Tuesday, May 29, 2012

You Are What You Eat

I grew up eating fairly healthily.  My Mom was a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member, and we watched our servings of fruits and vegetables.  

As a young adult, I did what most people do and tried to eat as cheaply as possible.  At that time, I could buy 10 Totinos Pizzas, a box of cereal and some frozen burritos for $20 - and that was good for the week.  I was thin, but inactive - unless you count 12oz arm curls.

Fast forward to now when we are knee deep in milk drinking, produce munching, young people and struggle to  afford food that provides proper nutrition.  We buy 20lbs of apples per week.  Five gallons of milk.  Fifteen pounds of bananas.  Four loaves of bread.  I've tried to buy organic/free range/grass fed for our crew.  For years...I've price matched, couponed, shopped around, it's just too darn expensive.

Good thing.  I don't want our kids growing up to be jerks.

According to a new study entitled Wholesome Foods and Wholesome Morals? Organic Foods Reduce Prosocial Behavior and Harshen Moral Judgments, people who choose organic foods might just be looking down their nose at those that don't.

I get it.  Organic food is good for the environment and better for you.  No pesticides or chemicals has GOT to be a good thing. 

One thing I always laugh at is these Food Snobs that actually eat like crap.  Yes, that cookie may be made with organic flour and sweetened with the finest organic cane juice (um, sugar) but it's still a COOKIE.  Maybe I'm just making myself feel better - but I think that eating as much fresh and unprocessed food as you can trumps organic "stuff" any day.

Just my thoughts.  What do you think?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day we remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.  

Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13

Thank you to the American servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure my freedom.  

Memorial Day also serves as the somewhat official first day of Summer.  Most schools are let out, and a 3 day weekend ensues.  Folks travel to see family and have Bar-B-Ques, go boating, and flock to beaches and pools.

Are you ready for "Swimsuit Season?"

Well, I swim year round, so I'm as equally NOT ready as I have been all year.  I wear what's called a "competition" swimsuit so that there's no accidental reveals while I'm practicing my controlled drowning in the lap pool.  I do have a recreation suit.  It's a two piece.  

It looks like this.

I just love Tankinis...all the coverage of a one piece suit, but the comfort of having two pieces.  

Speaking of two piece bathing suits - let's talk about that.  Forget about grown women...they have to decide for themselves.  I don't like looking at a chick in a bikini - but then again, I get embarrassed when I walk past the Victoria Secret store in the mall.  There's about 2/3 of the American woman's wardrobe that I'd like to strike a match to.

Do you think that little girls should wear bikinis?  

I don't.  

First of all, they expose WAY to much skin to the sun.  Trying to keep sunscreen on a 9 year old is a challenge anyway - but trying to keep it on those VERY tender areas is almost impossible.  

Second, Creeper Alert.  I just want to remind all of you parents that there are a lot of CREEPS in the world.  I don't even watch, read or listen to the news and I know that there is a convicted sex offender in a 6 block radius of my house.  And your house.  And your swimming pool / health club.  

Third - little boys.  We want our young men to have positive thoughts about women, right?  We want them to respect girls and think of them as people.  We certainly don't want them to objectify women, and it all starts around those formative years before puberty.  

So my thoughts are that if you COVER your little girls at the pool you will protect their skin, protect them from potential creeps and help to foster respect for them.

What do you think?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Health Food?

What do you think about the health food industry?

I know there is this big poo-poo about processed foods - and rightfully so.  But in our quest to try to eat better, we often end up eating a TON of processed foods.  Here's a list of things that I thought were good things to eat that really weren't:

Weight Watchers Smart Ones / Healthy Choice Frozen dinners
Protein Bars
Health shakes & Protein powders
Anything shelf stable, even if it says healthy, lowfat, etc
Microwave popcorn 
Granola bars
Light Yogurt
Diet Soda
Baked snack chips
100 Calorie Packs
Sugar-Free ________

While most of this stuff gets billed as diet food it's certainly not health food.  The sodium content in the prepared and microwaveable items is astronomical.  Anything with an artificial sweetener is likely to cause a host of physical maladies.  The protein bars and shake mixes are so pulverized, cooked, powdered and packaged that they hardly qualify as food anymore.

Are you still eating any of this stuff?  Admittedly, I still have a protein bar a couple of times per week.  They are  super convenient and portable.  They are also relatively inexpensive to making bars myself.  A handful GORP (good old raisins & peanuts) would be a better choice.

I've been trying to move us away from processed foods.  A processed food is loosely described as a food that cannot be recreated in your own kitchen.  So a package of Simply Potatoes IS a processed food...it is not simply potatoes, but contains a "stabilizing" ingredient to keep the vegetable from blackening.

All of this to say that I have hopped on the Green Smoothie Train.  I've been working my way towards a Plant Based diet.  So far, I have breakfast and snacks 100% plants.  I decided to replace my lunch with a green smoothie to continue the transition AND work more veggies in to my diet.

What is a Green Smoothie, you say?  Well, it has a base of Kale or Greens and is fortified with fruits and seeds.  I have been blending up a little kale, greens, banana, apple, avocado, and chia seeds.  I put honey in them this weekend because my fruits weren't very ripe - but hope to get away from that.  

How did they taste?

Green!  Yup.  Sorta "grassy."  But good!  And knowing that I have the benefits of green leafy vegetables and several servings in one gulp-able glass is a huge benefit.  I tried my first Green Smoothie right after a 55 mile bike ride.  I was hungry.  Really.  After drinking my glass full of grass, I went to prepare lunch for my family.  By the time I had made some quick and easy black bean burritos, my stomach was full.  The fiber, water and chia gel had expanded and filled me up.

This is still in the experimental stage, but so far so good.  I plan to try more combinations, and see if I can at least drink one each day.  The more veggies the better!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Longest Ride & Longest Recipe Name Ever

I love personal records for distance.  I think they mean just as much or more than PR's for speed.  I mean, you could potentially set a distance record every month if you so desired, not so for speed.

Today I set a personal record for distance on my bicycle.

Forty-five miles!  I was so happy and proud of myself when I was done.  The way out was so horrifically windy, that I was only doing about 10mph at times.  My legs were still a little roached from lifting for legs and back on Thursday, despite a total rest day on Friday.  Sustained winds were about 17mph, not to mention the gusts...  But on the way home I was S.A.I.L.I.N.G!

Now for the Longest recipe name ever - and the recipe:

Pinto, Black, and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn & Avocado (adapted from Cooking Light Magazine June 2012)

1c. cherry tomatoes (halved)
1tsp salt, divided
3 ears of corn, shucked
1 med. white onion, 1/4in thick slices
1 jalapeno pepper
1T olive oil (I used canola)
1/3c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3c. lime juice
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
2 avocados, peeled & diced

Preheat grill to medium high heat.

Place tomatoes in bowl with 1/2tsp salt.  Let stand while preparing other ingredients.

Brush corn, onion, and jalapeno with oil.  Grill corn 6 minutes on each side, onions and pepper 4 minutes on each side.  Remove and let stand 5 minutes.

Cut kernels from corn cobs, coarsely chop onion and finely chop jalapeno (after removing seeds).  Add grilled vegetables to the tomatoes.  Add remaining 1/2tsp of salt and remaining ingredients except for the avocado.  Fill serving bowls and top with avocado.

I presume that this dish will be even better tomorrow after the flavors get a chance to get to know one another. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


It's time for What I Ate Wednesday!

I've been on a quest to go veg again...yes, no meat, no dairy - no fun.  But it really reduced swelling and I definitely felt better the last time I did it for 30 days.  It's at least worth trying, even if I don't get it right all the time.

Breakfast was a whole wheat bagel with smooth peanut butter and a banana.  I have found that if I by the fancy flavors of bagels, I never get one...but if i buy the 100% whole wheat ones...THEN I get my breakfast!

I just LOVE peanut butter, don't you!?!
I've managed to continue to cook once and eat twice at lunch time.  This recipe is a family favorite.  I've used THIS recipe for years.  The only thing I do differently is to use a whole package of pasta, versus the recommended 5oz.  Even our little ones will eat spinach when it's made like this.

Easy, good, inexpensive, and good for you?  YES!

I'm obliged to eat an apple a day, aren't you?  I usually have peanut butter with mine, but since I already had it for breakfast...I figured I would go "plain" for my snack. :)

Still slicing them thin - silly teeth.

I had a nice bike ride this afternoon.  I kept it on the bike paths, because I had to go during rush hour.  While I was safe from cars, I was not safe from crazy people on the trail.  If you walk on the bike trail, please share the road.  And when a cyclist says "On your left, please" that means "I am going 15mph and can safely pass if you SCOOT OVER for a second!!"  PSA ended.

My snack on the road. 20miles in 1:20.

All this cycling and swimming sure makes me hungry!  For supper, I had some leftover bean burrito mixture from last night.  I found THIS recipe to be amazingly delicious.  Pretty sure it's the cream cheese.  Yes - my day included dairy.  Some days it's just difficult to cut it all out.

I think I may have Hispanic genes...LOVE this food!

Well, that's my day in food.  All on paper plates again, you see.  I contemplated dirtying up real plates for the photos - but figured you all like me just as I am...not fancier or more willing to wash up. 

Share a recipe with me!  If I try it, I will blog about it and send you a surprise. :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Half Marathon Race Report

Today we ran the 35th Annual Lincoln / National Guard Half Marathon!

The weather forecast didn't look real good for today...but we tried to stay positive!  About 5:00 this morning, a storm rolled through complete with thunder and lightning.  Start time for the race was 7:00am - I counted my blessings that it rolled through prior!

I was SUPER excited to see that our names were on our race bibs this year.  This is our home town race - but it sure has grown up.  Not only is it a Boston Qualifying course, but it's capped at 10,000 runners and sold out in about 10 days this year!  I just love living in such a fitness minded city.

David and I rode our bikes down to the start.  We live about a mile away, and it works SO nice to ride down there and coast home!  We got there in plenty of time to line up with the 2:20 pacer.

It was a wave start, so we didn't cross the start line until 7:30.  It was about 68 degrees and 90% humidity.  It was nearly raining...and later we wished it would.

I went out pretty slow, trying to maintain a pace that would bring me to my goal.  The pacer I was spotting fell back, so I just ran to feel.  I walked the water station at mile 3 and by that time the pace group caught up to me.

I stayed with the 2:20 pace group as they walked the aid stations and worked the strategy set down by Smart Pace.  Our pacer was really good, and was making every split about 10 - 20sec faster on every mile.  It was a little of a push to keep up with her - especially as she ran faster on the downhills - but I was goal focused.

David and I ready for some fun!
Then the wheels fell off.

The beautiful Nebraska sun came out about mile 8 and mile 10 is entirely uphill.  By the time we walked the aid station just after the 10 mile mark, I knew I wasn't running a 2:20 Half today.  I tried to focus on my goal, I tried to focus on the pacers red shirt, but the agony of my legs started screaming.

I poured a cup of water on me and ice down my shirt at that 10 mile aid station and tried to cool down...but my legs!  My stupid, lead-heavy legs just wouldn't go!!

I pulled back a little to give reprieve, and just after mile 11, I lost the pace group.

I walked a little to regroup, and started to tear up a little.  Damn.  I really trained hard.  I did everything that was laid out for me.  I even rested shin splints for 10 days before the race to ensure I wouldn't be injured.  And I almost made it.

The self doubt and shame of not reaching my goal started to choke me.  I had walked about a quarter mile, and I thought - "NO."  I will NOT be ashamed of myself for any reason while completing 13.1 miles.

So, I started to run at a pace that I figured I could live with for the next mile and a half.  It was more like a shuffle, but it was what I had left.  My legs were absolutely dead and my right foot had some nice blisters forming, I could tell.

I knew you wanted to see the blisters.
I had nothing left for a sprint across the field at Memorial Stadium.  I'm sure that when they took photos of me crossing the finish line at the 50 yard line, it wasn't pretty.

All I wanted was my medal.

And my sweet husband to accompany me home.

I found out the difference between RUNNING a Half Marathon and RACING one.  When you run one - it's fun.  when you race one - it hurts like hell.

I didn't make my 2:20 goal.  My official time was 2:25:05.  That is still THIRTEEN MINUTES off my time from last year.

I'll take it.

Darn proud anyhow.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Three Things Thursday

I took our oldest son to register for High School.  I've home schooled him for the last 3 years.  It was hard - but he was cool with riding our bikes down there together - so I felt better. I promised not to wear a jersey or clip in shoes.  He even gave me a pat on the back a couple of times when I was filling out the paperwork.  Love that kid!  Go Links!

Grocery shopping takes on a new perspective when both children can play a video game while you shop.  Don't judge.  

I was working on a full 24 hours of a headache, today - so I ordered pizza for lunch.  Our children were SO happy that the girls made a "commercial." 
Presenting: Alahnnah age 10, and Susan age 4.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Taking a cue from my friend, Amanda over at Diary of a Semi-Health Nut, today's post is:



I will be posting pictures of what I ate on Wednesdays and sometimes, sharing recipes.  I am so inspired when others share what they are doing to properly fuel their bodies.  Sometimes we get stuck in a rut, nutritionally, and don't know how to get out!  Seeing what others eat helps me.  I hope that seeing what I'm eating helps you.

I like to start my day with satueed veggies and scrambled eggs.  I don't eat breakfast if I'm not hungry - but normally - I'm so hungry that I was eating in a dream right before I woke up!

Broccoli and onion start the scramble.
Add a little cheese and toast, yum!
I like the Earth Grains 100% Whole Wheat bread, toasted with a little REAL butter.  I drink my coffee with honey and soymilk...Mmmm...

Today, I didn't get hungry for a mid-morning snack.  It sorta depends on my training schedule.  Some days I'm hungry all.day.long.  I opt for a fruit or a veggie with some source of fat (dressing, PB, cheese).  But today - I just drank lots and lots of water.

My trusty water bottle.
Lunch was a recipe that I adapted from Cooking Light Magazine.  It was supposed to be a Risotto - but I don't have time for that when 6 hungry kids need lunch!  I use regular rice instead of Arborio and sautee the veggies with the sausage to save time.

Sausage, mushrooms, shallots and garlic
I was really glad that everyone liked this dish.  My day has been very frustrating...and it helps when kids eat - even when they won't sleep - and scream like banshees - at each other...

Finished "Risotto" with spinach and rice
I did have an afternoon snack.  I think white knuckling my sanity, alone, burned about a billion calories this morning.  I eat this snack almost every day.  I always buy the extra large jar of Peanut Butter at the store - I love it and eat it at least once if not twice per day.
All of my food is on paper plates...
For supper, I will likely have more of the Spinach Mushroom Risotto from lunch.  Lately, I've been trying to cook enough at lunch to feed us for dinner - especially on nights when we have to go someplace after work.  And if I get hungry later, I will have one of these:

White Chocolate Macadamia Luna Bar - Mmmm...
I used to count calories - for years - but quit this year to save my sanity.  I'm still very aware of my intake, but focus more on numbers like "servings of veg" and "ounces in a serving size."  My breakfast is always the biggest meal of the day.  With my coffee it usually weighs in around 500kcal.  I don't drink soda pop so I don't drink my calories...and usually I end up with around 1800kcal/day.  Every now and then I count for a day and "spot check."

More training = more food!  It's a beautiful thing. :)

Have you TRIED Luna Bars, yet?

What's your favorite snack?