Therapy Monday

Today’s Happy Note: Baking cookies!  I made chocolate chunk cookies for the students who I teach an SAT class on Monday nights.  Today was the last day so I wanted them to have a little reward.  Baking is definitely relaxing!

I started feeling a teeny bit sick yesterday and am full-blown sick today.  Icky.  Sore threat, headache, body ache, etc.  I hope it’ll go away soon since I have so much work to get done this week and I can never concentrate when I’m sick and I just want to take a nap!

I didn’t want to overdo it by exercising too much, so I just did a twenty minute yogadownload video this morning and walked about 2-3 miles throughout the day.  The yoga felt nice and relaxing.

When I’m sick I tend to panic about not exercising for a few days at a time.  I dislike taking rest days more than one day in a row, and if I’m sick for 3 or 4 days and don’t workout at all, well, that scares me.  I have an irrational fear of becoming instantaneously fat.  And then if I do workout I just feel run down which stresses me out and probably just ends up exacerbating the illness!  So, my mini goal here is this: respect my body, give it the rest and love and attention that it needs; if I feel up for a little movement, fine, but if not, I will listen to my body (and my mind) and I won’t stress about my decisions either way!

What do I like to eat when I’m sick?

Oatmeal!  Specifically, oats in a jar!

My row of nut butter jars is growing growing growing!  I have no idea why I’m saving them, I just think they’re cute!

I  also like cold, creamy smoothies (consumed in a bowl with some kashi for crunchiness!):

And soothing, hot tea:

And easy peasy leftover bowls: this dish (ground beef, stir-fried asparagus/spinach, TJ’s coconut lime rice) took three minutes to heat in the microwave!  And voila, done.

I also like hot cocoa and anything sweet/carby.  What do you like to eat or drink when you’re sick?

Therapy Monday:

Today was really complicated; lots of tears, but I came away with one simple and concise point: be compassionate towards others, but begin by being compassionate towards yourself and your family.  It would take me about ten years to explain how we got to this point so I won’t.  But it was a lovely, spectacular little realization, really.  Because it’s so true.

On an unrelated note, I was telling my therapist about what I did when I was little and I was sick.  I used to go to my parent’s offices  (they’re both doctors) and it was such a blast!  My sister and I would play with the stethoscopes, microscopes, and rolling stools, draw endless pictures, and be entertained by the nurses.  Great little memory!   When I was older and could stay home during the day by myself, I became an absolute master at either pretending I was sick when I wasn’t or convincing my mom that I just needed a day off and she should call school and say I was sick.  I have always been pretty good at manipulating people, but this was my specialty.  She always felt so bad (and was really gullible), and I took a ton of sick days when I wasn’t remotely sick!

Did anyone else do this or was it just me?  Do you have any really fun childhood memories like this one?

A third note: my therapist went way above and beyond the call of duty today.  I don’t really want to explain how, but wow.  Just wow.  I was floored by her compassion, generosity, and kindness.  I am so incredibly, incredibly lucky.  If anyone lives in New York and wants a therapist, email me and I would HIGHLY recommend her.

Alright, time for me to munch on chocolate, do the crossword puzzle from the paper, and go to sleep!  Goodnight 🙂

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Adventure Friday

Today’s Happy Note:  I got housing for next year!  Yay!  I wasn’t guaranteed housing because I took a semester off so this was very good news.

More good news? Fifteen page paper #1 is done!  More on that under “Adventure Friday” section (trust me, it was quite the adventure).

Exercise: I did 7.5 easy miles yesterday morning and 5 tonight.  I have never tried doing HIIT for an outdoor run before, but it worked pretty well!  I did a mile warm-up then about two miles with 10 x 1 minute all out sprinkled in.  I then ran another two miles to the gym for weights.  I pretty much just did a full body workout today.  I have gotten a lot better at dips (on the assist machine) and can now do twice as many as when I started buckling down on strength after the NYC half-marathon.

Funny story: It turns out that the mega-strong guys who seem to be able to effortlessly lift hundreds of pounds are actually quite sweet!  I have noticed that they are always very respectful of me in the weight room, which I would estimate is usually about 95-98% male.  They always offer to let me work in with them and they don’t stare at me.  Today, I was doing this one arm exercise thingy (wow, I am really knowledgeable about weight lifting terminology) with a 15 pound dumbbell.  This is pretty much the heaviest dumbbell I am ever capable of using.  There were a bunch of un-racked weights on the floor around me, including a set of 30 pounders, which I clearly wasn’t using.  But this very strong looking guy came up and politely asked me if I was using them or if he could use them!  It was kind of sexy actually, I won’t lie.  I mean what could be wrong with men who are simultaneously strong and powerful and sweet and kind?  Nothing, me thinks.

Eats: Finals time means easily eatable eats!  I am finding simple ways of getting in lots of produce, like veg/fruit bowls, pre-made salads from the cafe (expensive, but worth it for the moment), smoothies, and stir-fries.  Anyone have any awesome tips for getting in plenty of produce on a super tight schedule (and a budget)?

Couldn’t forget cookie Friday 🙂  See this post from Tina for some lovely cookies, including mine from last week!

I heart smoothie froth!  I’m debating whether or not I should buy a box of cereal or two for the upcoming week.  I tend to go overboard with cereal so I don’t usually keep it around, but I know that between studying, paper writing, regular activities, etc. I’m going to be very pressed for time and cereal is an easy, decent meal solution. I can add fruit and nuts to increase the nutritionals or make an on-the-go trail mix.  Cereal is such an easy food, but I don’t want my diet to be, well, cereal for the next two weeks.  Decision, decisions…

Fun Caronae Fact: I am one of the most indecisive people the world has ever seen.  I could never ever run a company or teach a class.  I can’t even decide what to order in restaurants.

Adventure Friday!

Today’s (and yesterday’s) adventure may not have involved leaving the room, but it was quite interesting!  I am taking a class on the Arabian Nights (aka One Thousand and One Nights) and Islam and had to write a 15 page final paper on anything that had to do with those two things.  I absolutely adore books — I consider them to be one of my best friends.  Give me a giant pile of books to dive into and I will be one happy clam.  But don’t make me eat the clam because I’m allergic.  And the Arabian Nights are absolutely fascinating!  The real version is not the picture book version you heard as a child.  The stories are full of scandal, beauty, imagery, sex, thievery, transgressions, passion, and food.  They are, quite simply, a delight.  While we have been reading various stories and interpretations all semester, I really got into yesterday and today.  Not to be cheesy, but it felt like I had my own little magic carpet taking me all around the world!

Book pile:

Sticky notes=easy quote finding!  Paper is all done:

I could go on and on about books and words.  They’re such good friends, in a very real way, I think.  They absolutely constitute an adventure for me.  I love libraries, archives (I work in one!), bookstores, journals, old pages, letters, inky pens.  I love it all.  Sometimes when I’m lonely I start reading a book and the moments in that book, whether happy or sad, bright or gloomy, take me to a different place and remind me that there are different times in life: sometimes I will experience love, sometimes loss.  Ultimately, I will find other humans with whom to connect, on the page at the very least.  I’m currently reading Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens and The Arabs: A History (for class but quite spectacular).

Some of the books that have changed my life:

Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon

Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Pablo Neruda’s Selected Poems

Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

Harry Potter series (no, I’m not joking)

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime And Punishment

Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece

What are some of your favorite books?  Do you feel the same way about them as I do or am I just a total weirdo?

Happy happy weekend!

PS — wordpress changed their main dashboard, it seems, and I am VERY confused.  Can’t figure out how to add tags or how to publish, although I suppose that by the time you’re reading this I’ll probably have figured that one out…

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!

Caronae’s “Lasagna” Make This.

Today’s Happy Note: I was feeling really unproductive in the morning, but all the sudden I realized “it’s never too late to turn the day around” and ended up getting lots of things done. 🙂

Good evening friends! Yesterday was just one of those days where my energy was zero (yet somehow I felt the need to consume massive amounts of cereal), my output was zero, and well, it was just icky.  I couldn’t seem to do anything.  I went to a performance in the evening with friends and a (boring) academic conference in the morning, so I guess I did some things.  But if I don’t work out, eat healthfully, and get school work done, I feel terribly unproductive.  And a part of me still translates this lack of productivity into worthlessness.  And then another part of me hates that part of me.  And then I feel like I’m at war with myself and I try to solve it by eating cereal (I never really “solve” my problems with other foods, oddly enough).

Lesson? It’s okay to have days where you do nothing.  Productivity is not measured in how much I exercise, precisely how many vegetables I have consumed, or whether or not I spent six hours at the library.  Sometimes it’s valuable to take a nap or rest day or spend an hour lounging in bed with my journal and hot chocolate.  I feel like I keep coming back to this lesson again and again.  I think it’s just something I need to keep telling myself, albeit gently, until I get it.

Somehow that feeling from yesterday began creeping into today, but I turned it around!  I was so proud of myself for this.  Geeky, I know, but when I’m in a bad mood or just a general funk, I tend to consciously keep myself in that place and make myself miserable.  Not today!  I didn’t get everything on the to-do list done, but I covered a lot of ground: I ran, did all readings for one class and am starting a paper for another, called my grandparents, washed clothes, cleaned room, prepped veggies for rest of week, cooked an awesome dinner, chatted with two friends, picked up my class shirt, and blogged.  Sounds like I have actually gotten quite a lot done.

Conclusion: Dear Caronae, please stop being so hard on yourself.  You are enough.  You are beautiful and capable and strong.  Smart and productive and friendly.  Smile!

I may go to the second most stressful college in the country (proven fact), but I don’t need to be stressed all the time!  Although with that said, this week is going to be mighty busy.  My goal is to take that stress and find healthy outlets — not hating on myself, eating emotionally, or moping around!  Here’s what has to get done this week (I’m only talking about schoolwork here):

-outline, research, and write 15 page paper on Arabian Nights

-outline and research 15 page paper on Amartya Sen vs. basic needs

-write prose poem

-read Virginia Woolf book and Foucault book

-read history textbooks

Okay, time to stop boring you all, seeing as this is not a homework blog or a stress blog!  Onto the fun stuff!

Exercise: I did the same workout I did earlier this week — a six mile run with 25 minutes of abs/yoga sandwiched in the middle.  This workout is actually really fun!  It’s nice to have a break in the middle, and I used a bench by the Hudson River to do the abs and yoga, so it was quite scenic.  I got to stare into the water and the coast and the various wooden docks; it seemed to help my focus for the yoga, and made the ab work more enjoyable.

I am looking for more “fun” stuff to do in terms of workouts for the next month or two (or possibly more).  I have no upcoming races or events to train for and I definitely want to cut back on the running a bit.  I have been doing strength and HIIT twice a week which is nice.  I want a class or a new form of exercise though.  I’m getting bored.  Anyone have any ideas or favorite classes or recommendations for stuff in NY (inexpensive)?

Eats: I consumed many delicious things today, as usual, but I will only be sharing one thing with you now.  Why is that?  Because it is the most delicious, fanciest, awesomest dish I have ever cooked and probably in the top five I have ever consumed.  That is why.  And it all started off as an experiment!

Caronae’s “lasagna” (serves one; cannot be easily doubled or tripled because it would probably fall apart) :

Ingredients…

about 10 large stalks of asparagus

about 1.5 C baby bella mushrooms

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

basil (dried or fresh)

spinach

1 egg

1/2 ounce very finely diced or shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and dry the mushrooms and asparagus.  Cut asparagus spears (horizontally, not lengthwise) into two even pieces.  Thinly slice the mushrooms.  Toss the asparagus and mushrooms with the EVOO and salt.  Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, measure out the rest of your ingredients.  When asparagus and mushrooms are finished, removed from oven.  Using a glass baking dish, make a little “raft” of asparagus — I used about eight half-spears for each layer of the raft.  Top this first layer with mushrooms and then half of the ricotta.  Sprinkle on a bit of basil.  Repeat the process again.  Top the upper layer of ricotta with a few more pieces of asparagus, if desired.  (Sidenote: I realize I should have taken pictures of this process, but it’s pretty much the exact same thing you would do when making a real lasagna). You may have extra veggies, if so, set aside for another day.  Cook this stack for 5-7 minutes.  Meanwhile, crack egg into a bowl and heat in microwave for about 30 seconds.  Remove the egg and, using a spatula or other utensil, carefully work your way underneath the egg so that it is separated from the bowl.  Try not to break the yolk.  Lightly wash the spinach using a damp paper towel.  Do NOT submerge or soak; you need it to become dry and crispy.  When the “stack” is done, remove.  Top with the spinach (it should be pretty thoroughly covered; don’t worry because the spinach shrinks down and dries up), the egg, and the dices/shredded cheddar.  Cook for five more minutes.  Remove and eat.

I can’t really say anything about this dish — you just have to try it.  I don’t know if it was the richness of the ricotta and the EVOO or the combination of the smooth mushrooms with that distinct asparagus flavor.  Or the tiny bits of cheddar melting into the crisped up spinach.  I don’t think any individual component of this dish made it what it is; everything worked together.  That’s why the “stack”/”lasagna” format works so well for these ingredients; they can easily be consumed all in one bite.  I rarely post the recipes for my “experiments”, but this experiment was one serious winner.

Your plate should look like this afterwards (I actually licked mine)…

It’s actually fairly healthy too, probably because it’s made with a vegetable base.  Lots of healthy fats, yummy protein, and plant matter.  Totally fresh.  I might be gushing about this little creation for several days.  You have been forewarned.

This dinner was probably my weekend highlight.  What was yours?

I Like Schedules

Today’s Happy Note: Doing nothing tonight!  Well, technically I could be reading a few things for one class tomorrow, but I’ll just read them in the morning and during my first lecture.  I wanted a night off 🙂

I couldn’t go sans peanut butter for the day!  I made a quick trip to the store for “essentials”: spinach, bell pepper, bananas, and crunchy peanut butter!

I had some different (for me) eats today so I’ll share, if you don’t mind!

Breakfast: chobani pommegranate yogurt with a handful of (very tart) dried cherries and a clif mojo peanut butter bar!

I was a busy bee today!  When I look back at the day it doesn’t feel like there are so many components, but I like to include EVERYTHING on my schedule.  If I don’t know what I have to do, I’ll feel overwhelmed.  Plus, I feel extra accomplished when everything is done.  I don’t usually write out a schedule unless I have a massive amount to get done, but I always make a schedule for myself in my head.

Here’s what today’s breakdown was:

8:30 — wake up, shower, get backpack ready

9:15 — breakfast, studying, check email(s)

10:50 head to first class

11-12:50 human rights class

12:50-1:00 walk back to room

1:00 — make lunch, check email(s)

1:10-2:00 — eat lunch and read Freud for next class

2:00 walk to class

2:10-4:00 contemporary civilization class, hand in paper

4:10-6:00 prose writing class (eat snack in middle of class)

6:00- head to gym

6:15-7:30 workout (45 minutes weights, 30 minutes cardio)

7:30 shower and dress, head back to room

8:00-dinner and relaxation time!

10:00-dessert and blog

10:30-watch tv, pick up room, plan out schedule for tomorrow, double check readings/assignments/papers/school stuff

11:00 teeth brushing, crossword/sudoku puzzle, bedtime!

What are your days like? I love routines and patterns and used to think this made me a total weirdo, but now I’ve realized that, for the most part I use them in a healthy way.  Having a schedule helps me stay productive and feel accomplished; I tend to be lazy without one.  But I also know that if, say, I want to wake up an hour later than usual (which I did today) and do an evening workout instead of a morning workout, that’s perfectly fine.  If I want two afternoon snacks and a late dinner time so I can visit with friends, that’s also okay.

Are you a schedule/planning person or do you just go where your day (or week) takes you?  Am I weird about this?

According to my schedule, I had lunch right on time, around 1:15.

Lunch: carrot slice pile, peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat cinnamon bread (very delicious).

Afternoon snack: Berry Amazing Grass Bar. This was my first time trying this bar (it was on sale a few weeks ago) and it was really good!  It didn’t taste grassy at all; I also like the chocolate pb and chocolate flavors.  It only held me over for three hours though, and I started getting hungry during my workout.  I prefer an afternoon snack to keep me satisfied for four-ish hours.

Dinner: 1.5 servings (half a can) of pinto beans with broccoli and carrots, topped with about a half serving of cottage cheese and a dash of salt, giant side salad with spinach, romaine, 1/3-ish avocado, 1 tbsp Annie’s Goddess dressing.

Dessert: two large unpictured squares of dark chocolate and a “smoothie” — I mixed about a quarter cup of skim milk in the blender with a heaping tablespoon pb, a tablespoon cocoa powder, a packet stevia, and a little maple syrup.  This was a really good combination!  Random, but definitely nomable.  A big smoothie with a lot of volume would have been nice, but I have no frozen fruit, ice, or gums, sadly. 😦

I think that’s everything!

Workout: 45 minutes of strength followed by 30 minutes on the elliptical.  The strength was awesome!  I did a ton of arm, chest, and back exercise (everything from bicep curl to overhead presses to pull-ups, dips, and tricep kickbacks), interspersed with a few ab and leg moves to break things up.  Anybody have a favorite arm move? I was looking forward to HIIT for cardio (I’m loving how great it makes me feel), but I had a headache (hormonal, not serious) and going fast didn’t feel good, but just doing steady-state cardio felt fine.  I played around with the resistance for 30 minutes; it felt like a decent workout.  No, I was not pushing myself too hard — when I get these headaches, there are only two things that help: insane amounts of water and gentle exercise.

Happy Wednesday night 🙂

Edit: Just went back for a few more snacks!  A square of toffee chocolate, a few almonds, a small forkful of PB, and an orange; maybe I didn’t  eat enough earlier today?

Mindfulness And Staple Food Fun

Today’s Mini Goal: Pick one small part of my day and do it mindfully.  I read an interview with Thich Nhat Hanh in this month’s Oprah Magazine and found myself totally in awe of his thoughts about our simple, daily actions.  We can infuse whatever we do — walking (or perhaps running), drinking tea, listening to someone — with an awareness and a caring.  Beautiful.

I really admire bloggers who seem to have a set pattern of meal-planning and eating, like Meghann or Caitlin, for example.  I tend to try very hard to emulate this and have realized that the organization actually just ends up giving me a sense of anxiety — I do typically eat three meals a day, but my snacks and desserts will vary a lot.  I really like Janetha‘s five meal a day thing.  But again, sometimes I want to have three evening snacks and no dinner, or an extra dessert.  Or a brunch.  Or two big mid-day snacks instead of lunch.  I have tried really hard to orient myself around the meal-snack-meal-snack-meal-dessert pattern, but I just end up frustrating myself.  I think I’ve learned it’s best to listen to my body at this point.

So tonight I had no dinner!  I was in the mood for a giant snack around four and I went with it (huge juicy grapefruit, frozen yogurt, an hour or so later pb pretzels, trail mix, coconut).  Super random, but no harm done.  If it works, I’ll take it, I guess.  Do you tend to have a set pattern for your eats, just eat when you’re hungry, or graze throughout the day?

Part of me feels like there’s hardly a point in wasting thought space over this; people all over the world have learned to give their bodies what the need when they need it.  I think the simple fact that we have so many foods in America — the healthy, the unhealthy, the processed, the natural, the outright bizarre — has created a mindset of overabundance.  I just want to eat whole, healthy foods without thinking about it, but because of our cultural relationship with food, I find this hard.  Not only is there food available everywhere (although, sadly, not everyone has access to it when they need it — this is another paradox of the system that I don’t understand), but we have an odd attitude toward food: I think food should definitely be an artful, social thing, but it is not a love object.  There is a fine line here.  Gena wrote a really wonderful post about this a while back.  In fact, you should most definitely go read her post from today. It’s one of the most eloquent, unique, and empowering bits of food-writing I’ve ever read.  Thoughts?

I’m thinking just working on my mindfulness overall will help me understand (and have compassion, not anger towards) my relationship with food, meals, and cooking.

***

I was not in the mood to run today.  The weather was ragingly nasty (think slush, snow, rain, puddles, and cold all at the same time), so I knew it wasn’t going to happen outside.  I fell asleep after work, and by the time I awoke it was evening, and I hate going to the gym in the evening.  But just as I was trying to talk myself out of it, a friend texted me asking if we could make cookies!  Perfect — I could ask if she wanted to go to the gym first.  Thankfully, she did, and my workout was saved.  I mean come on, once a friend shows up at your door, you’re not going to say, “oh, I changed my mind.”

I meant to do some strength training before my run, I really did, but I hardly had any time before my treadmill time-slot (grrrr — for a rant about this, see this post).  I did a few pull-ups and ab leg-raise thingies.  I’m so technical, I know.

Run (inspired by Janetha’s workout from this post):

Warm up:

10 minutes @ 6.0 mph

Speedwork:

2x (1 minute @ 5.5, 1 minute @6.0, 1 minute @6.5, 1 minute @ 7.0, 1 minute @ 7.5, 1 minute @ 8.0, 1 minute @ 8.5, 3 minutes @ 6.0)

The first two minutes of the set (@ 5.5 and 6) were done at a five percent incline.  I was going to do the set three times through, but I was drained.  This was absolutely killer!  My face was plum red afterwards, which never happens.

Cool down:

20 minutes @ 6.0

Total: 5.0 miles, 47-ish minutes.

Sweet.

My camera battery died during the day so I didn’t end up taking any pictures until this evening.  I thought I would do a fun little round up of my dietary staples, why I eat them, and what they do for my body!

The cast of characters:

We have: trail mix, spinach, yogurt, oats, dark chocolate, apple, and peanut butter.  These are the staples I have on hand tonight; there are several more things that I’d include, ideally: carrots, sweet potato, dried mango, salmon, milk, black beans, and tofu, for example.  But let’s focus on the yumminess pictured above now.

1. Trail Mix:

I usually keep a few mixes on hand because they are easy to grab for an afternoon snack, add to meals to increase their bulk, or take on the go.  I look for pre-made mixes that consist of simple ingredients (nuts, fruit, spices), or I make my own with a bit of dry cereal, nuts, animal crackers, chocolate, and dried fruit.  Trail mixes usually provide a nice dose of fat, protein, and fiber.  They never fail to keep me full, and they can instantly boost any meal’s flavor factor.  Try adding to oatmeal, salads, or yogurt!

2. Peanut butter:

I definitely consider good old PB to be a power food.  I love the fat, carbs, and protein combination that it offers, and the taste is inexplicably delightful.  With everything.  I like mine with oatmeal or cereal, toast, frozen yogurt, or chocolate.  Oddly enough, I don’t really find peanuts (a legume, by the way) all that appealing. But give me a jar of peanut butter and a spoon and, well, we might be soul mates.  PB is full of vitamins, like B and E, and the monounsaturated fat in it is good for your heart.

3. Apples:

I usually get a giant bag of apple’s from the farmer’s market every week (sometimes twice a week, if need be).  Apples obviously provide fiber, but they also have antioxidants and may help prevent some cancers.  I love their textures — sometimes crunchy, sometimes melty, sometimes peely.  Always perfect.  I eat them plain as snacks, with oatmeal, or pb and cinnamon.  They are excellent in baked goods.  I encourage you to branch out in your apple repertoire — there are so many delicious varieties!  My favorites, at the moment, include gala, fuji, cameo, mutsu, and suncrisp.

4. Spinach:

Dark leafy greens are excellent for you.  Spinach has iron, calcium, magnesium, and loads of other good-for-you-nutrients, without packing a calorie punch.  I find spinach to be the tastiest green, although I also love rainbow chard and baby bok choy.  Spinach is also an easily disguisable veggie — you can add it to smoothies, soups, sandwiches,and many other things and hardly know it’s there.  I love the bulk it can give a meal, and I use it as a salad base quite frequently.  Make sure you wash it carefully.

5. Oats:

Oats are easily my favorite whole grain.  Fiber, protein, carbs?  Check.  Oatmeal is my go-to breakfast and never fulls to keep my full and energetic.  I like mixing it with cinnamon, apples or banana, and peanut butter.  It’s also wonderful in cookies, crisps, and, I have heard, savory dishes.  It works well in raw desserts and there are limitless breakfast possibilities with this powerful little grain.

6. Yogurt:

I’ve been doing a little dairy free experiment lately (minus the fro yo I had this afternoon :)), but normally I love yogurt.  I usually go for Greek varieties or Stonyfield, which doesn’t have the fake ingredients that many yogurts do.  It has a lot of protein, which makes it a great breakfast component or afternoon snack.  It’s also got calcium and, if you go for 1 or 2%, the perfect little bit of fat.  I eat it plain, with nuts, fruit, cereal, or granola, and even use it in cooked recipes.  My favorite flavor is either pomegranate or raspberry!

7. Dark chocolate:

One of my favorite simple desserts.  Dark chocolate has antioxidants, and I’ve heard it’s also good for your heart.  I find that a few squares of the good stuff will satisfy my perfectly.  Pictured above is Green and Black’s, a smooth, reliable brand.  I like their Maya Gold and 70% varieties.  Dark chocolate mixes well into hot cocoa, hot grains, yogurt, or pairs well with citrus fruits.  It is also powerfully associated with ideas of love, the heart, and companionship; I think it’s good for the soul.

What are your staple foods and why do you enjoy them?

Okay, happy Friday everyone!  I hope it is a most excellent beginning-of-the-weekend for you!

I’m A Dairy-Free Pumpkin Seed

Today’s Mini Goal: Conquer this week’s speed workout.  I can tackle this baby!  I was supposed to do it today but my legs were still tired from my killer weekend (40 miles in 4 days).  Speed work totally overwhelms me, but I have a plan and I will stick to it tomorrow morning!  It’s gonna be Janetha-inspired. 🙂

I have been up since one AM paper-writing, so I apologize if this is a bit incoherent.  I had a really interesting, but challenging, assignment to examine some of the possible negative outcomes of human rationality.  Oh, homework-land.  Such a happy place .

I wrote the paper from one till almost six, so I figured there was simply no point going to sleep (I had slept for about five hours in the evening already).  I made good use of the wee hours by blog-reading and eventually heading out for a rainy 9-miler.  The Reservoir Loop in CP was covered in puddles, mud, sticks, ice, holes: basically, just how I like it!  I adore running on tricky trails, and it was like I had my own personal trail in the center of the city today!  Only three other people were braving the Loop.  Are you a standard streets-and-sidewalks only runner or do you like to get wild with your terrain choices?

In the latter half of the run I had an icky stomach cramp that never really went away.  I had had a giant bowl of yogurt while I was writing the paper, and a lot of dairy the day before too.  I am not positive, but I think this might be the tummy/digestion culprit.  So I am having a dairy-free week!  I am not doing it to restrict or deprive; this is merely an experiment to see if my tummy is happier and less bloated.  Many, many people have dairy issues, and while I have never had a problem, I think my consumption of the stuff has increased a lot lately.

Exhibit A (and B and C…):


The top two photos are from lunch yesterday, which was a throw-everything-into-a-bowl-and-call-it-cereal mess.  I believe that warm cinnamon h2h, skim milk, pb, peanut butter pretzels, trail mix, and coconut are all hanging out in there.  The photo on the bottom left is banana cream pudding (with a sweet potato pie smudgin).  It was the Black History Month dinner at my school, which is one of my most favorite events of the entire year.  I had two bowls of the pudding.  On the right is a bowl containing macaroni and cheese, shrimp and grits, and cornbread.  I also had such delights as yams, green beans, catfish, black eyed peas, pulled chicken, and more cornbread.  Mmmmm.  Needless to say, my evening involved quite a lot of dairy!   Actually, it just involved quite a lot of (tasty) food in general.  I left feeling a bit too stuffed.

BUT today’s clean, lighter eats probably balanced it all out.  Despite the nine miles in the morning, I wasn’t super hungry all day.  I guess my body does really know what it’s doing after all.  I think I actually recorded all my eats today.  I know you are so totally thrilled by this fact and that you can’t wait to see them…

Breakfast: banana chia cinnamon oats with a tall Awake Tea Misto made with soy milk.  Served with a side of philosophy textbooks.

Lunch: giant salad bowl with mixed greens, chicken, cucumbers, peppers, corn, and an oregano EVOO dressing.  Lunchtime perfection.

The apple was consumed with lunch and the randomly thrown together trail mix was my afternoon snack.  It did a great job of keeping me full, actually!  It included chocolate animal crackers, walnuts, macadamia-cashew trail mix, dried fruit, and a little h2h.

I got out of class at six and was feeling snackish, but knew I wasn’t really hungry for my dinner.  Solution?

A few sips of coconut water!  I figured the electrolytes couldn’t hurt.  It did the trick and cured my snackiness.  I don’t actually really like coconut water all that much, but whatever.  Do any of you guys love the stuff?

Dinner consisted of piles of yumminess.  What’s that?  You want to know what said piles of yumminess contained?  Oh alright.  Fine.  The bowl was a spinach salad topped with leftover crumbled lamb burgers, onions, and hummus.  These flavors worked really well together!  On the side we have roasted/steamed squash slices and steamed broccoli.  I like veggies, don’t hate.

And the most important meal of the day?

Dessert of course!  This was a chocolate mint Luna cookie with DCD frosting.  I know I’ve tried one of the Luna cookies before and I didn’t love it, but this was pure deliciousness.  It tasted wonderfully decadent.  Noms all around.

I’m one tired little pumpkin seed right about now (my dad used to call my pumpkin seed!), so it’s off to bed for me.  What did your parents call you as a kid? I was (and, I will admit, still am) variously called pumpkin seed, cupcake, and bunny rabbit.

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