Foodie Friday!!

Hello all!

Alright, as you may already know me and Megan from "from flab to fab" are going to be linking up to do Foodie Fridays every Friday. So what is Foodie Friday? It is the day where Megan and I share our delicious, clean recipes with you all. You can see Megan's Foodie Friday recipe HERE.
 Without  further ado, I hope you enjoy this week's recipe!

So what is the theme this week? Chicken! And, what better way to kick it off than with some kickin chicken marinades.I'm obsessed with marinades and rubs! They are amazingly versatile and with just a few tweaks, you can change a marinade to fit any occasion or any side dish. I thought that I would give you two of my favorite really easy marinades to try out where one is pretty set in stone and the other is a very basic marinade guideline for you to tweak and make it fit your specific tastes. Here we go!

Italian Chicken Marinade

This marinade is amazing, easy, versatile, and a life saver when you are in a time crunch.

As you can see I need to make some more. :) Yes, this is a dry mixture which is awesome because you can just make a bunch of it and just store it away in a tight container until you are ready to use it. Plus, it is made from ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard. Awesome, right?! Okay, here is what you will need:

1 TBS garlic powder                                                                    1/4 tsp thyme
1 TBS onion powder                                                                    1 tsp basil
1 TBS white sugar (you can also use stevia for this)                       1 tsp parsley
2 TBS oregano                                                                             1/4 tsp celery salt  
1 tsp ground black pepper

Place all of your ingredients in your air tight container, close the lid, and shake to mix everything together. It's as easy as that! Here is what it looks like all mixed up:

Mmm. It smells amazing! When you are ready to use it this is what you need:

2 TBS of your dry mix
2 TBS water
1/4 cup white vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil (you can also use canola oil if you prefer it)

Whisk it all together and, Voila! Italian Marinade. This marinade will marinade 4-6 medium sized chicken breasts or 8-10 breast tenders. What's even better about this mix? It doubles as an Italian dressing! It is so light and fresh that it goes great over spinach or romaine. This mixture could also, in theory, be used as a rub for grilled chicken as a dry mixture. I haven't tried this yet, but if you wish to try go ahead and leave me a comment about how it turns out. :)

Ok, next!

Basic Kickin' Chicken Marinade

This one is amazing because it works with just about any person's tastes. The ingredients are interchangeable and leave room for your own exploration and creativity. What does this mean? I'll show you...here is your recipe:

1-2 TBS vinegar
2-3 TBS Mrs. Dash (any kind, or you can use dried herbs of your choosing)
1-2 TBS mustard
1-2 tsp garlic or onion powder (this is totally optional)
1/4 olive oil
Sea salt and Ground pepper to taste

So now you can see what I meant by basic. This recipe is great because whenever I'm feeling bored with food and want to change it up, I can just use this guide to create my own flavor according to what I'm craving. For example, here are some options I like:

Depending on what flavor you want, you could use any one of these. If you have more in mind, go ahead and try them or leave me a comment telling me what kind I missed. For a smokey flavor, try malt vinegar. For a crisp flavor try apple cider or red wine vinegar. I have also tried sparkling white and red wines instead of vinegar. Yummm.

I personally love using Dijon or Honey Dijon mustard in this marinade, but there are endless options for what mustard to use. 

I don't have them pictured, but the people who make the original Mrs. Dash also have other Mrs. Dash spice combinations. Other than the original, I enjoy the Caribbean Mrs. Dash blend and the Tomato Basil Mrs.Dash blend. 

As soon as you decide what flavor combination to try, put all your ingredients in a big plastic bag, seal it, and shake to mix everything. Add your chicken, seal, and shake again to coat all the meat. Then let your bag sit for roughly 3 hours or longer if you wish. Because of the mustard and vinegar, you can also freeze this marinade for 2 weeks! Just thaw when you need it. :) This marinade is also good for 4-6 chicken breasts or 8-10 strips.

I know this was long, but hopefully now you have some inspiration to go cook a chicken masterpiece of your own! If you try any flavor combinations, I didn't mention or have not tried, leave me a comment about them and I will try it out. Also, if you liked these recipes and want to see more marinades, dressings, or packaged spice mixes made from scratch, let me know what you want to see and I will attempt to recreate your store bought must-haves with a clean twist.

Thank you guys for reading!

buh bye!

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P.S. I'm now on bloglovin! :D 
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The long ride

Hello all!

I figured that I haven't really introduced you guys to what my actual weight loss journey has been like. I've been posting and I feel like I haven't really introduced myself which is kind of the basis for this blog. So here we go...

When I was young, I was pretty thin and always super tan for some reason (Haha!). Then when I started to become a teenager, I found out that I had Hashimoto's disease. For those of you who don't know, it is a form of thyroidism. There is Hypo and Hyperthyroidism (underactive and overactive) and there is also Hashimotos disease and Graves disease (underactive and overactive) basically my body attacks my thyroid because it doesn't work correctly and my body thinks its a foreign object. To the left is a comparison:

From the point when I was about 12 I started to gain weight (some because of medication I had to take, some from my disease, and some from diet. We have a German family. German cooking). Rapidly. And I kept gaining up until high school where I hit 215lbs at the time of my graduation. After I got into college I gained more until I hit my max at 234lbs. I was so unhappy. I wasn't taking care of my body. I wasn't making good relationships. In general, it wasn't a good time in my life.

Around this time I went to the doctor and, thanks to modern medicine, I drop down to 204lbs. "Wow! This is great!" I thought. So I kept taking the medication at the intervals I was allowed and I ended up dropping to 197lbs. The first time I had been under 200lbs since the beginning of high school! I was so excited! I thought this was the end of my troubles. I was finally in a good relationship and I was losing weight.

Then I did something stupid...

Long story short, I tore my ulnar collateral ligament in my left thumb doing the splits. I had to have surgery the week before Christmas and this left me without a left hand for about three months. I had already gained some weight back before this, but then my surgery stunted me and gained back up to 212lbs. 

Well I already told about how Megan was my inspiration to get healthy. On December 13, 2012 I had surgery on my hand and on February 27, 2013 my surgeon released me from his care. Then, at the beginning of May, I started my fitness journey. My three month mark is fast approaching and I am amazed with what my body has accomplished. What I have accomplished. A few days ago I weighed myself and I was at 179.6lbs!* I haven't been under 180lbs since middle school! I am completely changed. I've said it once and I will say it a million times, I am never going back. I have come too far and feel way too good to turn back now. The skies' the limit!

So that's me so far. I hope you stay tuned to see me in the future. C:

buh bye!

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*NOTE: I know my progress pictures say 182. Explanation: I weighed myself a few days before those pictures and, instead of weighing myself that day, I just took the number I already knew. I weighed myself the next morning and I was actually at 179.6.


My Plan...

Hello all!

As some of you may know, I posted some of my progress pictures yesterday. As a result, I got an overwhelming response from people asking me what I am doing to lose and keep off the weight. As I have said before, there is no magic or miracle involved in what I'm doing. There should be no mystery to the whole weight loss thing and it is not just one thing you can do. It is a lifestyle choice.

Before I go any further, I should put the disclaimer on this that I am NOT a doctor or a nutritionist and I am not a trainer. Every body is different and mine is no exception. So though this works for me, you may have to tweak things for it to fit you, if you so choose to do anything. 

Now that is out of the way, I feel that I should start out with my workout. I have been using the workout calendar from blogilates.com. This website is run and updated by a pilates instructor named Cassey Ho. She posts a free calendar every month with what exercises to do every day and she posts her workouts on youtube. So I usually just make a playlist of videos to do everyday and just do them. Her attitude is great and her personality is so infectious. I never get bored with her workouts and she kicks my butt. I love it! You can visit her website here. I figured I would also save you some time and post this month's workout calendar:

Because it is summer, I have also decided to add in some biking during the week or other forms of cardio during the week. This is inspired by lovemeganalexis and also the fact that since school is over and I'm not dancing anymore on a daily basis, my largest source of cardio is gone.

Ok. Now that the easiest part is over (and yes that is the easiest part to explain) it is time to talk about clean eating. What the heck is it? Well in the simplest terms it means you are trying to get as close to the food source as possible. This is really difficult to do in this day and age sometimes as many things are very processed before they hit store shelves. So, needless to say, the food I end up buying goes through a vigorous test before it ends up in my cart. Here are the criteria that my food has to meet before I eat:

  • I have to be able to read most everything that is on the label: Honestly this is a little vague for my liking, but it is the simplest way I can state it outright. If you're like me, you can read everything on the label, but that doesn't mean you can understand what all of it is. So, I have to be able to read and understand what exactly is in the food I am buying based on the label. If I don't understand, I can usually search really quick for what it is.
  • I can't have any artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, msg (monosodium glutamate), artificial preservatives (especially benzoate preservatives like BHT, BHA,...etc) and I have to try to stay away from genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). This is really difficult because companies are not required to list any GMOs that might be in their products. Thankfully, I have an app called "fooducate." It scans barcodes and tells you if there are artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives, and GMOs! It is very handy and I recommend it to everyone.
  • If I can make it, I try to do so (I say this because it does not always turn out the way I want it especially on the first try. I tried to make mayo and the first time, i failed miserably). So I make my own Italian dressing, marinades, soups, sometimes bread...etc. They usually turn out better than store bought things. It goes without saying that there are some things that are non-negotiables because of convenience. Like OJ. I can't live without it and juicing oranges every morning is exhausting (and now mayo. I've given up). But I try to stay away from too many things like that.
  • All-in-all everything I eat must be minimally processed (the fooducate app also tells if something is highly processed. Awesome, right? I know).
  • I also try (notice I say try because it doesn't always happen) to eat roughly six meals a day. I do eat every 2-3 hours.
  • I also have a cheat day once a week. This is important. You should not be afraid of eating. It is fun and necessary for life. If you allow yourself a cheat meal or some chocolate every now and then, it can jump start your metabolism and keep you from going crazy. 
This is all daunting. I know. To see it written out is scary to me too, but the first step is the hardest. After you take it, everything eventually becomes second nature and you just do it. It becomes a chore no more. I started out by using Cassey's 90 day meal plan. Note that I used it as a starting point and I do not follow it exactly. Because every body is different and every life is different (I will say it till I'm blue in the face). I have changed small things to fit my own life and my own tastes. :) If you would like to start with that, I have provided the link below:

*you will have to download the plan. It is an excel spreadsheet and has multiple pages. I just printed it out and hung it on my fridge to refer to C:*

I honestly do not count calories. I tried it. It is exhausting and I hated every minute of it. AND I didn't see any results. I am more free and happy with myself. I see more results and it doesn't feel like work. It just feels like life. Thus why it is a lifestyle choice NOT a diet. 

I know I wrote a lot, but there still probably a million questions floating around out there. So if you have any, please do not hesitate to comment and ask me. I will answer you as soon as I can and to the best of my ability. Plus it is always great to hear from people.

Okay, now that all of that is written out I challenge you to go out and do it! If you want it, you gotta do it and remember the first step is the hardest. If you take it, you are already one step ahead of all those couch potatoes. Drink more water, eat more veggies, and change your life! 

buh bye for now!

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It's Marvelous Monday!!

Hi Everyone!

It is Monday once again and I thought that since in my last post I talked a little about my journey and what led me to starting this blog, I thought I should talk about what who inspired me to start this journey in the first place.

So let's start by saying my weight has always been fluctuating. It has always been an issue and in the last few years. it has been a crazy ride. Just a few months ago in December of 2012 I tore a ligament in my hand and had to have surgery. Around this same time this woman I knew from high school started talking about changing her life around. 

While I was going through physical therapy, I watched as she bravely took the first steps towards changing her body and I saw how she actually started changing. I saw her turn her body and life around in the simple things she was doing and it made me believe I could do it too! And so when I finished physical therapy, I made the change because of the inspiration her progress gave me. And I will never be turning back.

So who is this wonderful, dare I say, marvelous woman?

Drum roll.....


TA-DA! Megan! Or lovemeganalexis as many of you know her. This beautiful woman right here has been my inspiration and the reason I gave up my fat pants and fast food for leggings and lettuce. Megan is an amazingly hard worker and somehow managed to juggle everything in her life while making all these changes. Talk about inspirational. Truly inspirational. Her positivity and determination are infectious and because of them I knew that I had to try changing.

In 90 days she has accomplished exactly what she originally set out to do, but she isn't stopping now and never turning back. She is a changed woman and thus so am I. I can't possibly thank her enough for being patient with me, answering all my questions, talking with me about my progress, motivating me, and just generally giving me help along the way. She deserves a shout out and a giant THANK YOU!

I would not be where I am without her and her constant advice. Along with that I would be nowhere without her friendship. It has been my honor to know her for some of the best years of our lives and I hope we know each other for many more to come. She is one of my best friends and, for that, I am extremely grateful. That is why lovemeganalexis is my Marvelous Monday Marvel! Congrats on all your progress and I love you!

Not only is she all these wonderful things, but she is a wonderful blogger as well. :) You can find her and all her info at her blog which you can read here. 

Well, that is about all, but I do have one more great, exciting, and equally marvelous thing to say. Not only do I have to say thank you to Megan for her help, but I also have to say I'm so excited to be linking up with her for a new featurette she is calling "Foodie Friday!" We are going to be sharing our delectable and healthy recipes with all of you for your viewing and eating pleasure. So on Fridays there will be a mouth watering masterpiece posted for your enjoyment. Be there or be square.


buh bye!

Leah ♥


Here we go....

So here I am jumping on the bandwagon. I have debated started a blog for quite awhile just because I know there are people out there who would just consider me another bitchy whiney blogger who just wants attention and will bug everybody every waking moment to come read everything I post. Well fuck. screw. poo on them (I will try to control cursing on this, but I can't guarantee. I hope you all are okay with this. I am human after all and I just happen to be one with a potty mouth most of the time). I may ask people to come read what I write and I may not. When it comes down to it, it is everybody else's choice to come read this. So do not get mad at me if you don't like what you are reading, you chose to come here.

So now that that is out in the open, if you have stayed to read on then fabulous! Welcome! My name is Leah and I am starting this blog to track my fitness journey. I have already made progress, but I still have a good amount to go and I have already enjoyed writing about it for my personal enjoyment. Well I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts with others who cared to read and it is a lot faster to type than to always be writing with pen and paper. :)

Well, like I said above, I have debating doing this for awhile and what really pushed over the edge to actually doing it started with yesterday evening. I went to a theater production at my former high school with my friend and boyfriend. I saw plenty of people there I knew from high school, but have not really seen in a long time (which is to be expected). Well many of them commented on my progress and, of course, I thanked all of them dearly, but somewhere in the back of my mind I brushed it off. This having to do with the fact that recently I have felt really stunted in my progress.

This is not to say I have stopped seeing results because I do notice that my clothes fit differently, I have more energy, I can see more definition...etc. I just have been feeling hum drum about everything. 

Time lapse to this morning.....

After my workout I started looking through the pictures in my phone and I saw these two pictures of my face:

The left is from when I first started my journey in the middle of March and the right is from about a week ago. My first reaction, "Woah...." I think I may be able to see what people are talking about and this is just my face! One person told me they didn't even recognize me when they first saw me and I thought that might be just my change in hair color, but now I actually am starting to believe it. This inspired me to take a couple more progress pictures of myself so that I could compare to others that I took from the very start and from roughly the middle of my journey thus far (Hopefully I will be able to upload those soon too). 

Looking at all my pictures just made me realize how far I have come and that my hard work has actually been worth something. And, to top it all off, these pictures inspired me to write this blog that I have been itching to start for awhile. So hopefully this will end up being worth just as much.

I apologize for such a long first post, but there is so much to say about myself and my journey that just won't fit in a short, condensed post. As Elle says, "An essay's so boring and so much does not fit....." I guess I will say more about me personally later to save your eyeballs. 


buh bye!

Leah ♥
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