Dillion Harper on Oct. 23 @ 5pm PST
286 posts and growing daily!
The death of 2016

If you’re following my social media as of late, then you know of some of the many dilemmas 2016 has flung my way.  As I always say, life is 10% what happens to you & 90% in how you react to it. I personally chose to fight back & kick ass!

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Update on my Nonna, she has been moved to a rehabilitation center, which is good news. She is still in tremendous pain and cannot walk but we are all hopeful that being in 24/7 care will help her heal more quickly.

057Most of you that pay attention to the words I write & not just the pretty pictures 😉 (hahaha, lots of dudes don’t bother to read), know by now that I have Hashimotos disease which is an auto immune disease that attacks your thyroid, thus wreaking havoc on your hormones which control EVERYTHING in your body. Mood, skin, hair, weight, depression, lack of sleep, extreme fatigue, fog brain, dizzy spells, inflammation etc etc etc. I work very hard to fight it and not to let it control my life. It certainly effects it, but to rule me…nope, not gonna happen!

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I have been in quite a few car accidents in my day…I dunno what it is? but people just love crashing into my rear ;o) Lol…all of these accidents happened in my teen and early 20s and I really didn’t feel the effects of them until now that I am 30+. I have always had chronic pains that are worse than the average soreness from working out. My back/neck feels like it splinters at times, making it painful to sleep, sit, stand, workout, drive, really everything…BUT I do it all anyway and then some.  I generally have to get my thyroid checked every 2-3 months to make sure the levels are ok and make adjustments if needed. Well the last test, my Dr decided to run a full auto-immune panel because of the every day the pain I was feeling. It has been really hard on me and really puts a damper on how I would like to live my life. So I said, sure, let’s test everything we possibly can because thanks to Obamacare and my premiums going up to $900+/mth plus not covering anything, I would only have insurance until Dec 31st. I expected the tests to ALL come back negative. I already knew how badly stress effects the body and I am unable to process stress in a healthy way at this point. So all of the additional symptoms I had aside from Hashi’s, I chalked up to being over-stressed and under-slept! I really though there was NO way that I would have anything else wrong with me!

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My Dr was out for an emergency but I needed to get all of the results of the many blood tests and MRI’s that I did this month, so I had to see her Physicians assistant, who was awesome and very knowledgeable. We’re going through my blood test results, Hormones were out of wack which was to be expected with all of the stress with my grandmother, a little tweak of supps will help….thyroid levels were low, which required another medicine tweak….then the auto immune panels, Lupus-negative…good, good, Rheumatoid Arthritis-POSITIVE, um hmmm, good, WAIT, WHAT?!  Geez la weez. I did not expect that AT ALL!

My little world started to spin, dizzy from the many questions I had and not really knowing much about RA aside from the fact that it can be debilitating to the point where you are in a wheelchair. FML, really?! The girl who does everything right health wise, who invests so much time and money into being healthy and staying fit? The girl who is SO independent and needs no one else’s help…

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I left the office with an appt to see my Dr next week so that she could go into more depth with a game plan and another appt with a Rheumatologist. I also left feeling pretty sorry for myself. Really upset at how unfair life is. I spoke to my family and a couple of very supportive friends (Taylor:) and started to realize…WAIT JUST A FUCKING SECOND HERE PEOPLE!

I AM ONE STRONG ASS BITCH AND NOTHING AT ALL WILL EVER CHANGE THAT. I am strong, I am a survivor or many horrible experiences and I am much more than just a diagnosis. Am I in a tremendous amount of pain, yes. Could it get worse, yes. Will I ever stop fighting? FUCK NO!

I started to research the holistic approach to dealing & treating RA and although I do have a few major life changes to make in order to combat this, I already do most of it. I eat a mostly organic, anti-inflammation diet with a good balance of protein, healthy fats and healthy carbs. I workout in a balanced way, incorporating many different forms and techniques. I utilize many herbs and supplements to treat my body instead of overloading on a million different medications.

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The number one change I need to make is controlling my stress. I haven’t been able to find a way yet over the years. I think its tougher for me because I work for myself, so if I do not work, I do not earn a paycheck. There are no sick days, no vacation time and I have an irrational fear of being perceived as lazy. There are never times when I just chill out. EVER. So my new game plan to combat this naturally will be to start here. I am going to try to meditate, do yin yoga etc as well as start acupuncture and physical therapy. I will also add new herbs that are specialized to treat RA. Still lots of research to do, but I know that I WILL NOT stop fighting. I WILL be the example and not the rule. Will of course keep you posted on my progress as well. 🙂  So, as the year ends, I stopped feeling sorry for what is unfair in life and started to make a game plan to better my life and myself. We all have struggles, pains, heartache…but pushing through and still finding ways to be positive and lift others up around you is what makes your life.  This isn’t going to end me, just push me to a new beginning. A beginning to care about myself more, stress less. Hopeful to find more happiness and strength.

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So my motto in 2017…LIFE GOES ON, Time to work! Have a Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for your continued support and love, know that I have people thinking of me makes me feel very blessed! xxoo

Brianna

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BYE 2016, die already!

WORST YEAR EVER! I can honestly say that this has been the absolute worst year of my life thus far. I have endured more than my fair share of being shit on and I am SO ready for 2017 to arrive! I am by no means wallowing in my sorrows..what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and at this point, I am a FUCKING BEAST! Grrrrr! Lol

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I am still getting through some hurdles that have pushed me way back and and very hopeful that my grandmother will start to recover soon, although we have been having setbacks after the second surgery as well. There WILL be a light at the end of the tunnel for all of it.

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Thank you all for being kind to me this year. My actual few friends know who they are :O) You mean the world to me. Just knowing that you think of me often and try to make me smile through the sadness is everything!

My birthday was the highlight of this year, I said fuck it and turned a work trip into a mini vacay with my puppies. It was AMAZING to escape for a few days and ignore everything at home.

You will be seeing a bit more of me in 2017, I will be coming out and making some fun appearances! Will be announced soon!

Be safe if you are out NYE, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

xxoo.

Brianna

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My approach to meal prepping!

Hey guys! Most of you know that I am really disciplined when it comes to following my workouts but I am just as disciplined when it comes to what I fuel my body with. That’s the only way that I have been able to keep my weight at a moderate level with having hashimotos. Around the holidays, it can be really tough to stick to your plan but where there’s a will, there’s a way!

When I am following the Train With Lyzabeth (my holistic nutritionist & trainer) plan, I generally do an elimination for the first 2 weeks of the plan. Which means being strict and not eating certain foods such as gluten, dairy, and the other common irritants that Lyzabeth mentions; peppers, strawberries etc. I already know what irritates my system so I can feel a difference when I do this. Just kind of cleansing for me. I usually do a gentle cleanse at the same time. Upon completing the plan, I give myself between 1-2 weeks of different workouts and similar eating and then start again.

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Now for people with thyroid issues, it is recommended that you cut out gluten and 90% of the time, I do. When I eat it, its usually on a cheat/re-feed meal and although I enjoy every bite, I can feel it afterwards…making it something I don’t wish to do often. I am also severely lactose intolerant (throwing up intolerant), so I use lactaid products or dairy free products as long as they do not contain soy.

My food prep life has a few different approaches depending on what I have going on with work or traveling.

Typically I cook for more than just myself and while most of the things that I make are healthy as well as very tasty, the things like the occasional gluten free pasta or cream of rice…I simply make the real deal for other people and the gluten free for myself.

There ARE ways to make your meal prep tasty and flavorful so that others that are not used to eating healthy are going to love it too!

If I am in town working, I will meal prep for around 4 days so that the food stays fresh and I will do several meals all on one day or I will do one meal one day, then another the next if I am short on time.

Example #1: Sunday meal prep-which takes most of the day

Before heading to the gym, I will make a list of ingredients that I will need to make several meals for the week. I workout and bring a protein shake with me, head to the grocery stores afterwards (because costco or sprouts never has everything I need) and I head home to start batching out my food. I will start all of the veggies: green beans, broccolini, zucchini and then do the proteins: bake my chicken breasts, turkey pattys etc. Depending on what week it is, I will also make my carbs; sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa etc. I will then toss all of the veggie (zucchini) in one big container, all broc in one container etc and will weigh out my chicken and protein portions to 4 oz and put them all in one container as well. Also toss the carbs in their own containers and you can measure as you go. This saves space in my fridge and its easy for me to grab a portioned piece of chicken breast and scoop out a cup of veg and 1/2 cup of carb to heat up.  Its also easier since my family/friends are not going to eat a 1/2 cup of rice or carb…they need more lol.

Example #2: Short on time meal prep

I will make ‘dinner’ which would consist of a protein, carb and veg…but I will make several portions of everything, store the leftovers the same way I do in ex 1. The next day, I will make a different dinner and store, then switch off the rest of the week.

*This usually takes me around 35-45 min which we can ALL find time for. It takes just as much time to drive your happy ass to a fast food joint, order, eat etc.

Travel meals or long stints at work:

I invested in a couple of sixpackfitness bags and LOVE them! The freezer packs keep my food fresh and cold for 12 hours. I can bring these bags anywhere and they come with meal prep containers. So the night before or day of work, I can toss my already made food in them and jet!

Meals on vacation:
Because I am overly hard & strict with myself, over the years I tend to stress out about vacation eating before I go anywhere. Over time I have realized that for me, relaxing is the key. So you have a couple of drinks and a dessert. Just don’t over do it and no this is not a free for all either! There are plenty of places that prep healthy meals that you can order while away. I generally pack a carry on suitcase of food like a weirdo lol! Protein shake powder, protein bars, breakfast items like gluten free oats-hard to find in hotels. And healthy snacks. When I travel, I try to find places with kitchenette’s or kitchens so I can make my own eggs in the am. Store fresh produce and meal prep food. There are a million food prep delivery services that claim to be healthy. If you opt to try one of them, just make sure you read their ingredient and macros. A lot of them I have found are not as healthy as they claim to be, very high in carbs/salt/sugar etc.

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Eating with family and friends:

I recently went to visit my family in Florida. None of which are as strict with their diet as myself. I have received a LOT of flack over the years. Them attempting to make me feel guilty for not eating what they are. Now a days, they have seen me struggle over the years and when I bust out a meal prepped meal that I bring with me while they are eating, they are cool with it and even ask me what it is and if they can taste it. Do not allow anyone to guilt you into not eating healthy! Having said all of that, I WILL reserve my cheat meal just for my loved ones. I am from a big Italian/Puerto Rican family where food is love, so I know it makes them happy and I have no problems planning a cheat meal around them.

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Example of my daily eating:

So today was leg day for me, where I eat a little more carbs

I generally try to stick to 160g protein, 160g carbs and 60-65g fat

7am

Pre-breakfast:

water with lemon, wait 30 min (which is perfect because I have to take my thyroid meds and wait 30 min to eat anything anyway!)

8am

2 scrambled eggs-little salt/pepper/tumeric

1/4 c cream rice with water & a spash of almond milk

1 fire shot with fresh squeezed grapefruit

Vitamins: B, D, C, Fish oil, primrose oil, digestive enzymes

830-1030am gym time!

I drink a shot of super greens, non stimulant fat burner and maca root before.

I drink EAA’S during the workout

I take glutamine afterwards

1130am

Quest bar

130pm Lunchtime!

4oz Chicken breast, 1 cup of yummy sauteed zucchini and on leg day, a 1/2 piece of ezekial muffin (I am aware this has gluten however the ezekial is a little easier to digest and I have no issues with it) or I will have no carbs if its a lighter workout day or rest day.

Vitamins: C, multi, selenium, probiotic, tonalin, chlorella, digestive enzymes

430pm Snack

1 cup of lactaid cottage cheese and around 30-45 min later a piece of fruit or I reverse it depending on where I am. (If I am on the go,  I will have a Bar or shake)

**If I am starving in between this snack and dinner, I will not allow myself to starve, I will eat a salad with just greens, cucumber, other green vegs and vinegar.

730pm Dinner

2 cups of my protein filled turkey chili and a cup of my simple but amazing butternut squash soup-filling and so tasty!

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4 oz salmon, 1/2 cup quinoa, 1 cup green beans

or-

5 oz filet mignon, 1/2 c cauliflower mashed, 1 cup broccloini

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4 oz chicken breast, 1 cup veg….you get the idea 😉

Vitamins: C, tonalin, glucosamine, digestive enzymes

930pm 

Chocolate Protein shake with almond milk and 1 scoop of PB (I’m addicted and this will be the 1 thing I am letting go of next month :O(

Vitamins: Tonalin, C, fish oil, primrose oil, calcium (if you are on thyroid meds, DO NOT take calcium supps 4 hours after taking the meds, it will make them inactive), lysine (taking this with glutamine can increase your body’s natural HGH, snooze in.

10pm

**everyone is different but for me, one of my hashimotos symptoms is severe constipation**

Nighttime drink: miralax-dr recommended it for me and its a life changer! sleep-melatonin product, collagen, chrolella.

I usually go to sleep around 1230-1am. I am normally not hungry when I go to sleep but on the rare occasions that I am, I just sip water or tea and that satiates me.

EVERYTHING I eat is organic, its not worth ingesting the chemicals from the hormone pumped up proteins.

This day of eating is between 1800-1900 calories. I workout 90 min to 2 hours every day except Saturday when I do something active outdoors. I include HIIT cardio into my routine but also make sure to get that MISS as well.

Hopefully this helps give you another insight as to how meal prepping can be done! As always, if you have questions or comments, feel free to reach out!

Brianna’s Butternut squash soup

1 32oz package of Organic Butternut Squash

1 small organic sweet onion

1 (overflowing) cup of organic baby carrots

2 c Organic Low Sodium chicken broth

1 6oz organic Plain yogurt

dash of sea salt

Add squash, carrots and chopped onion to large pot on med high heat-cover, stirring occasionally for 12 min. (if needed, add a splash of water to keep from burning-usually covering creates enough condensation to not need oil or anything)

Add in the chicken broth, bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for 25 min.

Add salt & yogurt

Transfer to a blemder/Vitamix and blend until smooth.

Serve and enjoy!

Brianna’s Spicy Red Pepper Chicken 
 
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 30 min
Serving size: 2
You will need:
2 Organic Chicken breast
2 Organic Red Bell Peppers
1 package of Organic haricoverts or green beans Or 2 cups cooked
1 tbsp Organic Olive Oil
1/2  tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 to 1 tsp of hot sauce (depends on how you like it)
Sprig of Organic Curly Parsley
2 Large Organic Zucchini-angel hair cut
  • Cube the red peppers & place in steamer for 15-20 min
  • Cut Chicken breast into strips and place in a glass bowl, mix in Cajun seasoning
  • Boil Green beans until they reach desired tenderness-drain, cover, set aside
  • Saute the chicken breast using olive oil cooking spray or similar (usually 6 min)
  • Add steamed peppers, salt, olive oil, parsley & hot sauce to blender & blend until smooth saucy consistency.
  •  If you prefer to saute the zucchini after you cut it, it only takes 2 min, but its very tasty raw as well!
Time to plate it!
Start with zucchini, add haricovert, chicken then top with sauce, gently mix, top with additional parsley if desired and serve!
Macros:
229 Calories
29 G Protein , 8G Carbs, 2 G Fat
(one 4oz portion of chicken for you & remaining for your spouse
You might also want to sub the zucchini for pasta for other family members!
Double recipe if you have kids)
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