Let’s Make That Workout Happen

Posted on May 28, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Let’s face it: When you’re just out there running for fun, it’s a lot easier to get “bored” with running than if you’re motivated by a race, or weight loss, or have some crazy deal where you get paid per mile you run(If I had a deal like that, I’d be out there all day). The truth is it’s just hard to love a tough workout 100% of the time. Here is how I get workout-ready in my morning.

I always start the day with a big breakfast, workout or not. My perfect trifecta is oatmeal for fiberous carbs, peanut butter(cinnamon raisin swirl PB & Co. here) for healthy fat, and greek yogurt for protein. To be completely honest, I don’t love Greek yogurt here always; a lot of days I’d be happiest with 2 huge bowls of oatmeal and nut butter. But greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics and protein. And starting your day with protein has been shown to boost metabolism and curb you late-night hunger. I can certainly scoop some Fage for that.

When I know I’m about to run, I always steal some chocolate from my stash. Call it a bribe; it’s as natural as putting on my shoes. “Rituals” lie this can keep you on a regular exercising route.

Today, my workout motivation as music. I just downloaded Telephone(I know, I’m terribly behind) and Love On The Inside by Sugarland and made a big playlist out of them. I definitely couldn’t have gone so far without that energy pumping through me. For some, it’s music. Other times, it’s whatever’s on the TV at the gym. And, of course, there’s always the beautiful nature of the outdoors. Whatever it is, distractions can be some of the greatest ways to make a cardio workout enjoyable.

Afterwards, it’s important to hydrate. In fact, I plan this beforehand by sticking water and anything else I might want in the fridge and knowing just where it is to grab it to drink while doing stretches. Without stretches, the next workout might not be as enjoyable…

And, of course, you need to refuel. There was a lot of hype last Summer about chocolate milk being the “perfect drink”. Really, what you need is food. Drinking carbs is certainly one way to get energy back in to your system. That just doesn’t fit me, personally. For myself, I made a “dream salad”(as in, I dreamed this up all run long): Spinach, avocado with lemon juice, sauteed onions, and toasted cashews. If this doesn’t work for you, feel free to go back to the chocolate milk.

And it never hurts to have a little more running motivation. Sundae Friday, anyone?

No matter how difficult it is, there is nothing that tastes better than homemade ice cream. Can you see the vanilla bean specks and thick chunks of organic dark chocolate? Maybe I got hit by a car on my run and went to heaven and don’t know it yet.

Flash forward to 2 hours later when I hadn’t sat down at all and realized it was one of those 2-lunch days.  Now I’m relaxing with oatmeal and cashew butter and a pineapple Chobani. Glorious, no? I’ve been trying to churn up a real good dessert. It’s been a battle so far; we’ll see how it comes out tonight. We’ll see…

How do you stay motivated to work out?

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How To Break A Bottomless Pit Day With 1 Move

Posted on May 25, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The only thing I hate more than having a bottomless pit day is realizing that I’m having one and obsessing over it. I see the same in a lot of healthy living blogs I read. To be fair, I can’t sympathize on how much it sucks to take pictures of snack after snack and post them for people who like to show all they eat(I do about 98% but every now and again I’ll grab an undocumented handful of baby carrots or something). But I haven’t had one in a long time, and I don’t think I will again, because I’ve got the one trick that breaks the bottomless pit feeling: Eat a meal.

If you’re hungry enough for a meal, even if it’s right after one or it’s not really a normal meal time, put down the apple you think might help your hunger and make something solid. Right after this post, I threw together a kitchen sink salad.

Caprese Chickpea Salad With Seasoned White Potato

Caprese Chickpea Salad With Seasoned White Potato

The “caprese” part of this was grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and raw probiotic mozzarella. With that were chickpeas and a quartered white potato. Delicious, no? Absolutely. Except it wasn’t all I needed after my run. Enter lunch #2:

Sweet And White Potato Homefries, Scrambled Eggs

Sweet And White Potato Homefries, Scrambled Eggs

After this, I felt much better, and like I had beaten my bottomless pit day. A simple mix of onion, sweet potato, and white potato in some olive oil and salt came out perfect. And between my vegan baking and the general lack of egg love, we have a ton(read: 2 dozen) of old eggs to use, so I did my part and ate a couple scrambled in all that oniony love. I guess it’s no surprise we have so many eggs when neither the ice cream nor the brownies I make call for them…

Vegan Chocolate Chip Blondie With Raw Chocolate Chip Cashew Gelato

Vegan Chocolate Chip Blondie With Raw Chocolate Chip Cashew Gelato

That would be an extra special blondie under a mountain of raw chocolate chip ice cream. J’adore this ice cream but I can’t wait to try new recipes by Gina once there’s room in my freezer! I continued to support that cause…

Raw Chocolate Chip Cashew Gelato

Raw Chocolate Chip Cashew Gelato

For dinner I had one huge craving to satisfy: steak. We served steak on Sunday night to our guests and had plenty of leftovers, but I really try to only eat grass-fed or local beef. It was worth waiting and pushing aside the craving until I could satisfy it with exactly what I wanted.

Grass Fed Steak With Caramelized Onions Over Asparagus And Arugala

Grass Fed Steak With Caramelized Onions Over Asparagus And Arugala

Oh my goodness, was this delicious. I’m pretty sure this was the fattiest cut of beef possible, but–hell–I took it and it did perfect. And considering a pound of the steak cost $7 while an entree at Tomasso’s of local beef is $24, I see big savings here.

What have you been craving of late? For me, it was the beef. Of course, now that I’ve discovered my love for onions cooked down in any and every fat, any excuse to eat more of those is also welcomed. Just beware of my breath.

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“I’m A Runner. I Can Eat Whatever I Want”

Posted on May 13, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I hear it all the time, either on the Runner’s World forums or in real life: “A runner can eat whatever they want”. Let me tear this one to shreds. First of all, are we all really “runners”? at least in this sense? I do think that there’s little difference between anyone who runs a mile for fun or 10 miles for fun. But there’s a BIG difference between people who run for fun and people like Ryan Hall who run for a living. Now those are runners.

OK. Let’s assume we are all runners. The same rules of life still apply. That’s why my first point is to listen to what mom always said and have your 3 balanced meals each and every day.

Black Bean And Potato Salad With Daiya And Salsa

Black Bean And Potato Salad With Daiya And Salsa

Dinner last night was a simple medley of black beans and organic russet potato over spinach and topped with Daiya. Yes, I really was just eating everything else as a way to have Daiya. But I thought this would be better than eating it straight from the bag to get more nutrients, don’t you think?

Moldy Chobani

Moldy Chobani

Some things none of us can eat, like moldy yogurt. Yeah, this wasn’t the most pleasant way to start my day.

Vegan GF Midnight Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan GF Midnight Chocolate Cupcakes

And other things we could eat but probably shouldn’t. Case in point: these cupcakes for breakfast. I know people who would call a cupcake a “muffin” if it’s eaten before 10am. But with no whole grains, and little of–well–anything, these would not have been kind to me during my 14 miler I have planned. That’s when I made a new plan for breakfast:

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Pomegranate Chobani With Dark Chocolate Almonds

Pomegranate Chobani With Dark Chocolate Almonds

Much better. A new yogurt, topped with Tierra Farm‘s organic dark chocolate almonds, and oatmeal topped with vanilla peanut butter made with Madhava vanilla agave. Sure, there was sugar here. But there was also 30+ grams of protein, 20g whole grains, 20g bran, healthy fat and antioxidant from cacao and pomegranate. This was most definitely one of my “balanced meals”.

I don’t want to make the case that a runner always has to eat healthy; that’s a dangerous mindset I hear too much, too. The truth is, balance is the key. At a certain point, a calorie is a calorie and a runner might just need more to do more. That’s where dessert comes in.

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream With Coconut PB And Coconut Oil Chocolate

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream With Coconut PB And Coconut Oil Chocolate

Indulgent? Sugary? Delicious? All of the above. Still, I try to find some nutrition in my desserts, which is why I often reach for coconut products. The saturated fat in coconut is medium chain, making it easier for our bodies to break down to energy than long chain. And it’s plant based so it has no cholesterol. Besides that, it just is easier for me to digest than dairy. What more could I say to get you on the coconut train?

Oatmeal With Chunky PB And Organic Dark Chocolate

Oatmeal With Chunky PB And Organic Dark Chocolate

And if I’m notorious for anything, it’s my nightly bowl of oatmeal with nut butter. Do what you want. But the warm carbs are great for a good night’s sleep. And this is nothing but a healthy dessert. And those squares of Endangered Species organic smooth dark chocolate–all for the antioxidants 😉

Fudge

Fudge

So I guess I can’t play the runner’s card to attack this pan anymore, huh? Well it will still be there if and when I finish running 14 miles. The sun is shining and things are heating up so if ever that’s happening it will be soon. Tonight’s post will be a recipe-packed post with all of your ice cream suggestions and what’s in the pan above.

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It’s Time To Get New Pants

Posted on May 11, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I noticed a funny thing yesterday. My jeans which have always been a bit big are starting to fit better, and the ones that have traditionally fit well seem a bit tight and uncomfortable. Being a guy, my first two thoughts were a) I’ve been shrinking everything in the laundry or b) someone else had them be altered to mess with me. That’s when option c hit me.

It might actually be me who’s growing out of them

My gut response was the typical “healthy living blogger” way of seeing it: I’ll eat out a little less, cut down on the sugars, and things will go back to the way they were. And then I thought about it. What if I didn’t adjust to fit the pants; what if the pants adjusted to fit me?

EVOO Seared Sweet Potato And Chickpeas

EVOO Seared Sweet Potato And Chickpeas

I’m still healthy and eating my superfoods.

Rehydrating

Rehydrating

I’m running faster and further than ever before.

Local Hereford Beef

Local Hereford Beef

And I’m enjoying eating out including brunch at fantastic new places.

In short, why would I want to change any of this? I love this! Underneath clothes, we’re all naked; what does it matter what size they are? Be healthy, but be happy. And if happy leads you to a shopping spree at that incredible French clothing store, Targe, with a buttload of gift cards to get jeans from the 75% off rack, so be it.

Who else is willing to throw out the old and put on the new with me?

Whole Foods' Salad Bar Food

Whole Foods' Salad Bar Food

Not only did I go to Whole Foods last night, I ate out, too. This was my last dinner of Providence, so I was prepared to make it a good one even if I had the ingredients for something much more humble back at my room. I got from the salad bar roasted carrots, potatoes, and onions with paprika, avocado rubbed kale, and golden sesame tofu. All delicious. All making me grow out of my pants. All good.

They didn’t have the coconut almond chip coconut milk ice cream I went all the way to get. Bummer, right? I was pretty let down. That’s when I made a plan and got the regular coconut ice cream and add Tierra Farm‘s almonds.

Coconut Ice Cream With Almonds

Coconut Ice Cream With Almonds

I really liked the bare coconut flavor. This ice cream had just 6 ingredients and 11g of sugar per serving–unreal! It was a little chewy even because of the coconut flakes. It was definitely a good ice cream for anyone who likes to add their own mix-ins.

Aztec Crunch Lulu's Bar And Cashew Butter

Aztec Crunch Lulu's Bar And Cashew Butter

I never got hungry for oatmeal, but I did still want the nut butter and I can always go for chocolate. I was worried whether I’d like Aztec Crunch because I’m not a fan of raw cacao nibs(part of the crunch). But this really blew me away. It was raw, but not bitter. It definitely had a solid crunch. One of the ingredients is said to have magical soothing powers; I’m not sure if it was the chocolate or the ingredient but I was definitely soothed.

Of course, the other side to new pants is the completely metaphorical side: fitting your surroundings to fit how you want to be. As much as I love oatmeal, I’m willing to toss it by the landside if I’m craving something else. And this morning, I had a huge white potato craving.

Maple Salmon, White Potato Home Fries

Maple Salmon, White Potato Home Fries

Home Fries

Home Fries

Home fries, anyone? I think I’m still getting past the shock and awe that I made these and not some restaurant, because they’re so delicious. It was just 1 1/2 white potatoes tossed in a pan for a while with some red onion in EVOO. It would be great with sage or rosemary but I didn’t have any. To make this more of a meal and less of a breakfast, I added flaked salmon with maple syrup and sea salt. Definitely not as good as the home fries; but that’s where the extra maple syrup comes in handy.

And how about this for new pants: I’m moving out tonight =-O

If the pants do not fit, you must acquit

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Shape Up RI Half Marathon Race Report

Posted on May 2, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Race Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

But first, I’m going to make you sit through the prefueling.

Mint Dark Chocolate And Raisins

Mint Dark Chocolate And Raisins

Oatmeal With Vanilla-Maple PB And Raisins

Oatmeal With Vanilla-Maple PB And Raisins

Not too exciting, except for the random raisin cravings. I think my body needs iron! I figured after a mostly vegan day that might be the case. As always, sleep was not easy on a Saturday night on campus; I woke up to loud music around 1am. Fortunately, I was tired enough to sleep through most of it and got 7 hours or so, waking up promptly at 6:30.

Amazing Grass Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar

Amazing Grass Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar

My pre-race “breakfast” was an Amazing Grass chocolate peanut butter protein bar. I chose this because it’s nutritionally dense and covers all the macro’s and micro’s well. It had agave nectar for slow burning energy peanut power for satiety.

Standing at the starting gate could not have felt more “real”. Looking around, seeing all the other runners and marathoners was definitely inspiring. Even though I promised myself not to feel any pressure to sign up for another race in the near future, this definitely got me on a high that had me thinking. And then the gun went off!

Rehydrating

Rehydrating

Miles 1-2: Its here! Its here! It’s really here! I was very excited to be running. And I had no clue how fast I was going because my Garmin kept bouncing between 8 and 6; I was just hoping the people I was with were running a reasonable pace.

Miles 3-4: Ugh. Providence is hilly! And the hills set in early. At least by this point I was on the part of the course that I used to run daily, so I knew the terrain like the back of my hand.

Miles 5-6: At the 5 mile marker, I was not on pace for meeting my goal. I really stepped it up and took the downhills like a madmen. Unfortunately, they changed the layout of the course so I was a bit confused where we were going; but I was going and going strong.

Crossing The Finish Line

Crossing The Finish Line

Miles 7-9: Do not underestimate the power of people cheering from the sidelines. I never felt more loved than at this stretch with all the spectators. At a time when my head was saying “You’re only half way there”, everyone else was cheering “Half-way, half-way!”

Miles 10-11: I always try to run strong, be composed, and keep a level-head. At this point, I told myself it was OK to fight, struggle, and swear, so long as I won in the end.

Miles 12-13.1: The last mile is always the easiest. There were signs and people everywhere, and at this point I knew I had my time even if I slowed down considerably. I crossed the line with an official time of 1:37:51 and grabbed the medal at the end with enthusiasm.

Hardware

Hardware

Overall: I could not hold my water today! I think I peed 5 times before the race, and had to again the entire time through. At the end, I was probably dehydrated because I didn’t drink a lick, but it all worked for me. That just goes to show how nervous I was. But I did it! I beat my goal. And I feel no pressure to run off and sign up for another one 🙂

My parents were at the finish line. I really had no plans for after the race but I decided to come home for the day(I really didn’t have the energy to do my own laundry, haha). I made a little breakfast for the car ride.

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Cherry Fage With Trail Mix

Cherry Fage With Trail Mix

I have no clue what was in this trail mix, but it was delicious; I might have to go back and buy the whole bin. All I know is that the giant chocolate swirls were superb. And with the sweet cherry from the fage, it was definitely a magical pairing. I might have to get this again later on when I go back to RI to have for a dessert 🙂

I’m plenty happy being on my couch, reuniting with Tivoed shows(hello, Little People, Big World), and am about to fix that iron problem with something off the grill! Yum 🙂

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