WTF Workout?!

August has been a pretty crazy month for me, but while my blog entries cooled down, my workouts continued to fire up!  I’ve been traveling a lot, which means my routine has needed to shift to accommodate my locale.  

The first adventure was a five day intensive Lomilomi retreat.  Lomilomi is a style of Hawaiian massage that I’ve been studying for about two years now.  This was my third class and it was incredibly inspiring.  I knew that I would be in a calorie-friendly environment, as our meals were all vegetarian, mostly made from ingredients found right on the land we stayed at.  Speaking of the land, I already knew about Dreaming Mountain in Johnson, VT, but now that I’ve spent four nights there I’m absolutely in love with it!  I had done a mini-cleanse before the trip, so I had already cut out alcohol, red meat and was strict to my food allergies diet (generally no sugar, dairy, gluten, corn, coffee and a slew of other random things).  This meant that I didn’t feel the need to do my really intense workouts on the retreat.  Instead, I did yoga daily, a martial arts dance that’s part of the Lomi training, and, of course, I was giving and receiving massage daily.  I ended up dropping 5lbs just from living a healthy stress-free active life for a week!

The next adventure was much more challenging.  My company recently opened up a new store in Key West, FL.  It was my job to head down there to set up all the infrastructure.  This meant taking three planes each way to a hot, sweaty tourist playground, working five 12 hour+ days in a row and attempting to stick to my diet and exercise.  The first thing I learned is that the sun rises LATE in Key West, after 7am.  So to keep up my workouts I had to just deal with getting up in an unfamiliar place in the dark.  I did a combination of creating my own workouts in the hotel’s (really spectacular) gym and yoga on the beach.  I should have recorded what I did in the gym but I didn’t think to.  It was nice varying between being in the gym and being on the beach.  I really didn’t get much time at all to enjoy the island so at least doing yoga under the stars, next to the ocean, and then slowly watching the sun rise through my vinyasas was pretty spectacular.  I’ll admit diet was much more of a challenge there, and I made myself outright sick once or twice, but you gotta live too, right?

It’s nice to be back home and back to a more normal routine.  Though, it seems my yoga is going to be ramping up as I’m trying to hit the minimum pre-req hours for a yoga teacher-training I’m hoping to start in January.  I only just found the program and they require 35 hours in their studio before I can enroll.  Since I live an hour away this is a challenge, but I’ve been wanting to get my yoga certification for years now and it’s a teacher I really like.  Wish me luck!

So, today’s workout was really unusual for me.  It’s a little bit of everything.  I started out doing someone else’s workout (some of you may recognize the first few items) and then decided I wanted it to be more dynamic.  This was LONG.  My arms were shaking at the end and I was dripping with sweat.  I feel it’s a good mix of cardio and strength training, though the cardio portion never really ends.  Check it out:

8/27/13 – For Time (My Time = 24:50)
  1. 1 Min High Knees
  2. 1 Min Sprint
  3. 1 Min Low-Jacks
  4. 30 Weighted Burpees (I used 5lbs)
  5. 30 Knee Tucks
  6. 30 Side-Lunge w/ Floor Touch
  7. 30 Plank Side-To-Side Jumps
  8. 10 Prisoner Getups
  9. 10 Weighted Sit-Ups (I used 15lbs first 5 and then 10lbs last five)
  10. 10 Push-Ups
  11. 20 Knee Tucks
  12. 20 Side-Lunge w/ Floor Touch
  13. 10 Side Crunches, Right
  14. 10 Side Crunches, Left
  15. 12-10-8-10-12 Pyramid Tricep Kickbacks in Lunge Position (I used 8lbs, 10lbs, 15lbs)
  16. 12-10-8-10-12 Pyramid Bicep curls (I used 8lbs, 10lbs, 15lbs)
  17. 10 Weighted Lunge Twists, 5 Each Side (I used 10 lbs)

After that, I needed some protein and amino acids!!  Cut to today’s smoothie!

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This beauty contains pomegranate juice, coconut milk, spinach, flax seeds, fresh local blueberries, frozen mangoes, and a half-serving of vegan protein powder (Fat Flush).  I’ve honestly moved away from using protein powders in my morning smoothie because I feel adding flax or chia seeds plus spinach gives me enough protein without making me bloat.  But, today I really killed my upper body so it seems right to add in the protein and help rebuild my muscle tissue.  

I also am on a daily gut repair formula from my Naturopath which includes l-glutamine.  While new research is always coming out, there’s a lot out there showing a direct correlation between l-glutamine and muscle recovery.  It’s recommended post-workout, along with protein and carbs (1:4).  We always hear protein protein protein after workouts, but that’s one time when I think it’s important to have carbs to help with the recovery.  Frankly, I do think there’s such thing as too much protein.  I’m definitely trying to build my muscles, but that doesn’t mean I need to eat 10 eggs and a bucket of protein powder in one day.

What post-workout drinks/meals/supplements work for you?

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Upper Arm Beatings and Post-Workout Pancakes!

One of my friends, Rosie of Rock Bodies, is a personal trainer who often posts delicious healthy recipes to Facebook.  She found a recipe for pancakes that uses just two ingredients: banana and eggs.  Seriously, that’s it.  They are AMAZING.  Before I made them though I had to finish my workout for the day (especially since I was having local sausage with my pancakes).

Today I wanted to focus on arms and abs.  Yesterday I did Zuzka’s ZShred #3 which was a legs-intensive high-intensity workout.  I really prefer full-body workouts and while I felt like a new person after this workout, it ended up being too much for me and I am HURTING today. So I decided to take it easier on my legs.  This workout will definitely get your heart rate up but it’s primarily a strength training workout and while it’s an upper-body focus there’s definitely leg involvement as well.

6/29/13 – Set interval timer to 2 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. KB Swing
  2. KB Snatch R
  3. KB Snatch L
  4. Weighted pilates sit-ups
  5. Plank climbers
  6. Pull-ups (as many as you can do
  7. Dive bombers
  8. Renegade Row
  9. Single-Leg deadlifts
  10. Dragon flags

Once you’ve completed that you deserve some pancakes right?

Paleo Pancakes

Paleo High Protein Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Banana
  • Optional: pinch of cinnamon
  • Optional: ~1tbsp protein powder or tapioca flour

Directions:

  1. Beat the banana and egg together.  You’re done making the batter!  No, seriously, this recipe couldn’t be easier.  I used my Vitamix to mix them but you can easily do it by hand.  I added cinnamon, which turned out great.  I also made the mistake of using jumbo eggs so my batter was a bit too thin so I added some tapioca flour to thicken it.  You can use protein powder as a thickener if you prefer (I recommend using a plant-based powder without GMOs, soy or whey).
  2. Cook on skillet like normal pancakes.  I recommend making them small and thin (the large one in the picture was to finish off my batter).

I found with the sweetness of the banana no syrup was necessary, though I’m sure if you like you can add some maple syrup or agave.  Enjoy!!

Pies and Pushups

It has have been a while since my last entry but I’m still going STRONG on workouts and sticking to my food allergy/healthy diet.  I’m really enjoying seeing my muscle tone improve and I’ve been taking on new challenges.  I’ve fallen in love with kettlebells and have also added some heavier free weights to my collection.  My biggest struggle continues to be learning to do pullups.  So far I can do ONE unassisted and that’s a good start.

To keep my workouts interesting I’ve been varying things a bit.  I’m generally doing two Zuzka workouts per week (I’ve shelled out for her new ZGYM and in full honesty the first two workouts were worth more than the $10/mo price tag; they’re way harder than her free ZWOWs).  I also do two workouts inspired by myomytv.com, which offers awesome free kettlebell and bodyweight workouts.  I say “inspired” because while I sometimes outright do one of their routines, I’ve been experimenting with creating my own routines and so far I’m kicking my own ass. 🙂  I also do 1-2 pilates or yoga workouts per week.  On top of that I’m still running 1.6 miles per day, happily on the Mad River Path with my pup.  This has been a good mix for me and gets me moving at least an hour per day six times a week.  I take a day off to rest.

I’m going to start posting my self-made workouts here.  I’m not comfy recording videos yet, but I think I’d like to in the future.  So here are my three most recent WOD’s.  If you need a better description of the exercise just ask!  I’d consider these intermediate->advanced.  If you want to do them just listen to your body and adjust as needed.  Beginners should use lighter weights, shorter reps and a longer resting period.  If you’re more advanced use heavier weights, longer reps and a shorter resting period.  In general I’m using a 25lb kettlebell (or two for doubles).  My free-weights range from 5lb->20lb.

For an interval timer I’m using Seconds on my iPhone.

6/10/13 – Set interval timer to 3 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. Goblet Squat (20kg)
  2. Alternating KB Swing
  3. Alternating Curtsy Lunge (14kg)
  4. KB Single-Leg Deadlifts
  5. Skater Hops
  6. Renegade Row
  7. Chin-Up
6/11/13 – Set interval timer to 3 rounds 40 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. Glute Bridge Booty Pump
  2. Single-leg deadlift R
  3. Single-leg deadllift L
  4. Eccentric Focused Chin Ups
  5. Push Up Lean/Push Up/Push Back Combo
  6. Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
  7. Dumbbell Hammer Curl
  8. Dragon Flag
6/19/13 – Set interval timer to 2 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. KB Reverse lunge
  2. Snatch R
  3. Snatch L
  4. Around-the-world KB swings
  5. Single-Leg Deadlift R
  6. Single-Leg Deadlift L
  7. Side-crunch R
  8. Side-crunch L
  9. Weighted sit-up
  10. Double KB Swings

And now for recipes!  This past Saturday I hosted a large dinner party for my family.  Along with accommodating my long list of food allergies, I also had to make the meal low-carb/sugar for my father who’s diabetic, low-salt for his wife who has high BP, dairy/gluten free for my sister-in-law (this is in line with my own diet too) and garlic-free for my brother.  Even more importantly, I wanted it to be FREAKING DELICIOUS to help show that you don’t have to eat crappy-tasting food just because you have a dietary restriction.  Also, since my family showered me with a ton of pie-making paraphernalia for Christmas, I made the meal Pie-themed.

Bring In The Pies!!

86aa7b8cd6c011e29c6622000a1f9e4a_7Paleo Shepard’s Pie (adapted from Elana’s Pantry and The Functional Foodie)

Ingredients – Makes ~1 large deep dish pie

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 lb ground grass fed beef
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/4 lb ground pork (I used a mild chorizo sausage from my local butcher which gave it a nice kick)
  • 1/2 lb uncured bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced mushrooms of your choosing
  • 1/2 cup low sodium beef or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine (I used a merlot)
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos (can use Worcester Sauce if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp chopped mixed herbs (I used basil, oregano, thyme and parsley from my garden)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 large heads cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft (I used one white and one yellow)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance or Virgin Coconut Oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan.  Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft.  Add shallots and cook for another few minutes.
  3. Add bacon and sauté until cooked, ~10 minutes (note: the bacon will not crisp, that’s ok).
  4. Add the carrots, celery and mushrooms and sauté until soft (it’s ok of the carrots stay a bit firm), ~10 mins.
  5. Add the meats, herbs, salt and pepper and sauté until browned.
  6. Add the stock, wine, coconut aminos and a paprika.  Stir and cook down broth until it’s ~60% evaporated.
  7. Meanwhile, add the cauliflower, coconut milk, Earth Balance/VCO, and a pinch of salt and pepper to your food processor and blend until it’s the consistency of mashed potatoes; this will not take long.  Taste-test and see if you need to add more salt and pepper.
  8. Pour the filling into a pie plate and top with the cauliflower mash.  Add a pinch of smoked paprika to the top for decoration if you like.
  9. Cook at 375ºF for 30 minutes, or until the inside is bubbly and the top is slightly firm.  Let cool for ~10 mins before serving.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (Gluten and Dairy free, no sugar added to filling)

Ingredients

Crust (and trust me, it’s GOOD, the non-gluten free folks loved it!):

  • 1 cup Almond or Pecan flour (I was out of almond so I ground pecans in my Vitamix which worked out beautifully!)
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour (my sister-in-law says next time I should try Bob’s Red Mill Shortbread Mix)
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Palm Sugar (you can use cane sugar if you’d like, I’m just allergic to it)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ cup Virgin Coconut Oil (room temperature)
  • 5-8 tbsp Cool Water

Filling (adapted from here):

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb, fresh
  • 2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and cut strawberries (in larger pieces)
  • 2 tbsp minute tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance cut into small slices
  • 1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Directions

Crust:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a mixer.
  2. Add the coconut oil and beat until dough forms small balls.
  3. Add the water one tbsp at a time while mixing until the dough reaches the proper consistency (it should hold together well but not be sticky).
  4. Separate into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap or parchment and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Roll out dough and add bottom crust to a greased and floured pie plate.

Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, dash of cinnamon, and vanilla.
  3. Mix well in a large bowl and pour out into bottom crust.
  4. Dot with butter.
  5. Roll out top crust and top the pie (if you want to do the lattice design I did use a pizza-cutter to cut strips of the rolled-dough and a long spatula to carefully lift the crust from the counter to the pie).
  6. Brush top of crust with beaten egg yolk.
  7. Wrap aluminum foil loosely around the outside edge of the crust to protect the crust from burning.
  8. Cook at 425ºF for 15 minutes, then drop the temperature to 375ºF and cook for another 40 minutes.  The crust should be golden brown and the filling should be bubbling.  I found the gluten free crust cooks faster than when using traditional flour so keep an eye on the pie so it doesn’t get over-cooked.  Cool before serving.

I’d love to know if you try my recipes or workouts.  Please pass along your feedback!  Now it’s time for a run!

 

Day 40, 3600 Burpees, 19 Miles, Food Allergy RESULTS!

I completed my third Hot Yoga/Bikram class at Geezum Crow Yoga last night and it was AWESOME!!  I really feel much more supported there than at Bikram Stowe and I’m going to try to make a point to go there more often.  In the meantime, to make things a bit more affordable I’m looking for a good iOS app for Hot Yoga.  After scouring reviews it looks like Hot Yoga Doctor is the most robust app with actual full spoken classes, despite their website being abhorrent.  I wish I could find an actual video.  I was surprised that My Yoga Online doesn’t have one (I highly recommend that site, btw).

Yesterday I received back the results of my food allergy testing.  I had IgA, IgE and IgG testing done against 96 foods.  It was done by Green Mountain Natural Health (processed at US BioTek) and I’m extremely grateful that my insurance covered the test in full.

I had the testing done because I’ve always had digestive issues and for the most part I’ve just accepted that and try to ignore it.  I’ve had acid reflux since I was a kid and that’s the only condition I really had diagnosed and treated.  I used to be on daily prescription meds but got off them with the help of a change in diet, and adding in yoga and abdominal massage (speaking of which if you are ever in the NH area I highly recommend seeing Kym Feltovic for Maya Abdominal Massage).  That was probably one of my first forays into the power that a change of lifestyle has.

On top of the acid reflux, I also struggle with bloating, stomach pains after eating and lower GI inflammation.  Those things have become so common that I thought they were part of life.  I’ve been on many types of diets.  Some due to dating partners with diet restrictions, some for fun, and more recently some elimination diets.  I’ve done two elimination diets (cleanses) and both times I found I had sensitivities to dairy and gluten.  Dairy was no surprise, I eat sundaes with the full knowledge that I’m entering a world of pain.  Gluten was annoying to find out but it makes sense.  I also noticed from those diets that I do much better with very little sugar.  This was also no surprise as both my Mom and I struggled with an overpopulation of yeast and my Dad and his Dad struggled with issues with diabetes.  Since those diets I’ve significantly cut back on dairy, gluten and sugar.

Yesterday I was handed a large booklet and finally got the results in full technicolor:

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I only photographed what I was allergic to.  I’m thankfully not allergic to any meat/fowl/eggs or any vegetables.  I am allergic to all dairy, coffee, sugar cane, brewer’s yeast, cranberry, clam, crab, kidney bean, corn, all wheat, oat, rye, sesame seed, spelt, and sunflower seed.

I posted the results to Facebook yesterday and had the most comments I think I’ve gotten to a post ever.  Food issues really rowel people up.  I’ve learned nutrition is a very personal thing with lots of different opinions and if you’re not already used to a restricted diet it can seem like the end of the world.  Let me be clear, this is not the end of the world at all.  I’m actually super-excited that I can now start working on these allergies and see how they will change my body!

The big surprises were cranberries and sesame seeds.  That means no more cranberry juice in my smoothies and I have to find another gluten free cracker that isn’t sesame-based.  I already knew dairy and gluten would be on there.  Brewer’s yeast is unfortunate, especially since that rules out making nut cheeses with nutritional yeast.  Crab and clam is annoying, but I eat them so infrequently that I’m not going to let it bother me (and I’m still going to rock soft-shell crab season).  And thankfully I had already quit coffee, despite my undying love for both roasting and drinking it.

Since I had already intuited a good chunk of these allergies and started being very strict about my diet since March 1st, I’ve actually lost 7lbs and my belly isn’t sticking out like a pregnant woman anymore (still a bit poofier than I’d like but, meh).  So I already know there’s truth to this test and I will feel better if I eat the foods that fuel and nourish my body.  I really didn’t mean to lose weight that quickly, just strictly cutting out dairy, gluten and sugar made an enormous difference.

The next step now is to do an elimination diet with the foods I tested as allergic to.  I let the doctor know that I’m going to cheat on St. Patrick’s Day and on a long weekend I might have coming up in Boston.  But, I don’t intend to cheat excessively.  After that I’ll be doing two solid weeks of elimination.  Then I need to add in one allergen at a time and note my reaction.  What surprised me is that my doctor said once I know how each effects me there are treatment options so it’s possible that I won’t have to cut these foods out of my diet for good. I don’t yet know what the treatment options are (one of my packets mentioned acupressure), but I’m curious to find out.

I was asked by a couple people if I’m actually allergic to these foods or if I just have a sensitivity to them.  I technically have an allergy to them, but not a fatal allergy.  The consequences are bloating, acid reflux, lower GI inflammation, fatigue and insomnia…with possibly more symptoms to discover as I do the elimination diet.  Dairy also gives me some respiratory issues, coughing from phlegm.  As far as food allergies go, I do consider myself very lucky.  My throat doesn’t swell up, I don’t have trouble breathing, etc.  So if you want to call it a sensitivity I suppose that would be accurate, but this test sitting next to me is calling it an allergy.  It’s basically all semantics. 

I’d love to hear from others out there who have been through this or who are curious about it!  I’m also on the hunt for more recipes that fit my diet, have anything good?  The first on the docket is a recipe for hummus without tahini.  Must go Google now!

32 Days, 2880 Burpees, 12 Miles and Wearing Too Much Weight!

I’m excited that I’ve made it over a month in my 90 day burpeee challenge!  I’ve also kept up with running a mile every morning and I’m already seeing my speeds improving and my legs are becoming shapelier.  I’m also excited to say that after five days of calf pain, I’m no longer feeling terribly sore from running, just dealing with some minor aches and pains.  I’m just about finished with the current Zuzka ZWOWs that are up on her site so as a present to myself for completing them I purchased her ZCut Power Cardio series and I’ll let you all know what I think of it.  On top of all of this I’m finally finding joy in doing hot yoga and the two sessions I’ve done have kicked my ass, made me sweat more than anything in my life, and made me feel AWESOME!!  This is a huge change from the first time I tried Bikram, when it triggered my acid reflux and I left the class with 15 minutes to spare and cried in the hallway, seriously.

Now I have to get into a topic that I know is seriously overdone on the internet.  I fully expect most of you to zone out right about now.  Oh wait, let me tell you the topic: Body Image.  Ok, now you can zone out. 😉

I’ve been blessed that for most of my life I haven’t struggled with real body image issues.  I’ve had minor issues but for the most part I’ve been confident with my size and shape.  I was stick thin for most of my childhood, to the point of being teased.  Then in high school my Swedish genes kicked in and I suddenly had some junk in the trunk and a small belly.  College rolled around and I was living a very unhealthy lifestyle, practically living off of taco bell and alcohol.  My weight skyrocketed to 180 and I was wearing a size 14.  But somehow I never felt large.  I’m a tall woman, just shy of 6′, which allows me to conceal my weight well. My arms and calves generally remain thin even when my hips, butt, gut and thighs expand.

It wasn’t until I moved to Boston, fresh out of school, and started working a retail job where I was on my feet all day, that I realized how unhealthy I had been.  Just by living a different lifestyle (normal schedule, steady income which led to good food, and walking all the time) I dropped down to a size 8.  I was also doing yoga regularly then but really wasn’t exercising aside from that.  When I then attended school for massage I began lifting weights and building muscle.  That’s when I started paying more attention to my body and I kept my weight around 165.  Not fantastic, but with the muscle and staying at that size 8 I felt good and I think I looked good.  The one thing I really never lost was that gut; my belly always protruded and I have an over-emphasized lordotic curve (curve in the low back) which often means lack of abdominal strength.

Flash forward a few years.  I eat well, I exercise regularly and I even went through training in Kickboxing and Insanity.  I have to say the Insanity program is AWESOME!  It’s HARD, but that was the first thing that really kicked my core strength into gear.  I know I have a great core now, and I’m constantly improving it, but I still have that gut and curve.  I’ve tried not eating within a few hours of bed, eating several small meals instead of a few large ones, cutting out gluten and dairy, even doing full food elimination diets.  Nothing really seems to help.  Then this past November my boyfriend and I really fell off the wagon, as one tends to do around the holidays.  I wouldn’t say it was a worse year than usual but suddenly that 165lbs became 175lbs.  In mid-January I got back on the horse and have been eating healthy and exercising. As you all know in the past 32 days I’ve upped my exercise routine quite a bit.

So guess what?  Want to know how much weight I’ve lost?  I mentioned my legs are looking more cut.  I didn’t mention that my arms are more muscular, my face looks thinner, my shoulders and back look like I could punch through a wall.  So how much weight did I lose?  None.  I gained weight.  As of this morning the scale say I’m 183lbs.  I shit you not.  I’m pissed.  I now have body issues.  Apparently I’m a late bloomer but I’m working my ass off and that gut is going out instead of in.  I use MyPlate so I know what my nutrition is and I’m well within the appropriate range.  I also can’t be gaining muscle this fast, and when I took “before” pictures yesterday it’s apparent that there’s quite a bit of weight around my mid-section.  Even in yoga I found myself self-conscious of the fact that the other women in the room were so much thinner than me.  Wtf?!  I know full well we all come in different shapes and sizes and the point is that I’m healthy so why am I freaking out about this?!

Well, I am.  For the past two days I’ve switched to two smoothies a day.  I was having one for breakfast and now I do one for breakfast, one for lunch, an afternoon snack and a reasonably-portioned dinner.  I don’t feel I personally have much more time to exercise, since I’m already doing about 90 minutes a day, so I have to look at diet.  I also had food allergy testing done and I get the results back in a week so I can see if it’s possible that something I’m eating is bloating me up (the testing was also done for other digestive issues I have).

So….blargh!  But enough venting about my odd weight issues.  Lettuce talk about snacks (yes, punny, but most of you stopped reading ages ago so…):

ImageThis was today’s afternoon snack.  It’s a whopping 108 calories with 8g of protein!

Ingredients (which you can all see pretty clearly):

  • Romaine lettuce leaf
  • Small handful of snap peas
  • Small handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 hardboiled egg, sliced

I rolled it up like a burrito and it was surprisingly delicious and filling enough to get me to dinner, which will be steamed salmon and brussels sprouts.

For now, it’s time to find new exciting smoothie recipes.  I will share that my local health food store offers frozen wheatgrass shots.  I’ve been adding those to my smoothies and it’s pretty good. 🙂

 

24 Days, 1980 Burpees, 5 Miles, and so many smoothies!

Let me tell you, 1980 is A LOT of burpees.  I’m trying not to remember I have 6120 to go before my 90 day challenge is up.  I’ve also completed 5 days of adding a one mile run to my workout routine.  I’m shocked by how much I sweat from running only a mile!  It’s definitely a good piece of cardio to add in.  I’ve also been keeping up with my Zuzka workouts and am about to do #50 (woo-woo!).  Speaking of Zuzka, I was pleasantly surprised to see that she did a vlog showing how to make healthy “ice cream” in her Vitamix.  Great minds think alike. 😉  I’ve been experimenting with more creamy treats in my Vitamix and will have to try her recipe (subbing in coconut milk for the almond milk).  Check it out:

While I’m a little wary of following up Zuzka, I wanted to debut my burpee “how to” video.  I’ve now joined the ranks of hundreds, if not thousands, of people on YouTube demonstrating a burpee.  Want to see what’s been kicking my ass for three weeks?  Here you go:

I’ve also found two new protein powders to try out.  I’ve used the first one for two days now, let me share my favorite recipe:

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Berry Good Day (featured on the right):

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 handful frozen blueberries
  • 1 handful frozen strawberries
  • 1 handful frozen raspberries
  • 1 handful frozen peaches
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate cranberry juice
  • 1 scoop Plant Fusion Vanilla Bean protein powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp flax seed oil

Protein powder aside, this was hands down the tastiest smoothie I’ve made.  While it doesn’t include some of the green goodness I love (like spinach and spirulina), there’s something to be said for a pretty pink tasty smoothie.

Now let’s talk about Plant Fusion‘s protein powder.  I ran into it at a local health food store, where I spent far too long scouring their wall of protein powders.  They had an entire end-cap of vegan powders and I was sure I’d have plenty of great choices.  Unfortunately, I was bowled over by the ingredient lists and most included things I really wasn’t looking for.  Plant Fusion was the closest thing to what I wanted but I still think it’s a bit overkill.  The good, I love the mix of proteins used, including pea protein isolate, artichoke protein, sprouted organic quinoa powder, and sprouted organic amaranth powder.  Great mix, all GMO-free.  It also includes a blend of enzymes and amino acids, which is probably a good thing but to be honest I don’t know enough about them to speak intelligently to that.  What I didn’t like is that it includes TWO sweeteners, fructose and stevia.  I wish there were more choices of good protein powders without added sweeteners; I get plenty of sweet from the fruits I add in.

The texture was much lighter than all of the other powders I’ve tried.  It’s very fine and airy, so much so that when I threw it in the vitamix a fine misty powder puffed out the top.  It also  smelled sickeningly sweet.  I’ve got to say I normally wouldn’t get a flavored powder, but they were out of the unflavored and it turns out even unflavored has two sweeteners in it (wtf?).  Yesterday my smoothie had less ingredients so I could really taste the protein powder.  By that I mean I could taste what I can only assume is stevia.  It’s a very strong “fake sugar” taste, so the only ingredient that matches that is stevia.  In today’s smoothie that was dulled enough to make me mind it less but there is definitely a stevia aftertaste in this mix, much more-so than the other two mixes I’ve tried with stevia in them.  I will end on a positive note and say that the texture was great, very smooth and not gritty/mealy like some other powders.  Overall I’ll give it a B+ and I’ll finish out the bottle…which is better than I could say about Warrior Food.

I have one more protein powder to review soon so watch for that and wish me luck on the ZWOW I’m about to do!

Raw Revelations

After finishing C25K and starting up fartleks my running entries have kind of petered out.  In light of not wanting this blog to die a terrible death of repetitive running entries that put even me to sleep, I’m branching out a bit into the general topic of staying healthy and active.  Today, I want to share a couple raw food recipes that I made yesterday as part of a two week liver cleanse.

I saw my acupuncturist last week and as soon as she took my pulse she gave me a funny look.  Some stomach pokes and prods later and she said, “You’ve been eating a lot of sugar and getting cravings, huh?”  Oh holy crap did she hit the nail on the head there.  Fall for me is the start of hibernation.  I make rich foods filled with fats, carbs and sugars.  Life has been especially stressful lately and I use that as an excuse to “comfort eat”, despite knowing how unhealthy and energy-draining that is.

The acupuncturist asked me to do a liver cleanse, which I’ve never done before.  She told me to try something “gentle” and the only real guidance she gave was to research it and start by drinking Apple Cider Vinegar.  I went online and was inundated with a barrage of liver cleanses: everything from fasting to colonics and from two-day to eight-week scenarios.  Most of the sites were trying to sell me some system, so it was easy to weed those out.  I compared sources and spoke with some of my nutritionist and herbalist friends to come up with the cleanse I’m doing.  I’ll fully admit that this is my first ever liver cleanse so please do not treat me as an expert.

The basic cleanse that I’m following is that for two weeks I’m completely cutting out alcohol and caffeine and I’m greatly limiting sugars, dairy and processed foods.  I’m trying to get all of my sugars from unprocessed sources (e.g. fruits, raw honey, raw agave nectar) and I’m trying to eat raw foods as much as possible.  Then, for three days I’ll be doing a more traditional liver cleanse which entails a juice fast and having to drink some nasty concoctions that I’ll write about it another entry when that gets closer.

So what’s the point of all of this?  People do cleanses for a variety of reasons and there’s a whole school of thought for cleansing and another whole school that thinks it’s ludicrous.  I’m doing this cleanse to change up my destructive Fall eating habit and give my body some easy-to-digest food so my digestive system gets a break and I gain more energy as a result.  The last part of the cleanse supposedly helps dislodge liver stones, and if that really happens that’s cool but I’m taking that piece with a grain of salt right now.  The biggest thing is to get my digestion back on track and get my energy levels up.

This leads to the next logical question, why raw?  I was introduced to raw foods a couple years ago and have been in awe ever since with the health benefits behind it and the opportunity for creativity in the kitchen.  The health benefits are fairly undebatable.  Raw foods are more nutrient dense and easily digested by the body.  Most people on raw diets notice a large increase of energy and a happier digestive system.  On the latter, it’s important to note that if you’re going to try a raw meal out of the blue you might get some stomach upset at first.  It’s recommended to eat light meals on the day you’re going to have a raw meal and don’t start off with an entire day of raw if you’ve been living off of burgers and fries for months (unless you’re down with spending a good chunk of your day in the bathroom).

The daunting task of changing my diet for a two-week period is finding yummy recipes.  Tons of raw recipes sound good, but I’ve definitely had a few flops; usually my issue is that they’re not flavorful enough.  Luckily, the recipes I’ve tried so far have all been super-easy to make (most can be made right in a food processor).  Out of the four recipes I tried yesterday, two were freaking amazing so I have to share.  These are not original recipes, but I can’t really credit a source because for each of them I mixed up different recipes and added some things in so they’re original-ish.  That said, if you want to find more raw recipes, my favorite sources so far are: We Like It Raw, gone raw, Sweetly Raw, and Raw Food Talk.

Now, without further ado, the recipes!

Om Noms Raw Food Snack (mostly based on Morning-After Delight)

This is a great easy-to-make snack that I’m personally using as a breakfast.  Yes, it has raw cacao in it so I’m technically cheating on the caffeine but it is omg delicious!  I split this up into five small ball jars and am finding that I get full a little over halfway through.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Almonds
1/2 cup Walnuts
1/2 cup Cashews
1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 cup Raw Carob Nibs
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 cup Dried Gogi Berries
1/2 Cup Banana Chips
2 table spoons Cup Raw Chocolate Powder
1 table spoon of Raw Honey
4 table spoons of Raw Agave nectar
2 dashes of Sea Salt
2 dashes of Cinnamon

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Eat and enjoy!

Raw Vegan Sushi

Eating raw doesn’t necessarily imply “vegan”.  While most raw foodists are vegetarian or vegan, some do eat meat.  This particular recipe is 100% vegan-friendly and it’s very malleable.  Pick ingredients that sound yummy to you and be creative.  Unlike the above recipe, this one is quite time intensive just for the actual sushi prep part.  It’s a great interactive activity at a dinner party, especially since you don’t have to worry about the ingredients getting “cold” or going bad.  The portion size in this recipe is enough for two hungry people.

Ingredients:
2 Parsnips, peeled
1/2 cup Cashews (can substitute other nuts, I saw recipes with pine nuts, macadamia nuts and walnuts)
1/2 tbsp White Miso (supposedly red works too)
1.5 tsp Sesame Oil (you’ll see from the picture that I cheated here and used Toasted Sesame Oil, that’s obviously not raw but it’s what I had on hand)
1 ripe Avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced thinly
1 seedless Cucumber, peeled and cut into sticks
3-5 Baby Carrots, thinly chopped
1/2 cup Kale, chopped
1/2 cup Spinach, chopped
1-2 tbsp minced Cilantro
Nori wrappers (black is usually raw, green is usually toasted)
1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
Bamboo Mat
Tamari Soy Sauce, as desired.

Directions:

1. Make Parsnip “Rice” by combining the parsnips, cashews, miso and sesame oil in a food processor until “fluffy”; it really will look and feel rice-like (it also tastes freaking awesome).

2. Prepare your other ingredients so they’re easily grabbed.

3. Add the rice vinegar to a small bowl of water and keep that next to your bamboo mat.

4. Lay a piece of nori shiny-side down on your bamboo matt.  Dip your fingers into the rice vinegar mixture and lightly brush them over the nori; this will soften it.

5. Spread a thin coat of the Parsnip “Rice” over the nori.  Add any of remaining ingredients to the roll that you desire.  My favorite combo was avocado+cilantro+cucumber+kale.

6. Now it’s time to roll it up.  For this, you may want to watch a YouTube video on rolling sushi (there are a million out there).  I usually start on one end of the bamboo and I curl the roll into itself.  Once I’ve reached the far side (so the roll is fully rolled) I hold the bamboo that’s still flat on the table by the far side and I pull the roll towards me with the opposite hand; this makes it tighter and is similar to burrito rolling.  Then I shape it a little better with the bamboo mat.  The trick is to get it tight enough so it doesn’t fall apart when cutting/eating.  To be honest, I’ve never found it particularly challenging but it takes a couple tries to get it right.

7. At this point you can unroll it and cut it.  One trick I use is to lay plastic wrap on top of the roll (you can also lay the plastic wrap down before you put the nori down so it’s there to begin with).  Next, I clean my knife with some of the rice vinegar solution and slice the roll through the plastic wrap; this helps it stay together and helps you get a clean cut.  The obvious downside is using the plastic wrap itself.  For those of us who are environmentally conscious this is not ideal.

8. Eat and enjoy!  I dipped my sushi into the tamari soy and it was great.  I think in the future, though, I’m going to drizzle the soy into the roll before rolling it up.

The thing I really love about both of these recipes is that I don’t feel like I’m giving anything up.  They’re both delicious recipes and amazingly nutritionally dense.  It’s like getting all of my food groups crammed into one tasty meal.  Hopefully I can find more tasty recipes to keep me going for the next two weeks.  The “bliss balls” and “pumpkin pudding” I tried yesterday were unfortunate disasters of “blah”, but these two sure were winners!