Hot, Sweaty, Heavy

Today’s Happy Note: Sometimes a silly little kitchen failure, like the one pictured below, makes me smile!  Needless to say, this batch of oatmeal was ruined.  That is indeed a sea of oatmeal soup.  I smiled!

What was hot, sweaty, and heavy today?  My run, unfortunately!  I woke up at 9 this morning and felt like a sack of bricks.  I took the day off work in the name of packing — yeah, that didn’t happen.  I’m moving tomorrow and have not packed one. single. thing. I haven’t even started my laundry.  For some reason I operate best at night though — I do my best writing, my best cleaning, sometimes even my best yoga, after midnight.  Weird.

So.  I got distracted (happens easily).  Back to the run.  I accomplished nothing all day; my body literally felt like a sloth.  Minus the hairiness part.  But I was damn determined to get out the door.  And you know what? Sometimes getting out the door is an accomplishment in and of itself. I had to bribe myself with the promise of a massage — sometimes I am so lazy it scares me. 😉  But admit it, you have days when you have to bribe yourself to leave the house too.  I know I can’t be the only one.

The run was muy sluggish, but I finished my 8 hilly miles in a little under 90 minutes. I hit up the gym for some much-needed strength training afterwards — I actually crave lifting weights sometimes.  I did almost an hour of arms and abs. It felt great.  And at the end of my epic little workout, you know what?  I felt amazing!  It is so true that you almost never regret a workout, but you almost always regret not doing a workout.

After reading this post on Runner’s Trials, I was inspired to make my own nutrition goals for marathon training!  But first, I want to show you my excellent eats from today — I think this is a pretty good example of what a day like today (8 miles) should look like, ideally, for ME (every body and every runner is different).

Brunch was another avocado-cinnamon-vanilla SIAB, topped with some flax PB, some honey roasted nuts, and a half a TJ’s PB granola bar, crumbled.

I officially declare that I like rice — I used to hate it passionately, probably because my mom always made brown rice when I was little and all the other kids had white rice.  I refused to eat brown rice because I didn’t want to seem any weirder than I already was (I was reallllllyyyy weird).  So, for the last 20 years, I have mostly eschewed rice.  But I really like a nice grainy brown rice.  I ate it with cinnamon, stevia, sunflower seed butter, and TJ’s dark chocolate covered ginger for an amazing afternoon snack.

More snackage.  I had about twice that much chocolate.

Romaine, carrots, peppers, broccoli, avocado, two apple chicken sausages, and TJ’s spicy peanut vinaigrette.  I love giant salads for dinner, but I can never have one and then be satisfied for the rest of the evening.  An hour or two later, I need a substantial dessert.  Enter….

This was a bowl of 2% Greek yogurt, the other half of the granola bar from this morning, a small spoonful (teaspoon?) of sunflower seed butter, and chocolate trail mix, which I had a few too many handfuls of while preparing this.  In my defense, I was frustrated because of the microwave oatmeal disaster, which had just occurred. 🙂

That’s everything, minus two werther’s candies and the unpictured handfuls of trail mix.  I sometimes eat an extra spoonful or two of nut butter when preparing anything that involves nut butter (okay, so that’s pretty much everything I eat…) but I honestly can’t remember if I had any extra today.

Marathon Training Nutrition Goals

1. Four to six smaller meals per day. Time and time again I come back to this way of eating because it works for me.  I would much rather eat every three or four hours than six or seven, thank you very much.

2. Do not be afraid of the whole grains! I can’t tell you how satisfied I felt after that bowl of brown rice this afternoon.  I also love oats and quinoa.

3. Less processed food, more “clean” food. My diet is pretty clean as is, but there are a few things that could stand to be eliminated.  I am going to focus on whole foods, like fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables, greens, some plain greek yogurt, nuts, nut butters, tofu, avocado, healthy fats, and grains, of course.  I don’t intend to eliminate protein powder (especially the simpler ones), but I do want to use it less.  My staples are as follows: spinach, frozen berries, carrots, apples, salmon, tofu, peanut butter, oats.  So simple, so nutritious.

4. Sugar in moderation. I feel better, think better, and run better when my diet is mostly free of processed sugar (i.e., granola bars, flavored yogurts/nut butters, non-homemade baked goods).  I fully intend to continue consuming honey, maple syrup, stevia, baked goods that I have made, good dark chocolate, and farmer’s market pastries (because they’re too damn good to give up).  Once I have a little bit of sugar, I tend to want a lot more, so Iam really going to try to be careful and moderate here.

5. Say no sometimes and recognize hunger vs. not-hunger.  I do not have to eat anything, ever, if I do not want it.  Training for a marathon does not mean that I can (or even should) eat when I’m not hungry.  I can say no to food at parties, extra food on my plate at restaurants, late-night snacks, etc.

6. Above all, listen to my body.  If my body is saying “feed me a giant pile of veggies!” I shall listen.

I should probably start this whole packing monstrosity now.  Blogging is so much more fun though!

My nutrition goals are really just guidelines.  I think that one of the most important things is not to get mad at myself if I have an off-day.  It won’t kill me.

Do you have general nutrition goals/guidelines/thoughts that you live by?  And does anyone out there happen to be an expert on losing ten nagging pounds while training for a marathon? If so, please share. 🙂

Transition Stress/Long Run/Meat

Today’s Happy Note: My day involved plenty of chocolate.  Always a good thing.

Mental Health Note: Transitions, of any sort, are always stressful and tricky for me.  At this point in my life, I have come to accept that, and instead of trying to pretend that the stress isn’t there (and thereby making it much, much worse), I just acknowledge it and do my best to soothe myself.  I find moving around — which, unfortunately, happens a lot in college — not just physically exhausting, but emotionally draining as well.  I get attached to places.  I go back and forth between NYC and Michigan (and sometimes Canada) quite frequently.  I am in NYC right now, but have to move back into my dorm.  I’m also making a shift from full-time worker to full-time student and part-time worker.  My life patterns are not all that different during the school year, which helps to ease my mind.  I know that I will still eat oats with nut butter or smoothies for breakfast.  I know that I will find some time in the day to squeeze my run in and that I will make time for friends and life outside of school.

All this is to say that the stress is creeping up on me already — I can see and feel it. It sort of drapes its way around me and sits on my heart and body like a heavy scarf.  I move into my dorm room on Saturday and start classes Tuesday.  I have been mentally preparing myself.  One thing I find very helpful is finding room for extra sleep during my day/night.  Stress often leaves me sleepy-tired, and if I can either sleep 9 hours at night or 7-8 hours at night with a nap in the late afternoon, I am much happier and calmer.  Other things that help include lots of self-care (doing stuff like painting my nails, getting a massage, strolling in the park and looking at the flowers, etc.), reaching out to people I love, and eating delicious but clean foods.

How do you deal with life transitions — physically or emotionally or occupationally?  How do you relieve the stress/anxiety/tension? I love consistency, but I understand that, for the next few years, my life will not necessarily be straightforward.  I am learning how to find the excitement in this.

I got my run in this evening!  It was way too hot at the beginning, but eventually cooled down with a nice breeze. I did ten miles and actually felt really great during it.  I held about a 10 minute per mile pace, but was probably around 9:30 at some points.  I feel like I may finally be back up to pre-hospital strength!  Yay!  I also lifted weights for a quick 30 minutes.

Long run eats:

I’m not showing everything because I think it’s boring.  But I have done a good job keeping track.  And I don’t have a picture since I only just made it, but I am currently eating a delicious chocolate banana smoothie with TJ’s dark chocolate in a nut butter jar.  Nut butter jars make everything better. Seriously, I would be so thrilled if I got my Christmas and birthday presents in (clean) nut butter jars from now on.  It would be so cute!  I’m pretty sure my relatives already think I’m a weird foodie though, so I probably will go ahead and *not* make that request…

Lunch was kinda epic: steamed carrots/yellow squash, green grapes/cherry mix, and a turkey/cheddar/avocado wrap on a TJ’s multigrain tortilla.  I have a lunchtime sandwich fear, for some odd reason.  But on longer run days, I find it helpful to have a sandwich for the extra carbs/calories.  It works out perfectly fine because, when eating more earlier in the day, I eat less in the evenings.

Awesome new snack!  TJ’s (do you see a TJ’s them here?  Hmmmm….) peanut butter crunchy granola bar.  This was a tad sweet but definitely tasty.

Dinner involved more meat — apple chicken sausage, in honor of my sister (it’s one of her favorite foods, but I also really like it as well) with a GIANT salad of romaine, peppers, avocado, and TJ’s peanut vinaigrette (LOVE).  I had okra fries a la Meghann on the side.  They were actually really good.  When I cut up veggies like carrots, squash, or, in this case, okra, into fry form and bake them, I am not intending them as a fry replacement.  I just like roasted veggies.  But these were actually legitimately fry-like!  I coated them in salt, pepper, and EVOO and baked at 400 for about 30-ish (maybe 40?) minutes.  Okra=my new friend.  Oh, and if you are wondering why it’s dark in the above photo that’s because it’s purple okra!  I love veggies in fun colors.

Hello, okra.  You can come over for dinner anytime you want.  Have you had okra?  Do you like it?

Meaty talk:

I don’t eat a lot of meat.  But I think it can be a very healthy part of a diet and I will probably never go vegetarian. I do believe in ethical, moderate meat consumption.  I get as much of it as I can from the farmer’s market or other local, natural, and/or organic sources.  I just realized, while posting, that I had meat twice today! Turkey at lunch and chicken sausage at dinner.  And you know what?  I feel great. The protein and fat really work wonders for me.

I like all kinds of protein sources.  My favorites: salmon, shrimp, steak, turkey, tofu, lentils, black beans, tempeh, whole grains, greek yogurt, veggie burgers, cottage cheese, nut butters, and certain protein powders.

Your fave protein sources?

Bedtime for this stressed chica.  Goodnight friends! 🙂

Thoughts On Yoga

Today’s Happy Note: Best. Yoga. Class. Ever.

I know that not everybody is into yoga, and that’s fine, but it really has been life-changing/saving for me.  I can enter class seething, panicked, distraught, weepy, or in pain.  And leave relaxed, smiling, calm, joyful, spiritual.  Today we did a lot of inversions, balances, and twisting, including one pose I have never done before that I could not find any name for or picture of online.  It is basically what the top person is doing in this photo, only upright, with back foot and hand on the ground:

Hangle Dangle

Source

Anyone have any ideas?

What I loved most about class today was that my emotions started coming up, uncontrollably.  As my body physically opened up I could feel the things in my heart pouring out as well. I have heard Averie (who is giving away some awesome hemp products here) and other yogis talk about this before but have never felt it.  Well, I have news for you: this is not one of those crazy newfangled yoga things.  It really happened — I was alternately smiling and crying during class.  It was wonderful and soothing to let things out of my body like that.

I think yoga has made me more spiritual and more comfortable in my own body.  It calms me down and lifts me up at the same time.  It helps me realize that I do indeed know God, in some guise or other, and that I have this wonderful, amazing body that I need to treat well.  I run because it makes me feel clean and strong, in heart and body and mind, but yoga adds an element of spirit, I think.

Have you tried yoga?  It seems like most healthy living bloggers either love it or hate it.  I am definitely in the loving it camp.  I do recommend trying a few different classes, styles, studios, gyms, or videos before giving up; each experience is different and you really need to find what works for you.  Polly’s videos are always a good place to start!

My absolute favorite studio in NYC is Yoga Vida. Highly recommended, and relatively inexpensive.

The eats:

Diet snapple iced tea and plain oats with soymilk and PB.

Tuna made with plain yogurt and hummus, giant pile of steamed veggies.  I know everyone thinks they’re boring, but sometimes I lover plain and simple lightly steamed veggies.

Two afternoon snacks is the way to go.  PB and chocolate chip Larabar and a basically empty AB jar with plain 2% Fage (I’m in love  — the fats are pretty much miraculous), frozen blueberries, and Justin’s chocolate PB (didn’t really go with it, taste-wise).

I realized that recently I have been falling into the blogger-comparison trap.  I think, “healthy living bloggers should have one afternoon snack, dinner, then a small dessert, or two afternoon snacks and no desserts — I must be overeating!”  BUT this is what works for me.  And I never eat (or want a morning) snack, and I keep main meals a bit smaller.  So there.  I can have two afternoon snacks and a dessert if that’s what my body wants.

Random WF bowl.  It had arugula, walnut/grape chicken salad (my favorite kind), a few bites of potato, black bean udon noodles, shredded zucchini/summer squash, and marinated kale salad.  I am NOT a kale girl, but I really liked this one.  It had shredded carrots, cabbage, and lots of balsamic.

Blurry raspberry protein shake: vanilla soy milk, half a banana, handful frozen raspberries, lots of ice, half scoop of vanilla whey/soy protein, and a few spoonfuls of coconut sorbet.  Topped with dark chocolate and chocolate PB.

A good day of eats — lots of variety, lots of nutrients, good portions that kept me full but not too full.  My belly is a happy belly right about now!

Some days I feel like all my meals/snacks involve nuts or nut butter.  I really truly believe that, if it came down to it, I would say PB is my favorite food.  Oats, Greek yogurt, apples, and carrots are all tied for second place. 🙂

What’s your favorite food?

Thoughts on yoga?

Adventure Saturday: Ocean, Body Image/Weight Concerns

Today’s Happy Note: Vitamin D overload.  Sunshine! 🙂

I ended up walking 5 or so miles yesterday; I also did a 20 minute yoga core download.  Today I did 3-4 miles walking, 2 miles running (on the beach!!!) and lots of playing in the water.

I had an awesome beach trip.  I always forget that Manhattan is so close to the ocean.  Twas lovely!

Confession: I felt so unbelievably, ridiculously fat in my swimsuit.  I wanted to hide in the changing rooms and cry.  I told my dad that I should not be allowed on the beach without a sign that said “whale.”

And then I hate myself for hating myself so much.  Oh, the irony.

The reality is that, between the GI illness and the hospitalization, I have gained about ten pounds.  I am not someone who could afford to gain ten pounds.  I’m pretty sure this makes me borderline overweight.   I don’t care so much about that label as feeling good and feeling confident.  I don’t feel either right now.  I feel enormous.

I am not necessarily mad at myself: I have hardly been able to workout in the last month, and I have been quite stressed.   I respond to stress by eating emotionally and gaining weight easily.  Seriously, I probably even gained weight when I had my GI thing and all I could eat for three or four days was the occasional piece of toast.

I played on the beach today for hours and ended up having a lot of fun; I dug my toes into the sand, ran up and down, jumped over the waves, swam through the waves, and bothered my sister (endlessly entertaining).  So I am not entirely focused on my body, but it is still there.  It’s this painful, nagging thing in the background.  It’s like something isn’t quite right, and my body knows this, physically and mentally.

The thing that works best for me is not obsessing, but not being lax either.  Counting calories, tracking meals, only “allowing” certain food: none of this works for me. This all creates more tension and anxiety and makes me more sad and I feel worse about my body and I end up eating more.  Funny how that cycle works.  But at least I can recognize it.  In fact, I think I do know what works: eating three wholesome meals a day (plus an afternoon snack and a small dessert), with lots of healthy fats, protein, and veggies, and not snacking in the evening.  It’s as simple as that.

Pretty straightforward.  That’s my plan.  I do intend to use the blog to keep myself accountable. Accountability is where I have failed in the past.  So I intend to do a tiny little check-in with myself when I post, mostly to note whether or not I have been mindlessly eating in the evenings.

Once in a while, I might share a full day of eats.  Like today, since I figured it would be a good idea to have a baseline image of how much I need in a day on an active day where I don’t overeat.

I am sorry if this upsets anyone: if you feel like this would not be a good idea for you to read about, PLEASE skip over it.  I would not want to hurt anyone, especially if you have a history of ED/disordered eating.

Breakfast was flax oatmeal (TJ’s brand) with part of a peach (would have used it all but parts were squishy and I hate that) and a giant scoop of AB.  One of my favorite breakfasts!

Lunch=giant salad with cucumbers, zuchinni, carrots, microwaved eggs, and avocado.

Afternoon snack — it was super melty since it had been at the beach with me all day and it was a hundred degrees!

A few bites of coleslaw and a giant Asian chicken salad for dinner (the size of my head).  You can’t see the chicken and other toppings, but I promise they’re there!

On the left is a peanut butter cup shake I had before going to a play with my dad and sister.  Right was my before blogging/bed snack of a small Godiva truffle.  I REFUSE to go without dessert.  Ever. Regardless of my weight.  I’m sure this is some kind of dieting sin.  But I don’t care.

So there you have it.  I do want to lost a bit of weight.  It’s very hard for me to find a balance between vigilance and obsession; I am aiming to use the blog to help me find a balance over the next few months (that won’t be the only thing on the blog though, don’t worry!).   Due to my body’s natural  (and rather unfortunate) chemistry/metabolism, I do need to have a certain vigilance.  It sounds bizarre, but if I am not careful and I gain weight now, I could screw over my fertility in the future.  Very random, I know.  But I want to be a mother more than anything in the world and so I am not going to take any chances with this.

Any thoughts?

Gym! Picnic! Memories!

Today’s Happy Note: Doing what I wanna do.  Sundays/holidays are the best for that.

Doing what I want started with a visit to the gym!  First time in over a week.  I ran a mile around the neighborhood then lifted weights (lighter than usual) for thirty minutes and spent thirty steady minutes on the elliptical.  The run was hard. Not hard like “oh, I should slow down a bit,” but hard like “I need to lie down for thirty minutes after every block” hard.  I eventually made it to the gym and had to sit down in the weight room.  Felt like a total loser.

The rest of the day was spent napping, watching various TV marathons, studying for the LSAT, talking with my mommy, cleaning, and then having a little picnic/fireworks adventure.

I had a nice outing with friends last night and would have liked to see them today but it was hard to coordinate schedules/locations.  So I ended up with a picnic for one!  Fine by me.  I would rather be by myself and make the most of it — get out of the house, do activities, meet new people — than sulk around and cry and feel sad about being alone.

I won’t lie, my picnic Fourth of July dinner was pretty sweet.  The menu:

  1. Sautéed garlic green beans with a maple glaze
  2. Potato salad with….interesting sauce
  3. Lemon grilled chicken
  4. Maple blueberry pie.

All together now:

I didn’t finish all of what’s pictured and made extra, so it looks like I’ll be eating nicely for a few days!  I am integrating real foods back into my diet slowly.  I didn’t have any other veggies today.  I feel much stronger and healthier but the last of the infection is still lingering around.  I am still being careful about fluids and am pounding the antibiotics (prescribed, of course).

After dinner I studied.  And studied some more.  Who knew logic games could be so damn complicated?  Alex is going to a party with his 25 best friends, known as each letter of the alphabet, B-Z.  Each person will arrive at a different time bearing a different food wearing a different color shirt.  Once they’re at the party they will be grouped into seven groups of different sizes.  We know that F arrived last and Z is wearing a purple shirt and will be in a group of three.  When did each person arrive?  What are they wearing?  What dish did they bring?  And what group are they in?

Seriously.  I’m not exaggerating.  Good thing the fireworks started after a few hours.  It was nice to see something exploding that wasn’t my brain.

I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to take a good picture of fireworks.  Meh.

I like the Fourth of July as a celebration of summer and friends and good food.  I guess the founding of our country is cool too.  I have the best memories of Fourth of July…

Storytime: Camp

From when I was 9 until 16 I attended a camp called AGQ every summer, for varying lengths of time (a week, two weeks, a month).  It was my favorite place in the world.  I grew up there.  It’s located in the most beautiful part of Michigan on a huge inland lake, with plenty of woods, pastures, cabins, camp sites, and everything else a kid could want in a summer camp.  I learned how to water ski.  How to play.  How to talk about myself and then write about myself.  How to be me.  Camp changed my life, not in a silly way, but in a very serious way.

There are a few specific memories about Camp that bring me instantaneous joy (and deep sadness as well). There was one tree; a very special tree.  An oak with the biggest green, sunny branches, draping out in all directions.  It seemed to me like that tree touched the sky.  And it had loving roots; the kind that your back just wants to soften into.  I made some of my dearest friends under that tree.  The ground in the circle around it was just sacred.  It accepted every child who entered i’s domain, unconditionally.

I think I learned how to consciously love at camp.  I hardly know how to explain this, but there is a point when a young person becomes fully and totally human through love: you fall so deeply in love with another being (not necessarily romantically) that you lose yourself.  there is something magical about love, about loving, and about camp.  You learn life stories, traumas, dreams, joys.  There is not a day that I don’t miss the extraordinary community of Camp.

One of the best things was always Fourth of July.  We would have “cookout” dinners with classic summer food (burgers, coleslaw, pasta salad, watermelon,etc.) and then the whole camp would lie out on blankets beside the lake and watch fireworks go off from the dock.  Perhaps I am romanticizing things, but there is not much a child should have to do in summer besides lie in the grass giggling with new friends and dream about s’mores.

My last few years at camp I participated in various leadership and counselor-in-training programs.  From the day I first set foot on Camp — drove through the woods and scrambled down the dirt road and the long hill and found my way to my cabin — I wanted to be a part of camp forever.  Unfortunately, we are not children forever.  But once I aged out, I wanted to be a counselor.  I wanted it more than I wanted anything else: more than I wanted to go to any particular college, more than I wanted to be good at swimming or running or writing, more than I wanted to work for the UN one day.  It was (and in a sense is) my biggest dream.  And it did not materialize.  I was not selected as a counselor.  In this rejection, I experienced my first heartbreak.  I had been deeply in love with this place for eight years — practically half my childhood, up to that point.

To this day I know that I would have been a phenomenal counselor.  I would have loved those children and showed them that they were valuable and unique and perfect the way they were.  I would have shown them how to love Camp, how to experience its magic, where to dive into the woods for a shortcut.   I do not say any of this out of arrogance or regret.  It’s just something I absolutely know — like I know that I will be a mother one day.  When you love a place that much and it changes your life that much, it is the most natural, perfect thing to, at a certain age, want to help transfer that love to others.

I go back and visit sometimes.  I haven’t been in two summers and I hope that I will have a chance this year.  I am forever thankful for Camp: for showing me how to accept and give love, how to write, how to fall in love with a place, how to express my needs and desires.  If it weren’t for camp, I would not have started writing my poems or switched to a new high school that changed my life.  I am not sure I would have ended up in New York.

If I had to choose a memory to die with tomorrow, it would be Camp.  Sitting in a circle under The Tree with new girlfriends, listening to poems and feeling the lake breeze waft through the hear.

What’s your “place”?  Where did you grow up — actually or metaphorically?  Have you ever loved something so much and then had to part with it?

I Like (Free) Food.

Today’s Happy Note: Naps.  Cuddling with my stuffed duck Herbert.  Watching TV curled up in my bed.  Drinking tea with honey.  Ah, the joys of being sick and not going to class!

Exercise: Went for a 40 minute walk today; climbed lots of stairs.  Still no “official” exercise, and guess what?  I’m perfectly fine!  I am, however, getting a bit restless and will need more movement time tomorrow.  I also am missing strength training!  I can’t wait to lift some arm weights and do core work.  Sometimes it’s not the process of exercise (i.e., burning calories, seeing results, etc.) but the act: it clears my head and just doing it makes me feel strong.

Eats: Sicky foods.  I’ll let the pictures talk.

Okay wait.  I want to talk.  Who doesn’t buy their dark chocolate by the pound (or pound plus, perhaps).  And anyone who doesn’t consume dark chocolate when they’re sick is a zombie.

And who doesn’t eat frozen yogurt daily?  Is that not allowed?

Eats Part II: Free food. Who doesn’t like free food?  I’ve been encountering LOTS of free food lately.  It tends to be rather ubiquitous at the end of the semester and my thoughts about it can be summed up in three words: I love it. I haven’t spent money on dinner in three days.  This is amazing.  I try to keep things real on this blog, and this is definitely one very “real” aspect of my life.  While I’ll never skimp on food, I can’t always afford Whole Foods produce or organic products or unlimited servings of fresh veggies.  I do what I can — and I probably do better than most college students.  But sometimes, payday is still three days away.   In the meantime, bring on the (free) food (preferably healthy; but when you’re a student free is free).  I don’t discriminate amongst things without price stickers.

Free dinner last night:

I snagged a seat at a little dinner hour with the provost and had a most lovely meal, including un-pictured chocolate covered strawberries.  My school is insanely rich and has the most amazing catering services.

Items pictured include: grilled chicken, salmon, rare steak, roasted cauliflower, some sort of bacon potato salad (DIVINE), broccolini, greek salad, mango and cucumber salad.

Tonight’s free dinner:

That last plate is stolen free food.  Perhaps snagged is a better way of describing it.  Plus, it was leftover at the end of an event, so I’m pretty sure it was up for grabs anyways.  This meal involved jerk chicken, a tiny bit of rice and beans (I’m not a huge rice fan), lamb kebab, Indian samosa patty thing, plantains, plain salad, fruit, and, of course, pretty cupcakes.  Look at that frosting!  So blue.  It reminds me of pictures of the ocean off of Greek islands.  Random, but am I right?

These cupcakes were from Buttercup Bakery (I saw the boxes) and the frosting was hands down the best I have ever had in the city.  Creamy and rich and sweet but not overpowering or cloying.  A perfect balance.

I’ve only gone to two classes so far this week.  Hey, I don’t want to infect anybody else right before finals!  Seriously, people on this campus would be having some major panic attacks if they got sick right now.  I;m only doing my duty to my fellow students.  BUT this wonderful little not-going-to-class-streak must end, sadly.  I am feeling a bit better and really need to go to both my classes and work tomorrow.  Hopefully I won’t be too tired!

Goodnight friends!  And happy Thursday!

OIAJ, SIAB, Protein, Mindfulness

Today’s Mini Goal: Find more coupons.  Then use them.  I’m a poor college student with an inclination towards specialty products and an expensive produce habit.  Anybody have any suggestions for where to acquire coupons/food discounts?

I have a confession:

Hello, my name is Caronae and I stayed in my pajamas until 5 pm today.

This was hands down one of the least productive days of my life.  I woke up at noon, made some OIAJ, read, munched on snacks, went back to sleep, flopped around on my bed having some thinking time.  Finally around five I dragged myself from the bed, called my dad for some motivation (he had already been to some sort of oncology conference all day, so that made me feel like it might be a good time for me to get moving), and threw on some hodge podge running clothes (sidenote: I don’t have a huge winter running gear stash and I don’t have the time/money to be doing laundry every few days, so I often end up running in some really funky outfits).  I didn’t set out with any particular route or mileage number in mind, which was quite a nice little change from my usually highly  regimented runs.  I love this kind of run.  It felt freeing to be able to turn left if I wanted to, or right.  To pick up my pace here or slow it down there.  To stop for water or notice the way the surface of the river moved.  It was nice.

Way back in September, when I first started seeing my current therapist, I realized how much I value productivity at the expense of me time.  Today, all I wanted was to snuggle up under my covers with a magazine and some chocolate.  And sometimes, that’s okay.  My therapist used the word “aimlessness” to describe this.  I have to give myself permission to just let go and do something that isn’t going to take me to any specific place.  When I do do this, I almost always feel calmer afterwards.  What’s your favorite “aimless” activity?

Run:

And what was even nicer than my run was the fact that MY GARMIN IS ONCE AGAIN FUNCTIONAL.  The company sent me instructions to reset it and recharge it which ended up working out after a few false starts.  So glad to have you back in my life Apricot (what I named my baby).  There were a few minor kinks:

1. Pace: sometimes it was just blatantly wrong: I’d be charging along at what was probably about a nine minute pace and it would tell me I was running at thirteen.  Not cool Garmin, not cool.

2. GPS Signal: okay, so this isn’t actually the Garmin’s fault, but rather NYC’s.  Seriously, there are two many tall buildings and not enough open spaces here.

3. Total Distance: the mileage thingy was going totally fine until the last quarter mile.  I was at about 7.9 and suddenly it started going backwards (it went all the way down to 7.2 before coming back up).  It never even reached the point at which it had started going backwards.  At first I thought I had been misreading the screen since it was dark, but I’m fairly positive I had about 0.05 miles left one second and then 0.70 miles left the next…

Anyone have any ideas/solutions?

I ended up doing eight miles in just over eighty minutes.  Tomorrow will be a long run and (hopefully) yoga.  I’m aiming for 16 miles, since I’m three weeks out from the race and I want this to be my peak.

Eats:

Really random today because of my bizarre I’m-not-doing-anything schedule.

Apple cinnamon chia OIAJ.  This did NOT fill me up, oddly enough, and I was feeling snackish two hours later.

TJ’s 0% pomegranate Greek yogurt topped with shredded coconut, pb pretzels, and TJ’s chocolate raspberry sticks (of which I had 3 or 4 more).  This was the perfect snack, and also the perfect segue into something I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while…

Protein Talk:

Many bloggers, and even some health professionals, have acknowledged that Americans have this inflated view of the importance of protein and that we are far too focused on it.  In some ways, I don’t disagree: we don’t need to be cramming our faces with steak, chicken, and protein powders all day long, especially if doing so means sacrificing other important micro- and macro-nutrients that our active bodies need to function.  But with that said, I like me some protein, and I also physically need it. I talked about my PCOS here so I won’t tell the whole story again, but suffice it to say, my body does not function well on a diet that is too high in carbs.  I think I’m somewhat insulin resistant, and I have always noticed that I look and feel better when I am more focused on fats and proteins than carbs (and by the way, when I say carbs I mean bread, pasta, rice, not fruits and veggies).   I do eat plenty of whole grains, but never in place of protein.

My dairy-free experiment (which has of late turned into a minimal-dairy experiment) has been making me think about protein.  I have noticed that without milk, yogurt, and cheese in my diet I have been eating way more in the evenings and feeling like I “can’t get full.”  I think I probably ate three servings of PB pretzels the other night.  I still want to continue my minimal-dairy experiment, but I think that if I am going to do that while continuing to take care of my body, I am going to need to educate myself about and focus on some alternative proteins and fats.

I often incorporate dairy into my afternoon snack.  I have a few other items in my rotation, but I’m starting to get tired of them.  Here are the most frequent contenders:

1. Fruits or veggies with nut butter (e.g., carrots with ab, apple with pb)

2. Bars (Luna, Lara, Clif Mojo, Kashi, etc.)

3. Trail mix with dried fruit, nuts, and whole grain cereals

I’m starting to get bored of these options and don’t want to revert to yogurt or cheese or milk.  Does anybody have any suggestions for me? I’m not big on protein powders, and while I love meat, tofu/soy, beans, lentils, eggs and the like, I don’t really envision carrying those around for an afternoon snack.  I need some protein advice, help! “Fat” based snack ideas are also welcome.  Thanks in advance!

Okay, back to today’s eats.

I was starving after my run since it had been so long since I’d eaten.  I think my blood sugar was low and I was a bit dehydrated, so I knew exactly what I wanted: a smoothie.  I so wish I had the equipment to create my own right now, but I don’t (hint hint, mom).  I got a mango smoothie from the student center and topped it with one of homemade granola bars (recipe from Averie) all crumbled up and a few spoonfuls of trail mix.  I ate it SIAB style.  Heaven.  On a spoon.

Three-ish hours later I was hungry for another dinner, so I went with it.  I wanted a giant pile of protein with a side of veggies, so that’s what I had.

I ate the chicken from last night’s sandwich with the sweet potato fries and yellow pepper slices.  This hit the spot.

I’m currently sipping on my favorite tea (jasmine tulsi) with a bit of stevia and some plain soy milk.

I did get a few things done this evening — ran, blogged, read some Adam Smith (pin factories, anyone?), and started a collage!

These are picture cutouts I’m going to use.  And yes, that’s a slice of pie and a baby elephant in the foreground on the right.  I adore hands on creative stuff like collage-making.  The pictures are going to get glued on to a large piece of paper that will say “mindfulness.”  I want to put it up above my door.  That word has really been resonating with me lately.  What word would you choose to describe your thoughts of late?

PS — please excuse the misaligned pictures.  I could not get them quite right!

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