LIFE

Wellness Wednesday: Tech Detox

Good Morning! Today’s post will be a wrap up about a wellness challenge I completed over the last 30 days. I stumbled upon the audiobook, How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30 Day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine Price. In this audiobook, it talks about the side effects of technology use and the recent discovery of how addicting technology has become. I really enjoyed this book because it literally gave you a task each day that was a step to break away from technology. It is aimed towards phones but I also used it as a way to spend less time on screens in general.

At first I did not think I had a problem with technology but the second she said we would be deleting social media apps from our phones I immediately in my mind denied I had a problem and became worked up about deleting social media apps.  Throughout the 30 days we were assigned small tasks to work on throughout the day and the following weeks such as tracking your phone usage with an app and then comparing the results to how much you thought you used your phone. Another thing we did was rearrange the way our apps were shown on our screen so that only useful apps appeared and you had to go looking for apps that made you lose track of time or start scrolling mindlessly. All of these tasks were leading up to taking a 24-48 hour break from all types of screens. I chose to do a 24 hour period from a Friday evening to Sunday Morning. During which time I cleaned and organized a large portion of my apartment and then spent the rest of my time enjoying the Harry Potter series.

Throughout this process of slowly “breaking up” with technology I have come to appreciate the simple things. For instance, I love reading books and I used to spend a full day of doing nothing but binge reading a good series. Then I went to college during the height of Netflix and Hulu binging and I do not think I read a single book for pleasure. Simply because I would instantly turn to technology to amuse myself. It also made me realize that if I want to truly make changes towards a more balanced, healthy lifestyle I need to stop relying on technology for so much and start paying attention to the world around me. I enjoyed spending time away from technology so I have a goal to take 24 hours off of all technology, minus phone calls, each week or at the very least every other week. It was fun to think of all the different things I could do with my time that I never seem to have time for because I spend all of my time at work on the computer and then at home on the computer and in between that time or during my “breaks” I would be on my phone.

Overall, I realized I definitely had a problem and am still working on expanding my hobbies and my entertainment to things outside of technology related activities. I would recommend you try a technology detox or at the very least download an app that tracks your usage in the background so you can get an accurate idea of how much time you spend on your phone, it may surprise you. Comment below how much time you think you spend on your phone or computer not related to a job.

fitness

Fit Friday: Barre Update

Hello and Happy Friday! Today’s post is going to be an update on my experience taking barre classes. I signed up for Barre classes at a local studio called Studio Barre when they were running a special. It was a 3-week new member unlimited class membership for $59 plus the cost of grip socks. I signed up in person and they were super helpful about talking me through all the options and asking me what my goals are. They even have a cute boutique in the lobby of the studio as well with workout gear including grip socks which is where I got mine.

I started taking classes that weekend and I definitely felt out of place my first class. I was lucky and there was another new student in class the same day so we shared the feeling of awkwardness. The instructor Mel got us set up with the equipment we would need for that class and explained what equipment you would need to grab every class. Once we had our equipment she asked us about our experience with Barre classes or lack thereof. Then she proceeded to explain what the fundamentals of Barre are. She explained that Barre is tiny, targeted movements that focused on one particular muscle to strengthen. She said the main movement of their Barre class is called a “tuck” which is where you squeeze your bellybutton in towards your hips and push your hips forward to align the spine and create a straight back. Simple enough, that move was easy for me to grasp after watching her demo. Then she moved onto explaining what the “seat” was which is the muscles right under your butt on the back of your thigh. Basically you use tiny movements and your mind-body connection to move the muscles in your “seat”. This one is harder to grasp for me because it is not as obvious as the other movements. You have to really focus on what part of your body is squeezing while keeping up with the tiny movements as well. I have taken 8 classes so far and I still feel that I have not fully grasped how to properly work your “seat”.

With that being said I have really enjoyed taking this Barre classes. We start with a warm-up that works your arms and shoulders and then move on to working thighs then seats and then butt and end with abs. I have not experienced a class that I did not shake or feel sore or want to quit in the middle of a movement. Throughout the whole workout, start to finish, you feel your muscles working and know you’re going to be sore. The workouts are difficult but low impact which causes less sweating and is easier on my joints. I still have four more classes to take but I do recommend you try at least 10 classes of Barre because it is a whole different type of workout. I always thought you had to be going 100% all out about to puke to be working out or exercising properly but this has shown me that is not the case.

The studio I attend is also a great community. After I attended my first class they sent me a hand written card welcoming me and offering assistance if I had any questions. Every instructor or front desk attendant knows everyone’s names and things about their life. This is the first place I actually feel a part of a community and not just another membership fee.

Have you ever tried Barre? If you have what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below and keep an eye out for more posts next week!

FOOD

Munchie Monday: Vegan Chopped

Hello and Happy Monday! This past week I set up the Vegan Chopped Challenge and had two of my friends each pull two random ingredients. The four ingredients they chose were mushrooms, peas, artichoke hearts, and peanut butter. The obvious choice was to make an Asian style rice dish with a peanut sauce but I thought that would be cheating since I have made that recipe several times before. I asked a few of my co-workers what they thought and they mostly recommended Asian style dishes as they would be the easiest. However, I took the next week to mull over what to do when I got curious about something. Many vegan cheese sauces use a base of cashew but people often swap out the cashews for other nuts. My question is could you make a vegan cheese sauce with a base of peanut butter? I decided to find out by creating a vegan cheesy vegetable rice dish.

The most complicated part of this “recipe” is making the cheese sauce and that is mostly blending things together. I purchased the ingredients for the recipe and another meal for the week which was very affordable. I believe I spent a total of $28 dollars for everything which means the rice dish would be even less than that. I purchased two russet potatoes, a bag of white onions, a bag of baby carrots, all natural smooth peanut butter, vegetable stock, brown rice, a can of artichoke hearts, frozen peas, and a carton of mushrooms. Below are the main ingredients I based the recipe off of.

I used the potatoes, carrots, onions, and peanut butter as the base of the sauce and simply played with the spices I put in. I used about half the potatoes, carrots, and onions with a fourth a cup of peanut butter. I added garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, salt, and pepper. At first, the peanut butter was overpowering the rest of the ingredients so I added more nutritional yeast, salt, and a little white miso paste. Eventually, it started to taste more like a cheese sauce but with a much stronger nutty undertaste than usual. I added it to some partially cooked rice with the peas and chopped artichoke hearts and mushrooms. I baked it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes to finish cooking all of it and then topped it with the leftover cheese.

I ate it for the first time reheated in the microwave and it was good. I enjoyed it and think it would work in a pinch if you don’t have cashews but I still think I prefer cashews as they have less of an impact on the final taste. Most people either use potatoes and carrots as a base or soaked cashews, not both but I like to combine them to add protein and healthy fats to the recipe. I think the taste of the recipe was not a problem and would work again but I always forget that vegan cheese sauce does not reheat like normal cheese. It is more of a dry consistency especially if you reheat it. If there was a way to reheat it with more of a realistic cheese consistency I think I would love it. Below is a picture of a serving I took for lunch and reheated.

Let me know what you would have made with mushrooms, peas, artichoke hearts, and peanut butter!

fitness

Fit Friday Update

Happy Fit Friday! This month I chose to do OrangeTheory as my new workout challenge. I did three classes in my first week and it was great. I went to the 5 am classes and I enjoyed them a lot. I like the structure of the courses because we get our heart rate up throughout the class and we complete strength exercises as well. When we row or do the strength exercises the coach walks around correcting people’s forms and offers advice on how to make the exercise do more for you. I did go into the Orange Zone each of the three classes and I left sore. The employees at my Orange Theory studio are all very friendly and encouraging. Below are my stats from my first week of classes.

This is the breakdown of calories burned during my first week of classes.
This is a bar graph of how many minutes I spent in each zone. The goal is to spend 12 or more minutes in the orange or red zone to burn the most calories.

I started to experience health problems the next two weeks where I had bouts of nausea, headaches, body aches, extreme fatigue, and acid reflux throughout the day. I would get up for my 5 am class and feel as though I was going to get sick so I would have to cancel. I did not think my symptoms would last longer than a day to a few days so I never canceled all my classes until the morning of which resulted in cancelation fees. Each time you cancel a class with less than 8 hours notice you get charged $12 and there are no exceptions as far as I know. I would say that is the only downside to OrangeTheory so far. I was hoping that my health would get better each day and when it did not I had to cancel and get charged the $12. I understand why because some more popular class times end up having waitlists and if you do not cancel with enough notice they cannot move someone off the waitlist to join in. However, the three 5am classes I attended did not even have half the maximum people the class could hold. I think it would be better if the policy would be there is a cancelation fee if you cancel with under 8 hours notice and the class has either a waitlist or is full. This month I have paid almost as much as my membership in cancelation fees simply because my body is going through some changes. I already paid for a membership and so to have to pay all of these fees when I already paid to attend the classes got frustrating.

The employees were still very caring and called a few times to check in and see if there was a way to help get me to attend more classes and fewer cancellations going forward. I am going to attempt to switch to later evening classes as my symptoms are their worst in the morning. They are also still willing to drop my second month’s membership to 4 classes a month versus unlimited as the challenge is just one month. I believe I will be able to come close to the 12 class goal by increasing my classes to four a week and using my second-month membership in the first week of March. While there was a little bit of disappointment I still love the classes and am excited to try to finish out this month.