Peel’d Juice Cleanse – Days 1 and 2

After hearing good things and seeing Peel’d at the Farmers Market selling their juices every weekend, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and do the Peel’d juice cleanse. Peel’d creates fresh juices every morning that they deliver not only to people wanting to detox, but also to people who “simply want to supplement their current lifestyle and diet with nutrient rich juices”. Something that I like about Peel’d’s detox program is that, in addition to the allotted smoothie and 2 juices per day, you are allowed to eat as many fruits and vegetables as you want (raw or cooked). It isn’t an all-liquid diet, like many cleanses are.

In fact, the first rule of the Peel’d cleanse is: “DO NOT GO HUNGRY. This process isn’t about depriving yourself, but feeding yourself large amounts of foods that will nourish, support and heal you.”

Foods not allowed on the detox are:

  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Refined Sugar
  • Soy
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Beans
  • Nuts (large amounts)

Peel’d also recommends snacking on olives, avocados, and small amounts of nuts as a snack.

No hangry Katie? I definitely like that approach. Normally, the Peel’d program lasts 5 days: Monday through Friday. I was unsure about jumping into the 5-day plan, since it seems kind of drastic, especially for someone who likes to exercise throughout the week and needs a lot of protein as a result. When I saw that they were offering a special 3-Day Independence Day program for $66, I decided to go for it.

Included was:

3 smoothies and 6 fresh juices
Daily menus
An intro email with a meal plan, including snacks and awesome soup/salad ideas for dinner

For an extra $10, I could have also gotten the juices delivered to my apartment each morning. However, I opted to just pick them up on the way to work.

Before the Cleanse/Why I Did It:

You’re supposed to cut out caffeine and alcohol before the cleanse to “prepare”, and I can say I cut out caffeine, but alcohol…certainly not. I had at least 2 beers a day Wednesday-Sunday (plus more on Thursday and Sunday because of dodgeball and kickball), and some pretty non-clean food, thanks to a summer BBQ, froyo with the roomie, and some post-kickball chicken fingers. As a result, I didn’t fall asleep until 4:30am on Saturday night and was up for an hour at 3am Sunday night feeling hot, bloated, and nauseous. Of course, there are many factors playing into that, including but not limited to: 105+ degree weather, increased beer consumption, and some emotional stress I’m going through right now. That being said, I felt like a cleanse was probably a good idea, especially if I have more fun on the horizon with the 4th of July coming up.

I recently read in Women’s Health that cleaning up your diet for several days before a vacation or expected period of unhealthy choices will set your body on the right path and prepare it for that period of time. It seemed like a fun experiment, and the shortened 3 day length didn’t seem too intense.

Day 1

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Breakfast (9:15 am)

{Though some of the guidelines suggest splitting up the smoothie, I decided to have the whole smoothie with breakfast, since I’m used to having a large breakfast.}

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Strawberry Smoothie (Spinach, Strawberry, Banana, vegetable protein powder, Almond Milk)
Also ate: white nectarine…and about 3-4 glasses of water throughout the morning.

The verdict: Delicious! Tasted a lot like my own strawberry & banana smoothie. I didn’t even realize there was protein powder in it until I read the daily menu e-mail Peel’d sends out.

How I felt: The smoothie was filling enough that I didn’t feel the need to raid the breakroom jar of mixed nuts every 30 minutes like I usually do. I did start to get a bit of a headache, which could be attributed to several factors (didn’t sleep well, no caffeinated tea in the morning, been crying a lot lately)…My stomach started grumbling around 12:30, so I grabbed a couple of walnuts and left for lunch at 1 instead of my usual 1:30 or 2.

Lunch (1:30pm)

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Blueberry Juice (Celery, blueberry, green apple, lemon)
Also ate: Zucchini, pattypan squash, & green bell pepper stir-fried in coconut oil with s&p.. and a handful of nuts. A couple more cups of water.

The verdict: WHEW, now I know why Becky doesn’t like juice with celery in it. Luckily, the tart lemon + green apple kept this juice pretty tasty.

How I felt: I went home for my small stir-fry lunch and had the juice after I came back, thinking it would delay hunger for a while. It worked! My headache definitely dulled a bit, but stuck around.

Dinner (6:30-7pm)

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Green Goblin Juice (Kale, cucumber, celery, lemon, lime, apple, ginger)
Also ate: cauliflower, green beans & peas steamed with garlic & ginger. I was satisfied, but decided I probably should also have a salad. Made one with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and half an avocado with simple balsamic vinaigrette (balsamic, garlic, dijon, and olive oil). Had another glass of water and dandelion tea.

The verdict: Pretty good for a green juice! I’d had it before at the farmers market, so no surprises there.

How I felt: I had the juice right when I got home around 5:45 so that I wouldn’t be starving while I made dinner. After and during eating, I was so surprised I wasn’t more ravenous. I think I was right to fix up a salad even though I wasn’t hungry for it, because I probably would have gotten snacky later if I hadn’t.

Day 2

I fell asleep early (at 11:30pm) and woke up naturally around 7:30am, 10 minutes before my alarm went off. Amazing. I also woke up with a flat stomach – something that hasn’t happened in weeks! A welcome reprieve from the bloating I’ve experienced lately.

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got too excited biking on Tuesday and a bunch of the smoothie & orange juice spilled 😦

Breakfast (9:15 am)

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Green Smoothie (Cucumber, kiwi, mango, almond milk, veggie protein powder)
Also ate: half an avocado and a handful of nuts…and about 2-3 glasses of water throughout the morning.

The verdict: I was leery because it smelled like celery (apparently that was cucumber!), but there was an awesome vanilla flavor from the protein powder that made this green smoothie delightful!

How I felt: I got hungry much quicker after this morning’s smoothie (probably because I spilled part of it on my bike ride and had part of an avocado instead of the more filling nectarine), but after a handful of nuts, I easily made it to 1pm again. No headache today!

Lunch (1:30pm)

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Green Goblin Juice
Also ate: Summer & pattypan squash, green bell pepper, & cherry tomatoes stir-fried in coconut oil with s&p and fresh basil. Another handful of nuts (Starting to fear I’m having too many, but it’s the only acceptable snack in our office!) and another glass or 2 of water.

The verdict: Already had this juice 🙂 It was definitely more lemon-y today which I loved!

How I felt: A little bit of dry mouth…maybe this 5th day of 100+ heat is finally catching up with me.

Dinner (Juice at 5:30pm, Dinner at 7:30pm)

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Orange Juice (Pineapple, yams, lemon, green apples)
Also ate: My mom made Pasta with Giardiniera Sauce and I had a bowl of the sauce (basically, a ton of veggies). Also some broccoli, a banana, and salad (chard, mushroom, carrots, olives, fennel, and a simple vinaigrette of apple cider vin + dijon + olive oil).

The verdict: This was the best juice yet!! It mostly tasted like pineapple.

How I felt: Great most of the evening! If I ever felt snacky I just grabbed a glass of water or some olives. I started feeling nauseous around bedtime, I’m not really sure what that was about. Possibly the heat again…

Sooo that’s it for days 1 and 2!

I’m already 1/3 done with my last day, but I figured I’d break it up little bit since this is already a really long post.

So far, I feel good on this detox but not OMG AMAZING. I think that’s partly because I’m not doing the full 5-day cleanse, and partly because I already eat pretty healthily…Unfortunately, I’m noticing that my appetite is already pretty low because of the aforementioned heat and emotional stress, so I’m predicting the biggest results I’ll get from this experience are a flatter stomach and a couple of pounds lost…which I’m not really looking for. But I do feel better than I did this weekend!

Stay tuned for more!

Have you tried a juice cleanse or a detox program before? How did you like it?

Enjoy your 4th of July! What are your plans? I’m heading to San Francisco to escape the heat 🙂

Mental Health Day

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Let’s say it’s Friday morning at the end of an emotionally and physically draining week and you’re feeling so crummy you’re contemplating just turning around and heading back home. You call your mom, and she just happens to be driving through your neighborhood and offers to pick you up.

It’s a sign, right?

Sometimes, everything falls into place and you realize you just really need to take a personal day. No work, no blogging, just relaxation. And I guess you could probably be convinced to take a side trip to the church to help Mom with a crafty project, since they’re having a potluck anyway. 🙂

Have a good weekend, everyone, and stay cool if you’re here in triple digit Sacramento.

Getting Back on Track After 2 Long Weekends

To say I’ve had an out of the ordinary couple of weeks/weekends would be an understatement!

Going to Utah for a weekend definitely threw off my mojo, even if we were eating healthy and exercising most of the weekend. I struggled to get back into the swing of things at work last week, and did one workout on Tuesday that put me out of commission for several days.

Fast forward past dodgeball playoffs on Thursday…

Oh hay look, it’s the girls of our team. Aren’t we sassy?

Ahem, moving on… 🙂

Memorial Day weekend was of course full of drinks and I had some great food in San Francisco. I did get in a few walks and bike rides, but I have felt pretty sluggish these past few days at work. So yesterday instead of working I put together a rough food and exercise plan for the week!

Yes…I’m posting my weekly plan on Wednesday. Whatevaaaaa, I do what I want.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like meal planning. Weekend food prep is awesome, since it means I have easy ingredients available for any meal I want. But I don’t like sticking to a set meal plan because I tend to like eating what I want when I want it. Giving in to food cravings is the only way to stifle them, friends!

So here’s what I came up with as far as food goes. The important part was planning lunches, because I’m hoping to work out most days at lunch this week, so I need to have something I can prep in the morning or night before.

food

{as far as breakfast goes…I have enough Muesli Fusion and Hemp Protein Muffins to last me the week!}

Tuesday: Lunch – rice/avocado/turkey sausage. Dinner – some kind of veggie sandwich
Wednesday: Lunch – rice/avocado/veggies/tortilla. Dinner – sprouted whole grain pasta {from the BLEND swag bag, of course} & mom’s meat sauce!
Thursday: Lunch– sausage & pepper sandwich. Dinner– chicken + oven fries + veggies from Farmer’s Market
Friday: Lunch– wing it…aka probably frozen burrito. DinnerConcerts in the Park…aka probably food trucks & beer.

I’m trying to stay away from dairy and alcohol {already botched the alcohol part, since I had to try a few sips of T-Man’s wine last night. Oops!} this week because I noticed dairy was giving me digestive issues last week. And wouldn’t we all be better off drinking less?

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So far, so good on Tuesday’s meals! I devoured this veggie sandwich with roasted bell peppers, zucchini and hummus last night. Not pictured is the corn on the cob (!!!) I had on the side. I’m sooo excited for corn season!

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One of my new favorite breakfasts: Overnight oats with Muesli Fusion An-Ox, unsweetened plain almond milk, and chia seeds. The An-Ox blend includes goji berries, cacao nibs, dried bluebs, and walnuts. It has so much texture and no added sugar…perfect for this lazy girl who doesn’t want to have to add a bunch of ingredients herself ;-).

exercise

Normally, I work out 3 times per week and have dodgeball on Thursdays. This week, we don’t have dodgeball so I’m going to aim for 4 workouts in 4 days, taking care not to overdo it or do the same thing two days in a row.

Tuesday: Easy workout to ease my way back into things- elliptical + abs!
Wednesday: The high temp is only 84 [as opposed to 90 and 97 Thursday and Friday] so I will try for my first run in 2 weeks.
Thursday: Some kind of gym workout! Last week I tried Christina’s Bikini Season Workout and it kicked my butt – I was sore for like 3 days afterward and I only made it 1.5 times through the workout! I want to incorporate more CrossFit-type stuff (burpees, squats, mountain climbers, etc) into my routine because it’s such good cardio AND muscular training.
Friday: Rest if I’m sore, easy elliptical + abs again if I’m not!

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Workouts have been extra bright with my pink shoelaces from Becky 🙂

This is the workout I tried last week {minus the kettle bells, since my gym doesn’t have them} that totally kicked my butt…in the best way possible!

And this is how I looked after going through the routine…ONCE. {took me about 10 minutes}

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If you can’t tell, that is fear in my eyes of what would happen were I to actually do that workout over and over for 40 minutes. I would prooobably barf. Clearly, given how out of shape I felt while doing this workout, I need to expand my workouts beyond running and elliptical/abs/weight lifting!

I’m actually proud to announce that during my “easy workout” yesterday, I followed up my 25 mins of elliptical intervals by randomly doing a 1 min 30 sec plank! That’s the longest I’ve ever done, and 30 seconds closer to my New Years Resolution of holding a 2 minute plank! Holla.

So on that note, I’m off to go get changed for lunch and my run! It’s only 73 degrees outside now…I don’t think I’ll be getting many runs in in comings weeks, as the high isn’t supposed to dip back below 90 for at least 10 days. Yikes!

Do you plan out your workouts for the week?

How do you get back into the swing of things after a long weekend?

Aaand another question: any recommendations of similar workouts to the one above?

1-Year Blogiversary

I mentioned on Monday that Cinco de Mayo marked the anniversary of my “1st” recipe post (and 2nd post ever) on this blog. Well, my “first” post was back on May 4th, 2012…so I’m a bit off. But I figured I’d commemorate the event anyway.

I keep on using quotations because I have actually been blogging much longer than just one year. No, I’m not talking about Xanga or Livejournal (though…okay, yes, I had those too). But I started blogging at this address when I came back from France in September of 2010 as a jobless college grad. For a little more than 6 months, I blogged about living at home, setting goals for myself in my job search, and eventually I started posting recipes I was trying and creating myself.

my first soup created from scratch!

{oh my god you guys, i just found my Xanga. it is so bad. my username is sPeLLeD LiKe tHiS. i wrote in it until i was a sophomore in college. WTF?!}

When my internship started picking up and I was hired at my current job, I didn’t really have much to blog about anymore. Life was good, I got a boyfriend, and started making new friends in Sacramento outside of those I already had. It was about 1 year ago, when Hanna and I were preparing to move into our apartment, that I decided (finally heeding T-Man’s advice, I might add) to re-start my blogging, but with a different focus: food and healthy living!

1 year later, I took on an entire Cinco de Mayo meal!

Before I started blogging, I had been reading blogs and acquired quite the list of bookmarks on my bookmark menu at work. When I re-started my blog, I finally started commenting on those blogs and clicked through to fellow commenters’ sites to find more blogs to read.

While I definitely had unrealistic dreams about how many visitors I’d get and ad revenue possibilities I could utilize (My blog has netted about $15 profit this year, thanks WordAds), what I found was so much better. There is a huge community of bloggers who may not have the most Facebook likes or Twitter followers, but who diligently comment, like, and re-tweet! I feel so grateful for all the followers I have, and the friends I’ve made.

This time last year, I read about the Blend Retreat and thought it sounded so fun – I never dreamed that I’d be attending Blend 2013! But next weekend I will be in Park City, Utah meeting tons of bloggers in person, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Enough of the cheesy stuff. In honor of my 1-year Blogiversary, here are my top 5 posts and top 5 recipe posts!

Top 5 Posts
  1. Skinny vs Attractive vs Healthy — In which I pontificate on the need to be “skinny” and urge my readers not to compare themselves to others.
  2. Healthy Weight Loss: My Story (And Tips!) — A chronicle of my post-college journey to lose a few pounds.
  3. Throwback Thursday: My Weight Loss Before & After Photos — Written just last week, this post was clearly really popular.
  4. An Ode to my Cast — A silly rhyming post with pictures of me and my cast. I expected to be free of it the day after I wrote the post, but ended up in a removable half-cast for an additional 3 weeks.
  5. Making a Meal Plan, Part 1 — I’m laughing because this was called “Part 1” and there was never a Part 2. When T-Man was working on a busy political campaign, I helped him make a weekly meal plan that he…kind of…followed.
Top 5 Recipes
  1. Tomato Sauce from Scratch: Who Needs Therapy?IMG_1394This blog post was featured on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed, sending me over 2,000 views in 2 days (my best traffic ever!) Some lovely photos on Foodgawker have kept readers coming back.
  2. Meatless Monday: Spicy Black Bean BurgersIMG_2482My first foray into homemade veggie burgers remains my best to date. Another Foodgawker favorite!
  3. Post-Thanksgiving Banana Bread MuffinsDSC_0114Perfect muffins for when you need something that is healthy, but doesn’t taste healthy.
  4. Meatless Monday: Curry Chickpea FrittersIMG_2526Totally forgot about these bad boys! Based on a delicious Curry Hummus recipe from EdiblePerspective.com, I am totally going to revisit these soon.
  5. Meatless Monday: Chickpea and Red Pepper Veggie BurgersDSC_0391Chickpeas again! Apparently a lot of people are looking for chickpea recipes. These are definitely more “burger” like than the above recipe. Tasty too!

Again, thank you for reading my blog. Here’s to another year!

How long have you been blogging?

Are you ever surprised by which posts are the most viewed on your site? I was pretty surprised by some of these!

Throwback Thursday – Weight Loss Before & After Photos

Yes yes I know, bad blogger again this week. I promise I’m making it up to you with what I’m sharing in this post.

Do you ever participate in Throwback Thursday? It’s mostly an Instagram thing. Post old embarrassing pictures, use the hashtag #tbt…it’s fun, sometimes.

Yesterday, I decided to see if I could compile some pictures of my weight gain/loss throughout the years to share. I found a few good comparison photos, then decided when I got home from work to raid my computer for pictures from high school. After a little bit of digging, I found a folder called “Old iPhoto Library”…

GOLD MINE!

Apparently, I had barely any full body pictures of myself junior-senior years of high school. That would be because I was too busy taking selfies in my bedroom:

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You can’t see it, but this polo shirt has a sketched image of Napoleon Dynamite on it. YES, I was that cool.

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Apparently, I really liked photoshop.

blonde ambition!

I should totes use this as my new blog header, right? Proof that ‘blonde ambition’ has been my favorite phrase since at least 2005 😉

Anyway, on to the before and after pictures.

HIGH SCHOOL: 2005-2006

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These show that, though I may have been thin in high school, the fact that I wore unflattering (e.g. too small for me) clothing made me look bigger than I was.

Those shorts were the itty bittiest cut off shorts that I could get away with wearing to school. Not exactly flattering when you buy them as a size 4 and grow to a size 6! (same with the jeans). Funny story about the top picture: I ditched Trig/Stats one day to go hang out in a park and I locked my keys in my trunk! Instant karma.

COLLEGE: 2006-2010

As I’ve explained before in my ‘weight loss story’, I gained a lot of weight my Senior year of high school and Freshman year of college. I worked at a Hawaiian BBQ restaurant my senior year, which was also my first year not playing soccer. I guess you can say I got a head start on the Freshman 15.

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Senior Ball (2006) vs. All Hall Ball (2007). Looking back at these pictures, I see that I was pretty big…but to be honest, I didn’t think so at the time. My brother was the only one who told me I had obviously gained weight (lol) and I got upset with him for it. I was having the time of my life in college, I went to the gym occasionally, and loved life. No regrets! YOLO and all that jazz.

I worked at the YMCA the summer after Freshman year, and a lot of the weight came off. I ate better and was much more regular about working out sophomore year. That summer, I worked on UCSB’s Orientation Staff, which was a 10-12 hour/day, largely outdoor and active job. I looked pretty good that summer……then I went to study in France for a year.

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Santa Barbara (2008) vs Cannes, France (2009). My booty was definitely at its peak.

However, if I learned anything in France, it was how to dress well. I started dressing better and in more flattering clothes, so I generally felt good about myself. And I don’t regret a single bite of amazing French food that I ate. Not. A. Bite!

Fast-forward to graduation:

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I weighed less in June 2010 than I did in June 2009, but I quickly gained more thanks to two trips to New York and another month in France. I can’t decide whether I like or hate that I had bangs for like 2 years….

POST-COLLEGE: 2011- Now

NOW, the real before and after photos!

I figured a good way to compare would be by showing side-by-side photos of two trips to New York. The first was in August of 2010 (My first trip of 2010, I hadn’t even gone back to France yet so I wasn’t at my heaviest) and the second was this past November of 2012, after losing 15 pounds.

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August 2010 (~136 pounds) — November 2012 (~120 pounds)

How cute is it that my Pop is wearing the same shirt in both pictures? hahaha.

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August 2010 (~136 pounds) — November 2012 (~120 pounds)

Obviously you can’t see my body since it was FREEZING in NY in November. But still.

I’ve come a long way, no?

today

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from going through all these photos, it’s that I have always been relatively thin. Even at my heaviest weight, I recognize that I was not obese or even close to it; I often didn’t even think I looked overweight. It wasn’t until I moved home after college that I realized I wanted a lifestyle change. At my current level of fitness and healthy eating, I feel like I’m at my best. I’m not just lean, but also toned and strong. My legs are more muscular than ever, and I’m working on getting my upper body there too. I can run for 30 minutes without stopping! I’m damn proud of that. But I don’t regret living it up in college, or taking advantage of all the French cuisine in Lyon. I don’t think anyone should sacrifice their happiness for vanity. But right now, healthy = happy for me!

One last comparison… just for funsies:

My very first season of dodgeball (June 2011), and my current season of dodgeball! (April 2013)

Not much weight difference there…I just look much less afraid and perhaps a little more competitive (lime green knee socks mean business, yo).

Have you ever looked back at photos and been shocked at what you found?

What is your favorite indulgence? Mine was froyo from the Dining Commons and one from France that has stuck: baguette + cheese!

2013 Fitness Goals – My Progress

Back in January, I made a few fitness goals for myself and finally posted my Cooking Bucket List. I also posted specific nutrition goals so I could measure my progress more accurately.

I am on a serious muffin kick lately, but because I haven’t had a chance to fix up the pictures of the recipes I’ve been tinkering with, I decided to take a moment to evaluate those goals I posted.

First off, you can track my Cooking Bucket List progress on the new tab up there on my blog’s menu bar! This makes it a little easier for me to add items to the list and cross them off as I make them…I’m already making good progress!

Now…onto the fitness side of things.

the squirrels have been AGGRESSIVE in the park this week!

the squirrels have been AGGRESSIVE in the park this week!

Fitness Goals
  • Run a 5K race
  • Start weight training again (and eat more protein!)
  • Be able to do a 2 minute plank and 2 minute leg lifts
  • Run 25 miles in a month (several times if possible)

How have I been doing?

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my dodgeball team is lime green this season. jealous? {sidenote: this was a day i ran inside on a treadmill to avoid allergies. let’s just say the “after” picture wasn’t pretty}

  • Run a 5K race

Some of you may have seen on Instagram that I signed up for one THIS Saturday! I have run 3 miles twice this month, am feeling good health-wise, and most importantly, found a friend who wants to run it with me 🙂

I’m planning on doing one last run today, probably with a goal time (30 minutes) rather than distance. Then dodgeball tomorrow, and perhaps an easy elliptical/ab workout on Friday? I’m afraid it’s going to be a difficult race and I don’t want to injure myself, but I can’t help but think that’s just my inner worry wart kicking in. I’ve been running 2.2-3.0 miles for 2 years now, with a couple of off months here and there. As long as I don’t push myself too hard (my friend runs faster than I do) I’ll be fine! I’ve been running really slowly lately for some reason, so I’m hoping for a time of 30 minutes or less. I’m sure I’ll be able to manage it!

steak. the ultimate protein.

steak at T-Man’s mom’s house this weekend. the ultimate protein.

  • Start weight training again (and eat more protein!)

I’ve been doing so-so. I have been weight training more when I go to the gym (mostly upper body), but that usually only happens once per week.

I have been keeping my protein up! I have averaged 50g or more 3 out of the last 4 weeks, and there hasn’t been a day that I’ve gone under the 43g recommended for non-exercise days! You’re supposed to hit up to 70g on days that you’re active, but I usually only get to around 60g on my workout days. This is just on days that I track what I eat (which tend to be Monday-Friday).

T-Man thinks I could gain a pound or two; I’m happy where I am. However, I’d like to think it’s an improvement that now I say things to him like “I need to eat more protein tonight!” instead of “I can’t have dessert, I already ate too much today”.

Of course in an ideal world, I wouldn’t be saying either thing. I wouldn’t be tracking my food at all; I’d eat without being so conscious of everything, and not be deficient in anything. But I’m trying to maintain my weight. So far I’ve had success – PLUS, I’m not having nearly as many digestive issues as I had at the end of last year.

abandchips chobanibite

Killing 2 birds with one stone: dessert AND protein! Almond butter/choco chips, and Chobani bite

  • Be able to do a 2 minute plank and 2 minute leg lifts

PFFT. I’m currently at 2-1 minute planks, but I’ve got a ways to go before I inch up to 2 minutes!

  • Run 25 miles in a month (several times if possible)

Last month, I ran 11.5 miles…nowhere near 25! But after essentially taking December and January off, it was my highest in months.

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Until this month! If you include the 5K on Friday, I’m on track to run about 20 miles this month, plus whatever I end up running later today. Not too shabby! Especially since there were only two weeks that I got more than one run in (this week and the week of the 11th). Blasted sickness.

Thanks if you read all of this! I sometimes wonder if anyone else finds this stuff interesting, but it’s super helpful for me to keep track of everything!

Any tips for my first 5K?

What’s on your Cooking Bucket List?

Have you ever noticed that your diet is lacking in a certain category?

Fitness Friday

After getting caught up on Wednesday with all my blogs, my Google Reader (yesss I will continue using it until I reallyhaveto switch. It’s just so easy!) has been getting backlogged eeeeven more. Want a hint as to why?

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i love that my real work is being overshadowed by my current obsession..

Need another hint?

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YEAH. It’s March Madness time.

I wasn’t into March Madness until my sophomore year of college, when my dorm had a TV and my hallmate Kate and I got ob-sessed with watching the games. In the last 5 years, UCSB has actually made it into the tournament twice! They were ranked #15 both times and played #2 seeds. They had a worthy attempt against Ohio State when I was still in college (so close!) but in 2011, they got destroyed by Florida. We’re talkin’ a 30 point blowout.

We didn’t make it into the tournament this year (University of the Pacific won our conference’s championship), but I still have a stake in the tournament: the law firm I work for offers a $600 prize for the first place finisher in our pool! If Kansas had beaten Kentucky last year, I actually would have won 1st place in our 100+ person pool. They didn’t, so I got more like 15th place, but needless to say, I have done my homework and I’m in it to win it this time!

I guessed about 10/16 correctly yesterday and only had 1 upsetting loss (I’m lookin at you, New Mexico!), so I’m not doing too badly so far.

Aaaanyway. On to the Fitness.

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obligatory makeup-less workout clothes mirror shot pic!

I had a bad head/chest cold for a week at the end of February, so my workouts suffered. But then I got back into the swing of things and had 2 good weeks of workouts, eventually reaching the 3 mile mark during a run on Saturday! Proud moment right there.

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Do you all remember this song? I listened to it during my 3 mile run and I’d like to think it inspired me 🙂 Unfortunately, I tend to run as fast as the beat of whatever song I’m listening to, so my pace was preeeetty slow with this song taking up a majority of my run. {the picture on my background is my brother in front of my Papa’s favorite tree behind my grandparents’ house, by the way!}

After that awesome run on Saturday, I got sick again on Monday. Yeah. WTF? I sucked it up and had a mini gym workout on Wednesday. Would’ve gone for a run outside, except that it looked like this:

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I love how seemingly everyone in the US had a blustery/rainy/snowy first day of Spring. But with the wind that came with this storm came an onslaught of POLLEN everywhere. So I’m currently unsure whether I have a sinus infection, or just really bad allergies. Knowing my luck, I probably have both.

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I was really hoping that with last week’s successful runs I’d get back into a 3x per week routine, but that was just not in the cards this week. My gym workout was a little less intense than usual, but I really didn’t want to push myself. It’s looking like we’re back into the 70’s today, so I’m hoping to go for a run. Don’t worry, I have my nasal decongestants ready to go! I also have my sunscreen:

sunscreen

So important for me. I need to find a way to protect my scalp too (I had a cancerous mole removed there earlier this year) but the thought of wearing a hat while I run is not my favorite.

I’ve also got some leftovers to look forward to for lunch! From a protein-packed veggie burger I made this week. Looks like you all have a Meatless Monday post comin’ your way soon 🙂

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Happy weekend, and best of luck with your brackets!

Do you follow March Madness?

How do you stay active when you’re sick?

Product Lovin’

Last night, I edited and resized these pictures while doing laundry at my parents’ house. The highlight?

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Awwww yeah. Turned the TV on right at the best part of She’s All That. The 90’s high school rom-com at its finest. I was 10 years old when this movie came out…I remember really wanting to see it in theaters too, what was I thinking? What was a 10 year old doing wanting to watch a movie about 23 year olds playing high schoolers? Kids growin’ up too quickly, I’ll tell ya.

Um, anyway.

I mentioned that I’ve been depending a lot on bars lately. I also talk frequently about how I rely on a lot of quick soup cup lunches.

Well, I’ve been trying out all sorts of products lately and gathering my thoughts (and pictures) of them. Here are some of my faves, and not so faves… and to keep things interesting, I’ll even rate them on a scale of 1-5 🙂

Bars

Why I eat them: I eat bars (protein bars, fiber bars, nutrition bars) to supplement my meals in order to make sure I’m hitting my nutrition goals. I like my bars to be low-ish in calories, and high in good nutrition stats. I could be better at checking the ingredient list, but since I’m not aware of any intolerance or allergies I have, it’s kinda low on my radar. I try to never replace a meal with a bar, but sometimes on dodgeball nights when I have a game at an awkward time, I will have a Luna bar before the game to tide me over until I can get something in my belly after the game.

The goods:

Luna Protein Bars
bars

Pros: 12g of protein, stays filling for a while, high in calcium, and the mint chocolate chip flavor is deeelish!
Cons: High calorie for how small it is (170), pretty high in fat (6-8g), and the peanut butter and cookie dough flavors are bleh.
Final Thoughts: As long as Groc Out is still keeping these in stock for 50 cents each, I’ll keep buying them. But their high calorie count is a little guilt-inducing…. 3.0/5

Fiber One Chewy Bar

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Pros: TONS of chocolate! Really chewy texture, tastes great, and has a whopping 9 grams of fiber.
Cons: Kinda small for 140 calories. Prooobably has a questionable nutrition facts list.
Final Thoughts: I found this at a gas station to eat for breakfast this weekend, and I will definitely be looking out for it in the grocery store. 4.0/5

Luna Bars – Chocolate Dipped Coconut

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Pros:  I had never tasted this flavor before and, even as a coconut hater, I loved it. Kinda tasted like a Samoas Girl Scout cookie. Luna bars are somewhat high in protein (this one has 9g), can be low in fat, and are loaded with vitamins.
Cons: Not as much fiber as I’d hope for in a bar that’s usually 160-190 calories. Again probably questionable ingredient list.
Final Thoughts: I love Luna bars, but they could be more complete as a stand alone “whole nutrition bar”. I eat em weekly all the same! 4.0/5

Fiber One 90-calorie Brownies

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Pros: They taste like BROWNIES. I also love the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor. They are only 90 calories and have 5 grams of fiber, PLUS they taste delicious.
Cons: Not much other nutritional value besides the fiber.
Final Thoughts: These are one of my favorite products. I eat them with my yogurt in the morning to add some fiber to my breakfast, and I would snack on them all the time. 5.0/5

Quick Breakfast/Lunches

Why I eat them: I try to make my own lunch every day of the week, but sometimes that’s just not possible. And if I have to choose between eating out, or eating a $2-$3 soup cup, the choice is obvious for me 🙂 As for breakfast, I love making breakfast food on the weekend, but during the week, FAST is best! I have low bone density, so I try to incorporate either yogurt or some form of almond milk in my breakfast for calcium.

The goods:

Chobani Non-fat Greek Yogurt

chobani

Pros: I prefer the consistency of Chobani over a lot of other Greek yogurts I’ve tried. It isn’t as tart and tangy. Each one has 20% of your daily calcium and upwards of 12g of protein! Also, live active cultures like Acidophilus…Which are good for the tum tum.
Cons: Expensive. They run $1/each or more at Safeway most weeks. I only get to spring for them when they’re on sale, or when I spot them at Groc Out.
Final Thoughts: Definitely worth the buy if you’re willing to pay more than $1 per yogurt. 4.5/5

PS. Check out the Chobani giveaway on the Blend Retreat blog!

Trader Joe’s Nonfat Greek Yogurt

TJsyogurt

Pros: Pretty much all the same health benefits as Chobani – protein, calcium, probiotics. And most of the flavors taste really good (I only didn’t like pomegranate). They’re also affordable at 80-90 cents per yogurt.
Cons: They’re only 110 calories, and leave me a little hungry. Also they blend the fruit into the yogurt instead of leaving it at the bottom.
Final Thoughts: A good alternative to Chobani, but probably not a favorite. 3.5/5

Dr. McDougalls Asian Entrees- Pad Thai

asianentree

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Pros: I usually LOVE Dr. McDougall’s products. They are all natural and usually vegan. The flavor in this cup was good.
Cons: WTF? The noodles only filled up HALF the cup! No wonder it was only 200 calories.
Final Thoughts: This was a tasty cup, but it was barely a snack. It was low in fat and calories, but I probably won’t buy it again. 2.0/5

Dr McDougall’s Asian Entrees – Teriyaki Noodle

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Pros: I bought two of the Asian entrees at once, so I sucked it up and gave this 2nd one a try. A bit more filling than the Pad Thai, and it was low in sodium compared to most store-bought stuff!
Cons: This may have been more filling than the Pad Thai, but not by much. It had a lot less flavor too.
Final Thoughts: I’d say this is a much healthier alternative to Top Ramen/Cup O Noodles…if you’re into that sort of thing. I’ll stick to Dr. McDougall’s Split Pea and Black Bean Soups, which are my favorite soup cups! 2.5/5

Et cetera

Tazo Teas

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Pros: Anyone else get a ton of Starbucks cards for Christmas? I love the Zen green tea and the new-to-me Vanilla Rooibos Parfait! (pictured below)
Cons: I’m actually not the only one who has said this, I think Starbucks is a little heavy handed with the cardamom in their chai tea. I think they have the same problem in their “Spiced Vanilla Latte”
Final Thoughts: Solid tea. Probably wouldn’t usually spend so much on it if I didn’t have a gift card. 4.0/5

rooibostea

Cupcake Vineyards- 2011 Red Velvet (Red Blend)

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Pros: More affordable than our standby red blends (Menage a Trois and Apothic Red)
Cons: Not as tasty.
Final Thoughts: This would probably be a good wine for someone who isn’t really into red wine. The bottle and name are cute though! 2.5/5

Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm in Peppermint

babylips

Pros: OK sorry, I veered away from food stuffs. Haha. But this lip balm with sunscreen is destined to become a standby for me now that Spring has arrived, since my beloved Burts Bees flavor doesn’t include sunscreen. This has a similar tingly minty feel! Also, hello, cute tube!
Cons: It’s not Burts Bees.
Final Thoughts: Definitely going into the rotation. 3.5/5

Do you eat nutrition and/or protein bars?

What are some of your favorite products?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. All opinions shared are my own! I am also not a registered dietician – please speak with your physician before embarking on any diet/exercise plans.

Week in Groceries

Calling all grocery shopping cart voyeurs!

Am I the only one who thinks it’s super interesting to see what other people buy during their grocery shopping trip? I hope not, because this post is allllll about groceries.

As I’ve mentioned before, where I shop for groceries is mostly a matter of convenience. I don’t have a car, so if the store in question is more than .5 miles away, I probably don’t shop there regularly. This is the same principle that keeps me away from Target (thank heavens) and, until Saturday, Trader Joe’s.

The funny thing is, both of these places are actually only 2 miles from my house. Could totally bike there if I wanted…but I don’t. So Safeway and Groc Out it is.

I decided to wander outside my norm this weekend. I batted my eyelashes at T-Man and asked if he’d drive me to Trader Joe’s…And I had every intention of just buying some “bulk” items at TJ’s, then biking the (gasp) 20 blocks, or 1.6 miles to get the rest of my produce at the Sunday Farmers Market bright and early the next day.

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Needless to say, the Farmer’s Market never happened.

I was really surprised at how cheap TJ’s in season produce (cauliflower, broccoli, oranges) was. Soo I piled it in.

It had been over a week since my last grocery haul, and this was a big “stock-up” trip for me, as I recently ran out of essentials like rice, quinoa, lentils, etc. Even T-Man found a couple of things he liked (he has been RAVING about their lobster ravioli that he found in the refrigerated section).

So here’s what I got:

TJsgroceries

Produce: Cara Cara oranges, kiwis, onions, a russet potato, cauliflower, broccoli, bag of baby lettuce mix, and a bag of pre-cut kale (this stuff is amazing. So much more tender than full leaf kale)

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Bulk items & Dairy: lentils, quinoa, hybrid corn/flour tortillas, brown jasmine rice (this 3 lb bag lasts me over 6 months!), a can of beans (I already had black & garbanzo beans at home) plain Greek yogurt, flavored nonfat Greek yogurt (I tried 1 so far which wasn’t fantastic, but the price was right), and eggs.

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These are two new-to-me products I was really excited about because I’m a food nerd I’ve never spotted them at Safeway before: red lentils and quinoa! I always get green lentils, or plain old quinoa. I haven’t tried the lentils yet, but the quinoa was yummo 😀

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Miscellaneous: tortilla chips (these are DELISH), Luna bars, almond butter, chicken broth, peppermint tea, and light coconut milk

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I spent a lot of time looking through all the protein and nutrition bars, and settled on my tried and true Luna Bars. So many bars are too high in calories and fat, or don’t have enough overall nutrition for me to justify buying them. And the ones that did were all superexpensive. So Lunas it is! I haven’t tried the Chocolate-dipped Coconut or Peanut Butter Cookie before. YUM!

And my grand total (which I’m predicting will last me nearly 2 weeks) only came out to: $54.28!

I was really surprised at how little I spent for so much stuff! Lots of things (coconut milk, tea, yogurt) were actually cheaper at TJ’s than Safeway. And I probably saved a lot by avoiding the frozen/refrigerated aisle.

Also, I had another one of my famous “weird illogical theories” (dubbed so by T-Man of course :-P), I was convinced it would be cheaper to make almond butter than buy a jar.

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I quickly ditched my 1 lb, $6.99 bag of almonds for the MUCH cheaper $5.99 jar. Those almonds would have hardly made one cup of butter!

So what have I made with these groceries?

I made a vague meal plan for the week. Check it:

Breakfast: Used the plain yogurt I bought, and frozen fruit and granola I already had, to made a batch of Lindsay’s Frozen Yogurt Bars. Those bars plus my yogurt cups and Fiber One brownies will suffice for two weeks worth of breakfasts! And if I run out, there’s always oatmeal at the office. 🙂

Lunch and dinner:

Monday: burrito bowl for lunch (black beans, broccoli, hot sauce & tortilla), Kale & Broccoli pasta dish for dinner

Tuesday: leftover pasta for lunch, happy hour & drinks for dinner {I ended up having fries & wine, haha, so I supplemented it with fruit & a Luna bar!}

Wednesday: burrito bowl for lunch (with chicken this time), some kind of lentil + coconut milk dish for dinner

Thursday: lunch with a friend, leftover lentil dish for dinner after dodgeball game

Friday: Wing it! Bike home for lunch, or if not enough time, have emergency soup cup at the office. Make nice dinner with T-Man?

While this isn’t a full list of what I eat every day (there’s been at least one snack of leftover crackers + cheese from my office’s reception each day, plus dessert and other random snacks), I usually stick to a plan much like this…e.g. make dinner Monday and Wednesday, eat leftovers for lunch the next day.

Since I’m just about over my cold, my workouts have been pretty scattered. Usually, I plan my workout days first, then my meals…That way, I know to plan for protein-packed meals on workout days. This week, I’ve just been cookin’ with what I have, and supplementing my meals when I should.

Do you meal plan?

Do you create a weekly fitness plan?

Do you like Trader Joe’s, or do you like Trader Joe’s?

Strawberry Banana Oat Smoothie

Normally, I have pretty humdrum breakfasts. I have never been a big breakfast person…I pretty much eat it out of necessity, habit, and because I would probably just eat 10 handfuls of mixed nuts between the time I arrive and lunch (instead of the normal 5 handfuls) if I didn’t have breakfast to satiate me.

I am a big fan of my Greek Yogurt + Fiber One bar breakfasts, but those aren’t exciting…

Smoothies are exciting!

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may i please draw your attention to my pj pants and fuzzy socks. thank you and goodnight.

And needed, when you’re feeling a nasty cold coming on and have a huge week of work facing you.

Tonight is my office’s reception – catering, name tags, state senators and assemblymembers, $500 worth of wine, the works. I’ve planned receptions like this before, but never on this scale.

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This smoothie was supposed to be my saving grace on Monday. I made it in a last ditch effort to ward off a lingering cold. I’d heard of putting oats in smoothies before, but I was a little leery of the idea of chewing my smoothie. So I soaked the oats in milk overnight, added them in the morning, and slurped away.

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The verdict? I got sick anyway. But the oats were good. Definitely good.

And you can never go wrong with strawberry & banana! Frozen banana blends up into a dreamy ice-creamy consistency.

I had been looking for a smoothie that had some staying power, and the oats definitely made this smoothie satiating enough to hold me over till lunch. Problem solved! Breakfast conquered.

Strawberry-Banana Oat Smoothie
makes 1 smoothie

1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3/4-1 cup almond milk, divided
1 frozen banana
5 strawberries, frozen or fresh

Combine 1/4 cup oats and 1/2 cup milk in a small container. Place in fridge overnight (or for at least an hour) if you’re planning on making the smoothie in the morning.

When ready to prepare the smoothie, add oats + milk, frozen banana (cut into chunks, if you wanna make it easier on your blender), and 5 strawberries into your blender or a food processor. Give it a whirl, adding milk as needed to get everything going. Blend until smooth.