A Stress Free Monday

3 May

Happy Monday Everyone!

As we all know Mondays are supposedly the most stressful day of the week.  More health related incidents occur on Mondays than any other day of the week, and most of these health issues are stress related, if not stress induced!  So I want to start off today with a quick clip from this morning’s Dr. Oz show.  If you are a health nut like I am, then you may already be familiar with many of these helpful hints, but I don’t want to presume anything and have you all miss out, so enjoy!  Don’t underestimate the power of stress reduction 🙂

Dr. Oz’s Stress Proof Your Body in 5 Steps

Yesterday’s run was my very first track workout.  I did it outside because the temp’s were finally starting to cool down by late afternoon, but about mid way through the sun was out gleaming down on me and my sweat factor was exponentially increased haha.  I did a quick jog to the track (about 1/2 mile) then alternated every lap (1/4 mile) between a fast pace and recovery lap.  Now back in the day I ran on this track and I can remember pushing myself to complete a single mile!  Since I was doing a semi-speed workout, I set out with a shorter than normal distance in mind and completed a 3 mile run on the track.  It wasn’t easy since I was definitely pushing myself during the speed laps, and add in the heat!, but the relative ease of completing 3 miles felt AMAZING when I compared it with past times on this track.  It was a true testament and PROOF of where my hard work has gotten me! I completed my 3 track miles in about 24 minutes, bringing yesterday’s total mileage to 4 fun & sweaty miles 🙂

On a completely separate note, I also have to share/vent about something I overheard this weekend that really got me angry!  I overheard a woman I know having a conversation about food when I was out this weekend playing on my computer.  She is a smart and professional woman in her 30’s.  Looking at her you would think she is an average sized, healthy woman, not overweight by any means but also not “skinny.”  Unfortunately she, like many people, was giving very unsound health info to her friends, yet was very confident in this bad advice that she did come off to an unknowing person as a knowledgeable diet and exercise guru.  On top of this, she also brought attention to herself by bringing up “how little she eats.”  During the span of her conversation, I heard her reference  how doing anything less than 30 minutes of cardio a day does nothing for the body so she doesn’t bother, how anyone eating over 1500 calories a day is just asking for weight gain, how all she had to eat today was an apple (mind you it was 4 pm), and don’t worry because her Sketcher Shape Ups are going to help her get the perfect body instantly!  And the sad part was that anyone could tell by the expressions and comments from those with her that all the other beautiful women she was with were eating up this info and incorporating this unqualified misinformation into their health and exercise do’s and don’ts 😦

Clearly I am not by any means an expert on any health, exercise, or nutrition subject, but I do know the basics and I can recognize the WRONG in many people’s health mentality.  As many of you readers know, doing any cardio can be great for our mind and bodies!  Especially when you consider some very speedy people out there who have no problem completing 4+ miles in 30 minutes.  Everyone’s calories needs vary depending on activity level, age, sex, and our natural chemistry!  Some days I may not take in over 1500 calories (though I couldn’t recall when that would be!) but most of the time I am well over this limit and am a very healthy body type.  I know I am a very active young female, but there are so many young girls who would hear this info and cut their calories in an unsafe & unnecessary manner because of stigmas associated with calorie intake, like the one I mentioned above.   And lastly, if you’re trying to “brag” about how little you eat, it is not cool, impressive, smart, or safe to eat nothing but an apple all day.  In fact you’re slowing your metabolism down so good luck with the extra fat storage once you do eat.  Any eating plan, whether you are trying to lose weight or not, should involve plenty of healthful eating throughout the day.  I just hope this type of negative food and exercise hearsay doesn’t affect too many more smart and beautiful, yet impressionable people.

Ever come across a conversation, article, etc that gave really unsound health/diet/exercise advice?  What was your reaction?


Stress-Proof Your Body in 5 Steps

3 May

Stress is unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to run your life or ruin your health. Be proactive about guarding yourself against the side effects of…

Things I Love

28 Apr

If you’re reading this blog, then you and I are probably pretty like-minded about our interests (ie: food, health, running).  Some days though, the regular ole’ things you love just seem 100x better and you’re reminded just HOW much you love them!  For me, today is one of those days.

Thing #1 I love=running in the morning!  Now I genuinely do LOVE running as a whole- the sound of my feet on the pavement, my breath and heart working harder and harder, my muscles aching feeling great as I stride through mile to mile.  But I love all of these sensations so much more when I am running first thing in the morning rather than in the afternoon or evening, and I just don’t know why!  I completely understand why people – myself included – find it kind of stressful to know that the very first thing you’ll be doing in the morning is rolling out of a peaceful slumber and within 30 min pounding the pavement like a mad man or woman, but for me, it is more stressful to have a run looming over my head all day.  I think I just get nervous that something will come up and I won’t be able to get in the type of run I want, or I’ll get burned out by the day’s activities and won’t want to go, PLUS I do carefully plan my meals around my runs to make sure I am properly nourished before and/or after a good workout, and much more thought has to go into my day’s meals if I run later.  I have successfully gotten into and love a routine of working out first thing in the am, and I think this is just the BEST discovery about myself I could have had!  Getting my run done first thing promises that I will feel energized and happier (thank you endorphins) throughout the day.  I love the feeling of my increased heart rate and flexibility, and even better, the appetite that comes along with a good morning run is just FUN to have!

Item #2 = The state of Pennsylvania!  This is a bit odd, I know 🙂  As a girl born and raised in the great state of New York, I never thought I would feel such loyalty and love for my neighboring state.  I know that part of it comes with being a Penn State grad (DUH), but even after graduating and moving to DC, it wasn’t NY that I missed, but Pennsylvania!  As I drove from my hometown to Philadelphia yesterday to visit my boyfriend for a couple days, I had to pass through a lot of country sides, 2 lane roads, and slower-than-should-be-allowed speed limits, but instead of being annoyed and/or rushing through them, I rolled down my window, turned off the radio, and simply enjoyed all of my surroundings.  One might say, I was actually ‘taking time to stop and smell the roses’ in a sense.  Whatever you want to call it, on my entire ride down to Philly, and since being here, I just realize how much I love everything about the state – from the urban areas of the cities (Hello Temple Law!) to the farms that take up the majority of the state, and of course, to the sprawling PSU campus in the middle…there is just something about PAthat makes me happy, and dare I say, makes me feel home?

Thing #3 I love today = enjoying coffee in coffee shops!  Since beginning my unemployment, it has been my goal to at least once a week enjoy a leisurely afternoon or morning in a coffee shop.  I want to take time to just indulging in a good coffee, cappuccino, latte, chai, whatever it may be, and play on my computer or read a good book.  As easy as this sounds, its been kind of hard to get in because I have been doing a lot of traveling to visit friends and on settling in back home.  Even though I am in Philadelphia over the next couple days visiting Patrick who is at work, I am currently sitting in a Saxby’s working on this blog and enjoying a delic coffee (with a free sample of a cinnamon roll).  Somehow this combination just embodies what true relaxation is for me, and after a windy and hilly run this morning (see below), there is nothing else I want to do 🙂

On to the run I mentioned…  Now it is the end of April and for some reason the Northeast cannot get itself out of March weather!  I decided to go out for a run at about 10 am, after Patrick went to work and my banana was semi-digested, and it was 45 degrees out with wind gusts up to 40 mph – and believe me they went up that high!  I have never run in Patrick’s neighborhood before, so I made a lax route on walkjogrun.net  to follow so I wouldn’t find myself going in circles and/or LOST in the unknown territory.  I ended up going 5 miles in about 43/44 minutes.  I could have gone longer because after working up a sweat in the chilled air, I felt more than ready to go!  But I had an impending lunch date with the boyfriend that I knew I would be ultra, rather than slightly, late for if I kept going.  So I stopped , did some stretching and core exercises, and was running (again!) out the door in 15 minutes, which could be another PR for me haha!  Now, if you know anything about the Manayunk area of Philadelphia, you also know that it is unbelievably hilly!  The streets are old and narrow, which gives it a great “feel,” but no matter which way I ran this morning, I was always going up one hill or down another.  This definitely kept my body and mind guessing!  I may have been cursing up the insane Green Lane incline, but all in all, it was such a fun and different work out!  Though I won’t be repeating it for a while.

When you travel to a new/unknown place, how do you plan out/go about your runs outside?

Eight Mile Monday

26 Apr

So in case anyone was wondering, Monday’s are NOT just as hard for the unemployed as the employed.  I used to wake up on Mondays and immediately feel my cortisol levels shoot through the roof – I swear! – thinking of what the week ahead held for me…which was a lot of long, mindless days in a very anxious workplace.  I am keeping myself plenty busy and I have a lot on my plate w/ many things that are self – induced, but I can actually breath easy on Mondays for the time being knowing I am so much more in control of my life now 🙂

After 2 days off from exercise and a mini college reunion on Saturday, my body needed a good run today for many reasons!  Now I am not an expert by any means in running terms, but as I was on the treadmill today I tried to remember best I could what I was doing so I could recount them here.  Here is my first shot at this (please excuse the lack of formality).

Today’s Run

  • About 1.5 miles @ warm up pace
  • 1 mile @ 7.0mph
  • 1 mile @ 7.5mph
  • 1 mile recovery
  • 5 minutes @ 7.0
  • 5 minutes @ 7.5
  • 1 minute alternating between 7.0 mph and 8.0 mph (3x)
  • A couple minutes of recovery
  • 1 minute alternates:
    • (7.0-8.0 mph)
    • (7.1-7.9 mph)
    • (7.2-7.8 mph)
    • (7.3-7.7 mph)
    • (7.4-7.6 mph)
  • Cool Down
  • Total: 8 miles in about 1 hr 11 min

I felt great afterwards!  I notice that for me the first 2-3 miles are the hardest, which is probably why I never really ran more than that distance in the past.  When I get up to 4+ miles though, I really feel like I hit my groove or something and I could keep going for so much longer than I imagined.  For now though, I know I can’t push myself too far though b/c I am still working on increasing my distance and I am intent on increasing it in a safe manner so I do not injure or burn myself out.

I rolled out of bed and did this workout first thing in the am… an even better way to start your Monday! So when I returned home, I was pretty ready for a good breakfast.  I knew I wanted to get a run in first thing this am, so I prepped a bfast cookie the night before for immediate devouring!  I added two new things to the breakfast cookie this morning #1 Almond Butter w/ Honey-random TJMaxx purchase (God I love that store!) #2  1/2 scoop of unflavored Whey Protein Powder (I’m not the biggest fan of enhancement supplements like protein powders, but proper nutrition comes first and I knew I would need some extra protein/calories in this morning’s mix after a long run).

Naturally pictured half devoured…

Whey Protein not pictured – I thought that would be ok!

As usual, I followed up breakfast w/ a wonderful cup o’ joe and some Dr. Oz.  My stomach was growling earlier than normal so “lunch” was had in pieces today.  Round #1 Dannon Blueberry Yogurt w dried tart cherries thrown in the mix (have I mentioned these are great for joints!) Round #2 WW Pita stuffed with Turkey and “hummus salad” which consisted of shredded carrots, cabbage, red onion, red bell peppers all mixed up with a couple heaping spoonfuls of original flavored hummus – this is a great fill-in for a mayo based salad.  And Round #3 Homemade fruit salad – strawberries, ultra juicy oranges, and grapes – mixed with some Kashi Go Lean.  I think I covered just about every food group here – Go me!  And everything was ultra satisfying.

This is a semi-ok pic of my pita:

I have some healthified chicken quesadillas on the menu for dinner served with a side of The Blindside.  I still haven’t seen the Oscar winner and am dying to!  Nothing better than a movie for a rainy, rainy evening!

Also, as promised here is my recipe for the Chicken, Peanut, & Slaw Wrap I made on Friday.  I would love to hear if anyone makes it and/or makes some of their own modifications to it!

What is your hardest “hump” to get over/through when it comes to long runs?  How do you manage?

Bulk is the way to go

24 Apr

Happy Friday!!  I’m sure everyone else out there is looking forward to the weekend just as much as I am.  To start my day yesterday, I had stove top oats sans PB!  Do you believe it?  I don’t know what it was but my stomach didn’t want something so heavy.  I opted in banana and strawberries instead and mixed half water and half sweetened vanilla almond milk to give it a creamy fruity taste instead.  It was a good change up for today, but I know PB will be back in circulation soon enough!

Yesterday must have been my day o’ experimental recipes because for lunch I tried up a new Chicken, Peanut, & Slaw wrap.  It was pretty easy to throw together and was a really great fun lunch option.  Though I rarely get bored with the variety of my turkey or tofu salads and wraps for lunch, this one has an asian taste to it which was a little bit more exciting than the norm.  I will definitely make this again for a healthy & PB infused meal though I may make some small changes next time around- I’m not sure exactly how, I’m sure it will just depend on my taste-buds at the time! Pictured below, clearly with srirachi sauce on the side!  I’ll put the recipe up later.

Right after lunch, I received a wonderful little surprise in the mail!  Ok, it wasn’t exactly a surprise since I did order it, but I wasn’t expecting it so fast.  Via Hungry Girl I received a discount code for buying a variety of chocolate VitaTops online.  I have been meaning to try these for months, but my grocery store is always sold out of the chocolate flavors and I wasn’t sooo into buying any of the Bran flavors.  Luckily, I recently bought the last 4 pack of the chocolate flavor at my grocery store, and was instantly hooked!  I found that these little treats were the most perfect guilt-free after dinner/pre bedtime snacks.  When I ran out (which was fast!) I found myself searching the fridge and pantry for something and ending up so disappointed because all I really wanted was a VitaTop!  I decided that buying in bulk was def the smarter, easier, and more economical way to go with the Hungry Girl discount. The package was 4 different chocolate flavors (5 each) and 2 “free” Chocolate VitaHearts for $29.99 w free shipping.  Now I must say the free shipping sold me, so I went ahead and ordered.  Hello deliciousness…

VitaHearts – So cute!

Another successful bulk story…my quinoa!  This grain is going a long way.  In the mix this time around was quinoa, balsamic marinated tofu, LOTS of goat cheese (mmmm), spinach, and a new cherry berry dried fruit blend – it consisted of regular raisins, golden raisins, dried cherries, and craisins.  What a perfect blend of tastes.  This is definitely a combo I’ll return to!

I must run for now!  Dinner with my mom is on the horizon tonight.  We’re trying a rustic restaurant in Pennsylvania tonight which I’ve never been to!  Very excited 🙂

What is your favorite item to make/buy in bulk?!

Hump Day aka Snack Day

22 Apr

I’m not sure if my “day after appetite” is a true physical or just a mental reaction after  a long run.  Like I said, 8.25 miles is a new PR for moi, and I didn’t take in that many more calories than normal during the day.  I have slash am getting better at really listening to my body about when I’m hungry and what it wants.  In the past, I have definitely had issues with eating too much and not eating enough, neither of which is good for anyone, physically and mentally.  So I listened to my body and ate when I was hungry and stopped when I wasn’t, but the calories just did not make it far enough w my revved up metabolism!  I woke up at about 5 am absolutely ravenous.  I laid in bed for a while hoping it would pass and I could just fall asleep, but when an active girl is hungry, you gotta eat!  I sleepwalked my way to the cabinet and pulled out a Kashi granola bar.  These new versions of their granolas are soo delic!  Though the pumpkin isn’t what I want in the springtime, it will be a staple in the fall months.  Next time, I’ll stick to the dark choco coconut ones – seriously, like eating a 120 cal dessert!  Here are the remnants of my mid sleep snacking…

For breakfast I had a solid breakfast cookie (hungry Wednesday Lauren was so happy with night before Lauren) and a coffee, but that just did not hold me over either!  Before noon, I was hungry again, and I just could not tell how hungry…like was I fully-meal hungry, small snack hungry? So I tried an apple…

and trust me that did not work!  So then I tried ww toast w/ PB, which worked for about an hour.  Finally, I realized I just needed lunch!  Today lunch was a ww wrap w/ balsamic marinated tofu (which I made), lots of spreadable goat cheese, dried cherries (great for runner’s joints!), spinach, cabbage, red onions, and some sliced carrots.  I topped it off w more balsamic and some spicy mustard on the side for dipping.

Quite delic!  I have never made this before, but one of the many reasons I love using wraps is the endless amount of weird stuff you can throw in them for a smorgasbord of a meal, all neatly wrapped up for easy eating 🙂

After digesting, I headed to the gym for an easy 4 mile run since my muscles weren’t feeling too ready for another long one.  And actually, I could have gone longer as far as my endurance was concerned, but apparently I did not wait long enough for a full digestion and my stomach was killing me throughout the entire run.  I said that I was allowed to stop at 4 miles and I did immediately!  Next time, I’ll know that after eating that much food before mid-afternoon, digestion will take a little longer than normal.  Tums soon followed my afternoon run.

For dinner, I made Quinoa for the first time.  I have had it before, but I never made it myself, and let’s just say that a little goes a long way when boiling those little suckers.  I have leftovers for a few meals.  In the mix tonight was quinoa, with asparagus, onions, garlic, and tomatoes that were sautéed w some EVOO.  I mixed that all together, threw in more balsamic dressing, and topped w feta!  Cooking the quinoa was the hardest part, and clearly it isn’t hard to “stir occasionally,” the patience is the hard part.  But now that I have this amazing grain base to work with, I’m excited about throwing together fun and easy dinners the rest of the week 🙂

Do you ever find yourself ravenous the next day after longer than normal runs?  How do you satisfy your bottomless appetite?

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

22 Apr

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