I proudly accomplished one of my goals for this year this past Sunday - I ran a marathon! I'm incredibly sore, but I am already looking forward to the next one! It was such a rush and I experienced a range of emotions - I was so nervous that I was feeling sick before the race started, and once everyone was lined up in the starting corral, the adrenaline rush that hit me was incredible. As nervous as I was, I knew I was ready - I trained, I was well-hydrated, I had all my nutrition that I would consume during the race, and I got a good night's sleep. My goal for this race was to just finish - I had to make sure I was pacing myself so I wouldn't burn out too quickly. All the continuous cheering from the sidelines, funny posters, shots of beer, and donuts people were handing out to runners was incredible. All that support gave me the motivation to get to the next mile! But the best part was seeing my boyfriend, family, and Lucy (my dog, who started crying after she saw me) throughout the course and at the finish line made it all worth it. I have an amazing support system and couldn't have done it without them!
I've run a few half marathons before and knew this was going to be a big challenge, but I trained really hard and had confidence in myself that I could do it. There were thousands of people participating in this race and I was constantly surrounded by a crowd of people telling each other "good job!" and "keep it up, you're doing great!" That's the beauty of these races. Everyone knows the struggle. Everyone has been there and experienced/are experiencing the pain and knows that everyone needs a push. It's such a supportive group of people and everyone is always helping each other out.
In the beginning of the race, I felt so good and I ran the first 15 miles with no problems, except that I was worried about becoming dehydrated and I was drinking so much water and gatorade that I had to stop to go to the bathroom a few times - and then around mile 16 I thought my toenail was falling off. It was so painful, and I had thought about wrapping my toes before the race, but didn't because that had never been an issue for me before, and I didn't want to try anything different on race day. Luckily my dad had a bandaid, so I stopped to put it on the next time I saw my family on the route, which helped tremendously. Then I made it to around mile 21 and thought my quads were going to explode, so the last few miles I had to walk/run. But I made it. I crossed the finish line. It was an incredible feeling. I accomplished something that I never thought I would be able to do. Although, I felt terrible after the race. I was hurting, I could barely walk, and I was starving. All I wanted was some pizza and some sleep!
Crossing that finish line was huge for me being that I'm a chronic asthmatic. I spent so much time in the hospital as a kid. I went into respiratory arrest at 6 years old and my dad performed CPR on me and saved my life. I spent hours doing breathing treatments and wishing I didn't have this miserable condition. But I found ways to overcome it. And running this marathon was one of them. I was told I could possibly grow out of it, but I haven't. I still suffer with it, although it's nothing like it used to be. Staying active is key. I always carry my inhaler when I run, just incase, but hardly ever have to use it. Running this marathon was a little emotional for me - I never thought I'd make it through something like this. It just proves that living a healthy lifestyle can be life changing - it's not just about eating healthy and exercising a lot. It's about taking care of yourself, knowing your limits, and pushing your limits.
After a busy holiday season, I'm thankful to be back to my regular routine (minus the headcold)! I enjoyed spending time with my family and eating all that delicious food, but now it's back to reality. I've got a busy year ahead of me, so I've set my goals and I'm ready to conquer them!
Goals can be big or small - but setting smaller goals to achieve those big ones are key! Also, talk about your goals - if you tell people what your goals are, chances are they will ask you about them later on, so it helps hold you accountable. And most importantly, don't forget to write them down so you can cross them off!
Not only is it a good idea to set yearly goals, but also weekly goals - this will help keep those bigger goals in sight. Especialy when it comes to sticking to a workout routine or meal plan!
Here are just a few of my 2017 goals:
1. Run a full marathon - I can check this one off next Sunday!
2. Get matched to an internship - Bring on February 15th!
3. Take more pictures - I'm terrible about remembering to take pictures
4. Create new recipes to create a cookbook
With the holidays now in full swing - I decided to repost this from last year. Weight gain during the holiday season is a big concern for many people, and understandably so. Between the parties, treats being delivered/brought to work, and family get-togethers - it's hard to resist the temptation of overeating because everything looks and smells so good that you want to try it all! But here are a few helpful tips to help you stay on track!
1. Don't arrive hungry
If you are going to a holiday party and you know the food will be irresistible, eat a healthy snack before you go! This will allow you to still enjoy the food, but in smaller portions!
2. Watch your portions
It's okay to splurge and eat foods you typically don't eat during this time of year because you aren't eating them on a daily basis. Enjoy the foods and beverages, but just don't over do it.
3. Watch the alcohol
Alcoholic drinks have lots of calories, and they add up quickly. Choose a cocktail that is has fewer calories. Clear alcohols with zero-calorie mixers are the way to go!
4. Bring a healthy dish
If you are asked to provide a dish or just feel that you want to contribute something, choose an item that isn't super rich or heavy, like a big salad instead of a casserole that's loaded with heavy cream and cheese. Veggie and fruit trays are always a great go-to. Other people will appreciate the options as well!
5. Don't over eat
When you start feeling full, stop eating. Don't continue to eat until you put yourself in a food coma!
6. Don't take leftovers home
By not having that food sitting in your fridge, you won't be tempted to eat it.
Looking for that holiday treat that is full of flavor, but not full of calories, sugar, and fat? Than this is the recipe for you! I found this recipe on ambitiouskitchen.com and had to try it - the link to the actual recipe is posted below where you can find the nutrition informaiton. This is perfect to take to holiday parties when you think you might want something sweet, but you don't want to completely blow your calories! And more than likely, someone else at the party will apreciate it too!
This was super easy to make, and you probably already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen!
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour - I used whole wheat
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cloves
pinch of ginger
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed of excess moisture
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips - I used Dark Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
In a separate large bowl combine pumpkin, zucchini, honey, oil, egg, and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Whisk in almond milk. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips, reserving a few for sprinkling on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10-15 minutes, then remove bread from pan and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
Another Half in the books! I didn't reach my time that I really wanted, but I crossed the finish line at 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 8 seconds. For me, that's a huge improvement from the first one I ran. I feel like I'm such a slow runner, but I find myself getting stronger with each race. I started out this race out really strong, and started struggling around the eighth mile. And after that I felt like kicking myself for signing up for the Full... All I kept thinking is how am I going to make it 26.2 miles?!
I knew once I reached that point where I was struggling, I was losing focus. At that point, it was just a mental block that I had to overcome. My body was getting tired, but I was more than capable to keep going. I had been training for this, after all. I knew if I regained my focus and kept my goal in mind, I would make it. And I did. I turned up my music, picked a person in front of me and was determined to pass him/her, and then I picked another one, and another one... until I crossed the finish line.
The thing I love most about these races is that everyone is so encouraging, especially towards the end. Everyone is cheering you on the whole way, but when you start reaching the end and the finish line is in sight, you're tired and your body hurts, that's when you need the most encouragement. I saw people slowing down and others running up and grabbing their hands to help them get to the finish. It's really inspiring. Everyone is there to be their best, not to prove others that they are better.
Having my family run the race with me was also encouraging. I don't feel like too many people can say that running a half marathon is a family affair! We all ran at our own pace, but seeing each other on the course is always fun! And having your boyfriend and sister out on the course cheering you on with posters helped give me a little boost too!!
Never in a million years did I think I would be running these races. Or running at all. Being a severe chronic asthmatic isn't easy, and it makes everything you do a little harder. I've come such a long way with it over the years, and I'm forever grateful. During the "bad times" of the year for me, I sometimes couldn't walk far without having an issue, much less try to run... And here I am training to run a full marathon. It gives me a little extra sense of pride every time I cross the finish line.
Kombucha - Maybe this sounds a little weird, maybe you've never heard of it, or maybe you've been skeptical to try it. I've been doing a little research on it, and I now incorporate this into my diet on a weekly basis. It's packed with so many nutritional and health benefits and I encourage everyone to give it a try!
Kombucha is made from green or black tea that has been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria. It is used for a variety of health benefits because it is rich in antioxidants, probiotics, enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins. It is sometimes called a "magic elixir" because of all its health benefits. So here is short list of some of those benefits and how they can help you!
1. Detoxification - I get a lot of questions about nutrition, and I am frequently asked about detox products/diets, and honestly, if you just eat healthy and drink plenty of water, your body is programmed to do that on it's own! No need for those fad products!! However, there are certain nutrients that help with detoxing your liver - Kombucha helps with this because it's packed with the nutrition (glucaric acid) your body needs to help with "detoxing." Just think of it as promoting healthy liver function! There has been research studies providing evidence of cancer prevention as well due to the detoxing properties. I could go into all the science details of this, but I'll save you...
2. Gut health - Kombucha is fermented by good bacteria - so it helps keep your gut flora healthy and balanced - which in turn makes for healthy digestion!
3. Joint care - This is due to the glucosamines found in the drink. You can buy glucosamines on the shelf in a drug store - Bi-Flex, for example - to help with arthritis and joint pain. As I always say - It's much better to get your nutrition from nutrient dense foods as opposed to supplements. Again, I can get into all the fun, biochemical details of this process, but I won't! But if you are suffering from joint pain - or even trying to prevent joint pain, give kombucha a try!
4. Immunity - Kombucha is rich in antioxidants, so it helps build and protect your immune system and helps boost energy levels!
Since kombucha is fermented, it's got a little fizz to it - it's a much better option than drinking a soda when you want that fizziness! It's low in calories and the calories that are in the beverage do come from sugars, hence, the fermentation process. A serving, about 8 oz. depending on the brand you buy, ranges between 30 and 50 calories. Kombucha can be found locally made and at most grocery stores. There are several different brands and flavors. I try to pick up a new flavor and brand every time I buy it, but I haven't picked a favorite yet!
One of the reasons I enjoy fall is because I love pumpkin! It has so many health benefits and is packed with nutrients, so while everything pumpkin is out right now, I thought I'd share a few of those facts!
And as good as a Pumpkin Spice Latte is from Starbucks... that doesn't count here! However, I do make my own - far fewer calories, sugar, and fat!
1. Pumpkin is packed with Vitamin A (great for your eyes), Vitamin C (not only important for you immune system, but helps with collagen production - keeps you looking young!), fiber, magnesium, carotids, and antioxidants
2. It's a good anti-inflammatory food
3. Pumpkin seeds make a great snack - packed with protein and plant-based fatty acids - so it helps regulate cholesterol, promotes healthy skin, protects against arthritis, and great for brain function!
4. Pumpkin is also high in potassium and zinc - great protection against heart disease and high blood pressure
5. Pumpkin contains L-Tryptophan, which is an amino acid which promotes feelings of well being and fight depression
Enjoy the "Pumpkin Spice Everything" while it's in season - just without added sugars!
Found this recipe and had to try it! It was so good and easy to make, which is a must for me! I love trying new foods, but never really thought about anything like this before, so I figured it was worth a try and I'm happy to say I'll be making it again! Not to mention that it didn't take long and the clean up was easy!
1 cup meduim grain rice (I used brown rice)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 small bunch green onions, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 pound washed and trimmed green beans
1 tablespoon soy sauce (I used liquid aminos)
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
Cook rice; When rice is about 15 minutes from done, heat large skillet over high heat. Add sesame oil, and sauté green onions and garlic for about 2 minutes. Stir in ground turkey and sauté 3-5 minutes, until meat is mostly cooked. Crumble meat as much as possible.
Stir in chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, and ginger. Add green beans and soy sauce, and stir to coat. Continue cooking over high heat for 7-9 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until beans are slightly tender.
Stir in rice vinegar, and cook one minute longer. Serve over cooked rice.
It's that time of year again... Pumpkin Spice Everything! I was making some birthday cake protein cookies for this week and came up with the idea to add a little pumpkin and pumpkin spice in the batter. These cookies are amazing! It was super easy to make and now when I'm fueling up for my runs this week I get a little taste of fall... even though I'm still waiting on some cooler weather!
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used GNC's Amplify)
3 Tbsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp cashew butter
Pinch sea salt
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Drop of vanilla extract
1 tsp ghee (or natural butter extract) - optional
1-2 Tbps almond milk
2 Tbsp pumpkin
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice - I made my own!
Cinnamon to sprinkle on top (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with greasy proof paper and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl combine, coconut flour, protein powder, and salt. Mix until no clumps.
In a small microwave safe bowl, melt cashew butter with maple syrup until combined. Stir in vanilla extract, ghee, pumpkin, and pumpkin spicet. Pour the wet mixture in with the dry mixture and mix until a crumbly texture remains. Using a tablespoon at a time, add dairy free milk until a thick batter is formed.
Form the batter into a ball and transfer to the lined cookie sheet. Press firmly and spread out into a cookie shape. Top with optional cinnamon and bake for 8-12 minutes - 8 minutes for extra soft and chewy or 12 or so for a firmer cookie.
Who doesn't want healthy, clear skin? Not a single person I know... I've been struggling with acne for a while now and I feel like I've tried every product and acne line on the market, minus a few. I was getting so frustrated with how bad my skin was looking. I wash my face before bed, when I wake up, after working out, I clean my makeup brushes... you name it, I do it. But nothing seemed to be making it better. I finally got to the point where I made an appointment to see my dermatologist. I've been several times before and it usually ends with me leaving with an expensive face wash or cream that works okay, but still doesn't give me the results I'm looking for.
About a week before my appointment, my mom told me some ladies she works with actually use oils to cleanse their face and that maybe I should look into it. I'm not going to lie... I was extremely skeptical, although I had heard of this before and I never gave it a second thought. Not only was my acne really bad, but I naturally have very oily skin and the thought of adding more oil to that was making me want to not even consider it, but I thought about it a little and decided to do a little research before completely tossing the idea. That night I was at Whole Foods buying oils...
I learned that all of those harsh chemicals we are smearing into our pores aren't actually as effective as we think they are. All the dirt and sweat and gross stuff sitting on our faces can actually get pushed further into our pores, making acne even worse. The oils used to clean your face help bring up the bad oils and dirt and stop them from soaking deeper into your pores, and the cleaning oils help moisturize your skin... unlike most acne products which dry your skin out, and in turn your body overcompensates and produces even more oil. The oils used to cleanse your face also help prevent your skin from making so much oil during the day, so it's less oily!
Depending on your skin type and the results you are trying to achieve, there are different types of oils to use. I use a mixture of avocado oil and hazel nut oil. I have the two mixed in a jar and I use that at night time, followed by applying apple cider vinegar as a toner. After that dries, I apply tea tree oil on red spots... It helps with inflammation and redness. If I don't apply tea tree oil, I apply coco butter as a moisturizer.
In the morning, I cleanse my face with raw honey. It's antibacterial properties help prevent breakouts, and I follow that with the apple cider vinegar as well. I still noticed that I had some bumps that were still bothering me and I needed to get rid of them, so I used a homemade oatmeal mask... So much better than a store-bought jar of chemicals! Not to mention is was super easy to make.. I just cooked a half cup of oatmeal, let it cool, mixed in a tablespoon of raw honey, and applied to my face for 20 minutes. I seriously don't remember the last time my skin looked this healthy!!
My skin is still not exactly where I want to it to be, but I've only been doing this for about a month. Things like this take a little time, but I've already seen major improvements. Another thing I've been doing is drinking Kombucha a couple times a week. It helps keep my gut clean and balanced... Along with eating clean and healthy, of course! This just goes to show that food is medicine! There is absolutely no need to fill our bodies with harsh chemicals that aren't even doing anything for us.
So I'm approaching my 3rd Half Marathon at the end of October, which I'm getting really excited about! Although, I'll be even more excited when the weather gets cooler! It's a "running" joke that people who run half-marathons are only "half-crazy" well guess I'm "fully-crazy" now because I registered for the Louisiana Full Marathon this upcoming January! Got my new shoes and I'm currently working on a training schedule and, of course, a new playlist... I'm going to need lots of music to keep me going for 26.2 miles!
This is something I've been wanting to do since I did the Louisiana Half Marathon almost 2 years ago. It's going to take a lot of time, dedication, and discipline. And whether I'm ready for it or not, I made the impulsive decision last night to just sign up! That's the only way I was going to actually do this... I could sit around and wait another year and contemplate if I was ready for it or not, but I'm not getting any younger! I usually have to think about something for a while before I make a decision, and I've thought about it a lot, but I never could commit to signing up. This has been a goal of mine for a while now, and I'm so excited that I'm finally doing this!
Now to prepare myself for the long runs, meal prep, and ice packs #geauxrunla
I am very excited to announce that I'm now an ACE Certified Health Coach! I've been studying for several months, especially the last few weeks - that's why my posts haven't been as frequent! But now I can focus more time on here - creating new recipes, sharing my latest workouts, and posting healthy living tips! My passion for health and nutrition is what drives me everyday and I love sharing that with people. I'm sure in these upcoming weeks I'll be writing lots about running.... only 7 weeks out from the Jazz Half Marathon!
Yep. You read that right. Birthday cake protein cookies! I'm not exactly what you would call a "baker," and I thought these were super easy to make and took hardly any time at all! I came across this recipe and really wanted to try it, but didn't realize until after I started making it that the yield for the recipe was ONE cookie. But it's HUGE, and there was no way I could eat it all! I like it because it's not super sweet (but you could adjust that if you wanted to), and it can be used as a pre-workout/post-workout snack! Not to mention it's gluten free, paleo, vegan, dairy free, and refined sugar free!
This will probably be my new favorite snack while I'm training... maybe I can experiment and make some new flavors?!
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used GNC's Amplify)
3 T coconut powder
Pinch Sea Salt
2 T cashew butter
1 T pure maple syrup (can omit or use sugar-free, but may not bind as well)
Pinch vanilla extract
Pinch natural butter extract (optional)
1-2 T dairy-free milk of choice (I used unsweetened Almond milk)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with greasy proof paper and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl combine, coconut flour, protein powder, and salt. Mix until no clumps.
In a small microwave safe bowl, melt cashew butter with maple syrup until combined. Stir in vanilla extract and butter extract. Pour the wet mixture in with the dry mixture and mix until a crumbly texture remains. Using a tablespoon at a time, add dairy free milk until a thick batter is formed.
Form the batter into a ball and transfer to the lined cookie sheet. Press firmly and spread out into a cookie shape. Top with optional sprinkles and bake for 8-12 minutes - 8 minutes for extra soft and chewy or 12 or so for a firmer cookie.
Remove from oven and allow to cool!
Two weeks and counting until I start training for my next half! I'm so excited! It's been since January 2015 since I ran my last half marathon. Lately, I've been focusing on strength training and doing some interval training to help build my endurance because I'm determined to run this race under 2 hours... I'm kinda slow, and I'm okay with that, but I'm always looking to improve! I completed my last race in 2 hours and 16 minutes, so I'm hoping to shave off at least 16 minutes... which won't be easy, but I have no doubt I can do it! Although this heat has been brutal to run in...
This is the first time I'm actually sticking to a training program for running. Before, I just kind of ran and did whatever I felt like doing, but I'm trying to make this race a PR and train for a full marathon in January. I've done a lot of research and I know my own body's capabilities and what I need to do to perform my best. I've looked at several training plans, but I ended up creating my own... and of course I will be keeping track of everything using my fitbook!!
More to come on how I fuel my body, my gear/equipment, and my motivation! But, here is a preview of my training schedule:
Let me start by saying that I love breakfast for dinner and that I also used to not like eggs... I always felt sick after eating them, but now I love them! My boyfriend and I tried this new recipe and it's unbelievably easy and delicious! Plus it's a little more exciting than just regular eggs and hash-browns, not to mention healthier too!
I think the thing I love most about this recipe, besides it being super easy and tasting amazing, is that it's not exact. You can add whatever you want and cook as much, or as little as you want, so don't think you have to follow it exactly as written here. You can cook 2 eggs or a dozen... And it makes for a great dinner or breakfast!
1 sweet potato
2 tsp coconut oil
eggs - however many you are going to eat
1 small onion
2 links chicken sausage - I used chicken and apple
salt and pepper to taste
Cheddar cheese - to sprinkle on top
Cut sausage into bite-sized pieces and brown.
Dice onion and Julienne sweet potato.
In a cast-iron skillet, on medium-high heat, melt 2 tsp coconut oil. Add onion to sauté until soft. Add sweet potato and cook for 8-12 minutes (or when you think it's ready). When sweet potatoes are done, add the sausage and mix well.
Flatten out mixture and make enough wells for the number of eggs you are making. Crack one egg in each well and let sit until the egg whites start turning opaque (about 2 minutes). Sprinkle the cheese on top and place in broiler set on high for 2-4 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking. Remove and add salt and pepper to taste.
Best if eaten immediately!