I'm half way through my second round of the 21 Day Fix. After my first round, I took a weekend off while I was on holiday in Hong Kong. I gave myself permission to have a treat here and there and to not be too worried about what I was putting in to my body, but still being mindful. WELL...I ate a lot of cupcakes, had a beer or two or three, and ate some sauce-y dishes! However, I vowed to myself that as soon as I got back to Beijing I'd start my second round. And I stuck to my promise!
I'm feeling so many different things during this second round. I'm definitely not as sore as I was during my first round; it's probably because I'm used to the exercises. I'm building muscles in places I've never felt before: My legs, my upper back, and my arms. I still don't have "abs", but I certainly see some toning happening and my midsection is "smoothing out"...if you will. I definitely have more energy and feel lighter.
I think my greatest success so far this time around is just getting back on track after having indulged while away. I let myself have some foods that Autumn (creator of the 21-Day Fix) would have scoffed at. But, I didn't let them sway me in to quitting. I enjoyed the treats, but was still motivated enough to get back in to my lifestyle change. I think my greatest challenge so far this round is being too impatient with seeing results. I step on the scale too frequently and get let down when the numbers have hardly changed. I expressed this discouragement to my coach, Sam, and she was so good at reminding me that the scale is just a number. That it's the inches off my body that I'll notice more. Remember: muscle weighs more than fat! I decided that I'd take some after pictures so I can really see the difference in my physical appearance from day 1, and there is definitely a difference! (PS - I'm not brave enough to show those pictures yet. Some day...)
Oh! And another accomplishment - I had to go up to a heavier set of weights this week because I was finding my lighter set too easy during the workouts. I used the 10lbs weights for the first time tonight, and WOAH! A BIG difference! I had to push much harder and I can feel it in my arms already! A good kind of pain.
I love to cook, so I haven't been finding eating that difficult. I search out new recipes online and try to give myself as much variety as I can in my meals. I like big flavours, spices, and cheese! Thank goodness I can still have cheese! One of my favourite go-to meals right now is a rice bowl that I came up with based on one of my favourite dishes at Moka Bros - a delicious restaurant here in Beijing! The dish at Moka Bros is called "Dr. Rice" and includes a lot of brown rice, some spinach and roasted cherry tomatoes, some basil and two poached eggs. My recipe is a little bit different, includes a lot more vegetables, and chicken! I thought I'd share it on here with you, and I strongly encourage you try it. It's not hard, it's packed with protein and vegetables, and for something that's "good for you" it's quite hearty and filling.
Hearty & Healthy Rice Bowl
- 1 yellow container cooked brown rice
- 3 green containers of vegetables (today I used broccoli, cherry tomatoes, bok choy, and spinach)
- 1 red container of cooked chicken, chopped
- 2 eggs
- extra virgin olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- green onions for garnish
1. Cook the rice as directed on the packaging. While the rice is cooking, prep your vegetables. You can really use any combination of vegetables that you want. I usually use asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and spinach. Today, I didn't have any asparagus so I opted for broccoli. Let your imagination run wild! Have fun with your choices and use what you have on hand. Chop the vegetables in bite size pieces (except the spinach). Put them on a pan with 1 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil and roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cherry tomatoes "POP."
2. While the vegetables are cooking in the oven, sauté the spinach with garlic. I didn't use any oil because there is a lot of water in spinach and it will come out as soon as the spinach touches heat. Cook until the spinach is wilted to your liking.
3. Set the cooked spinach aside, and start working on the poached eggs. It has taken me a long time to learn how to cook poached eggs. I'll tell you now it takes practice, but hopefully my tips will help. Bring to a boil 2 cups of water and 2 tsp of white vinegar. There's something about science that makes the eggs poach better with the vinegar. I don't understand it, but it WORKS and your eggs will taste NOTHING like vinegar.
4. Once the water has come to a simmer, lower the heat. Crack one egg in a small dish. (It's important to do this and not crack the egg directly in the water. The dish allows you to put the egg in to the water gently). Before placing the egg in the water, take the end of a wooden spoon and make circles in the water to create a sort of "whirlwind" effect. Then place the egg in the water and take the back of the wooden spoon and gently push the egg whites over the yolk until the egg whites are no longer translucent. Repeat this step for the second egg.
5. Depending on how you like your eggs cooked will decide how long you should poach them. I used to like my eggs cooked hard, all the way through. But now, I kind of like a soft poached egg. The yolk creates a sauce for the dish and it's quite delicious. So, I cook my eggs until the whites are firm to the touch, but the yolk still has a bounce when you touch it. (Maybe 2 minutes...I didn't actually time it).
6. Assembly time! I put the rice in as the base, then top with the broccoli and tomatoes, then spinach, then chicken. The poached eggs are placed on top. I sprinkle with pepper and green onions to garnish. Then, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I just like enough to add some flavour, but this step is completely optional. I think a little soya sauce would taste good too!
7. Enjoy! Break in to those soft poached eggs and starting tossing together all of the layers so the yolk and balsamic vinegar coat every bite!
For anyone reading this who is on the 21-Day Fix, for me this worked out to 1 yellow, 3 green, 2 red, and a teaspoon.
Let me know if you try this recipe and if you like it. It's definitely open for interpretation. You can add, take away, and modify as you like! If you try the soya sauce, let me know what it's like.