Adventure Friday

Today’s Happy Note: I now have a beautiful temporary tattoo of a dolphin on my left arm.  My life is complete.

Lazy day again!  I did a 30 minute ab/cardio workout video this evening with my mom.  It was called “Envy Abs” and was actually pretty good.  I hadn’t done a lot of the moves before so it was unpredictable.

Adventure Friday:

Kate went on an Adventure Monday here!  So happy my idea is rubbing off.  It really is fun — I always look forward to my adventures throughout the week.

Today’s adventure?  Visiting my best friend from high school and her family’s seven dogs.  There were actually eight there today since an extra dog was visiting.

Eddy (I *think* that’s who this one is) says hello!  He was trying to eat my…

…coconut milk green tea ice cream!  Seeing as today was supposed to be an adventure at all, when we wound up at the grocery store and wandered past the alternative ice cream aisle, I knew it was fate: it was my time to try the coconut milk ice cream.  The verdict?  Pretty tasty, but with a slightly odd aftertaste.  It honestly tasted like a slightly less creamy version of standard green tea ice cream.  I would like to try more of their flavors this summer and will probably eat this one again as well!

I know this was kind of a lame adventure; I didn’t take too many pictures.  But trust me, being climbed on by eight rambunctious dogs is no picnic.  For some reason they all really liked my feet…

I have always been a cat person but I also love dogs.  When I have my own apartment I want to get a cat, since I think it will be easier to take care of.  I really do like dogs though.  I want to name my cat Stanley.  Or Ceaser.  Or Miller.

Are you a cat or a dog person?  Or neither or both?

It’s been raining cats and dogs here today (pun intended) so adventure options were a bit limited.  I desperately wanted to run but it was, quite literally, pouring.  And it’s supposed to tomorrow as well!  At least the plants will be well-watered.

Eats hodgepodge:

Okay so this was a smoothie made with plain yogurt, water, frozen blackberries, ice, and chocolate amazing meal.  It was disgusting.  I didn’t want to waster it so I added loads of stevia to mask the flavor but yeah, it had a distinct, unappealing grassy flavor.  And I actually like grassy flavor — but this was a bit extreme.  I feel like it’s this kind of food that gives health food a bad name.  For your own sake, don’t buy it.

I do, however, love all the Amazing Grass bars!

Frozen fruit in cereal is really delicious.  Crunchy and cold but also smooth, sweet and satisfying.  You should try it!  And yes, that is peanut butter in my bowl.  I am obsessed with peanut butter — I might even call it my favorite food — and will add it to pretty much everything.

Blondie bars with lots of secret ingredients including cherries — the fruit Michigan is most famous for!  With a glass of milk for dipping.  These are being sent to a friend but I had to test one or two for quality control purposes, of course. 🙂

I want to make scones this summer.  A lot.  With fresh berries and warm butter on top. Nom nom nom.

I may have had the most random dinner I’ve ever consumed tonight: a few unpictured bites of steak with a warm apple with cinnamon and pb.  Hey, it was exactly what I wanted!

Lots of links to catch you guys up on!

Averie is giving away Naturally Nutty here.

Ever wanted to know how a vegan ultramarathoner eats? Check out this New York Times article.

I have a reader (hi Xenia!) who writes a sporting goods/sporting events blog called Be In The Game.  Definitely check it out if you need any equipment or are a traditional sports fan!

And finally, a fun Lite Choice contest here!  Their frozen dessert is one of the most delicious I’ve ever had.  Go support TLC!

That’s all for tonight.  Maybe I’ll be more fun tomorrow.  This rain needs to go away!

Good Old Sunday Exercise and Eats

Today’s Happy Note:

This is a black cherry steaz bottle cap.  My last one said “I am powerful.”  I think they’re kind of great, and they make me feel happy and strong and unique.  What more could I ask of a bottle cap?  Thank you, steaz!

Workout:

I listened to my body today and she said she did not want to run.  So I didn’t!  I headed to the gym and did 25 minutes of serious weight lifting followed by 30 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training on the elliptical.  I first heard about HIIT a few years ago and then was inspired to try it by Janetha.  Basically, HIIT involves a brief warm-up followed by 15-20 minutes of intervals that alternate from easy to, well, high intensity.  Pretty self-explanatory.  You can vary the ratio of hard to easy depending on how you feel; wikipedia suggests 2:1, I have seen 4:1, and currently, I’m at 1:1.  I would do a minute relatively easy (think “jogging” pace) followed by a minute of everything I’ve got.  I kept this up for 20 minutes, followed by a five minute cool-down.

This sounds easy, and the concept certainly is, but let me tell you it is KILLER.  The sprints make it feel like a great workout (and it is) in a small amount of time.  It is, I believe, supposed to burn more fat and be good for anaerobic capacity.

I like to do supersets when I strength train.  This means I pick a group of four to five exercises, and I rotate through them.  So round one consists of, for example:

Superset 1:

12 captain’s chair crunches

6 pull-ups (I can only do 6, even with plenty of assistance)

12 V-ups

12 real-delt rows

I then rotate through the set three times.  I like to alternate arms, abs, and legs so that each muscle group gets a little rest but then has to work again.  I am not sure how scientific this is, but it works for me.  I usually do 3-5 supersets like the one above.

After my power hour at the gym I went to a yoga class at The Shala.  I wasn’t trying to be exercise-obsessive; this is the only time of week for the donation-based (read: inexpensive) class and I like to take advantage of my weekends to do actual yoga classes.  By the end of class, I was exhausted.  After lunch  I took a nice long nap instead of being productive. 🙂

I saw this wonderfully concise and truthful quote in Oprah magazine today and wanted to share with you guys:

“Exercise should be a habit, like brushing your teeth.  It wouldn’t cross your mind not to brush your teeth, and physical activity should be viewed the same way.” – Bob Greene (Oprah’s trainer)

For me, and probably for many of you guys, this is obvious.  Whether it’s twenty minutes on the yoga mat, playing in the ocean with friends, or a marathon; we get it.  But not everyone approaches physical activity this way.  I like to think of my exercise time — my 30-120 minutes a day, typically — as primal: the urge to move feels incredibly natural and human to me.  I think that deep down, this is true for most people, it’s just that many Americans have gotten out of touch with this.  Sometimes my friends question my dedication to running or yoga or laugh when they see me doing a half hour workout dvd.  But my body and mind need this time.  When I exercise, I actually end up having more energy, I’m happier, and, I think, kinder.  It really is like brushing my teeth.  Outside of the occasional rest day, I couldn’t not do it.

How do you guys feel about this?  Is this approach obsessive or just natural?  Do you feel better when movement is a part of your daily routine?

Eats:

I have been consciously trying to eat every three to four hours, and to include plenty of protein and fats.  And I’ve been feeling more satisfied!  Go me!

This is Three Sister’s Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal with a half a serving of Tera’s Whey vanilla protein powder (which was not gritty and tasted nice and creamy!  Yay!).  I can’t wait to try the rest of their oatmeal varieties.  I am really liking this company so far, go check them out!

This was one of the best weekend brunches ever.  Well okay, it was three o’clock so I don’t know if that’s really brunching hour.  But whatever.  Two eggs, white cheddar, and spinach on whole grain bread, broiled for five minutes (I have no toaster and the broiler is a decent substitute).  Three large carrots sliced up with two tablespoons Justin’s maple almond butter.  This meal was mountains of delicious.

Dinner: veggie stir fry (swiss chard, peppers, baby bella mushrooms cooked in coconut oil), steak, and hummus.  With steaz on the side, of course.  I marinated this steak overnight in maple syrup, soy sauce, and ginger.  Um, YUM!  This was a bottom round cut from the farmer’s market.  It is a tougher cut so the texture was a bit chewy (I also overcooked it a bit), but the flavor was wonderful.  I won’t lie: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love red meat.  This is not something that I would ever skip out on.  I also believe that meat can be a healthy part of a plant-rich diet, for many people.  That’s my meat philosophy in a nutshell!  Agree or disagree?  Or do you just not like meat? Regardless, I respect everyone’s individual dietary choices; I promise I’m not judging you. 🙂

Triple chocolate hot cocoa.  Dessert is my favorite part of the day!

Minus three ginger cat cookies (tiny) and a similarly small square of cherry dark chocolate, I think that’s everything I’ve eaten for the day!  I’ll probably do full day eats once or twice a week, since I like to have a visual record, but don’t want to bore you.

The end!

Have an excellent week!  Make sure to smile and think positive; this will improve everything, I promise.

Health Changes!

Daily Creativity:  Markers.  I have some.  And they are begging to be used.  Honestly, I much prefer pastels, but those are at home, so the markers will have to satisfy my coloring craving.  What’s your favorite way of drawing?

Today was hands down one of the rainiest, wettest, windiest days of my life.  I left my dorm a total of three times and went through three pairs of pants and three jackets, because each time I returned home so soaked that I needed new ones to be dry again.  I love the rain far more than most people, but this was some serious business.  Normally I even like to run in the rain, but I think it actually would have been legit dangerous to do my long run today.  Instead of whining about that and moping around the house  (aka room) all day, I made a backup plan last night!  I headed to the gym instead with a fresh, crisp newspaper.  Well, it wasn’t so crisp by the time I got there, despite being tucked into the bottom of my bag.  It was wet and droopy.  But alas, we don’t get everything we want in life.  I was really pleased with my workout; it was 90 minutes of cleansing, sweating, powerful, invigorating joy.

Workout:

4 miles on treadmill, shifting between speeds from 6.0-6.5 mph

30 minutes strength training: I did three sets of four exercises, with each set containing 3 sets of 12 reps.  I alternated between arm and ab exercises.

2 miles on treadmill,  1 @ 6.5, 0.5 @ 6.2, 0.5 @6.0

1/4 mile walking cooldown.

Twas the perfect Saturday afternoon pick me up.

Health Change #1:

I didn’t sleep well again last night, yet again.  I was still awake at four and realized that I was hungry.  I think this was actual hunger because it had been over six hours since dinner, so I decided to have a snack.  Then another snack.  And another.  TJ’s mini peanut butter cracker sandwiches are dangerous with a glass of chocolate soymilk.  I think my biggest “food issue” (and we ALL have them, in some way or another, I think — no one is a perfect eater) is not so much about food but about sleep.  I tend to be either the most tired or the most wired in the evening/night; both of these states leave me feeling very emotional.  Emotions often lead to snacking.  I wish so much that I could just fall asleep consistently at the same time night after night.  I think that would make things easier, and so, after break, I am going to try to make an effort to be consistent with my bedtime and sleeping.  The goal is to be in bed at 10:30, lights out at 11:00, and up at 7:00-7:30 so that I can workout before classes.  This pattern has hands down been the most effective for me in the past.  If I finish classes at 6:00, I have 4 hours to study and make dinner.  This is doable.  And getting my workout done before I start my day is great; I’m usually too tired after classes.

So that’s the very long-winded plan.  I think better sleep will potentially lead me to better health.  Not that my current state of health is bad, but I genuinely do want to nix the nighttime eating habit and my general drowsiness.

Health Change #2:

Another change I’m making is starting food journaling.  I joined SparkPeople because I’ve heard good things about it.  I really would like to banish for good about 8-10 pounds, and I tend to eat mindlessly/emotionally.  I know that I will have to be very careful not to take the journaling/counting too far.  I will NEVER restrict when I am genuinely hungry; I aim to eat intuitively, and if there is a day when intuitively leads to 2500 calories, so be it.  I just want to record things so that I end up with 2500 on that day, and not 3000.  Does that make sense?  I also want to use the journal to record my strength training!  I would like to be more toned come spring and summer, ideally.  Not just because of bikini season — I enjoy feeling strong and powerful, and I know that strength training has plenty of health benefits.  In fact, I don’t even think I own a bikini right now, oddly enough…

I do NOT intend to banter about my journal, recording, or calories on my blog.  I respect my readers of all backgrounds and I don’t think this would be enjoyable or useful for a lot of you; I also do not want to become obsessed.  The blog will stay the same; I’ll still be talking about what I do for my health, like running, yoga, attending therapy, and coming up with fun wholesome recipes.

Health Change #3:

A few weeks ago I did a no-dairy/low-dairy challenge, and noticed that my digestion seemed a bit better.  After reading Caitlin’s (BTW, go wish her good luck in her triathlon tomorrow!) decision the other day, and reading Averie’s comments/advice on the subject, I’ve decided to continue eating only one serving of dairy a day, be it yogurt, milk, cheese, or ice cream.  I think I feel better with this amount and if it turns out later on it isn’t working, I’ll reevaluate!

Random Eats From Today:

I bought myself a giant puzzle and have been working on it today!  I also hung out with my best friends for a while and then went to see Alice In Wonderland with one of them.  It was just okay — the visuals and design were stunning, and the acting was quite good, but the plot seemed to just drag along.

Have an excellent Sunday bloggies!

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