Monthly Archive: January 2010

Food prep (aka AAAA part 3)

Work dayyyy…

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Big salad, small salad, Iced Oatmeal Raisin Luna bar, Honey Graham Z bar, Tazo chai tea, and 2 apples (gala and pinata)

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So yeah.  Moving on to the last of the AAAA (refer back to part 1 & part 2 if you missed it)…

3.  The last issue I want to tackle relates to my days off.  I cut myself MAJOR slack on work days (probably more than I should).  But let’s face it, completing a 12 hour shift shouldn’t equate to a get-out-of-jail-free card.  It’s not brain surgery (it’s heart surgery – ha!).  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about trying to hit up the gym after my work days – I’m a huge advocate of giving your body rest.  It took me a long time to recognize how damaging the stress of both work and exercising was on my body, so I am not proposing work-outs after long days on my feet in the hospital.  What I have to do is remember that having an exhausting day is not an excuse to abandon my healthy lifestyle.  On days I work (and days off too, to some extent) most of my snack-type eats aren’t photographed because I eat them in a hurry, or on the go, or while I’m cooking (you get the point…), and so what you guys don’t see are often several meals worth of non-meal food that I just pretend doesn’t exist.  Additionally, I often have seconds or thirds of my meals and don’t bother taking pictures because, well, I just took a photo of the first plate.  Now, it’s not the quantity that bothers me but the QUALITY.  I have a good metabolism and I have come to terms with the fact that my portions are larger than life, but I don’t want to eat an entire bag of pretzels because I am lazy and call that my first course.  It’s fine every once in a while, but I feel SO much better (it’s very noticeable) when I eat good, wholesome, clean food.  So.  Given all that, I am ready to get my act together.  This means back to meal prepping in advance (I used to be so good about this but somehow it just fell by the wayside).  Chopping veggies for the entire week ahead of time (you can’t be lazy when everything is already done for you), and having food on hand that is ready to eat in the moment. 

I have already re-started this and am proud to say, so far, so good.

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I came home from work hungry, and was thrilled to have everything at my fingertips to make a nice (relatively gourmet) dinner.

More on that later though…now I’m off to bed :)

Muscle memory (aka AAAA part 2)

An Anti-Atrophy Agenda that is…(if you missed part one, or the OG dilemma, click away).  Otherwise, I’ll just continue where I last left off… 

2.  As per several of your comments, I am going to be travelling outside my comfort zone and giving group classes a shot.  Because I am a wuss, the only ones I have ever done are spinning [which I love(d)].  I don’t know how I fell off the wagon with those…  Anyways, since I am working on diversifying my exercise, I think classes are the way to go.  To start out, I’m going to set small goals for myself.  Three classes in February.  That’s all.  Imposing a set number of classes may seem forced, but I know myself, and if I don’t quantify it or put it in writing, it won’t happen.  I’m hoping this will break the ice and I will prove to myself that looking like a fool in front of others isn’t so scary after all. 

Aside from spinning, I’d like to try yoga/pilates and some sort of kickboxing/cardio class (that doesn’t involve complicated steps or memorizing routines).  I’m not a cheerleader or a dancer for several reasons, and my lack of coordination is only the tip of the iceberg.  Want proof?  After a few weeks of ballet when I was 5 years old, I was kicked out kindly shown the door.  Apparently, the instructor couldn’t recognize my (very) raw talent at such a young age.  HA!  Oh well, what could be seen as a tragic loss to the ballet world turned into a gain for the soccer community ;) 

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Moving on.  I finally learned how to “cast on” (and don’t worry about not-so-beautiful tan yarn, it’s just a practice skein).  HAHA, I sound like such a grandma, I can only imagine the search prompts that I’m going to get now…oh well, at least I don’t live alone with 50 cats, right?

The rest of the day was fairly tradish. 

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Tazo chai tea with a dollop of coconut milk and agave syrup (instead of stevia) and a PINATA.  Yup, I found a new kind of apple!  This tasted like a cross between a pink lady and a gala.  Me likey :)

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The new caramel flavored Oikos greek yogurt tastes JUST like caramel.  It’s insanely sweet (in a good way), although I can see how others may be turned off by it.  The ratio of caramel to greek yog was maybe a touch heavy on the caramel end, but my sweet tooth was quite pleased with the proportion.  Wow.  I am going to be buying these again for sure.

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I putzed the afternoon away, knitting, zoning out to the tv, smoothie slurping, etc.  Who knows why I thought a frozen drink would be the smart move when it’s barely over 20 degrees, but it’s what my tummy wanted.

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Are Larabars shrinking?

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After the above Cinnamon Roll Larabar (which has a pretty legit resemblance to a cinnamon roll for being just nuts and dried fruit), I went to the gym and had a mini health assessment thingy (yes, that’s the official title) with a personal trainer.  It was not an intended session, but it was free and I figured why not?  If nothing else at least now I know where I’m starting from in my whole AAAA.  I gotta be honest though, it’s been a while since I’ve stepped foot on a scale, and now I know why.  Numbers play with your head.  You can be a totally healthy secure person, and BAM!, tell me my weight and percentage body fat, and it’s like, suddenly I care.  Anyways, that lasted all of 5 minutes, then I remembered that in my head I have the endurance of Lance Armstrong and that’s really all that matters.  It’s my head, so don’t burst my bubble please.

Anyways, I was especially pleased that I wasn’t remotely sore after yesterday’s exercise-athon.  Just goes to show you, muscle memory is the real deal (although stretching doesn’t hurt either)!

After a decent gym effort I came home and threw together a salad with the help of Gardein’s meat-free seasoned bites.

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The stats can be seen here in detail, but note there are NO artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. 

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Similar to the last Gardein product I tried, this came in a bag and looked (I hate to say it) kinda vomy. 

It’s never very settling to see something you are about to eat mashed up in a see-through plastic bag covered in a sketchy appearing marinade.  Attention Gardein peeps – you may want to work on your packaging?!  Still, I decided I would give it a shot…but unlike last time’s solo feature, this time I was giving it a go atop a salad.

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In the salad: assorted spring lettuce, steamed broccoli, & red bell peppers.

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And then…the newbie…Gardein seasoned bites!!

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PROS:  I said it before, I’ll say it again, these products are easy peasy.  The ingredients are decent and free of shady crap, although they are fairly long (something I try to avoid in my food).

CONS:  What the eff does “seasoned bites” even mean?  It seems a fairly vague name…and upon closer examination, the marinade has a smorgasbord of herbs, which makes me wonder if the hyper-spicing was the result of the company’s indecision or if the non-meat is just way bland without it.  Similar to the other Gardein product I tried, I had a bit of an issue with the consistency of the bites.  Again, they were too mushy and didn’t resemble any food I have ever had before.

The bottom line, though, is that for a ready-made vegan dish, this is pretty much the cream of the crop.  And I do think it’s a great alternative to meat and perfect for someone trying to start a veg lifestyle.  Personally, though, I don’t think I will be buying many more of Gardein’s products.  They are $$$ and I prefer less packaging and fewer ingredients.

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I still have half the package left, so expect to see them again…most likely in a salad where the odd texture can be easily masked with the fresh crunch of veggies.

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Can’t get enough of these smoothies! 

An anti-atrophy agenda (part 1)

After I started writing, I realized I had more to say than I thought, so it’s gonna be a three part plan (stay tuned).  For now, let’s talk about my tapeworm insatiable appetite.  For the life of me, I couldn’t get my hunger in check the other morning.

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“Nature is a giver, a true friend and a sustainer.”  The same can be said about Justin’s nutbutter.  On the english muffin was the “classic” almond butter, and DANG, was it tasty.  This is by far my favorite kind of nut butter.  I never thought the day would come when I would sell out on my loyal and true peanut butter, but I have to admit, this is THE best nutbutter.  Period.  Rumor has it they are sold in whole jars (as opposed to the little packets), so I’m gonna need to find some stat.  Since I was up at 7 (who knows why), I had two cups of coffee with breakfast, and still my stomach was growling by 11. 

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I was supposed to meet Kyle and a friend for lunch, so I didn’t wanna ruin my appetite, but something had to be done to quiet the beast in my tum.  Enter Blueberry Crisp Clif bar.

Went. Right. Through. Me.

At this point I was annoyed and concerned (dilemma!).  I was still abnormally hungry (given the amount I had just eaten), and yet I was supposed to be going to lunch in less than an hour.  Ordinarily, I’d just suck it up and arrive for lunch with my stomach growling, but it was starting to get painful.  At this point concern set in since my (already fussy) stomach was beginning to act up…and there’s nothing worse than having a fussy GI tract before a lunch date. 

Can’t a girl get something with some staying power?

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You may think it’s odd that I turned to greek yogurt in a state of inner turmoil, but I know my digestive tract really well and greek yogurt + pumpkin + cinn settled my stomach down before heading out.

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Since you are ALWAYS asking for outfit pics, this one’s for you Ethel!!  And yes, those a wine bottles on the floor – don’t ask.

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For lunch I got a mortar full of guacamole with an entire tree’s worth of avocado.  It was glorious.  I polished off every tortilla they gave me and then had my way with the chips.  Sadly, I barely made it home as my rebellious stomach was, yet again, giving me grief.  Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason.  IBS should stand for It’s Bull Sh!t.

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After lounging on the couch with a Housewives marathon (giving both my stomach and my brain a rest), I decided to make something nice and benign…a super thick peach smoothie.  I used so much xanthan gum this was like legit ice cream texture.  Naturally I took a pic of my smoothie ‘stach to send to Janetha.  Then I scooped it into a bowl and dug in.

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Skrumpsh.

Now.  Let’s get to the real stuff.  Remember the other day when I said I was working on a game plan for February (an anti-atrophy agenda, if you will)?  Well, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to put my Type-A skills to good use. 

Yup, it’s a Trapper Keeper!!  (Can you tell I like pink?)

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Filled with all my deepest darkest secrets planned runs, classes, and anything else that I have on my fitness agenda.  I made the cover collage to represent the countdown until I walk down the aisle.  It’s 7 months away now, so I think that should be motivating enough, but (since I’m fairly dense and need constant reminders) I put a gorgeous wedding cake with a running shoe on the front cover…two things that are sure fire to light a fire under my a$$. 

I also have a few other tricks up my sleeve notebook.

1.  Since running is what I love, I know signing up for races is one of the easiest ways to get me pumped.  So far I have signed up for two races, one is a 4M in February (just to get the kinks worked out), and the other is a 1/2 marathon in April (to keep me excited about training).  I’m all about goals.  I love working towards something with a fixed end point (hence my love with running races).  Is there any feeling better than crossing a finish line? 

Coincidentally, the 1/2 marathon I entered in April is the same one I did last year (and was also my FIRST half ever).  I guess I should try to beat my time from 2009, huh?

Anyways, in the interest of putting my best foot forward, I went to the gym and powered through 10 miles on the spin bike, followed by 5 miles on the elliptical.  I owe it all to this mix.  Seriously, if you need good upbeat workout music, go to that link and download away.  I’m super picky about my gym music and I was in the zone for over an hour of cardio without looking at the clock once.  As an aside, the DJ who put the mix together happens to be our wedding DJ (and a friend of Kyle’s).

For dinner, I made a monster salad. 

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San-J Sweet & Tangy Polynesian sauce drizzled over romaine lettuce, green bell peppers, cukes, and chopped up Health is Wealth chik’n nuggets.

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Saucy like Gaga.  It was a Monster Ball in my mouth. 

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Did you think I would go a day without hummus?  Think again friends.

I had 3 apples for dessert.  No photos :(

Home-made soynut butter

I’m poor and nut-butters are pricey, so why not?

Turns out, it really isn’t that hard to make. 

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Ingredients

  • soynuts
  • water
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt*
  • agave nectar*

*optional (I used both)

First, soak the nuts in water so they absorb the moisture (fill the water level to just above the nuts).  It doesn’t take too long and after a few minutes, they should have soaked up much of the water. 

After a few minutes add a bit more water until it’s higher above the nuts again.

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Then, transfer to blender (I used my Magic Bullet so it was all set to go) and start blend blend blending away.  After a few pulses, add in the EVOO.

Keep adding water slowly, until it’s the consistency you want (I prefer my nut-butters creamy smooth, but maybe you’re more of a chunky person).

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If you like your nut-butter sweet, add in a tbsp of agave nectar.  It’s not overly sugary and adds just a subtle sweetness.  Also, you may want to add salt, depending on whether or not your soynuts were salted to start. 

Then scoop and enjoy…

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With apples…

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With bread and jam…

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With oat bran…

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:)

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Now isn’t that gorgeous?  Simple to make, versatile, AND it cost next to nothing.

Seriously, everyone, try it. 

Atrophy

My goodness! 

I feel like I’m losing muscle and my body is turning into blah by the day…I don’t know what happened to my motivation, but somehow I have managed to avoid physical activity for nearly two weeks.  Unfortunately, I can feel it in my tone and general fitness.  Even MORE unfortunate is how little I seem to care.  Ok, that’s inaccurate, I definitely care.  I just am too tired and unmotivated on my days off to take action.  No worries, I have a plan. 

But first, my past few days of work eats.

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Clif bar, Odwalla bar, apple, salad x 2

MUST.GO.GROCERY.SHOPPING.NOW.  How does the fridge get empty so quickly?!  Where does it all go? [insert obvious answer here]  Since I was operating with minimal options, I got a bit creative, and filled in the gaps in my lunch at a local health foods store on my lunch break.  (So add in a bag of Happy Herbert’s honey wheat pretzel sticks and hummus)

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The veg ensemble had layers upon layers, including spinach, steamed kale, raw green bell peppers (my least fave bell pepper, but Kyle’s fave…sacrifices people, sacrifices), steamed carrots, shrooms, cherry toms, and dried cranz.

The other tupperware had edamame/corn with Bragg’s liquid aminos.  It’s climbing the charts into the favorites zone. 

Work was so nice.  I only had two patients, and even though one of them made 4 visits to the bedside commode before 10 am, I wasn’t too busy and the day was pretty relaxed. 

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For my dinner appetizer, I munched my way through more of the honey wheat pretzels that I bought at lunch…

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Then, inspired by Gigi, I decided some Health is Wealth meatless “chik’n” nuggets would be the perfect accompaniment to my already gourmet dinner. 

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Everything is better when coated with hummus. 

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Chocolate pudding (‘fu, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, agave nectar)

After packing up the next day’s work eats, I snuggled up to finish my latest book (Push by Sapphire) and hit the sack.

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Two apples, a whisper of pretzels, chocolate hazelnut Larabar, PB&J Larabar, and two salads.

These salads are getting…interesting.  And by interesting, I mean desperate.

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In the mix we’ve got spinach and romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, green bell peppers, cukes, and dried cranz.

Well, I was in such a choppy mood, I just kept right on going…and made a whole second salad!  I mean, why not?  I figured this way I wouldn’t have to think about dinner after getting home after work.

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Which I did!  But I spruced it up with some hummus, BN squash, and BBQ sauce.

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By the way, there was no BN squash to be found at the store last time I went grocery shopping, so (the above) was made from frozen cubed squash.  Wow.  Having previously only eaten fresh squash, let me just state for the record, there is NO comparison!  This went straight from frozen to mush, with no in between.  I guess this could be good for making soup or mashed UNpotatoes (or any time you need to puree the squash), but that’s about all.  Also they were way more yellow than I’m used to, which makes me think they weren’t at the height of their ripeness when they were frozen.  I’m brainstorming what to do with the rest of them…and I think I have a great recipe in mind.

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I was in a fruity mood for dessert, so I decided on two apples and banana ice cream/smoothie-in-a-bowl (frozen banana, ice, coconut milk, xanthan gum, arrowroot, agave nectar).

Tomorrow I have a pretty hectic agenda, but I’m going to start brainstorming a game plan for February (think exercise schedule).  I need diversity and something I can stick to. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering whatever happened to the rest of my FAQs, I’ve been slowly but surely answering them, and adding them to my Q&A tab.  Feel free to check them out.