the 24 day advocare challenge

August 20, 2014 in 24 Day Challenge, Advocare, Blog, Body, Food by lindsaymwright

Happy hump day, friends!

Let’s skip all the chit chat and get right down to business.  Let’s talk about a new challenge that’s going down over here at the Wright house!

I have a confession.

I’ve been eating WAY too many sweets lately.

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We plummeled through this cake.

I need to reel it in a bit.  We went to the beach where we had nightly bowls of ice cream and treats and I kinda just never stopped having those treats when we got home.  Whoops.  Smile  I’m always game for dessert….I just probably shouldn’t be having something every.single.night.  It’s actually starting to effect the way I feel – sluggish and tired.  My digestion is a bit off.  I’m ready for a change.

Travis too.

As I’ve said, we’re training for an upcoming race and we want to feel GOOD while training.  We want to be at our best.  Eating junky sweets every night isn’t helping.

All this being said, we’re starting a 24 Day Advocare Challenge and I’m going to blog about the journey.

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Correction.  Travis will be doing the full challenge.  Since I’m nursing, I’ll be doing another 10 Day Challenge (read more about that here) and will continue to take those supplement for the 24 days with Travis.  Today I want to share a little bit about the actual products and program design for anyone who might want to do this challenge WITH US!  (it’s always nice to have a team together for support!)

What IS the 24 Day Advocare Challenge?

The 24 Day Advocare Challenge is a comprehensive supplementation and nutrition program that helps with weight management, liver detox and metabolism.  There are two phases within the 24 days: The CLEANSE phase (Days 1-10) and the MAX phase (Days 11-24).  Every Challenge kit comes with a handy dandy guide that tell you EXACTLY when to take each supplement so there’s no guesswork involved.

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The Supplements:

The Cleanse phase is 10 days long and is designed to remove waste, rid your body of toxins, and prepare it for maximum nutrient absorption.  This is a three-part supplement regimen.  The herbal cleanse is taken morning and night and it cleanses the digestive system and removes any accumulated toxins (get the Peaches & Cream!!!!).  The Omegaplex is a blend of fatty acids that help with heart, nerve, muscle, skin, bone, and immune health.  The third part is the SPARK energy drink mix.  It promotes mental focus and increased energy.

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The second part of the challenge (days 11-24) helps to give your newly cleansed body the best tools to achieve your goals.  The Max phase has four supplements:  the MNS vitamin pack, a meal replacement shake, the Omegaplex capsules and SPARK.  012

We also ordered some “companion” products: Catalyst and ThermoPlus (for Travis only – I can’t take this while nursing), along with a few other SPARK flavors (because we couldn’t decide on just one – now that I’ve tasted Mango Strawberry, it’s my favorite!).

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Why are we doing this Challenge?

Like I said earlier, we both just want to feel better.  We have different goals that we hope the Challenge will help us meet.  For me, I want to get the max benefit from all these amazing workouts that I’ve been doing recently and a diet clean-up will help with that.  I want for my digestion to improve (and know that it will with the help of these products).  And lastly, I wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds.   Travis’ goals are similar but he also has a very specific picture that he’d like to take with Porter on his back.  He’s got the muscles for the picture – he just needs to shed a few pounds to make it on point.

We’re doing it together because we know that it will be way easier this way.  No sweets in the house, full support from each other, accountability…I’m excited to have someone to do this with!

But, what about food??

When you order the 24 Day Challenge, you receive a helpful nutrition guide that describes which foods to eat and which to avoid. The nutrition approach is VERY balanced and includes dairy, healthy fats, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. You get three meals and three snacks a day – you shouldn’t ever feel hungry, that’s not the goal! I’ll be honest and tell you right up front – aside from cutting out desserts and sweets (i.e. cereals, teddy grahams, processed junk), I’m not going to get overly restrictive with any of my food intake. Travis will be doing the Challenge by the book.

We’ll also be drinking around 84 ounces of water a day!

NO COFFEE – Spark will replace that!

When does it start?

We’ll be starting the Challenge on August 30th.  It’s a Saturday.  Travis picked this day because he thinks that psychologically Mondays are the worst days to start diets/cleanses and Saturdays are the easiest.  I don’t have any studies or proof to back that logic up…but it makes sense to me.  Saturday, August 30th it is!

The Challenge will end on September 22nd!

How can I join in?

If you’re interested in joining us during the Challenge, you can purchase your 24 Day Kit here!  I’ll be blogging about our journey together each week and sharing before, during and after shots of our progress.  I’d encourage you to join in with us and recruit friends and family too – it’s much easier to do this with a group of people!

Ready to do the Challenge with us??

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QUESTION:  Have you ever done the Advocare Challenge before?  Thoughts?  Tips??

splendid…lindsay

tips for saving time in the kitchen

August 14, 2014 in Blog, Breakfast, Dinner, Family, Favorites, Food, Lunch, Review by lindsaymwright

**I was sent free product by Flapjacked Protein Pancakes in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own and I have/will used my own money to purchase this product before!**

We’ve all been there.

You open the fridge and there’s absolutely nothing to eat.  Or rather, there’s a yogurt, two sticks of celery, deli meat and a hunk of cheese that you vaguely remember buying last week.  Or was it last month.  Just scrape the mold off.  Cheese is supposed to be moldy and stinky.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have some freezer meals tucked away from after Porter’s birth (thanks to our church family!!!) but for the most part I still have to prepare food, three times a day, seven days a week, for this family of five.

Meh.

I want to like being in the kitchen.  I want to like preparing meals.  But I just don’t.  I don’t have that part of homemaking in me.  Luckily my clan is easy to satisfy: cereal for dinner (and lunch…and breakfast), casseroles, crockpot dishes, mac n’ cheese and microwave quesadillas.  Those are our “go-to’s.”

(Yes.  I said microwave quesadillas.)

Since I’ve yet to find a personal chef that will cook in return for a smile and one of Clara’s crayon drawings, I have to get myself in the kitchen and feed this family.  Here are some of my “go-to” tips for saving time in the kitchen.  SUPER applicable coming from the laziest mama around.

Tips for Saving Time in the Kitchen

1.  Prepare lean proteins in advance!

In an effort to eat healthy, we always buy a large pack of chicken breasts and grill them at the start of the week.  Money saving tip: buy the largest pack you can find (on sale) and then cut off the skin and de-bone at home.  You’ll save quite a bit of money over time and it doesn’t take that long.  I even use kitchen shears to cut the chicken into long, tenderloin-type strips so that they grill faster!  Once cooked, we store the chicken in the fridge for up to 3-4 days and incorporate them into our meals!  Thirty minutes to prep your meats will save you a lot of time during the week.

Other lean proteins that pair easily with steamed veggies or on a big salad:  baked/grilled turkey breast, hard-boiled eggs, diced honey baked ham.

2.  Aluminum foil is your friend!

In order to save time scrubbing grease and cooked-on particles from your baking dishes, line everything with aluminum foil.  Once your dish is cooked, you simply throw out the aluminum foil – no elbow grease required.  I also buy crockpot liners that function in the same manor.  (Coupons.com almost always has a $.75 coupon for Reynold’s wrap foil!)  Who wants to be stuck scrubbing dishes?!   Not I.

3.  Pre-cut your fruits and vegetables.

Whenever I prepare our grilled chicken for the week, I also take the time to cut up broccoli, cauliflower and carrots (we go through SO many carrots!).  I also make a large bowl of fruit salad (cantaloupe, peaches, blueberries and cherries are in our fridge now).  When healthy items like these are prepped (and put at an easy level for the kids to grab), we gobble them up much faster.

4.  Make breakfasts EASY!!

My last tip:  prep your breakfasts!  If there’s one meal that I rarely have time to cook, it’s breakfast!  This often results in us having cereal, but I’m really trying to mix things up and provide a little more protein at this meal.  That’s where Flapjacked Protein Pancakes help out!  With this easy to make (seriously, all you need is water), high protein, high fiber option, I can create a large batch at the start of the week and FREEZE them in ziplock bags!  I just pop a few in the microwave and serve them up!

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We like to add blueberries or chopped bananas and strawberries to the mix and then top them with almond butter and maple syrup.  I think the one thing I like the best is that after I eat these protein pancakes, I don’t feel like there’s a big glob of dough in the bottom of my belly – they’re light!!  One serving has just 200 calories and 17 grams of protein!  Waaaaaay better than a bowl of cereal.

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Flapjacked is having a BACK TO SCHOOL SALE (starting today and running through the 17th).  Take 20% off your total order by using the promo code: BACKTOSCHOOL!

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Go here to buy! You can also stay current with later sales by following them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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QUESTION:  What are some of YOUR tips for saving time in the kitchen?  (seriously – I’ll take any advice you can throw my way!)

splendid…lindsay

crunchy chocolate chip cookie protein balls

August 1, 2014 in Blog, Breakfast, Recipe, Snack by lindsaymwright

**Full disclosure:  I feature some products in this post, some were gifted and some I bought.  All opinions are my own.**

(warning. I say “balls” a lot today.)

Promise you this – I’ll never claim to be good at cooking.  Baking.  Grilling.  Chef-ing. (?)  But I make these balls every week and my kids (and hubby…well, and I) gobble them up.  If you want some REALLY good protein balls, go check out this girl.  She’s legit and awesome and pretty and my friend and I’m in love with her Spring Sprinkle balls.  In fact, they were the one sweet thing that I could eat during my pregnancy with Porter.  I’d order two dozen at a time and tuck them away in the very back of my freezer where nary a child or husband could find them.

Anyway, I’ve found that I can throw ingredients in a bowl, mix them up, form them into circles and they taste pretty good.  Perfect for a pre or post-workout snack (depending on what type of protein powder you use) or just anytime you’re passing by the freezer and remember that you want to eat a ball.  Which for me happens to be multiple times a day.  I even made a huge batch of these to take to the beach to help fuel our long days in the sun!

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There are a few star players here.  We’ve got the two protein powders:   ON Casein (the “slow digester”) and Plant Fusion (the “quick digester”).  The “crunch” comes from the oatmeal and Crunchy NuttZo.  Another must for the successful protein ball are, of course, chocolate chips.  I mean…you’ve freaking worked out.  You deserve a little chocolate.  Am I right??  I am.  Lily’s Sweets (who was one of our Blend sponsors) just sent me some goodies, one of which was their STEVIA-sweetened dark chocolate baking chips!!

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These chips are pretty amazing – with 25% fewer calories when compared to traditional baking chips.  I’m thinking that means you can skip the workout and move right on to the balls.

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(balls. balls. balls.

Told ya.)

crunchy chocolate chip protein balls via @lindsays_list
(hover over the image to “pin”)

Crunchy Chocolate Chip Protein Balls

Yields 3 dozen balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop Optimum Nutrition Natural Casein – French Vanilla
  • 1 scoop Plant Fusion – Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup Crunchy Power Fuel Nuttzo
  • 1/3 cup honey (can sub maple syrup or agave)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Lily’s dark chocolate baking chips

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add in nut butter, honey and vanilla.  Mix together with hands.  If needed, add liquid (milk, almond milk, egg whites, even water) to make balls moist.  Mix in chocolate chips.  Form into teaspoon size balls and place on wax paper.  Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

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QUESTION:  Protein balls?  Love/hate?  What do you put in yours??

splendid…lindsay

wiaw – just pretend there are pictures

July 23, 2014 in WIAW by lindsaymwright


Dude.

Put a flippin’ fork in me.  I am donezo.

I just spent the last hour and a half dealing with blog problems.  Things are still not working out and I’m kinda over it.  I took pictures of everything I ate yesterday for a WIAW post and now it’s taking me like 15 minutes PER PICTURE to upload.  I don’t have time for this.

So just pretend that you can see pictures.

Before a track workout, I drank a watermelon Spark.  {the workout rocked – thanks Katy & Callie}

For breakfast, I had a green smoothie.

Then a banana and Nuttzo.

Then some peanut M&Ms on the drive to the pool.

For lunch, I ate a sandwich, carrots & hummus, cherries and a string cheese.

Then I had a Simply Protein bar.

Then I sampled all three varieties of brownies that my sister made to get me fat.

For dinner, I ate a grilled chicken salad so I wouldn’t get fat.

Before bed, I ate cereal with banana and honey.

When I type it all out like that, it’s not very interesting.  So here, I’ll take the 15 minutes and upload the BEST thing I ate all day yesterday.

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[red velvet, dark chocolate, & almond joy brownies....the almond joy won, hands down!]

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QUESTION:  What’s the best thing you ate yesterday??  Anybody else having blog problems?

splendid…lindsay

summer entertaining with blue diamond

July 22, 2014 in Blog, Blue Diamond, Review, Snack by lindsaymwright

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.  All opinions about the nuts and soccer are my own.

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Let’s talk soccer here for a second.

Point blank.  It’s a “meh” for me.

I grew up playing basketball, softball, and running track and cross country.  I think I might have played one year of youth soccer – I vaguely remember seeing a picture at my mama’s house the last time I went through old pictures.  I guess since neither of my parent’s played, they didn’t encourage us to play.  (Isn’t that how it goes?  You might encourage a love of all sports but deep down inside you love seeing your little ones choose the sports you played.  Every time I see Henry run, I feel a little happy that he might take up running.  Time will tell.)

Anyway, Travis absolutely ADORES soccer.  Like adores!  Watching it, playing it….those are all the soccer verbs I can think of right now.  He told me that when the World Cup was on twelve years ago that he would get up at 2am every day just to watch the games.  That’s LOVE, you guys.  I get up to nurse a child and only because it shuts the crying up – I can’t imagine getting up in the middle of the night to watch soccer.

Blue Diamond sent us some of their almonds (whole natural and rosemary & black pepper) to party with this Summer.  Since we HAD to watch the World Cup finals, I figured this would be the perfect chance to share our bounty (aka create a situation that was fun for the girls.  Snacks and gossip with a side of soccer background noise).  I made a simple trail mix with the whole natural (equal parts almonds, craisins, crushed pretzel chips and white chocolate) and we paired the rosemary/black pepper with some good German beer.  You know…to show our support (and it worked!!).

Rah-rah soccer!  You’re still a “meh” for me.  Sorry.  But I’ll “watch” you for the snacks.

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QUESTION:  Love soccer??  What’s your favorite sport to play?  To watch??

splendid…lindsay

my 10-day advocare cleanse

July 8, 2014 in Advocare, Blog, Body, Diet, Food, Goals, Postpartum by lindsaymwright

I’m not sure if the title gave it away, but I’ve been up to something behind the scenes over here.  I’m sneaky that way.

I just finished a 10-day cleanse using the Advocare products.

I didn’t announce it on the blog or social media (or really to anyone but Katy – who did it with me, and Travis) because I honestly wasn’t sure what I thought about the cleanse.  As you know, I’m not a huge advocate of food challenges/cleanses/diets/etc.  They all seem so …short sighted?  Obsessive?  I don’t know.  With my history of ED and food restriction, I have to be really careful when it comes to these types of things.  When Janetha blogged about her Advocare experience last year and how much she loved it, I kept asking and asking questions.  She finally said, “Just do it.  Try it and see how you feel.”

So I did.

Now that my 10 days are up (I only did the 10-day cleanse – there is a 24-day challenge that many partake in), I’m ready to talk about my experience.  If you’re squished for time (this is a long one), I’ll give you the one sentence synopsis.  I LOVED IT and I’ll do it again! 

The 10-day Advocare Cleanse

The WHY?

The primary reason I signed up for the cleanse was to get my digestion back on track.  As I’ve shared before, I struggle with constipation issues and have for most of my adulthood (read more here).  I’ve tried so many things – giving up dairy, using enemas, acupuncture, colonics, etc – and while those things work short-term, I still struggle with “going” daily (it’s more like every 3-5 days!!).  Pregnancy and this current postpartum period have also thrown my digestion for a loop.  Some days are ok, some not.  Going into this cleanse, I just wanted to find a happy balance.

I knew I wanted to try the cleanse for that reason alone.  Having less bloat or better skin would be nice side bonuses, but they weren’t the primary goal.  In fact, as you’ll read below, I didn’t adhere to the prescribed diet during the 10 days.  I also didn’t weigh or take any measurements.  Like I said, I know myself enough to know that I should steer clear of diet plans.  Plus, I wanted to see what the products would do on their own.  If I’m going to be paying for products, I want to know that they’ll at least do some of the work, ya know!?  You’ll see that I did make some changes – but again, those were related to digestion and NOT cutting out food groups for calorie restriction.

The HOW?

As you know, I’m a nursing mom.  Advocare has a special “Nursing Mother” bundle that includes products that are safe to consume while nursing.  After reading some of the literature (and googling for other mom’s experiences, which were all positive), I honestly still wasn’t sure that I wanted to be taking any sort of products.  What if they made Porter gassy?  What if my milk supply decreased?  What if he grew horns?? Joking, but you get the concern here.  I said that if I noticed any sort of adverse effects on my son, I’d quit immediately.  All Advocare products are Informed Choice-approved and undergo the highest safety and quality checks – I found comfort in that but still wanted to use my own judgment.

I’m happy to say that I didn’t notice ANY changes in Porter whatsoever – in his stools, in his gas, in his behavior.  My milk supply didn’t decrease.  I did make one change to the cleanse by decreasing the amount of Spark they suggest from two per day to one per day because this product contains caffeine (the amount in one cup of coffee) and I was more comfortable with that amount.  My sister Katy, who is nursing, also saw no change in her daughter or her own milk supply.  I say all this because I know a lot of nursing moms out there who WANT to do the cleanse but who might be concerned and I wanted to give my experience with these products.   As always, you should use your best judgment and talk to your doctor.

After researching and deciding that I wanted to do the cleanse, I signed up to become a distributor (<-full disclosure here – that’s an affiliate link). This means you pay a yearly membership fee and get 20% off the products. You can also sell products, but that wasn’t (isn’t) the draw.  Just from Katy and my mom ordering things, I’ve already made back my $79 membership fee!

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The “Nursing Mother” bundle consists of six products:

  1. Spark (an energy drink)
  2. Catalyst (an amino acid supplement)
  3. Fiber drink
  4. Probiotic Restore Ultra
  5. OmegaPlex
  6. Calcium Plus

Since I already take fish oil and a multivitamin, I didn’t order the last two products.  My kit arrived a couple of days after I ordered and Katy and I started on a Monday.

Here’s how it works (the “Nursing Mother” cleanse):

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The cleanse comes with a prescribed meal plan. You eat real, whole foods and you eat OFTEN. The products are meant to work in conjunction with a whole foods approach – there is no calorie restriction or starvation. You’re told to drink at least a gallon of water a day (easy) and to avoid dairy, sugar, processed foods and coffee.

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Here’s what I Did:

I tried to track everything using checkmarks (obviously..I love organization).

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Some observations:

  • As you can see, some days I forgot to take all of the prescribed products (woops) but for the most part, I stuck to the suggested supplement intake.
  • I felt like the “no carbs after lunch”-thing was a bad choice for me so I added in a bedtime snack every day (usually cereal with unsweetened almond milk).
  • I ate whenever I felt hungry and while I didn’t cut out all processed foods (teddy grahams, cereal, M & M’s, etc.), my desire for them went down drastically.
  • I DID cut out dairy because I know from past experience that this helps with my poo problem.
  • The Peaches & Cream Fiber Drink tastes amazing!  I like the Grape Spark better than the Watermelon.

I guess you could say that I only half did this cleanse – I just tailored it to my own needs and went for it.  Katy actually adhered to the prescribed diet and had great results.  We took before and after pictures/measurements and she looks AMAZING!  I’m hoping she’ll let me share her story on the blog.

The Outcome

After 10 days, I feel GREAT.  My sugar cravings have decreased significantly (they were kinda out of control).  I have way more energy (I was relying on coffee far too often and I don’t think it was doing much for me).  As for my poo problem – completely gone!  I haven’t had a day that I didn’t “go” during AND after the cleanse (we ended last Wednesday).  For me, this is the BIGGEST benefit by far!

Because I know people are interested, I do notice a difference in the way some of my workout pants fit, especially around the waist.  I feel less bloated, less puffy.  I didn’t do the cleanse for weight loss purposes (nursing Porter is working well in that regard!) but to be able to easily fit into some of my old Lululemon pants is a nice bonus.

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Slowly getting some of those abs to peek back through.

All in all, I’d highly recommend the Nursing Mom cleanse and I already have plans to do another in early Fall.  My mom just ordered the 24-day Challenge to prep for our upcoming beach trip!  If you want to learn more, go here.  If you have any questions or need help creating your own Advocare bundle, just email me and I’d be happy to answer.

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QUESTION:  Have you ever tried any of the Advocare products?  Ever had problems with digestion/constipation?

splendid…lindsay