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If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.

vegetarian-protein

“Eating ONE hamburger every day can increase the death rate by 1/3” – Graham Hill

Throughout my many awesome years of health blogging, not to mention my entire 24 years of lifelong vegetarianism; one of the most common questions I get asked is, “Brittany, why would you possibly bother being vegetarian?”

Here are my 3 answers to that question-

Animal Cruelty

Did you know we raise 10 BILLION animals each year for meat? Out of those 10 billion- a majority of them are raised in factory farm conditions that we wouldn’t even consider for our own cats, dogs etc. If you’d like to learn more about this- Google these 3 words: “animal factory cruelty”. Spend ONE minute on Google images, and I guarantee you’ll give vegetarianism another thought.

Environmental

Meat causes more emissions than all transportation combined. Cars, trains, planes, boats- you name it.

Beef production uses 100 times more water then most vegetables do.

Increase in Meat Consumption

We as a society are eating TWICE as much meat as we did in the 50’s. What used to be a small side dish, is now the main course.
With the traditional Western diet, the average American consumes about double the protein her or his body needs.

Additionally, the main source of protein comes from animal products which are high in fat and saturated fat.

 

Stand against animal cruelty, help the environment, allow your body to be healthier, and live a longer life; being vegetarian is AWESOME.

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Jillian Michaels, please come yell at me!!

Jillian Yell

Jillian Michaels is hands down my #1 fitness idol. I wish she would personally come over to my house every morning and yell at me to get out of bed and start doing my daily workouts!

I’m going to get through her 90 day challenge BOODY REVOLUTION workout video series, even if it kills me.

Dear Fat, prepare for me to BURN you. Love, Brittany and Jillian! Day 36 COMPLETE!

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RED WHITE and BLUEberry Salad!

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This patriotic masterpiece is by far one of my 4th of July favorites.
Grab your American flags, this colorful fruit salad, and a fork; and come celebrate how great America is (the healthy way!)

Ingredients:
Crunchy wontons
Manderine oranges
Strawberries
AVOCADOS!!
Candied Walnuts
Blueberries
Mixed spring salad
Spinach
Cranberry Walnut Vinegarette Dressing

Bring this salad to ANY 4th of July party, and you will absolutely be the favorite of the day!

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A beginner’s guide: The do’s and don’ts of sautéing vegetables

Although I’m proud to have come so far in my fitspirational journey, I have yet to learn how to Sauté. As I’ve flown through various cookbooks on my healthy cooking adventures, I’ve come to realize that learning how to sauté veggies is not optional anymore, it’s a necessity. When I used to only know how to cook Mac & Cheese with burnt toast on the side, the word sauté was not in my dictionary of frequently used words. But guess what, it is now!

Since my wonderful boyfriend Bryan has recently introduced me to the delicious world of Portabella mushrooms; I thought this would be the perfect place to start!

It took me about 3 batches of sautéing Baby Bellas before I got them perfect, so I hope to save you from wasting some of your own, by not making the mistakes I made on my first attempts.

The Do’s and Don’ts of sautéing: 

THE DON’Ts-

  • Don’t walk away from the kitchen and forget you’re sautéing veggies.Then, especially don’t take your baby Yorkie for a walk. Trust me on this, even if you tell yourself you won’t forget, it’s a high possibility you will. You may come back from your walk; with a kitchen full of smoke, and some very black flaming mushrooms. (Not like I did anything like that that… I confess nothing!)
  • Don’t set the temperature on your stove top too high. Sautéing too fast is a great way to burn the living- daylights out of your veggies. Setting your stove to low-medium heat worked the best.
  • Don’t use too much oil!! As you can see from my beautiful oil-catastrophy below, you’ll end up sucking the extra oil out from your veggies with a napkin. See guys, I told you I’d share the good, the bad AND the ugly on my health blog. Learn from my mistake, start with a little bit of oil, and slowly add more if you need it.

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  • Don’t forget to flip them. Keep a spatula near by (yay I get to use my pink spatula) and since you WON’T be leaving the kitchen *ehhem walking your yorkie*, keep an eye on your veggies and flip or toss them when you see the edges getting a light golden brown.

THE DO’S-

  • Do set a timer! If you’re a beginner (as I was when I began learning how to sauté) it is really helpful to set a timer for a shorter amount of time then you think it should take to sauté your veggies.
  • Do your homework, and make sure you pick the best oil for your sautéing adventures. For a guide to picking the best oil for cooking, click here. 
  • Do have fun! Learning a new cooking skill can be a LOT of fun, especially if you pick the right music to sing into your spatula to 🙂

Let me know if you’ve learned any great do’s or don’ts throughout your cooking experience, and I’ll add it to the list!

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Calculate Your Body Fat Percentage

Let’s get real here… calculating your body’s fat percentage is no piece of cake (or fork full of salad, we’re trying to keep things healthy here haha.)

Don’t worry, if you’re following my blog- you’re obviously smart, funny AND good looking so I’m sure you won’t have any trouble.

What is Body Fat Percentage

To put things simply, body fat percentage is the amount of fat on your body- compared to everything else. Everything else including muscles, tissue, water weight etc.

Set a goal, what would you like your Fat-Body percentage to be?

Nerdfitness.com breaks it down pretty well-

  • “If you are trying to look like Ryan Reynolds or Jessica Beil in Blade III, good luck! Aim for a body fat percentage of 6-8% (men) or 13-15% (women).  Note: your athletic/strength gaining performance will most likely suffer at this percentage, and might not be worth it. Your call.
  • If you are interested in getting that coveted six pack, drop your body fat down to the 8-11% range for dudes and 15-17% range for women.
  • If you are an athlete and interested in optimal athletic performance, aim for a body fat percentage around 15% (men) or 20% (women).  NF team memberStaci trains much better at 20% body fat than at 15% body fat.
  • If you are just interested in looking pretty good and feeling pretty good, anything less than 18% for men and anywhere in the 20-23% range for women should get you the “hey, lookin pretty good!” response from your friends :)
  • For the ladies!  If you are concerned about menstruation or fertility, it has been said not to drop below 15% body fat.  Although I can’t find any studies that definitively refutes or proves this, I’ve read it all over the place, so just something to be aware of.  Your results may vary!”

What do these different percentages look like?

Body Fat Percentage Men Body Fat Percentage

How to calculate my own body fat percentage? 

There a BUNCH of different ways! These are the top 3 that I recommend-

  1. Military method- My boyfriend Bryan is in the U.S Marines; and in the military, you have to stay below a certain BFP (body fat percentage) according to your height. In the military, they:
  2. Online Calculator- One of the easiest ways is to use an online calculator that does all the math for you. For you lazy bums out there (who refuses to do math on Saturday) this will be your best bet. Click here for one of the many online BFP calculators
  3. Look in the mirror- honestly, this is my very favorite way. Use those pictures I’ve provided above, and compare them to your body in the mirror. BFP doesn’t have to be 100% accurate unless you’re training for a marathon or a specific event. I can tell if my BFP is getting high if my jeans start to feel tight. If you’re beginning to have to unbutton your pants at every meal, it’s probably time to set some new health goals.

If you’re not where you want to be, then pick a BFP you want to be at, and work your butt off to EARN your way there! You’re definitely on the right health blog to kick start your fitspirational journey.

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Real peach purse!! Fashion is getting fruity

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you walk into a health food store and find a PURSE FOR PEACHES!!

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I’m sure the security camera people monitoring the cameras in the produce sectio, had a BLAST watching me walk up and down the isle pretending I was modeling the peach purse at New York fashion week 🙂

“Pose, pose, pose, PEACH!”

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Change Your Running Style to Target Different Muscle Groups

keep calm and run on neon pink tee-f63737

 

  • Abs: Slow down your pace slightly and run with high knees up to the chest; you can also run with knees out to the sides to target the obliques
  • Abs and quads: Run with straight legs, scissor kicking your feet straight in front of you.
  • Abs and calves: Do a running skip, kicking one knee high into the chest with each hop.
  • Calves: Land softly only on the balls of the feet, as if tiptoe running.
  • Calves and hamstrings: As you run, kick your heels into your glutes.
  • Hamstrings: Run backwards; alternate looking over your right and left shoulder to avoid bumping into anything.
  • Inner and outer thighs: Run sideways crossing your back foot over your front with each step; alternate leading with the right and left legs.
  • Outer thighs and glutes (aka saddlebags): Run with legs slightly wider than hips-width distance apart.

(thanks to fitsugar.com)

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Strawberry white balsamic vinegarette salad

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I created this light and easy strawberry white balsamic vinegarette salad with only 5 ingredients!

Strawberries
Avocado slices
Crumbled blue cheese
Candied walnuts
Dark leafy green
White Balsamic Vinegarette Dressing

Perfect satisfying lunch for a hot summer day 🙂

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7 ways to make a boring salad more fun and healthy :)

Now that you’ve made the decision to put a fitspirational “spin” on your healthy lifestyle, prepare to discover the delicious world of salads! Salads are great because not only do they give your body a good cleansing- they can be incredibly filling, and are customizable to your personal need. Take this post as an opportunity to add more salads to your life, and break out of the boring world of iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing.

 

Healthy Salad Tip

1.) Add fruits and veggies- Fruits and Vegetables are a fabulous way to spice up a boring salad. If pared with the right dressings, it can make an average side salad into an entire meal!

2.) Go nuts- There’s nothing like adding some protein to the mix. Candy-up some walnuts, or toss some sliced almonds in with your salad creation. Pine nuts, pistachios and caramelized cashews are some of my personal nutty favorites.

3.) AVOCADO!- I know I already made a veggie section… but I had to make a special number just for avocado. I’m not even kidding, I pretty much add avocado to every salad if I can get my hands on them. (If you’ve been following me for a while, you’re probably already aware of my avocado obsession.) AND PROUD OF IT! Pack in the protein again with these delicious slices of heaven!

4.) Chill it- Popping the salad in the freezer for 3-5 minutes right before you eat it makes the leaves much crispier and leaves you with that freshly satisfying salad taste.

5.) Dark leafy greens– Adding some spinach and dark greens into your salad not only makes it healthier, it gives it a spectacularly colorful look too. There’s nothing more fun then seeing 90830974290847 colors jumping out at you in your salad. I especially love adding red lettuce as well.

6.) Let’s get cheesy- Top 3 favorite cheeses to add to salads: Feta, Crumbled Blue Cheese, Goat Cheese. Ok guys, when I say add cheese to your salad… I’m NOT saying add salad to your cheese. In other words, don’t go crazy with your cheesy obsession. Use cheese as a flavorful compliment, not the foundation of your salad.

7.) Have fun with it- One of the ways I absolutely fell in love with the spectacular world of salads was having a blast creating them in my kitchen! The prettier I could possibly make them look, the healthier they became and the more excited I was to eat them up. Put on your favorite music (I like listening to country music when I’m cooking) and dance around in your kitchen!

8.) Get Creative- Unless your fridge looks like it just got eaten out in a zombie apocalypse, there’s a pretty great chance you have plenty of salad ingredients sitting on the shelves already. Release your inner Julia Childs (minus the 10 sticks of butter) and have fun with the wonderful things you find lying around in your fridge. My summer salad recipe was created by having fun with existing fridge ingredients.