Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What Do You Eat....?

So now that it is several days past Thanksgiving and we have all begun to crawl back from carbohydrate comas I thought a post discussing one of the most common questions Mom and I get would be in order.  When we decided to change our lifestyles and become healthier, one of the most important things to consider was our diet.  Previously, I had become a vegetarian due to ethical reasons.  While this change certainly decreased the amount of red meat I consumed it also meant I just swapped breads and pasta for chicken and steak and a 350 lbs. vegetarian was created.  I stuck to the vegetarian diet, even when I received quiet a few surprised looks whenever I told anyone I was a vegetarian.  I could see their eyes grow skeptical as they sized me up and thought "what a fat vegetarian!  I thought that was a myth, like Bigfoot or Yeti's."

So our first step was to ditch the unhealthy vegetarian food items and get back to the basics.  In the summer this meant a lot of salads and fresh fruits and veggies, in the winter big pots of vegetable soups.  Somewhere along the way I decided that mom and I should take the next stop and adopt a vegan diet.  This change has brought even more benefits and has left us truly feeling healthy at last.  While I'm not pushing the vegan diet on anyone else, I can say that personally it helped me drop some of those pesky pounds while leaving me feeling energized and satisfied.  I have found it is hard to be sluggish on kale and spinach!  This transition, was made that much easier with a few food items I would like to share.  These are all quick and easy products that taste great and also just so happen to be good for the environment too.

First up is the so called "miracle noodles" featured on many talk shows, diet cookbooks, and blogs.  We were on the shirataki train well before Rachel Ray decided to splash some EVOO on them and found these noodles to be a great alternative to traditional pasta.  At about 10 calories a serving you could potentially eat the whole bag and still be under 100 calories for a meal.  However there is one caution - these noodles, made of some sort of yam flour, smell extremely strong straight from the bag so follow the directions and wash them well before eating!!

If the thought of yam flour noodles doesn't make the kiddies run to the dinner table another pasta/main dish option we have found is broccoli slaw.  Those bags of pre-shredded ruffage, when steamed and lightly tossed with pasta sauce, make an awesome quick dinner for two.  Again they are extremely low in calories so you don't have to feel guilty going for that second helping.  Another note of warning about these though - if you are new to eating lots of fruits and vegetables, broccoli can cause some serious gas.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but the first time mom and I cooked up a big batch of this we created our own soundtrack to Australia as we watched the film later that night.  

Two other products I have come to love are my go to food items for lunch.  First, I am a peanut butter addict and find it difficult not to take spoonfuls of this stuff several times a day.  To combat this addiction I have found the pre-portioned Justin's nut butters to be a great option for me.  Throw this in my lunch bag with a couple puffed cakes and I'm set.  And the cakes I am currently loving are Kim's Magic Pops...we have these at several local grocery stores, and while I don't know who Kim is, I can say her cakes are magic at only 15 calories a piece and great topped with a variety of items like hummus, honey, or yes peanut butter!

So while temptation is all around this time of year, make sure you take some time and plan to have some healthy options on hand...come January 1st when the fitness craze hits everyone, you will be able to smile and strut in jeans that still fit!  

Have you tried one of these products? 

Do you have your own favorite healthy foods or tips to share?

Friday, November 18, 2011

One Hot Mama

Getting older sucks... okay I'm going to say it again... Getting older sucks.   To hell with the 50 is the new 30 crap that you hear. If you hear that from someone,  I wouldn't want to buy a used car from them,  because they are liars.  

Milestones that no one talks about.
30 +  Once you cross the 30 age mark you stop healing the way you once did.  
Remember when you could go on a weekend and party,  or perform some fun athletic event,  like whitewater rafting,  horseback riding etc,  and then go into work on Monday none the worse for wear...  Once you hit your 30's.. that leaves you.   Maybe it is for a reason.. you are 30 something after all so time to start acting like a grown up.   I got tossed off a horse at the age of 31 and dislocated my ankle.  The really cute emergency room doctor said.."wow.. your going to wish you broke that..."    Why?  Because your over 30 and that is going to take 6 months to heal.. WTF???  I was incredulous... but he was right.   It was 6 months before I could honestly say it didn't bother me anymore,  and it still lets me know when the weather is going to change.
40 +  40 something becomes the decade where you no longer have long enough arms to read.   It starts slowly.. you find yourself squinting at print and bitching in restaurants that the lighting is really bad.    You hold items out as far as you can to be able to read small print.   Finally you break down and buy a pair of readers at the grocery store.   1.25 magnification isn't s-o-o-o bad...right?  Besides they come in really cute colors.  Next thing you know you have 10 pairs of the suckers in varying degrees of power sprinkled all over the house/office/purse/car.  Next step must be the big sun-glass goggles that are so prevalent in sunny southern climes.
50 +  Welcome to Menopause...  Our mothers didn't really talk about it.   Yes they mentioned hot flashes in passing but really you couldn't have done a better job preparing me for this? Thank heavens layering is currently a fashion trend.   I head to work with a tank top under every outfit because I just never know when the strip show is going to begin. Now that it is winter in Ohio.. and my bedroom is kept at a comfortable  60 degrees,  I thought this would help.  But I go to bed under 2 blankets wearing fuzzy pj bottoms ,  a tank top and a sweatshirt.. and sometime during the night I find myself lying naked under a ceiling fan?   I know ,  I know you can take medication for this.. but really I don't need drugs to deal with something that is normal and natural,  even if it isn't exactly fun.  I have tried the teas,  and I know there are other herbal remedies to try.. but many of them are pricey... so...we shall see how long this phase lasts... And hopefully I won't have a house fire on one of the "those" nights.    Can't wait to see what 60 brings....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Marshall Marathon - Race Recap

Most of us are aware of the Marshall Football team tragedy in 1970 , when the football team was lost in a horrible plane accident.   So running a marathon , where you finished inside the "Thundering Herd"  stadium, carrying a football tucked under your arm across the finish line,  made this race an attractive option on Lindsey's to-do list.   In case you didn't know it she is going to try for the 50 States marathon club.  This is where you run a marathon in every state.. At first I thought this was a crazy idea,  but... now that I am going to attempt a full marathon next year .. not once ... but 3 times.. I understand the attraction.  So I went along to do the 1/2 marathon,  and to drive the car home.  It was just 3 weeks ago that we did the Indy marathons, and both of us were wondering how this would work.

We drove over Saturday afternoon.. Huntington is a quick 3 hour scenic drive.  The marathon is hosted by an organization called Healthy Huntington.  And the one thing that struck us as we drove in to town,  was the number of Cancer and Heart doctors with billboards around town.  Also the number of cemeteries...It was kind of creepy.  We picked up our race packets at the University rec center.. really nice place by the way and the shirts were ADORABLE!  Buffalo imprinted long sleeve tech shirts from Brooks,  very nice.

Race morning,  I wondered who they had to pay off to get such amazing weather.  Temperatures were just under 40,  but it wasn't windy at all.  Stadium bathrooms were open so no long lines waiting to use a freezing cold porta-potty,  but rather a toasty warm bathroom.  The race is small.. about 1500 half marathoners,  and 500 full marathoners.  And the runners are extremely friendly.
Honestly it was the people we met along the way that made this race for both of us.   We met 2 gentlemen who were part of the 50 states club.  You can find them ,  because they ... like us... hang at the back of the pack not trying to break the time of their last marathon,  but just enjoying the run and the scenery.  Both had run marathons the day before!  One had driven down to Savannah,  run the Savannah marathon, then got in the car and drove 9 hours to Huntington,  to run Huntington on Sunday!!!!  We picked their brains to see what races they had enjoyed the most and just chatted along a mostly boring first half of the course.   It wasn't until about mile 6 when we entered a park ,  did I really enjoy the run.  You can't tell from this picture though.. This was in the Huntington newspaper the next day...I don't look like I'm enjoying this much..

The park had a nice crushed gravel path and we spent the next 5 miles running in comfort.  We could have used a few more water stations along the way,  but for a half marathon experience,  I was enjoying it.  It seemed easier somehow than Indy had been... probably because it was so flat.

At  mile 12.1 Lindsey and I separated.. I headed toward the stadium to complete my run,  she headed across campus to circle around and start the loop again.    I finished the race 3 minutes faster than my last 1/2,  which was nice... but the post race food was a disappointment... lots of Little Debbie snack cakes and burgers... so I headed to the car to grab some peanut butter crackers and to change my clothes.   I caught Lindsey as she made her way around the back of the stadium and bitched about the food... She just looked at me like I was crazy... because she still had 12 more miles to run!
I jumped in the car and drove back to the park area,  so I could wait for her there.  The weather was still gorgeous with temperatures in the mid 50's and tons of sunshine.   I hung out at one of the water stations talking to the volunteers and complementing them on a job well done!  They had the football game on and were having a great time encouraging the runners.   I ran about another 2 miles with Linz around the park and then drove back to the Stadium to see her finish.   She completed her race about 2 minutes slower than Indy, but not bad at all.  (She swears it is the extra Porta-potty stop she had in this race versus the last)

Overall not a bad weekend.  Great weather certainly helped make this an enjoyable one,  but she is glad to have WV off her race list.   3 down... 47 more to go!