Mar 27, 2009

ABS Diet

I've had a difficult time losing weight since I had Sienna. It's been tough. My sister-in-law Liz had a friend who introduced her to the Abs Diet, and she loved it, so I bought the book and I really like it as well. I think I'm going to be one of those women who really just doesn't lose the weight until after I'm done nursing, but now that I've been implementing some of the things I've learned about the Abs Diet, I'm actually losing, which is nice.

I don't really like to call this a "diet" since it doesn't feel like one. It's more of a life-style change. It's not a fad-diet, which forces you to eat weird foods and then once you go back to your normal diet, you'll gain it all back. It teaches you how to live a healthy lifestyle.

For those who are interested, here's a little blurb about the Abs Diet. It teaches you to eat six "meals" a day. You include two or three from a list of 12 power foods at each of the three main meals and one or two power foods as part of each of three smaller snacks. Here is the acronym for ABSDIETPOWER to help you remember the foods to include.
A-almonds and other nuts B-beans and legumes S- spinach and other green vegetables D-dairy I-instant oatmeal E-eggs T-turkey and other lean meats
P-peanut butter (natural, sugar-free)
O-olive oil
W-whole grains breads and cereals
E-extra protein whey powder
R-raspberries and other berries

While there isn’t much guidance about portion size, the author says that eating from the power-food lists automatically reduces calories since choices are, for the most part, light and lean. I still tend to try to watch my calorie intake and pay attention to portion sizes (i.e. you could eat way too many almonds if you didn't pay attention to how many calories are in just a handful). When I am really sticking to the diet, I notice that I am not hungry at all. (When you are snacking on healthy, protein-filled snacks, you stay fuller longer). It feels good to eat smaller portions. You don't get that over-the-top, bloated feeling after your meals. The exercise part of the plan includes strength training three times per week, abs exercises on two days, and cardio two to three days a week. Realistically, you could work out just 3 times a way, doing 20 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of weight training, which is total doable. The only thing I'm finding challenging right now is that Dan and I are training (I use that word loosely this week, since I am also studying for my LCSW exam, work has been crazy and have had a sick baby all week) for a triathlon so I am having to do more cardio to train for that. The book has a whole section on exercise and gives you a whole program to follow, which I have really enjoyed. It's a great work-out.

Anyway, you just try to build your diet around these power foods and learn to avoid fatty foods and unhealthy trans fats. The author emphasizes the importance of avoiding foods with high fructose corn syrup and enriched products. He also discusses the dangers of belly fat and how it leads to heart disease, diabetes, etc...The whole preface of the diet is to rev up metabolism, so that you're burning calories while you sleep. The idea is that it will help you build more muscle and burn more fat. For every 6 lbs of muscle you have, you'll burn an extra 300 calories a day. That is why the plan focuses so much on circuit training, rather than intense cardio everyday.

FYI, they also have the Abs Diet for Women, which is very similar to the Abs Diet, only tweaked a little for women. It has a section on post-partum, etc...I just ordered mine on Amazon. For more info you can also check out their website at

Mar 25, 2009

Finding Joy in the Journey

I love this General Conference talk by President Thomas S. Monson. Sienna has been sick the past few days, and last night was a rough one. I just kept thinking about this talk and thought it was a good time to read it again (and I thought maybe some of you could use it as well!) I just cut/pasted some of my favorite parts.

Finding Joy in the Journey

I begin by mentioning one of the most inevitable aspects of our lives here upon the earth, and that is change. At one time or another we’ve all heard some form of the familiar adage: “Nothing is as constant as change.”

Throughout our lives, we must deal with change. Some changes are welcome; some are not. There are changes in our lives which are sudden, such as the unexpected passing of a loved one, an unforeseen illness, the loss of a possession we treasure. But most of the changes take place subtly and slowly.

This conference marks 45 years since I was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. As the junior member of the Twelve then, I looked up to 14 exceptional men, who were senior to me in the Twelve and the First Presidency. One by one, each of these men has returned home. When President Hinckley passed away eight months ago, I realized that I had become the senior Apostle. The changes over a period of 45 years that were incremental now seem monumental...

Day by day, minute by minute, second by second we went from where we were to where we are now. The lives of all of us, of course, go through similar alterations and changes. The difference between the changes in my life and the changes in yours is only in the details. Time never stands still; it must steadily march on, and with the marching come the changes.

This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.

I am what my wife, Frances, calls a “show-a-holic.” I thoroughly enjoy many musicals, and one of my favorites was written by the American composer Meredith Willson and is entitled The Music Man. Professor Harold Hill, one of the principal characters in the show, voices a caution that I share with you. Says he, “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.”

My brothers and sisters, there is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today.

I’ve shared with you previously an example of this philosophy. I believe it bears repeating. Many years ago, Arthur Gordon wrote in a national magazine, and I quote:

“When I was around thirteen and my brother ten, Father had promised to take us to the circus. But at lunchtime there was a phone call; some urgent business required his attention downtown. We braced ourselves for disappointment. Then we heard him say [into the phone], ‘No, I won’t be down. It’ll have to wait.’

“When he came back to the table, Mother smiled. ‘The circus keeps coming back, you know,’ [she said.]

“‘I know,’ said Father. ‘But childhood doesn’t.’”

If you have children who are grown and gone, in all likelihood you have occasionally felt pangs of loss and the recognition that you didn’t appreciate that time of life as much as you should have. Of course, there is no going back, but only forward. Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future.

If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly.

Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.” We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.

Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of “what if” and “if only.” Said author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”...

Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family. One day each of us will run out of tomorrows.

The ancient Roman philosopher Horace admonished, “Whatever hour God has blessed you with, take it with grateful hand, nor postpone your joys from year to year, so that in whatever place you have been, you may say that you have lived happily.”

Despite the changes which come into our lives and with gratitude in our hearts, may we fill our days—as much as we can—with those things which matter most. May we cherish those we hold dear and express our love to them in word and in deed.

In 1 Thessalonians in the New Testament, we are told by the Apostle Paul, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God.”

In closing, I pray that all of us will reflect gratitude for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His glorious gospel provides answers to life’s greatest questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where does my spirit go when I die?

He taught us how to pray. He taught us how to serve. He taught us how to live. His life is a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved.

The time came when He stood alone. Some Apostles doubted; one betrayed Him. The Roman soldiers pierced His side. The angry mob took His life. There yet rings from Golgotha’s hill His compassionate words, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Earlier, perhaps perceiving the culmination of His earthly mission, He spoke the lament, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” “No room in the inn” was not a singular expression of rejection—just the first. Yet He invites you and me to receive Him. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

Who was this Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief? Who is the King of glory, this Lord of hosts? He is our Master. He is our Savior. He is the Son of God. He is the Author of our Salvation. He beckons, “Follow me.” He instructs, “Go, and do thou likewise.” He pleads, “Keep my commandments.”

Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His word. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude.

Brothers and sisters, my sincere prayer is that we may adapt to the changes in our lives, that we may realize what is most important, that we may express our gratitude always and thus find joy in the journey.

Mar 22, 2009

Volunteers Needed!

"Seek to share joy with others and you will find your own soul radiant with the joy you wished for another."

I am a hospice social worker for Harmony Hospice in Salt Lake City. We are really in need of volunteers, so if you or anyone you know would be interested in volunteering in any way, please let me know. You can really volunteer as much or as little as you would like. There are a certain amount of hours involved in training (can't remember how many), but it's really flexible and I think most of the training can be done from videos you can watch when it's convenient for you. Anyway, I feel very blessed to work in this field. It's not an easy job, but it is incredibly rewarding. We have so many patients that would benefit so much from just a little extra TLC, but we just don't have enough volunteers to go around. We have volunteers who visit people in their homes or nursing home, people who share musical talents, help with our "one last wish" (similar to make-a-wish), give hand massages and/or manicures, meal prep, run errands for patients, yard/lawn work, crafts, caregiver relief/respite, read to patients, write letters/cards, donate food or make monetary donations, help with marketing, administrative work, etc...There are lots of options. You could always do a one-time thing (for family home evening or something) as well and just donate a few hours making cards, crafts or collecting food. Anyway, if you are interested, please let me know and I can get you in touch with our volunteer coordinator who can give you more details. Just leave a comment or you can email me at Thanks!

Mar 19, 2009

The Hiding Place

For those of you who haven't read it, the Hiding Place, by Corrie Tenboom is an incredible book. I read it ages ago (like maybe in High school?) but didn't remember too much about it. We read it for my neighborhood book club this month and I am so glad that we did. It's written by a Holicaust survivor, so obviously, it is filled with much sadness and grief. Yet somehow amidst the sorrow, there is light, hope, gratitude and faith. I read most of it while we were on our flight back from California, so I had Sienna asleep in one arm and had the book in the other, so I couldn't take notes or mark any pages, but I will tell you that this book has the most amazing quotes--the kind that if you could really understand them and apply them in your life, it would completely life-altering. So, if you haven't read it, you need to. Seriously, you'll love it. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book.

I don't know...But if God has shown us bad times ahead, it's enough for me that He knows about them. That's why He sometimes shows us things, you know--to tell us that this too is in His hands.

Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our path, is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see.

Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.

When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength

Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to an known God.

The first step on the way to victory is to recognize the enemy.

If God has called you, do not spend time looking over your shoulder to see who is following.

Mar 18, 2009

Wish we all could be California girls....

Well, at least Sienna does.

HB, Friends, BBQ's, TK Burger, Lazy Dog Cafe, running on the beach, surfing, lazy days, beach house, Trader Joe's, Sugar Shack, OC Swapmeet, San Clemente Pier, The Fisherman, In-N-Out, HB 4th ward, perfect weather...

California was a dream. Loved it. Wish it could've lasted longer. Sigh....

Unfortunately I wasn't great at taking pictures on the trip. We got tons of pics of Sienna (of course!) but hardly any of our friends. Sorry, guys! Know that we love you anyway. It was a quick trip, so if we didn't get to see you while we were in town, we'd love to catch up next time!

A few firsts...

First time sitting up

First time eating solids. She loves her veggies!
First flight (to Long Beach, California)
First swimsuit, trip to the beach & dip in the pool (which she hated, since it was too cold)

First romantic wagon ride with her boyfriend Samson
First (of many, I'm sure) time playing in a laundry basket full of clothes
First 2 teeth, which she loves to show off (she got these babies around 6 months)

Mar 5, 2009

Mexican Chicken Breasts

I made this tonight for dinner and it was really good (and ridiculously easy). The recipe called for the whole package of seasoning and to place chicken breasts in a ziplock and coat with seasoning, but it was way too strong, so I just sprinkle with some taco seasoning. I shredded the leftovers and made yummy taco's the next day. Next time I think I'll try to top it with mango salsa. (FYI, it's actually a weight watchers recipe--1 breast is 1 point).

Mexican Chicken Breasts
16 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts
Taco seasoning
1 cup salsa
1/4 cup fat free sour cream

Directions: Spray casserole dish with olive oil spray. Sprinkle chicken breasts (both sides) with taco seasoning (to taste) and place breasts in dish. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Top with salsa about 5 minutes before breasts are done. Top with sour cream before serving.

Mar 1, 2009

Chipotle Hummus

My friend Emily made this yummy hummus the other night. She got it from It's soooo good, and super healthy! It's got a few crazy ingredients, but once you have them, it's super easy to make. Emily found everything at Macey's. I found most of it at Smith's (other than the Tahini, which they ordered for me). Dan and I have been trying to find healthy snack options and this is definitely a keeper. It was great with celery, bell peppers & carrots. Here's the recipe...

Chipotle Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons Tahini (sesame seed paste)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 roasted red pepper (from a jar)

1 - 2 sun-dried tomatoes

1 chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce

1 clove garlic crushed

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

Just throw all the ingredients in a food processor and blend. It's great as a vegetable dip, but also on sandwich's or wraps. Enjoy!