Why Worry?

The past week I have let worrying get the best of me. Stressing about my test on Friday has led to a cluttered mind and an anxious heart. I can’t stand it! It’s not just all I have to read and learn before Friday’s test but I’m already getting nervous about what’s next. After this test is over, I am going to jump right into self-studying for the MCAT. I know that I need to make a strict schedule for myself if I am going to stick with it and master the material. And what am I going to do once I graduate for the year in between? That’s unknown to me and surely it’s adding to the list of unnecessary worries clogging my brain.

What i’ve realized the past few days is that all of this stressing about the next day and the next, is only preventing me from doing what I need to do in the moment. My mind has been so distracted that I have been unable to focus on the tasks at hand. The extreme lack of motivation has led to frustration and self-doubt. Not to mention, it’s just plain annoying!

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I had a moment yesterday where it dawned on me that I have been carrying around all of this junk that the Lord never intended for me to carry, let alone feel in the first place. I came across this verse which has spoken such amazing truths into my life:

Philippians 4: 6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.”

The Lord presents us with such an amazing opportunity to come to Him with all of our concerns, doubts, desires, and struggles so that we may ask for His help. He is always there- in good times and in bad, to support us and comfort us. Once I realized that His peace is what I needed to combat those feelings of stress and worry- I was finally able to give it all to Him. When we surrender our feelings to Him, he truly blesses us with a peace that can only come from Him. Trusting in Him every moment and every day is a work in progress but He is so full of grace and mercy. So blessed beyond belief!

Other verses that have helped me when I am burdened down with worry:

Luke 12:25- “Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?”

Matthew 6:24- “Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.”

Psalms 55:22- “Our Lord, we belong to You. We tell You what worries us, and You won’t let us fall.”

1 Peter 5:7- “Cast all of your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

XOXO,

Shelby

Sleeps ’til…

Time seems to be flyin’ these days. I really can’t fathom the fact that I am currently experiencing my final semester here at UGA. I absolutely love everything about this town and the people in it. I like to think of myself as an honorary Athenian, especially because I am so close to being a Georgia Alumni! Bulldawgs for life :) Any who, seeing as I haven’t posted in decades months, I figured I would start with a countdown of sorts. The way I like to do this is by counting the number of sleeps until the actual day. I stole this idea from the “Sleeps ’til Christmas” app on the iPhone… yep, I’m that cool. 

  • 6 sleeps ’til my first biochemistry test (yikes!)
  • 19 sleeps ’til Valentine’s Day- unfortunately Cameron and I won’t be able to celebrate together but I’m totally up for a girls night. Who’s with me?
  • 21 sleeps ’til my soon to be sister-in-law, Kelley’s, bridal shower in Atlanta.
  • 29 sleeps ’til my friend from college, Ruthie’s, wedding (also in Atlanta). This is the first of my friend’s weddings. Feels unreal…
  • 42 sleeps ’til my last spring break- for now (hopefully)
  • 51 sleeps ’til me and Cameron’s 6 year anniversary, whoop whoop! Love that guy :)
  • 79 sleeps ’til I watch my big brother, Tommy, get married to sweet Kelley. It’s gonna be such a special day.
  • 106 sleeps ’til I graduate from University of Georgia- it’s so bittersweet! Don’t even get me started on leaving this place. Athens is my home and I tear up even thinking about moving…
  • 177 sleeps ’til my homegirl, Emma’s, wedding!

Although there’s lots to look forward to, I’m going to do my best to take each day God gives me as it comes and focus on loving those around me and just soaking it all in. Speaking of, I really need to start get back to studying for this dang test on Friday- boo hoo. I will leave y’all with a cute picture of my little guy, Noah! 

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Guilt-free Blueberry Banana Bread

I don’t know if you know this about me or not, but I have a massive sweet tooth. I’ve tried to deny it so many times but let’s be honest, I tend to be a whole lot happier when I have a little (emphasis on the word “little”) chocolate in my life. I emphasized the word “little” because as much as I love sweets, there’s nothing worse than polishing off your third slice of banana bread (with chocolate chips, of course) and slipping into a food coma complete with a food belly to match. Since I have found myself in that type of situation a couple of times (who’s counting?) I am on a mission to enjoy the bread I just made without going overboard. But lucky for us, it’s healthier than your average banana bread!

Rotting bananas on the kitchen counter mean only one thing in my mind. It was time to make banana bread. But not just your average banana bread complete butter and oil. This recipe is a healthier spin on the classic replacing the oil/butter with 2% greek yogurt and even throwing antioxidant-rich blueberries into the mix. I also cut the amount of added sugar in half by replacing it with an extra banana. Oh and don’t you know I had to add me some chocolate chips. This bread is flavorful, moist, and just overall delicious. I baked this loaf last night and honestly enjoyed it better cold from the fridge this morning- even more moist the next day. Tastes great topped with Justin’s Maple almond butter (yum) for breakfast or topped with ice cream/cool whip for dessert!

Guilt-free Blueberry Banana Bread

Slightly adapted from (Daily Garnish)

(Makes 1 loaf)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Sugar in the Raw (could use regular sugar)
  • 1 cup spelt flour*
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup 2% plain greek yogurt (I used FAGE brand)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 large overripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the salt, flour, and baking powder in a medium/large sized bowl. Mash the bananas in another mixing bowl using a fork until consistency is gooey. Add in the eggs, vanilla, and sugar and mix until combined. Add in greek yogurt to wet ingredients and stir until lumps are minimal. Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined (do not overmix or bread could become tough). Fold in the blueberries and chocolate chips. Pour into a greased bread loaf pan (I sprayed mine with coconut oil spray but anything works) and pop in the oven! Mine took about 50 minutes to bake but every oven is different. I would check it after 45 minutes and every 5 minutes after that. To test if it’s done stick a knife or toothpick in and see if it comes out dry. Once it’s done, let it cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes (if you can wait that long)! Enjoy :)

*Any flour can be used here but I used a combination of spelt and whole wheat for more nutrients. Any combination of flours can be used! Whole wheat pastry flour would be great as well.

1 Loaf = 12 slices

Nutrition facts for 1 slice (1/12th of loaf): 164 calories, 3.4 g fat (1.9 g saturated fat), 29 mg cholesterol, 117 mg salt, 30.4 g carbohydrates, 2.8 g dietary fiber, 14.4 g sugar, 4.7 g protein

Cheers!

Chicken and Veggie Stir fry with a “Coconuty” Peanut sauce

Hello everyone!

First off, I must apologize for not writing a post in what seems like centuries. I guess I have just gotten a little too busy with other things but I’m back baby (hopefully, haha).

Yesterday after I hit up the gym for round one of the day (early afternoon for weights, early evening for Zumba class), I decided to swing by the grocery store for a couple things- sliced ham for sandwiches, fresh veggies and fruit, you know the drill. I ended up with a great selection of fresh food which inspired me to make a delicious meal for dinner after Zumba later.

I browsed through a couple recipes on Lauren’s blog and found this one that caught my eye. I changed a few things and ended up making a different sauce than she used. For some reason when I made her original sauce recipe it turned out disastrous but I think it may have been due to a couple substitutions I had to make but the new sauce worked great.

Chicken and Veggie Stir fry with a “Coconuty” Peanut sauce

*please excuse my iPhone pic :)

Makes 2 Servings

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts (I used thin cut for quicker cook time)
  • 1 cup cooked rice or any other grain desired
  • For the stir fry:
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil (regular will work as well)
  • garlic powder (or chopped garlic)
  • ginger
  • 6 stalks bok choy
  • 5 kale stalks (leaves cut off stalk)
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper
  • 1 cup (or more) broccoli florets
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 and a half to 2 tbsp of Coconut Peanut Butter (regular will do as well)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp tamari (or other soy sauce)

First, I went ahead and heated a little olive oil in a pan on medium heat, once it was good and hot I cooked the chicken with just a little salt and pepper. You can also used chicken prepared on the grill but I decided to pan fry mine.

Once the chicken was done I put them on a plate and covered with aluminum foil for the time being. Next, I heated one tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil with a little ginger (I didn’t use fresh) and garlic salt on medium heat in a large pan. Allow the oil to melt and the mixture to become fragrant (1-2 minutes). Next add all the chopped vegetables except for the kale. Once the veggies have only a couple more minutes until they are cooked to your liking, add the kale and let cook until done.

While the veggies cook, prepare the sauce. Mix honey, coconut peanut butter, tamari sauce, and rice vinegar in a bowl and stir until combined. Once everything is done cooking- chopped the chicken into pieces and incorporate into the veggies. Put veggies and chicken into bowl containing the sauce and mix. Serve on top of brown rice or any other cooked grain. I used half cup of cooked brown rice (used 10 minute- boil in a bag… sh, don’t tell).

Enjoy!!

Off the gym, poor little guy… “Don’t worry, I’ll be back!”

Intrigued By Paleo

“Heck yes, it’s Friday!” -Noah

Luckily the sun came out to play for a while today, which always puts a smile on my face. The forecast for the next week seems to include more sunny (and fairly warm) days, which couldn’t make me happier.

Today after class I headed to Ramsey, the student recreational center, to swim laps in the rec pool. This past Tuesday I had a heart pumping workout in the pool so I was itching to get back for more. I decided to do the equivalent workout from Tuesday and I have been excited to share it with y’all! Disclaimer: The first time I started swimming laps for exercise was only a couple of years ago but I love the way it makes me feel. A couple of summers ago, I would frequently swim laps in my pool at home but once I got back to school I felt a bit intimidated by the lap pool at the student center on campus. (picture source)

Once I decided to get over my insecurities about swimming around others I realized I had nothing to worry about. Everyone has their own style and is focusing on their own workout! For me, I like to have a set workout in mind. When I swim my laps I usually swim at a more moderate to fast pace for an increased heart rate as opposed to a slower pace. For some reason that’s just how I’ve been doing my workouts in the pool ever since I started. Also in between laps it’s a necessity for me to catch my breath as it really gets my heart rate up. This workout was done in a 25 meter lap pool which means 25 meters down, 25 meters back- a total lap is 50 meters. Enough of that, heres the workout:

“Heart Pumping” Swim Workout 

  • Warm up: 
  • 3 laps breaststroke followed with 3 laps freestyle
  • Workout:
  • 5 laps freestyle down, breaststroke back
  • 5 laps breaststroke down, freestyle back
  • 3 laps breaststroke
  • 5 laps freestyle
  • 3 laps breaststroke
  • 10 laps freestyle
  • Cooldown:
  • 1 lap freestyle (slow)

This workout is calculated to be a total of 1900 meters which is about 1.2 miles. I have a long way to go when it comes to improving my swimming skills as well as increasing my endurance in the pool but I have faith! Since I take mini- breaks to catch my breath throughout the workout, it took my about an hour total to complete

What’s this Paleo Diet?

I’ve heard the word “Paleo” thrown around in the Nutrition world but had never really looked into it to see what it was all about until a couple of weeks ago when Cameron’s sister, Brittany, mentioned it to me. Brittany was telling me that a couple of her friends at CrossFit were really into eating Paleo- she mentioned that it was a diet based on eating a variety of fresh veggies, fruits, lean meats, and unprocessed fats. Seemed pretty simple to me but oh wait, it also includes cutting out dairy, refined sugar, processed carbohydrates and grains altogether. Seems like hard work but some people really do swear by it. (picture source)

Having been Vegan for 8 months not too long ago, it makes me a little bit skeptical of another diet that eliminates many of the things that I consume daily. Refined sugar seems to be in just about “everything” but it truly is something I would like to limit in my daily diet- it’s just not good for ya, that’s obvious enough. And I could do without most dairy but eliminating all grains? Thinking about it- I eat either a bowl of oatmeal, cereal, or bagelwich for breakfast everyday… what would I eat? I guess that takes more looking into and I am by no means becoming Paleo all of the sudden but I am entertaining the idea of looking more into this diet.

I actually found this picture of a meal Cameron made for me over the break- this is actually Paleo the more I think about it. Consisted of steamed brocolli, sweet potato “oven fries”, salmon, and unpictured spinach salad on the side.

Dr. Whal’s Story

What brought on this interest in the Paleo diet was a video one of my Nutrition professors posted for us to watch- it was about a physician in Iowa who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2007. She went to all the best doctors and had all the newest treatments but was still declining! After extensive research of her own using PubMed and the internet, she learned that she needed to feed her mitochondria the right nutrients and minerals to get them working correctly again. She adopted a “hunter/gatherer” (known as Paleo) diet where she was eating plates of dark, leafy greens, grassfed meats, colorful vegetables daily and within months she was improving significantly.

She went from being bound to a chair to horseback riding in the mountains and biking around her neighborhood. She stopped taking all of the supplements she was given and focused solely on healing herself through consuming the right foods. She is now completely in remission. This story absolutely amazed me. The fact that we can prevent and heal so many diseases and illnesses with the correct nutrition inspires me to learn more and make even wiser choices in my own life. Heres the link to the video, it would be worth your while to watch it!

For more information on the paleo diet I’ve been looking at these websites:

The Paleoista

The Paleo Diet

Have you all heard about the Paleo diet? If so, what do you think about it?

5:30 AM Wake Up Call

Currently taking a deep sigh of relief, I’m finally able to sit down and relax. Today has been quite a long day but I feel surprisingly energetic! Today was my “long” day of classes, starting at 9-3:15 with about an hour break from 11-12:15 or so. Not to mention, this was also the day my friend, Haley, and I told our little “mentees” we would take them bowling this week so that occurred around 4:30- luckily my roomie, Emma, joined us! That definitely made it a little more fun- those girls sure are a handful… 4th/5th grade seems to be a difficult age.

But hey, I can’t believe I have yet to mention or refer to the title of my post… So, last night when I laid down to go to sleep I decided I wanted to head to the gym early in the morning before my busy day started. And that is exactly what I did!

I set my alarm for 5:30 AM- along with about 4 extra alarms set for times after that… just incase I hit the snooze button without even knowing it (I get paranoid about that). When the alarm went off this morning I really did not feel too tired and was actually excited to get up and get going! It was reaffirmed how early it was when I looked outside to see that it was still pitch black and also by the fact that Noah wouldn’t even hardly budge from his sleeping spot under the covers.

I couldn’t help but take a screen shot of this- I have never gone to the gym this early, I thought it was something I should definitely document.

I felt very proud of myself when I walked into the gym- ‘I made it!’, I thought. I came in with a positive mindset in hopes of a great workout- and I wasn’t dissapointed.

I started with 35 minutes on the elliptical, varying the resistance and ramp every 5 minutes. At first, I could most certainly felt the effects of it being earlier in the morning and felt a little bit weaker-I’m thinking this was because I had not eaten anything at all prior to getting to the gym, which is unusual for me.

Next, I did three supersets of biceps and triceps. I started out with wide alternating biceps curls with 12.5 pound dumbbells and supersetted them with alternating reverse bicep curls with 10 pound dumbbells. I ended up purchasing a Powerade to get some quick carbohydrates in my system- it helped immensely. My second superset was the seated bicep curl machine (40 lbs) paired with the seated triceps extension machine (35 lbs). Lastly, I burnt out my poor triceps with “reverse” triceps extensions with a straight bar on the pulley machine (hard to explain?). I say reverse because my palms were facing up instead of down. After each reverse triceps extension set I would burn out with regular triceps extensions with the straight bar. Each superset was performed for a total of 4 rounds (so, there was a total of 12 rounds in the workout as a whole).

Phew, that was way too much info but it can be challenging for me to explain exercises without being a bit wordy. Bottom line: my early morning workout was a success and I ended up leaving the gym around 7:40am, score!

I refueled with a typical egg sandwich but this time I changed it up by having it on a sandwich thin and had Boar’s head smoked Gouda instead of white american cheese- I’m really branching out, huh. It was deliciosa! Gouda is just so darn good….

Luckily while I attended my last two classes of the day, my neighbors were kind enough to let Noah play with their two sweet Yorkipoos, Dallas and Gracie! He had so much fun. Here’s a picture Marie snapped while she was coming back from errands.

So sweet. Oh, how I love those pups! They have so much fun together. Anyways blah, blah went through class and bowling with the girls but then came dinner time- finally! Dinner was a repeat from last night but was oh so good. Might be a new favorite I will have to make it more often because it’s so easy and simple.

I sauteed an orange bell pepper, broccoli florets, and one Applegate Sundried tomato chicken sausage (cut up) with a little less than one tablespoon of light olive oil. Sauteed until the sausage become slightly browned and the veggies became nice and colorful. I mixed that beautiful creation with cooked pasta noodles (1/2 cup when uncooked) and 1 tbsp of shredded parmesan. It was exactly what I was craving for dinner.

Alright, I think I’ve rambled enough. It’s just been quite a day! By the way, I had a GREAT workout in the lap pool on Tuesday that I really want to tell y’all about. I will make sure to include it in my next post :) Also, the workout log page was just updated.

I hope everyone had a great Thursday and YAY-tomorrow’s Friday!

XOXO

-Shelby

Brown sugar marinated chicken

How is it already midnight? And why does it seem like I have a thing for posting very late at night? Hm, add “posting earlier in the day” to my new years resolutions list.

Today started off hearty and healthy with something new. Well, I call this new because it’s not the typical egg sandwich I’ve been enjoying every morning since I’ve been back in Athens. Time to change it up! I opted for a bowl of oatmeal with vanilla whey protein, a splash of skim milk, and fresh banana slices. A fried egg was also consumed.

This was my attempt to grasp the “natural light” from outside for my breakfast picture. Fingers crossed for sunnier weather in the near future- these dreary, grey days are starting to get to me!

I must admit, it was nice having something different for breakfast this morning- who knows what I will do tomorrow morning… it’s a mystery! Man, I’m a dork.

After finishing my first class of the day and getting in an early lunch of a fresh spinach salad that almost exactly resembled the one I had yesterday so decided against a picture, I dropped Noah off for a haircut! Fortunately the groomer was so accommodating and said I could drop him off before class and pick him up whenever I finish which was so convenient. When I came in to pick the little guy up- his tail was a’ waggin! What a cutie…

Apparently Noah’s haircut gave him so much confidence he felt that he should drive us home…

We got some weird looks…

Today’s Workout

I couldn’t get in the gym until about 6:15 pm or so and my goodness I could hardly find a spot in the parking lot! I guess I came around the busiest time- everyone coming to workout after work I suppose. Also, it’s the “New Years” rush- you know, all the people who never usually come to the gym but are momentarily motivated due to the start of the new year. Don’t get me wrong, I truly want all of these new comers to succeed in their goals but this happens almost every year and I don’t find it bad to assume there will be more open parking spaces in a couple weeks or so.

Today’s workout very closely resembled the interval workout I did last week. Instead of doing mountain climbers and high knees between each interval, I opted for body weight standard squats, plie squats, jump squats, jump lunges, and standard lunges. It ended up being a great workout- I ended with a 2 minute plank followed by a 1 minute plank.

Yummy yum

Dinner was a success! Last night I started marinating three chicken breasts in a combination of brown sugar/olive oil. It is SO simple. All you do is put about 1/2 cup of olive oil in a tray and add in brown sugar (I eye-balled it) and mix around until the brown sugar is dissolved. Next add your chicken breasts. This morning I flipped the pieces so that both sides would be equally marinated.

After my workout, I couldn’t wait to eat. Luckily, dinner came together quite quickly- I ended up nuking half of a sweet potato in the microwave for about 8 minutes for an easy side along with roasted broccoli. I’m was quite impressed with the roasted broccoli! slightly crunchy and full of flavor. I tossed a pack of fresh broccoli with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a variety of spices: basil, oregano, Mrs. Dash Table Blend, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Cooked them for about 25 minutes on 375 degrees in the oven. Tasty! While this was going on inside the kitchen, I grilled up three chicken breasts on our gas grill on the porch. Yes, mom I turned off the grill :)

Check out this gourmet meal:

Sidenote: all of these pictures come from my iPhone. Not bad for being from a phone!

Alrighty, well it is past my bedtime (yep, I’m a granny), so I best be headin’ to bed. 

Looks like he beat me to it! <3

Night y’all! But before you go…

Do you usually eat the same thing for breakfast every day or do you like to change things up?