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1. If you haven’t yet, join the challenge here: GET FIT and GET HEALTHY
2. Every Saturday come back to The Art of Making a Baby and ShutterMama to read the tips on how to be fitter, healthier and more confident.
3. Weekly write a post about your progress, following the questionnaire below, take a self-portrait (optional) and link up with us.
4. Don’t forget to grab the GET FIT challenge button on the sidebar and display it proudly on your blog or GET FIT post.
5. Link your post with
Selfie Saturdays if you took your week’s self-portrait.


Authentic Italian Pasta Do you guys know how to read labels? You probably do. But do you pay much attention to the ingredients list? Do you know which items to avoid? Probably not many of you.

I bought a great book that breaks down every possible harmful item that gets included into our common foods and once I read it, I’ll be sure to pass on that knowledge. But for now, I’d like to tell you what i DO know.

Things to avoid in food:

high fructose corn syrup

What? In simple words it’s added sugar. But not just sugar, but over-processed cheap version of sugar.
Where? Almost EVERYWHERE!
Why? If the products says natural, but you see high fructose corp syrup there, you’ll be sure that there’s nothing natural about it, considering they pumped it with additional cheap sweeteners. It bombards your body with sugar, raising yourinsulin level, causing diabetes and obesity.

Partially hydrogenated oils

What? Oils that didn’t complete a hydrogenation process. A cheap alternative to butter
Where?You can find them in chips, cookies, baked goods.
Why? They make you fat, they are disruptors of metabolic processes and a big cause of cancer. And they’re just simply bad for you!

MSG (Glutamic Acid)

What? A naturally occurring essential amino acid that has been used in the food industry as an additive and a flavor enhancer
Where? Most restaurants, specifically Chinese. Processed, packages or frozen foods.
Why?Have you ever eaten at a restaurant and had what I call a food hangover? That achy feeling, maybe a headache, weakness and a definitely dry mouth/thirst? That’s MSG to blame for. Most restaurants add MSG to enhance flavor of their meals ( why did you think restaurant food tastes so good?). But would you still enjoy the food, knowing that the great taste comes from , basically, a chemical?
FDA generally recognizes glutamic acid as safe, however we all know that FDA is heavily lobbied  by the food industry, whose only cheap ay of making things taste good is adding MSG. If you care to dig into it, you’ll learn about a certain CEO of a certain company being  good  friends with the head of FDA  at the time the MSG ruling was happening. ‘nough said.
And while glutamic acid does occur naturally in our bodies, we get more than enough eating our normal healthy diets. More than that will cause the above mentioned symptoms and possible health effects. And who wants to eat food that makes them feel sick? The tricky thing is MSG comes all kinds of different names, so you need to watch out for those too. Here’s a list of the biggest offenders

What else to pay attention to?

The higher the ingredient is on the list the more  of it the product contains, so you obviously don’t want anything that has the above mentioned ingredients anywhere in the top 5 of the ingredient list
Look for shorter ingredient list. The shorter it is, the more natural and unprocessed the food product is.

You wouldn’t believe how many brands I switched from after learning all these facts a while ago. But at least I am confident that I have some sort of idea of what I put in my body.

Now, my entry for week 10

1. Height: 5’11?, weight: 133 lb

2. Your fitness challenge(s) for this week: 30 minutes of pilates every other day + 30 minutes of cardio ( rollerblading, running, swimming or treadmill) every other day. Special exercises designed for pregnancy to increase flexibility (daily) + Kegels (twice daily). A total of about an hour of physical activity a day. I decided to pick up the pace and work more on my abs more, inspired to go into pregnancy as fit as I can possibly be.

3. Your health challenge(s) for this week: My eating habits are close to perfect, however I could improve on my water intake. My goal will be 8 glasses of water daily + continue eating the way I do now. Start snacking more during the day to prepare for the first trimester of morning sickness.

4. How well did it go:
  • Fitness: This week… agh! I can’t say I did GREAT! But Iguess I didn’t fail completely. It was hard to do pilates with my knee and palms hurt, since most of the exercises are on your hands and knees. I did what I could, but I think skipped a few days due to work 🙁 Don’t like that.
  • Water: I’m back to my KleenKanteen bottle and being hydrated.
  • Food: Ate great as usual. Tried to snack on nuts throughout the day. Found out excesses of vitamin E ( nuts) are harmful to pregnant women and those planning to conceive. Had to slow down on them .

5. Failures and slip-ups: Was too busy and didn’t work out as much as I wanted to. Since I am usually at home, working out is easy, but it’s when I run around and break my schedule that it gets hard. I need to formulate a plan in my head of what to do on day when I expect to be away from the house all day: work out really early in the morning, or the second I have time.

6. Weekly challenge wisdom: Envisioning your goals will help you push yourself harder. It was 10 pm after a very hard day of work and the last thing I wanted to do is 30 minites of pilates. But I kept picturing having an easier pregnancy and delivery and being able to look the same after birth and that made me start and finish the work out.
7. Advice to fellow GET FIT members
: Motherhood is NOT an excuse for being unfit, out of shape and unhealthy. It’s THE REASON to be better.  Are most of you REALLY ok with looking and feeling the way you do now that you have a baby? It doesn’t take THAT much effort to shed those extra pounds. It’s as simple as a healthy diet ( lifestyle) and just a little bit of exercise. I applaud to those who have joined and stayed with us through these weeks

8. Self Portrait: My friend, the Fan {for more shots, go to my photography blog, Selfie Magic}





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  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 6:24 AM

    Hi Elena!

    I’ve been following you for a while now and found the above post very interesting. I wanted to mail you something I think you’d enjoy reading but can’t find your email address (or a contact page) anywhere on the site? Please post it here so that I can mail it on to you?

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