Healthy, Lower Carb Substitutes

I want to provide helpful content to y’all so as I was devouring my spaghetti squash for lunch I thought why not do a post on lower-carb options? Now please note, I am not stating that carbs are bad and I am not advocating low-carb in any any!! (Unless of course you’re on prep). Carbs are GOOD, carbs are FUEL–they’re necessary for our energy, strength, functionality, etc. However, I know not everyone’s carbs can be up super high like bodybuilders, reverse dieters, those in recovery, etc. There are people out there who have a lower carb diet and don’t eat 250, 350, 350+ carbs a day. Even for those on higher carbs, these substitutes can be a good way to increase veggies and save carbs for elsewhere too. Plus they’re all too dang delicious to not try.

So with all that said, here are some ideas for lower-carb swap outs and substitutes that are just as delicious as the originals, when needed.

1. Spaghetti Squash

This one had to be first because it is my NUMBER ONE! Sorry for the all caps, but seriously if you have NOT tried it yet…just go do it. Right now, I’ll wait. To me, spaghetti squash sometimes tastes better than pasta (yes, I just said that) and it is a perfect substitute because it’s all veggie. The texture is spot on and it’s as flexible with your toppings and mix-ins as regular pasta. This is the recipe I use. You can also just cook the spaghetti squash the same way without mix-ins and add your own after it’s cooked too. You could also mix regular pasta with spaghetti squash.

2. Zoodles

Zoodles are another low-carb pasta substitute, but to me this takes a little more work and a little less exact match as the spaghetti squash, but still delicious! You will need a spiralizer of some sort to create the noodles out of the zucchini, and then either can eat them raw or cook them. I prefer to cook them a little (to soften them) with my sauce, meat, and veggie additives. You could also mix regular pasta and the zoodles too.

3. Butternut Squash

Butternut squash can be substituted instead of sweet potatoes either making them as fries, cubes, chips, etc. I’ve never made fries out of them, but I do know some stores even sell them cut up like fries either fresh or frozen so check your local grocery store. I have used cubed squash though in random bowls like I would potato.

4. Lettuce Wraps/Boats

Although some people may cringe at the thought of replacing breadier (is that a word? it is now) carbs with lettuce, but it can still be done and made delicious! I have made chinese chicken wraps with lettuce and have been meaning to try taco lettuce boats (basically a taco in a cup of lettuce instead of a tortilla). Lettuce could also be used as a bun for burgers or sandwiches. They do tend to fall apart a little more if you over-stuff them, but the crunch from the wrap is great texture with the meal!

5. Salad

Lastly, I know this isn’t really a subsitute because salad is a meal/food anyway, BUT almost anything you make can be turned into a salad if lower carbs are needed. Examples include taco salad, burger salad (burger and toppings just mixed with lettuce), chinese salad, etc. Just do be careful that you don’t add too many other less-nutritious options to the salad that it actually becomes worse for you.

While I love carbs and they are definitely important and necessary, sometimes you need to eat lower carbs in life or in a situation, OR you just want to eat lower carbs. That’s okay as long as you are making sure that you are getting enough carbs for your body, your needs, your activity level, etc. These options are all veggies so they still do have carbs, but they are lower-carb substitutes for you to try. If you have any other ideas or recipes you love, please share them in the comments section below!

 

Day in the Life

A week into season now and I’m loving it, but let me tell you: it has been a blur! Last week was filled with 3-a-days, meetings, conditioning challenges, practice, scrimmages, and team bonding and now that school has started things have died down as far as the amount of practice goes. But the added business of school gets counted in as well so basically, I’m still gonna be busy. But I love the grind, the time and effort put in so that hopefully at the end of season we have some bling on our hands from winning a national championship.

With that said, because the life of a student-athlete (SA) in college is MUCH different than most other just regular students, I thought I would give a quick glimpse into a day in my life for a normal or average week. One thing is that our schedules can often change a lot week to week so flexibility is really key in keeping afloat and not drowning in stress and anxiety. Another big part of a SA’s schedule is that it is generally more structured as far as the fact that we have designated practice and lifting times each week. This is definitely nice, but it can also be difficult because this means that we have to plan our classes, social time, studying, etc. around these designated times rather than doing them as we please. We are still normal students, taking just as many classes as others and balancing duties, responsibilities, issues, social activities, etc. that comes with being in college and just simply living. One of the reasons I chose to go D3 is because there is an emphasis on being a student first (hence why we are called student-athletes and not the other way around). I like being able to focus on my studies–the real reason I am in college– while still competing at a very high level in my sport. With that here is my schedule:

Monday

We have practice from 7-9 am(but we have to be there around 6:20-6:30 to set up and warm-up which means I’m up anywhere between 5:40 and 5:50 am). Then we go lift at the weight room from 9-9:45.

I don’t have class until the afternoon so from 10-12:20 I’ll shower, get ready for the day, maybe do some homework or run an errand, etc. Then, I’ll eat lunch and head out to class from 1:00-5:15. Once back, I’ll make dinner and spend the rest of the night doing homework. Sometimes when I don’t have homework, I’ll blog or see if there is an event on campus (like a soccer game).

Around 8:00 pm I get my night snack and then get ready for bed, aiming to be in bed by 8:30 pm (doesn’t often happen, but I try!) I’ll read for about 10 minutes and then go to sleep.

Tuesday

I only have classes M&W (plus 1 online class) so Tuesdays are a day to catch up on errands, cleaning/laundry, homework, my online class, etc.

Tuesdays are normally game days. If not, we will just have practice from 7-10. If so, and it’s a home game we will have a serve and pass from 8-9 am. Then, we will be at the locker room round 5 pm (for a 7 pm game) and start getting ready, etc. If it’s away, we leave early afternoon (around 1-2 pm) to drive wherever we are playing. We will then do the same thing before the 7 pm game and drive back that night–usually arriving close to midnight.

Wednesday

Wednesday is the exact same schedule as Monday for me. Practice, weights, and classes are at the same time. Later into season, Wednesday mornings will be study hall for those who need it and then weights from 9:00-9:45 am. I don’t have to go to study hall so just weights for me (yay for sleeping in until 7:30!)

Thursday

We have morning practice from 7-10 am.

Again, no classes on Thursdays so much like Tuesdays–I can use Thursdays to catch up on things. Especially since we travel almost every weekend, I am really able to finish homework and pack for the weekend.

Friday

Game day! We usually leave around 8 am to travel to our destination to play 1-2 games that afternoon/night. Then, either Friday night after the game or Saturday morning we will travel to another destination for a second game that weekend. Then, Saturday night we drive home usually arriving anywhere between 11pm-2am Sunday morning.

If it’s a home game (we have very few), we will again do a morning serve and pass. Arrive around 4:30-5pm in the locker room and get ready for the game at 7 or 7:30.

Saturday

As mentioned above, we have a second game on Saturday, generally in another location. So we either get up Saturday morning to drive or get up and get ready to play that afternoon.

Sunday

We are off! NCAA rules say we have to have one day off a week and this is usually it. The only time it isn’t is if we fly somewhere like CA or another state and travel back Sunday (then we would get Monday off)–but this rarely happens. I use Sundays to grocery shop, meal prep, clean, do laundry, catch up on homework, and prepare for the next week to start it all again!

I hope y’all enjoyed a glimpse into a day in the life for an average week. It is busy and takes lots of time management and effort to make it all work, but I love the life I live and wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Switching Gears

Switching gears, say what? Don’t worry the essence of this blog will still stay the same: Be Beyoutifully Healthy. However, I’m entering into season this Fall which means I will be very, very busy and traveling a lot. So I thought it would be fun to document more of the season, how we’re doing, a day-in-the-life, etc.

I’ll post tips on staying healthy on the go as an athlete, as well as what my training and eating schedule looks like. Now, I know that most of you reading this probably are not athletes and therefore this will not apply. However, I thought you might be interested in learning more and seeing things from a new perspective. But on second note too, I will also try to get in as much other content that may be more relevant as I can. I want this blog to be both helpful tips as well as lifestyle. With that said, if you have any ideas or anything you want to see or read about please let me know!

I’m excited to bring y’all along to this new chapter as I continue finding balance and my healthy lifestyle.

Don’t Compare Your Journey

I think this message is something that is a necessity for everyone to hear and really take to heart. It can be applied to any life situation (job, hobby, family, relationship, social status, fitness, etc.), but in this blog I’m going to focus mainly on fitness journeys.

Don’t compare your journey.

It’s definitely not the easiest, but it’s so important to understand and here’s why:

“Comparison the thief of joy”

It really is. Generally when we compare–no matter what it is we actually compare–we see others at their best and ourselves at our worst. Whether it be bodies, relationship, social status, possessions, money, happiness, life in general, etc. our focus is what someone else has that’s better than us. This steals all joy from the good that might be happening right in our very faces. But even if you compare against someone to make yourself seem or feel “better off” “higher up” “more X” you aren’t truly happy. You’re getting these feelings by tearing someone else down, probably because you don’t want to face your inner demons yourself. True joy should not be about building yourself up by tearing others down; true joy comes from being confident in who you are and what you are doing and still having room to bring others up with you.

I get that it’s hard. Being into fitness and an athlete, comparisons happen all the time. Who has more muscle, who’s in better shape, stronger, faster, more skilled, etc. and while sometimes coaches have to compare players to pick who starts, it’s not fair for us to determine our worth around comparisons. Here’s why. You don’t know what someone has done, been doing, been through or is planning to do to get to where they are and want to be. You don’t know the time, the effort, the resources, etc. that someone had that could be different from your situation–not better or worse, just different. Think about it: you could be comparing your day 30 with someone’s day 300. A month vs. almost a year…I would say there SHOULD be some pretty big differences there.

In the fitness industry, a lot of factors go into your ability, your form, your physique, your training, your strength…even what healthy looks like for you in your life. Maybe they don’t work or work from home and have a ton more hours to spend at the gym, maybe they grew up lifting as an athlete whereas you just found the sport, maybe they’ve chosen to fully dedicate themselves 100% to being strict in workouts and nutrition whereas you want to choose to be more balanced (either way is okay!). Maybe (most likely actually) their genetics are WAY DIFFERENT than yours meaning that how and where they gain muscle/fat as well as how long it takes will be different. Some people have fast metabolisms and lean out easily, but have a hard time to gain any muscle (And vice versa). In any of these situations there is no right or wrong, there is just each person’s unique journey that they are on for themselves–to better their lives each and every day.

The only person who should matter in your journey is you. And because of this, your only comparison should be to your previous self. Compare where you;ve been, where you’re, and where you are going instead of comparing your now to someone else’s now. As I mentioned, your beginning could be someone’s 6 years in and it’s not fair to beat yourself up by this by comparing. Instead compare your beginning, your middle, your craziness in between to where you want to be–and then don’t stop there. Be so focused on improving your own life that you don’t have time to compare it to others’. Because in reality it doesn’t matter what others are doing, how they look or feel; it all matters how you are doing on your own fitness journey. Build others up as they progress through their journey all while remaining confident in yours. This industry has so much support, community, inspiration, etc. if you let it instead of using every platform to tear yourself (or others down) through comparison.

As one final thought, I’ll leave you with this to reflect on.

Nobody else can make the changes you want in your life, so why should you let your progress be defined by what others have done in theirs?

Simple answer, you shouldn’t. Don’t compare your journey, and I promise you, you will find an abundance of joy, happiness, support, progress, and growth through it.