Finding the balance of physical and mental health through adventures and fitness

Tag Archives: healthy living

One of the most popular posts on this blog is my protein pancakes using Kodiak Cakes pancake mix. Their protein mix (Powercakes) released in 2013, well before I created my recipe in 2015, but it was before I could find the mix anywhere near me. My recipe is one of the simplest recipes I have on this blog.

Their mixes have gone through some changes over the past few years, allowing them to continue to be balanced and provide more volume.

Kodiak Cakes Powercakes are a staple in our house because of how easy they are and with their recipe changes to their mix, I don’t find myself often needing to use my higher protein recipe.

However, there are times when we run out of mix or we’re not home, like this weekend, but we want pancakes.

As I mentioned the other day, there were a few things we were bringing from our fridge to JP’s parents fridge because we didn’t want to come home to throwing out food. A banana is one of those items I put in our food bag for the weekend.

This morning we woke up at 6:30 am without an alarm. This is sleeping in for us. We went to bed early last night after pizza date night. We had content bellies then, but this morning I could hear JP’s growling.

He asked what was for breakfast and my first response was “I don’t know, eggs? What are you in the mood for?” His response was usual – “I don’t care.” It doesn’t really answer the question, but it doesn’t ignore it either.

So as always, I looked at my Pinterest boards to see if there was anything I had pinned that I’ve wanted to try and then I searched for something new when I didn’t see anything I wanted to make.

I knew I had a banana and that’s about all I knew. Here’s the recipe that inspired mine.

And here’s the journey of my banana.

What You’ll Need

  • a medium sized banana (mine weighed 126g)
  • 1 egg
  • ~1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of milk (I used 2% because that was what was in the fridge)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 10g of protein powder (I used chocolate cupcake protein from PEScience)


1. In a medium bowl, combine a medium-sized banana and whole egg using. I used a whisk because the batter won’t be super thick, but may have banana chunks.

2. Add all-purpose flour leveled in measuring cup. I had started with a 1/4 cup and then went back to add an additional tablespoon. Using a full 1/3 cup would be completely appropriate.

3. Add a splash of vanilla. This is really about taste. You could also add some cinnamon if you wanted to as well.

4.  Add 1/4 tsp of baking powder.

5. While the banana is sweet, the pancake batter is really plain without a sweetener of some kind. I used a teaspoon of brown sugar, but you could use honey, maple syrup or an alternative like Splenda/Truvia. Just be mindful different kinds of sugar have different levels of sweetness so you may not need as much.

6. This step really is optional, but if it’s left out then these aren’t really protein-y pancakes. Protein powder. I used 10g, which is about 1/3 of a scoop of protein for PEScience. This adds about 4g of protein per serving, so 8g for all of the batter.

* For rough estimate, I divided the batter in half and called it good enough.

7. Heat a medium or large skillet to medium or medium/high heat. I used a little cooking spray on the pan, you don’t need a lot and depending on the pan you may not need to spray in between cakes. Pour batter to pre-heated skillet and cook on each side for just over a minute. This is relative to your pan and how it contains heat.

8. (optional) Top with chopped pecans or walnuts.

Nutrition for just the pancakes: 3.7F/35.3C/11.2P


❤ Cristina


The past two weeks have been a little trying for me personally and it’s been affecting my workouts and my eating habits. I don’t like making excuses for sticking to the plan, but I’m only human and we all have those times when we need a break and reach for the burger.

My workouts were pretty solid around my birthday, a few days after the last post, but then my boyfriend lost one of his friends. He was devasted and I felt lost trying to be his support system. We had always talked about what we would need when having a hard time with life, but there was nothing he could’ve told me that would’ve prepared me to help him through his roaster coaster of emotions. The went through all of the stages faster than light.

I was exhausted and wasn’t sleeping like I usually do. It was easy to over do it on the coffee in the morning and sleep in past my alarm because I had been up late the night before. There was actually one morning where I slept through two alarms, woke up and fell back asleep while sitting up – who does that?! This girl!

I didn’t meal prep and it’s true what they say “fail to plan, plan to fail”. This made grabbing a breakfast sandwich on the way to work easy, it made going out to dinner even easier. I would grab a protein bar, but we all know that those aren’t meals. They aren’t all the nutrition we need to fuel our bodies. After calming down and getting some sleep, I’m back on track with my water and food. I’ve been slightly bloated since my body is readjusting to clean eating, but this week has been solid.

I weighed myself this morning because  it’s Wednesday and that’s my day to benchmark. I had only gained 1.5 pounds. So hello 154! I’m actually not upset about this like I know I would have been if this had been a year ago. That’s progress. I mean, I was thinking I gained a small child since the bloat was so bad. Hands in the air, praise something holy that’s not the case!

To keep myself in track, I’m changing up my routine again. I’m still going to be lifting heavy, but after talking with my friend Sarah about the Bikini Body Guide I bit the bullet and bought it. After a quick skim, I was sold on the exercise circuits and the schedule. I do a lot of the exercises currently and that made me relieved… One less thing to learn. I can still lift extra if I want to. I can also adjust the weight or resistance for the workouts to my personal needs. It’s a 12 week program and I’m only using the workout guides. I’m still following IIFYM. I’m hoping to adjust my macros when I hit 149. So a 5 pound loss. I know it’ll be tough, I’ve been struggling to get under 150, but this is something I’m hungry for – pun intended #carbsoncarbs. If I work hard and stay focused while having fun I know I won’t feel the same pressure I did during prep. I also believe I’ll learn to handle my stresses in a more effective manner.

This is my journey and it’s challenging at times, but I’m excited to change it up. I’m excited to work over the summer and bring a better package to competiting this fall. Stay tuned to see how my progress looks with the new routine!

❤ Cristina

After a handful or more talks with some of my co-workers about body building and the lifestyle change made to accommodate it, here’s what you need to know about what I’m eating.

It’s understandable that when you tell someone that your eating between 5 -7 times a day they assume you’re consuming a ridiculous amount of calories, but that’s not always true. In my case I’m consuming around 1,600 calories every day, and I watch what I eat to make the most out of those calories. I used to see food as a comfort, and that’s how I gained weight; now I see it as fuel to help grow and build my body. Without fuel a machine can’t function properly and that’s what our bodies are.

I use My Fitness Pal to track my macros.

Macro-nutrients- grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats

For my weightloss, fatloss and muscle building purposes, my calories are divided into 50% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 20% fats. As long as I hit these 3 goals or stay around them the calories don’t really matter too much.

After inputting these percentages into My Fitness Pal calculates how many grams of each you should be consuming WITHOUT exercise. For me that means I should hit around 200 grams of protein, 120 grams of carbohydrates and 36 grams of fat. Sometimes I have less carbs or a little more fat (healthy fats found in food like avocado or nuts don’t bother me if I go over) or some combination like that, but for the most part I hit these every day. I also increased my water intake to 150 ounces; one gallon of water is 128, so I’m consuming a little more than that.

The increased water intake help flush out your system of toxins such as lactic acid from lifting as well as preventing cramping your muscles after a rigorous workout. Since I’ve increased my water intake my skin is a little more clear (but I never had too much of a problem with skin), I rarely get headaches, I’m not bloated and it helps me stay fuller longer.

Back to the food!

To help speed up my metabolism and ensure that my macros are spread throughout the day, I started eating every 3 hours. I prep meals ahead of time, so it’s not an inconvenience. Meal prep also ensures that I stick to my meal plan and always have something with me at work! I wake up and eat at 7 am EVERY DAY, even on the weekends. From there I eat every 2.5 to 3 hours. Here’s an example of what I will eat and when in a day.


June 30, 2014 Meals:  Calories: 1,455, fat: 40g, carbohydrates: 112gprotein: 178g

Meal 1 (breakfast foods)- 7 am

1 medium banana with 2 tbsp of Trader Joe’s raw almond butter

2 egg whites

Meal 2- 10 am

12 ounces Price Chopper plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup raw blueberries

Meal 3- (lunch like foods) 1 pm

Post-workout shake: 1 scoop MHP Paleo Protein Powder Vanilla Almond and 1 cup of Silk Almond/Coconut Milk

Buffalo chicken

2 cups organic kale

5 cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup cucumber slices

Meal 4- 4 pm

1/2 cup lean ground turkey

1/2 medium green pepper

2 tsp Sriracha sauce

Meal 5- (dinner like foods) 7 pm

Quest Bar: Cookies and Cream (during gym workout meal)

Meal 6- (dinner like foods) 10 pm

4 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast

1/2 cup cauliflower


You’ll notice that my meals have protein in each one, from egg whites, to Greek yogurt, to  meat and protein bars. Sometimes I call my meals a snack, because it can be hard to think of yogurt and blueberries as a meal, but without amount of protein, it’s very filling and well rounded with macro- and micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals).

On this day I also did two workout sessions The first was in the gym and consisted of 54 minutes of shoulders, biceps and triceps lifting circuits: 456 calories burned. I also work a second job, where I stand and walk around a lot. In 238 minutes or almost 4 hours, I burned 673 calories. I track calories burned during this job because when sitting the average heart rate is about 70 bpm, when I’m walking around my job it ranges from 95 to 120 because of lifting furniture, boxes and just walking around.

The more you workout the more food or fuel you need. On this day, my protein jumped from 200g to 358 g; however, I don’t consume that much protein. My Fitness Pal calculates your needs for weightloss without the consideration of exercise, so once you input your exercise data your goals shift based on the new needs of your body for the day.

I like lifting, because I love eating. They balance each other out. I Like Lifting (Food)

What important to know about your body is how many calories you burn on a daily basis without exercise. This helps you figure out a base line for calorie consumption for weightloss without exercise. On average I burn about 2,300 calories a day without exercise, but I’m only consuming 1,600 calories; so I’m already running on a deficit, this is how you lose weight. It takes 3,500 calories burned to lose 1 pound. Adding in my calories burned from working out, I’m averaging 1.5 to 2.5 pounds weightloss a week.

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I’m lifting 3 days a week and doing cardio 3 days week. While many believe lifting weights bulks you up, which it can, it does so much more than that. Anaerobic exercise burns more calories because it takes longer time for your muscles to recover and your body takes that energy from fat stores. After a lifting session, you can continue to burn more calories an hour for 24 hours. While cardio burns many calories at the time, an aerobic workout stops it’s benefits once you stop the workout.  The more lean muscle you have the more calories you burn an hour as well.

Let’s recap:

  • So while I’m eating 5 to 7 times a day, I’m eating WHOLE foods, meaning things that are minimally processed and give me the most for the caloric value.
  • Running on a deficit of calories helps you lose weight, but you still need to consume a good amount of macro-nutrients to rebuild, recover and fuel your body.
  • Lifting weights helps burn more fat, while adding muscle because your body pulls from “storage” energy to help muscle recovery up to 24 hours post a lifting workout.
  • The more you workout the more you can and should eat, not necessarily calories, but definitely macro-nutritents.

If you want to poke around for yourself, here are some links that will help you research more about bodybuilding and eating this way.


❤ Cristina

Today’s run was pretty fantastic if I say so myself. I did a tiny bit over 2 miles at the park. I’ve mentioned that each lap is 3/4 of a mile, so this was about 2.5 laps. The first lap I ran at a 9:27 minute mile pace and I seriously couldn’t believe. It explained why I was huffing and puffy, but I had no idea my little legs could carry me like that. I started to slow down so I wouldn’t burn out, which is freaking hard to do! I maintained between a 9:35 and 9:44 pace.


I couldn’t have asked for better weather. My weather app said it was about 40 degrees, but it was definitely peaking around 60, with a sweatshirt on I was clearly overdressed, but I didn’t mind the extra sweat.

My hips are a little sore today, which I think running added to after a week’s worth of wearing heels and being on my feet constantly. I’m taking tomorrow off from running and working out. I intend on cleaning my apartment and going through some things to donate to the local Saver’s. I started today and after 2 loads of dishes and 3 loads of laundry, my living room looks great, my bedroom is coming together and my kitchen could be in better shape.

Monday I’m taking myself hiking since I have the day off for Patriot’s Day. Yay for made up holidays.

Anyway, I’m getting ready to switch over the laundry and The Big Bang Theory is on. I hope everyone had a great Saturday :] Below are some pictures to brighten your night and your Easter morning!


Bunny -

animal memes | funny captions, animal memes, animal pictures with captions

❤ Cristina




Today was a great day and definitely one for the books.

I had the best weekend I’ve had in a long time, and I woke up happy this morning; not something I can say about every morning. But today I was genuinely happy and smiley when I got up this morning.

With my new found energy, and a few texts from friends, I pushed my butt out of bed and got my to-do list started. Between laundry and watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix (new obsession!), I got my first outdoor run in. I COMPLETELY KILLED IT!




Outdoor shoes #whitewontlast

My mile was 1:40 fast than I typically run indoors on the treadmill. My lungs definitely paid the price after a mile. My breathing is very different than when I run inside, so I need to work on that; my pace was pretty steady throughout the run so I have hope that I can get my breathing under control.




After my run, I stopped by the grocery store and picked up two Larabars: Apple Pie and Cherry Pie. They didn’t have any other flavors, but I know there are a lot of other places that sell them so this was good for today. Larabars are pretty clean fruit bars. They’re all made with less than 9 ingredients and all ingredients are whole foods such as almonds, dates, apples, cinnamon, etc. They’re gluten free, soy free, dairy free, vegan… I can pronounce all the ingredients and that made me pretty happy.

I tried the Apple Pie bar today and it was awesome! I can’t wait to try the Cherry Pie bar tomorrow… regardless I need to get my hands on more of these bars.


This morning I asked if any of you had heard of Larabars and what you thought about them. Greta at Fueled by Fresh not only confirmed that these were a great bar, but she shared a recipe for a homemade bar that she uses. So after my trip to the grocery store, I stopped at the Mediterranean Market by my house to pick up pitted dates.



I picked up two different things: whole pitted dates and pitted date paste. The second is basically pitted dates already thrown into a food processor. I figured might as well get both and see what works best. For tonight’s bars I used the paste and it was pretty darn easy. I added sliced almonds,shredded coconut, coconut oil and dark chocolate chips to the paste in a food processor. After it was mixed, I kneaded it a bit more and formed it into a square on wax paper and put it into the fridge for the night. It really can’t be screwed up is super simple.


After all the sticky mess was cleaned up I got down to business: dinner and snack for tomorrow.


Thanks to Ashley Jara for the genius idea to use an ice cream scoop to get all the seeds out!

Up first: Spaghetti squash for tomorrow’s snack.



Tonight’s dinner: Guacamole burger salad with raw onion and tomatoes.

Three loads of laundry, two loads of dishes and 10 episodes of Friday Night Lights later, I’m in bed under the covers still smiling, wishing this weekend would never end.

marilyn monroe quote | Tumblr

❤ Cristina