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“Happiness is a choice.”

January 20, 2010

“I was lucky to have the right heroes. Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out to be. The qualities of the one you admire are the traits that you, with a little practice, can make your own,and that, if practiced, will become habit-forming.” – Warren Buffett

I finally came up with a resolution for 2010 – I’m giving up my vices. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop eating french fries or icecream. It means I’m going to stop beating myself up about it (after my bet with Ben). If I generally eat healthy, work out, etc… I can allow myself some treats every once in a while, right?

As noted in my “About Me” section, for the past 7 years, I’ve been obsessed with my weight and appearance. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder, self-loathing behavior, ups and downs with weight gain and overall health, etc. I can say that my negative feelings about myself have ended up making me more unhealthy and unhappy than anything else. It’s time to take a stand against  my past. I have to learn to let go of those feelings of inadequacy and shame. Until I can get over how I’ve felt about myself, and how others have made me feel, I’ll never be able to change.  I need to let go of all those negative feelings and start looking at myself with a new light. I can do this, I can be healthy, I am athletic, I am capable of doing whatever I want. I am the only one who can promote change and make the choices that will improve my quality of life.

Inspiration has been drawn from a few people- you could say they are my heroines. Their optimism is incredibly motivating.

Caitlin: “Happiness is a choice”

Faith: “Trust in yourself, love yourself for who you are and appreciate at least one little thing you’ve accomplished each day. Nourish yourself in mind, body, and spirit. Live, laugh, learn, and grow!”

Lynn: “Lynn + Laying Off = No You Won’t Gain 170 Pounds Overnight AND You’ll Feel Better The Rest of the Day and Tomorrow AND You’re No Longer Causing Irreparable Damage!”

Jenna:I don’t believe in diets at all. I just believe in eating healthy meals that make our bodies thrive. If you listen to your body and feed it when its hungry and let it rest when its tired I promise you there would be less weight issues.”

More on this tomorrow…

Lemongrass is my favorite

January 11, 2010

I’ve been MIA the past two weeks. We have a huge grant due at work on the 19th and it’s really slowing me down. But, in spite of being exhausted, I have been able to manage what would normally turn into a sugar-fest.

The rec was closed last week for annual maintenance. Go figure, right after the new year they close down the rec. I think they do it in hopes that a ton of new years resolutions don’t clog the system. I didn’t mind the week off from my morning routine, I was exhausted last week. Now that the Holiday season is over, I can focus. I struggled a bit between my last post and today. My grandma made a ton of gluten free sweets for me. Ugh. I gained all the weight I’ve lost and hit my 160lb mark. Ugh, again. NO MORE! AS my blog title states, peas pass the beans. I need green food, pronto.

Ben and I have a contest of sorts going on. He wants to lose 34 lbs, and I want to lose 25 lbs. I can’t eat sweets until I read my goal. So, no jelly, syrup, candy, chocolate (NO!) sweeteners in coffee, honey in my tea, etc. I have such an insane sweet tooth, I’ve lost three pounds in a week, since we started this bet. And, when I get down to 135lbs, where I’d love to be, I get to go shopping. And until then, no shopping. That’s terrifying in itself. I love to shop. No, I take that back, I love to buy. Dresses, dresses and more dresses. That’s how I feel. I figure, byt the time I lose the weight I want to lose, I’ll be able to buy a new spring wardrobe.  If I do go shopping or eat desert, sweets, etc, He wins his bet and gets his prize. A prize in which I do not want to participate, sorry Ben.

I found my new favorite breakfast, thanks to Jenna at EatLiveRun. Oatmeal. Thankfully, this is allowed on a gluten free diet. So, for the past 5 days I’ve have steel cut oats, almond butter and either raisins, bananas or blueberries for breakfast. Soooo YUMMY! Thanks Jenna. I now understand your cravings for oats. my morning simple isn’t complete without my Mightly Leaf organic breakfast tea and oats.

So, we’ve both been eating really healthy the past week. Yesterday I had my parents and older brother, his wife and son over for dinner. My two younger brothers were supposed to come, but couldn’t come in the end because of work and class. I tried something new, and it turned out marvelously. I wish I had taken pictures. I’ll make it again some time soon I’m sure, and post pictures. With a little help from a couple other recipes I found online (Whole Foods and Simple Gluten Free) , I came up with my own version.

Lemongrass Sea Bass en Papillote

6-6oz. Sea Bass fillets (Halibut, Cod or other white fish would suffice)
Please choose choose certified sustainable fish

15 to 18 spears of Asparagus, cut in 3 inch sections
3 cups fingerling potatoes, sliced in circles, 1/4 inch thick
3 cups leeks, sliced in circles, 1/4 inch thick
2 cups lemongrass, chopped or shredded finely
Extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Lemon wedges (use lemon left over from desert)
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Pouch directions and images came from- En Petit Chef

To start, cut as many nice big pieces of parchment paper off your roll as number of fish fillets you’re preparing, somewhere near the 24 x 16″ mark. Fold each sheet in half and cut out a half-heart shape as large as your paper, unfold your hearts and lay them out flat.

Image for Demonstration Only. Taken from En Petit Chef.

Place fish in center of one half of the heart, brush or spray lightly with extra virgin olive oil, lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1 table spoon of lemongrass on the fish. Pile  1/2 cup of potatoes and 1/2 cup of leeks and 6 sections of asparagus on the fish. Spray or drizzle with olive oil, lightly salt and pepper again and seal the parchment.
Image for Demonstration Only. Taken from En Petit Chef.

Image for Demonstration Only. Taken from En Petit Chef.

Starting at the top of your half heart, begin crimping the edges down, making sure they overlap, by folding one piece of the edge over and creasing firmly.  Moving along the outside of the heart, continue folding and overlapping, making sure that your folds overlap by about half.

Image for Demonstration Only. Taken from En Petit Chef.

Once you reach the bottom of your heart, twist the point and fold it under so that all of your crimping will stay in place. Repeat procedure with the remaining 5 squares and ingredients.

Transfer pouches to a baking sheet, and bake until the fish is cooked through, about 20 minutes. To plate: You can either place sealed pouch on an individual plate. Use scissors to carefully snip an opening on the top, or open the package and slide the meal out onto a plate.

We served this with brown rice and used the remaining lemongrass and some salt and pepper to season the rice. Also, we used the lemon left over from making the zest to drizzle some juice on the fish after we plated it. Some of us wanted more lemon, some did not. So yummy.

(desert was no sugar added and more like a 2nd course fruit, so it wasn’t technically cheating, but borderline cheating)

Ginger Poached Pears

Ingredients

* 1 (750-ml) bottle sweet dessert wine
* 2 cinnamon stick, broken in 1/2
* 1 1/2 tables spoons fresh ginger, peeled, and finely chopped
* 1 lemon, zested
* 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
* 3 small, firm, ripe Anjou pears, peeled
* Serving suggestion: vanilla ice cream or gelato, blueberries

Directions

In a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears, combine the wine, cinnamon stick halves, lemon zest and ginger. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the bean and seeds to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Add the pears and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating occasionally, until the pears are tender. Remove the pears from the liquid and allow to cool.

Continue to simmer the liquid until it thickens and is reduced by half, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon stick halves and the vanilla bean and discard.

Place each pear on a small serving plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and fresh blueberries. Drizzle with the lemon, ginger and cinnamon syrup. Serve
immediately.

I survived the Holidays!

December 29, 2009

I actually lost two pounds since we left last week for our Christmas driving excitement. How, may you ask? Easy… muscle mass depletes when you’re in a car for 19 hours.

Wednesday afternoon we left for Madison to stay at Ben’s dad’s for the night. What is usually a 4.5 hour car ride was 8 hours. We got stuck in the storm. Eck! It didn’t help that we brought Ole (Ben’s idea) and had to stop every 2.5 hours for him to go to the bathroom and run around. It’s tough being cramped in a kennel for 8 hours, I don’t blame the poor little guy!

Next day, french toast for breakfast. Thanks gluten free diet ::insert sarcasm:: Ben’s dad likes making it with Panettone using a recipe similar to the one found at ThirdsPlease. We had it once before at his house last spring; right after I found out I had a gluten allergy, he had no idea at the time. This time, however, he either forgot, or neglected to take my allergy into consideration when making his plans. I shouldn’t take it too personally. He couldn’t remember for two years that his daughter was a vegetarian. To his credit, when Ben reminded him, he tried to find gluten free bread, but couldn’t and told us of this when we were on our way. Ben and I stopped at a grocery store on our way to Madison to get some gluten free bread and just my luck, the only bread the grocery store had was Ener-G Light Brown Rice Bread. I do not like Ener-G bread.

Light Brown Rice Bread. Courtesy of Ener-G

Most loaves go in the garbage after two attempts. Sorry Ener-G, prove me wrong, please. I bought it anyway, hoping the fancy french toast mixture would help mask the chalky flavor of the bread. Next morning… nope, no good. Christmas breakfast = nothing fantastic. I dont think it helped that Ben and Tom both forgot when they were making it the next morning and forgot to save some batter for me. Oh well. Ben and his dad enjoyed their panettone breakfast enough to make up for my lack of a flavorful morning. Question for anyone out there. If you were aware that one of your visitors had an allergy, would you plan a meal knowing they wouldn’t be able to eat any of it? Or am I exaggerating?

Guess what was for dinner on Christmas eve… you’ll never guess. Pasta. A huge assortment of pasta, fancy breads and crackers and tortellini soup.  I ate lettuce, lil’ smokies and shrimp for dinner. It simply wasn’t my year for Christmas meals. Probably another reason I lost weight over the Holidays. Lack of eating. From now on, I will ask what is for dinner, that way I can plan accordingly. I should have known better. Oh well. Luckily, Deb, Ben’s aunt remembered from last spring when we visited. She’s such a sweetheart. She had a big assortment of fixings for yogurt and oatmeal. Mmmmm. Ben’s grandparents had a traditional meal, so I was safe with meat, potatoes and carrots. I didn’t starve. No worries.

I shouldn’t focus on food as much as I do. It’s the worst of my many weight issues.

Anyway…

I found a new trick that makes it impossible for me to avoid the gym. I leave all my makeup in my locker. That way I HAVE to go there before work. Good plan, eh? I’ve really enjoyed my mornings at the rec. I finally figured out how to use the elliptical machine without numb toes. Just have to rock back and forth on my feet a little, makes my calves burn, but that’s a good thing, right? Does anyone else get numb toes from elliptical machines? I’m curious. Maybe it’ll go away when I am in shape. Time will tell. I’ve been leaving enough time for my leg workouts and stretches so I can get my iliotibial bands back to normal. I have PT next Monday. Urg.

I haven’t been able to say no to chocolate at work. TOO MUCH CANDY. Here is a Christmas wish to all the staff and faculty in my department – please stop bringing me sweets as a sign of gratitude – I’d prefer a simple thank you 🙂 I’m not ungrateful. I simply lack willpower!

Cookies

December 21, 2009

Yesterday I made cookies and sweets with my mother-in-law and some of her friends. We made:

Thumbprints
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Pecan Tassies
Gingersnaps
Russian tea cakes
Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blossoms
Mint Fudge
Walnut Fudge
Almond Bark
Sugar Cookies

Thankfully, I don’t really care for any of those cookies, and can say no to most things with nuts or nut flavoring. I like nuts; they are good for me.  I have walnuts in my salad today. But, I don’t think they have a place in sweets. Bleh. Anyway, the only thing we made that I can/should eat are the gluten free peanut butter blossoms and the fudge. So, no biggie. My mom made me some gluten free kringla and chocolate crinkles. That’s all I care about.

The recipe we used for the gluten free peanut butter cookies came from Whole Foods. Thank you Whole Foods, they are delish!

GF Peanut Butter Cookies. Courtesy of Whole Foods

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Peanut butter cookies are a long-time favorite in Jessica’s family. When Jessica was diagnosed with Celiac disease two years ago, these became off limits. She would “love to enjoy these cookies again and feel like part of the family again!” This gluten-free version does not require a special flour blend; it can be assembled with basic pantry staples.

Ingredients

1 large egg
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat together egg, sugar, baking soda and vanilla in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment or with a hand-held mixer. Beat in the peanut butter. Stir in chocolate chips if using.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet, pressing lightly with the back of a fork. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly set. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Skijoring

December 15, 2009

My knees get so achey in the cold. I haven’t been doing my exercises. I have no one to blame but myself. I need to start going to bed earlier so I can get up early and go to the rec, since I bought the membership and all. Tonight I will. I will. I will.

We’ve been taking Ole to the park near our house a couple times a week. The first snow he was so EXCITED! I wish I could remember what my first experience was like in the snow. He runs around in it like a crazy fool. I’m going to try to remember to bring my parents extra cross country skis back from their house. I was to take a wack at skijoring. Ever heard of it? Mpls has a skijoring loppet every year. While I dont think we could do it this year without more training, I think it’d be a great thing for me to do with the dog. Don’t you? What a workout, for both of us! I found a blog, Uptown Mpls Blog,  that has some great pictures of skijoring.

Skijoring at Mpls Loppet. Courtesy of Uptown Mpls Blog.

Hopefully, between skijoring, the rec, and my leg workouts, I’ll be able to start running again. I really miss running!

My iliotibial band and me

December 10, 2009

I had my first day of PT yesterday. It is confirmed, I have an extremely tight, and inflamed iliotibial band. No more running until I’m all better. In the meantime, hopefully I can find another cardio workout that doesn’t hurt.

Anatomy of Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Courtesy of North Shore Athletics

Common Stressors Which May Impact the Development of ITBS

Intrinsic Factors

1. Tightness in the iliotibial band.(Check)

2. Myofascial restrictions in the hip and thigh musculature, which will increase tension on the band;

3. Weakness in hip abductors, (common in distance runners). (Check)

4. Weakness or poor control of knee muscles, especially the quads. (Check)

5. Dominance of anterior hip muscles, (TFL) over posterior hip muscles, (gluts).

6. Excessively flat feet or high arches. (Check)

7. Bow legs or knock-knees.

8. Leg length inequality.

9. Limited ankle range of motion.


Extrinsic Factors

1. Training errors e.g. Excessive mileage, sudden increase in mileage, sudden increase in intensity of training, too much hill work, running on crowned roads. (Check)

2. Over striding.

3. Worn out running shoes. (Check)

4. Failing to warm up or cool down properly. (Check)


Now, to fix it!

Foam Roller

  • Set yourself up with the side of your thigh on the roller. Stack your other leg on top of the leg you’re rolling out. This will add weight allowing you to dig deeper into the band.
  • Support yourself with your upper body and push yourself from just above the knee all the way to your hip.
  • Hold you position on a “hot spot”, count to 10, and roll to a new “hot spot”count to 10, continue in a few  “hot spots”.
  • Roll up and down a few times and switch legs.


ITB Roller. Courtesy of North Shore Athletics

This lady may look happy, but there is no chance that she is. This is by far, one of the most painful excersises/stretches I’ve ever done.

Stretch

Stretching is of utmost importance. I should have know. I can’t remember the last time I did a good stretch after a run, silly me. But now I suffer the consequences, no more running until this pain goes away and my hips are stronger.


ITBS Stretch. Courtesy of EPIC Self.

ITBS Stretch. Courtesy of Running Times.


Exercise

Now add Exercise! Weak hip stabilizers are the cause of many injuries from lower back pain to knee and foot pain. This exercise will help strengthen my hip stabilizers and will keep my pelvis level while running so the ITB is not stressed as much. This will also keep my ITB from being overused.

Hip Stabilizer. Courtesy of North Shore Athletics

Iliotibial Band Syndrome Rehabilitation Exercises. Courtesy of Relay Heath.

R.I.P. Gluten

December 10, 2009

Gluten and I have a love/hate relationship. I love it, it hates me. I know I shouldn’t eat it, but why do I? I’ll tell you. Gluten is easier to find in a hurry, it’s cheaper and no one else in my family has to avoid it. Today, not tomorrow, I will start my true test of self-control. Avoid gluten even if it means no Baruska’s at grandma’s and no muffins if I’m running late for work. I figure, if I can avoid gluten during the holidays, I can do anything! This will be an easier way to avoid sweets and unhealthy carbs as well! I’ll definitely have a true test of will power today when I go to the Finish Bistro to pick up 30 cookies for a seminar, ack! Wish me luck.

My bag lunch for the day, thanks to my loving husband:

Breakfast: Vanilla Yogurt and berries
Snack: Chex Cereal
Lunch: Hobo Soup & Apple
Snack: Carrots and Celery