Flaxseed Energy Balls

Flaxseed Energy Balls

Happy Wednesday!

Its almost the weekend!!! I love short weeks, knowing tomorrow is “friday” is definitely going to make today go a bit easier. Plus knowing tomorrow night I’ll be making my way home for easter is even better. I can’t wait to see all my family and spend some time with them over the extended weekend.

flaxseed energy balls

For today I wanted to share an old favorite recipe. I started making these “balls” almost 2 years ago when I started my “healthy living” adventure. I was so excited to have a sweet treat which was packed with nutrients to help subside my cravings and power me through the day.

I have followed the same basic recipe from Gimme Some Oven with some adjustments and recommendations plus an enduring name of “Flax Balls”

Flaxseed Energy Balls

When Brent & I started dating I told him I wanted to make some energy balls one night, they quickly were termed “flax balls” and the name has just stuck.

Not the most attractive name but I promise the flavor & taste make up for it!

I made a batch of these along with Davida’s Pistachio Balls (subbed orange for key lime) for she extra energy this week.

Flaxseed Energy Balls

Flaxseed Energy Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry oats
  • 2/3 cup chopped nuts of choice
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter of choice
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried goji berries or dried berries (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until a dough-like mixture is created.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for half an hour
  3. Once chilled, roll into balls of chosen size (approximately quarter-sized)
  4. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer
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This batch of flax balls included oats, chia seeds, flax, chocolate PB2, Enjoy Life mini-chocolate chips, goji berries, chopped walnuts, and maple syrup.

Flaxseed Energy Balls

Feel free to add or subtract your favorite ingredients to suit your taste buds. I have made these with PB2, regular peanut butter, crunchy peanut butter, creamy peanut butter etc. Also with all different nuts, dried fruits, chocolate or none, honey or maple syrup. And EACH batch is amazing, different but great.

Hope you enjoy the deliciousness of these balls.

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Keep Calm & Love Monday

Oh Monday, why do you come so fast? I don’t know about you but I often find myself dreading Mondays.

Today I decided to focus on the good and rather than dreading going to work I wanted to share a story that made my day last week. It also made going to work a little more exciting the rest of the week.

keep-calm-and-love-monday

Tuesday of last week my patient walked into the clinic looking a little blue. She said she was just very tired and had little energy or motivation. We worked through her exercises and took on new challenges and at the end of the treatment session I was doing my hands-on stretching/mobilization and exercises.

During this time my patients and I generally talk about anything and everything. From what they will be having for dinner, family events, life, and often exercise. Many of my patients tell me that they want to get back into a fitness routine and ask me where I workout and how.

Exercise was the topic of conversation on Tuesday. She asked me what I do and how I do it, along with my fitness journey. I started from the beginning {you can read this here} and then talked about how I now have found my path in fitness. I told her about some recent training goals {TBA} and after she asked I shared some recent progress pictures.

Motivate your Future

During my time talking to her I saw her facial expression change and her body become more energetic and joyful. We continued to talk about wedding plans, fitness goals, and life in general for a good 10-15 minutes after her treatment session had ended.

When she left the clinic she told my coworkers how much better she felt, how happy she was and how motivated she was to do something more. After she left my coworker turned to me and said “I don’t know what you did but she went from being really down and blue to being so incredibly happy… what a great job Allison!”

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Days like this and moments like this are what make me love my job. I am able to work with truly inspiring people who are going through some of the hardest times of their lives, but through conversation, sharing and giving them a bit of myself I am able to help them feel better.

So instead of being bummed that it is no longer the weekend, I am going to be HAPPY that I can go to work and help someone feel better each and every day.

Happy Monday Friends, Go out there and be great!

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What fitness goals do you have?
How do you make Monday a bit better?

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Nitty Gritty on Energy

food-for-fuel

Yesterday I gave you all a ton of information about the components of Female Athlete Triad and my talk at a local high school. Today I wanted to talk a bit more about actual fuel and components of fuel that are most important.

warning – this post might get rather technical & nerdy. I apologize in advance!

Lets Get Technical:

Our body uses energy constantly & the amount of calories which you need to perform your basic life functions is called your Basil Metabolic Rate, this is the base number to sustain life. On top of this is your Resting Metabolic Rate which includes the effect of food on your body, including how much energy you get from each fuel source (carbs, fat & protein which are all not created equally).

Additionally whenever you exercise you burn more calories which results in your exercise energy expenditure. The important factor to ensure we are achieving and balancing is our Total Energy Expenditure this is the combination of your RMR (which includes BMR and thermal effect of food) + Exercise Energy Expenditure. 

total-energy-expenditure

When you are in caloric balance your TEE = Calorie Intake this simply means you are eating the right amount to meet your basic and athletic needs & balance is achieved. You will likely experience minimal weight change.

If you eat more calories than what you burn in a day you will be apt to gaining weight either in the form of muscle or fat depending on what you eat.

If you eat less calories than what you burned that day, your TEE, you will be in a calorie deficit. This will likely result in weight loss. However, if this calorie deficit is too large your body will have too few calories to sustain normal functions of daily living. Additionally, you can have zero weight change and continue to be in a caloric deficit because when your body & brain recognize a caloric deficit they work to reestablish the energy balance by decreasing your resting metabolic rate in order to CONSERVE CALORIES!

Energy available must meet the needs for basic physiological processes a.k.a Resting Metabolic Rate

I personally have been in situations where I knew that I was burning more calories than I was taking in and that calorie deficit seemed “cool” or “good” but when I look back I can see that I was truly doing more harm than good. My body was not changing the ways that I wanted even though I was “eating healthy” & “exercising”… I was not eating enough and had put myself in a mildly disordered eating mindset.

800 calories

The other week I was talking to a female patient who told me she was trying to lose weight and was eating around 900calories/day while working out and doing PT. I seriously think my jaw dropped to the floor and then proceeded to put some knowledge on her about the healthier way and more effective way to lose weight than simply starving yourself from food.

The hard part is knowing that its OKAY to eat more food and you will still have the opportunity to lose weight, your body needs fuel and we cannot be afraid to fuel our fitness! 

So lets prevent the cascade of events which can occur with limited energy availability and fuel our future the healthy and fit way.

PREVENTION = Making sure you continue to eat the right amount of calories for YOU!!!

There are TONS of resources out there to help you determine your BMR, TEE and caloric need.
If you are concerned you are not eating the right amount of calories then I challenge you to figure out what you are eating and track your food for 3-7days. no longer

I told my athletes to focus on 3-7day logging interval,  as an adult if you think logging for a longer period of time would be beneficial then do it, but be careful because… Too much of a good thing is not always a good thing. I would caution you against prolonged food tracking as it can lead into the vicious cycle of disordered eating. HOWEVER a 3-7day sampling IN SEASON will help you see how much food you are putting in your body and ensure you are eating the right amount for you.

 If you find you are not eating enough then lets increase your calories with healthy choices to make sure you are properly fueling YOUR athletic performance.

food-for-fuel

Remember food is fuel!!!!! Food is needed to meet the energy availability needs for basic cell function (growth, cellular activity, healing) in addition to calories or energy needed for activity and performance.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need help or guidance on finding the best solution to fueling your future the best way for you!

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Fueling Your Future

Then & Now

Female Athlete Triad – Part 1

Last week I spoke at an area high school to the female athletes about fueling their futures and the Female Athlete Triad. I wanted to share with you all about my presentation because I truly think its important for every one of all ages.

Female Athlete Triad

As a physical therapist serving many of the area school kids I was excited (and nervous) to present to this group of kids. As a high school athlete I got very little education on how to properly fuel my body and know many people who poorly or improperly fueled themselves for their athletic performance.

I tell my kids in PT often “if I only knew now what I knew then I would’ve been a top athlete, rather than just a good one.” I honestly believe this, when I was a high school athlete we would “fuel” with huge meals between matches, sweets after practice, and often a pre or post practice run to a fast food restaurant. While the majority of my teammates and myself were not acutely aware of what we were putting in our bodies we also were not deviating extremely from the “norm.”

As a high schooler & in general I think it is important to just eat!! Your body needs energy and energy comes from food, and once you focus on only eating certain foods or counting calories you risk a bigger problem than just eating the food you enjoy. Being mindful of moderation and portion control, the two things which I did not have in high school and hardly thought about.

Then & Now

As athletes we are exposed to a greater risk of social pressures and societal norms for the sport which we play and the athletic performance we wish to achieve. These pressures can monumentally impact growth and maturation of the female athlete.

Females are susceptible to what is called “The Female Athlete Triad” and what I think had a bad rap for being a huge scary thing. When really it should be discussed with each female sports team (and honestly male sports team even though the impact is different) because it is not as scary at it sounds.

Female Athlete Triad is the combination of three factors which exist on a continuum of severity 1. Energy deficiency with or without eating disorder 2. Menstrual disturbances/amenorrhea & 3. Bone loss/osteoporosis.

Female Athlete Triad

I spoke mostly on energy deficiency as I believe this is the biggest component of the triad and honestly the conduit to the other two components. While they can all exist exclusively they all can co-exist and this coexistence is a result from a cascade of responses.

Energy deficiency is defined as “Not having enough energy available” and is due to under-fueling and caloric deficits. It can lead to disordered eating but does not have to, and the result is not always a diagnosed eating disorder. Energy deficiencies can be unintentional and often occur within the exercise community.

Have you ever gone to a workout or sporting game and forgot to eat something before you went? How did you feel after the first 10minutes or 1 hour of full exertion exercise? not great right?

This is unintentional energy deficiency, some people think they perform better with fasted workouts and some do not, a fasted workout or state of unintentional energy deficiency puts your body in a “temporary state of female athlete triad” but if you replenish your fuel sources and continue to eat & fuel normally and healthily you are okay!

The Problem comes with sustained disordered eating, not just one day of poor eating or unintentional deficiencies. When you are in a sustained disordered state your body goes into starvation mode and stores each morsel of food. Since our body is a lot smarter than we are it knows that we are in a constant calorie deficit and so it stores all our food to use for energy to survive.

Female Athelte Triad

With sustained energy deficiencies our body searches for other areas to leach energy from so it can take that energy for vital processes such as thinking, digesting, sleeping, walking… This leached energy often comes in the form of discontinuing the normal menstrual cycle, or amenorrhea (absence of menstruation). While we all would love to not have our monthly visit from Aunt Flow it is an important regulatory function for females and vital part of our life.

Secondary Amenorrhea is defined as the “absence of menstrual cycles for 3 or more consecutive months or < 3 cycles/year” this is the amenorrhea that we are concerned about. This means your body has stopped menstruation for an important reason, typically the result of chronic energy deficiency. Prolonged or long-term secondary amenorrhea can lead to difficulty getting pregnant, infertility, pelvic pain and

… osteoporosis due to low estrogen levels. (perfect segue ay?)

Bone loss is no joke my friends and bone health is predominantly impacted by genetics (60-80%), exercise, hormones, nutrition and toxins. While we have little impact on our genetics we definitely have the ability to positively impact the other 20-40% of our bone health.

Starting to see how it all works together? Nutrition and poorly fueling our body leads to hormone imbalances which can negatively impact your bone health leading to weak or brittle bones and increasing your risk for osteoporosis and bone disease. Severe undernutrition impairs reproductive health and skeletal health resulting in low bone mineral density.

Female Athlete Triad

The POSITIVE is that exercise and physical activity positively impacts the bone builders and should improve bone mineral density.

Ok so now you know the gist of Female Athlete Triad. Tomorrow I will share more about how to properly fuel and recognize energy deficiency plus some personal stories on unintentional deficiency.

Questions and comments welcomed.

Fuel safe, perform strong, stay healthy.

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Marvelous 6 mile Run

What A Weekend!

First I have to start with a HUGE HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Dad! I would not be the person I am today without his constant support, encouragement and reliable driving skills! I am truly honored to have such an amazing guy in my life as a role model and cheerleader!

2012-06-29 17.23.04 IMG_2967

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope you enjoy your day!

Moving on…I cannot believe it is already Monday and a very busy week is ahead of me. Which is exciting, exhausting & marvelous!

Friday Night Fro-Yo is definitely a marvelous start to the weekend!

Friday Night Fro-Yo is definitely a marvelous start to the weekend!

This weekend was a fun one, like I said yesterday I am feeling like I have found some friends here in Rockford which makes living her not so horrible any more ;)

Plus a random SnapChat from a friend is always wonderful!

Plus a random SnapChat from a friend is always wonderful!

Saturday Brent and I were extremely lazy… have you ever had a day where even after a full nights rest you still just want to sleep all day? Well that is what happened Saturday. I slept in, took naps and just lounged all day watching Spiderman, Iron Man 1 &2. It was great!

IMG_6969 IMG_6998

Then we headed to dinner with some of the girls I have met through the gym and working out in the morning. Most of the girls have been friends for a while so being the new girl was a little ify at times but over all it was great! We got some awesome sushi & I had my FIRST Oberon of the year. Summer is just around the corner y’all!

IMG_6968

Sunday morning I had plans to get up early and go for a run with Amy. After waking up and moving slow I decided to blog a bit before hitting the road. Then I finally just told myself to GO! I have told you all before that I am not a runner and I hold true to that statement so going out for a run is not something I typically enjoy.

However I have also made a goal to run 4 races this year and would like to challenge myself by running different distances each race. (more details later)… So I have been challenging myself with my runs working up from 1miles to 4miles last Saturday. This Saturday’s Sundays plan was 6 miles, and I wasn’t going to run them sitting on my couch.

First Outdoor Run 2014 #runhappy

So off I went, no real direction in mind, or a mapped out distance I just figured I would run and once I reached 3 miles I would head towards home. Well this plan was short lived when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to cross the street I had planned to cross #runfail. So I made a turn a couple dead ends and magically turned the corner toward home with 0.5miles left to go! I knew it was at least a half mile to home and was completely relieved.

This of course ended up being the windiest part of my run. The whole thing I was running into the wind but it was not so strong I couldn’t move, this last 0.5miles just about threw me on my butt. I put my head down and charged forward & finished the run! Other than the wind it was so nice to be outside enjoying the fresh air and some sunshine.

#PROOF

#PROOF

It wasn’t the best of times, and I had to stop a couple times to catch my breath & turn around, but overall I am so proud of finishing that run & doing it by myself! I had never ran 6miles before In.My.Life so this was huge for me. I only have up to go from here and we all have to start somewhere.

Next time, no walking!

The rest of sunday was spent prepping for the week, making dinner and then watching IronMan3.

Hope you have a wonderful Monday!
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