Day 28: “If it’s still in your mind it’s worth taking the risk”

So I stole this quote from a list of inspiring quotes about writing I found on buzzfeed, and I thought it had a lot to do with this little experiment of mine I’ve been calling this blog. I didn’t feel compelled to write because I thought people actually cared what I had to say, in fact, I knew they didn’t. I didn’t write each post with an agenda, hoping to instantly gain popularity. And it didn’t start it because I wanted to seem like some expert, because I have so many times admitted that I’m not. I began to write because it was a thought I had. I had so many in fact, I needed a place to put them. Voila. It was intriguing because it was risky, it felt vulnerable, and ultimately I decided, “it’s worth taking the risk.”
I’m glad I did.
From encouraging comments, to simply being held accountable to myself, I have received little gratifications along with the freeing act of writing itself. Some days are harder than others. Some days I don’t want to share because I feel I have nothing to give, but those often turn into the days when I dig deep and find the most insight. So if you’ve been waiting to start a health journey, write a blog, or change your life in any way, I encourage you to do it.

“Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”
-William Faulkner

I have a couple new awesome recipes to share with you guys so it’s safe to say that even though I didn’t write yesterday, I did eat good. I can’t stop trying Carrots N’ Cake’s Eggless Paleo Breakfast Ideas. They literally all look so good, and so far they are. I decided to try one I’ve been looking forward to: Banana Apple Crisp with Vanilla Coconut Cream. It made the whole house smell like heaven. It almost feels like an oatmeal dish, but without the oats and all of the flavor. The only downside was having to wait on it to cook in the oven. I wake up hungryyy so I like breakfast to get into my belly pronto.

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Lunch was leftover garlic butter shrimp spaghetti squash and some broccoli. Dinner was sooo yummy and will definitely be making another appearance soon: Spinach, Bacon, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts. NOM OMG.

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I also made a spinach salad to accompany it (I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much spinach in one sitting…and loved it). I topped it with bacon crumbles (since I already had it cooking’ ya know?), cremini mushrooms–sauteed in the same pan as the bacon…oh yess, and walnuts, all topped with a balsamic vinaigrette of sorts. I forgot how much better real bacon is than turkey bacon until I had some, and now I’m scared for the future…
Today I started the day off with another amazing egg scramble, and I’m pretty sure I got a whole days worth of veggies in there–bell peppers, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, even spinach (nope, I didn’t get too much at dinner yesterday). After church, I had originally intended to keep my run short and sweet. Somehow it turned into a 5 mile all uphill sprint, and I can’t say I’m mad about it. I suck, I mean SUCK, at hills. So I always feel super accomplished after I do a run full of them, and today was just that. I’m not talking little ones on a mostly flat course either, these were GIANT MOUNTAINS going nowhere but up. I always find it funny when I go out to run one way and end up somewhere totally different. When I got back I had a smoothie with more spinach (I’m shocked I’m not sick of it too), protein, blueberries, and some almond butter. I was surprisingly not hungry for the rest of the day until dinner which turned out AMAZING, if I do say so myself. I love love love salmon. I would eat it more than chicken if it wasn’t way more expensive. One of my favorite salmon dishes of the many I’ve had, was at a local restaurant that served it baked with lemon butter sauce and topped with sun dried tomatoes. So when I got some salmon on sale I figured, I can replicate that pretty easily. I had also seen this thing on Pinterest that said “for the perfect salmon every time, drizzle the filet with olive oil or butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, put it in a cold oven, then turn to 400 degrees. 25 minutes later the salmon is perfect.” Sounded pretty simple to me, so I tried it, and then about halfway through I put the sun dried tomatoes on top. It. Was. Heavenly. I can’t even tell you how great it turned out. If you love salmon, this is so easy and amazing. I served it with a side of broccoli, and because I was eating with non-paleos, some goat cheese and basil ravioli. The whole meal was amazing, and it tasted almost exactly like the restaurant version I had had. Beat that.

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Day 26: Everybody wants happiness, no one wants pain, but how can you make a rainbow…without a little rain?

It was disgusting and rainy today, no condition for running. So, I took a cross training/weights day and I’m so glad I did. I warmed up on the elliptical and then did a few total body weights circuits.
The first was from Popsugar:
20 step ups
20 push-ups
20 walking lunges (I did around the world lunges–forward lunge, side lunge, reverse lunge)
Repeat 3x.
15 squat jumps
15 tricep dips
60 second plank with leg lifts
Repeat 3x.
30 second wall sit
20 bicycle crunches
Side planks, 30 seconds each
Repeat 3x.
Next was something adapted from a personal training session I had a few months ago:
20 leg presses
20 medicine ball crunches
20 mountain climbers
Repeat 3x
20 chest presses
20 lat pull downs
10 burpees
Repeat 3x
Upper Body:
15 lying chest flys
15 single arm bent-over rows
15 jumping jacks with weights
Repeat 3x
15 reverse flys
15 dead lift to bent over row
15 tricep kickbacks
Repeat 3x
25 bicep curls
15 tricep overhead extensions
Repeat 3x
Lower Body:
15 weighted lunges
20 squats
10 jump squats
Repeat 3x
Core:
30 second plank
20 bird dogs
20 bicycle crunches
20 leg lifts
30 second plank
and a few other things here and there, I can’t remember exactly.
The whole workout took about 2 hours, but honestly I don’t really mind when I’m doing weight work. I enjoy it more than running to be honest.

Breakfast was the most delicious egg scramble EVER. Mushrooms, bell peppers, organic sun dried tomatoes sautéed in olive oil, scrambled with 2 eggs, 1 egg white, and some goat cheese = nomnomnom. This kept me full the whole morning, through my two hour workout, and basically until dinner because I only had a coconut milk yogurt with some paleo granola after my workout. Dinner was also very filling and full of veggies. I did a chicken and vegetable stir fry in the wok with bell peppers, onions, zucchini, and mushrooms, then topped with some special sauce.
Special Sauce:
5 tbsp coconut aminos
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp almond butter
I also made a side of cauliflower fried rice. Just put the cauliflower in a food processor until it’s “rice like”, then cook with peas and carrots, add some scrambled eggs and turkey bacon pieces and it’s the perfect veggie and flavor packed compliment to stir fry.

Finally, in honor of #FailFriday, here is a link to the top 20 GIFs of exercise mishaps:
http://www.heavy.com/social/2013/05/workout-fail-gifs/

Day 25: Don’t Get Glad, Get Mad

You heard me right. No, I’m not talking about the trash bag, unless we are talking about how I trashed my 10K personal best today! 😋 While today was hellish to say the least, one good thing came of it. Running angry makes my times oh so much faster. I was 4 minutes faster than my previous 10K personal best, 6 seconds faster than my fastest average pace per mile since I’ve been training, and I felt great the entire time. I didn’t feel like I was dragging along like I do some days, but that could have been because of the perfect weather and wearing my new workout top. New clothes always make you feel your best.

Today was my first day of full fledged Paleo, and while I can’t attribute all of my run records to the day’s diet successes, I did feel pretty great. No bloating, discomfort, and headaches like yesterday. Breakfast was a coconut milk yogurt with blueberries as I was on the go. For lunch I had made ahead a big batch of Maple Shallot Vinaigrette, so I threw a grilled chicken breast over some awesome local lettuce I found at Kroger, and it gave me no issues during my run later. That’s something I can’t say about a lot of foods.

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Dinner was spaghetti squash topped with shrimp in an amazing lemon/garlic butter sauce with a big pile of broccoli. Yum! Hope everyone had a chance to turn a very crappy day into some little wins.

20140327-232335.jpgHomework: think of something that makes you mad. Not just pissed off mad, like, really gets you angry and worked up mad. Now stew over it for a little bit, and take off running! I promise your times will thank you, and so will your wallet.running cheaper than therapy

 

Day 24: Food Grudges

So I’ve been thinking…while my half marathon training and running all these new races is great, learning about whole foods that are nourishing to the body, avoiding harmful foods and caring about where they come from is awesome, but the ultimate goal is still–you guessed it–weight loss. I think every girl has struggled with their weight at some point or another, and while I’ve never been “overweight,” I’ve never been satisfied with my body. I’ve been through “eat all the things” stages,  I’ve battled eating disorders, I’ve obsessed over every morsel I put into my mouth until I wanted to cry, and where has all that gotten me? To here. To trying to care more about doing good for my body than about being perfect. While it is a great philosophy, it’s not always easy to keep in mind when looking in the mirror. So, now that I’ve gotten serious about the “put good in, get good out” philosophy, why am I still not satisfied? Well, I don’t think I ever will be, because that’s just the kind of person that I am. A perfectionist. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t get to a place that I’m happy and proud of. I thought to myself, “Okay, I know it hasn’t been that long that I’ve been really putting all of my nutrition research into action, but I should have seen some results by now, right?” Then I realized, as much as I want to believe I am doing everything right…I’m not. Frustrated, I researched “Why you’re not losing weight on the Paleo Diet” (and while I know I haven’t gone full fledged paleo, the piece of Ezekiel toast or yogurt I eat here and there is not enough to cause my downfall by itself). It brought me to some interesting realizations.

First, I was definitely “paleo-fying” all the things (cornbread, muffins, cookies…). This brought me to my second realization: I haven’t been eating enough vegetables. One easy way to get more vegetables? Keep it simple. It’s been fun making elaborate dishes like pad thai, cashew chicken, crepes, and muffins, but the focus needs to be whole, nutritious foods, not “how much damage can we avoid by healthy-fying it.” While I was researching this I came across another article from Empowered Sustenance about why you should avoid almond flour *gasp*. Almond flour has become a crutch in paleo baking, and I have been guilty myself of overusing it. While it’s probably better than processed all purpose flour, it should be used in MODERATION (aka I’ve been using it way too much). You can read Lauren’s full post here, but I think the most compelling point to me was the first one: almond flour skews perception about quantity. She’s right, the amount of almonds you would have to grind up just to get that 1-2 cups for your recipes is a TON. Way more than we would ever eat whole. Add a spoonful of almond butter with your apple and whoa, more almonds than anyone should ever eat in a day, no matter how good for us they are.

Today I wasn’t as diligent as I usually am about packing healthy snacks, and by about 3 o clock I was dying of hunger. I thought I was making a smart choice by going to Panera, but in a hunger-induced lapse of judgement I ordered pasta. WHAT? WHY? I really don’t know. I only got a half portion and a half salad with it, and didn’t even eat the bread that came with it, but after putting it into my calorie counter I felt nothing but guilt. I’m very bad about keeping “food grudges” (not being able to forgive myself for what I’ve eaten), but this time, the food wouldn’t let me forget. It is now 10:30 at night and I STILL feel bloated and sluggish…yuck. So, I’m done with being noncommittal. I think I’m going to try going full-fledged paleo, at least until my half marathon. Let’s face it, I’m am nowhere close to where I need to be, the least I can do for myself is eliminate some inflammation in hopes of helping my time (because Lord help me I looked at the elevation map today and I’m going to need all the help I can get).

I’d like to reiterate that you really can eat anything you want in moderation. BUT, hopefully if you’re on a health journey like me, you’ll slowly start to crave what your body needs instead of what ads and industry are telling us we want. Now if someone could just tell me when I’ll stop wanting ice cream…

Day 23: Feelin’ Peachy

Today was the day. The day they let us know if we were selected in the Peachtree Road Race Lottery, and I made it!

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I’m so excited. I’ve been wanting to run this race for years, but I’ve never been able to and I’m so excited that this year I finally can! Not only do people collect the prized tshirts from this race, but if you’re from Georgia it is a race that should be on everyone’s bucket list. This race will be after my half marathon, so I’ll be well trained, but it’s long enough after that I’ll be adequately rested. In the past month I have jumped into more races than I’ve done in my entire life! My very first race was the Abba House Run for Recovery 10K, and I placed 2nd in my age group, which for my first race I was super proud of. While I’ve kept up with running at least 3 miles 4-5 times per week, I never trained to go any longer distances or get a faster pace. When I saw the Asheville Half Marathon I knew it was exactly the push I needed to get out there and train and accomplish a race that would challenge me. Asheville is so beautiful, and since I have family there I can stay for free. It was a no brainer. To help me in my training, I will be running the newly added Abba House Run for Recovery 10 Miler, which is conveniently at the time in my training when I need to be hitting that kind of mileage. What better motivation is there than a race for a good cause? I’m looking for a few more supplemental races before my half, but right now being signed up for these 3 is keeping me motivated to push harder than ever before. The Peachtree will keep me running after my half because I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t running it I would take a few months off. Now if I could only get this hip pain in check…

Despite spring supposedly “officially” kicking off, it was freaking freezing today. I wore my pullover during my entire run, and my nose was running so much it was distracting. On the bright side, I took it as an advantage in the kitchen to say one final goodbye to some of my cold weather favorites before this warm weather (hopefully) kicks in. Breakfast was Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal. Simple and delicious. I used 1/4 cup organic oats, cooked in unsweetened vanilla almond milk and water, then added 1/2 cup pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, a splash of vanilla extract and maple syrup and topped with pecans. NOM. It did it’s duty too, fueling a 5 mile run at one of my fastest paces per mile ever! I’ve been trying to pack more veggies in, so lunch was a vitamin packed paleo creation that’s easy, filling, and (hopefully, for tomorrow) easily portable. I put some organic roasted red pepper hummus on some sliced turkey, added sliced bell pepper, and rolled into tasty wraps. With a large side of carrots, my MyFitnessPal calorie counter app said I was at 707% of my recommended Vitamin A for the day and 239% of Vitamin C. I don’t know if this is totally accurate, but I’d like to think I was doing pretty good for myself.

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While I was at it I went ahead and fixed dinner and threw it in the crockpot for later. The menu? Beef Stew with Paleo “Cornbread” Muffins. The name is quite deceiving. The beef stew had more vegetables than beef, and the muffins didn’t contain a trace of corn. For the beef stew I used green beans, carrots, purple potatoes (read more about the health benefits of purple vs white here), and tomatoes. Season with paprika, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, cumin, and a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and you’ve got a veggie packed cold weather jackpot, err crockpot. Old habits die hard though, and I can’t have beef stew without cornbread. So instead of breaking out the Jiffy, I found an awesome recipe from Cassidy’s Craveable Creations.
YOU WILL NOT MISS THE REAL THING. These turned out great.

Day 22: Don’t let your dad in Victoria’s Secret

Today was the last day of Victoria’s Secret Panty Party (7 panties for $26.50, aka the best deal you will ever get), so of course I had to go get some (guilty pleasure). I guess they weren’t expecting so many people to get excited about panties because the line was a mile long, and while I usually get bored in lines….this time was a little different. First of all, it’s always awkward when theres a guy in Victoria’s Secret, especially when he’s by himself. I understand you wanna pick out some fun stuff for your lady, but go with her or pick out what you want online and have her go get it. There’s no reason I should have to shove past someone my dad’s age to get to my 7 for $26 panties…no.reason. It gets better. One of these out of place men was in line in front of me, and decided to strike up conversation. 1) Inappropriate 2) Awkward 3) I should not be involved in your decision of what kind of lingerie to buy your wife, I am your daughter’s age. No. Just no. Needless to say, I hid my panty choice under my arm for the remainder of the wait in line. I did manage to score this cute workout tank on clearance for $14 though!

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So yesterday I took a rest day because my right hip has been bothering me like crazy and gets super agitated when I run. Has anyone else had a problem like this? I feel like it is muscular, but I really have no idea. I’ve tried every stretch in the book, and even sought advice from my yoga teacher. I think it might be time to throw in the towel and go to the doc. Feeling down, and also because it was Sunday, I wanted to whip up a fancy delicious breakfast. I made some Paleo wraps (aka crepes) from CupcakesOMG and topped with some Nutella, strawberries, banana, and whipped cream (I know, I’m naughty). It was so worth it though. These crepes were light but decadent, and the perfect sweet treat for a Sunday morning.

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Lunch was just leftover roasted root veggies from dinner a couple nights earlier. Dinner was also leftovers of the excellent fish tacos from my Recipes Post. Although there was no fish left, I used the pineapple jicama slaw and cilantro “mayo” to top a turkey burger. I ate a light dinner because I felt bad about breakfast haha.

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This morning I made an egg white, kale, bell pepper, and sun dried tomato scramble with goat cheese (yes, still going on that giant log). I ran on the trails today in hopes that it would be better for my hip…it wasn’t. I got a solid 4 miles in though, and then hit the gym for some circuit weight training which felt great. Lunch was a grilled chicken breast and a sweet potato. I made a giant batch of my favorite kale salad for dinner.

I’d really like to hear from my fellow runners, have you had hip problems when training for a race? Was it muscular or joint related? Any tips on how to remedy it?

Day 20: Recipes on Recipes

Ever since the success of my Paleo Banana Bread Muffins,  I’ve been on a recipe re-vamp frenzy. I’ve tried something new every day and haven’t found a dud yet! If I could encourage anyone reading to do anything on their health journey, it would be to try new healthy recipes. People think eating healthy has to be boring….uh, no way! I’ve actually enjoyed my meals a million times more since starting this whole clean eating/paleo/half marathon training journey and I’ve learned to love healthy foods I never even knew existed before! So here are a few recipes to add to your repertoire:

(I apologize in advance for all the goat cheese, we had a large log I needed to use)
Goat Cheese Stuffed Pears
To be honest I really just eyeballed this recipe, added the kitchen sink, and kept tasting until I was satisfied, but I will try to approximate ingredient amounts!
4 or 5 Pears of your choice (I used a mix of D’Anjou and Bartlett, just whatever you have), sliced in half and inside removed, leaving some around the edges
2 oz. Goat Cheese (We had a large 11 oz. log, but they usually come in 4 oz. small logs and I probably used about half of one of those)
Handful of walnuts (this is really personal preference)
5 Medjool Dates, chopped
Chicken breast, shredded (optional, I had one ready and wanted the protein boost)
Honey to taste
Mix all ingredients together and adjust until you’re happy with the ratios, add to inside of pears
Preheat oven to 350, Place in a baking dish with a splash of water and apple juice (or really any juice) and cook until heated through

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Garlic and Goat Cheese Spaghetti Squash
Adapted from Theprimalist.com
1/2 spaghetti squash for each person you plan to feed
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
6-7 garlic cloves (to taste)
3 tbsp butter
3/4 cup olive oil (I would use a little less, this made it pretty oily)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Juice of one lemon
5 oz. Goat Cheese (like I said we had the large 11 oz. log, I used about half, again this is to taste)
Add some protein! I made this dish with shrimp, and actually sautéed the shrimp in the garlic butter mixture and then poured it over the spaghetti squash and topped with goat cheese. Soo delicious. It feels like a decadent italian meal you should feel guilty about, but you don’t have to!

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Paleo Crock Pot Cashew Chicken
From Preppy Paleo
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 lbs. chicken (I used breast), cut into bite-size pieces
1 tbs. coconut oil
3 tbs. coconut aminos
2 tbs. rice vinegar
2 tbs. organic ketchup (tomato paste would work also)
1/2-1 tbs. palm sugar (I used honey)
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/4-1/2 red pepper flakes
1/2 cup raw cashews

Toss the meat in the arrowroot and black pepper to coat. Cook the chicken in your oil of choice (I used coconut) until no longer pink and then toss in crock pot. Mix coconut amines, rice vinegar, ketchup, sugar of choice, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, then pour the mixture over the chicken in the crock pot. Cook on low 3-4 hours or high 1-2 hours. Add cashews to the mix right before you’re ready to serve and top with green onions.

My secret tip to making this recipe extra AHmazing: use Toasted Coconut Cashews. They make this dish a little sweeter, give it more texture, and just really make it awesome. You can find these at Costco!

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Quinoa Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen
1 Cup cooked quinoa
3/4 cup buckwheat flour (or your favorite healthy flour of choice)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 large egg whites (you could use regular eggs as well)
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons milk of your choice (I used almond)
2 tablespoons sugar of choice (I used honey, you could also use maple syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large ripe bananas, mashed/pureed (you could do without these, I started on the recipe before I realized I didn’t have them and didn’t feel like I was missing out but they may help with moisture/sweetness)
Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (I’m not putting an amount on this because let’s be honest, you’re going to put as many as you want!)

Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then add wet to dry and whisk to combine. Cook until firm on both sides, then top with your favorite fruits, maple syrup, or more chocolate chips! (oops did I say that?)

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Fish Tacos with Pineapple Kale Jicama Slaw
Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
2-3 Mahi Mahi Filets (prepared how you like, I chose grilled and it was fabulous)
Season with cumin, chile powder, paprika to taste
Slaw:
Begin with Costco Kale slaw and add-

  • 1 cup fresh, diced pineapple
  • 1 cup julienned jicama
  • 1/3 cup thinly slicedscallions
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Cilantro lime yogurt sauce:
(This was another eyeball creation, so play around with it until you like it!)
4-5 Tablespoons plain greek yogurt
Cumin, paprika, chile powder, to taste
4 tablespoons lime juice
1-2 tablespoons of your favorite barbecue sauce
Honey, to taste

Spread a few dollops of the yogurt sauce on your favorite tortilla, add a few pieces of Mahi Mahi, andtop with the slaw mixture!
This recipe is perfect for the upcoming warm weather. It is light, tropical, and refreshing.

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These recipes are WORTH TRYING. Trust me, I wouldn’t post them if they weren’t. If you try any (or all) of them, please let me know how it went and what you thought!