Cardio(less)

by Sara on April 5, 2012

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a sandwich for breakfast.

As in, like, 15 years long time.

I know. But I have my reasons. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yet, if you’d asked what my favorite breakfast was when I was little, I would have told you, without hesitation, that it was an Egg McMuffin.

And I would have added that the smiley face chocolate chip pancakes at IHop came in a close second. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Who else used to love ordering these?

[source]

But we’ll talk about those when I make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. This post is about egg sandwiches. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Granted, I was rarely given the opportunity to enjoy an Egg McMuffin. My mom made it clear that McDonald’s pit stops were for long car trips only.

My brother always ordered the Sausage Biscuit. This was before McDonald’s started selling 20 other things for breakfast. Back then you really had two options: Egg McMuffin or Sausage Biscuit. Oh, and hash browns on the side. Gosh, I loved them.

When I began experimentingย  with a modified Paleo-style diet, I started giving myself permission to truly enjoy the foods I once loved, but had convinced myself I no longer loved because they didn’t fit nicely into my “healthy lifestyle.”

Foods like avocado, whole eggs and…bacon. (Yep, I ended up adding bacon to that sandwich!)

It’s not that I hadn’t been eating these foods; I had. It’s that I hadn’t been eating these foods without feeling a twinge of guilt afterwards.

But over the past few weeks I’ve began embracing all real foods. It’s the man-made stuff that’s not healthy. Natural fats, proteins and carbohydrates are healthy. :)

There are many scarier things for sale in the grocery store than organic bacon.ย  (Like fake bacon. Read the ingredient list!)

Anyways, I’ve come across a lot of fun Paleo-style recipes lately! I have an ever-growing list of “must-makes.” And an expanding list of “make-agains.”

Creamy Zucchini Pasta (seen in my last post) is one such recipe. :)

Click here to make some for yourself!

When I stumbled across Paleo-style biscuits on Pinterest the other day, I knew had to make them.

I baked two batches in one day. The first time around, I followed this recipe, halving it, to be sure I liked them (almond flour is way too expensive to waste!).

They were good, but a tad bit dry. And the muffin shape just wasn’t biscuity enough.

The second time, I tinkered around with the flour ratios a bit, baked the biscuits on a baking sheet, and got a result that was much better.

If you’re looking for a grain-free, high fiber biscuit, meet your new best friend. :) I ate three in one day (be careful of fiber overload! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and my third batch is in the oven as I type this. They’re wonderful slathered in honey butter or coconut oil. :) Click here for the recipe!

**UPDATE: Going Cardio-less**

It’s been a long time since I updated you on my progress with LiveFit! Last Sunday, I finished Phaseย  2, and on Monday, listened to the introduction to Phase 3. However I quickly realized that I wasn’t ready for Phase 3. Jamie Eason explains that Phase 3 is the “leaning out” phase, which is definitely not something I’m trying to do! I’m still working on gaining muscle mass. Five to ten pounds ofย  muscle mass, more specifically. :)

I didn’t get the results I wanted with LiveFit. And it’s not because the program is flawed; it’s a great fitness regimen, and I’d recommend it to almost anyone. The reason I didn’t get the results I wanted was because I didn’t completely follow the program. I did cardio all the way through—almost every day—which definitely compromised my efforts. When you’re trying to gain muscle, your body needs extra energy to build that muscle. Doing cardio burns off that energy, leaving the body with nothing to work with.

I knew this. But I didn’t want to believe it. :(

I LOVE cardio. It makes me feel good. I love sweating. I love the feeling of accomplishment after running eight miles.

But I had to ask myself, How badly do I want to be my best? Am I willing to give up something I love in order to get something I need?

The answer is YES.

[source]

Cutting back on cardio is going to be one of the hardest things I’ve done in years. Cardio is my clutch. Cardio is my escape.

But I’m doing it because I know my body will function best with more muscle.

The lovely Tara is in the process of designing a custom program for me that will be heavy on lifting and very light on cardio. I’m kind of scared, cuz this girl doesn’t mess around. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ll provide more details soon!

I hope your day is beautiful!! xoxo

Questions for you:

What was your favorite breakfast when you were little? Any Egg McMuffin lovers, like me?

Are there any foods you know you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating but youย  feel guilty about eating anyways?

Nut butters were a big one for me for a long time! Now I don’t think twice about them. :) Same goes for avocado.

Tell me what you had for breakfast today! And, if you worked out, what did you work?

While I’m waiting for Tara’s program, I’m repeating Phase 1 of Live Fit. Today’s workout will be shoulders!

 

 

  • Gothextramileblog

    I know what you mean about being scared for no cardio, but I decided that if I was going to do this program, I was going to completely follow it, so I didn’t do ANY cardio! But you know what? I was fine with it. I got sore enough for the workouts and I was having fun weight lifting. The month FLEW by and now I’m in phase two, yay! Plus, you can take however long you want with the livefit. No one says you HAVE to do it in three months.. take your time girl!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Thanks, girl!! I’ve loved reading about your experience with Live Fit, and think it’s amazing how our bodies adapt so quickly. I keep thinking I’m going to get really antsy if I don’t run, but you’re right–when you’re lifting almost every day, your muscles get super fatigued without any cardio! Thanks so much for your support!

  • http://funfoodandfreeweights.wordpress.com/ Alexandra

    Going cardioless can be scary, but I know you’ll succeed my friend! We’re all rooting for you, you got this! :)
    I’ve never had an egg mcmuffin before…yes you can shun me now haha I love your version though, it looks so pretty and tasty! My favorite breakfast as a kid was Apple Jacks cereal with buttered toast!
    Hope you have a lovely day! :)

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Go get an Egg McMuffin right now!! Haha, just kidding. They’re really not that great; Apple Jacks are probably much better! ;-p Thanks so much for your support…It means A LOT!

  • http://www.myfoodnfitnessdiaries.com/ Ash@MyFNFDiaries

    oh girl, i feel ya on the going “cardio-less”!! you already know my feelings. ๐Ÿ˜‰ if you ever need encouragement or support, please don’t hesitate to email me. you got this, and i’m so proud of you!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Thanks SO much, Ash! You’ve been an inspiration!

  • http://twitter.com/AfterDin Caroline

    I loved those smiley face pancakes – I ordered them until I was like 18 :) I was mostly a cereal girl – I loved S’Mores cereal more than anything and I honestly think I may have cried when my Mom told me they stopped making it!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      What?! They stopped making it? So sad! I bet you could make a better version yourself though…Just get honey grahams, add mini marshmallows and mini chocolate chips? Mmm.

  • Meg

    AMAZING post! And Tara truly is amazing. So proud of you for getting her to help you! You are so amazing, Sara. I am really happy you took the time to analyze your goals and see what you really want to accomplish and if cardio fits into the plan.

    Love u

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Thanks, Meg! I know you’ve had lots of success with Tara, which is why I decided to go to her! Love you!! xoxo

  • http://www.stuftmama.com/ STUFT mama

    Umm, Egg McMuffins AND IHop chocolate pancakes BOTH used to be my favorites! (And something tells me I’d still find them pretty tasty!). ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sometimes I make homemade versions of both, which I love, but I’d love to try the “real” thing again sometime.

    Girl, you are SO going to rock the no cardio thing! We’re behind you 115%! Strong is sexy! Go get ’em!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Yeah, it’s been ages since I’ve had the “real thing” too! Thanks for your encouragement!!

  • Carly

    Your biscuit sandwich looks SO good! And so does the creamy zucchini pasta! I have two zucchinis and both types of flour, so I’ll definitely b making both soon!I And yeah, I’ll use bacon! Good luck going cardioless! I know you can do it! Love the motivational quote too!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Yay for bacon! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • http://glitzglamgranola.com/ Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola

    You are amazing and good for you for bringing foods without the guilt! It’s taken me a long time there too to have a cupcake or full on fatty food without feeling guilty for it later. But now, I realize that it all balances out and I feel good about that. Oh, and I definitely ordered chocolate chip pancakes at brunch in the Castro on Sunday and they were AMAZING.I’m excited for your no-cardio thing too- when you want to do cardio, think about how much more amazing it’s going to be to see strong muscles! xoxoxo

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      I haven’t seen chocolate chip pancakes on a menu in SO long! Glad to know some restaurants still know what’s most delicious. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hehe. Thanks for your support, Emily! Means so much! xo

  • Anonymous

    OH girl, I just started phase 3 and believe me! It’s INSANE!! Good for you for recognizing you needed to make a change! I know we talked a little about it and I’m SO proud of you for embracing all foods and natural fats really are so important! Make sure you keep up the protein, that’s what makes those muscles grow (and recover quicker)!

    I used to be such a cardio queen, but I can hardly stand it now! I get sooo bored. I don’t know what happened! I guess I just really fell in love with weight lifting!

    LOVE YOU!!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Love YOU!! Phase 3 *does* look crazy! You’ll have to let me know what you think! I have no doubt that you’re going to ROCK it though! Go get ’em girl! And thanks for being such a wonderful friend! Can’t wait for this summer! <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Yaara-Leve/2909647 Yaara Leve

    OMG chocolate chip pancakes were my absolute fave as a kid! There was this pancake house called Walker Brothers in the suburbs where I grew up–we even went there for my eight grade graduation party–and my fave dish was the chocolate chippers! OMG–smooth silver dollar discs of delight with chunks of melty chocolate chips smothered in whipped cream. I haven’t eaten them in ages!!–another favorite breakfast–honey-nut cheerios and skim milk. I loved when the sweetness of the honey made the milk sweet.

    I always wonder about whole healthy fats–that maybe if I ate them I’d feel better. I think I”ve mentioned to you before-the bulk of my diet is veggies–lots of them–lean protein like tuna, eggwhites, cottage cheese. And for treats I’ll do fat-free/sugar-free fro-yo. I’ve eaten this way for years. I haven’t eaten grains or bread for like 11 years. However–I’m constantly bloated from all the veggies I eat–and all the sugar-free stuff I eat–even stevia. I always wonder if I ate more fats or carbs–perhaps I’d be less bloated and more satiated–but it’s scary. Those foods definitely take me out of my comfort zone.

    Good for you that you are experimenting! It’s great that you are so determined!

    Yaara

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Ahh, you’re making my mouth water! Those chocolate chippers sound deeeelightful! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I’m almost 100% certain that you’d feel better if you started incorporating some healthy fats into your diet. Not only would your body love you, but your taste buds would too! I’ve actually switched to a very high fat diet, and I’ve honestly never felt better. My hair is shinier, I have more energy, and my food tastes amazing! I highly recommend you try it, girl! Believe me, I KNOW how scary it is, but if you incorporate them in slowly, they become less so. Let me know if you try! xoxo

  • Sally

    Hip hip hurray Sara! You are rockin it! So happy you’re feeling so motivated. That zucchini pasta looks so good…and so does that breakfast sandwich. Yum!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Love you!! When I come home, I’ll make both for you! <3

  • http://www.healthydivaeats.com/ Katie

    I am SO proud of you!!! I know it will be hard to cut that cardio but it will be worth it and you will see muscle coming through!!

    Ok so that breakfast sandwich looks awesome! I make Mike one similar to it every morning but with ham, egg, and cheese on a whole wheat english muffin!

    Love you girl!!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Love you!!! <3 Thanks SO much for the encouragement!! Means the world! I bet the breakfast sandwich you make Mike is amazing! Can't wait for our chat tomorrow!

  • Julie

    Yay yay yayyyy Tara’s been my online personal trainer for like almost 3 months now! She’s amazing always has the right answers nd has so much knowledge and passion so you’re in way good hands! You’ll love it! Can’t wait to hear about it! Xoxo

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Ahh, I know! Ever since you started working with her, I’ve been kinda jealous. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can’t wait for the program to arrive in my inbox!

  • http://swankydietitian.com/ Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian

    That sandwich looks fantastic!
    Your mom sounded like mine growing up..McD was only for road trips. :)

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Haha, well at least we weren’t *completely* deprived, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • http://www.sweatlikeapig.com/ Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    WOOHOO! Obviously, I love this post ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can’t wait to have you at my mercy (haha, seriously, I hope you’re not too scared of me!!) and see what we can do. I’m so excited to see how your body responds, and see how long it takes for you to switch your mindset from feeling deprived of cardio, to wondering why you did it for so long!

    I just read this brilliant article from Tony Gentilcore about women and training, check it out:
    http://www.tonygentilcore.com/blog/a-few-candid-thoughts-on-women-and-training/

  • http://www.clairetherd.com/ Claire @ Live and Love to Eat

    I totally thought about making your zucchini pasta out of my zucchini – but I wasn’t feeling the effort of making the ribbons! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m embarrassed to admit that McD’s breakfast was a treat a least once a month while I was growing up.

  • http://lisalately.com/ Lisa

    I absolutely loved those giant pancakes as a kid! I’d always ask for whipped cream and chocolate chips..um ya, haven’t had one in soooo long. I’m so happy the Paleo style diet is letting you get out of your comfort zone and try yummy new foods you wouldn’t eat before!! I’ve been doing some food changes too. So proud that you’re ditching the cardio to benefit your body the best :) I’m sure it will be hard, but you can rock it! Have a great weekend girl! xo

  • http://www.healthhaphope.com/ Heather@HHH

    I used to LOVE the hashbrowns at McDonalds, but my mom was the same way… only on long car rides could we have that “treat.”

  • http://fooood4theheart.wordpress.com/ Lauren

    Great post!! I love that quote and all the pictures.

    Life is crazy! But you know what? We live and we learn. :)

    Great looking food, I also haven’t had “grains” and “beans” in a long time and I feel amazing. I have also been doing Hot Yoga instead of endless amount of cardio… and it’s awesome. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I don’t want to give it up.. but it’s so expensive. I hope you had a great weekend!! <3 <3

  • http://tinareale.com/blog Tina @ Best Body Fitness

    You can definitely do it! When striving to gain muscle, you’re right that cardio should be minimized. I would say 2-3 shorter sessions a week or some long casual walks on occasion won’t hurt, but the longer, heavier sessions will work against your efforts for gaining muscle. Love your goals for health related to both food and fitness, girl. :)

  • Anonymous

    Hey Sara- I’m totally with you. When I was younger I used to LOVE McDonalds’s sausage eggmcmuffins! My dad would take us there when we were good. But when I was a teenager egg sandwiches started to be on my do no eat list and I avoided any kind of the sort for YEARS!

    In the last 2 years I’m been able to take everything off my Do not eat list and I am now able to enjoy food in the right portions and correctly made!

    Glad I found your blog!

    xo

    Jocelyn

  • http://turquoiseandteale.blogspot.com/ Ashley

    I’m the same way, I used to love breakfast sandwiches but really never eat them anymore. Same goes for doughnut… as a kid they were my favorite! Now, I know how bad they are for you and have to pass on them!

  • http://www.perfectionsinthappy.com/ Emily @ Perfection Isn’t Happy

    That sandwich looks delicious! My favorite McDonald’s sanwich was a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit. It was such a treat when my family was traveling!

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  • http://lifesabowl.com/ Life’s a Bowl

    “Are there any foods you know you shouldnโ€™t feel guilty about eating but you feel guilty about eating anyways?”- same response as you… Nut butters and avocados have become my two food staples the past couple of weeks, love them both!

  • Amy

    good for u!! i think you’ll start to love the feeling of gaining muscle and feeling strong..i know thats how i was. i used to be only cardio and now, i love lifting weights! i like seeing muscles (although tiny) there!

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