That’s a lot for one title, isn’t it? So it’s been a while since my last post; midterms were this week and last week my family came down and visited me for my birthday weekend. I could not have asked for a more fun 21st birthday, between the drinks, delicious food, and spending quality time with the family. One of my favorite things about New Orleans is the AMAZING food and restaurants. I’m a huge seafood fan and I love the light, diverse menu options. Despite New Orleans’ reputation for unhealthy, deep fried food, it is possible to find delicious and healthy dishes. Now back to my actual reason for writing this blog post. This past week in the gym, as I increased the amount of weight I was lifting, I struggled on the last rep of my set. As I watched myself in the mirror, I realized something that I thought was important to share, especially with my fellow ladies. Throughout high school and the beginning years of college, pretty much all I did when I worked out was run or use the elliptical and do some ab exercises. Lifting weights? That was something that boys did. The weight room was scary and intimidating and a place where I would most DEFINITELY make a fool out of myself. All I needed to do was maintain my weight and cardio would help me do this; there was no need for strength training. As time went on and I became more interested and immersed in the wellness world, I began to read numerous articles about the benefits of strength training. Last year I began to dabble in lifting and strength training, finding simple exercises through Pinterest. I bravely entered the weight room, doing my best to put my intimidation behind me and be confident in my abilities. It wasn’t until the beginning of this school year, however, that I made a promise to actually commit to a strength training plan. I was sick of running everyday and needed to mix it up. I started to develop routines, designating three days a week for intense cardio and some light strength training, mostly abs, and the other three days for lighter cardio and heavy strength training. Slowly, I noticed my arms starting to improve. I certainly wasn’t on the jacked Jennifer Aniston level that I envied every time I watched Friends, but I could see small gains. Little tricep muscles that weren’t there before started to emerge and I began to look forward to my strength workouts, knowing that I would sweat just as much, if not more, than during cardio. The most important thing I realized? How strength training vastly improved my confidence and body perception. I’ve never been insecure about my body, but I don’t think I’m alone when I say I have my bad days when I wish that I had superwoman abs. However, when I watched myself in the mirror as I lifted, I saw just how strong I really was. With pumping beats pounding through my earbuds, I lifted in rhythm, each bicep flex fueling my confidence and awareness of the body I worked so hard to keep healthy. Despite the small muscle gains and stronger physique, this was by far the greatest benefit. So to all you women out there who think you’re going to get bulky, I promise you won’t. Invest in some sexy workout tops that show off your arms and some tight workout pants that hug your thighs. Watch yourself in the mirror as you work and soon that body confidence and self-esteem will be flooding out of every pore. And speaking of strength training, I can’t help but be a little more ravenous on the days I work my muscles. This snack is perfect to satisfy that hunger and is a healthy substitute for chips or crackers and pairs perfectly with guacamole; who doesn’t love that?
I was first introduced to plantain chips at one of my favorite restaurants here in NOLA, Mais Arepas. While traditionally fried, my plantain chips are baked for a healthier twist and have added lime. Below is the recipe, adapted from Fed and Fit. Crunchy Lime Plantain Chips Ingredients
- 2 green plantains, or more yellow if you prefer them sweeter
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- Wedge of lime
- Heat oven to 350 degrees
- Peel and slice the plantains as thin as possible. The thinner the crunchier!
- Melt the coconut oil and pour over the plantains in a mixing bowl
- Squeeze the wedge of lime over the plantains, add more or less depending on your liking
- Sprinkle the desired amount of sea salt on the plantains
- Stir the plantains, oil, lime, and salt together until everything is evenly distributed
- Place plantains on a baking sheet, you may need more than one.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden brown and crunchy
- Enjoy with guacamole, plain, or with salsa!