Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Why not just use agave?

I heard this question a lot when I was blogging regularly about avoiding sugar. I would often note that I had left out agave in a recipe and people would ask me why. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I just felt like sweetening it with something else kinda defeated the purpose of weaning myself off sugar. However it wasn't until recently that I found an even better explanation.

If you believe the hype, then you probably agree that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) should be avoided. Personally this is what I believe. Now let's take a look at a pro HFCS website:  "High fructose corn syrup is basically the same as sugar—both in terms of composition and in the number of calories they contain." So at it's best, HFCS is just like sugar.

Okay now why are we talking about HFCS again? Oh that's right, because we all agree it's the bad guy. Well, I found a pro agave website (a company that sells the stuff) which states: "...Wholesome's Blue Agave is 75% fructose..." which is typical for agave. The same site also states: "...commercial fructose corn syrups contain either 42% or 55% fructose by weight." Now it also says a bunch of other stuff so feel free to read it for yourself, but I wanted to find biased sites that would put their product in the best light to confirm what I read on this site:

"Because of this concern about the elevated levels of fructose in HFCS, some health food stores will not carry any product that has HFCS in it. Yet on the other hand, they carry a full line of agave syrup products on their shelf and carry many products sweetened with agave syrup. But realize agave syrup has a fructose content of about 70-90% which is way higher (worse) than HFCS.

On the one hand, consumers, especially the health conscious, are avoiding HFCS like the plague because the level of fructose in it is higher (55%) than in regular table sugar/sucrose (50%). They consider the higher level of fructose a problem. The fact that is has a lower GI than table sugar is ignored."

Get where I'm going? If I'm avoiding sugar, and of course I'm avoiding HFCS, then I should definitely avoid agave too! The site linked above has tons of of other info, I found just poking around Facebook one day. I don't need that much convincing but check it out if you do, it's pretty good and seems legit.

So now what? Honey? Stevia? What it boils down to, for me at least, is moderation. I've loosened up the reigns on my sugar ban but only to the point that I'm not being ridiculous and going to extreme lengths to avoid it (and its sweet sisters like agave and honey). And of course I still indulge once in a while when the opportunity presents itself. 




Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm Back!

Okay, actually I've been back for two weeks. I've just been way too busy living life and trying to get to bed early to do any blogging. I think from now on I'll try to blog about once per week to highlight awesome new recipes, restaurants, and products that I come across. Speaking of which, I finally got a chance to make the Sugar-free Snickers Ice Cream recipe I found! Well, technically I started making it and then my amazingly wonderful boyfriend finished it. It was only after starting the recipe that we realized an ice cream maker was needed. Never fear, there's a way around that. But alas, I could not find my hand mixer so my super fantastic boyfriend whisked the ice cream by hand!! Isn't he the best?

Thankfully the ice cream was totally worth his pain and suffering and I've eaten two bowls today (tiny bowls because I'm too impatient to wait for it to defrost enough to scoop). I must admit that while it is free of added sugar, and free of refined sugar, it still does have sweetener via the chocolate chips. Some might not see that as a problem and obviously it didn't stop me from indulging, but I just wanted to put it out there. Ideally I like to avoid sweeteners altogether since they don't exactly keep me from craving the real deal since my body doesn't care if they're sweetened with evaporated cane juice or refined sugar.

But back to the ice cream, seriously, make it, eat it, thank me later!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Blog Break

Okay, this is Saturday's blog but I'm writing it Sunday. This weekend has been jammed packed! Saturday I went to Shape Magazine's Summer Shape Up with Jillian Michaels and got a serious butt kicking (well Jillian would use another word, that girl has a serious potty mouth!). Then I met up with some new friends for acro yoga play time. It was so much fun, I love finding people to practice with since you need at least one partner so I can't do it on my own. And on top of it these girls are super cool and fun to hang out with!

Sunday (today) I asked Mike to teach me to surf. Again. We tried this at least 5 years ago and had very little success but I wasn't working out hardly at all back then and things are slightly different now so I thought I'd give it another shot. I wasn't terribly successful at actually standing up on a wave but I still felt good that I wasn't nearly as frustrated or tired as the first time I tried. I can't wait to try again!

I'm going to take this week off because I'll be traveling and because I just need a break! Even though I don't leave for a few days I am taking the whole week off so I'm not even going to post a blog for today (Sunday). See ya next week!

Breakfast:
Oatmeal, banana

Snack:

Lunch:

Snack:
Banana

Dinner:

Exercise:
Jillian Michaels Body Shred
Acro yoga


Saturday, June 28, 2014

I can't

For some reason this week has been filled with inspiring articles and videos about kids and fitness. Everything from an article about how telling kids they can't do something can actually change their ability to be able to do it, to a video of kids talking about how much they like yoga! And then the week culminated with a really amazing video by Always about what it means to do something "like a girl."

These were all very touching for various reasons but I think the biggest one is realizing how much we are held back and how much it affects us as an adult. I know I find myself saying "I'm not strong enough" or "I can't" very often. I am constantly falling back on my lack of background as an athlete to explain why I can't or might never be able to do something and somehow taking comfort in that. Until the next time I am reminded that I really want to do it!

It's actually kind of crazy if you actually make a conscious effort to stop saying "I can't..." You don't realize how much you say it until you try to stop. Like working on 3-position cleans and doing a full squat each time. I kept wanting to say "I can't squat bellow parallel with a flat back due to my tight hip flexors." While it's true that I have issues with my hips and glutes, my coach remarked that sometimes I did it correctly and sometimes I didn't. He was only correcting me when I didn't do it right so I thought I was doing it wrong every time. But when he mentioned that I did it right sometimes it kinda blew my "I can't" out of the water! I think the truth is "It's uncomfortable and takes too long to do it correctly so I'm sacrificing my form." Put like that I realize that it's not that I can't but that I don't want to put in the effort.

That small shift is kind of amazing though. Suddenly you realize you can do anything if you are willing to put in the effort. And sometimes the effort is quite immense, time consuming, and even painful. But knowing that if you are willing to endure it, you CAN do it, well that changes everything!

Breakfast:
oatmeal, strawberries, banana

Snack:
Feel Good Hearty Granola Bar

Lunch:
Speedy Veggie Noodle Bowl

Snack:
Feel Good Hearty Granola Bar
Apple

Dinner:
All Hale Kale Bowl from Yellow Fever

Exercise:
CrossFit
yoga


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Portions

I don't post my portions because I don't keep track of them. I try to follow the Blue Zones Project Power 9 mantra "Hara hachi bu"which basically means to stop eating when you are 80% full. Well, that's pretty arbitrary actually because how do you know what 80% feels like until you reach 100%? But I get the idea, basically stop eating before you actually feel full. It makes sense to me because I can think of plenty of occasions where I have eaten until I felt full and then 20 minutes or so later I felt like I was going to explode!

But that also doesn't mean that I eat tiny portions. In fact, it takes a large portion of vegetables to get the same number of calories that are in meat. I usually can't eat that much in one sitting so I snack throughout the day and sometimes break my dinner up into two meals an hour or more apart. And speaking of portions, watch this girl eat 51 bananas in ONE DAY! Watch her stomach grow and then shrink back, it's crazy!!

Breakfast:
oatmeal, strawberries, banana

Snack:
Feel Good Hearty Granola Bar

Lunch:
Veggie Wrap with Hummus from Trader Joe's
Antioxidant Warm Quinoa Bowl

Snack:
Nectarine
Baby Carrots
Almonds
Apple
Feel Good Hearty Granola Bar

Dinner:
Raw Lasagna

Exercise:
much needed rest day


Stress eating

I had a stressful day and I'm very prone to stress eating. Thankfully I had plenty of snacks and because of routine, I wasn't tempted by the office snack table. Late in the day my manager very sweetly tried to cheer me up with chocolate so I had one piece. She tried to get me to take more but I declined.

I didn't feel like working out at all after the day I had but I had told some people from church that I would be there so I made myself go. No one showed up but since I was there I ran a mile and did some yoga on the astroturf field. This is my new favorite workout! The run warms me up nicely for yoga. When I ran out of flows I started practicing inversions and arm balances and gave myself some sweet tricep bruises. By the time I was done I had completely forgotten about my day so I'm really glad I stuck it out.

Day 45
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, strawberries, banana

Snack:

Lunch:
Grill Pressed Eggplant Wrap with Spicy Tahini Sauce from Trader Joe's

Snack:
Baby carrots
Chocolate covered macadamia nut
Nectarine
Almonds

Dinner:
Speedy Veggie Noodle Bowl
(subbed Bragg Liquid Aminos for coconut aminos and left the sugar out)

Exercise:
1 mile run
Yoga


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My yoga journey

So yesterday I realized that I first started practicing yoga about 10 years ago! I used a Denise Austin yoga DVD a couple times a week to try to get in shape after gaining weight at my first desk job. I remember how much I despised Denise and her super peppy personality asking me to do crazy hard things and acting like it was no big deal. I actually still have the DVD! Unfortunately I got bored with it after a while since it was the same thing every time. Over the years since then I took an occasional class here and there probably averaging once a month at best. And I wondered why I never got any better!

Then this past October I found myself with some extra time on my hands and a painful foot injury that wouldn't allow me to run or jump. I decided to try upping my yoga sessions to three times a week. Within a few sessions my foot got better (even though it hadn't improved after five weeks of rest) and I was hooked. I can't always take classes three times a week now but I've gotten to the point where I can pretty much make up my own class, which usually devolves into head/handstand practice.

Speaking of which, I think that was the other thing that really got me pumped on yoga. Once I discovered inversions and arm balances, yoga became fun! I had tried crow pose over the years and failed miserably every time, but that was the only arm balance I had ever been exposed to. Certainly no headstands or handstands!

I know you might be thinking "I'm not flexible enough for yoga." But I have news for you, you are the exact person who should do yoga! Yoga isn't for flexible people (well, they can do it too if they want to), it's for people who want to become flexible. Regular yoga practice will increase flexibility which is great for people who sit all day and/or do workouts that make them tight. In fact, it's my cheater way to get my stretching in after a run or CrossFit since I really don't like stretching. Somehow when you call it yoga it becomes more interesting and I tend to spend more time doing it.

Day 44
Breakfast:
oatmeal, strawberries, banana

Snack:
Feel Good Hearty Granola Bar

Lunch:
Spicy Lentil Wrap with Tahini Sauce from Trader Joe's

Snack:
Feel Good Hearty Granola Bar
baby carrots
almonds

Dinner:
Antioxidant Warm Quinoa Bowl
Raw Lasagna

Exercise:
1 mile run
yoga


Monday, June 23, 2014

The magic number

So many people seem to judge progress by the number on the scale. I don't know how I escaped that desire to know how much I weigh. I was exposed to all the usual things. We had a scale in the house and I would always weigh myself when I went to someone else's house and they had a scale. I also distinctly remember my Barbie scale which showed her weight as 110 lbs when she stood on it. I remember learning various metrics for determining what the ideal weight was. Yet somehow I stopped caring about my weight pretty early on. Well, not my weight, but the actual number. I still struggled with body image like everyone else when I was growing up.

I'm not sure if I was just too cheap to buy my own scale when I moved out on my own but I got used to not knowing exactly how much I weighed. I learned to judge my weight based on how my clothes fit. Now I can't imagine worrying about the number. It seems so arbitrary. Haven't you had that experience where you find out what someone weighs and it's a shock? I know I have. So many factors go into how much your body weighs like bone density and muscle mass.

If you are really looking for results to motivate you I think taking measurements is a much better way to track progress. That's basically what using clothes does, just in a less precise way. I have a pair of jeans that I've owned for at least 10 years. At one point they were so tight on me I could barely button them. That was right around the time I started my first desk job and was sitting for 8 hours a day. I'm glad I still have them so I can continue to monitor my weight!

Day 43
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, banana

Lunch:
Raw Lasagna

Dinner:
Antioxidant Warm Quinoa Bowl

Exercise:
Yoga


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bloopers

So apparently I've been making my yoga practice look a little too good in pictures and a little birdie told me that I should post some bloopers. He witnessed me fall out of headstand one too many times and the jig was up. I never realized I was portraying a perfect practice (is there such a thing? it's called a "practice" for a reason!), I just figured no one wanted to see my 100 failed attempts for every 1 good one. But he's right, showing the bloopers is a good idea because I know it helps me when people I look up to show that they make mistakes too. I follow several amazing yogis on Instagram and I think all of them have posted bloopers at one time or another. It's also fun to see what they are working on but haven't mastered yet (my list is a mile long so I won't share that today). Unfortunately I usually delete my bloopers pretty quickly otherwise my phone would fill up every time! So here's just a few of my bloopers, hope it helps!

Day 42
Breakfast:
banana (running late for church, no time for oatmeal)

Lunch:
Vegan Vegetable Sandwich from Chayo Eatery

First Dinner:
Vegetable Wrap from Trader Joe's
Apple

Second Dinner:
Raw Lasagna
Cantaloupe

Exercise:
Acro Yoga Workshop






Saturday, June 21, 2014

First Day of Summer

We are so blessed to have amazing weather pretty much year round but today was a particularly nice day which allowed us to enjoy lots of outdoor activities. First we started the day with yoga on the Santa Monica Pier followed by acroyoga playtime. Then we did a 4 mile hike to check out an abandoned nazi camp. Finally we did the beer mile challenge which I failed miserably. I don't like beer and haven't drank it in about 10 years or longer. But it sounded like a fun challenge and I figured I'd have more fun participating than watching so I gave it a shot. I chose a beer that might taste less beer-y but who am I kidding? They all taste the same to me.

The first beer probably took me close to 10 minutes to drink, it was awful. My first lap felt fine though. Then came the second beer. It seemed to take forever to go down. People finished their 4th lap while I was still drinking! I finally finished it and ran my second lap but I knew there was no way I could manage to fit any more beer in my belly so I called it quits.

It's fun having super active friends because there's always someone to participate in your hairbrained ideas. My hairbrained idea was to cram yoga and a hike in before the beer mile and Freddy's idea was the beer mile! Luckily we both have awesome active friends that played along.

Day 41
Breakfast:
oatmeal, banana

Snack:
Acai Banana Berry Bowl from Nekter Juice Bar
Vanilla Chia Pod
Banana
Maui Brewing Co. Bikini Blonde Lager

Linner:
The Farmers Delight pizza from Grey Block Pizza

Exercise:
Yoga
Hike
Beer Mile (only completed half)


Friday, June 20, 2014

Raw Lasagna

Okay, this week hasn't been the healthiest. When I'm working in the field it's hard to find healthy lunch options and on top of that I had a potluck and a wedding reception in the evening this week! So today I thought I'd start the day off right with my trusty oatmeal. Except I left the water boiling too long and next thing I knew it smelled like burning and I realized I never put oatmeal in the pot! Thankfully I had a couple bars left so I ate those for breakfast and the rest of the day was fairly uneventful.

I try to find recipes that are easy to make during the week but for some reason this Raw Lasagna intrigued me so I bit the bullet when I saw "soak for 4-6 hours." Luckily I worked from home part of the day today so I was able to get the pine nuts and squash going early enough. The rest really wasn't too labor intensive and it's all made in the blender which is great for those of you who don't have a food processor... yet!

I've never been too interested in the raw food movement but something about this caught my attention and I'm glad I tried it. It was really good and very filling! I'd definitely recommend giving a shot, just make sure you pre-plan. Oh and you'll need to provide your email address to access the website but I just unsubscribed from the emails the next day. Enjoy!

Day 40
Breakfast:
Feel Good Hearty Granola Bar

Snack:
Apple

Lunch:
Superfood Salad

Snack:
Apple (ran outta snacks early this week)
Almonds

Dinner:
Raw Lasagna

Exercise:
Yoga
Playing in the ocean


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Crazy day

Well today was tough food wise. I had to eat out for lunch and I had a pot luck! I had Native Foods which sounds healthy but I suspect it's really not. I think a salad would have been my best option but I wasn't able to snack much today so I went with the hearty option. It kept me full a long time!

Tonight was our last bible study for this series at church so we had a potluck. I brought my Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars which were a hit! It also gave me something to eat since most everything had meat. I at a King's Hawaiian roll before I realized there was a veggie pasta and fruit salad I could eat. So overall not a super healthy day and I have no idea if the food I ate had added sugar. I didn't expect to have a cheat day mid-week but I don't think it was too bad.

Day 38
Breakfast:
oatmeal, banana, sliced almonds

Snack:
baby carrots

Lunch:
Twister Wrap from Native Foods

Snack:
Almonds

Potluck:
veggie pasta
fruit salad

Dinner:

Exercise:
rest day


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The best box

I just want to take a minute to say the CrossFit gym (also called a "box") I work out at is the absolute best! CrossFit is everywhere these days and it really doesn't take a whole lot to open up your own affiliate. But I have been so blessed to find one that isn't afraid to try new things and really truly cares about their members. They are so responsive to feedback and keep implementing changes that will make us better. They do such a wonderful job of taking the intimidation factor out of CrossFit and making sure that no matter what level someone is at, they can participate in the whole workout and feel challenged. I could go on and on and maybe I will sometime, but it's late so let me just say that if you are in the South Bay you should definitely check out Torrance CrossFit! They are in the business of changing lives.

Day 37
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, banana, sliced almonds

Snack:

Lunch:
Locals Bowl from Seabirds Kitchen

Snack:
Apple
Almonds

Dinner:

Exercise:
CrossFit


Monday, June 16, 2014

Amazon Fresh

One thing that has helped tremendously with cooking at home so much is Amazon Fresh. You order at night and they typically deliver before sunrise the next morning! You can order other times of day and get deliveries other times of day, but the way it usually works for me is, "Aw man, it's 10pm on Sunday night and I haven't even made a grocery list yet!"

What's amazing is that then instead of staying up for 20 more minutes, creating a grocery list, then wondering when I'll have time to go to the grocery store during the week AND make dinner in the same night... all I do is create my grocery list in Amazon Fresh and my groceries are delivered when I wake up in the morning! This means I can avoid the groceries and making dinner in the same night conundrum.

Now it's not all awesomeness all the time, there is the pesky money issue. It's $300/year which sounds crazy but broken down between two people it works out to $12.50/month which is totally worth it to me. Some of the groceries are more expensive that a traditional grocery store and sometimes things are out of stock, but it's still way faster and easier to swing by the store for 2-3 items than a whole load of groceries. We've been using it for about 2.5 months and I think we've actually saved money by eating out less. What would happen before is I'd have that "Aw man, it's 10pm on Sunday night and I haven't even made a grocery list yet!"moment and end up eating out the entire week. Now I never have to forfeit a whole week!

The produce has been surprisingly good too. Even better than the regular grocery store. You can choose if you want your bananas or avocados to be ripe or unripe and sure enough, they are delivered exactly how you request. No hunting for the perfectly ripe fruit.

So if Amazon Fresh delivers to your area I would definitely recommend the 30-day trial.

Day 36
Breakfast:
oatmeal, almond butter, banana

Snack:
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bites
Baby Carrots

Lunch:
Superfood Salad

Snack:
Homemade Chia Pod
Apple
Almonds

Dinner:
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Exercise:
CrossFit


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Acceptance

Not everyone is super into the way I eat so sometimes it can be hard to find things to eat when I go to family parties. Today I was so happy to see that my uncle set aside spaghetti sauce without meat just for me! It was so delicious I even brought some home to eat for dinner too. I try my best to be flexible and not put people out while still sticking to my livet. But it's just so nice when people make accommodations for me that allow me to enjoy the food everyone else is eating.

Shout out to my dad: Happy Father's Day! And even though he doesn't read my blog, good luck to my brother Dustin on his mission trip to Russia (good luck to you too Annalise)!

Day 35
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, almond butter, banana

Snack:
Homemade Chia Pod
Veggies and hummus

Lunch:
Spaghetti
Super Food Salad
Homemade Happy Cow Salad (idea from Blue Dog Beer Tavern)

Dinner:
Spaghetti

Exercise:
playing with my niece and cousin :-)


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Homemade Chia Pod

Last night I tried to make my own Chia Pod. I added 2.5 cups of coconut milk to 0.5 cup of chia seeds a half cup at a time letting each half cup absorb so I could monitor the consistency. I used Thai Kitchen coconut milk because the only ingredients are coconut milk, water, and guar gum. I also added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of cinnamon. I'd probably increase the vanilla and cinnamon next time. Finally I chopped up one mango and mixed it in. I let it sit in the fridge overnight and in the morning it was pretty hard. I took it with me thinking I'd eat it later in the day but ended up not eating for several hours so it had warmed up to room temperature by that time. It loosened up quite a bit, more so than actual Chia Pods. It tasted okay but not amazing. Mike liked it though. I think I would like it more if it was cold. Also a bit more vanilla and cinnamon. I'll keep monkeying with the recipe but at least it's way cheaper than the original!

Day 34
Breakfast:
oatmeal, banana, almond

Snack:
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bites

Lunch:
Jack Asada Taco & Beer Battered Avo Taco from Seabirds Kitchen

Snack:
Homemade Chia Pod!
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bites

Dinner:
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Exercise:
Handstand Workshop


Friday, June 13, 2014

The secret to strength is joy

"The secret to strength is joy." -Rick Warren

I read this in my devotional today and it really struck me. When I think about how I'm able to stick to a seemingly very restrictive diet I know it's not that I have more motivation than other people. I enjoy the way I eat. I mean that's boiling it down a lot but basically that's it. I don't feel deprived or like I'm doing something I have to do.

The same goes for working out. Years ago I would force myself to spend an hour at 24 Hour Fitness three times a week. I didn't talk to anyone and I didn't challenge myself (or even know how to).

It has been such a blessing to find workouts that I enjoy! Running, yoga, hiking, and CrossFit are things I do with friends or if I'm alone I'm taking in beautiful views. It's easy for me to log five or more workouts in a week because I'm doing things I love. I only take rest days because I'm busy, not because I don't want to work out.

I have definitely done those crazy diets (fruits and veggies for a week!) and I've done miserable workouts but I never stuck with any of it. What gives me strength to eat right and exercise (the "magic secret" to getting/staying in shape) is finding joy in the way I do it!

Day 33
Breakfast:
oatmeal, sliced almonds, blueberries

Snack:
Mango Chia Pod
baby carrots
nectarine

Lunch:
Zucchini Chickpea Tomato Curry (very substantial on its own, no quinoa or other base needed)

Snack:
Blueberry Chia Pod
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bites

Dinner:
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Exercise:
Rest Day


Thursday, June 12, 2014

The new norm

Well it's been more than a month now and I have to say this no added sugar thing is definitely starting to feel like the norm. I think the biggest hurdle has been getting accustomed to making everything all the time. But now that I have a few recipes in the arsenal, especially for snacks, it's become much easier. Plus I've gotten used to having fruits and veggies for snacks. And I've found some good products to get me through those days where I didn't plan correctly.

I don't think I'll ever avoid added sugar 100% but even if I avoid 80-90% that's great! I think that's what has kept me sticking to the plan is I don't get discouraged by slip ups. Even my "cheat meals" are still the best option I can choose given the circumstances. Hopefully this encourages anyone reading this to try something with your diet that seems too tough. Even if you improve your eating choices half the time that's major progress!

Day 32
Breakfast:
oatmeal, almond butter, banana

Snack:
Vanilla Chia Pod

Lunch:
Zucchini Chickpea Tomato Curry with quinoa blend from Costco

Snack:
Nectarine
banana and almond butter

Dinner:
Zucchini Chickpea Tomato Curry with quinoa blend from Costco

Exercise:
CrossFit


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Track your progress

Some progress is easy to track like going from the thickest band to thinnest band for pull-ups. Other progress is a little trickier. Lifting weights is one of those tricky things where if you don't keep track you might not realize you have progressed. And even tracking the numbers isn't always enough, sometimes the progress is going from squatting with a box beneath you to no box and squatting below parallel (seriously my hip mobility is non-existent so that was a huge deal for me).

That's why I love this app called iPR. It's really basic but allows me to track what I need to and has a place for notes so I can mention any modifications I had to make. When I start comparing my numbers to others, it's great to look back and remember how far I've come.



When you click on each lift you can see all the dates, what weight you lifted, and how many reps. I used to record the total reps for a workout (ex. 5 rounds of 12 reps would be recorded as 60) but lately I've been just recording the reps per round (ex. 12) and putting the number of rounds in the notes. This has helped me choose the right weight for workouts based on past performance.


When you click on an individual date you can see the notes where I like to keep track of things like squatting to a box, whether I used a belt, and whether I used oly shoes.


Now I just need to find a better way to keep track of my yoga progress!

Day 31
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, banana, almond butter

Snack:
Mango Chia Pod
Baby carrots
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bite

Lunch:
Veggie Wrap from Vegan Joint

Snack:
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bite
Peach
Apple
Almonds

Dinner:
Zucchini Chickpea Tomato Curry with quinoa blend from Costco

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cheryl jinxed me

Ya girl, I'm calling you out. Today Cheryl said she liked my blog but wondered how I was able to have something to say every day. Well, guess what Cheryl? I am out of ideas!! Hopefully I'll think of something tomorrow.

Day 30
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, banana, almond butter

Snack:
Vanilla Chia Pod
Feel Good Hearty Granola Bar

Lunch:
M Cafe Macro Meal

Snack:
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bites

Dinner:
Quinoa blend (from Costco) with cucumber, bell pepper, carrots, red onion, avocado, kale, lemon, olive oil, and rice vinegar

Exercise:
CrossFit


Monday, June 9, 2014

Let food be thy medicine

Today I was talking to a friend after yoga and commiserating about how much we hate running up hills. She attributed this to her asthma which I suffer from as well. I definitely felt like my lungs were going to explode out of my chest while trying to run up the hills on Saturday but I felt like that just means I need to train more. I stopped using my inhaler when my doctor asked me to use two different ones and take each multiple times per day, every day. I have the same experience exercising whether I take the inhaler or not so I figured I wasn't going to pump chemicals into my lungs for no reason.

My friend mentioned a friend of hers who had cut out preservatives from his diet and nearly cured his asthma. This sounded extreme to me but then I remembered how most people probably view the way I eat. I mulled over what I normally eat and don't think I eat too many things with preservatives, but I guess I've never really paid attention. Could this be yet another thing to add on to my list of avoidances? I'm going to let her try it first and see if she sees any improvement.

Day 29
Breakfast:
Feel Good Hearty Granola Bar
Mango Chia Pod (so yummy!)

Snack:
Peach
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bite

Lunch:
Pasta Primavera (ate as soup)
Feel Good Hearty Granola Bar

Snack:
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bite

Dinner:
Quinoa blend (from Costco) with cucumber, bell pepper, carrots, red onion, avocado, kale, lemon, olive oil, and rice vinegar

Exercise:
Yoga
Crossfit


Sunday, June 8, 2014

My first mud run

Okay not exactly my first, I did do the Zombie Run 5k about a year and a half ago but the obstacles weren't very difficult and it was very different since there was a lot of sprinting (to get away from zombies) which meant a lot of walking to recover. Yesterday I did the World Famous Mud Run and chose the 10k option.  I signed up and ran with a group of friends who are in great shape and put my running ability to shame. I'm used to finishing last in our crossfit classes but since I consider myself a runner I thought I'd be able to hold my own on the running portion of the race.

Boy was I wrong! Each time we approached a hill I watched hopelessly as the pack pulled away from me as I began to walk. Hills are so difficult for me and I just can't manage to run up them. Thankfully my friends waited for me to catch up each time they pulled away but it was really frustrating that I couldn't manage to keep up with them.

At first I tried to account for why they were so much better than me. I reasoned that they must have played sports as kids so they had an advantage that I would never be able to match. But then I came to the realization that I was doing pretty awesome. I remembered a quote I had read a while back: "A flower doesn't think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms." It's so easy to compare ourselves to others, especially in this situation where we were all running as a group. But success is relative and my "bad" is someone else's "great." I have to remember where I came from and realize that just completing the race is an accomplishment. All I can do is take Freddy's advice and keep running up hills until I get better!

Day 28
Snack:
Feel Good Hearty Granola Bar

Brunch:
Baby Kale Salad (no cheese) from The Rockefeller
Curried Sweet Potato Bombs from The Rockefeller

Snack:
Banana Chia Pod (delicious and surprisingly filling!)
Mixed Nuts
Tortilla Chips

Dinner:
Pasta Primavera with Udon Noodles

Dessert:
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bite

Exercise:
Rest Day


New Discovery: Chia Pod

As we were leaving Whole Foods we saw a big banner advertising Chia Pods. The ingredients were very simple: chia seeds, coconut milk, and fruit. Sounded right up my alley! We grabbed mango, blueberry, vanilla, and banana and sure enough, right on the package it says vegan and no sugar added. Did they make these just for me??

Chia seeds have been popular for a while, especially in the running community, for their health benefits. I figured this would make a great pre-run snack for my 10k mud run. When you get chia seeds wet they have a similar consistency to tapioca so they are great for making pudding. I ate the vanilla Chia Pod and it was delicious! I also tried Mike's blueberry which was really good too. They are a little pricey for what they are, but worth the convenience if you are short on time. I'll definitely be looking into making something similar on my own!

Day 27
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, banana, almond butter

Snack:
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bites

Lunch:
Grilled Vegetable Panini with avocado salad from Panini Cafe (no cheese, no onions)

Snack:
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bites

Dinner:
Leftover lunch

Dessert:
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bites

Exercise:
World Famous Mud Run at Camp Pendleton


Friday, June 6, 2014

Don't believe everything you read

Today I saw a Facebook link posted and the description was "Science flip-flop: Now we shouldn't strive for colorful vegetables? See doctor's latest advice here…" Total click-bait which is my biggest pet peeve and I usually refuse to click them out of principle, however I had a feeling that the tagline was misleading and wanted to see the data for myself so I clicked through. Sure enough, the article stated, "The absolute quantity of fruit and vegetable intake, but not the variety, was associated with a significantly lower risk of CHD." (I assume CHD is coronary heart disease.) So the article is basically saying eat as many fruits and veggies as you can while the description would not indicate that at all. It really frustrated me to see something like that because many people won't click through and just assume colorful vegetables aren't important, whether they are getting enough in the first place or not.

There is so much misinformation out there and you can usually find a study to support whatever hair-brained idea you come up with. I tend to take the approach of keeping it simple. This has made the way I eat so much easier, I actually really don't have to think about it very much at all. I don't count calories or carbs or do any math (even though I love math!!). I don't monitor my portions or what time of day or night I eat. I just try my best to eat plant-based whole foods and it's been working for me for the past few years. I do try to stop eating when I'm satisfied, not stuffed. But what I'm saying is by eating this way it makes my decisions really easy and I don't get caught up in minutia.

You might be thinking, "hey, subbing out worcestershire sauce due to the added sugar seems like minutia to me." Okay ya, maybe you're right. But this whole sugar thing is very recent and the only reason I'm able to layer it onto my existing livet is because I'm willing to think a little harder about what I eat. I'm willing to put in a little more effort.

Now that said, you'll see below that tonight was definitely a cheat meal! But I skipped dessert which is really big for me!

Day 26
Breakfast:
oatmeal, banana

Snack
Nakd Apple Protein Crunch Bar
Nakd Cocoa Crunch Bar

Lunch:
Pasta Primavera with brown rice (the eggplant noodles ran out last night)

Snack:
Plum

Dinner:
Chips and guacamole from Dia de Campo
Crispy Brussel Sprout Nachos from Dia de Campo
Tostada from Dia de Campo
Margarita from Dia de Campo

Exercise:
Active rest day - 2 mile walk


Nakd Review Part 2

Today I realized I was running out of Nakd bars that were "soya crunchies" free. I have been eating these bars a lot this week because I didn't have time to make my own and they have been a lifesaver! However I was trying to avoid the "soya crunchies" which are contained in all the "crunch" bars. I will never starve myself intentionally so I grabbed two bars for my morning snack on the go. When it came time to eat the crunch bar, I realized the package actually does list what is included in the soya crunchies: soya (soybean), tapioca starch, and salt. Tapioca starch totally sounds like one of those added sugar in disguise type ingredients so I looked it up and as far as I can tell that is not the case. I'm not a big fan of soy and try not to get too much in my livet, but I really haven't been getting much of it lately so I didn't feel too bad taking that in. And finally salt, I am prone to under-salting and since most of my food doesn't contain it I figured a little wouldn't hurt.

I ate the Nakd Banana Protein Crunch Bar which was okay but the flavor was kind of odd. However I had finally convinced myself that I could eat the rest of the bars without feeling guilty. When I checked my email at lunch, I saw that Nakd had finally responded! What timing!!

The protein crispies are manufactured by cooker extrusion, and hot air dried to a stable moisture content. They are made using soya protein isolate (non-GMO), tapioca starch and salt.”

They also offered to send me a sampler pack! Hey I'm getting low so why not? Later in the day I tried the Nakd Strawberry Crunch Bar (yes, I had 3 bars today - my lunch really wasn't filling enough) and it was sooooo delicious! I'm starting to see the value in paying full price for a few of my favorite flavors to keep on hand for emergencies.

Day 25
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, banana

Snack:
Nakd Banana Protein Crunch Bar (not very good, very unusual flavor)

Lunch:
Salad (lettuce, hemp seeds, carrots, bell pepper, oil, rice vinegar, avocado)
Nectarine

Snack:
Nakd Strawberry Crunch Bar (amazing!)
Apple
Almonds
Cantaloupe

Dinner:

Exercise:
Yoga


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Nothing comes easy

Today is National Running Day so even though Wednesdays are usually a rest day for me, I went for a run with my friend Freddy. Not just a run, a trail run! This means lots of hills which are very hard for me. I asked Freddy how he got so good at running up hills and he said there is no secret, you just have to do it a lot. Then we came upon a sign someone spray painted that said "The elevator to success is closed, you'll have to take the stairs." Such a great reminder. It's so easy to look at what other people can do and think, "why can't I do that?" It's easy to forget that they put in a lot of work to get there!

Day 24
Breakfast:
oatmeal, banana

Snack:
Nakd Cashew Cookie Bar (good)
Nakd Cocoa Delight (really good)

Lunch:
Snap Pea and Cherry Salad from Milo and Olive

Snack:
Apple
Almonds

Dinner:
Winter Vegetable Stir Fry

Exercise:
trail run


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Where do you find recipes?

Seriously, I'm asking! I have some favorites I'll list but please tell me yours. I need some new recipes!

http://ohsheglows.com/
http://thugkitchen.com/
http://keepinitkind.com/
http://avegankitchen.wordpress.com/
http://almostrawvegan.com/

Day 23
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, sliced almonds, dried cherries

Snack:
Nakd Ginger Bread Bar (much better than anticipated)
Nakd Cocoa Delight Bar (really good)

Lunch:

Snack:
Apple
Baby Carrots

Dinner:
Winter Vegetable Stir Fry (subbed Bragg liquid aminos for soy sauce and used fresh squeezed OJ)

Exercise:
CrossFit

We did thrusters today. This is my thruster face. I really don't like them.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Recipe Reviews

I haven't got around to this yet. Last week I made the Carrot Cake Bites recommended by my BFF. They are not very solid and have a pureed pumpkin kind of consistency. The taste grew on me but I'm not sure they are worth the messiness. I do like that they have veggies rather than fruit so I'm sure I'll make them again. I also made the Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars which I highly recommend! They are really filling and delicious. I'm still figuring out how to store them because they get kinda moist from the dried cherries, but it's hardly an issue.

Day 22
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, almond slivers, dried cherries, hemp seed

Snack:
Nakd Cocoa Orange (delicious)
Nakd Pecan Pie Bar (just okay)
Baby carrots

Lunch:
Hummus Wrap with Roasted Red Pepper from Whole Foods
Pineapple and blueberries

Snack:
Nectarine
Apple

Dinner:
Green Powerhouse Pesto Plate

Exercise:
CrossFit


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Week 3 Complete

Well depending who you ask, "they" say it takes 21 days to form a habit. I have to say that avoiding added sugar feels less like a habit and more like what I was supposed to be doing all along. I don't think I feel much different but I definitely feel more conscious of what I'm eating in general as well as how much sugar I'm taking in. Nevertheless, it still comes with plenty of challenges, particularly when eating out. I feel like a big pain if I ask about the ingredients in what I order. It's just easier not to eat out. Except that sometimes you can't avoid it. Or sometimes you have a perfect Sunday morning that just screams for after church brunch even though you don't really have to. Either way, I just try to order the healthiest option and hope for the best.

Day 21
Snack:
Carrot Cake Bites

Brunch:
Chia Seed Pudding from The Source
Sprouted Wheat Bagel with Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese from The Source

Lunch:
Vegan Fajitas with Lentil Walnut Meat

Dinner:
Green Powerhouse Pesto Plate (subbed black beans for lentils cuz seriously, way too many lentils lately!)

Exercise:
Yoga



Motivation

I have so many people tell me they can't eat like I do because they love food. Like they think I am special and don't have taste buds or something. Well, I am here to tell you something: I love food too! I totally appreciate a delicious meal or tasty desert and savor every bite. But I also love being able to run long distances, lift heavy weights, and contort my body into various yoga poses. I also really really love hiking!

I'm not saying you can't do these things unless you eat healthy, but think of how much better you could do if you treated food as fuel. I only got into running seriously about five years ago and before that I hardly did anything that resembled a workout. I actually despised running in high school and refused to do it. I blamed my asthma but it really didn't hinder me to the extent I made it out to. What I'm saying is I started from nothing. I don't have an athletic background. So for me to be able to do the things I do I find it very important to fuel my body the best way I can.

It's definitely possible to eat a poor diet and have an active lifestyle. But for me, my main motivation in eating the way I do is so I can run, lift, yoga, and climb as much as I want to. It didn't start that way. When I think back to when I first got into running, it was because I had gotten my first "real" job and had gained weight. My pants were too tight and I knew I had to make a change. I would walk 4 miles before work every morning and thought, "if only I could run, I wouldn't have to get up as early because it wouldn't take so long."

So I started Couch to 5k which got me to be able to run 3 miles without stopping. I coasted on that for a while, running very sporadically. Then I signed up for a 10k and caught the race bug and eventually ran a marathon. For a while I had the "I workout so I can eat whatever I want" attitude. Until about halfway through training for my first marathon when I realized I had gained weight! I was running more than I ever had in my life and I had gained weight!! It was around that same time I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives which talked about diet from a health perspective. It quoted Hippocrates, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” and other philosophers that have been saying the same thing all along. Food is fuel.

Once I looked at it that way, my choices got much easier. There's always room for improvement and I don't think any one diet is one-size-fits-all. But I think there are small easy tweaks we can all make because not every meal or snack is so amazing that you just can't pass it up. If you save the splurges for the food that is truly worthy of splurging on, then you can make healthy choices the rest of the time.

Day 20
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, banana

Snack:

Lunch: 
Vegan apple sage sausage from Congregation Ale House
Sweet potato fries from Congregation Ale House

Snack:
Apple

Dinner:

Exercise:
Hiking (12+ miles, 4,000 ft elevation gain)


Friday, May 30, 2014

Change of plans

The plan was to eat leftovers from last night for dinner tonight and hit the beach for some yoga, but we unexpectedly had family passing through town so we met up at my favorite Mexican restaurant which happens to have an extensive vegan menu! I've been trying not to eat out much because it's so hard to know what's in the food and I hate asking, but sometimes it's necessary and we had such a great time. I gotta get to bed so I can wake up early tomorrow but trust me Cilantro Grill deserves a full write up on how amazing the food is (vegan and non-vegan) and how fantastic the service is. It's like being at someone's house who cooks totally authentic Mexican food!

Day 19
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, homemade almond butter, banana

Snack:

Lunch:
Salad from Orange Tree Cafe

Snack:
Nakd Berry Delight Bar (delicious!)

Dinner:
Veggie burrito from Cilantro Grill
1/8 vegan water rose and pistachio cupcake from Cilantro Grill

Exercise:
Rest day



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Product review: Nakd

My best friend sent me a link to get a sample pack of these Nakd bars for $10 shipped. I scrutinized the website and saw things like "whole food" and "no added sugar" so I figured it was worth the money to at least try them.

It came with 13 bars plus 2 bonus bars but they are quite small so the price is on par for the size. The names, like "Rhubarb and Custard," are fairly ambitious but I like the concept of a handful of ingredients that I can pronounce or even go buy myself. I tried the Rhubarb & Custard which contains dates, cashews, raisins, and "a hint of natural flavours." I usually steer clear of "natural flavors" since they can be pretty much anything including animal products, but they explain on their site what is included so it doesn't bother me. It was fine, kinda boring and not super filling but not objectionable.

Later I tried Cocoa Mint which contains dates, cashews, raisins, (starting to see a theme here?) cocoa, and "a hint of natural mint & chocolate flavouring." I was surprised how good this one was after the earlier bar! I love mint and one thing I really miss is chewing gum but this really hit the spot on my mint craving! I like chocolate but I'm not a die hard fan so I can't say if this will satisfy your chocolate craving. I didn't find the taste super chocolatey but I got what they were going for.

One thing I thought was weird was that 4 out of the 14 bars had "soya crunchies" as an ingredient. Through some internet sleuthing I was able to deduce that "soya" is the UK term for soybeans but I still don't know what makes them crunchy. I shot the Nakd folks an email so hopefully I'll find out soon. In general I try not to get too much soy since it's so prevalent, especially in a vegetarian diet. Most of the bars do not contain soya crunchies so that's not a deal breaker or anything.

I find it interesting that the package says "1 of your 5 a day." I mean not only is that expensive but there's 18 grams of sugar in one bar (naturally occurring sugar, but still). I think these are a great option for when you need something quick and/or the convenience of a package, but eating 5 daily seems over the top.

Overall I would recommend them to have around for emergencies. Making your own is always best and I'm sure cheaper but sometimes that's just not feasible so these are a great option. The sample box is only $10 til 5/31 (this Saturday) so order NOW if this sounds like something you'd be into.

Day 18
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, homemade almond butter, banana

Snack:
Carrot Cake Bites

Lunch:
Superfood Salad

Snack:
Nakd Cocoa Mint
Apple

Dinner:
Vegan Fajitas with Lentil Walnut Meat (I subbed Bragg Liquid Aminos for the vegan worcestershire because it had added sugar)

Exercise:
CrossFit


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Whole Sugar

Today was really busy and I ended up working through lunch. This wouldn't be an issue except I didn't bring lunch today so I had to rely on my snacks to get through the day. Luckily I brought 3 granola bars instead of the 2 I normally would have.

I coasted on fumes through the last few minutes of my day and drove straight to Whole Foods after work to grab a quick bite for the commute home. I was planning to get one of my favorites: cucumber and avocado sushi! This is one of my go-tos and I've read the ingredients many times before. I never looked for sugar in the past so I decided to read the ingredients again and was disappointed to see fructose and brown sugar. Next I grabbed a veggie sandwich and checked the ingredients. Fructose. Finally I picked up the hummus wrap with stuffed grape leaves...success!! What a bummer though that so many foods have added sugar! It's already hard to find quick healthy food on the go but now it'll be even harder. Guess I just have more motivation to cook at home! Click HERE for a really interesting video on that very topic.

Day 17
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, homemade almond butter 

Snack:
Baby carrots
Apple

Laaaate lunch:
Hummus wrap with stuffed grape leaves from Whole Foods

Dinner:
Superfood Salad (This is really really good, don't let the term "salad" make you think it won't be filling. There's not even any lettuce in it!)

Exercise:
Rest day


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sleep is important

I wanted to write a lot today but it's not coming out and I have a goal to get to bed by 10 on work nights (which I'm not succeeding at right now) so take a few minutes to watch this video. It hits on what I was planning to write about. CLICK HERE

Day16
Breakfast:
oatmeal, homemade almond butter

Snack:
Carrot Cake Bites (thanks Liz!!)

Lunch:
High Protein Salad from The Vegan Joint

Snack:
baby carrots
Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars
apple

Dinner:
Superfood Salad

Exercise:
CrossFit
1/2 mile run (forgot my running shoes and didn't want to do a whole mile in my brand new CrossFit shoes for fear of injury)


Monday, May 26, 2014

Progress

Last July I found Torrance CrossFit and even though I had two marathons under my belt and was doing barre workouts 4-5 times per week, I was incredibly humbled. I quickly realized that not only could I not do a pull-up, but I needed two of the thickest bands they had to be able to get enough assistance to do one. The bands are like rubber bands (but really really thick and really really long) that you wrap around the pull up bar and step into. It kinda sling-shots you up so you don't have to pull as much.

Well here we are not quite a year later and I have moved down from the green/purple band combo to one band. And that band is black! Black is one of the thinnest bands, well it was the thinnest band until a few months ago when we got lavender which is basically floss. Either way, I did 50 pull-ups today with the black band and I feel really good about it! I remember when I would look at the girls who used the black band and think I would never be able to do that. Now those girls use no bands and I still look at them thinking I'll never get there, but then I remember how far they have come and how far I have come so I think that I will get there one day!

Day 15
Breakfast:
oatmeal, homemade almond butter

Snack:
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bites

Lunch:
Noodle/lettuce/tofu bowl from Yellow Fever

Snack:
Key Lime Coconut Energy Bites
Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars

Dinner:
Jackfruit Tacos

Exercise:
"Murph Lite"
1 mile run
50 pull-ups (with band)
100 push ups (on knees)
150 squats
1 mile run


Two weeks in

Well my first two weeks are done and I think it's gone pretty well. I have definitely made better choices and been smarter when I "cheat." It's been hard at times, like today when I ate salad for lunch and dinner. But guess what? I survived! (I also ate second dinner when I got home.)

The most important thing in all this has been planning ahead. It's a lot of work to not only look up recipes and make a grocery list, but also make the food including snacks. However I must say it came in very handy this weekend when I was able to eat pretty healthy despite being away from home.

Day 14
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, banana

Lunch:
Salad, bread at Urban Plates

Snack:

Dinner:

Exercise:
Rest day


Saturday, May 24, 2014

It's Regionals!

Our hotel is awesome! We are staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Carlsbad and they have free hot breakfast! They also have a teeny tiny gym which had just enough to get a good workout this morning! 

I never set planned to have cheat days but so far they have managed to work their way in. I try not to turn it into a whole day of bad decisions and still attempt to eat healthy where possible.

On this trip we have used the phrase "It's Regionals!" to explain away all kinds of things (similar to "It's Vegas!" but with a CrossFit spin). Which is why when one of my favorite desserts ever showed up, I decided to partake. I had been careful to avoid the brownie brittle, chocolate chip cookies, and other (many many other) dessert options so when I heard there were caramel Drumsticks available I didn't feel bad having one. And it was delicious!

Day 13
Breakfast:
Oatmeal, banana
Granola bar (see yesterday for recipe link)

Snack:
Granola bar
Margarita

Lunch:
Sweet potato
Roasted veggies

Snack:
Chips, guacamole
Corn salsa cream cheese, crackers
Olive tapenade, crackers

Dinner:
Salad, potatoes, asparagus 
Caramel Drumstick

Exercise:
5 min run
4 rounds of - 
5 dumbell deadlifts
5 dumbell squat cleans
5 dumbell push press
yoga