Basil Mint Mojito and a Simple Dinner Idea

Hello, hello!

Are you looking for a cool and refreshing bubbly drink to help beat the summer heat? I have concocted a healthified version of a Basil Mint Mojito!

I wrote a guest post for Hannah over at Clean Eating Veggie Girl. Head on over there and check it out!

basil mint mojito

 

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I have been seriously slacking on any type of strength workouts over here. I am beginning to feel it too. I am going to slowly incorporate back in some weight-bearing strength exercise:

  • Planks
  • Push-ups
  • Tricep Dips
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Yoga

I am going to keep it super low-key and not stress about it, but at the same time want to form a habit of doing it so it becomes just an everyday thing I do like brushing my teeth. So that’s that!

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Dinner last night was incredibly delicious and so simple! I sautéed zucchini, onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms in olive oil and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and oregano. Then I plated them over quinoa and topped them with a spoonful of hummus and chopped green olives.

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This whole thing came together in five minutes so there’s no excuse not to make it! You could even throw some cooked chickpeas in there to add more protein. I am in love with this dish and may make it again for dinner tonight!

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How’s that for randomness? I hope you all have a fabulous Tuesday and I’ll catch up with you soon!

xoxo

What’s for dinner tonight?

Health Update & Goals

Happy Wednesday to you all! The weather is a little gloomy here this morning which makes me want to do this all day…

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But no such luck. This girls gotta make money money, make money money money. So off to work for Melanie. A girl can dream though, right?

Health Update

It’s been a little while since I have updated you all on the gastrointestinal status. For those of you who are new to Beautifully Nutty, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at the age of twelve, and dealing with “flares” and long lengths of remission since then. I am in a current “flare” state and have been since the beginning of May or so. You can read more about it here as well.

I have been receiving medical help since the moment I knew I was starting to flare back in May. I have tried various medications, I have made changes to my diet, but I am still sick. In the past it was normal for me to be sick for this longer period of time, but I feel like now that I have better control over my diet, activity, and try to decrease stressors in my life, that I should be able to regain control faster, but no such luck so far.

This past month, my doc (who I really do like and respect) has been doing some further investigation in the forms of lab tests and procedures, frequent follow-ups, etc. He has casually concluded that I have “indeterminate colitis” meaning my signs and symptoms appear to look like ulcerative colitis as well as Crohn’s. Since he can’t exactly distinguish between the two in my case, because they are so much alike, it’s called indeterminate and he can hardly say it is a definite diagnosis. The good news is my small intestine is healthy and unaffected otherwise my treatment options would have changed dramatically. With the consensus of my doctor and I, we have decided to continue me on my current treatment. Prior to the “intrusions” last week in my colon, I was starting to feel a lot better on that treatment, and I think it will work again. The colon was just reirritated after all of the investigating happening.

The good news: My energy level has improved greatly. A month ago, I wanted to rest my head on my desk at work around 2 pm, now I am completely fine until the end of the day, and even at night-time, I’m not crashing as hard as I was. The other good news is I am continuing to follow a gluten-free diet which I REALLY feel is helping me to feel better. I plan to continue on it for a while. Who knows, maybe I’ll follow it forever. I honestly don’t find it challenging at all. I am okay with skipping on breads and crackers, that means more fruits and veggies for me!

We continue to experiment with my what works and what doesn’t which sounds kind of scary when put into those words, but I do appreciate my doctor’s approach. He is all about preventative care, which being a Registered Dietitian, I am too, and I like having that common ground. He presents his knowledge to me and offers options for the next steps. Together, we decide on the next plan of action, and he would never say, “this is what we’re doing and you don’t have a say in it.” It is my body after all.

My last rant…

Over the past couple of months, I have decreased the intensity of my workouts. I didn’t have the energy to lift weights, to run often, etc. I had enough stamina for low-impact activities like walking and light calisthenics but not a whole lot of energy for much else. Now that I am starting to feel better again, I am beginning to increase intensity in my workouts but only slightly. I am noticing how much strength and stamina I have lost. I know I will get it back.

I began the September push-up challenge to encourage myself to do at least 10 push-ups a day. I have done 10 or more every day except for one, when I had an intensive doctor appointment. This is one way I am rebuilding my strength.

I went for a 3 mile run this morning. It was not easy, but I pushed through. I realize it will take me time to rebuild, and I by no means want to push myself so hard that I get sick. One thing I have learned about myself through this current flare, is that I now know how to listen to my body, or at least have gotten a lot better at it. If I’m not feeling up to a run, then I will walk. If I don’t have the energy to do strength training, then I will do yoga.

Goals for the future:

  1. Get healthy and into remission. Ideally off of the meds, and continue to treat myself through natural remedies.
  2. Increase my running stamina and participate in a 10k.
  3. Continue my daily push ups and soon switch to normal hands and toes push ups versus knees.

How about I start at that?

I am sorry for the long and somewhat scatter-brained post. I just wanted to give you all a heads up on my health and putting it all out there again makes me feel oh so good.

I am a woman on a mission. Mission get healthy(er).

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Have a great day and give it your all!

Motivate Me

Hi there to my wonderful readers!

I’ve had a few set-backs on the workout front lately. This is mainly attributed to the U.C. and associated appointments, but it also the summer coming to an end which has played a roll in my lack of exercise lately. Social gatherings have taken precedence over the gym, and for the time being, considering my health situation, I was okay with that.

Now that I am starting to feel better, and major doc appointments are out of the way, it’s time to get back on track. I know I feel better when I am active, not only physically, but mentally as well.

I have been feeling weak, and I am ready to rebuild my strength.

I thought I would look into Pinterest to get a motivational post up for myself, and maybe for some of you who may be in the same “rut.”

Pinterest, motivate me.

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I could have gone on for pages but I’ll stop at that. Every day is a new day and a new start to something good. We’ve got this.

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday.

Love,

M

Question: What motivates you?

September Push-Up Challenge

Happy Labor Day! How was everyone’s weekend? Mine flew by as it always does but it was so relaxing which was just what I needed. This post is slightly random, but let’s get’er started.

In preparation for some fun colon excitement to come, I needed to be on a low-fiber diet starting Saturday afternoon, and all day Sunday.

So, here is my low fiber day yesterday…

Breakfast: gluten-free almond bread with smooth creamy peanut butter and honey, a bite of banana, and a cup of coffee. I ate breakfast while looking through the Sunday paper of course. Bummer, no coupons yesterday, but a nummy breakfast at least.

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Lunch: chicken breast with hummus and feta cheese, avocado, and canned green beans. It doesn’t look very appetizing, but it actually was pretty good. I finished lunch off with a little bite of peanut butter.

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Dinner: grilled turkey burgers with cheese, avocado, mustard and ketchup, and a side of green beans.

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For dessert, Dana and I whipped up a batch of chocolate fudge Jello (sugar-free) that we made with almond milk and we also ate some of our first candy corn of the season!

Now Back Track

Back track to just after lunch; Dana and I geared up for a hike. There is a trail alongside a major highway about ten minutes from our house that we have been wanting to explore for the longest time, so we decided that yesterday was the day to do it.

I grabbed the fuel belt and loaded it up with water, Dana grabbed the waist leash for Moose, and Moose grabbed his portable foldable water bowl, and we hit the trails.

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It was pretty warm out yesterday so we called it quits after about 2.6 miles. I was really impressed with the area though. It was gorgeous. I can’t believe I’ve never been there before. Dana and I decided that it would be a perfect place for a morning run. We will be going back for sure.

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Sangria Deliciousness

On Friday night before we left for Adam and Allison’s wedding, I invited Dana to join me in a happy hour in our kitchen so that we could try out a bottle of sangria I had been given to sample. I am a HUGE sangria fan, so I was pretty darn excited about this one.

The product is called Eppa Superfruit Sangria. 

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Eppa’s sangria is certified organic and is made up of antioxidant rich fruits including pomegranate, blueberry, blood orange, and acai. One glass of their wine has twice the amount of antioxidants than a standard glass of wine.

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The taste test verdict? Loved it. It is smooth, fruity, and refreshing. The perfect happy hour beverage, out on the boat beverage, or just “in need of a glass of wine after a stressful day” perfect beverage.

Eppa is starting to become available in stores (some Whole Foods carry it), but you can also order their product from their website. Of course you must be 21 years or older to order. Smile

Great organic product. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

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September Push-Up Challenge

On with my day….I have a few things to do around the house, some errands to run, and possibly a workout on the agenda.

Which reminds me, I almost forgot to mention that for the month of September, I have made the commitment to doing at least 10 push ups everyday. If I’m feeling more ambitious certain days, I will do more but every day I will complete at least 10. My push-ups are knee style, but I am hoping to build strength again to do normal ones again. Baby steps. 

Would you care to join me?! If you are on twitter, follow me @NuttyMelanie and use the hash tag #dropandgimme10 otherwise feel free to leave comments on my blog so that we can motivate and support each other to stay on track!

Have a great day!

Birthdays, 5k, State Fair

Yes, it was a jam-packed full of fun weekend.

It began Saturday morning. Dana and I hit the gym together (the what?!) and we worked through a back and bicep strength training routine. I left feeling very disappointed because I have noticed how weak I have become lately due to the U.C. and the limited energy I have had.

“But you gotta keep your head up….” and then laugh a little. I was pretty mopey after the gym but Dana cheered me up with this:

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My mood improved after that. I know I need to get through this, and will get through this, and I will slowly begin to rebuild my strength. After my little moment, I cheered up thinking about the fun day ahead.

Dana and I headed to my grandpa’s house to visit with him, my mom and dad, and many of other family members who were in from out of town. We were only able to stay for a short while, but I absolutely loved seeing each and every one of them. I miss them all so much.

While we were there I felt the need to explain to them why we were looking all gnarly that day in our 80’s outfits. We were heading to an 80’s themed birthday party…

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For our dear friend, Stacy.

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The day was full of lots of laughs, big hair, neon, Glen Gulia, creepers (Nate and Nate) and great “rad” friends. We had a blast celebrating Stacy’s big day with her. Today is her ACTUAL birthday so…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY STACY!!! Love ya!

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Sunday

On Saturday morning Dana and I participated in our 3rd annual Minnesota State Fair Milk run. It is a 5k race which takes place just outside of the state fair grounds and starts at 7:45 am.

The weather was perfect. It was overcast, cool, and humid so I felt like my legs warmed up really fast but the cool temperature kept me cool. Duh?

Anyway, it felt like a great run. I am really curious to see our times which haven’t been posted yet. I felt like we were running at a pretty good pace but I’ve been wrong before so we’ll see.

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After the race we headed to the great Minnesota get-together, aka The Minnesota State Fair. Those of you who aren’t from MN, the state fair is a BIG deal around here. I frankly don’t think it deserves all of the hype, but I do enjoy going every year.

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It’s mostly a food fest, but there are other activities such as carnival rides, farm animals, sky rides, an agriculture building, a health building, etc. I do enjoy checking out a lot of those things, but I can’t handle crowds very well, so the visits are usually short lived.

Dana’s one item that he gets every year is the Pronto-Pup, or a corn dog if you will. I pass on the wiener on a stick.

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Since I know we never stay long at the fair, and I have a limited stomach capacity, I try to choose my foods wisely. My first choice was falafel on a stick which I shared with hubs.

Next, was our free malts that we got from the Milk Run.

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Mashed potatoes on a stick. These were actually very good. I was craving salty and this was definitely that. It was mashed potatoes, cheese, and bacon, all deep fried. Again, “says the dietitian.” We split these as well.

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The last item we wanted to try was the bacon ice cream. The ice cream had a maple flavor and the bacon added a touch of salty bite to the combo. Meh, it was okay. We both agreed we wouldn’t get it again, but were glad we tried it.

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Food fest 2012. I’m not proud of what I ate, but it only happens once a year so I know I shouldn’t feel too bad about it.

Sunday afternoon led us to celebrate yet another birthday, this one for my amazing brother Kevin. His birthday was last week but it worked out best to celebrate last night.

We had a very relaxing evening outside where we chatted, gave Kevi his birthday presents…

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Ate delicious turkey sliders with chili cheese dip courtesy a la madre…

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And birthday cake courtesy a la Melanie.

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Kevin loves chocolate and peanut butter just as much as I do, so I decided to make him a chocolate peanut butter cake (inspired by Courtney).

I cheated and used a boxed gluten-free devil’s food cake mix. I baked two round cakes, and made a homemade peanut butter frosting to glue the layers together (don’t think I didn’t taste test the frosting as I was making the cake). It was peanut butter, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla all whipped together.

I then topped the cake with store-bought sugar-free chocolate frosting and finished it off with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups.

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I completely forgot to snap a photo of the inside of the cake! It was beautiful too. Oh well. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t believe I was able to scarf down a piece of cake after all of the sugar I had already consumed that day. Blah. Dana and I both left feeling Thanksgiving stuffed, but it was well worth it. I loved celebrating with you Kevi! Love you all so much.

What an amazing weekend. Now, it’s time to detoxify my body from all of this extra sugar it’s not used to, and try to give it the rest it needs.

Have a great day everyone.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Paleo Style

Good day to you all! I hope everyone’s weekend is off to a great start. I’m pretty sure I have deemed Friday as my favorite day of the week. At the end of the work day it’s so nice knowing that I have the whole weekend ahead of me to do as I please.

My Friday

I started my day with a banana pancake topped with honey and PB2. I made it the night before so that all I had to do in the morning was pop it in the microwave and add some toppings. I’m all about anything that make early mornings easier for me.

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I am attempting to wean back on the nut butter a bit because I was seriously getting out of hand and eating it by the spoonfuls. I think it was a combination of factors: I may have felt slightly deprived from the diet, I don’t love meat, and I felt like it was something that actually satisfied my belly. Now that I am starting to incorporate more of my favorite proteins again, quinoa, beans, and eggs, I am able to cut back on the nut butter. I will not be cutting it out however!

For lunch I ate the same awesome Greek-inspired salad as yesterday.

After work, I headed straight to the gym yet again. I hit the elliptical for 20 minutes, then moved to the treadmill for a mile run all while watching the Olympic women’s 10,000 meter race. Holy cow those ladies are speedy! It was great motivation to keep me moving. After cardio, I moved to the free weights to pound out a chest and tricep workout. I finished with some core work. Strength training two days in a row! It has been a while since that has happened.

For dinner I made a taco salad.

In the mix:

  • mixed greens
  • cilantro
  • black beans
  • cheddar cheese
  • tomatoes
  • onions
  • and ranch dressing

I debated whether or not to top the salad with salsa, but have found in the past that I am usually disappointed if I use salsa as my dressing, so I opted for one I knew I would like.

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After dinner I wanted dessert. I found a Paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe from Delighted Momma and decided to give it a whirl.

I made a few changes though of course as I always do. Instead of the coconut oil, I used organic applesauce and instead of using 4 whole eggs, I used 3 eggs plus 1 egg white. For the chocolate chip part, I bought carob chips from the natural food store in town. I have never used them before but know they can be substituted for chocolate chips and are a healthier option. The ones I bought were dairy free. 

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Chocolate Chip Cookies Paleo Style

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup organic applesauce
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup carob chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In mixing bowl beat together applesauce, honey, eggs, egg white, vanilla, and salt until well combined.
  3. Next, stir in coconut flour, coconut, and carob chips.
  4. Roll into balls and flatten slightly*; place on parchment paper or non-stick baking mat.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.

*The cookies do not change their shape from pre-cooked to post-cooking so flattening them makes them more cookie like.

Thank you Delighted Mama for the inspiration! I loved these cookies. They have a coconutty chocolatey flavor, a soft texture, and are slightly addicting.

I hope you all enjoy! I am off to soak up the weekend. Hope you are too.

The Return of Oatless Oats

Happy Friday!

So you know when you have those nights where you just want to eat and eat and eat, and it doesn’t matter how much you stuff your face you still want to keep eating? Well, I had one of those nights last night, (says the dietitian). Hey, I’m only human!

While getting dinner ready, I munched on some unsalted roasted almonds and a few raspberries. This was my appetizer.

For dinner I sautéed zucchini and green beans (both from our garden), onion (farmer’s market), mushrooms, and a small amount of black beans. I wanted to test out the black beans and see how my body reacted in relation to the U.C. because I have really been missing my beans. The bean verdict: in small amounts I can handle them just fine as long as they are very well cooked and soft.

I sprinkled the veggie sauté with garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper. Two minutes before the veggies were done, I got to work cooking up an over-easy egg.

Once the egg was done, I plated up my veggies, next went the egg, fresh tomatoes (from the garden too), cilantro, and Wild Harvest’s mango salsa.

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I so love veggies with a runny egg on top.

After dinner, I then made myself a big bite of PB2 with honey, followed by a couple of pieces of chocolate. I wanted more but was realizing that I didn’t need more, so I walked away. I turned Wheel of Fortune on, grabbed a couple of hand weights, and started walking in place while working the arms. This took my mind off of food and finally my body realized I didn’t need a-n-y-m-o-r-e. Reminder to myself: mindful eating.

Lunch

I jumped ahead here, so let us back-pedal it now. I am very proud of my lunch today. It was seriously awesome.

I made a Greek-inspired chicken salad which included:

  • pulled chicken breast
  • zucchini
  • grape tomatoes
  • green olives
  • feta cheese
  • balsamic basil dressing

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I loved this flavor combo so much that I made if for my lunch again today. I also had a banana, clementine, and believe it or not some cooked carrots. :wink: Cooked carrots every day keeps the doctor away? Not in my case I guess, but maybe!?

Now to breakfast.

It has been a long time since I made this one: oatless oatmeal. In the mix: 1/4 cup egg whites, 1/2 banana, somewhere between 1/4 and a 1/2 cup of almond milk, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Blend all ingredients together. Pour onto non-stick pan and cook over medium heat. Use spatula to stir and mix while the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. This process only takes about 3 minutes, so keep an eye on it and keep stirring.

The mixture will have a runny oatmeal like consistency when done. Pour into your bowl, top with a drizzle of honey if you wish, and a spoonful of peanut butter. This was such a nice change of pace, AND it’s SCD friendly too! It’s the return of the oatless oats. I hope to remember this one more often.

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I did make it to the gym yesterday. I headed straight there after work because I knew if I came home first, I would never make it there. I warmed up with a mile run on the treadmill then made my way to the weights to workout my back and biceps. I also did some core work.

I am off to tackle my Friday. Excited it’s almost the weekend! Have a great day my friends!

My Half Marathon Non-Plan Training Plan

Hello there! Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I got hit with some kind of bug on Friday (which actually sent me home from work), but I am happy to say I am feeling much better now. I didn’t photograph any of my food photos from yesterday because they were extraordinarily boring; lots of carbs and fruit because that was all that sounded good to me. I would not let my body stay sick for long and kept a positive attitude all day because I HAVE to be well…I have a big event coming up tomorrow:

My First Half Marathon.

I am getting very excited for it and slightly anxious. Later this afternoon we will be going to pick up our race bibs and such.

Today’s post is going to be about how I prepared and trained for this half marathon. I thought it would be good for me to mentally walk through my training, to help me build confidence in my ability to carry out this run successfully tomorrow. I also thought some of you might enjoy reading it as well!

When Dana and I first decided to register for this half marathon, we began browsing through training plans. Initially, we had found two we were interested in: Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan and Jeff Galloway’s Half Marathon Training Plan. Dana liked one of them, and I liked the other. We had tentatively decided we would each train on these schedules and make adjustments as needed.

Then, one of my reader’s Lisa, who is an avid runner, gave me some wonderful advice as I was contemplating the possibility of not following a strict training plan, and instead just running when I wanted to, and resting when I felt I needed to rest. She wrote: ““For my very first marathon, I followed a training plan and I found that when someone else was telling me when to run and how far to go, it became work and I dreaded it. Since then, I have just run to run and not worried about how far I was going. Two years ago I ran my first sub-four hour marathon and couldn’t have been happier. Now, this is not to say that training plans don’t work, but I found that I resented mine. Like I said, I listen to my body, run longer runs when I feel like it (or have the time- usually on the weekends) and give myself rest when I need it.” I also mentioned her comment in a past post: Enjoy Life While Training Plan.

After I read her comment it was as clear as day for me. I would not be following a strict running plan, instead I would make my own, and make it work for me and my life. I want this process to be enjoyable, and not become a second job. So that’s what we decided to do: A Non-Plan Training Plan.

I am trying to remember when I first starting training for this half. Throughout the winter I did continue to run, so this spring I wasn’t COMPLETELY out of running shape, but I definitely wasn’t IN running shape. I would say the more regimented training began in March sometime (when it was starting to get nicer outside here in MN).

There wasn’t necessarily a “typical” weekly workout pattern, but usually it was something along these lines:

  • Monday: Cross-train, strength
  • Tuesday : run
  • Wednesday: Cross-train, strength
  • Thursday: run
  • Friday: rest or light walk
  • Saturday: longer run
  • Sunday: cross-train, strength, or rest depending on the mileage from Saturday

It was nice having so much freedom throughout this training. However, it is important that if you do follow this type of non-plan plan, that you don’t let yourself fall off the workout wagon being that it is so flexible. You have to stay very motivated and also learn to listen to your body. I really enjoy working out so staying motivated was fairly easy for me, and I also feel like I know my body pretty well and understand when it’s trying to tell me something.

To help me stay accountable, I recorded my workouts here. I like being able to look back and track my weekly workouts, and as I mentioned before, I thought this would be a perfect time for me to review the past few months, so that I continue to remember that I am prepared. I’m physically and mentally ready.

The big race is finally here.  U.C. and all, I got this. I cannot wait to report back! Yikes!

Veggies with a Runny Egg Are Back

Hello there! Everyone excited it’s Thursday? It’s almost Friday!

Yesterday morning started off with the usual Cream of Wheat, but this time I sweetened it with stevia, added banana slices, and Pb2 with cinnamon. Since I’ve been eating Cream of Wheat pretty much every morning, I’m trying to keep it jazzy and switch it up a bit.

I have been noticing that I have been eating a whole lot of extra sugar (maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, fruit, etc.) lately, and I really am working on trying to cut back on it again. But I LOVE the taste of brown sugar on my Cream of Wheat, so I will be putting a little bit on there every once and a while.

For lunch I ate a half of a grilled chicken breast with BBQ sauce and a bunch of green beans. I also ate a half of a banana with peanut butter and a no sugar added pomegranate apple sauce. Sorry for this totally unappetizing photo.

After work I headed to the gym, and on the way there I snacked on fresh honeydew melon. On the workout agenda was a 20 minute warm-up on the elliptical while drooling over delicious food photos in Rachael Ray’s magazine, followed by weights where I focused on triceps and chest.

On the drive home I contemplated dinner options, and decided that eggs were sounding pretty good. Should I make a frittata? I’ve never made a frittata but would really like to sometime. Should I make an omelette? Egg-white omelette? Scrambled eggs? A runny egg? Runny egg on top of a small salad?

YES please to the last option.

I plated up a small green leafy salad with cilantro, bacon bits, and Western Dressing. For the egg, I cooked it over-easy and sprinkled one side of the egg with nutritional yeast and freshly cracked black pepper. I gave the egg a gentle flip towards the end of the cooking process and left it on side two for just a short time before plating it up on top of my salad. I don’t want the inside to cook through because I want runny egg.

Oh, how I’ve missed you salads with a runny egg on top. So easy, and so delicious. I’ve still got to cool it on the green stuff but I am still slowly working it back in to my diet. Not yet onto the cabbage and broccoli point though. I am feeling a lot better these days and trying my best to stay positive.

Other variations of my favorite  veggie/egg combo from the past:

Leafy greens, broccoli, banana pepper, tomato, quinoa, and a runny egg.

Southwestern style salad including sautéed onions, black beans, tomato, corn, avocado, cheese, salsa and a runny egg. This one was killer.

Sautéed vegetables including broccoli, kale, mushrooms, onions, black beans, tomato, cheese, and a runny egg. There are so many great ways to eat your veggies with a runny egg (or 2). I am crazy about this combo obviously.

To top off dinner I ate a small bowl of non-fat Greek yogurt mixed with a little maple syrup for sweetness.

After dinner, Mom and Abbie came over last night to hang out with me while Dana was out golfing. We relaxed, chatted for a while, and hung out with the pups. Always love her company.

I made sure to get to bed early last night, because I was really hoping and also planning to get myself out of bed early this morning and get a run in before work. Well guess what? I actually did it! I got up before work and got a run in. Sometimes I think all it takes is me telling myself before I go to bed that I WILL be running in the morning versus saying I might run in the morning. I made sure to have all of my stuff laid out last night so that it would be as easy possible for me in the morning.

I wanted to get this last run in before the race mostly to test out my outfit for the race. I know this may sound silly, but it’s so important. I may have bought a new bright pink shirt to wear for the run and wanted to make sure it wouldn’t rub me the wrong way anywhere. :smile: Good news, no chafing. It’s a great shirt and it makes me feel good. You will get to see it in a few days.

I completed 3-easy paced miles this morning and obviously feel fantastic for running in the morning before work. I feel energized. This was my last run before the half-marathon on Sunday. It’s time to rest.

I have to get going and charge through my day. I hope you all have a good one!

The Boundary Waters

As mentioned, Dana and I took a trip up to the Boundary Waters with my brother Scott, his girlfriend Nicole, and Scott’s dog Tuner. The photos are not the highest quality because they were taken from a disposable camera, but they’re not terrible!

Here is our trip in a nutshell for you all.

Friday morning we are all packed up and about to hit the road towards the Boundary Waters.

To get to our campsite, we did quite a bit of portaging. Unfortunately for Dana, I wasn’t quite strong enough to carry the canoe so he got stuck with it every time.  I was however, able to help carry our packs!

Throughout the weekend we canoed approximately 30 miles and enjoyed the most beautiful scenery and the freshest air. The air was so pure I just wanted to bottle it up and take it home. Below is a photo of Scott, Nicole, and Tuner canoeing alongside of us. They led the way as they are seasoned BW travelers.

We finally made it to our first campsite after finding that most of the sites were full. It was a pretty small site, but we were ecstatic to find a site in general. So we set up shop, while battling the gnats and flies.

We ate SO well this weekend thanks to wonderful planning by Nicole. She made batches of dehydrated fruits including apples, bananas, peaches, and pineapples, and brought along other snacks like granola, beef jerky, raisins, nuts, seeds, etc. Dinners were seriously awesome. The first night we ate tacos, second night we ate chili, and third night we ate asparagus soup. Nicole should seriously win an award for best camp cook. Lunches consisted of summer sausage, cheese, pita bread, peanut butter, tuna, crackers, and snackies. Breakfasts were oatmeal and granola with nuts and seeds, and the first morning we had hashbrowns, bacon, and eggs. Talk about a feast.

Scotty is quite the novice camper as well. Here is using a wooden paddle as a cutting board to cut up tomatoes for salsa. Who knew a paddle could be so multi-functional?

Evenings were spent relaxing and enjoying the breathtaking views.

Day two, we packed up our stuff and headed to a campsite across the way that had recently become vacant. This one was amazing. It was huge.

We “bathed” in the water behind Dana in this photo below. The water was pretty darn cold. Doesn’t Dana look so manly? Like he could go catch a fish with his bare hands?

Day three was rainy, so we slept in and eventually Dana and I crawled out to go start a fire. We all hung out for a while, and as the rain started to let up, we decided that we would get bundled up and head out on a day canoe trip. We paddled into Canada. My first ever visit to Canada. We ate lunch on an island rock called Warrior Hill, then headed a little further to view the Lac La Croix Pictographs. The pictographs consisted of handprints, Moose, figurines of men smoking a pipe, and the letter L, among others. Very cool!

Back home, we bundled up and huddled around the campfire. It turned out to be a clear night so we could see the stars. They were so bright and beautiful and nothing like we see here in the cities.

Last morning and we are all packed up again ready to head for home. Yes, my pants are tucked into my socks. The bugs LOVE me so I like to cover as much skin as possible and stay protected.

We left for landing/where our car was parked, at 9 am from our campsite, and didn’t get there until 2 pm, so it was a long day of portaging and canoeing and we were all exhausted.

Our final photo of the journey was taken once we had made it to our final destination, the car. The last leg of the portage was a long one and it was uphill. I was carrying my pack on my back as well as the food pack on my front. All I could think about was making it to the top and not stopping until I got there (hey, that was good training for the half marathon, huh?). Also, I felt like a contestant on the Biggest Loser. You know, after they have been on the show for a while and have lost a lot of weight, they give the contestants a task of strapping on all of the weight they have lost and make them do a crazy trail trek? That’s what I felt like.

I learned this weekend that I am capable of so much more than I realize. This weekend was very challenging for me physically, but I survived. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to go up north to the Boundary Waters. Thank you Scotty for pushing me to go  and for having faith in me that I was strong enough to handle it! I will recover from the bug bites soon. :smile: P.S. I love my bed, I am fortunate for electricity, running water, food from the fridge, shelter of my home…

Happy Saturday! It’s running day for me. Catch up with you later.