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. ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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. ūüėČ ¬†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!!!!!

We Can’t All Be Julia Child

Today’s Happy Note: Meeting my new students! ¬†I volunteer with high schoolers in NYC public schools and love it. ¬†Some of them told me that I have really strong arms and legs, randomly. ¬†I guess all my strength training and running pay off (although in reality the benefit for me is mostly mental — I want to look fit, but I don’t have a pathological need to “look good” — I’m past that stage, thank God)!

Marathon Training: During my hilly 9-miler this morning, I realized that my half-marathon on Saturday is not gonna be easy. ¬†I have already run 39 miles this week and will probably do 3 or so tomorrow. ¬†Saturday will include the half-mary plus an extra 5 for a grand total of 18 and 60 for the whole week. Wow. ¬†Holy crap. ¬†That’s a lot of miles.

I need new shoes just thinking about it.

Today was another super busy day of running, classes, therapy, more classes, volunteering and….law school fair! This probably sounds really boring to you, but applying to law school is actually something I’m genuinely excited about. Every time I find a new school that seems fun and vibrant and has good programs in the areas I’m interested in, I add it to The List. The List is getting bigger every day.

I haven’t felt so thrilled about most big changes or decisions in my life. ¬†But, like my decision to leave school in the second half of my sophomore year, this is just something that I feel clearly and simply right about. In my heart.

All this is to say that my life is crazy busy right now, just like so many of your lives!  And I want to share with you my favorite easy dinners (and easy dinner-making tips) for when life gets like this.

Sometimes I get home at 8 or 9 and I. Do. Not. Want. To. Cook.

Chopping vegetables and coming up with complicated fish marinades can be relaxing. ¬†But not when you haven’t eaten in six hours and you’re ready to eat the damn non-stick pan you’re cooking with.

Speedy-but-healthy weeknight dinner tips:

  1. Do not fear the afternoon snack. I always have one between three and five. ¬†Usually something relatively large. ¬†A good afternoon snack means that you’ll have the time and energy to prepare a tasty, healthy dinner.
  2. If you can, prep your vegetables on the weekend.  I like to either make a giant stir-fry over the weekend or just cut up a few cups of sliced carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, zucchini, or whatever is in season and in my fridge!
  3. Simple does not necessarily mean bad. ¬†When you’re pressed for time and money, fancy is rarely an option, in fact. ¬†Pick simple proteins and fats. Don’t buy a live lobster or a 10 pound complicated rack of lamb. ¬†Some of my favorite choices: eggs, hummus and cheese, salmon (cooks quickly!), natural/organic deli turkey, canned beans, canned tuna, quinoa, frozen pre-cooked shrimp, extra firm tofu, and nut butters, of course. ¬†You can spice up a simple protein relatively easily and quickly.
  4. You don’t need a lot of equipment but the essentials are, well, essential. ¬†A cutting board (or a very sturdy plastic plate that I may or may not use as a cutting board), a good knife, a measuring cup, a glass mixing bowl or two, a good spatula, a wooden spoon, a pot, and a non-stick pan.
  5. Invest in some spices and sauces that you can throw into a dish to take it to the next level: salsa, hummus, peanut vinaigrette, green chiles, lemon pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, seedy mustard, guacamole, etc.

And without further ado, easy weeknight dinners in pictures!

I tend to go for easy stir-fry comobs. ¬†This was the one I mentioned yesterday — broccoli, onion, sweet potato, tofu, and peanut sauce. ¬†I paired it with some TJ’s carrot ginger soup. ¬†Soups, provided that they’re low in sodium and don’t have crazy ingredients, can be great sides or main dishes if you add in some fillers.

Sweet potatoes are really easy to steam in the microwave! ¬†I topped mine with turkey here, but you can also use beans, greek yogurt, nut butter — whatever. ¬†Paired with a side salad, dinner was good to go.

Sometimes you just need a Smoothie In A Bowl for dinner. ¬†Throw on some granola and nuts for toppings to make it heartier. ¬†And pair it with a side salad if you’re weird like I am and don’t mind veggies with your smoothie.

Omelets or egg scrambles are always a good choice! Tonight I had one stuffed with broccoli, green pepper, and cheddar, with a bowl of oatmeal on the side.  Breakfast for dinner is usually quick and always tasty!

These have all been dinners from just this week. ¬†It’s easier than you think to be creative but tasty. ¬†Inexpensive yet healthy.

Some of my other favorite weekday dinners include quinoa with beans mixed in, salmon baked up with soy sauce, ginger, maple and roasted veggies, whole grain pasta with marinara and local grass-fed ground beef, wraps with avocado, hummus, spinach, and tuna…the list goes one.

Your favorite quick and easy dinners?

Because let’s face it. ¬†We can’t all be Julia Child all the time.

I have more exciting (and important) things to do than cook dinner.  BUT I still want to be nourished and satisfied. These tips and dinners fit the bill.

Rough Night+Chocolate

Today’s Happy Note: Pandora. ¬†Customizable music stations? ¬†No CDs or MP3s or iPods? ¬†I can listen to whatever I want when I’m studying? ¬†Me likes.

Marathon Training: Yoga class today followed by an easy 4-miler, with 6×100 meter strides in the last mile. Yoga was slow but nice; I definitely felt my legs and hips opening and stretching. ¬†The run was slooooowww. ¬†This is a pattern, following speedwork or long runs, that I have just come to accept. ¬†Meh.

Tonight was rough. Rough. ¬†It started when I decided not to go to my last class. ¬†Then I felt guilty. ¬†Then the guilt was compounded by stress because my INR is too low. ¬†Then there was a laundry fiasco. ¬†Then I was so hangry I almost ate my ears off. ¬†Then the printer wasn’t working properly. ¬†And now my whole left forearm itches.

Blech blech blech.

I’m drowning my sorrows in hulu, some frozen yogurt, and, per my mom’s advice, maybe a bit of meditation.

There is school work to be done. ¬†And it ain’t happenin’ tonight.

So I’m settling into my bed, with my crossword puzzle and some tea.

After blogging, of course. ūüôā

Leftover stir-fry topped with avocado.  This stir-fry consisted of sweet potato, onion, broccoli, EVOO, salt and pepper, ginger, tofu, and peanut sauce.  This is one of my fave stir-fry combos ever.

Do you have any fave stir-fry combos?

I reappropriated my leftovers into dinner too! ¬†I wanted to make something else but was too hungry to wait. ¬†Do you ever feel to hungry to cook? ¬†this time, I put the stir-fry into a cup of TJ’s carrot ginger soup with two big handfuls of spinach and ate it stew-style! ¬†Also very successful.

Sometimes I get fro yo and then bring it home and add my own toppings. ¬†Shhhh, don’t tell. ¬†You can’t even see the yogurt under my mess of toppings! ¬†It was half mango/half plain topped with dark chocolate, coconut, and TJ’s cat cookies.

Other food highlights of late:

Chocolate.

Chocolate.

More chocolate.

USB may or may not have given me not one but two boxes of chocolates last weekend.  Did I mention that he wrote me a poem tonight?

Um, yeah.

He’s a keeper, I’m pretty sure.

Goodnight friends! Hopefully when I see you tomorrow I’ll be less stressed! ¬†And happy almost-end-the-week!

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