Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Why I've Been Gone...

I don't know about you, but I follow a lot of blogs about fitness and nutrition.  My Facebook News Feed is full of people I don't know who post motivational sayings and water reminders and what not, which I originally enjoyed.  I love when a blogger that I follow posts a new recipe that is easy to make and something that I can actually eat.  It's kind of the reason why I wanted to start my blog in the first place.  I wanted it to be a motivational tool for myself first and foremost, and THEN anyone who decides to grace my pages with their presence.

However, in the last few months I have been quite disgusted with a lot of these blogs on social media or really any form of media.  In my mind, being healthy and fit doesn't fit one mold.  How boring would that be if we all looked the same or wore the same size of clothes?  I often see pictures of women and think, "I wish I looked more like that."  Or I see the other ladies at my box and long for their muscular legs and squat-lovin' butts.  I hate that I do that because I'm a firm believer in loving where you're at and making the most of the process, but it is human nature to compare.  I feel like this comparing to other women has amplified in the last couple of years and is going to have a very negative effect on our young girls and since I have a young daughter with an impressionable mind, I'm very bothered by this.  Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Thigh Gap

This is a sad trend that is popular among adolescent girls.  The thigh gap is not a natural occurrence to most women so it is sad that people see the need make their thigh muscles disappear so much that your legs no longer touch.  If it was a contest of survival of the fittest, who do you think would win:  the girl with legs that are merely bones covered in skin or one that has some muscle to run from predators or catch prey?  If you just Google "thigh gap images" it is a very sad picture of what some people think it means to be sexy.

Here is a video from GMA about Thigh Gap


What's Your Excuse?

Maria Kang is one of the mommy motivational FB pages I follow.  I saw this picture right after I had Elie when I was feeling like I would never have a body that I was comfortable with again.  To me, this was motivational.  Not once did I think that she was bragging or putting down other moms for not looking like this after having kids.  I get the phrase "What's your excuse?" because if you put the time in, you can look like this version of yourself, whatever that may be.  That's my biggest pet peeve when people say they can't lose weight--all the excuses that follow.  It has nothing to do with how many kids you have or how many hours you work a day.  It's about what you are eating and how you are getting active.  Did I look like this 8 months after having Elie?  Probably not, but it gave me hope and the drive to push myself to limits I didn't know I had.  I can tell you without batting an eyelash that I am in better shape AFTER having Elie than I ever was before--and that includes my college volleyball days!  I saw this picture and thought, "It can be done and I can do it if I put my mind to it." 

Then came the uproar from other mommy bloggers.  Maria Kang was actually temporarily banned from FB because somebody flagged her account as inappropriate.  She got all sorts of hate letters about how she must be a terrible mom because clearly all she cared about was looking like a swimsuit model.  I personally do not know what kind of mom Maria Kang is but I think it is ludicrous that people can judge that behind the keys of a computer or smart phone.  THAT is what irritates me.  I struggled with this when I still lived in Nashville and I asked Brian if we could get a membership to the Y.  I felt bad that Elie was going into daycare for two hours a day just so I could work out, but I got over it very quickly.  I want to be the best mommy possible and in order for me to do that, I need to make my health a priority because I want to be around for as long as I possibly can.  I want to instill in my daughter the benefits of eating healthy and exercising.  It is also good for my mentality to take a much needed break from motherhood a day.  Does that make me a bad mom?  No!  I think it makes me a better one because I was given the chance to recharge my batteries and given the energy to play and have fun her when I would have felt exhausted and run down otherwise.  Am I saying that you're a bad mom because you're not taking the time away from your kids?  Absolutely not!  Surely you're more of a saint than me because I would go crazy.  BUT maybe putting your health in the top with your priorities will help you out.

Bottom line with this one:  I think people missed the point and ended up doing what they said she was doing to begin with--tearing other women down.  How does that make sense?

The Bikini War

Ugh...Just read the headline and then come back.


Seriously?!  In what world is it okay to say who looks better in a swimsuit?  Disgusting!  If you really want to get my point of how thoughtless people are, read the comments.

Let's end on a good note!

Jennifer Lawrence

This is actually something that I'm glad made it into the media.  I LOVE Jennifer Lawrence.  I love her even more now that she has really come out and talked about empowering other women and how the media can be destructive when it comes to how women view themselves.  This video is really awesome.


"Screw them!"

It's New Year's which means a lot of you are making resolutions, and statistics show they are most likely going to be about getting healthier.  I agree that we should all strive to be healthier, but for the right reasons.  I have a better idea for a New Year's resolution.  Let's try to be more empowering to other women.  Let's recognize each other's accomplishments and listen to each other's struggles.  Build people up, not tear them down.  Deal?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

An Experiment With Food Intolerance

I know, I know!  I've been gone for a while, but I will try to be better in the new year.  After all, I have so much to share with y'all about my adventures in CrossFit, running, and nutrition.  But first, I feel that this post is something I need to share now while it is so fresh in my memory.

Before I made the big move across the states from Nashville, Tennessee back to my home state of Idaho, I was dabbling in the nutrition part of my life.  My husband and I came to the conclusion that I have a gluten intolerance and with that comes a dairy intolerance.  I was trying to eat clean, whole foods and not processed or packaged crap and I couldn't believe the change in not only my physical appearance, but my health and mental state as well.  I was doing so good--and then I moved home.  All of a sudden I'm around family and friends again that want to hit up our favorite restaurants and catch up or just for the pure enjoyment that I wasn't a day's worth of flying in an airplane away.  Willpower has always been my weakness.  I am not a mentally strong person.  When I'm sad, I want to eat my comfort foods.  When I'm sick, I want grilled cheese sandwiches and Hagen Daaz Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream.  When I'm celebrating, I want some Dairy Queen ice cream cake.  A few months of this after the move and I said that enough was enough.  I went back to eating like I was in Nashville when I realized that food was either going to heal me or hurt me.  Within a few days, I had my abs back because the inflammation and bloating was gone.  I had more energy.  I was working out more.  My skin was clearing up.  I turned 30 and even made my own gluten/dairy free birthday cake and turned down all the foods I couldn't eat that were at my own party.  I was proud of myself.  I even did great at Thanksgiving and ate only turkey and the gluten/dairy free chocolate chip cookies that I had brought.  Then the Christmas season started...For pretty much the whole month of December, I have been letting myself have whatever I want to eat and that includes all the foods that I was so mad about missing out on before.  I'm an "all or nothing" kind of gal, so this led to a pretty steep downward spiral.

So I titled this post "An Experiment" because I knew that with my lack of willpower, this would be a good time to make note of the changes I have when I eat this way.  I'm hoping that when the new year starts in a few days and I go back to the gluten/dairy free approach (who doesn't need "to eat better" as a New Year's Resolution, right?  Original, I know...) and I have the bitterness towards people who eat "good" food in front of me, that I will remember the awful way I feel when I eat those foods.  Here is what I have been going through the last few weeks and see if you can relate to any of these symptoms.  I'm betting you can.

1.  Bloat.  Now I'm not talking about a little that-time-of-the-month puffiness.  I'm talking about the no matter how much you work out, you would be on the cover of a magazine with "Baby Bump" by your name if you were famous.  That may seem extreme and unlikely, but I promise you that those are the days that you will not catch me in a tighter shirt.  Before I knew what my food intolerances were, I even had middle school students of mine ask me if I was pregnant.  Leave it to middle schoolers to speak their mind, right?  Now here's the crazy thing about this food intolerance bloat:  if I go three days avoiding gluten and dairy, I have abs again.  You can actually see them.  I should take pictures with the dates on it because it is unreal.  My husband even said that it was crazy how quickly a change in my diet affects my midsection.  If that's not crazy enough, I have been known to drop 5-10 pounds in those three days just because of flushing out the foods my body cannot tolerate.  No diet tricks or cleanses, just eating meat, nuts, veggies, and fruit and drinking water.

2.  Acne.  I've never had great skin and I have just accepted that as a way of life for me and makeup has been my best friend but there is something different about the zits I get when I eat my body's trigger foods than the zits I had as a teenager.  Now, I'm a little sick and I KNOW I'm not the only one like this, but I LOVE to pop zits!  Nothing is more infuriating that having zits that are painful, huge, and unpoppable.  Unfortunately, that's what all the zits that I get from my food intolerances are.  They mainly cover my jawline, neck, shoulders, and back.  It's really sad that they are so bad that they hinder me from going about my normal life.  I won't wear tank tops to CrossFit when I have them or I'm super self-conscious about it.  In fact today I didn't go to the group WOD when I really wanted/needed to because my skin is so bad.  My skin is a very visible sign that I have not been eating the way I should.  There's no hiding from that.  I can't down a container of Oreos in secret because in a few days time, you can see it all over my face.

3.  Headaches.  I have been a headache/migraine sufferer for as long as I can remember.  In the last year when I have been cutting out gluten and dairy, I can count the number of headaches on one hand, I believe.  However, the last few weeks have been plagued with headaches.  Why take medicine to make a headache go away when all I really need to do is read more food labels and be more aware of what is going into my mouth?

4.  Dehydration.  I find that when I eat foods that I'm not supposed to, I'm more inclined to drink things I'm not supposed to as well.  I just got back from a movie and I had buttered popcorn and a Pepsi.  I'm not a pop drinker at all, but when I'm eating badly I think, "Why not have the drink as well?"  I can only think of a few times in the last few weeks that I actually had my normal intake of water.  It has been mostly energy drinks or nothing at all.  I'm sure this has a lot to do with my headaches as well.

5.  No Energy. Shocker that being bloated, having a headache, and being dehydrated does not make me want to run to work out, right?  Especially with CrossFit where it is essential to be well-hydrated or your performance will suffer...and you might get dizzy and throw up.  But I haven't really felt like doing anything.  Everything feels like a chore and I just want to take a nap.  I actually took a two hour nap today.  It's a very frustrating feeling to be restless from not having worked out in a week, but yet not having the energy to get up and go.  Boo!

6.  Stomach Discomforts.  I'll save you all the mental image of the tummy troubles that couple with having food allergies but I'm pretty sure you have a pretty good idea that it is not fun.  Having the constant "yuck" feeling during most waking hours is clearly not going to be enjoyable.  What is really sad is that I know that I am going to feel that way, but it didn't stop me from having a quesadilla 30 minutes ago for dinner.

7.  Compromised Immune System.  I recently read somewhere that your small intestine is the gateway to your immune system.  If you are having issues there, as in food allergies/intolerances that are not being taken care of, you can become sick more often.  Those of you that personally know me know that I'm ALWAYS sick.  Er, I was always sick.  I haven't been sick that much in the last year when you compare to my previous track record of colds and what not, but I have not felt "good" in the last couple of weeks--sore throats, chest and head congestion.  Could this be coincidence?  Of course!  It is that time of year that people are getting sick.  However, if I can cut down on my number of sick days just because of what I'm eating, why not do it?

8.  Depression.  Now I don't know if this is directly related to having a food intolerance even though it is listed as a possible symptom when you look up information from any source, BUT after the seven symptoms I listed above, how can someone not feel depressed?

If you have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, try messing around with your diet.  It may surprise you in the difference of how you feel.  And now I think I'm done with this "experiment". Tomorrow, after I finish the chocolate ice cream in my freezer tonight. :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Have a Plan!

For a big part of my workout career, I would show up to the gym with a workout in mind, but no specifics. I didn't want to carry around a notebook or paper for fear that I would look like a gym newbie. Now I don't leave home without a very specific workout in mind. I have a game plan. I visualize the layout of the gym and the way I will rotate through my workout. I even plan for certain equipment to be occupied and where I can go back and fit that particular exercise in.  I also have alternatives planned in case a particular machine is broken or I can't squeeze in between people's usage.

The point of having a game plan is this:  Once you get to the gym, you're more likely to push yourself hard if you are seeing the workout of the day.  You won't accidentally forget to work a particular muscle.  You are even less likely to lose the motivation than if you just walk into a gym and decide on the spot to do.

I just planned my workouts for the next four weeks by dividing each day into a muscle group or two.  This way I know that I am targeting as many muscles as hard as I can throughout the week.  I have a really strong chest, so I love to sit at my beloved bench press as much as possible when in reality, I have no need for strong pecs when my super weak back muscles get neglected.  For me, bench press isn't really even a functional exercise so you'll notice that I don't even do it anymore and that I work that area by push ups and dumbbell incline chest press because it works my shoulders a little as well.  I try to either change my weight lifting program completely or increase the weight every 4-6 weeks.  However, if I'm not sore the next day, the weight goes up for the next week.  I love being sore everyday because I know that I'm working hard and getting results that I want.

I got sick of rewriting workouts everyday and flipping through my notebook that is all tattered from being in my gym back and usage that I decided to get some big note cards and laminate them.  They now have a super easy way to laminate where it's all pre-cut and you just pull the sticker part off and press the sides together.  Now I have a much more durable workout list that I'm not writing on all the time.  The only disadvantage that I've come across is that I can't make edits on weight or reps, so I guess I'll keep my notebook in my bag in case that situation were to arise.

Even though I have some modifications to the plan right now because of a broken ankle, here's my week:  (Please note that some of these are machines so my weight is based on that particular machine and its resistance)

***If you have any question about exercises or a workout plan that would work for you, please send my a private message on the Goal: Fit 4 Life Facebook page and I would be more than happy to help you!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Perils of a Restricted Diet

I've mentioned in my last post how I've been having some stomach problems. I feel I have had stomach problems on and off for a majority of my life. No one could ever get to the bottom of it. I've had ultrasounds and blood tests and nothing has ever come out as "I have *blank*." This is incredibly frustrating because it is trial and error at my well-being's expense. I'm did AdvoCare's 24 Day Challenge in February and I felt so fantastic. My tummy that had been in perpetual bloat-mode was flat and I could see abdominal muscles that I never could before no matter how much I worked out and ate right. After the challenge I started incorporating some of the healthy foods that I didn't eat in the challenge back into my diet. I had instant pain and bloat and looked as if I could be in the early stages of pregnancy! What gives?! I went back and thought about the things I added back into my diet that I wasn't eating during challenge. It came down to a couple of things: lactose and gluten. This is a nightmare for me! I love bread, milk and cheese! I think you would be shocked how many things actually have milk products and gluten in them.

After coming back from vacation which was mostly spent with nasty stomach pain, I got back into my new normal way of eating where I eat mostly veggies, protein, and fruit. Within two days, the inflammation in my stomach disappeared and my abs reappeared. So bizarre! Last night in a moment of weakness, I ordered a lemon pound cake slice to share with my friend. I knew I shouldn't but I caught myself thinking that something so small couldn't affect me that bad, right? One time isn't a big deal...WRONG! On the car ride home I could feel the pain coming on and my stomach starting to inflate like a balloon. Then I was thinking, "Why do I do this to myself? Do I really have such little willpower that I suffer so greatly?" After talking with my husband about it, I decided to do some research online about my symptoms. My top two probable diagnosis'? Celiac disease and lactose intolerance--no surprise there. Let's talk about celiac disease for a moment.

I'm not going to use the correct terminology because I don't remember it or understand it, but here is my take on it: there are things in your small intestine that take out nutrients from food. If you have celiac disease, gluten attacks them and they work improperly, letting valuable nutrients pass through. This can lead to malnutrition. It can also be a factor for some intestinal cancers. Interestingly enough, it can also lead to lactose intolerance until the thingys in the small intestine repair themselves in the absence of glucose. This can take a few weeks to a few years! Yikes! At least there may be cheese in my future again. Another interesting tidbit that makes me believe that this is the correct diagnosis for me is that it can go hand in hand with thyroid disease, which I have. Ugh! I will get a blood test at some point to confirm, but even my husband who is a physician thinks it is celiac disease.  There is no cure for celiac disease and the only thing that happens is you take gluten out of your diet.  I'm in no rush to get tested to see if I have the disease when I know there's nothing really to be done and I feel better by just taking out the gluten in my diet.

Why did I share this? Because until I had cleaned my body out and added back food, I didn't realize how uncomfortable I had been living every day. I didn't know. I chalked up all stomach problems up to being normal and now I know better. Maybe some of you are having similar problems that you should look into.

After a few distraught moments last night as I thought of all the things I shouldn't eat anymore, I thought of a couple of things which you can read in the pictures I posted.  My family has a history of all sorts of stomach problems, heart problems, cancer, and other health problems.  I always joke that I'm a genetic nightmare when it comes to health.  Knowing these things about my family and about my own health, it just pushes me to be as healthy as I can be.  I want to make sure that I'm around to watch my grand kids grow up someday.  I will not survive this life, I will THRIVE  in this life.  Who is in your life that you can picture right now that will drive you to give yourself the best chance to be there for them?  Why not choose health?  Be an example!  When I'm 80, I want to still be asked by the kids to jump on the trampoline because I can.  My role model for this is my grandma who is in her 80s and does a college exercise class, walks the mall, does her own gardening and painting, and eats primarily real, unprocessed food.  I often joke that Grandma will outlive us all!

I hoped to have helped someone out with my babble. If you have any great gluten free and lactose free recipes, let me know! To my family and friends, I apologize ahead of time for being a total party pooper at dinners and restaurants in the future.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Week In Review

This last week deserves its own post because so many things happened--good and horribly bad.  I guess we should start at the beginning...

We are in the process of moving back to my home state of Idaho and since last week was my husband's last vacation during residency, we had to take advantage and use it as a house hunting trip.  I have the Country Music Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon this coming weekend, so my last long run fell the day after traveling to Idaho.  I was pretty excited to get out for a run after being stuck on an airplane or in an airport for a good portion of the day.  Flying with a one year old just adds to the stress so I was desperately looking forward to some "me" time while my mom was looking forward to some "E" time.  I quickly remembered that the springs in Idaho are nothing like the springs in Nashville.  I had left the beautiful 80s for rainy, sometimes snowy, and ALWAYS windy low 50s.  I set out for my 12 miler in the wind and the rain with a pretty good back up plan in case the weather became too much.  Thank God!  While running out in farm and dairy land, the wind and the rain were so bad that I had to tilt my hat and lean into the wind.  I didn't realize how strong the wind was until I came to a fence that suddenly blocked the wind and I tumbled into a ditch.  That was at mile THREE!  I got up and finished the run back to my mom's house and ended up only clocking a little over six miles.

This was when I got back to Mom's.  I was wet and muddy from the fall.
I figured I would have plenty of time to run throughout the week so I wasn't too worried about my somewhat of a fail last long run.  Again, I was wrong.  Life happened and we were go, go, go pretty much the whole time.  Okay, let's be honest.  I didn't want to go back out in the wind and the cold.  I have a lot of sucking up to do by the time I move back.  Along with pretty much zero workout times during the week, I ate like CRAP!  I wanted to hit up all my favorite restaurants and when you're with family, it's super easy to eat out all the time.  This is bad to do anyway, but when you have some stomach problems like I do, it is HELL!  I can't quite figure out if I have a lactose intolerance, celiac disease, or I just deal with problems of stress.  If you have any of these problems, you know how miserable eating can be.  It doesn't help when you eat at restaurants all the time and have no will power like yours truly.  *sigh*

On Monday while we were with the real estate agent looking at the house that would become ours (that's a GREAT thing about the week), I got a news alert about the bombings at the Boston Marathon. 


I will never understand people who do these things.  There is nothing that I believe in enough to make killing and hurting innocent people acceptable.  It makes me sad to think of the hatred that is in their heart that they had to live with.  It makes me even more sad that they acted out on their hatred.  It is hard when this sort of thing happens anywhere, but this particular location hit closer to home for me, being a runner.  It makes me curious as to what kind of measures will be taken at big events like races for security.  One thing I know, I REFUSE to live in fear.  Living in fear is not really living at all.  You get only one life, no matter how short or long, and you have got to live it to its fullest!  There will always be more good in this world than evil.  I'm confident in that.  Here are a few of my favorite pictures that were posted after the Boston bombings.

Unfortunately, I did not pack any race shirts but I'm making up for it this week. :)

If I didn't already love Charity Miles enough...

Enough of the sad stuff!  After eating terribly and not running or working out for A WEEK, I was really scared about the damage that I had done to my body as far a preparations go for the Half this weekend.  You know how you get out of a routine and it is pain and torture to get back into it?  Yeah, that was me trying to get out the door yesterday morning for a run.  I knew I needed to get my legs going again, no matter how bad.  After the Boston thing, I (along with every other runner) felt more encouraged to go running.  After all, we must RUN ON.  I was expecting a terrible run and got quite the opposite.  I ran under my goal race pace!  I am not a super fast runner and may never be, but I have my personal goals set and when I beat them, I'm elated!  My last two half marathons were PRs (personal record) for me.  I kind of have the PR itch again and after my fantastic run yesterday, I had to map out my game plan!


While I was away on "vacation", I got my Hero t-shirt in the mail for being a Hero for Ellie's Run For Africa.  Woo hoo!  It matches perfectly with the sarong I borrowed from a friend to wear to this year's race.  I'm getting sick of my red one.  I guess that means I need to get my butt back to Kenya to buy more! ;)

For more information on Ellie's Run For Africa, click HERE!

To read about my African story and why I am a HERO, go to my Hero page at:


Who knows, you may even feel the urge to help me reach my goal of $722. Only $378 to go with less than a month to do it in.  I think I can, I think I can!  Who wants to help some kids in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya have a good education to help them OUT of the slums?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's a Journey, Not a Destination

While working out today, I started to become very reminiscent.  My goal after having Baby E was to get back to the shape I was in before I got pregnant.  I had run a couple of half marathons.  I was a pretty decent athlete growing up and played every sport I possibly could along with stints of gymnastics, dance, and cheer leading.  I went on to play college volleyball where I was the team captain, MVP my last year, All-Regional, and nominated for NCCAA Athlete of the Week from my performance in a tournament in Canada. I even played college basketball if you count being a decoy that runs around like a chicken with their head cut off as "playing". You'd think I was in great shape, right?  Was I out of shape?  No.  You could often find me in the weight room or running on one of the dirt roads when it wasn't 20 degrees below zero.  However, I've become painfully aware since having a baby that my whole life I've done just enough to get by.  I needed to be strong to hit hard and jump high?  I'd lift weights, but not really push myself to see how far I would go.  I refused to do squats because of a knee injury I had in high school and "it hurt".  I have now learned the difference between pain and being uncomfortable.  I'm really sad and a little furious that I did not learn this difference when I was younger.  It makes me wonder how good of an athlete I really could have been.  If I could do as well as I did with half-assed effort...ugh!  That's depressing!  *sigh*  I'm sure every person has there own version of the "shoulda, woulda, coulda" story but man, it sucks when you realize your own.  Now, the reason I'm sharing this...

I don't want to live a life of just doing enough to get by.  I laugh when I think about trying to get back to the shape I was in before I got pregnant because I totally blow my former self out of the water now.  I'm stronger and faster now that I ever have been.  As great as that is, the best thing is that I'm mentally stronger than ever.  I have shed 25 minutes off of my half marathon time since having a cesarean section a year ago! About a month ago I went to show B that I thought I had a hernia.  He laughed at me and said it was an abdominal muscle!!!  These little accomplishments are what keep me motivated to get going.  To push myself further than I've ever pushed myself before.  I used to say that I was someone who didn't really sweat when I worked out and now I look like a drowned rat afterwards because I actually push myself to the limits.  The times when things get hard and uncomfortable and I want to back down, I push myself harder because it is in the hard times that you get stronger.  Today I did two minute incline intervals while running and it was hard.  After the first one I found myself questioning the whole workout and wondering if it was too hard and trying to find a way to make it easier.  The next interval came and I did it because instead of thinking of the time or how hard it was, I thought about the reasons I was doing it and I listed them off in my head.  By the time I was done with that, my interval was over and I got to recover.  I never would have been able to do that in the past.

My take away is to always push yourself no matter what you are doing.  Don't strive to just be good enough--be GREAT!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cashew-Chia Bars


I wanted to share this tasty energy treat that I tried out the other night.  One of the blogs I follow is Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth and she had a post a few weeks back about LARABAR.  LARABAR is known for their clean, unprocessed bars that have very few ingredients in them.  They can be a couple of bucks per bar so RFFMBT made her own version of the Cashew Cookie LARABAR.  You can find her recipe here.  I followed the basics of Catherine's recipe, but I added my own ingredients to it to make it even more of an antioxidant powerhouse.

The ingredients:  unsalted cashews, medjool dates, 90% cocoa chocolate, chia seeds, and a little water (if needed)

Take 1/2 cup of unsalted cashews and pulse in a food processor until broken into little pieces.  I imagine it is kind of your preference on how big or small the cashew chunks are.  I then took 1 cup of the dates, pitted them, and added to the cashews in the food processor.  I also broke up two squares of my Lindt dark chocolate and added it to the mix at this time.  I blended this until it was beginning to come together and added two tablespoons of chia seeds and a table spoon of water.  I finished blending this when the consistency is sticky and well-mixed. I then formed it into a ball as RFFMBT suggested and placed it on plastic wrap and placed another piece of plastic wrap over it and rolled it out with a rolling pin.

I then cut it into rectangles (clearly I need work on making them equal sizes) and wrapped them in plastic wrap.  I keep a couple in the fridge for easy afternoon snacks and the rest in the freezer for future use.  I got the ingredients in bulk at Costco so I can make more and have a bunch in the freezer.

This is a nice snack that has a serving of fruit (dates), healthy fats (chia seeds are high in omegas and cashews are also a healthy fat), and antioxidants (from the dark chocolate).  I would like to experiment with some protein powder at some point but just found out that I'm lactose intolerant and all the protein powders I currently have have dairy in them. 

Having these on hand for the last couple of days have been good for curbing my sweet tooth.  The dates are super sweet and just a little bit goes a long way.  If you are looking for something that tastes like a candy bar, this is not it.  They are good, but they are healthy good so approach them with that in mind.  I must say that these are cheap and easy to make and I see these chillin' in my fridge or freezer for the foreseeable future!

Let me know if you tried/liked them and any modifications you made!  I would check out the original recipe here before you make them because she gives more detail and Lord knows that I know nothing about making food other than following recipes.  I was just proud that I ventured out to add the chia seeds and the chocolate! Ha!

Until next time!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Products I love!

Hey, y'all!

I've been thinking a lot about tools that help or motivate people get healthy and stay that way.  I have a list of stuff I would LOVE to try, but today I'm going to focus on items and apps that I have tried and that I use on a regular basis to help me achieve my goals of being fit for life.


My husband likes to remind me how hesitant I was to get a smart phone because I didn't want to think about learning out to use it.  Ha!  I opted for the iPhone because he was starting to get concerned when I was pregnant and running that I would never take my phone with me, but yet I always had my iPod.  The iPhone was our compromise--I could have my music and call if I happened to be on some back trail when I went into labor.  My phone in itself is a necessity for my health and fitness endeavors also because of the apps you can download.  Now I'm a pretty cheap person, so these are apps that are either free or under $3.

Charity Miles
Okay, I know I've been talking about this one a lot but it really is so cool to get money donated to the charity of your choice for free just by walking, running, or biking.  For more information on this one, check out my post "Charity Miles."

Interval Timer
This free app comes in handy when I'm doing any kind of interval exercise.  You can save several different routines to the memory so you don't have to set it each time.  I have my 50/10 routine that beeps after 50 seconds, then again at 10 seconds,  and continues for as many rounds as I want.  An example would be to do 50 seconds of as many squats as possible, followed by 10 seconds of rest, and then move on to as many push ups as possible and so on.  I also have an interval routine that beeps at 3 minutes for slower running and then gives me 30 seconds of a much faster pace before going back to my slower run.  I think this app alone has helped in my half marathon training because I work until I hear the beeps.  I don't have to keep glancing at a watch or try to figure out times.  I also have a yoga routine that has the beep go off after each minute so it forces me to hold poses for the same amount of time on each side and to ensure that I don't cheat myself when I start to feel a little uncomfortable.

Map My Run
If you are a runner, walker, biker, hiker--this app is for you!  I've tried other apps that are similar to this one but this one takes the cake in my opinion!  It calculates pace per mile, average pace, distance, elevation gain or loss, calories burned, etc., etc., etc.  If you go onto the website on your computer, you can get even more details for each activity that you did.  You can save routes and do them again to see if you beat your last time.  You can have other friends where you share your workouts.  I've even gone on to plan my running routes for long runs that I don't want to see the same scenery on.  It is really awesome and the basic version, which I use, is free!!!  The one bad thing about this as well as all gps tracking apps is it can mess up your time/distance if you go into an area with bad reception.  I learned this the hard way in my last Missoula half when it said my first mile took me 15 minutes and I realized that all the trees interfered.

Runner's PaceCalculator
It's no secret that I'm a competitive person and this app allows me to be uber-competitive with myself.  For instance, if I'm consistently running 9 minute miles, I can use this app to see how long it would take me to run a 5k, 5 miles, 10k, 10 miles, half marathon, 100 miles--all at that pace.  It's also nice because I can enter in the time I had in a run and the distance and it will tell me how fast my average was per mile.  My ultimate goal would be to run a half marathon in an hour and forty-five minutes and by the picture below you can see that I would need to average 8 minute miles.  I'm not quite there yet, but someday!!!

Lose It!
This app was instrumental in helping me get back to my pre-pregnancy weight just 7 weeks after having baby E.  This app helps you track your calorie intake and expenditure and even offers a host of foods already programmed in.  You also can use your phone to scan bar codes so you don't have to take the time to enter in calories, fat grams, and so on.  This app really opened my eyes about portion size.  I had never been one to measure out my food before and when I started using this, I could see why I was never as lean as I wanted to be.  You can enter in your goal weight and date to achieve this weight and it lays out a plan as far as calories per day and how many pounds to lose per week. **Note**  It recommended to lose 1-2 pounds per week.  Don't be going crazy now and hurting your body and metabolism more than helping it.


Brooks PureConnect
These shoes are my absolute favorite kind of running shoes I have ever ran in!  They are so light and minimalistic with just enough support in all the right places to not kill my feet or Achilles.  When I used to teach preschool, the kids would always show me how fast their shoes were.  It wasn't how fast they went, it was the shoes.  That's kind of how I feel when I run in these.  They are so light that I don't feel bogged down.  If you have some foot structural issues, these may not be for you without some build up to the more minimalistic approach to running.  Below are my old pair and my newish pair.  Unfortunately, this particular style has had its day but I'm excited to try the update version soon!  You can find these as sporting goods stores such as Dick's Sporting Goods, Finish Line, Foot Locker as well as many online stores.  Always look online for coupon codes when buying shoes.  You never know when you will find a fantastic deal!  My husband found my yellow ones online for $60 with a coupon code and that was including shipping!  Unheard of!

Nathan's Hydration Belt
I admit, I don't usually take water on runs that are under an hour and a half unless it is really hot or humid out.   And if it is cooler outside, I might even push it to a couple of hours.  I don't like the extra bulk or the sloshing sound.  BUT when I do take water on the days that I know I cannot get away without it, I take my Nathan's Hydration Belt.  It carries two small bottles (there are some that hold more) and it has a nice little pouch to put gels, ID and what not in. I'm always annoyed with it at first but I soon forget about it.  One time I was on a long run when I realized I didn't feel the belt at my waist anymore.  I freaked out and started looking back the way I came because I was sure I had lost it somewhere.  Apparently logic didn't take over and tell me that I surely would have felt it if it had fallen.  I then felt at my waist and it was there.  I probably looked entertaining to the people getting on and off the the interstate that I was crossing.  Ha!  In my earlier half marathon days, I even used it in the races (yes, I was one of THOSE girls) because I really sucked at drinking the provided cup of water/Gatorade while running.  I usually ended up spewing it out of my nose which would then burn for the remainder of the race.  I have gotten better at this so I no longer use the belt in races, but for long runs in the hot and humid south, it is a MUST HAVE!


Lululemon run:speed short
If you've "liked" the Goal:Fit4Life FB page, you've already heard about this purchase.  I don't normally spend a lot of money on workout clothes because I'm totally content with the quality (and price!!!) that Old Navy and Target's workout gear has.  However, I recently learned that Lululemon supports charities and don't as for any recognition for it because they want to be a word-of-mouth company.  I thought that was really cool and since they sponsored one of my favorite charities, Ellie's Run For Africa, I decided to take one of my hard-earned, not-nearly-enough substitute teaching paychecks to support them.  I love all the items I purchased but the run:speed short is the take home winner!!!  I have never had a pair of running shorts that I loved so much I would sleep in them and wear them everyday if it wasn't a hygiene problem!  I love everything about them--the cut, the length, the material.  They are short but I've come to appreciate the almost naked feeling of running in short shorts.  I have more mobility in them and these shorts totally beat my C9 compression shorts that I wore in my last half marathon which thought it would be cool to ride up to take almost a thong form. **If you ran in that half marathon, I apologize for the view!**  I saw photos later and it was so embarrassing!  Side note:  Just because shorts are the same style, cut and every visible thing except color, does NOT mean they will sit on your legs the same way during runs.  Always try out your clothing before game day!  But back to these amazing Lululemon shorts...They really are awesome and totally worth the $54 or whatever I spent on them.  

Run:Speed Short

Injinji Socks
I love these socks for running because they help my toes from blistering up so bad.  They feel funny to have on at first, but where them for a run (especially the ones with the arch support) and you'll be hooked!  You can also wear these with Vibrams for less rubbing.

Supplements are tricky things.  Just beware that supplement means "in addition to" and not "instead of".

Zip Fizz
This is a vitamin based energy drink that I love.  You can buy it at REI, WalMart, and in bulk at Costco.  It has a crazy amount of Vitamin B12 for energy needs.  This is good before a workout.  There is some caffeine in it, so know that.

This is very similar to Zip Fizz in that it is a vitamin based energy drink.  This has more caffeine in it, so again, be aware of that if you can't have caffeine for some reason.  You can buy this at www.advocare.com


Rehydrate Gels
This is also from AdvoCare.  I just started using these with this half marathon training and I love them for long runs!  So much better than the Sport Beans I used to use for running.  It really gives me a little jolt to finish the run strong. 


 Well, I hear E waking up from a nap so that is my cue to go and hopefully the hubby will be home to let me use some of these items on my 11 miler planned for today!  I have no time to edit this, so bear with me!  :) Until next time...

***All of this is MY OPINION.  I am only letting you know the things I love and am in now way recommending this for better performances!***

Friday, March 15, 2013

Charity Miles

If you have an iPhone or Android, this app is a MUST! It is free to download and anytime you go for a walk, run, or bike ride, a corporation donates money to the charity you choose. I think it's .25 per mile for running and walking and .10 per mile for biking. I can even run this app with my MapMyRun app with no problems so there is really no excuse not to use it and support a good cause.

Here are a couple of screen shots of my history:

Here are the charities you can choose from to support:

This is the one that I've been supporting.  I'll switch it up in a couple of months.