In Which Caronae Has Fun

Today’s Happy Note: Raspberry herbal tea — just bought some the other day (it’s Stash); it’s somehow creamy yet subtle. Also, I made my evening a mini spa event — got a 15 minute massage after work and just made myself an oatmeal face mask using this recipe. It felt really wonderful and scrubby.  It would be great for a girls’ night.

Social Life: I went out again last night, to a friend’s birthday party.  What has come over me?!?!  I’m having fun, being social, being open.  This is crazy, but in a good way.  I am pretty sure I’m being a normal twenty year old.  It’s summer.  I was talking to someone important to me the other day and all the sudden realized (out loud) “fun is allowed!”  Being with friends and connecting with the people in my life is really important right now.

Marathon Training: Yesterday was a rest day — I ended up with three miles of walking and 20 minutes yoga.  Today was a speed workout on the track.  I put it off all week because speedwork overwhelms me.  But it ended up going really well!

2 mile warm-up

4 x (1200 “fast cruise pace”, 400 easy)

2 mile coo-ldown

I did the 1200s in 6:15, 6:16, 6:13, 6:15.  I was happy with that, especially since these were not all out by any means. It totaled 8 miles. I also did weights this evening for 30-ish minutes.

Eats:

Just got a new batch of sweet cherries.  I have been loving fresh fruit this summer!  Faves: blueberries, peaches, cantaloupe, raspberries, and cherries.

We had a birthday party at the office yesterday!  I had a cupcake yesterday and today.  I wasn’t weird about it at all! I didn’t agonize over eating the cupcake nor did I eat one and proceed to eat ten more.  I had one yesterday and one today, because, well, there were leftovers and I couldn’t let them sit there over the weekend, could I?

I have been trying to lose about 10 nagging pounds that crept on over the summer, especially while I was in the hospital.  I think I have maybe lost 2?  I am stressing a little bit about it and am not really sure what to do.  I refuse to go down the obsessive path — it does NOT work for me.  I have been working on eating intuitively.  I don’t think it is making enough of a difference in my actual food consumption for me to lose weight, but it has helped me feel better emotionally.  It’s nice to sit down in the evening and realize “okay, I want a few bites of chocolate and that’s it” or “hmmm, I just made a giant bowl of oats but I don’t think I am hungry for these last few bites.”  These are small accomplishments.

Another thing: I really want to switch up my healthy fat consumption. Confession: I had a smoothie and several spoonfuls of sunflower seed butter for dinner tonight.  When I crave nut butter like this, it usually is because I am in need of some fats.  So I’m going to make it a goal to diversify my fat intake: avocados, EVOO, 2% yogurt, lowfat milk, raw nuts, eggs.

Anyone have any favorite healthy fats suggestions?

Time to get to bed.  I may or may not be going out again tomorrow!  Crazy.  I think I like this side of me. 🙂

Anti-Anxiety Plan of Attack!

Today’s Happy Note: Reading in the park.

Mental Health Note: I was so wound up when I left work today that I could barely walk in a straight line.  I have no idea where this came from.  I guess part of depression is feeling inexplicably sad, lonely, or confused.  That might be it.  It was a pretty straightforward day at the office.  Very routine.  Normally the routine soothes me, but today it just unsettled me.  Maybe because I couldn’t stop thinking about all the other things I had to do.  On my way home, I devised an anti-anxiety plan of attack!

  • Take a few moments to myself to walk through the park, look at the trees, breathe, and read.  I rarely leave the house without a book, and today was no exception.   I had “The Gift of Therapy” by Irvin Yalom with me.  Yet another book borrowed from L.  I am devouring it.  It is most wonderful and calming.  Not in a creepy way, but it reminds me of L, which reminds me to stay calm; that someone nearby loves and appreciates me unconditionally is an instantly comforting thought.
  • Make a list of specific things bothering me and plan out howto deal with each thing (i.e., just do it, shelve it for later, ignore it, etc.).
  • Don’t worry about a workout.  I like to take one weekday rest day each week and I purposely don’t plan it ahead of time precisely because of days like this.  The idea of traveling to the gym or the gymnastics center or the yoga studio or dripping with sweat in the 90 degree heat was unappealing.  I work out enough that responding to a day of stress by not working out actually makes sense.  I did do about three miles of walking.
  • Take extra time to write in my journal.
  • Don’t stuff my face, but do have exactly what I want for dinner…

Which leads me to these masterpieces:

I was craving frozen fruit all afternoon/evening!  The first bowl has frozen cherries with one spoonful AB and one spoonful PB.  The second one is Talenti coconut gelato topped with dark chocolate, frozen berries, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a few mixed nuts.

Coconut, berries, nuts: I could have done way worse.  Definitely plenty of sugar.  But oh so tasty.  Sometimes food needs to serve both a physical, nourishing purpose and an emotional, satisfying purpose.  I think I successfully accomplished both here! 🙂

Don’t worry, other eats of the day involved veggies and protein!  Like lunch:

Giant tuna mess with hummus, herbs, snap peas (nom nom nom!) and peppers.

Off to do work and clean my room!  Neither of which I especially want to do.  Sigh…

What do you do when you are inexplicable feeling down?

Favorite frozen fruit?

Happy Sleep, Happy Eats, Happy Self

Today’s Happy Note: I just saw the cutest commercial ever.  It was for chiquita bananas and showed a little baby banana traveling to our stores….adorable.

Seeing commercials for things like bananas makes me happy!  Better advertisements for bananas than Lucky Charms and Double Stuf Oreos.

Speaking of produce. Go read this article.  It talks about organic vs. non-organic produce in terms of pesticide contamination.  Holy wow!  Many common produce items contain 47-67 pesticides!  Egads.  I think the best option is local; I get as much produce from the farmer’s market as possible.  After that, I get organic when affordable.  Some organics are priced similarly to conventionals, while others are a bit outrageous (like grapes).  One of the scary things about this article was that it put forward the idea that some pesticides can’t even be scrubbed off of produce — the chemicals actually seep into the entire plant.  Yuck.  As a student constantly on a budget, this is something I worry about.  Do you worry about this? Maybe it’s not worth the worrying.  I do the best  I can.

No workout today!  I read a post on Fitnessista the other day where she mentioned she woke up tired and skipped a morning workout.  So simple (and obvious –duh Caronae) but so brilliant!  I often drag myself out of bed in the morning to get a workout in before the rest of the day takes over.  Today I opted for the sleep.

Early morning wokrout pros:

  • It’s over and done with
  • Energizes me for the rest of my day
  • Cool outside, not too humid
  • Leaves time in the evening to relax
  • I can’t put it off

Late afternoon/evening workout pros:

  • Sleeping in a bit
  • Leisurely breakfast/morning
  • Less likely to be late for work
  • Makes me tired for bed

In my mind, morning workouts work better for me.  The only problem is that I need an inordinate amount of sleep.  It’s taken me a while to come to terms with this.  I’m not one of these 6-7 hours a night people.  I need 8-9 hours if I am going to be functional and energetic during my day.  I’ve been doing well going to bed early, but sometimes I want to be out with my friends.  I think this is something I’ll have to play by ear; some mornings are going to be more inviting than others.

Lots of happy eats today!

Dinner: exactly what I was craving.  Vanilla Almond Butter and raspberry jam with a side of apple slices.  Disordered eating fact: I have a secret fear of eating fruit (as opposed to vegetables) with dinner.  Fruit has more calories and more sugar, obviously, but it is also perfectly good for you.  And I had plenty of veggies with lunch.  Tonight I was really craving an apple so I went for it!  Perfect little side dish.

Notice the little G&B?  Green and Black’s 70% is my go-to dark chocolate.  Never fails.  Creamy but also deeply chocolaty.

Mental Health Note: No therapy this week (L on vacation)!  Makes me a little nervous.  I’ll probably do some journaling tonight, maybe a little bit of stream of consciousness type of stuff.  I need to at least get some thoughts out; sometimes in therapy I just spew and spew and spew.  I’ll miss L’s insights and kindnesses this week.  But that just means I’ll have to come up with my own!  Here’s to being kind to myself!

Sunday Funday Frienday

Today’s Happy Note: Looking at different gyms for the summer.  It’s fun, but some of them are expensive!

Caronae is a very tired pumpkin seed today.  Lots of walking and time in the sun = one exhausted girl.  I’m going to have to let the pictures do (most of) the talking.

Festivals in Brooklyn with friends are fun.

BAM is fun.

Piles of blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and whip cream are fun.  My friend’s dad invited us over for brunch.  These were divine; I have no idea how he got them so fluffy, but it was like eating a pillow.  A pillow stuffed with mountains of wild blueberries.

Rooftop gardens are spectacularly fun.  New York City in the summertime is fun (when it’s not deathly hot).

Bowls, drums, jewelry. All fun.

Fun fact about Caronae: I love elephants.

Fresh fruit = fun snack (strawberry and pear).

Free new shoes are very fun!  I got these from my friend’s dad’s girlfriend.  I have very few dress shoes so these will be nice for work.

Egg puffs in salads are always fun.

Not obsessing about exercise or precise calorie intake is pretty fun too!  I got in my fair share of walking today too.  I don’t have a picture, but McDonald’s sweet tea is wonderfully fun.  I am aware that it’s mostly sugar and I don’t care.  It is one of the best drinks in the world and is the only thing I go to McDonald’s (or really any fast food place) for.

What was fun for you today?

It’s easy to forget how important  fun is for our mental health.  If you have trouble letting yourself have fun (I think many women, especially, do), make a list of your favorite fun things and try one out when you’re feeling down.

My list includes things from this post and…

  • new swimsuits
  • word games and sudoku puzzles
  • picnics with friends
  • adventures in the park
  • any type of flower, especially orchids
  • collecting bird pins
  • baking
  • frozen fruit in the summer
  • checking out books from the library
  • cooing over fuzzy ducklings
  • reading poems
  • reading blogs
  • finding discounted kitchen appliances
  • wearing dresses

And many more things, of course! 🙂  What does your fun list look like?

Trail Running 101. And Smoothie-Making 102.

Today’s Happy Note: Tree climbing with my sister.  Or at least attempted tree climbing.  Either we have grown or the trees have shrunk.  I think it’s the former.

I wish that those could be real classes.  Other fantasy classes of mine:

  • Learning How to Please Your Mother (10,000 level)
  • Adventure Travel: Pretty Birds Edition
  • Experiments in Oatmeal-Making
  • Cuddling With Ducks and Other Cool Animals
  • How To Use a Fax Machine Without Going Crazy/Why Are These Dinosaurs Still Being Used
  • Why Stars Are Pretty
  • How to Date (Remedial Version)
  • Studio Art: Clay, Pastels, Collages!
  • Marine Biology for People Who Don’t Know Anything About Biology And Just Want to Scuba Dive with Exotic Fish
  • How Best to Use Your Wok

I could go on but I’ll spare you. What fantasy classes would you dream up?  Or is it just me who thinks of these things? After all, it is already well established that I’m off the charts in geekiness ratings.

Exercise: A most breath-taking two hour trail run one on of my beloved Michigan trails.  And there were no snake encounters!  Only moles, squirrels, and butterflies.  Wildlife success!

I took pictures for you!

Winding trail.  This trail is spectacularly hilly.  I’m talking quad-busting-long-squelching-I-want-my-mother-to-carry-me-up-hills.  I think I ran 11-12 miles but it was probably the actual output equivalent of several more.

My favorite segments of the trails.  Meadows.  That’s all I have to say.  And look at that sky!

Iced Oatmeal Raisin Luna Bar snack photographed while running.  I’m glad I am able to put my talents to good use in this world.

Not exactly sure why I look like such a man here.  Whatever.  You win some you lose some.

I like trail running because…

  • I feel like I’m flying.
  • Nature tends to provide endless entertainment (squawking sucks!  shiny turtles!  tiny pink flowers!)
  • The challenge keeps you on your toes
  • There is something freeing about it: the up and down and fast and slow and rocks and roots and grassy patches — all of this gives you, briefly, a new outlook on the world.

Lessons in trail running…

  • Always make sure someone knows where you are going.  If you have never been to a certain trail or park, try to go with someone.  If you can’t, then study the maps and stick one in your pocket if possible.  I always carry my cell phone and an emergency snack as well.
  • If you get lost, don’t panic.  Look for a trail marker or a fellow hiker or runner.  Bring extra layers in case you are out later than expected.  If you are very lost, try to follow a stream or a road.
  • Be prepared to let other runners or bikers pass you.  If there are mountain bikers, be careful; they often come around curves on narrow paths very quickly.
  • Respect the wildlife.  If there are a million trilliums or marsh marigolds, it’s probably fine to pick one, but don’t go pulling things out of the earth, leaving trash (and yes, goo wrappers are trash), or displacing anything natural.
  • Animals live in nature.  There, I said it.  It is highly unlikely that they will bother you.  Be kind to them.
  • Watch your footing!  Rocks and roots often seem to come up out of nowhere.  I fell on my face at one point today and I am an experienced trail runner who has run this particular trail probably 20 times.
  • Bring kleenex for bathroom emergencies.
  • Be kind to other runners or walkers.  Say hello or wave or smile.
  • Wear sunscreen if need be or a hat or sunglasses.
  • Make sure you have appropriate footwear, i.e., good running shoes or even special trail running shoes.

Anyone have any additional tips?

Now for the smoothie-making lesson.  Mmmmm.

This is my post long-run breakfast.  A blueberry-banana smoothie topped with a wee bit of shredded spoonfuls cereal (weird name, no?) and a slice of seedy toast with pb.

Why, you ask, is the smoothie in a bowl.  Because all things — and smoothies especially — taste better when eaten out of a bowl with a spoon.  This has been scientifically proven.

What’s in this smoothie?  Frozen blueberries, half a banana, half a cup of vanilla soy milk, half a cup plain greek yogurt, about half a cup of water, amazing grass berry amazing greens (only tasted a faintly grassy berry taste!), and six large ice cubes.  Pure and delicious.

My smoothie is ready for her close up.

Why I like smoothies…

  • Nutrition, volume, and taste all rolled into one.
  • Smooth, cold texture is perfect for summer
  • Easily customizable! Choice of fruits, milks or yogurt, nuts, protein, flavorings, etc.
  • Can be both unglamorous, portable meals OR fancy sit-down meals, depending on how your “plate” it.
  • They’re fun!  Who doesn’t like eating/drinking/slurping a smoothie.

Smoothie-making tips…

  • Include ice or frozen fruit or both.  It helps with the volume and that classic icy-but-not-icy texture.
  • Also experiment with protein powders or gums for better texture/volume.
  • Play around with fruit and flavor combinations!  And yes, fruit is pretty much essential.  Options are endless: blueberry-banana, strawberry-rhubarb, raspberry-peach, mango-vanilla, peanut butter-banana-chocolate…
  • Don’t be afraid to try some seemingly random things: throw in a few cashews or a spoonful of peanut butter or cinnamon or almond extract or coffee or tea or mint or lavender.  Have fun with it!
  • You don’t necessarily need milk (of any sort).  Sometimes I like the texture that results from a few spoonfuls of greek yogurt and a cup of water.  You could also try coconut milk or water or even frozen yogurt for a treat.  In the summer, peach ice cream is an amazing smoothie ingredient!
  • You don’t need a vita-mix, although you may want one.  I have a proctor-silex which works fine for everything except banana soft serve.

What are your smoothie tips and tricks?

Finals Week Health Challenge

Today’s Happy Note: I got one paper done (8 pages).  I still need to edit it, but getting the first draft out is always the hardest part.  Here’s what’s left between now and Friday: one 15-page paper, one 10 page take home exam, and one in class final.  That’s not so terrible!  I can do it!

Speaking of school, finals, and papers, I want to give myself a little challenge.  I found myself eating way too much this weekend because I was stressed and/or bored.  Finals week(s) is always a difficult time to follow the diet (in the lifestyle sense, not the weight loss sense) that works best for me, so…

Introducing the Finals Week Health Challenge!

There are several components:

1. 60 minutes of physical activity every day (I suspect this one will be the easiest).

2. 6+ servings of fruits and veggies (dried, fresh, frozen, sauces — it all counts).

3. No late night stress snacking: if I am genuinely awake and using energy studying and I need fuel, that is fine, but I am going to try to maintain a semi-decent schedule, and I would like to institute my no after dinner snacking rule (besides dessert, of course).

4. Mental health: tell myself 3 positive/nice things everyday.  Don’t panic; remain calm and know that everything will get done!

That’s it!  Pretty simple.  This is how I try to live most of the time, but things tend to get crazy during finals — think 12 hour marathon paper writing sessions accompanied by a bag of chocolate chips, etc.  Any college students out there who want to join me are welcome! It starts immediately, unless you don’t have exams yet.

Here’s today’s progress:

1. Check.  I did a 6 mile run (which took me almost 70 minutes; it was 85 degrees and I am NOT adjusted to the heat yet) followed by a 90 minute yoga class at The Shala. The actual class and teacher and flows were great, bu I was so disgustingly sweaty that I could hardly concentrate.

2. Check. I have consumed the following today: blackberries, half a banana, frozen berries and pineapple, arugula/lettuce mix, roasted broccoli, and roasted bell peppers.  I think it was probably somewhere around six or seven servings.

3. Not check.  I had my standard dessert after dinner, but felt the need to eat some unnecessary cereal and peanut butter afterwards.  Not sure if it was genuine hunger (I was pretty active today) or stress, but I’m leaning towards the latter.

4. I think I was pretty un-stressed today, and I have had plenty of positive thoughts.  Why, you want to know?  Because I asked a boy on a date(ish) yesterday!!!!  This is a first for me, and I am VERY PROUD of myself.  It’s such a simple thing, but men are a huge source of anxiety for me.  We’re having lunch on Tuesday.  I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂

I did a 12-miler yesterday; I wasn’t planning on a long run but I woke up early and just decided to do it.  It was a bit slow but I felt really good during parts of it.

Eats:

LOTS of cereal/smoothie/trail mix bowls.  They’re just so easy.  With the weather this hot,I’m really craving cold smoothies and cereal.  I think I only had oatmeal once this weekend!  My favorite smoothie is really simple: about a cup of frozen berries, a scoop of protein powder, either soy milk or greek yogurt plus a little water, a few bug handfuls spinach, and, sometimes, pb or ab.  Anyone have a favorite smoothie recipe I should try?

Dinner tonight was really good and really easy!  I roasted broccoli and bell peppers with EVOO, salt, and crushed red pepper for 30 minutes.  When it had ten minutes left I heated some EVOO in a non stick pan and added several thin sole fillets (it was on sale at WF this week) and lemon pepper.  I heated up a tiny bit of leftover rice in the microwave and washed a bunch of arugula/lettuce to use as a base.  When everything was done I just threw it in the bowl!  Easy and delish.  The sole tasted a little too fishy for me, but whatever.

Yum!  Sometimes it scares me how fast I go through spinach.  Does anyone else have this problem?

Back to the grind for me.  Stay tuned for Therapy Monday tomorrow!

Questions to entertain me:

1. What food do you go through the fastest?  What do you spend the most on?

2. What’s the craziest thing you did in college?

Breakfast for Breakfast, Lunch, And Dinner

Today’s Happy Note: Had some quality social time with friends, but it didn’t feel overwhelming!  Yay!

I have literally spent the entire day studying, writing papers, preparing projects, and reading articles, minus the two hours I was in class and the three hours I was at work.  I studied while I ate, while I watched TV, while I hung out with friends.  Yuck.  I hate the end of the semester when everything gets all overwhelming.  It’s funny because everyone I know thinks I am like a really perfect student, but I’m actually the biggest procrastinator ever!  For example, I probably did a total of three hours of schoolwork this weekend.  I could probably save myself quite a bit of stress and anxiety if I learned to do things ahead of time.  Hmmmm…

Are you a procrastinator or do you get everything done in advance?

I apologize ahead of time if I am a bit crazy and frazzled for the next two weeks. 😦

I was too busy to exercise today!!!  For someone like me who can get a little bit obsessive, I think this is a really good thing.  And it wasn’t like I was sedentary either.

Eats:

I had one of my most favorite breakfast combos ever this morning but I forgot to take a picture!

It was one packet of Three Sister’s brown sugar and maple oatmeal heated with half a banana and topped with half a serving of Greek yogurt (Chobani vanilla) and a big scoop of MaraNatha almond butter.  Yum.

While I like plenty of other breakfast foods, this breakfast, and similar versions, makes me feel “safe.”  It’s a part of my morning routine.  I can’t decide if this is controlling or a comforting mechanism? I like to set up my mornings similarly every day; it just feels good to know that, at the very least, this one thing can go right.

Lunch was special because I finally got my blender to produce delectable smoothies!  I just realized that I have to include a wee bit more liquid, and that I have to push the ingredients down a few times and then be patient.  It takes a while for it to build up to that serious blender whirling motion, but when it does get there, it blends quite nicely!

This SIAB contained about a cup of frozen mixed berries, a half-ish cup of chobani vanilla yogurt, a half-ish cup of water, 1 scoop Whole Foods vanilla whey protein powder and spinach.  It was quite perfect.  I topped it with Trader Joe’s AB and J trail mix (almonds, berried, and peanuts — muy addictive).  I do wish I had room for ice cubes in my freezer to make it a little thicker/icier, but it still had a pretty good texture as is. Look for many more smoothies in my future.  I’m actually craving one right now.  The power of suggestion is strong!

Some days, I absolutely have to have breakfast foods for dinner.  Ironically, I don’t like cereal for breakfast — it doesn’t seem to keep me full as long as oatmeal — but I love having it for dinner.

This is Three Sister’s Honey Oaties cereal (I am loving this brand) with a bit of milk, some cherry vanilla yogurt, chocolate chips (buried — makes for fun hidden treasure!) and Justin’s honey peanut butter.  Wow, I just realized I had yogurt at all three meals today.  Not the best for someone who is trying to get only one to two servings of dairy a day.  Oh well, I’ll survive.

It looks like I’m on a major breakfast kick!  I can’t help it.  I think it’s by far the best meal of the day.  I like all kinds of breakfast (although as stated above I usually stick to oats on weekday mornings).  Here are a few favorite combos:

~whole grain waffle with fruit and maple syrup

~oats with nut butter

~apple, cinnamon, yogurt, trail mix

~omelette with sweet fillings

~chocolate chip pancakes topped with peanut butter and banana

~yogurt with grapes and nuts

~smoothie with frozen berried, soy milk, protein powder, and nut butter

~pumpkin baked goods of any sort!

What are your favorite breakfasts?

I have a lot of college friends who skip breakfast and this just seems so wrong to me.  Why would you skip such a delicious meal and deprive your body of important fuel?

Sorry for the lame-o post.  I still have more work to do.  Ick ick ick.  Major ick.

I hope you all,on the other hand, do not have massive amounts of work and are enjoying spring.  And lots of yummy breakfasts too!

Previous Older Entries