Winter Nature In NYC And a Delicious Meal

A little winter running tour of NYC nature (yes, for anyone feeling snarky, there is nature in this city, although you do have to actively seek it out):

It was nice to break up my running with picture-taking. Confession: I have been majorly bored by running lately. Anyone have any fun workout boredom solutions?

I came back and cooked up a giant meal for myself:

Apple-smoked bacon, two sunny side up eggs, mushroom/sweet potato hash cooked in bacon fat, half a grapefruit, and flax quinoa bread (from WF.  I think I’m in love) with coconut butter.  For some reason this was the only meal I really wanted today.  I had some snacks, but didn’t want anything else substantial.  And I didn’t want any other foods either.  Just this.  Maybe I’m going through a food phase.

I think I like this phase.

I am hoping to migrate my blog to caronae.com tomorrow! Fingers crossed!  I am also hoping to figure out how to design some of my own layout and make it smooth and professional looking. If anyone has any tips, feel free to share. 🙂

I just feel like I’m finally ready to move into the “serious” blogging world.  I have this feeling in my center that it’s the right thing to do at this point in time.

See you all tomorrow my loves (hopefully)!

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Sugar

Dear Sugar,

You know I love you.  I really do — especially in homemade baked goods, cereal, energy/granola bars, ice cream, and chocolate.

But we have to take a break.

I’m seeing someone else.

Okay, that was a lie.  I’m actually seeing three someone else’s: fat, protein, and vegetables.

And sugar, they are so good to me. They’re better for me than you are.  Our relationship has been fraught with violence and abuse: you make me breakout (which is especially bad given my general hormonal issues), you make me overeat (I thought I could just have a little bit of you and be satisfied, but you’re so demanding — you always say “more, more more”!), and you  make me a little lethargic.

It’s time for a change.  I want more energy.  I want a happier, healthier looking face.  I want to feel like my digestive system is squeaky clean (TMI?).

Moreover, I’m an athlete — I thrive off of running, yoga, strength training, and just generally playing/exploring.  And you slow me down.  I know that all the experts say “carbs before and after a workout”, but I just don’t think that it’s working out for me.  See, that means it’s not you, it’s me.

I hope that we can see each other again some day, but only a little bit at a time.  I want my clear skin back.  I want my marathon energy back.  I want to look forward to eating healthy meals and not dread it.

I hope you are understand.  Feel free to call/text/email me anytime.  I hope we can still be friends!

xoxo, Caronae

And so begins a little experiment: seven days sugar-free. At least, refined-sugar free.  Don’t murder me if I use a dash of maple syrup at some point.  But seriously though, I think something has been bothering my tummy, my body, and my energy levels lately, and I have a suspicion that this white powder (no, not the other white powder) is to blame.

I have been focusing more and more on vegetables, a little fruit, proteins (meat, fish, chicken, yogurt, milk, beans, tofu/soy, eggs, cheese) and fats (EVOO, coconut oil, nut butter, plain nuts, low-fat dairy, whole eggs, cheese, butter, avocados) lately and I love it.  I have lost twelve or so of then nagging pounds I’ve had hanging out since the hospital this summer, and would love to lose about five more to be at my happy weight.  I’m fine with the way I am now, to be honest.  I just want to feel like I can finally get a hold of my weight, for once and for all.

And I think sugar (or at least, excessive sugar), is standing in my way.  I am a woman on a mission.  A very determined woman.  Don’t get in my way. 😉

-A few notes: my goal is NOT complete sugar elimination, jsut serious reduction

Source

-I will probably use a little stevia and maple syrup

-I am going to reevaluate after seven days.

Good night all!

Do you have a healthy relationship with sugar, or are you one of the many people who struggles with it?

Protein+Fat=Happy Caronae

Today’s Happy Note: Crossing things off my to do list.  I still have a lot to get done before this insane weekend, but I’m getting there. 🙂

PS — Does anyone else add things to their to-do list that you have already done, just so you can experience the joy of crossing it out?

Marathon Training: Yesterday I did four and a half miles, with an easy mile and a half warm-up, 4x (400 fast/400 easy), and a mile cool down.  It wasn’t terrible, but I just felt weak.  Today, even more so. I feel lightheaded,blurry vision, etc. No idea what is going on, but I’ll be sure to monitor things and be careful.

I had my super easy yoga class today. We literally sat on chairs half the time and stretched.  I’m taking it very easy this week, so this was perfectly acceptable.

I never told you about my endocrine visit on Monday! The doctor was extremely nice and extremely knowledgeable.  She also seemed obscenely young (early thirties?) for a faculty practitioner (meaning she is a professor) which made me a bit nervous.  She was very thorough.  We talked about everything — diet, exercise, hormones, habits, genetics, blood sugar, endocrine/metabolic systems.  She is running a really broad panel of tests to see if there is something significantly wrong.  If nothing is found, then the “answer” is simply going to be that I have a little bit of a weird metabolic/hormonal system.

I am not freaking out as much as I was before though because of two things:

1. She basically told me that my weight “problem” actually isn’t a problem.  Because of my healthy diet and exercise choices, being a few pounds over the recommended weight for my height isn’t a big deal.  She was actually really soothing/comforting in this regard.

2. I have been making a conscious effort to eat more fat and protein lately and have lost seven pounds.  My period just ended, so some of this might be hormonal/water weight.  But still, seven pounds is a good chunk of my overall body weight.  I am hoping that continuing this eating pattern will help me lose a few more pounds.  But if not, I am not going to freak out.

I promise. 🙂

So what have I been eating of late?

One carb I REFUSE to get rid of is oats (above: 1/4 C with 1/2 serving vanilla protein powder, 1 C vanilla soymilk, chopped apple, and walnuts).  Other than that, I am not eating too many grains.  And I am not giving up carbs entirely either.  I kind of love them. 😉  I’m just making sure to reduce them and then pair them with more fat and protein.

One trap I have fallen into in the past is eating more protein without reducing carbs.  That just results in more overall calories, which isn’t going to help anybody.  Unless you are trying to gain weight, obviously.

Other eats:

Squash “pizza.”  In reality this was actually a squash bowl stuffed with veggies, ground beef, and cheese.  I cut it into little slices and ate it like a pizza though, which made it 10x more fun.

Really random lunch with two mini corn tortillas (which aren’t that good; I wanted wraps and thought these would be good since they were smaller, but they are dry), almond butter, carrots, and a protein cake (a la April) made with peanut flour and cocoa powder with PB.

Dinner was full of fat, veggies, and protein.   Exactly how I like it!  I used a base of pumpkin puree, topped that with ground beef/mushrooms/carrots and brussel sprouts/broccoli cooked in EVOO.  Enough to feed one small army OR one hungry Caronae.

I have heard a lot of different research about diets higher in proteins/fats.  Some of what I have seen has indicated that a diet high in protein/fat, even of the saturated variety (think whole milk, meat, butter) is not harmful.  I tend to agree with this with the caveat that people have very different metabolic/digestive systems with very different needs (I talked about my wants and needs with  my diet in Monday’s post).  I think that it isn’t animal fat or protein that’s killing us/making us obese, but processed crap full of chemicals, like candy bars and pop and snack foods.

I think that there is evidence on both sides of the spectrum, at the moment.  In my opinion, this just furthers my conclusion that different people are suited to different diets.

On the horizon the next few days: CRAZY INSANELY BUSY Caronae.  I promise to post before the marathon though.  Is anyone interested in tracking me/coming out to cheer and wants to know my number?

If so, email me!  I know a few bloggies have already mentioned that they would like to know, but I have lost track.  So please leave a comment/email me and I will let you know.

T-4 days!  Ahhhhhh!!!!!

In A Day’s Eats

Today’s Happy Note: I was feeling a lot of anxiety last night and sent my therapist a rant email and she sent me back a very soothing message.  She really is a major comfort.  It’s pretty sweet that she is there for me even on the weekend.

Thank you everyone for your kind, insightful comments yesterday. One thing that a lot of people pointed out was that I am still me, regardless of my size.  Additionally, most people on the beach are not looking at me at all!  They have better things to do than pay attention to the minutiae of my body. And in fact I have better things to do than pay attention to the minutiae of my body!

I feel like I have been lazy today.  The weird thing is that I can’t decide if this is actually true.  I mean, I did stuff, I just feel like it wasn’t enough stuff. I feel like Sundays should be devoted to getting-things-done.  I didn’t even workout (although I did walk maybe two or so miles).  Meh.  I guess maybe some Sundays are meant for total relaxation, perhaps?  What do you prefer — crazy busy Sundays that prepare you for the week ahead or lazy Sundays?

I did manage to pick myself up off the couch for a quick Adventure to the farmer’s market and the Cathedral. Fresh local peaches from the farmer’s market in summer are truly heavenly.  They might be my favorite food, ever.  I can’t even eat store bought ones anymore.  Other finds: crunchy cucumbers, rainbow chard, pea shoots, and mixed lettuces.

Started the day with a giant, real NY bagel (seven grain) with walnut raisin cream cheese (which, by the way, is cream cheese perfection).   I feel like bagels are a traditional NY Sunday brunch, so how could I say no?  I went with the family.  I am not a big bread person, but I really like a good bagel once a week or so.  And the cream cheese is wonderful because it’s so full of fat and keeps me full for hours.  I had this around eleven and didn’t even begin to think about eating again until after four.

My late afternoon snack was a SIAB made with vanilla soy milk, a splash of kefir, vanilla hemp/whey protein powder, lots of ice, frozen blueberries and frozen cherries.  Toppings: kashi heart to  heart cereal and Justin’s maple almond butter.

I also had a tiny bowl of cereal afterwards to satisfy my  giant cereal craving.

At some point between this and dinner I had a tiny handful of nuts and a piece of chocolate.

Dinner=meat. Dear meat, I love you.  I will never, ever leave you.

This is a multigrain wrap stuffed with home made meatballs (from farmer’s market ground beef), jarlsberg cheese, and baked yellow squash.  I made my meatballs with EVOO, salt, lemon pepper, garlic, and dried basil.  I had lots of cukes and carrots on the side.

At this point in my life, I know that eating meat (of all varieties — red, poultry, seafood) is the right choice for me.  I physically feel so much better with it in my life.  I have more energy, stay fuller longer, and I feel healthier on the inside too.  I try to eat red meat once or twice a week, along with a few servings of fish/chicken/turkey/shrimp, etc.  I know that some people may have trouble digesting meat or they just don’t like it or it does not work for them in some way, and I absolutely respect that.  But I crave and need protein.  And not just any protein: meat protein. And if I have learned anything about my relationship with food in the last few years, it’s that denying what my body wants is asking for trouble.

Phew, glad I got that out.  After dinner I had two spoonfuls of Maranatha dark chocolate peanut spread before making my real dessert.

Coconut peanut butter protein ice cream!  Topped with dark chocolate.

So pillowy.  I also had a Godiva dark chocolate truffle.

I won’t continue posting all my meals for long. It’s just something that I think I need to do for myself for a few days. I am getting used to “closing the kitchen” after a small-ish dessert, and not mindlessly munching my way through the evening.  I am hoping this will become a habit!  There are so many other things I like to do in the evening instead, especially reading.  There is never enough time for all the books I want to read, sadly.

I am a little nervous about working again full time this week.  I have lots to do, but hopefully I will give myself a break if need be.  I also need to make sure I get enough sleep.  Goodnight friends!

Anatomy of My Snackage

Today’s Happy Note: I had TWO social activities.  Hey, that’s a lot for me.

I’ve switched from daily creativity notes to happy notes!  I was getting bored (and, um, a bit uncreative) and needed a change.  So far I’ve done positive notes, mini goals, daily creativity, and now happy notes.  The happy note has to be a comment on one happy thing from my day.

My friend J and I headed out for our run this morning and he finished so strong!  I even made him run up a hill at the end.  He was such a trooper; my legs were so dead, I could barely keep up with him!  I want to do a long run tomorrow and get it out of the way, but I can’t decide if my legs will be happy and rested.  Decisions decisions. Also, my running club is doing a small 5k for charity.  I hate 5ks but I feel like I should participate?  To race or not to race?  To do the long run afterwards or not to do the long run?

Caronae fact of the day: I am terribly indecisive.  I used to make my parents crazy saying I wanted one thing and then changing my mind at the last minute.  Oh wait, I still do that.

I won’t lie, I didn’t get much done today.  I did my five mile run and a nice hour-long yoga class, plus had brunch with J, did a little school reading and watched a lot of pointless TV.  But I don’t have class Monday so I feel like I shouldn’t have to start homework until tomorrow!  Lol, that’s just silly 🙂

Snackage:

I didn’t take a lot of food pictures today so I though I would do a round up of some of my typical/favorite healthy snacks and why I like them!  There are a few qualtiies I look for in a snack:

1. Must hold me over: this means that it should be nutritious.  Usually I go fo some (or all) of the following elements: fiber/vegetable matter, fat, protein, smart carbs, deliciousness.  If a snack is healthy as all get out, but it doesn’t taste good, I won’t want to eat it, and will therefore end up just eating what I really crave later on.

2. Portability/convenience: My afternoon snacks (generally consumed anywhere between 3:00 and 6:00 pm depending on lunchtime and hunger levels) are most often eaten between classes or walking to work or the gym or volunteering.  I usually look for something that can be taken in a plastic baggie or tupperware.  BTW, I LOVE tupperware.  If you have extra tupperware, send it to me 🙂

3. Nutrition: This relates to number one.  You will not see me eating 100 calorie packs or processed stuff.  I try to keep the snack as “whole” as possible.

Time for pictures!

Apple with nut butter.  While this was clearly eaten on a plate, you can easily cut up an apple into slices ahead of time, store it in a bag or container, and throw in a spoonful of nut butter (or a Justin’s on the go packet!  Love these!).  Sometimes I sit sheepishly at my desk at work and just smear some of the packet onto a whole apple 🙂

Veggie slices with hummus!  Also can be easily put in a container and thrown in your bag.

Homemade trail mix and/or whole fruit.  I take two snacks if I know I will be out and about for a long time between lunch and dinner.  I like the following for fun, unique trail mixes: nuts, exotic dried fruits (think pineapple or blueberries), whole grain cereal, dried edamame, chocolate chips, animal crackers, etc.

Good old plain fresh produce!  Carrots and peppers are really easy to cut into manageable strips.  I also like cucumber and cereal.  Snacks like this are perfect for when you have several hours before your next meal and you know you’ll be hungry, but you don’t want to get too full.

Frozen yogurt with toppings is my favorite occasional “treat” snack!

Yogurt with random toppings.  I like greek yogurt for the protein, and as long as I don’t eat more than one serving a day, my tummy feels fine.  You can get super creative with yogurt mix-ins.  This one had pb pretzels and chocolate raspberry sticks.

Bars: These are my in-a-hurry or need-calories choices.  They can be a bit processed, but some aren’t bad.  They usually keep my nice and full, but you do have to experiment to find ones that taste yummy to you.

Smoothies!  Smoothies can be a super fun but also filling choice.  Since I am still blenderless (*tear*), I have to buy mine and add toppings if I want them.  I like a little yogurt and a sprinkle of nuts.  Mmmmm.

Okay, I think I’ve covered my most typical snacks!  I’m looking on doing more protein/savory snacks, since I know that carbs/sweet stuff can be a little bit addictive for me.  I’m thinking of plain edamame and hard boiled eggs.  Anyone have any other protein/fat snack ideas?

I hope your Saturday night is going superbly.  Off to a friend’s birthday party 🙂

See you tomorrow!

PS — Averie is giving away some awesome Tazo tea stuff here.  Seriously, the blog fairies love this girl!

Running, Protein, And Fat!

Daily Creativity: I won’t lie, nothing much creative has happened yet.  Maybe some sketching?  I’m so mad at myself for forgetting to bring my pastels back with me when I was home last week!  Well, my dinner salad was kind of creative I guess.

Cook’s Mission: Go vote for my cook’s mission entry (you have to scroll down quite a bit) here.  Or vote for whatever one you like the best!  I personally thought Mae’s muffins and Health-Foodies apricot and rosemary filled pretzels rocked.  To vote, just leave a comment on the recipe you like the best!

Run: Today was my first run since the race.  Perhaps I should have started out low and slow, but for some reason I really wanted to do eight miles.  When I get an idea for a route or distance in my head, I tend to stick to that plan no matter what, even if I’m not really feeling it.  Not the greatest habit, but today turned out alright.  Very slow though; I think I did about 8, or perhaps a little bit less, in 85 minutes.  I was doing a lot of hilly trails in CP though, so that was part of the slowness.  My legs just felt generally tired too.  If I still feel sluggish in five days I’ll be annoyed, but right now I’m just accepting that they might have a little residual exhaustion 🙂

Tomorrow I’m going to take my friend J outside for his first ever outdoor run!!!!  He can do 3.25 on a treadmill, but I know I can get him up to 5 outside.  He’s a trooper. I’m SO proud of him; three years ago when we started college, he was overweight and really out of shape.  He started making simple changes like eating whole wheat bread and low fat milk and having more fruits and veggies and now he is strong, powerful, and way healthier.  Go J go!

How long does it take you to recover from a hard race?

Announcements, Announcements, Annouuuuunnnnncements: Okay, sorry, that probably seems really random to you.  We used to have to sing that phrase every morning at the camp I went to for nine years.  It will forever be stuck in my head.

1. Thanks for everyone’s sweet comments yesterday

2. I really want a blog header/fun layout, but I’m very poor and can’t really justify spending money on the blog.  Anyone have any suggestions/know-how/friends who design websites?

3. I’m going to be running another race soon.  A really awesome but very difficult and painful race.  One that I have run once before (hint: it was in December and you can learn more about it on one of my pages from the sidebar).  Drumroll…

Run around the island 33 mile ultramarathon!!!!!!!!  I AM REALLY EXCITED this time around: I have no tibia issues and my microfractures are long gone.  I know I’m strong and I have the endurance.  And it’s in two weeks.  Gah!  This isn’t really something that I would train for outside of my normal running, and since it’s so soon I don’t know that I’ll want to do any 18-22 milers before it.  I’ll probably do a 12-14 miler during the middle of this week, and I should be fine.  Last time we did 33.4 miles in 6 hours 8 minutes.  I guess it’d be cool if we could beat that time; I ran it with two guys and they were both so supportive and encouraging.  Not sure if we’ll have more people this time, but it’d be cool if we did.  More people=more fun!

Random eats  from the day (forgot to charge my camera so I don’t have everything):

Whole wheat pasta with lots of veggies, chicken, a little alfredo sauce and too much cheese.

Luna protein bar: OMG this was wonderful.  I have high bar standards, and although this may not be super “clean”, it was super tasty.  Most chocolate peanut butter flavored things fail, but this one was downright impressive.  It tasted like the girl scout peanut butter patties cookies (which, in my opinion, are way better than thin mints)!

Grocery heap!  Things I’m excited about: Tera’s whey protein powders, chocolate almond milk, black cherry steaz, and justin’s maple almond butter (ON SALE!).

Dinner: lentil soup, giant salad with romaine, spinach, carrots, bell peppers, blackberry, and half of an apple chicken sausage.  Dinnertime perfection.

Emotional Eating (warning: wordiness ahead):

I think one of the first things I need to do in evaluating my emotional eating/over eating, after examining what my feelings really are (which is a lot of what therapy is about, so this is already covered mostly), is examine the ways in which my diet is and is not working for me.  There are a few things I have noticed so far:

1. I am someone who needs a lot of vegetables, protein and fat.  I know it’s cliche to say that “carbs are not your friend” but for me they pose one major problem: if I have a carb-based meal at any point in the day after breakfast, I will only want carbs for the rest of the day.  If I have cereal or granola at lunch, I cannot resist having it for snack and dinner too.  I think that for my body chemistry (insulin-resistant), carbs actually have an addictive property.  I am one of those people for whom sugar necessitates more sugar.  I have noticed a few things that help with this: small servings of whole grain bread, pasta, or actual grains with lunch or dinner seem to help keep me full and satisfied, include lots of plant based volume at most meals, and eat more protein or fat.  Sounds simple, and really, it is.  So this is something I have observed (non-judgmentally) and plan to work on!

2.  If I get too hungry or wait too long between meals, I will dive into the sugar (ice cream, cereal, chocolate,whatever’s around).  I think the solution to this is as simple as making sure I’m eating every 3-4 hours, and when I do get into a hunger state, respond by having some fat and protein immediately.

3.  After-dinner snacking: if I occupy myself after dinner with blogging/reading/homework/cleaning etc., I tend to not have the snacky feeling!  I am not sure why, but I get really intense sugar cravings after most meals, regardless of what the meal consists of.  If I wait a half an hour or so though, these cravings typically go away!  I need to practice mindfulness and consciousness in the evenings.  I think this is a good first step.

I really wanted to do a Flashback Friday (Janetha makes them look so fun) but this post is already way too talky.  Maybe I’ll do one tomorrow?  Is this allowed?

Alright bloggettes, what are you up to this weekend?  Any fun exercise classes or adventures planned or delicious new meals waiting to be consumed?

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!