ll be completely in awe that this has 34 grams of protein. I was attempting to make this into a bowl cake but I doubled the normal amount of mix and protein because I needed the calories. The bowl I used as a lot bigger so the result was an awesome huge and fluffy cake cookie! Pretty awesome mistake if you ask me. It was so big that it is definitely shareable or if that’s not your style I wouldn’t judge ya!😉

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Ingredients in 1-Minute S’mores Chocolate Protein Pizookie:
-1 serving Devils food cake mix
-1 scoop ON birthday whey
-1/2 serving S’mores Halo Top
-Drizzle of low cal chocolate syrup
-1 tsp. baking power
-1 egg white
-1 spoonful of plain Greek yogurt

Directions:
-Spray huge bowl with Pam
-Microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds
-Top with Halo Top and chocolate syrup

Macros: Fat (g): Carb (g): Protein (g): Calories:
1 Cake with Ice Cream 6 g 48 g 34 g 382

*Makes One Serving, Includes Halo Top, and whole GIANT cookie*

Apple Butter Turkey Breakfast Sausage

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Got in the fall mood and made apple butter cinnamon turkey sausage. This is a great way to use up that extra apple butter. They also freeze nicely and make a great breakfast side.

Ingredients:
-1 pound ground turkey 93/7
-1 tsp. Cinnamon
-1 tsp. Garlic powder
-2 tbsp. Kyvan apple butter
-1 cup finely diced green apples
-1 tsp. coconut oil

Directions:
-Heat a skillet with Pam and add the finely diced green apples, add the coconut oil and cinnamon and half of the apple butter
-Cook on low to medium heat until apples are browned
-Add the turkey to a medium bowl and the heated apples
-Mix together and add any of the seasoning leftover and the rest of the Apple butter
-Flatten the mixture into 16 patties and cook them on a greased skillet but do not over crowd the pan
-Serve with scrambled eggs or as the meat on a homemade sausage Egg McMuffin

Macros: Fat (g): Carb (g): Protein (g): Calories:
Macros for 1 Turkey Patty: 2.4g 2.3g 5.6g 52
Macros for All: 37.6g 37.3g 89.4g 840

*Makes 16 Patties*

1 Minute Protein Birthday Bowl Cake

This is the BEST way to cap-off your macros at the end of the day. Feel free to mix it up using different cake mixes, protein powders and low-fat ice creams. Let me know if you try other combos! Also make sure you are using A BOWL a mug will not fit all this goodness!

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Birthday Bowl Cake Ingredients:
-1/2 serving Funfetti cake mix
-1/2 scoop Optimum Nutrition Birthday Cake Whey
-1/2 serving vanilla bean Halo Top
-1 tsp. baking power
-1 egg white
-1 spoonful of plain Greek yogurt
-Sprinkles for on top

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Directions:
-Spray medium glass bowl with Pam spray
-Mix together all ingredients but the Halo Top and Sprinkles
-Put mixture into sprayed bowl
-Microwave for around 1 minute, 30 seconds
-Top with Halo Top and Sprinkles

Macros: Fat (g): Carb (g): Protein (g): Calories:
1 Cake with Ice Cream 2 g 25 g 19 g 194

*Makes One Serving*

Pumpkin Spice Product Do’s & Don’ts

Are you looking for a list of which pumpkin products to buy and which to dodge?

Here is a pretty solid break down of the pumpkin products I’ve tried so far and my thoughts about them as described by my real life gym analogies. The pumpkin products I like are listed from most desirable to least and the ones to skip are listed in order of most disappointing first.

Freely conquer these like you conquer the stairs pre-leg day:

  • Slow Churned Pumpkin Patch from Edy’s:
    • Serving ½ cup, Calories: 90 (1.5g F/ 18g C/ 2g P)
    • Considering the low calorie nature of this ice cream it is still super creamy and delicious. I kind of wish it had chunks but I love the flavor so much that it doesn’t really phase me. This is my favorite in a waffle cone!
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  • Petite Pumpkin Spice Cookies by Trader Joe’s:
    • These cookies are pumpkin shortbread cookies dipped in a vanilla yogurt topping with festive sprinkles. They are a cross between: shortbread, Keebler frosted animal cookies and pumpkin pie ginger snaps. (Is that a thing?) They are so good that I had to portion them out into mini serving size bags for portion control.
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  • Pumpkin Pie Gelato by Talenti
    • Serving ½ a cup, Calories: 220 (11g F/ 30g C/ 3g P)
    • This gelato is super rich and pumpkin spice-y. It has little chunks of pie crust throughout but not nearly enough to make it strides better than the slow churned Edy’s version. I really love this gelato but I could easily replace it for the more macro-friendly Edy’s.
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  • Pumpkin Puffins Cereal by Barbara’s
    • Awesome snack and finger food! These definitely taste like pumpkin but could have a little bit more of the spices involved. They are a good volume food too because you can have a lot of them for little calories and not much sugar.
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  • Pumpkin Spice Cheerios by General Mills
    • This probably has the best pumpkin flavor out of the cereals I’ve tried. My one lament is that they get soggy in milk fast.
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  • Pumpkin Spice Yogurt by Noosa
    • I really like this rich and creamy yogurt. The pumpkin ribbon in the container just screams fall. It was not really as sweet as I imagined it to be but is perfect when you add just a bit of honey.
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  • Pumpkin Spice Yogurt by Oh My Yog!
    • I love the Oh My Yog! line so I had to try this flavor. The bottom has an oasis of ooey-gooey pumpkin filling. This yogurt is awesome and even better topped with walnuts. I ranked this under the Noosa because it is not as creamy.
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  • Pumpkin Spice Protein Cookie by Lenny & Larry’s
    • When you heat up this cookie in the microwave for 12 seconds it tastes just like pumpkin bread. I ranked it low because it is expensive, each cookie is 2 servings and they are not an everyday treat.
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Swerve like you swerve that Gym Creep that tells you that you go deep on your squat:

  • Pumpkin Nog by Silk
    • This was honestly the biggest disappointment ever. The packaging is so misleading. When I picked it up at the store I was so excited to try it. I pictured what I would taste to be the creaminess of eggnog with a hint of pumpkin spice but when I poured this into a cup I was left with tasteless but thick almond milk. Sure it was orange but where was the pumpkin flavor? I even tried this hot and continued to be less and less impressed. Swerve this like the plague.
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  • Pumpkin Spice Cereal by Special K
    • Don’t even get me started on “Pumpkin Spice” Special K. I tried it and sure it tasted like cinnamon, ginger and maybe even nutmeg but not pumpkin at all. They did not even bother to make the cereal orange and nowhere in the ingredients is the word “pumpkin”. Kick this fraud to the side.
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  • Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows from Kraft
    • Hey world, why would I need these? I tried these because I got them as a gift. I know some people like chocolate and pumpkin but putting these in hot cocoa felt downright wrong. Putting them in S’mores felt like a mistake. After having them sit on my shelf for almost a year I tried one on its own and decided to retire them to the trash.
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  • Pumpkin Mini Muffins Lil’ Bites
    • I tried these at a training event and was sorry I even picked them up. They are little sponges disguised as muffins. The pumpkin flavor also wasn’t there for me. NEXT.
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  • Pumpkin Spice Quest Bar
    • This has a white-chocolate-like orange colored topping all over the bar. It is still a little too chewy for me. I would assume it is a nice change from the basic Quest Bars but I do not think I could make it through a whole box of these without getting bored or losing a tooth. (They are so hard!)
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  • Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramels from Trader Joe’s
    • These are not bad they are just too strange to be my favorite. I rarely ever crave pumpkin and chocolate together but if you do you’d LOVE these! They have a soft caramel pumpkin center.
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Have you ever had a pumpkin product that was a major let down? What is your favorite pumpkin spice item you’ve tried? Was it one of mine or was it different?

Keep it pumpkin-spicy,

Lauren xo

Sneak Micronutrients into your Diet

It is important to maintain a steady intake of micronutrients in your diet regardless of if you are eating in a deficit, surplus or at maintenance. Macronutrients consist of fat, carbs and proteins while micronutrients are only necessary in tiny amounts. Micronutrients are critical for your body to function properly. They can be taken in capsules but yield significant benefits when eaten in their raw form as fruits and vegetables. Below are easy ways to sneak micronutrients into your diet everyday!

1. Add roasted sweet potatoes as a side to your morning eggs

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2. Roast massive amounts of veggies ahead of time and eat them throughout the week
3. Roast your veggies with something mild like lemon pepper so that you can easily add them to any dish

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4. Mix up your veggies weekly so you don’t get bored & try some of my favorite combinations

  • a. Brussels sprouts, cut up butternut squash and cranberries is a delicious fall combo
  • b. Roasted asparagus or roasted green beans are a go to because they go with basically anything
  • c. Roasted butternut squash baked with Truvia brown sugar, spray butter and cinnamon is a dieters dream “dessert”

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5. Always add fresh or frozen fruit on top of protein pancakes, waffles or French toast to add exciting texture, flavor and fiber!

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6. Bag portions of washed berries ahead of time so you can easily add them as a topping for yogurt, cereal and more

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7. Add a nutrient blast to your smoothie by adding some spinach (for longer shelf life you can freeze fresh spinach in an ice cube tray for perfectly portioned spinach)

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8. Make spaghetti squash at the beginning of the week so you can throw some sauce and protein on it and voila virtually carb free spaghetti!

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9. Substitute raw vegetables like carrots or pepper slices for crackers when you can and serve with hummus, guacamole or homemade yogurt dip

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10. Always have frozen vegetables on hand to use when you are in a pinch

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11. Pack a small salad to eat before your lunch this can include around 50g of meat of your choice or some sort of vegetable protein

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12. Make “nana icecream” just add frozen bananas to the food processor and whatever your heart desires

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What is your favorite way to add micronutrients into your diet? How do you sneak fruits and veggies into a picky eaters pallet? Comment to let me know!

In good health,

Lauren xo