Friday, October 7, 2011

Healthy Options

Good Morning and happy Friday! Does anyone have any big plans for the weekend? We sure do here! JT's TOUGH MUDDER! It is down in Austin and it is going to be a BLAST! After I get done with this blog I am going to pull everything together so we can leave as soon as he gets home from school.

Overall, things here are going pretty well. I missed blogging yesterday (mostly due to time constraints and not enough to talk about). The only issue I am currently having is a severe migraine. It started during my 2nd softball game last night (very lightly) and got progressively worse throughout the night. I couldn't sleep because it kept waking me up, so, I'm just trying to relax a little to get it to at least calm down to a manageable level. I haven't had one like this in a long time - I get migraines often, but this one is something I only really ever experienced at A School when I first joined the Navy, it is like a throbbing every time my heart beats. I can feel my heart beating in my head and when it does it is painful and a throbbing pain. It SUCKS. lol. I am definitely ok though - I get headaches so often I can actually work with them if need be. :)

Ok, enough with the negative crap. I have some GREAT pictures to share today. The first thing I want to share is my DELICIOUS salad recipe - I master arts like salad making because there is no cooking involved! lol! Then,  I want to talk about "health options" when cooking at home, or juicing at home isn't possible. There are a TON of options!

My Salad -
The ingredients include: spinach, kale, arugula, green leaf lettuce, onion, half of a granny smith apple, sesame seeds, avocado, dehydrated organic cherries, organic garlic sticks, feta and balsamic vinegar for the dressing. :) Easy to make, affordable and 90% raw and whole foods. (the feta and garlic sticks aren't whole foods or raw.)

If you don't have time to make a gourmet salad at home, there are plenty of healthy restaurants as well as grab-and-go options at the grocery store. JT found a list the other day that I will try to dig up, but there are several restaurants that have a goal of health, sustainability and working with local farmers. Some of you who live in bigger cities might have actual "vegetarian" or "vegan" restaurant options, but for those of you who don't, there are still lots of options. One of those places is Chipotle. They offer a vegetarian option and it is not only delicious, but it is also affordable. I enjoyed it so much I didn't even snap a picture of it! So I got one on google images to give a representation of it.
This is pretty close to what I get, although I usually ask for half of a scoop of guac (they have a TON on theirs!) :) I usually get lettuce, black beans, corn salsa, peppers and onions, guac and usually another form of salsa. :) I sometimes also opt for cheese, but not always. This is a particularly good option if you have family that is not vegetarian because the meat is farm-raised in the local area (all of the ingredients are actually).

The next place I'd like to recommend is Jason's Deli. They are also committed to working with local farmers and providing healthy food options with no additives. Their soda's are all made with cane sugar as is their tea. They designate specific vegetarian options on their menu and they have a kick-ass salad bar! :) I have particularly been enjoying Jason's "Freshca" sandwich! :) SO yummy!!
It is focaccia bread with basil pesto (so obviously it has olive oil, which I generally try to avoid.) tomatoes, spinach and artichoke hearts. The olive oil makes it a little high in fat  and calories FYI, but it is really yummy and I feel like it is a good option. If it is not for you though, they also have several other vegetarian options including  a variety of vegetarian soups. The fruit is fresh too!

Now, if you're on the run and don't have time to juice, or need an afternoon pick-me-up between errands, a simple stop at the grocery store can do the trick! For juice, I usually pick one of these bad boys up at walmart for 4 dollars. It is a FULL meal replacement if you drink it all at once - so although 4 dollars sounds steep, it is definitely not.
The only downside to the odwalla is that it is flash pasteurized which takes away some of the nutrients. In terms of choices though, I think this is a practical one for most and a much better option than a drive-thru salad (with high-fructose corn syrup dressing on the side!) Naked is also an option - they are a bit more expensive and they also flash pasteurize.

The other on-the-go option I LOVE is raw food bars! I LOVE THEM! I eat them as snacks and meals. In fact, due to my headache I have felt pretty nauseous, and the raw food bar stayed down. :) There are several brands such as Raw Revolution, Lara, GOOD foodbar and a couple of others. They vary in price from 88cents (Lara on sale) to 3 dollars.

The bars are also great options for people with a sweet tooth! Some of them are like eating a candy bar!

Those are only a few of the many many options available when eating on the go. People always have excuses like "I don't have time to eat healthy" or "I don't have time to find a healthy option on my lunch break." Total bullshit. Those are excuses, there is ALWAYS time for health!

Thanks for reading! We'll have a great blog update come Monday with JT's results and a recap of our eating. We're going to find a vegan restaurant in Austin to enjoy! <3 Everyone have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Joys of Juicing

Happy Hump Day everyone! It is another absolutely beautiful day here in Texas. <3 Lets get started with another great song today!

Im sure I've shared this before, but I LOVE this song - it makes me want to get up and dance!

This morning JT and I were dragging a bit and running late so my plan of juicing for the two of us didn't work out. After he left, however, I decided I would juice for myself! A lot of people ask how we consume so many raw fruits and veggies -- juicing is exactly how!

We jumped on the juicing bandwagon after watching "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead."  Before going out and purchasing a juicer, we did some research (Melanie also did a lot of research and shared with us!) and we found that a masticating juicer would yield the most juice. Well, masticating juicers are expensive, so we opted for a cheapo centrifugal walmart juicer just to get started and see if it was something we really wanted to do. We started with a cheaper Hamilton Beach juicer,  and then after using it for a couple of weeks traded up for a black and decker big mouth juicer. The 2nd (and current) juicer works MUCH better than the other and was still pretty cheap (about 50 dollars.) The only problem we've really found is that we cannot juice greens. So, to remedy that problem, we purchased a wheat grass juicer! HERE it is.

It works GREAT! And, the two of those are still much cheaper than a quality masticating juicer. We do plan to get a masticating juicer in the future, but for now these two things works for us.

Before I even start, I just want to say that juicing is EASY. Just pick some fruits and veggies that you love and mix them! There are also lots of resources available online with recipes you can be sure taste great. We usually focus on green juice (green apples, cucumbers, celery, spinach, kale etc....) But we've made straight carrot juice, straight apple, orange juice etc... You can do anything.

This is what I started with this morning:
As you can probably see I have one cucumber, one green apple, celery and carrots. With JT I would use 2 cucumbers and 2 apples as well as a couple of extra celery stalks and carrots.

The first thing I juiced was the cucumber. I always start with the highest yielding veggies to be sure I get as much juice from them as possible. As you go through all of your ingredients, the screen gets full, so unless you wash it in the middle start with the highest yielding stuff to get the most juice possible.

 A lot of people don't think they like the taste of cucumber juice, but we've found that the quality of the cucumber you get makes a huge difference. If you get cucumbers  from walmart that are not organic, they aren't very tasty, but, if you get them from a farmers market (or in our case the mexican market) they are SO delicious!

And like I said, they yield SO much juice and are so cheap so they are a great base for any juice you make. Cucumbers are also nutritionally dense - they are great for the skin and have a lot of trace elements that our bodies need. :)

Here is what my cucumber yielded juice wise. As you can see, more juice is still coming out!
Next, I chopped up and added my green apple.
I don't even bother seeding them or anything, the screen takes care of that kind of thing!
Next I added the celery and finally the carrots. (no pics of the celery... but the carrot juice is SO beautiful!)
This is what the aftermath of the juicing looked like.

And this is what the pulp looks like:
Another complaint I often hear is that there is SO much waste when juicing - the truth is, it is up to you how much waste you have - you have already gotten a majority of the nutrients from the vegetables or fruit anyways, and that is really the goal in my opinion,  but, you can use the pulp for a variety of things. from baking (talk about some moist and delicious carrot cake!) to dog food additives! (Toss a cup into your dog food! make sure you do research about the ingredients you use though, if you are juicing grapes for example, your dog cannot have that!)

The last step to the process (before enjoying the yummy juice of course) is clean up. The most important thing about the clean up is that you do it immediately. If you do, it will literally take two minutes. I throw the pulp in the garbage or save it in a baggie if I plan to use it. Then, all I do is rinse the pulp out of the components. The hardest part is cleaning the screen, but, if you get a bristle brush cleaner (like one you'd buy to clean potatoes) it is much easier.
Once I finished all of the juicing and clean up, I poured the juices together into one glass :) I have found that a pint glass fits under our juicer the best, so I get a larger glass to pour the juices in as I go (that way I don't get overflow!) When I am making juice for JT and I both, I use a pitcher.


This may have seemed like a lot of work, but it took me about 10 minutes all together (and that was with me snapping pictures after every step.) I feel great about starting my day with a nutritional and delicious juice and my energy will be up all day. Fresh juice like this is also a great way to detox your body of all of the junk you accumulate from eating processed crap.

If you are interested in learning more about juicing, here are a couple of educational links -

I already linked this one, but here it is again -

I hope you found this educational and helpful. Feel free to ask me any questions you might have and I'll do my best to answer them myself or find the answer. :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I wear my sunglasses at night....

I don't really, but that song is stuck in my head for some reason so I thought I'd get it stuck in yours too! :)

Corey Hart is a bit creepy in this video... just saying...

This morning I decided to experiment in the kitchen a little. I am really loving the Red Mill products first of all. They have affordable organic flours, flax seed, cornmeal etc... I have their hemp protein right now, their quinoa flour, pancake mix and much more. This morning, I thought I'd try to make myself a "protein" pancake with their pancake mix.

One serving is 1/3 cup. The directions call for eggs and oil and milk, but, I try to avoid oil (yes, even olive oil most of the time), I don't have eggs (we're out!) and I don't drink cows milk. SO - I improvised! I read somewhere that you can substitute chia gel for eggs and oil, I couldn't remember how much I was supposed to substitute, so I just used my best judgement and used 2 tbsp. (1 for the egg and 1 for the oil.)
The next step was the milk. Like I said, I do not drink cow's milk. I have never been a big fan anyways, but since becoming vegetarian I have completely cut it out. SO, again I improvised and used Almond Milk!
It said to use 3/4 of a cup, but I just poured what I thought it needed in (the chia seeds are pure liquid practically, so I figured 3/4 cup milk would be too much.) Next, I decided to add some flavor to the pancake! So, I added 1tsp. of cocoa powder and 1tsp. of dark chocolate peanut butter PB2. :)
I stirred that all up and added a touch more almond milk to fix the consistency and then started the cooking process.
Once I started cooking I regretted not adding vanilla extract, agave or any other sort of sweetener, so I put some cinnamon/sugar on top :) It helped.

I definitely COULD NOT have done this alone... luckily, I had my very trusty kitchen helper by my side!
He's so damn cute.

Ok - so disclaimer time. Although I am doing great creativity and flavor wise (most of the time), I am still working on the whole "cooking" thing. So, the following product is not properly represented. Basically, it looks like a big ol' pile of dookie on a plate, however, it DEFINITELY tasted GREAT, especially with banana!
Next time I will definitely add vanilla extract and maybe some agave to the actual batter. I put some agave on top and it was delicious, but in it would have been  even better had it been incorporated. I will also add a bit more PB2 to the actual mixture (maybe a tbsp. rather than a tsp.)

I will make this for JT for breakfast one of these days and let him tell you what he thinks so you have a fair representation... I may be a bit bias because I was the creator!

Do any of you have any AWESOME and YUMMY breakfast or pastry recipes? (OMG! Do any of you have any pumpkin pancake recipes.... oh why oh why didn't I make a pumpkin pancake this morning!)

So, most of you probably saw on my facebook, but I made the paper (they quoted me about how to use a pedometer) for the fit  challenge Saturday! In case you missed it, I also made the video! The video is made by newspaper personnel, so its not the BEST in the world, but it is pretty cool! Don't bother watching the whole thing, you can see me at about the 2:51 mark. :)

It was definitely a blast.

I already swept and mopped the entire house this morning and cleaned the kitchen up (even my mess from breakfast!!!) so I am going to get ready and run a few errands before taking JT some soup for lunch and going to my internship. We're going to do a serious  workout tonight, so I'll try to post about that later today.
OH, and JT is reading the Rebel Running Guide and learning TONS - I started that this morning as well, so once I find some info worth sharing I'll pass it along. :)

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Learning to Run

Happy Monday All! It is another beautiful fall day here in Texas, so I am enjoying the breeze through my front door and the aroma from my pumpkin spice candle! I am DEFINITELY making pumpkin muffins sometime this week!

Before I start my weekend recap and explain the purpose of my blog title, I want to share my lunch from Thursday last week, which JT and I also ate for lunch Saturday and yesterday! lol! YES it is THAT delicious!

It is an Ole tortilla with feta and olive hummus smeared on it, arugula, avocado, onions, millet with black beans and rotel and obviously about 6-7 carrots. It is delicious. When we were eating it yesterday JT kept going on and on about how amazing it was and told me it rivaled our vegetarians bowls at Chipoltle (which were SO delicious!!)  What a compliment!

We are both enjoying not eating meat. The next big and important step is moving to completely organic produce. It is hard to get here affordably, but we have a plan! We are going to start going to Dallas' farmers market at least once a month, maybe twice. We both feel like a four hour round trip is worth it to get delicious, locally grown organic food. Oh, and even better, we don't actually have to start that until November, because we're going to Austin TWICE this month, which means we can do our produce shopping while we're down there! (And of course I'll hit up World Market (best store ever) too!)

Next weekend's Austin trip is for JT's Tough Mudder. (If you don't know what that is click on it.) He is SO excited and I can't wait to watch him and cheer him on with the help of our good friends Jennifer, Eric and Nick! Should be a blast! No doubt JT will do great.

This past weekend our city had a Fit Fair at the park and I worked the Mayor's Fit Walk Challenge booth. It was a blast! JT came down and we walked around for a few minutes and made tons of contacts with the fitness people of our town. What an awesome thing for a community to put on! We had about 500 people sign up for the Mayor's challenge and there were even more than that there. The only bummer of the whole thing was that they had an AWESOME hybrid commuter bike they were raffling off and a little kid won it :( I wanted it BAD! haha. I need a bike! It was a great time though and a great way to spend our morning. 

So, on to the explanation of my title today. This past week (last Wednesday I think) I purchased the Deluxe Rebel Running Guide. It is book written by two guys named Jason and Steve from Nerd Fitness. It is basically everything you need to know about running, how to run etc... JT and I have been talking about getting me a running coach for a while now, so this seemed like a cheap alternative until we can afford it, and  maybe, after going through their techniques and advice I won't even need a coach! The book so far is awesome, there is a guide to shoes, form, technique and everything else you could possibly think about in regards to running and nutrition. They are paleo guys, so I can't really use the food portion, good news though, Matt from No Meat Athlete said he would send his vegetarian training book to anyone who bought the running guide through his link! So I did and now I have the food and running side! JT has already gotten SO much out of the running guide in regards to his knees and how to avoid injury and we've both learned a lot about our shoe choices.

As I go through the book I will definitely share any must know info!

Quick shout out to my sister-in-law Sara! She finished her FIRST half marathon this past weekend and her time was 2:16! That is an AWESOME time in general, especially for her very first one! GREAT JOB SARA! I hope you'll sign up for another one! <3 SO proud of you! 

Alright, off to my internship! We're turning Tyler PINK for breast cancer awareness!!!!!