Monday, December 30, 2013

21 Day Challenge Wrap Up

Well, I finished the 21 day challenge with Nate (remember me complaining about being sore?) And the results? Well, they're good! First, my nutrition was good - I essentially did a Whole21 + a few days.  The challenge started on Dec 2nd and technically finished on Dec 22, although Nate was kind enough to provide us with workouts and accountability for Christmas week as well. I stayed on plan through the 21 days, but then slid a bit while we were in PA for Christmas. Not ideal, but I know now that I can get everything back under control. It really hit home that I feel SO. MUCH. BETTER. when I eat right.

As for my fitness, holy cow. It has been a REALLY long time since I've been so sore. My arms were sore, my abs were sore, my legs were sore. EVERYTHING was sore. It was awesome. :)  And my measurements showed that I lost inches on my waist, thighs, and hips, and two pounds overall. Not bad for three weeks of work!  So what's next? I just ordered the P90X3 DVDs and will be participating in a 90 day challenge for the late winter/early spring. Why? Because I need accountability. And because I need to have some form of stress relief. And because I want to be fit. Not just skinny. But truly fit. The fitter I am, the better runner I will be. The better rider I will be. The better mama I'll be. And the better wife I'll be. The better ME I'll be. And that's what I'm after. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A whole new level of soreness...

Just dropping in for a quick update. First, some talk about the munchkin.  We took her off dairy for almost three weeks. No change in eczema or bowels. Saw an allergist, who did some very basic skin testing (dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, dust mites) all of which were negative. So we added dairy back in and are dealing with skin care issues, and giving the bowels some more time to resolve their issues.  The gut grows and adapts just as the rest of the body, so it may just be adapting and need more time. I'm okay with that for now, because she doesn't seem to be uncomfortable. If she gets uncomfortable again, we'll pursue other options. So that's that, at least for now.

As for me, I set myself up to succeed over Thanksgiving (made sure I had plenty of compliant dishes to choose from) and still made bad decisions. I'm okay with it - no excuses, no regret, just moving on the next day (or week).  I had 3-4 days of poor eating choices (not all bad choices, just a few each day), felt terrible and decided that Thanksgiving was no excuse to totally give up between now and Christmas. I gained 3-4 lbs (mostly water weight, I think/hope); hopefully I'll be able to get that off before Christmas!

So I signed up for a 21 day challenge, hosted by a Beachbody coach I "know" through Facebook and some friends. The challenge is 21 days of clean eating (Whole30 style for me) plus working out 6 days a week. Three days are WOD (workout of the day) that he provides and the other three days are cardio/recovery days (so 30 minutes on the treadmill or a run, etc). We started on Monday and will finish on 12/21 (our first day back in PA for Christmas).  Holy sore muscles, Batman!  Monday's WOD left me SO sore - definitely feeling muscles in my legs that I haven't in a VERY long time. Yesterday's WOD was tough, too. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, but one of my challenges is just being coordinated enough to do some of these movements (ahem, burpees) let alone have the strength.  But soreness is awesome. I haven't felt sore in a really long time. It makes me happy, makes me feel productive. And my nutrition has been great all this week. I've got some challenges coming up (holiday meals, etc), but I have the resources to make good decisions (now I just need the willpower!). 

If all goes well, maybe I'll post before/after stats/pics. Maybe. I also have some new recipes that we tried recently, from Well Fed 2 and from random websites. I'll try to get pics and put links up when I can. :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Munchie goes dairy free

Okay, so this post isn't about me. And it may be a little TMI for any of you with sensitive stomachs, so there's your fair warning.

I talked a few weeks (months?) ago about Adi and her eczema and bowel problems. Basically, she has eczema that comes and goes. Some of it seems to be related to cold, dry weather (which is hard to avoid here in CT). But other times it just gets really bad for no apparent reason (raised red, sometimes seeping sores). She also has always had loose bowels. Rarely does she have solid bowel movements (some are more solid than others, but none really qualify as turds - told you - TMI for some of you, I'm sure). Lately, not only have they been quite loose, but she will complain a few minutes before and tell me that her belly hurts. Then she tells me that she has to go, she goes, and then feels better.  Now, I'm keeping in mind that she's 2 and somewhat potty training, so her "belly hurting" may just be her being aware for the first time in her life that she has to go. BUT, coupled with her eczema and what I know different food groups can do, I've been (very unscientifically) trying to keep track of what she eats and how it all might be related. It seems like if she eats a lot of dairy in one sitting, that's a bad thing for her belly (yogurt, cottage cheese, straight milk, etc). I have not been as good at tracking her eczema vs. food intake, but should probably start.

I did talk to her pediatrician about this at her two year appointment. His suggestion (re:bowels) was to first increase her fiber intake to see if that helped. He actually suggested oatmeal cookies, which I thought was hilarious. First, because Adi gets so few "treats" that she didn't really care for the oatmeal cookies (yet mention ice cream and she's THERE). Second, because really? Cookies? So we went for more oatmeal. More whole grain cereal. And we tried to get more fiber in, but it didn't seem to help much. He wasn't as opposed to cutting out food groups as I thought he might be which surprised me. So because of her apparent reaction to dairy foods, we are cutting out dairy for a few weeks to see if that helps.  If it does, great! That's an easy fix and one we can certainly deal with, as Jared and I eat very little dairy at this point. If it doesn't, we'll reassess and think about cutting out gluten, which will definitely be harder for Munchie. She does love her pitas and crackers.

I'm determined to figure out if there is something nutritionally that might be upsetting her gut. I hate the idea that she's uncomfortable and her poor bum gets so irritated (I know, TMI again). Her eczema is sore and I can just imagine how irritating it gets on her arms and legs where clothes and everything else rub. If this is something I can fix, then I will. We can play around with new foods - it'll be good to expand her palate and challenge Jared and me to come up with new recipes that we can all enjoy.

Munchie loves to read. :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Oh, hello, headache....

Ah, yes. That familiar 'sugar dragon wants to make your head explode' headache. Coupled with grumpiness. Welcome to the sugar detox part of day 2. Not a long post (I have a headache, wah!) but just dropping in for a few comments.

1. I survived church lunch. I ate on plan. Jared actually filled my plate while I filled Munchie's so I had salad, pulled pork (that we made) and some sauerkraut and sausage. I took a banana with me for "dessert" and also had a cutie (small orange/tangerine/what are those things, really!?!?).  It is possible that there was some sugar or other banned substance in the sauerkraut/sausage, but I'm okay with that. This Whole 30 is about getting myself feeling better and in control again. Today, I was in control.

2. I didn't gain as much in my off-roading the last few weeks as I thought. Stepped on the scale yesterday morning and was 141.8 lb. Not bad, considering at the end of my first W30 (8/15) I weighed 141.4 lb and the lowest I've been since then (9/1) is 139.8 lb. BUT, still not great, right? I really feel like 135 (maybe 130?) is where I should be to be healthy.

3.Jared ordered me a copy of Well Fed 2 and it's great. Now I really want the first one, too. I've got a few recipes from it on the menu this week (although I couldn't convince him to try the Crispy Chicken Livers this week...). I'll let you know how they are!

4. I've also found that as the weather changes, I'm having a hard time feeling satisfied with (or wanting) salads and cold lunches. I want soups, stews, and warm, chunky things. Fall and winter foods. Since I had a few big squash sitting in my kitchen, I attempted this Squash Soup. Of course, I didn't have butternut squash, I used the winter squash we grew (and cut from the vine before moving!). It's yummy, but fairly heavy - I'm going to have to ration it a bit (some is already in the freezer for later). 

K. That's it. That's all I've got tonight. I'm going to take my headache and sulk for awhile before bed...

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm not sure what this post should be called...

Confession? Checking in? Reality check? Oh crap, I fell off the wagon and got drug behind it for three weeks?

Blogger says my last post was 10/02/13. It's been over a month since I've posted, and to be honest, I have not done well with stress management or maintaining a healthy life style in general. As Clara would say, I'm at the bottom of mud mountain. Not just hanging out there, but curled up in the fetal position, wondering what the heck happened. Actually, not really wondering. That's not fair. I know what happened.

Life happened.

And I didn't plan for it.

And then I let everything become an excuse.

"Adi woke up early and I didn't get my medicine taken in time, so I need to pick up breakfast on the way to work. Oh, hello Dunkin Donuts."

"Lunch is provided at work today. Pizza and salad and cookies will be okay for one day."

"Lunch wasn't enough, I need a snack. What can I find? Oh, hello <insert unhealthy choice here>"

"We moved, and I didn't plan for food for this week. Take out? Okay."

"Ice cream? yes please!"

"A few pieces of Halloween candy? Can't hurt"

I started a legs and abs challenge and around the time we moved, I took a few days off. "I'm working out; I'm moving boxes. That must count, right?" And then I never finished.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

So I have slipped back into old habits. And back into feeling miserable. And while I haven't stepped on to the scale yet, my pants are feeling a little tighter, I'm bloated, I have acne, and I am exhausted. And not all of that exhaustion is because I'm busy. It's certainly not because I'm working out too much - I've only been running once in the past three weeks (!).

So here's where it ends. No more excuses. No more "I'll start tomorrow."  I'm starting today. Right now. I'm taking back control and clawing my way back up the mountain.  I've got a new cookbook with a bunch of new recipes I'm excited to try. I have new ideas for breakfast and will make better choices (more filling, more exciting options) for lunch. We've been doing well with dinner but I am cutting out snacking between meals and after dinner. Planning, planning, planning.

I'm getting back to running. I signed up for another 5K to keep up my motivation - this one's the first weekend in December. Not only that, but I have some killer hills to train on around my house - my last run left me TIRED and sore in ways I haven't been in awhile (in a good way)!  I'd like to run another 10K next year (maybe the Iron Horse again? that was a pretty run!).  I have my treadmill set up in the basement and can get my long runs in on the weekends with planning.

I will work on stress management. I'm not sure how yet, but I will find a better way to deal with stress. Maybe yoga. Maybe checking out by picking up a book to read. Maybe something else. I don't know yet, but I'm going to come up with some strategies to deal with stress (mostly from work).

I know how to do this. I've done it before. I can do it again. I'm committing to another Whole 30. Or 45. Or whatever it takes. Starting today. Starting now. Because I'm not going to admit defeat, just because I've taken a step back. I know how to take the next step forward, and I'm ready to do it!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bacon Chicken Basil Zoodles

Yeah, that's a mouth full, right (no pun intended). Jared was skeptical when I said I wanted to try zucchini noodles ("zoodles"), so I found a recipe that had bacon. :)  Actually, I found a recipe that had bacon fat and I modified it to add the bacon and chicken.  So what is this fabulous recipe?
First, I julienned four zucs, coated them fairly liberally in salt, and let them "sweat" for about 30 minutes. Apparently, this helps them give up water and makes the zoodles have a better texture/consistency.
Then I cooked up some bacon.

Then, I browned some chicken in the bacon grease (which may or may not have set off the smoke alarm...ahem.)
Next, I added in some garlic and the zucchini and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. And yes, that is a Kool-Aid spoon. Don't judge.
Finally, I added in the chopped up bacon and some basil, tossed it all together, and voila! Zoodles!
I modified a recipe from The Paleo Mom, so my recipe looks like this:
 4 large zucchini (about 2 pounds)
 2-3 tsp Salt (to salt the zucchini)
 5 strips of bacon
 2 chicken breasts, cubed 
 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
 ½ cup chopped Walnuts
 ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1.    Finely julienne zucchini lengthwise to create long strips of zucchini.  Toss with salt in a colander and let sit in the sink for 30 min - 1 hour.
 2.    Rinse the zucchini very, very thoroughly (have a taste to make sure it’s not salty at all).  Drain on a tea towel or paper towels to get rid of as much moisture as possible.
 3.    Cook bacon in an oversized frying pan over medium-high heat. When cooked, remove and chop. Add in chicken and brown. 
 4.    Add garlic and zucchini and sauté, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes.
 5.    Toss in basil and walnuts and cook another 2 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
The results? A resounding YUM from me, Jared and Adi! And anything that gets my fussy 2 year old AND my hubby to eat this volume of veggies in one sitting is good by me!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Learning and making this a family affair

I've been a bit absent from the blog for the last few weeks, with some good and not so good reasons.  The good reasons are that I've been very busy at work, traveling, and at home (seriously, remember those 23 pints of tomatoes I canned?).  Work has gotten really busy and I am struggling to keep up with some of my responsibilities and deadlines. This is typical though - my work load often oscillates (sorry, sciency word there) so I get periods of heavy work load and periods of lighter work load. Part of the learning curve in this position has been figuring out how to deal with this without losing my mind (completely).  I've also been traveling a bit - I was in GA for a conference earlier this week and will be in NC in a few weeks. Short trips for scientific meetings - this last one was nice, though - held at a winery! We've also been really busy at home, as we celebrated Adi's second birthday this week and have a party with family planned this weekend. On top of that, we're getting ready to start packing (that will start after everyone leaves this weekend!) and we've been thinking about all of the projects at the new house. Busy, busy, busy!

On the other hand, I've also been avoiding writing here because I haven't been very successful over the past two weeks in maintaining the type of diet I want.  I have been calling it experimenting, but what's really happening is that I'm giving in to stress and the sugar dragon. So here are my "confessions":

1. I'm doing really bad at not snacking at night. Really bad. Even though the things I'm eating aren't "bad" (raisins, nuts, etc) they are food without brakes for me. I need to get this under control.

2. I'm calling it experimenting when what I really doing is giving in. I need to call a spade a spade, make my decision and get on with my life. I did not need a latte this morning and it made me feel horrible all morning and most of the afternoon. But I was stressed, so I bought one anyways. And now my stomach is upset and I have had zero appetite.  I had my own bowl of frozen yogurt Wednesday night, too - totally not necessary. I do not need to eat something just because it's a birthday.

3. I'm not eating enough veggies. Must. eat. more. veggies. And not just sweet potatoes. Gotta get this figured out again, too. I think now that fall is here, I need to investigate more soups and stews. Good fall food! And I'm excited that squash is back in season, too. I roasted some last night, and if my stomach wasn't so messed up from that dang latte this morning, I would eat what I have in my fridge for lunch.

Okay, so let's talk about something else now. Fair warning - some of this may be TMI. Adi has been having some issues with eczema - she's had it for awhile. It comes and goes, with very little indication (that I can find) of what causes a flare up. It's not horrible - she certainly isn't as bad as some children - but it gets uncomfortable for her. The ped prescribed a topical steroid, which we use when it gets raised and inflamed and sore, but I try not to use it every day and certainly not anywhere except where needed.  She also has some issues with her bowel movements not being solid (even at 2 years of age) which irritates her and causes diaper rash. I've tried probiotics, which have only helped a little, if at all. Her diet is fairly similar to ours, except that she eats dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt and cream cheese) and gluten (pitas/sandwiches, crackers) on a regular basis. She is pretty good about eating veggies, loves fruit and will usually at least try whatever meat we're eating. She is currently refusing eggs and has never really liked them, so unfortunately, that easy source of fat/protein is out.

What we're considering is taking a few weeks and restricting her intake of dairy, or dairy and gluten. I'm sure it will be tough - this would be a major change in her diet.  Both eczema and loose bowels can be (but are not necessarily) related to inflammation and gut health, and dairy and gluten are both related to inflammation and gut health as well. She has an appointment with her ped this afternoon, so I'll talk to him about it as well. I am not sure of the reception from him - he's an older doctor with fairly traditional views.  I'm sure that the restriction won't hurt her - she certainly is growing well and I have no concerns about her physical or mental development. My biggest concern is that I want her to feel better, and it has been obvious to me that restricting those things in my diet makes me feel better (and I believe Jared feels the same way).  I don't know if that is truly what is causing her issues or not, but I feel better as a mom about restricting her diet than putting steroid cream on her repeatedly.

Okay, now off to think about making applesauce out of the 30 pounds of apples we got last weekend (although at the rate we've been eating them, I'm pretty sure there isn't 30 pounds any more!).
Adi loved picking apples!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday update

Look at all of those tomatoes! I have two large boxes (seriously - paper box sized boxes) that are (were) each about half full of tomatoes. They came from a friend's garden, and they had already picked enough for their canning and there were still a TON of tomatoes left!
So this is what my afternoon looked like - peeling tomatoes, dicing, and canning! And yes, we had more tomatoes than cans, so tonight I bought more cans and will finish the rest tomorrow!
Anyways, on to my weekly wrap up. My weigh in was successful with another pound lost! Down to 138.4 - easily the lowest I've been in a LONG time! So exciting!
What else has been going on? We tried a new recipe this week, Paleo Chicken Piccata. I totally forgot to take a photo of it, but it was very tasty and we both like it as much as our previous piccata recipe, if not better. (Note to self: take photos of food!)
My heel has been doing okay. I've been trying to massage it daily and definitely stretching after I run. I ran this morning with some friends and we did 4.85 miles (!) and oh. my. gosh. Running with a  stroller (and Adi!) makes running without SO much easier. We chatted and ran our normal 4 min run/1 min walk intervals and we got to the end and I could have just kept going. This amazes me every time I run. I finish and think "Who is this person?" Clearly, this is not ME. This is some other person taking control of my thoughts - some one who LIKES running?!?! It's crazy, really. A year ago, I couldn't keep up with these same runners on a 3 mile run.
Oh, and fun thing to note: I had dairy last night and I'm not a total wreck today. Yay! Adi and I shared some ice cream (well, it was a Frosty, so not real ice cream) and it didn't wreck my digestive tract or make me feel badly. This doesn't mean that I'm going to add it back in on a daily basis, but it's nice to know that I can have some now and again and not be a mess afterwards.  At some point, I'm going to try some gluten, but not ready to do that yet, especially when I'm losing!
from here

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Stress, running, and other important things

Or at least things I think are important...

So yeah. Stress. We're buying a house, which is stressful. Added to that, I have two work trips in the next four weeks, Adi's 2nd birthday party to plan/throw (which is small, but still important!), several grants to write and submit, and normal work stuff to deal with as well. This semester is turning out to be a lot more hectic than I had originally planned, but I guess it usually ends up being that way! I am doing my best to not turn to food when I'm stressed. Most days, that's been fairly successful. Once or twice, though, I have been tempted by a bit of something here or there. This has definitely been (and will continue to be) a challenge.

I've also run into a small snag with running (haha, no pun intended). After my run last weekend, my right heel started hurting. It's sore when I stand on it, as if I have a bruise right on the bottom of my heel. Not so comfy. I talked with a friend of mine who's an athletic trainer and runner (and yogi, and generally intelligent person about these things) and she suggested some stretches and massages (with a tennis ball) to loosen up the muscles/tendons in the area. Likely, it's that my Achilles is tight. In and of itself, that's not ideal, but more importantly, that can lead to plantar fasciitis. So obviously, I'm increasing my stretching and improving my routine after running. I'm also trying to incorporate some of those stretches into my every day movement.  My heel is doing better, but I haven't run since Monday (yesterday was REALLY hot and about 100% humidity - too much for me, as I'm not acclimated to that anymore!).  I'm planning on a run tomorrow, so we'll see how it feels after that.

Other important things:

I'm craving pumpkin. I love fall, and pumpkin is such a good fall food. I'm thinking I may need to try one of these recipes:
(and yes, most of these aren't Whole30, but are Paleo. I'm totally cool with that. I just want me some pumpkin!)

I see a lot of canning in my near future. A co-worker offered me a TON of tomatoes; I just have to help him pick them. So tomorrow afternoon, I'll be picking tomatoes. Apparently there are a LOT (he thinks there's about half a bushel - that's 4 GALLONS of tomatoes). So, I'll be dicing and cooking and canning this weekend, I do believe! My plan is to make our own diced tomatoes and some tomato sauce.  The tomato sauce should be pretty straight forward, I'm thinking either Spicy Tomato Basil Sauce or this Meat Sauce. Or maybe some of both?

(from here)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Weekend update

Okay, so it's not really still the weekend, but to say that this weekend was busy would be an understatement. Saturday went something like this: running and a photo shoot with an adorable little boy and his mama (see pics here!) in the morning, riding lesson in the afternoon followed by some mama-Adi time and crashing pretty hard after dinner. Sunday was even busier: church, come home early to drop Adi off at home for the sitter, run back to church (both Jared and I had meetings that went until 2), pick Adi up and take her to a play date so that Jared and I could go look at some houses, back to get Adi and have dinner with the friends that were watching her, home, and CRASH. Whew! I need a weekend from my weekend!
I made this amazing salad Saturday for lunch. I was HUNGRY. Lots of good stuff on there!
The good news is that I'm down a little more - the scale read 139.4 (- 0.5) lb on Saturday morning. AND, I ran 25 minutes without stopping as part of my C25K! Bella rocked it with me:
We haven't made any new recipes in the last week or so, but we have one or two planned for this week that I'm excited for. We're starting to think about adapting old recipes that we like for our new way of eating. Making things "wholer," if you will. :) Lots of tinkering and playing around with recipes in our future!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

But don't you miss...

Ice cream? Pasta? Bread? Milk? Cheese? Beer? Well yes. And no, too.

This is something that almost always comes up in a conversation with friends and family about what I'm eating these days. It's an honest and well-meaning question, so I answer as honest and truly as I can. Yes and no. There are days when I think "A beer would be nice" and there are days when dang it, I just have a beer (or an Angry Orchard hard cider, which I recently discovered is gluten free, yay!).  But honestly, I don't feel deprived. At this point, this is a choice I am making - what to eat and how to eat it. Since finishing up my Whole30, I have had a bit of chocolate (a chocolate covered banana and a square of Jared's dark chocolate with sea salt, yum) and a hard cider. Nothing else in my control has been off of the program. I'm sure that some of the times we've eaten out, there's been some added sugar, or sulfates or other additives that aren't Whole30 approved. But overall, for the last 45+ days, I have stuck to the program.  I am sure that at some point, I will eat some cheese. Tonight, I ate a bit of Adi's strawberry ice cream (probably about three bites, total - she wasn't very interested in sharing. ;) ). But that was a choice and not one I felt I had no control over. A few days ago, I went out with colleagues to celebrate a funded grant and had a hard cider. I don't feel guilty, because these are choices. And I'm in control - I can have one drink. I can have three bites of ice cream. I can have one square of chocolate. And then the next day, I can eat healthily and make good choices.

THAT is why my answer is complicated. So yes, I do miss things sometimes. And when I miss them enough, or there's a good enough reason for me to make a choice to say yes, I have them. But I don't need bread every day. I don't need milk everyday. I certainly don't need ice cream or chocolate or alcohol every day. And I'm happy living this way. :)

Oh, hello 130's...

Haven't seen you, in, oh, 10 YEARS. Holy cow. Got on the scale this morning and may have squealed just a little bit (no lie, Jared came running into the bedroom).  What was looking back at me? 139.8 lb. Yeah, I know it's close to 140. Like, really close.  But seriously, I haven't seen the 130's since college, and I graduated in 2003...  So how did this happen? Well, I did lose some weight during vacation (1 lb gone, yay!) which was huge mentally and probably due, in no small part, to the fact that I ran almost every day we were there.  I've been running here, too (more on that in a minute), prepping for a 5K in October. And I did get on the scale right after my morning run, but that's when I weigh in each week, so I don't think the loss is ALL water weight. But honestly, I'm just so much more motivated to keep going. Because I can do this!

So about my running... I had been running on my own, but when I started to struggle to find the time during the day, I decided that it was going to have to happen right after work/before dinner. Which meant I would have Adi with me. Our stroller is not a true jogging stroller; it's a Baby Jogger City Mini, which is fabulous for folding up easily, being light, and going normal places but jogging with it was tough. The wheels are small and hard plastic, not rubber, which means a lot of added resistance. When we got back to CT, I borrowed a friend's BOB to try for a run, and holy cow. Amazeballs. Seriously. I think I would have started running with Adi a lot earlier if I had a BOB. But these are freakishly expensive and I'm way too cheap to buy one new. So what's a girl to do but hit up craigslist? And low and behold, a BOB Revolution for sale in North Haven, just about an hour from us. And guess who went to West Haven yesterday to watch football with family? Oh right, us. Do you see where this is going? I've got a brand new jogging stroller that I'm just itching to get out and run with. Tomorrow will be her maiden voyage, as long as it doesn't rain!

Some random yummy food shots:
Lunch one day this week: Jared pan fried some chicken in bacon drippings (yummy), finished heating in the microwave at work, with some broccoli/cauliflower and a fruit salad of cantaloupe and coconut flakes.
This is what breakfast looks like most mornings: eggs (fried or scrambled) with veggies and maybe a banana. These veggies were broccoli, green beans and onions - supposedly a stir fry mix. They weren't my favorite because the onions turned out to be really strong. The idea was good, but this particular mix wasn't great. I've also been having sugar snap peas, green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower, depending on what bag of frozenness I pull out of the freezer. :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Vacation time!

Vacation has been wonderful! We've been hanging out with friends and family, just having a good time. Nothing terribly exciting planned, just going with the flow, seeing friends when we can, playing outside, wandering through the Fair (seeing lots of animals - Adi's favorite!) and relaxing. Adi has been wonderfully flexible this trip, so although she's now a tired girl (we're heading home tomorrow), she has done well napping and sleeping.
All week, I've been surrounded by fair food, junk food, desserts, and generally unhealthy foods. I decided at the beginning of the week that I would have one "off-road" food, but that I would wait for the last day of the fair to have it, so that if it triggered a bad response mentally (i.e. EAT. ALL. THE. THINGS), that I wouldn't have to deal with that while having all of my senses assaulted by the smells, sounds, and views of all of that incredibly unhealthy food. So all week, I've done pretty well with my eating, even though most of our meals have been fair food. So what did I eat? Breakfast was at home, so easy to make compliant. Most mornings looked something like this:
Eggs and veggies. Check out those awesome tomatoes. Those are from my father-in-law's garden. They had been gone for a week when we arrived, so the garden was just stuffed with wonderfulness to munch on.

See what I mean? These tomatoes were SO sweet and yummy. I have garden envy.
For lunches and dinners, I did the best I could with what was available and didn't stress about it. That meant salads with the best dressing choice available, sandwiches without the bread, and some chicken. I thought the chicken was supposed to be roasted and it was fried. Oh, well. Often, I couldn't find enough that I was comfortable with eating, so I supplemented with Lara bars. I probably used the Lara bars a little too much, so I'll be putting those away for awhile when we get home, but they were good in a pinch. I also survived a Grove Family lunch with not much problem - I ate some meat and some fruit (only veggies were corn, which I haven't reintroduced yet, so I held off on that) - and fended off the multiple desserts. :)  Today was our last day there, and I had my delicious dessert - a chocolate covered banana. Nothing too outrageous, but it was the one thing that just kept sounding good to me. Amazing that I didn't choose ice cream, or a cinnamon roll, or some sort of crazy fried food or candy!!
One of the best things about vacation? Running! Not only that, but I got NEW SHOES! So excited. I haven't bought new shoes in quite a long time (Okay, years. I was wearing Saucony Omni 7's. The new shoes? Omni 12's. Right. New shoes sooner this time.) Here's a gratuitous shot of my new kicks:

Pretty, aren't they? Ignore the pale legs. :)  I ran once in my old shoes, then bought these babies and ran three more mornings! I ran four mornings and walked one morning with mom, for a total of 14+ miles in the last 5 days. We also did a LOT of walking around the fair, which was slow, but still moving (and often carrying an extra 30 lbs of Adi...).
I don't have weight change info yet, but I'll weigh in on Wednesday morning. I feel pretty good about it, even if it's just maintenance.  I am pretty proud of my control over what I'm eating. I've felt the urge to snack, but have mostly resisted, or have chosen healthy foods.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Over the river and through the woods...

To Grandmother's house we go! We're off for a family vacation this week, to the Grange Fair and home to visit family, and I am anticipating the challenges that will arise. (Well, technically, we're already here, but we JUST got here, Adi is down for the night, and Jared ran to the store to stock up on some things).

This is a whole new kind of challenge for me. Luckily, I have a few things on my side.

First, we're staying with my in-laws who are incredibly supportive (all of our family is), so there are no weird looks when I request "odd" things to eat. Or when I'm eating cauliflower and eggs for breakfast. :)

Second, is that I can control what I eat and when. We're not on a tight schedule, and for the most part, I have a good amount of control over what we eat. We will be visiting the Fair, and I do expect that some of the things I eat there will not be Whole30. Okay, so nothing there other than the possible fruit salad is going to be Whole30, I'm pretty sure. BUT, I am going armed with the knowledge (of food and myself) to make good decisions. I do not intend to blow the last 30+ days of healthy eating in one week. To keep myself on track, I weighed in this morning before we left and I will weigh in again when we get home. I will not accept a gain! Vacation is not a reason to gain weight back! Jared just ran to the store. On his shopping list? Seltzer water (a must for me), eggs, frozen veggies, sweet potatoes, fruit, and coconut milk for morning coffee.

Third, I have lots of opportunities to get in exercise. I am planning a run tomorrow, a walk with my mom on Friday, another run on Saturday and hopefully another run on Sunday or Monday (if not both!!! I'm giddy just at the thought!). There will also be lots of walking around the fair (it's HUGE).

I also did a lot better planning for the trip down and will do the same for the trip back. I packed  dinner for Adi and me; Jared got a sandwich along the way. This meant that I was wholly compliant on the way down and can be on the way home as well. Score one for the team.

I'm excited for time with family and friends away from work for a few days. It's time to recharge before the fall semester gets into full swing (I have a lot of traveling in the next few months)!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What we eat. And the zoo.

Yesterday we took a trip to the zoo! Lots of fun, a good bit of walking and pushing the stroller, so between that and my morning run, I got in some good exercise yesterday. Speaking of running, I'm trying to figure out where I am on the C25K plan. I started running with the Galloway method of training, mostly because when I started running about a year ago, I started with an amazing group of women who run together every Saturday morning. The group has a variety of different types of runners - some who do 5Ks, some 10Ks, some do half marathons and a few of them have done whole marathons (!).  They use the Galloway method, so I started doing the same. I like the interval running and there's some recent evidence that it's better for women to run intervals than long chunks of cardio (in terms of fat burning capacity, aerobic conditioning, etc), but I really, really, REALLY want to be able to run the entire 5K. So I decided to pick up the C25K and see where I am, and in my 3 runs a week, try to do 2 of them as C25K and the other as a longer interval run. So yesterday morning I did week 5, day 1 (5 min jogging, 3 min walk, 5 min jog, 3 min walk, 5 min jog). It was easy. I should have known it was going to be easy. Honestly, I was scared of the next workout (8 min jog, 5 min walk, 8 min jog).  But I will do that one next...
Anyway, back to our trip to the zoo yesterday. I had a "crap, poor planning" moment and realized as we were leaving at lunch time, that we had done NO planning about lunch. Then, Adi fell asleep in the car while we were looking for a place to eat (the zoo is a bit in the ghetto of Providence, so we wanted to drive a little ways before we stopped). Jared wanted a DD sandwich (he tried gluten yesterday) but there was nothing for me there. But near the DD was a McDonald's. Now, I should have known better. I mean, who expects a salad to have veggies at McD's? But I got a southwestern salad with grilled chicken, no dressing. And what did it have on it? Corn chips. Corn. Beans. Cheese. A few tomatoes (thank goodness) and grilled chicken. And I think I found one carrot slice. So I ate the lettuce and the chicken (which did have some sort of sauce on it) and Adi picked at the rest of it (she woke up, so we went in). She also, to my chagrin, ate an entire kid's hamburger. The first time in her life she's ever eaten at McD's. Preferably one of the few times ever!! Moral of the story: Mama needs to plan MUCH better and will definitely keep this in mind for our 6 hour drive to PA!
Okay, enough rambling. Here's some other yummy stuff we've eaten in the past week or so:
Summer Squash Meatball Casserole was okay. We used pork for the meatballs and they were a little bland. Not crazy about this one, but it wasn't bad, either!

Pulled pork with BBQ Sauce from It Starts with Food, Plantain Mash, and microwave veggies. The pulled pork was awesome. The plantain mash was good but a bit thick. We'll have to play with these recipes!

This is what Tuesday night's dinner looked like on the grill - Jared's a pretty awesome grill master!
And on the plate. This our normal steak marinade, adapted for Whole 30 (so no honey). The mushrooms were marinated in this. Pineapple was grilled plain (normally we'd top it with honey and lime juice).

Breakfast this past week has been roasted butternut squash with a bit of ghee and fried eggs. I love winter squash. I'm so glad fall is coming - lots of big winter squash growing in my garden and it will be back in season in the store and farmer's market's soon, too!
Apple-bacon pork burger (without the bacon for me, Jared had his with), sweet potato fries with cinnamon, and some apple slices for dinner. This is one of my FAVORITE dinners. :)
nom. nom. nom.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I can't

Clara wrote this on Facebook yesterday and it got me thinking.

Two months ago, I was saying "I can't."  No way I could give up bread. Or milk. Or pasta. Or cheese. What would I eat?!? Then I had a really frustrating eating weekend and realized that when I was saying "I can't" what I was really saying was "I won't. I don't want to." And suddenly this Whole30 thing became possible. Not easy, but possible. I mean, it's only 30 days, right? I can do anything for 30 days. And if I kept telling myself that "I can't", do you know what's going to happen? I won't! 

Spas a reminder to myself, the next time I say I can't do something.  Is it really that I can't (can't keep doing this? Can't fit exercise in? Can't do something else?) or is it that I don't want to, or I won't? Two totally different statements, my friends! So if we talk about this, don't tell me you can't. Because I will probably tell you that "no, you can, you just aren't willing to." And I'm sorry (in advance) if that upsets you, but that's the truth. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Whole30 Recap

We did it! Thirty days with no sugar, no dairy, no grains and no legumes. Whew! So here's the recap - what went well, what could have gone better, results, all that good stuff.

The biggest benefit I've seen from this past month is getting control over what is going into my mouth.  Seriously.  There would be days (or weekends. or weeks) in the past where I would eat with very little ability (or desire?) to control what I wanted. I now have power over what I eat - it's a conscious decision. I have very few cravings for things any more - no cravings for sugary foods, no cravings for dairy/cheese, or chocolate. Now, this is not to say that I don't look at a donut or a chocolate bar and think "That looks delicious." No lie, I do. But I can appreciate how it will possibly make me feel (we'll get to my plans for re-introduction later) and can also appreciate that I'm not hungry, therefore, I don't need to eat it.

Other good things: my skin is clearer, I'm sleeping well (when Adi allows it!), and I do feel much better about my eating in general.

So what could have gone better? Well, I never got the "boundless energy" or "tiger blood" feelings described by so many.  But I think that's okay and maybe that will come.  I was frustrated by this at first, but then I remembered: n = 1. My experiment is different. And if all I gain from this experiment is that I have control again, that's okay.

My weight loss wasn't spectacular. There are so many stories of people losing 10-15 lbs that I was anticipating large changes. Again, this is something that I was frustrated about until I really thought about it. I have about 10 lb to lose, total, to reach my goal weight. It is ridiculous to think that these changes, without exercise, would be enough to lose that amount of weight, especially as close as I am to my goal. And likely, the people who are losing more weight over their Whole30 have more to lose. So in reality, my loss was about 30% of the weight I have left to loose. That's not bad!

Before (Day 1): Sad face because Jared says in the before pictures people always look sad, LOL. Ignore the Pack 'N' Play cover on the floor. I clean my bedroom, honestly, I do.

Day 31. Smiley because we're "done" (well, kinda). Ignore the fact that the Pack 'N' Play cover is still on my floor, now joined by a scarf that Adi pulled off the hook... :)
The official results for me: down 3.6lb, and lost a total of 3.5 inches from my waist and hips. Yay! Jared rocked as well. He didn't do measurements or pictures (shame on him) but he lost 15 lb!! I am SO incredibly proud of him for making this change and sticking with it the whole month with me.
So what's the plan going forward? Well, we're going back to my n = 1 experiment. I'm going to continue on with the Whole30 for a few more weeks. We're taking a trip to PA in a few weeks next week (!) and I may want to enjoy some off program foods. But I will likely continue this for another 15-30 days. The difference is that for my "next 30" I am going to focus on exercise. As I said in my last post, running makes a huge difference in my energy levels and mood. So I have come up with a plan to run a bit more each week, which will work until the days start to get shorter (then, I'll have to come up with a new plan!).  I started yesterday with the "new running plan", which is essentially picking Adi up from daycare and running with her in the stroller. Let me tell you, pushing 30+ lb of stroller and baby is TOUGH. It was a great workout, though, and she really enjoyed it. Now to find a better place to run (or a better jogging stroller!).

So what are my new goals?
  •  Run 3x/week
  • Continue with the Whole30 program
  • Continue to do fun, ACTIVE things with Adi and Jared on the weekends
  • Pay attention to my satiety signals. I'm still not great with this because I feel like "if I don't eat all of this now, I'm going to be hungry before my next meal and need to snack." What I need to be thinking is "I'm full. If I get hungry before my next meal, I'll have a glass of water, and then a healthy snack if I'm still hungry."

So, work in progress, right?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Almost finished...

It's day 28 of 30. Two more days after today, and Jared and I will have successfully completed our Whole30. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? I'll be back later this week with a recap (successes, challenges, pros and cons, etc) so today is just a quick "what we eat" post, since I know a lot of you reading this (well, all three of you, LOL!) might be interested in the recipes.
Although I did re-discover something this morning. I am a much happier person when I run. I know that sounds silly, but I really miss it (subconsciously) when I don't run and I'm just not as happy.  The last few days have been tough. Adi was sick on Friday and still wasn't feeling great yesterday. That meant lots of changed plans. On Friday, Emma came to help me with Adi in the morning, so I could get a little bit of work done. It was SUPER helpful, and I was actually pretty productive working in the office while Adi and Emma snuggled and read books on the couch in the living room. (PS - we have the greatest summer nanny. She's fabulous. Adi loves her, and thus, so do we.) Friday afternoon was spent snuggling my feverish baby and taking her to the doctor (virus, presumably). Saturday was a day of constantly changing plans. I wanted to run, but wasn't able to, although Jared, Adi and I did go for a short walk around Horsebarn Hill to see the animals at UConn. I was pretty cranky yesterday (sorry, Jared!) and did not deal well with the feeling that EVERYTHING was changing every time I thought I had something figured out. At least dinner (which I made) wasn't a complete bust. But this morning, even though Adi woke up at an ungodly 5:15am, I went for a run (thank you, Jared, for dealing with this morning's melt down so mama didn't melt down, too). And what I discovered (remembered?) is that when I run, I deal with things better. I'm calmer, I'm happier, I feel better about life in general. I can deal with Adi when she doesn't nap. I can calm her down when she's upset, or frustrated. But when I don't run, I get frustrated. I get angry. And then we're both in for epic meltdowns.
So the moral of this really long story is that mama needs to run. So I'm going to make a serious effort in the next two weeks (before vacation to PA!) to do more of it. How, you ask? Well, I do have a treadmill. But I have serious motivation issues running on a treadmill when it is just this beautiful outside. So my plan is a few times a week, to come home and change into my running clothes, and take Adi down to a park where there's a flat, paved trail. I'm pretty sure I can push her stroller while I run (eek!). I'll get a good workout, she'll get some additional outside time, and we both win. 
I'm also signing up for another 5K. I'm thinking about the Coventry Harvest 5K, which is being organized by some friends.  I usually run intervals, but want to be able to run the whole thing, so I may pick up somewhere around week 4 of Couch to 5K and work on that as well.  
Okay, so on to some new recipes and remixes of left overs!
Today's lunch: left over veggies from the veggie mix I made earlier, over riced cauliflower (I used Emeril's Essence, not the seasoning mix she mentions), with cantaloupe (I'm realizing that I really do like melon - Adi does, too, she ate nearly half of the melon I cut for myself!) and an egg, because I didn't have any other protein with this.
Jared and I made Baked Eggs in Portobello Mushroom Caps for breakfast yesterday. The prosciutto was amazing and baked, was similar to bacon (Jared really misses bacon!).  I've never had eggs baked like this before. It was yummy, but the texture was a little different. Not bad, just different.

Crockpot Brazilian Curry Chicken over Riced Cauliflower. This was okay. Chicken was a little dry, but I'm pretty sure it's because I over cooked it. I'm realizing I'm not a huge fan of curry. It's okay, but not my favorite.

Moroccan meatballs again! Side was cumin roasted carrots that I cheated and steamed in the microwave rather than roasting.

And this is my fruit eater, picking strawberries from our garden. That's mint behind her, and the winter squash in front of her that's overtaking our garden (I'm SO excited!!). We planted a few more lettuce plants today so hopefully we'll have some fall lettuce in a few weeks. I also planted some cilantro, parsley, and oregano seeds indoors to grow our own little herb garden. Seems silly to buy so much of those things that we use on a regular basis!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day 24 - What we eat

Just some yummy food pictures for you today. Not much new to report. We did survive a birthday party for one of Adi's friends on Saturday, with not too much stress! We had salad topped with salsa (compliant, I checked the label when no one was looking!) and fruit salad. And since Adi was getting cranky, we took the easy way and left before cake. We were both a bit hungry when we got home, so had some protein.  We've got another birthday party for another of Adi's friends this coming weekend, so hopefully that will go just as well!

Anyways, here are some of the yummy things we ate this week:
This is a veggie mix that I made tonight. It made a LOT of veggies, so there will be lots of leftovers for breakfasts and lunches. It was just sauteed onions and garlic, with zucchini, carrots and tomatoes. Nothing fancy!
Dinner tonight was left over chicken (from a meal I don't have a picture of, but it's Slow Cooker Roast Chicken and Gravy, and the gravy is AMAZING), summer veggies from above, and grilled pineapple (literally just pineapple cut and put on the grill).
Lunch was left over Chocolate Chili and a salad.
Breakfast lately has been Sweet Potato and Apple Breakfast Patties and eggs. I'm actually kinda meh on these patties. Something about the spice mixture in our sausage and the spices in the patty just doesn't blend well. But we have them, so I'm eating them! (And I realize from this picture, that if I'm going to keep doing food photography, I either need to get new dinnerware, or need to pick ones that don't have the edges all chipped up!)

Lunch today was more leftovers: Herb Marinated Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Sweet Potato soup (this just makes me think Thanksgiving. It's amazing. It smells like Thanksgiving, tastes like Thanksgiving, and just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Best part is, that if you're too lazy to use the microwave, you can eat it cold. It is every bit as good cold as it is warmed up! Also good for warm days!), and blueberries.
We just finished another batch of Moroccan Meatballs for tomorrow night, and have steak and another curry on the menu for Friday and Saturday. Can't wait!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Three weeks in

This week has brought it's own challenges. Staying compliant has become easier, because while there have been temptations like this in the lunch room at work:
I love marshmallows. Seriously. But I walked by them. That has been fairly easy. And today we went to a birthday party for one of Adi's friends. The main dishes for lunch: pizza and veggie lasagna.  But we both had lots of salad, topped with salsa and some fruit salad. Not terrible. We were hungry when we left (we excused ourselves before the cake, both because neither of us wanted that temptation, but also because it was getting very close to Adi's nap time and we didn't want to have a melt down at the party). But when we got home, we each had some protein (a compliant hot dog, no less!) and felt better.
What has been difficult for me has been not feeling that much more changed. I'm not sure exactly what I expected, but based on the "timeline" and changes described by others, I really expected to feel MUCH better and MUCH different. Don't get me wrong, I do feel good. I am not bloated. I don't get hungry every two hours. My skin is clear (!). I'm not craving caffeine or sugar (although I do occasionally look at something longingly). But I don't have limitless energy. I'm still tired and I don't have that tiger blood feeling.  So, like I said in my last post, I'm choosing to focus on the positive and, as we are entering the last official week of our Whole30, thinking about what comes next.
Jared and I have had several conversations about where we go from here. Honestly, I'm considering continuing my Whole30 for a few more weeks, for a few reasons. First, I want to add in more exercise. My schedule has been so hectic this month that I haven't gotten in the time I want for my running and I've done very little else. I want to see if the combination of exercise and dietary changes help my energy level. The other issue that I'd like to address more fully is my thyroid. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism after Adi was born and know that certain foods are suspected to play a role in how thyroid hormones are metabolized in the body. I would like to continue the program for a few more weeks, and have my levels tested again to make sure everything is okay, since the dietary changes have been pretty drastic.
As far as what we will do as a family, the plan right now is to reintroduce things as described in the book (It Starts with Food). Then, we'll keep our dinners compliant, with a few exceptions of meals that we really like. Those meals (no pasta dishes, but some things like ham and bean soup, chicken piccata, etc.) we will work to make compliant, or more so than they are currently. And when we're out at a friend's house, as long as we're not on a Whole30, we'll be okay with trying a little pasta, or rice dish, or salad dressing that might have some sugar. Or dessert, because it tastes wonderful. But at home, when we can fully control what is cooked, it'll be paleo, if not Whole30. This is a work in progress for us, but it feels good to have a plan going forward. It also means the world to me to have Jared and the rest of our family's support in this, not to mention the many friends who have been uber supportive (ahem, Clara). :)

 Anyways, here's what we/I've eaten this week. Feast your eyes on this yumminess:
Breakfast Saturday morning, before my riding lesson: two fried eggs, a tomato and an avocado. And I stole some of Adi's strawberries. :)
This was a yummy Apple Dijon burger topped with a fried egg, served with tomato. I added some mayo to my tomato after I took the photo. And strawberries. :) I love strawberries.
Zucchini boats! These were okay; Jared thought they needed more meat, less veggies (or a different veggie:meat ratio. Eating the "boat" made it a lot of veggies, but I liked them).
Lunch (can't remember which day): chicken, an egg, tomato, avocado, and a banana that was getting too ripe. Too ripe bananas are meh, but I ate it anyways.
Mustard Lime Chicken, steamed carrots with Italian seasoning and roasted asparagus with a bit of balsamic vinegar.
Lunch (again, no idea what day this was anymore): B.A.S. (big ass salad), steamed broccoli with ghee and a bit of salt.