Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Workout Run Down

Um. . .this workout is from Sunday, seeing as I haven't worked out. . .at all.  This whole "working" thing after having five days off, it's terrible! I'm having such a hard time getting back into a routine.  I thought I'd have a run to show you by now, but I'm just too tired! Enough whining, here's the workout:

6 rounds of 30 seconds each -
kettlebell swings
mountain climbers
tricep extensions

Repeat 5 times, with 2 minute rest periods between each complete set

20 minutes on the elliptical, hill program, resistance level 5.

Speaking of Sunday, I saw this report on 60 Minutes - creating flavors for processed foods.  I think it's pretty incredible, and terrifically sad.  Why not just eat natural, unprocessed food to get the flavors you like?  It's a little long, so if you can't watch all of it - just try to watch the first minutes!

Coming up:  Photo Food Journal

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lessons in Gluten, Etc.

For the three weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I attempted to eat gluten-free.  I was semi-successful, and have new found respect for those who choose / have to eliminate it from their diet.  To those who willingly chose - how did you do it? There are those who suffer from wheat intolerance or Celiac disease, and they don't have a choice!  Unlike my previous dietary changes from omnivore to vegetarian, and vegetarian to vegan, I am not medically nor moralistically bound to eliminating wheat from my diet. I think that made it all the worse.

However, I do think I am somewhat addicted to bread.  If given the opportunity, I would eat bagels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  That being realized, I've made the following decision:
Bread will live in the dark recesses of my freezer, and only make an appearance once in a while.  I didn't give up cheese very easily, so releasing my death grip on bread will be my first move towards a "lessened gluten" life.  Total elimination is a long way away, folks!

In last Sunday's post, I mentioned my semi-disappointment in the Oregon Vegan Chai.  Shortly thereafter, I reminded myself that Colorado has a brand of vegan chai (Rudi's Organic Bakery is also a Colorado company!).

Bhakti Chai is AWESOME. They have a variety of flavors, including a spicy one that uses extra ginger. I would highly recommend that anyone try one! Oh, and look - it's gluten-free.  :)

Coming up: Workout Run Down

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Trot & Thanksgiving

The Turkey Trot is a 4 mile race that runs along the outside of a park, followed by an inner loop throughout the park itself.  The positives: it was 30 degrees warmer this year, and I ran significantly more miles than last year.  The negatives: my allergies have recently been triggered, so I didn't sleep well the night before.  Once the race started, my Garmin didn't sync with the satellites until almost a half mile into the race.

I'm disappointed in myself, and really don't want to write this post - but if my purpose here is to document my attempts at improving myself, then I suppose I should.  Here's the run down:
Waiting in corral 4 to start the race (7,300 participants this year)
Mile 1 - feeling good, pushing my pace a little bit. (Pardon the slant of the pics - I was running, and held my phone above my head, attempting to photo simultaneously.)
Mile 2 - in the zone, everything is rhythmic, pace starts to slow but still decent.  (People who live surrounding the park regularly sit on lawn chairs, cheering, and play music for us.  These people brought in a band!)
2.7 miles I hit "the wall", and began to doubt myself, and my ability to complete the four miles.  So, my brain won over my body and somewhere before the mile 3 marker, I slowed to a walk.  I was so angry at myself, but so tired.  A nice lady who introduced herself as Christine came up to me, and said that she was using me as her pace marker, and that I had been doing a great job (for those who don't run races, it's common for runners to pick out a person who seems to have a similar ability, and try to keep up with them).  This was really kind, but I was too upset with myself to say more than three sentences.  I walked until about 3.4, where my brother found me and jogged with me until the finish.  

My original goal was to finish 10 minutes ahead of what I did last year.  Obviously, when you walk nearly a mile that's not going to happen.  Thus, I finished relatively close to last year's time (which is so deplorable, I won't share it).

I'm going to take a few days to reflect on why this happened, and put some effort into "positive self talk" while running.

Thanksgiving dinner was held at my parent's house.  There were seven of us total, and my mother worked hard to set aside parts of the meal I could veganize upon my arrival.
There was plenty of the traditional Standard American Diet fair, but I'll show you what I had: Tofurkey roast, mashed potatoes with Tofurkey gravy, vegan "creamed" spinach (thank you, Tofutti!), baked carrots, and carmelized onions (which I prepared alongside the roast in the oven).
Even after the 4 miles, I didn't finish my plate.  Additionally, I have leftovers that will be hanging around for days!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WaterCourse Foods - Lunch

Now I've officially taken pictures of my lunch. . .in a restaurant.  My dear friend, Tamar, and I decided to catch up over lunch today, and she suggested WaterCourse.   In total, I've been perhaps a half dozen times in the last five years or so.  Basically, it's vegetarian comfort food with vegan options on the menu.  They are quite good about gluten-free and nut allergies.

I had the Dona Lee: (not gluten free) A whole wheat tortilla stuffed with herbed encrusted seitan, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, and veganaise (instead of the ranch dressing listed).  Sweet potato, spring greens with vinaigrette.
Tamar had the Po Boy:  polenta encrusted wild mushrooms or artichoke hearts on our kaiser roll topped with chipotle or lemon caper aioli and coleslaw.  Quinoa salad, tomato coconut soup.
No dessert, but here's a shot of the case:
My thoughts: regarding the photos, it wasn't too awkward as I used my phone to do the dirty work.  Regarding the meal, it was decent.  I ate half, and the remains are in the fridge - which I might have for dinner.  The seitan was in huge chunks, which left a little something to be desired.  I'll probably return for a salad every now and then.

Here's where I really want to go: Sputnik, specifically for the vegan tacos!

Coming up: Turkey Trot and Thanksgiving review

Sunday, November 20, 2011

TG Update 3

Today's post will be the final installment of my Thanksgiving Goals update.  It has been my intention to document my three weeks being gluten-free, and training for the 4 mile Turkey Trot race.  This past week, I took a picture of one meal per day and wrote down my runs as they happened.

Monday - a 12 hour workday, so no running! Dinner was roasted butternut squash with cinnamon (recipe mentioned here) and Sicilian Collard Greens (from The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone).
Tuesday - interval training on the treadmill (as mentioned in yesterday's post).  Lunch:
Wednesday - 2.0 miles (27:50).  Breakfast smoothie: one apple, frozen pineapple, super greens, water.
Thursday - 1.5 miles (20:21).  Dinner - marinated tofu and veggie sushi from Sunflower Market (served with Tamari).
Friday - 2.5 miles (36:13 - super tired).  Breakfast: oatmeal with peanut butter.
Saturday - no run, went for a massage. Lunch from Whole Foods - Vegan Vegetable Tamales.
Today: I'm really sore from my massage, but so glad I went in.  It's been two years since I had a half hour massage, and almost 9 since I had a full body massage (yesterday I had the latter).  Needless to say, I was way overdue! I will most likely do a short run each of the next few days.  I don't feel like I'll be amazing on race day, but at least I'll be doing it!

Coming up: spontaneous post

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Intervals & New Beverages

Intervals - About six years ago, I first used intervals to conquer my fear and dislike of running.  I consulted with a co-worker's husband (who was a personal trainer for professional soccer players), and he told me to start off running 1 minute at a comfortable pace, walking 30 seconds - working up to running 3 minutes with the same 30 second recovery period.  Once I felt comfortable, I went for a 20 minute run outside and loved the feeling.  Pretty quickly I found "the zone" where breathing and stride became rhythmic, and afterwards I felt the endorphine rush (a.k.a runner's high).  Mind you, I still fell off the "training wagon" for months at a time - regardless of how amazing I felt when running.  When that happens, I return to intervals.

Intervals are also useful for working on speed.  Once a week, I head to the treadmill and do a combination of something like this:

2 minute walk (warm up)
1 minute average pace jog
30 second sprint
30 second rest
2 minutes average pace
30 second sprint
30 second rest

Ideally, this would happen for 25-30 minutes, and the sprint would reach 1 minute.  Last Tuesday, I only made it to 20 minutes.

New Beverages - Over the last week and a half, I have tried these:
 WestSoy's Chocolate Peppermint Stick was my favorite out of the three.  I heated it up, and drank it like hot chocolate.  Really delicious!
Dry Soda's Vanilla Bean was light, and reminded me of club soda with a hint of vanilla.  They also feature interesting flavors such as Lavender and Juniper Berry.  I'm not much of a soda drinker, but I might go back for another when in the mood.
Oregan Chai's Vegan Original was an impulse purchase last night, and I'm drinking it right now with a little almond milk.  I like it better hot than cold.  It's been a while since I had a chai latte, but I do prefer spice to sweetness, so this might take some altering.

Coming up tomorrow: Final Thanksgiving Goals Update

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Recipe Experiment

I realized long ago that I use more oil as a vegan, than I ever did as an omnivore.  Slowly, I am finding ways to eliminate it as much as possible. For example, I noticed that many raw food eaters created "salad dressing" out of fruit.  Thus, an idea emerged - create my own "pear dressing".  I looked up various recipes, and combined or altered ideas to create a simpler, faster creation.  Lastly, as an admirer of the salad wedge (I've never had one), I aspired to build one myself.

Pear, dates, shallot (I only used 1/5 of what you see), and white wine vinegar (less than a 1/4 cup).
Chopped and well blended, yields just over 1/2 cup.
My attempt at a wedge (iceberg is really just a vessel for the goodies): cucumber, dried cranberries, walnuts.  
The verdict: mildly sweet yet tangy.  I can see myself making this again, and perhaps experimenting with a few more "dressings".

Coming up: running intervals

Sunday, November 13, 2011

TG Update 2

This my second Thanksgiving Goals Update.

Gluten Free
If you read the previous post, there was a brown rice tortilla - and yes, I finished off the package! For some reason I have a gravitational pull towards carbohydrates.  I suppose I've always known this fact, thus creating this challenge for myself was appropriate.  Perfection is not an attainable goal, however I do aspire to reign in my over-consumption of carbs (especially gluten filled products or their substitutes, i.e. rice tortillas).  Perhaps this week will be easier?!

Turkey Trot
Last week, I missed two of my scheduled runs (1.5, 3.25).  I have good reasons, but nonetheless they are excuses.  During my 3.0 mile run, I really struggled.  My hips and calves were feeling really tight. Less than half way through, I noticed a pinching sensation behind my left shoulder blade, which resonated all the way up to my neck.  This meant it was time to see the chiropractor.  I won't bore you with an anecdotal recap as why I have to go, just know that I should go every month.  And I don't.

I took the last two runs off, and on Friday I went in.  Hallelujah! It was the usual culprit causing all the problems: my right hip was out of place (twisted towards the back) by one inch.  This causes my spine to twist, and the left side overcompensates.  From my left ankle to the left side of my neck.  I still have a knot under my left shoulder blade, so she told me to get a massage.  Such a hard prescription to follow, right?  In addition, my IT bands were really tight (side of hip / rear, common in runners), so she kneaded those down (yes, with her knuckles. I'm still sore).  I know this happens if I don't go in regularly.

Next week's Final Update
This week I'm going to photograph one meal a day and all of my runs, which means next Sunday's entry will be quite long!

Coming Up: New recipe

Friday, November 11, 2011

All About Breakfast

Over the last week, I've wanted to mix up my breakfast menu at bit - so, I gave myself the assignment to capture four different versions.

Saturday: Tofu scramble (curry, garlic, and chili powders with Tofutti cream cheese and super greens)
Monday: Rice tortilla with peanut butter and cocoa powder.
Wednesday and Thursday (one half each day): green smoothie (super greens, frozen banana, frozen pineapple, one fresh pear, water).
Today: baked pear with agave and cinnamon.

If you have a recommendation for breakfast, do share!

Coming up: Thanksgiving goals update 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Workout Run Down

Today is my cross-training day, so here's what happened at the gym:

10 minutes walking at 15 incline, 3.5 mph
10 minutes on the stairmaster, easy hill program

Followed by 3 sets of 25 each:
squat jumps
pushups (from the knee)
ball crunches

Not too much, but I'm pretty exhausted.   How is it only Tuesday?!

Remy says: "When the lady stacks boxes near the counter, I will climb them!"
P.S. He has a curly tongue when panting.

Coming up: 4 different breakfasts I've had recently

Sunday, November 6, 2011

TG Update

This is the first installment in my Thanksgiving Goals Update, to be repeated for the next two Sundays.

Adventures in Gluten-Free
I've had a long standing romance with bread, bagels and pasta.  Therefore, this past week has been particularly difficult.  Even though it was my intention to not have rice pasta or any substitute for gluten foods, I did break down and prepare a little quinoa/ corn blend noodle dish.  However, the guilt I felt for not following my goal prevented me from repeating the experience.

This week, a few items from my menu include the usual green smoothies, miso soup with tofu (I'll use shoyu instead of soy sauce, and throw in some wakame as well), roasted butternut squash with cinnamon, in addition to the average assortment of steamed or roasted veggies.

Later this morning, I'll be heading out for brunch with a few friends - and the Grilled Hearts of Romaine, without cheese, seems to be the best of the three vegan friendly dishes I found.  Places such as this are very popular among the locals, and it's frustrating that they don't offer more vegan dishes.

Turkey Trot Progress 
All registered, and ready to go! Pictured are my shirt, bib, and timing chip.  For those who haven't participated in a walk or run, the chip has to be returned at the end (or face a fine!), they will link your finish time and average pace to your bib number (which also includes personal information).  I plan on wearing my Garmin, so I will use that as my official time to post on here.
On average 10,000 people participate.  Last year, it was 34 degrees and still had a record sized turnout.  People dress up as turkeys - I don't need anything slowing down my already embarrassingly slow pace, but maybe one year, I'll wear something more festive.

This week my running schedule includes (in order): 2.0, 3.0, 1.5, and 3.25 miles.

Coming up: Workout Run Down 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Photo Food Journal

I've been off and on about the smoothies, mostly due to weather.  Some days a steamy, agave and cinnamon infused oatmeal feels better when it's 20 degrees outside.  Last night I went to bed with the thought, "I really should use up those 4 dates hanging out in the kitchen."  Thus, this morning I had a banana-date smoothie:
2 frozen bananas, 4 dates, unsweetened almond milk, a drip of molasses, and a healthy dose of cinnamon. It was like drinking candy.  (Do you see that it's 6:04am on the coffee maker?? That's right - my days start very early, so I take breakfast and coffee with me to work.)

Lunch was another serving of the Cream of Cauliflower / Mushroom soup from Sunday's soup-a-thon.  You can see an image of it here.

Snack time!
As much as I adore peanut butter, I did not eat the entire jar on my apple.  I just appreciate MaraNatha because I don't have to stir anything.

Dinner included Dijon Green Beans from Happy Herbivore, a cookbook I long to have in my possession, but simply wrote down this recipe from a friend's copy.  Also included, Near East's Long Grain and Wild Rice Pilaf.
Looking back, I notice a lot of beige.  That's not good. 

Coming up: Thanksgiving goal update