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Changing Your Habits By Just Changing Your Thinking

I had a huge exam last Friday, so I was a little MIA preparing for it. But I was still on track and worked out 5 days last week. I didn’t get much sleep, but I have definitely been making up for it the last two nights. I start my new job at World Gym tomorrow, and I am pretty excited about it. I’ll even be teaching classes. And I hope to get training to officially teach yoga classes! I am looking forward to the future.

What I see a lot when it comes to the struggles of wanting to lose weight, get healthy, and get fit is one thing over and over and over again.

I feel hungry/I feel deprived/I miss junk food/I like snacking too much/it’s too hard/I don’t know what to eat/I have to eat more than celery.

What if I told you changing into a healthy lifestyle isn’t as hard nor as complicated as you think it is? A lot of people overthink it. Or they are following and reading about the hardcore fitness people who are either models or competitors who eat rice, chicken and spinach all day. Life isn’t like this if you are looking to be healthy or fit. I swear. Even if you get into this and want to compete, you still actually don’t need to live off of brown rice and chicken. (Don’t believe me? Look up #iifym on instagram and tell me there aren’t any competitors posting Poptarts and peanut butter all on their feed).

Think of changing this way:

REPLACE YOUR NORMAL FOODS/SNACKS/DRINKS WITH HEALTHY ONES.

No starving. No deprivation. Simply replace. If you think of it in this way, it’s a bit easier on the brain. Like a mind game. If you tell yourself ‘well I can’t have those Cheetos’ you’ll sit there and think about Cheetos until you go insane you are in a pool or your own drool from your mouth watering over that cheesiness. But if you tell yourself ‘I am sort of hungry and would like some Cheetos. But I am going to have some string cheese and broccoli.’ Literally that’s it. That’s the secret. Don’t just say ‘I can’t have that stuff’, say ‘I am going to choose better foods because I know they are better for me’. And of course, once in a while you do get to indulge in those cravings. If you are really strict on yourself, you won’t stick to this. You will binge and get nowhere.

Make your favorite dishes, but healthier!

There are so many people even on Instagram and Pinterest that have awesome recipes on there for healthified versions of your favorite foods. Like spiralizing squash or zucchini for ‘pasta’ dishes, switching to whole wheat/multigrain waffles from the regular white, drinking juice infused water rather than sugary juice, have sparkling water with fresh lime instead of a soda, eat a protein bar rather than a candy bar (there are some out there that taste like candy, no lie), make banana ‘ice cream’, and so on. If you want a snack, have one. But a healthier one.

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Once you change you mind and thinking, your body will follow. If happens. Every single time. Don’t overthink fitness and health. Don’t stress out over these changes. Accept them. And love them. It makes this transition easier and you’ll be happier.

A Day in the Life of this Ginger

I feel like a lot of people do pretty well with the working out part of trying to get healthy and fit, but they struggle with the diet part. Like I have stated before, you have to change your habits when you commit to becoming healthy. And you have to learn not to associate food with guilt anymore. Just know the bad foods from the good foods, eat more of the good foods. Too many people feel overwhelmed and try to go too far with things. Keep it simple.

To help you get a general idea of things, here is my day in a nutshell.

Workout Followed by Breakfast

I got up at 9 since I knew I wanted to work out prior to a thing I had at around noon. I got up and changed into the workout gear and did a good hamstring session followed by fasted HIIT cardio. Then I had to refuel!

My workout was:

  • Warm up (about 15-20 low weight reps) deadlifts
  • 12/12/10 Deadlifts (standard)
  • 12/10/10 Straight Leg Deadlifts
  • 10/10/10 Single Straight Leg Deadlifts (each leg)
  • 15/12/12 Laying Leg Curls
  • 12/12/10 Standing Leg Curls (single leg)
  • 12/10/10 Cleans
  • 10/8/8 Good Mornings
  • 12/10/10 Power Snatch
  • 12/10/10 Glute raises (laying flat on floor with feet on bench/ball/step with knees bent up, lift glutes and hips up off the floor, squeeze and flex booty at top, come back down)
  • 12/10/10 Squats
  • 20 rounds of 30 sec light walk/30 sec sprint

 

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I worked out for an hour and 15 minutes total. Not too shabby. I was ready for some post workout protein before I jumped in the shower.

 

postowkrout

 

YUM! Protein bar and all natural vanilla greek yogurt!

I consumed about 2 Liters of water while working out, so halfway to my daily goal of about 4 Liters (a little under 4 L = 1 gallon).

I jumped in the shower and did a few tasks like go to the bank and met with someone really quick down the road. I sped home due to the fact the water was hitting me. Yes, you will pee a lot. But, you feel better. You are ridding your body of toxins and things all the time, so you feel over all so much better. Just time when you drink your water so you are not stuck on the road/in traffic/in a meeting/etc. No big deal.

So I got home and was HANGRY. Needed a good lunch. I usually consume more food on days I train legs in any form or fashion.

lunch

Lunch was a salad combined of mixed greens, baby spinach, fresh mushrooms, feta crumbles, baby carrots, Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes (I LOVE TOMATOES), and drizzled slightly with a Lite Italian dressing. I had a low fat string cheese on the side and a protein shake. The protein shake was made of a VI vanilla shake packet, half a scoop of strawberry milkshake protein powder, milk, and a few frozen strawberries blended nicely.

I did some self studying on fitness stuff and worked on some website stuff as well as did some chores around the house.

I got hungry again in about 2-3 hours after lunch and listened to my stomach. Had to get a snack.

snack

Don’t let anyone tell you fruits will make you fat. I live off of fruit a good bit of my day. I usually have a good portion at breakfast. And after dinner. Those people are crazy psychos. Fruit is good for you.

fruit

Protein Bar (my fave one, BTW) and 4 Kiwis (YES FOUR OF THEM), 4 strawberries, and some mandarin orange.

Then, my favorite meal came.

Dinner.

I love dinner. Don’t ask me why. But I don’t get excited about eating until later in the day it seems.

Healthy Burritos

gr tturk

Get some ground turkey. Thaw it out if it was frozen. Cook it until it is brown. Add a small bit of water and low sodium taco seasoning.

topping

Also needed:

-Whole wheat/low carb/high fiber/etc tortillas

-Black Beans

-Natural/reduced fat sour cream (or try plain Greek yogurt!)

-Salsa of choice

-Tomatoes (AGAIN BECAUSE I LOVE THEM. Judge away.)

-Cheese if your macros/taste buds want (low sodium, vegan, reduced fat, etc)

-Brown rice if you want

Heat up your tortillas (30 sec in the microwave is great)

Throw your goodies into a tortilla, wrap up that goodness and dig in!

burrito magic

BURRITO MAGIC

yeahhh

YUM.

By now, I have had about 3.5 Liters of water. Going strong!

After dinner, gotta have something sweet. I made some homemade healthy peanut butter cups, so I had 2 of them.

pb cup

Soooo good.

I am working on an eBook. The peanut butter cups will be in it for all you lovelies. So get excited.

I will be finishing the evening with my guy watching Finding Carter and will do some night time yoga before bed. Good Tuesday. Hope this helps give you a general idea of how I do things on a daily basis. My ending macros look like this:

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It was a good day.

Happy Tuesday!

-a

Watermelon Slush!

It’s summer. It’s hot. How do you cool down? How about a delicious slush drink, but healthy? Here is the answer to your prayers!

 

Watermelon Strawberry Slush

watermelom

This. This is all you need.

  • Frozen Strawberries
  • Fresh Watermelon
  • Blender

 

That’s it. Put a handful of frozen berries in the blender. Throw chunks of your watermelon in. Blend. Tada.

slush

It is soooo delicious.

If you aren’t a berry fan. Simply put a handful of plain old ice cubes in the blender with your watermelon chunks.

Stay cool!

-a

Health on a Budget

Shopping Without Breaking the Bank

So I got home yesterday from my vacation and lounging on the beach to a problem. A big problem. Our fridge/feezer some how opened itself and was hanging wide open. All of the food I had unfortunately bought prior to the trip was now ruined. I had tried to get frozen stuff so when we got back I wouldn’t have to worry about going to the store for like a week. And then this happened. Oh well.

I had to replace everything. I could have cried. But I put my big girl pants on and got up this morning to go to the store (or stores).

 

Try multiple places for the best deal

It might be a pain, but it’s the best strategy if you can possibly do it. If you live in a more rural area this might not be an option. But if you can try different stores, it’s the best way to save money on certain things. Once you get the hang of this and have gone to the stores near you, you will know what you can get where (where the best prices are).

 

I went to a store that is off the grid pretty much first. Around Atlanta, there’s this chain of stores that are kinda, well, rough. But cheap. And I can get local produce for the cheapest out of anywhere. Even back where I grew up there is a store similar to this, local produce, cheap prices.

Local produce is the way to go when it comes to your fresh fruit and vegetables. Especially if you want to save money. Organic is great, but it’s not the cheapest. Local supports your local farmers and economy and you can feel better about eating produce rather than that lab made produce you find like at WalMart. Gross. Bite into a standard apple at WalMart then bite into a locally grown apple. I will let you be the judge. If you can’t find local produce, the next option would be frozen. Frozen produce is harvested at their peak and as long as you make sure the frozen fruit doesn’t have added sugar, frozen produce is usually pretty cheap for a good bit (store brands can be $1 a bag!). There is always a cheap option for healthier foods. You just have to look and think outside the box.

 

From the first store:

 

food depot

For only $85 I got:

  • Bananas
  • Carrots
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwis
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries (fresh and frozen-I prefer frozen for shakes and smoothies)
  • Lettuce
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Frozen Broccoli
  • Tuna
  • Eggs
  • Steam fresh frozen sides (lightly sauced)
  • Fresh (not frozen) tilapia

I also got the non-fitness/health related stuff like the toilet paper, detergent, sponges and soap.

 

Kroger trip:

After the first store trip I moved on to Kroger. While at Kroger, I took note of items that are great choices for those on a budget, even if I didn’t get it myself this time.

breadfibermuffinswheat

 

Bread wise, there are a few good options I would suggest for budget friendly shopping. There are always good deals going on at Kroger, you just have to go and see what deals are going on. Always try to stick with whole wheat, whole grain, or multi grain bread. The sugar free whole wheat is a great option. I also love those light english muffins, which were on sale so I went ahead and got two packs to last a while (I usually eat at least 1 a day).

 

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pbbing

Peanut butter is a great staple of a healthy/fitness lifestyle. Good macros for the macro counters. Here are two good options from Kroger. The best ingredient wise is the bottom one, with only peanuts and salt in the ingredients. Some of us aren’t a huge peanut fan and can’t handle it (like msyelf). So then you move on to the next option, the top picture. Longer ingredient list, but all natural ingredients and since I won’t be eating the peanut butter jar in a day, having this in moderation is fine.

 

packsalmontuna

Tuna is always a great way to up that protein without any fat or hardly any carbs. If you also like salmon, Kroger has got you covered. If you are really pinching pennies, go for those 79 cent cans. If you have a little more room money wise, the packs are great for on the go since you just rip the pack and eat out of it.

water

I would suggest investing in a $20/$30 filter for your kitchen sink, but if you live in a dorm or some other issues, it may not be an option. So this is how you can afford to have clean water daily. 88 cent gallons of spring water is where it’s at. You can drink from the jug or simply use them to refill your favorite bottle.

macpasta

So you still want pasta. Here are good options for your pasta cravings that can fit your macros/diet. First, Annie’s is a well known brand for being organic and a lot of gluten free options. This is the reduced sodium I have shown, because I know some of you may have heart/blood pressure problems. This is a good way to still enjoy the foods you love (in moderation). Then we have my favorite pasta for spaghetti. Corn pasta! It was less than $3. So good with a great garlic tomato sauce.

turkey

Love tacos? Burgers? How about meatballs for spaghetti with the corn pasta? Ground turkey is a great lean and less greasy way to enjoy those foods you love.

mixsyrup

If you are part of the macro counting life (yes, it’s possible), here is your message from heaven. Heart healthy pancake mix (or try to look for a whole wheat/multi grain one) and lite or sugar free syrup. I bought the frozen multi grain waffles this go around as I already have this mix.

jello

Looking for something sweet? Hellooooooo sweet treat with super great macros. 10 calories sugar free jello! Add fresh fruit and whipped cream and tada. 2 for $4 can’t beat it.

cart

This was my cart. A little over $150 was the damage for all of this. Remember, I had to replace my fridge and freezer foods. So for two people, this wasn’t that bad. I probably can live off of this with my guy for at least 2 weeks.

kroger

This is the haul. about $170 spent at Kroger. So I replaced my food that ruined and them some for a total of $255. That’s right, only $255.00. If you ate out for every single meal, two of you, for two weeks, how much would you spend? It would be at least $50 a day. $50 x 14 = $700

That is a savings of $445!

 

Here is what I got at Kroger:

  • Deer Park water for my guy who works outside in the heat
  • Milk
  • Corn Pasta
  • Protein Bars
  • Microwaveable rice
  • Potatoes (mashed and baked)
  • Chicken thighs & breasts
  • Little shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Flounder
  • Fresh Scallops
  • Ground turkey
  • Multi Grain waffles (Kroger brand!)
  • Natural sour cream
  • Greek yogurt (10 for $10)
  • Sugar free jello
  • Rotisserie Chicken (already cooked-easy meals for the next couple of days)
  • Beans (pinto, black and black eyed peas)
  • Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Fiber One bars (my guy loves them for breakfast)
  • Spinach and 50/50 greens
  • Low carb, macro friendly tortillas
  • English muffins
  • Fresh mushrooms
  • Blackberries
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Apples (2 for $1)
  • Sugar free syrup

And my non health/fitness stuff like lotion, face wash, etc.

 

 

For dinner, we had the rotisserie chicken, rice, pinto beans and broccoli. Super quick, easy, delicious and budget friendly!

din

I will keep posting how I use these items I bought to help you out!

If you have any questions or need guidance, I am always here for you. Just email me at ashhealthgirl@gmail.com

Happy Shopping!

-a

Example of a Shopping List

Wanting to eat well, to lose weight, become healthy, and get fit is a great thing to want to do. But the problem I keep hearing over and over again is the problem of ‘it’s too expensive to get healthy food’. Are you sure about that? Let’s break this down.

So, you eat out, let’s say, 5 times a week.

You get a $10 meal each time.

=$50.00 there.

You buy snacks and drinks when you stop and get gas=$30.00 there.

When you go to the store (then stop at McD’s on the way home because you don’t feel like microwaving a TV dinner) you buy Cheetos, Mountain Dew, and Frosted Flakes (name brands, not the store):

=$100.00 there.

That’s nearly $200.

Now let’s see what we can do with eating healthier.

At the store:

-Kiwis are 2/$1=$4

-Oranges= $4.00

-Frozen strawberries=$2.50

-Milk of choice=$4.00

-Greek yogurt is .90 on sale=$4.50

-Oatmeal=$2.00

-Whole wheat bread=$3.00

-Whole wheat pasta (or corn)=$2.00

-Laughing Cow wedges (cinnamon and the tomato herb)-$5.00

-Local Grapes-$5.00

-Green beans (canned) are on sale 10/$10=$3.00

-Natural Peanut butter (store brands are now making the natural kind)=$1.50

-Ground Turkey= $3.50

-Local tomatoes= $4.00

-Fresh Spinach=$4.00

-Frozen tilapia=$3.00

-Frozen Salmon=$4.00

-Microwavable brown rice=$2.00

-Tomato Sauce on sale 10/$10= $2.00

-Natural grape jelly-$2.00

-Multi grain english muffins-$2.50

-Stevia packets-$2.00

-Green tea bags=$1.50

-Gallons of water (if you do not have a filter)=$7.00

-Babybel cheese minis=$3.00

-Sliced oven roasted turkey for sandwiches=$2.50

-Eggs=$2.00

-Balance bars pack of 6=$5.00

-Frozen vegetables=$10.00

-Olive oil-$3.00

-Rotisserie Chicken (already cooked-put in fridge and microwave when you want to eat)-$5.00

Guess what that equals to?

$108.50

YES. This was $91.50 cheaper than eating like crap. 

Want to know why the healthy, planned way is probably cheaper in the long run? Eating unhealthy and not monitoring what you are putting into your body usually means you are eating and buying on impulse. When you get hungry, you didn’t plan what to eat, or when to eat so when you suddenly get hungry, you go after the first thing you crave, without a thought as to the dollar amount. Eh, not the best idea.

YOU CAN EAT HEALTHY AND SAVE MORE MONEY THAN EATING POORLY.

I was always broke when I ate like crap. I now monitor my spendings and save money every month. How? I buy my weekly supplies on the weekend, and I usually go to 2-3 different stores as I know where it is cheapest to get certain items (yes, Kroger and Wal-Mart are at the top of my money saving places to get my staples-so no need for fancy stores). Look for sales. Get local produce to get the cheapest, best tasting produce and to support your local economy instead of supporting the scientific farmers that create the produce you see in chain stores like Wal-Mart.

 

Here is a list for you to be able to save next time you go to the store.

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I will start posting daily meals and recipes with these items soon! Or you can go ahead and follow me on Instagram or Twitter and see daily food pics!

 

a

 

 

My Arguments Against ‘Clean Eating’

One of the most frustrating things I keep seeing in this world and fitness/health industry is the finger pointing game. I find it ridiculous that if you have found a diet you like, that works for you, and you can stick with for the long term (this commitment should be up there with marriage guys, it’s serious) than that is great for you. So what if someone else is finding results doing something way different from you. We should embrace each other and be happy they found something that works for them. You don’t have to follow it. Just support them. But instead, everyone acts 5 years old and accuses each other of doing things wrong, without much research and backing into their argument. Which is silly.

clean

Clean eating is the idea that you never eat anything bad for you, which is, pretty much everything in this world. Only eat organic, never eat preservatives, never eat refined sugars, never eating pre packaged food. Pretty much, this is a very strict lifestyle.

One of the arguments of clean eating being the ‘only’ way you can become healthy and fit is that all of the ‘chemicals’ in food are bad for you. Yes, some of the chemicals that have been added to your food are terrible, and some of them are cancer causing agents. But saying all chemicals that are in food are bad for you, really isn’t a valid argument when that organic orange naturally is made up of chemicals. If you have taken any science class in high school or higher, you know this. Chemicals make up nearly every substance in this world. Yes, man has made some chemicals and have added them to foods that are terrible. Yes, try to steer clear of these. But to say all chemicals are bad, that’s a little far fetched.

There are also so many different ‘rules’ of clean eating, that it’s just a headache just to look into it and know what you are getting into. There are lists like this one going around the internet:

list

Yet most hardcore clean eaters wouldn’t touch any cheese, Kashi products, etc with a 10 foot pole. Most serious clean eaters stick with the unsweetened almond milk, sweeten things only with stevia drops (pure stevia), eat plain greek yogurt from brands they do serious research on (or make their own) and only eat organic, local foods. They hardly eat wheat, especially processed pre-made pastas. This list wouldn’t be too bad actually, so if you could just stick with it, I doubt it would be that bad. But that’s usually just the gateway for most. It’s like people with Anorexia, they don’t start just starving themselves right off the bat usually, they start small with a diet and lose a few pounds and then it becomes extreme because they love the feeling and dropping the weight. If you could simply stick with this diet and this list and never go further, great. Good for you. For most, this is just the beginning of the dive into the deep end, head first.

Clean eating is supposed to be a great way for you to eat without counting anything, keeping up with any intakes, just as long as it’s clean. Hmmm. Let’s go over this. So you are saying I can go from counting my calories/macros and as long as I eat strictly ‘clean’ I will still lose weight and can see my dream body in the mirror in a couple of months, then? WRONG. Calories in < Calories out. It’s the equation for weight loss, whether you like it or not. If you are bulking, you will either have calories in = calories out or calories in > calories out. If you go with your clean eating ways, you could fall in love with organic plan greek yogurt and go eating 3 tubs a day of it. You are 2000 calories over your maintenance. Oh no, your shorts aren’t fitting. But went wrong? Oh right, your calories went high so you gained. It’s science, guys. Science doesn’t lie.

Binge

Another downfall of the clean eating hype is the problem of being so strict. Most people who are deep in their clean eating ways become so obsessive of every morsel of every single thing that enters their mouth. Which is a problem. This causes a spiral down into the deep dark cave of disordered eating in it’s way. These people become obsessive to the point they are constantly checking ingredients in foods, scolding those around them for eating ‘bad foods’ and if they have a treat or binge, they hate themselves even deeper than usual because those foods were so ‘terrible’ for them. When it comes to the Battle of the Binge (I will be posting about this soon), I think it is the clean eaters I see dealing with this problem the most. It’s because they are trying so hard to restrict themselves and when a craving finally takes them over, they go nuts and can’t stop. And then they feel guilt for days. What kind of life is that? Would you call this living?

You can combine clean eating with being a human being, I swear. The 80/20 rule is what most people should live by. Eat 80% healthy wholesome foods but if you get a craving, give into the damn thing and have a slice of cake. If you don’t give into these cravings once in a while, you will go nearly insane whether you admit it or not and then you will binge on all the junk food in your house in one night. You will save your sanity, your gut, and your calorie intake a lot of trouble if you just give into the damn cookie calling your name.

 

 

Meal of The Day- Lobster Pasta!

Healthy Lobster Pasta

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So you’re excuse for not eating right is: on a budget/no time/picky eater or family/I don’t know what to fix.

Who doesn’t like pasta? Who doesn’t like lobster? Not many people.

I made two versions of this awesome dish-one with whole wheat noodles for my guy and then one with zoodles (read: zucchini noodles).

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I got the organic whole wheat pasta from Whole Foods yesterday. If you or your family are new to this healthy eating thing, definitely go with the whole wheat pasta recipe before making them jump in the deep end with the zoodles.

If you are going for the zoodles, here you go!

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I got this spiralizer for under $10 off of amazon. I had seen many people use them and make vegetable ‘noodles’ so I figured I better try it. I was skeptical if my cheap one would work, and it did!

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You literally just put your zucchini (mine is organic- yours should be too or it should be local) after you wash it (yes, wash all vegetables, even organic) and cut the ends off of it. I stuck one end into the spiralizer and twisted it.

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I did need to occasionally chop the pointy end off of the veggie that was in the spiralizer, to be able to twist and make the zoodles properly. Otherwise, it was getting mushy.

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Spiralizing was actually super fun! The zoodles was short at first and I was getting sad because I like long noodles. After a minute though, they got long and awesome.

I went ahead and got the water boiling to cook the whole wheat pasta for my guy and got out the rest of my ingredients:

  • Olive Oil (I used extra virgin, you can use any)
  • Tomatoes (I used home grown from the garden, you can use any type like Roma, cherry, heirloom….)
  • Mozzarella (the fresh block kind)
  • Lobster (or any seafood/meat of your choice)
  • You can also throw in a handful of fresh spinach to make it even better. Or add some fresh cracked pepper for a flavor boost 

Cut your mozzarella into small chunks, they will melt and get stringy quicker. Everyone loves melty, stringy cheese.

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Chop your tomatoes. Get the meat ready (chop it, whatever you need to do as the dish is really quick when you throw it all in the pan on the stove-if your meat choice needs to be cooked, you should do so *prior* to all of this).

Once the whole wheat noodles were cooked, I got them off of the stove and drained. Then I threw them into a big skillet. I topped with all of my ingredients and drizzled with olive oil.

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Start mixing and tossing your ingredients to get them all mixed up and make sure you keep it moving so nothing burns in the dry pan. Your heat on the eye of your stove should not be cranked up all the way. Medium heat does the job just fine. Keep stirring and tossing until the lobster is heated and your cheese is melting. Turn the eye off and let it sit to still heat some in the hot pan. Transfer the mixture into your serving bowl and VOILA.

For the zoodle dish, you do the same thing, except you will put your freshly spiralized zoodles into your pan and then top it with your ingredients.

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Toss around over heat until the lobster is hot and your cheese is nice and gooey. It will be hard to resist eating it before you get it on the plate, I know.

Transfer to your serving plate/bowl. And dig in.

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Final whole wheat product.

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Final zoodle product.

I honestly loved the zoodle dish more than the whole wheat. But they were both great and I am sure you (& your significant other/family/kids/roommate/grandma) will surely love it. This was a good meal that was fairly cheap (Lobster was 2 for $5, pasta was $3.00, tomatoes were home grown, olive oil we already had, and the cheese was $4.00= I spent only $12.00 on feeding my guy and I). This was also a very fast meal. I spent 10 minutes. From start to finish. The longest thing was cooking the wheat pasta and making my zoodles, which I did both at the same time and still, took no time.

NO EXCUSES!

Please let me know if you try this! You can tag me in your meal pictures on Twitter or Instagram by tagging @fitgirlrules

a