Since the fall is upon us, why not start your days with a protein packed, pumpkin inspired meal! These pancakes are delicious!

Batter Ingredients
- 150g Egg Whites
- 15g of Oatmeal
- 1/3 cup of pure mashed pumpkin
- 1 package of stevia
- 1 box of raisins (14g)
- Pumpkin Spice
- Cinnamon

Butter Ingredients
13g of Natural Peanut Butter
1.5tbsp of Pure mashed pumpkin
1 package of stevia

Directions
Combine all of the batter ingredients in a blender - the magic bullet works best - and cook half the batter on medium to high heat in a non-stick pan. Before turning the pancake over to cook the other side, strategically place half of the raisins in the batter so that they are evenly spaced out. Now flip the pancake and continue cooking it until golden brown on both sides. Do the same with the other half of the batter.

To make the butter, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl until the butter is smooth. If you'd like to make it less thick, add in a few drops of water until you reach the desired consistency.

Before indulging in this yummy meal, spread the butter on top of the pancakes and sprinkle some cinnamon on top. Delish!

Approximate Nutrition
293 calories
7.5g Fat
30g Carbs
24g Protein

 
As many of you know I have a disorder called, Premature Ovarian Failure (A.K.A Premature Ovarian Insufficiency) which means I have a 0-5% chance of conceiving naturally – and it decreases with age.

As much as I have grieved and been able to move past my diagnosis in many ways, it is something that is always in the back of my mind. I want nothing more than to be a mother, and it would be a dream come true if I could conceive my children naturally someday.

The Conflict
When I began my journey into health & fitness, I began it for a few reasons:
1.       To lose 50lbs+ of unwanted fat & feel better than ever.
2.       To challenge myself in ways I had never done before – competing in Figure.
3.       To help me regain control over my life after a stream of adversities.
4.       To strengthen my back, neck, shoulders, knee etc. after my accident in 2007. And,
5.       To put my body in the healthiest hormonal and fertile state possible so that I have a
           better chance of being one of the few women who to conceive naturally.

The truth is, two of my biggest life goals right now – to compete in figure and to obtain optimal hormonal and fertility health – are quite conflicting. As I’ve learned more and more about bodybuilding in the traditional way, I’ve learned that it is in no way a healthy sport.

Typically bodybuilders experience drastic hormonal fluctuations, significant wear and tear on their bodies, declines in their immunity and often rely on chemical or artificial supplements to get them through the day. Not to mention, when it comes close to competition, some are severely dehydrated and outrageously lean (not in a good way).

To put it simply, bodybuilders basically tend to experience everything you DON’T want if you’re trying to obtain optimal hormonal health or conceive.

So a few months ago I came to a fork in my journey. I had an epiphany and suddenly felt I was faced with two decisions:
1.       Keep training for figure, OR
2.       Stop training for figure and start focusing on my fertility and hormone health.

This thought weighed heavily on me.

On one hand, I have worked so hard to get to where I am in order to compete – and I am trying to build myself a name in this industry around it. And on the other hand, I would give ANYTHING to conceive naturally – so why not make that my ultimate goal?

After much thought and deliberation, a few conversations with the people I love and a handful of sleepless nights, I’ve decided what I want to do. And so, since I am a planner by nature, I’ve mapped out my newest goals and my latest approach and I’d like to share it with everyone.

The Shift

What my family reminded me when I was having this discussion with them, is that it is often women who focus too much on their infertility issues that do not conceive naturally – and they are right.

Women who tend to stress or put an extreme amount of pressure on themselves (when it comes to getting pregnant) are often counterproductive in their attempts. This is because stress can literally ruin your body from the inside out and prevent it from functioning properly.

So rather than putting their bodies in a healthy state so that it can heal itself, they are creating an almost toxic environment within – both mentally and physically.

With that being said, I’ve decided to combine options 1 and 2 above and create a new option:
3.       Keep focusing on competing in Figure, but do it in the healthiest way possible.

It’s going to be harder, more expensive and probably timelier, but it will help me take steps closer towards both of my goals. Why should I have to choose one or the other?

What This Means

When is comes to training and dieting, this means that I will be changing my food choices, switching to natural supplements and being considerate of what I am putting in my mouth and how I am moving my body. So basically, whatever I do or consume must support both of my goals.

· I will be switching my bodybuilding supplements over to natural products and avoiding heavily processed, chemical brands:

          New Protein: BioX’s All Natural Power Whey (with added digestive enzymes)

          New Pre-Workout: Green Tea and/or Green Tea Extract

          Intra-Workout: Will remain XTEND for now (may research others)

· I will be strategically supplementing vitamins and minerals:

         Progressive’s Vege Greens – For antioxidants, phytonutrients, EFA’s and other
         health boosting ingredients.

          Maca – For fertility support.

          Calcium & Vit. D – To maintain strong bones as I am at high risk for Osteoporosis
          and consume a lot of protein regularly.

          ON’s Opti-Women Multivitamin – For overall support.

          Co-Q10 – For heart support, since I’ve faced past issues.

          Omega 3’s – For brain and cardiovascular support and to ensure I am getting my
          omega 3’s in my day as my diet may not supply them.

          B12 – For metabolic and central nervous system support (I’ve been deficient in the
          past).

          Glucosamine & Chondrotin – for bone, cartilage and joint support (needed due to
          my accident in 2007)

          Vitamin C – For antioxidant and immunity support

· I will be maintaining the monitoring of my macronutrients and calories. For now I will be aiming for 50%protein, 25% carbs and 25% fats to help reach my figure goals. This may change overtime to continue reducing my body fat% further, in order to compete.

· I will no longer be consuming artificial sweeteners. Stevia will be my replacement.

· I will limit myself to one coffee a day, and if I need another ‘kick’ I will turn to green tea.

· A larger portion of my carbohydrates will come from high antioxidant fruits and a broad array of veggies/super foods.

          Such as: Blueberries, cranberries, spinach, pumpkin, celery, radishes, Quinoa,
          apples, cabbage, carrots, peppers, cucumber etc. 

· I will add in a regular yoga and/or meditation session every week for flexibility, healing and emotional/mental support.

· I will continue to omit alcohol from my diet but will allow myself red wine only on special occasions.

I understand that some people will disagree with my approach, not identify with my thinking and/or find my goals to be counterproductive. But if there is one thing I’ve learned through my 2 year fitness endeavor thus far, it’s that you have to do it for you!

No two bodies are exactly alike, and no two people have experienced the same emotional, spiritual and physically journeys in their lifetime. This plan is created with my body and goals in mind, and I highly encourage other people to customize their own plans.

I believe bodybuilding can be a healthy sport if you work hard enough at it, and are willing to put in the time and money – and I am.

So stay tuned!