The Diet Beast: Lee-Green Smoothie

So here’s where I’m at right now.

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Dieting is hard.

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But not as hard as you might think.

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For those of you who read Monday’s post, you know that I’m trying to get back on the fitness wagon. I haven’t quit yet (hooray for two days!) despite being tired and sore. The exercise is just as hard as I remember, if not harder now that I’ve been exercise-deprived for a good few months. But the workout isn’t near as difficult as the diet.

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I think it’s safe to say my diet is probably what has derailed me the most when it comes to losing weight.

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And while I’m sure I can excuse my way out of eating the wrong things (I’ve already come up with three excuses while writing this sentence), there’s no excuse for not learning to eat the right things.

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That’s where Pinterest comes in.

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Though it’s probably not the best go-to site for all things healthy, at least Pinterest is a good way to find millions of recipes for foods you never would have thought to put together.

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And I found the perfect healthy meal replacement:

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The Green Smoothie.

It’s become fairly popular lately as the smoothie that lets you drink your vegetables. As a vegetarian who isn’t the biggest fan of vegetables (wait…what?), I can appreciate that concept. So after trying various Pinterest versions – and disliking them all – I made up my own. Here it is.

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The Lee-Green Smoothie

  • a small handful of ice
  • a cup of skim milk (today I used organic soy milk)
  • two spoonfuls of Greek yogurt
  • one medium banana, cut into slices
  • four medium strawberries, tops cut off
  • two to three cups of spinach
  • a scoop of protein powder

Add ice, milk, yogurt, banana, strawberries, and spinach (stuffing in as much as you can until the blender is completely full — around 2-3 cups), and blend.

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Add protein powder and blend until the spinach leaves look like tiny green specks (if you leave it too leafy, the texture will completely turn you off from this smoothie, trust me).

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Now pour and enjoy.

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Mmm.

Now, I guarantee if you make this smoothie properly, you will not be able to taste the spinach at all, just the strawberries and banana. If you’re wondering about the calories, this smoothie packs a healthy punch. It gives you all the nutrients of almost all the main food groups for only 434 calories. That might seem like a lot to you calorie-counters out there, but for what you get, it’s really not. I even made some soy chicken nuggets and I still have 768 calories left to eat for dinner. But if you’re worried that it’s too much, you can always vary the ingredients to lower the calories or to satisfy your taste.

These smoothies are a regular staple for me when I’m doing P90X, and I can honestly say that I craved them while I was away at college. They keep you full for a long time and taste delicious. So for right now I’d say Smoothie – 1, Diet – 0.

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What I’m Inspired By: Photography

Inspiration is…well…everywhere. It’s in the way the sun bounces along the crystals of ice on the sidewalk, the way that opera singer belted out that last note, and it’s even in the way that little brown squirrel scurried past me on my way to class this morning.

But if inspiration is everywhere, why is it so hard for writers to find? Perhaps it’s because we hardly even notice these sources of inspiration anymore, especially in this day and age when there’s so much else to occupy us.

Distraction is part of the problem. What writers really need is a machine to slow time, something that allows them to take a moment and just be able to think about it, analyze it, and experience it. Events in life happen too fast for most people, and I think that’s where some of the inspiration can be lost: in the passage of time.

This is why I believe photography is one of the best tools a writer can use in order to capture these moments and hold on to them until they’ve gotten all their thoughts on the subject down in writing. Writers can photograph their own sources of inspiration, or even consider a picture of something another photographer was inspired by. The way in which different ideas can arise from the same source is what makes creativity so engaging, and so I’ve placed below a few photos that inspire me, ones that I feel I could base a story from.

If you feel inspired by these pictures as well, share your ideas in the comments. And for more photos like these, check out my Writer’s Block photo collection on Pinterest:        http://pinterest.com/lpaigewrites/writer-s-block/

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(As you can see, I tend to be inspired by places. What are you inspired by?)

My Experience with DIY Pinterest Gifts

A lot of women (and even sometimes men) who join Pinterest have great intentions. They pin all these creative projects or delicious looking recipes on their boards with the purpose of actually making them in the somewhat near future. Right…

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It’s okay. We all do it.

And because that never usually works out, we just end up pinning more and more funny cat pictures until all of a sudden it’s three o’clock in the morning and we’ve just polished off a brand new tub of Ben & Jerry’s.

But this past Christmas, being a poor college student, I decided that I was actually going to attempt to fulfill my Pinterest destiny and make DIY Pinterest gifts for my family.

Pros: Super cost effective and heartfelt. Your mom will probably display it for everyone to see and then mention it whenever someone walks past.

Cons: Takes up a lot of time and, even when you fail (we’re talking it looks more akin to a sloppy 1st grade finger-painting and less like the professional-looking handprint family tree art piece that you wanted), your mom will display it for everyone to see and then mention it whenever someone walks past.

Luckily enough for me, I perceived my own failure in advance and planned accordingly. I made two fairly simple Pinterest gifts, but because I lack a picture of the second one, I’ll only be talking about one of them.

Sharpie Mugs

Anyone that has a Pinterest account and has glanced at the DIY category has seen this project idea. The basic premise is that you can buy a basic white coffee mug, draw or write (with a Sharpie) a cute little phrase like “This isn’t actually coffee” on the side, bake the mug in the oven at 350 degrees, and after some cooling time – voila! DIY mug.

Nope.

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If the Sharpie doesn’t rub off from your hands, the markings you made will most definitely come off in the dishwasher (and also potentially from handwashing).

A better idea, and what worked for me, is this Delta Air-Dry Permenamel Transparent Glass Paint Set.

Click the picture for the place to buy it.

Click the picture for the place to buy it.

The packaging says it’s for glass projects, but it also works just as well on your run-of-the-mill ceramic coffee mug. There are three different tools in this set: the surface conditioner (the little white bottle), which you brush all over the mug first; the liquid lead (black tube), which I skipped over since this wasn’t a glass project; and the paints.

There’s no need to bake the mugs because the paint is supposed to stay on without heat. Now, you can’t put your finished mugs in the dishwasher, but you can handwash them, which is at least better than having your design disintegrate upon contact.

I don’t have any tips for actually designing your mug (all I did was look at some pictures on Google and tried my best to mimic them), but I do know that this set works. Granted, you’re paying a little extra for it (about $7 plus a $1 mug from the dollar store), but it’s still fairly cheap for what you’re getting.

The mugs were a hit with the family and they’ve still held up after several washes. DIY mission accomplished.

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My artistic skills at work.

If you have any other questions about this project, or maybe a failed or achieved Pinterest goal of your own, let me know in the comments.