This is Embarrassing…

So my computer broke down…

Then finals started….

Then break happened…

And basically this wasn’t a priority anymore. Hopefully I’ll slack less with this in the new year. I’m planning on posting some reviews of my newest goodies that I collected over winter break and Christmas.

But anyway, I hope everyone had a fabulous winter and new year! Tell me your new year’s resolutions! I’ll be posting about mine tomorrow!

Runner’s Legs: Injuries and Rice

I hurt my left foot! I was going down the stairs, saw someone trying to get in while their hands were full, accidentally skipped a step, and landed on the top of my left foot. I made myself look completely stupid. I have a feeling I just overstretched my extensor tendons on the top of my foot. There was some bruising, swelling, and difficulty walking, but it’s much less extreme now than it was yesterday.

So, what do you do when you have an injury? Rice, of course!

  • REST: Stop doing any activities that require a lot of use of the injured area. For me that means no running.
  • ICE: Apply ice to the area for approximately 20 minutes at a time.
  • COMPRESSION: Use either an ace bandage or prewrap to put a little compression on the area to reduce swelling. You don’t want to cut off circulation though.
  • ELEVATION: Put the injured area above the level of your heart.

So today, instead of running, I did some YouTube video workouts to get my daily exercise. Tone It Up, Blogilates, and Tara Stiles Yoga are three of my favorites. They’re challenging and can be really low impact while still being extremely effective.

Today I did an inner thigh workout, a booty toning workout, an arm workout, and my recent favorite yoga flexibility video. Even with my injured food I was able to do a great cross training day. I might even add in my favorite ab workout tonight to get a total body workout.

Dorm Room Workout: YouTube Yoga for Flexibility

This week I don’t have my writing class because of conferences. So while my roommate is at class, I’ve been working on my flexibility. Recently I’ve had a lot of hamstring and calf cramps while running, so stretching is very important to me. My favorite YouTube video for this is the Body and Mind Flexibility Routine by The Yoga Solution With Tara Stiles. It’s great, I’ve done it twice and by the second time I could already see a difference!

Have ten minutes? Try it. I’m not a yogi but I enjoyed it! (And it’s great for cross training.)

Step One: Comment Cards

Change is not easy. Especially when you’re trying to change something that is completely out of your control. For me, approaching the food service department at my school has been a scary step that I know I must take if I ever want to be healthy at school.

And it all starts with a comment card.

I know this isn’t much, but it’s my way of approaching the problem mildly before I jump into the craziness I have planned. (I’ve been composing an email of complaints for a few weeks now. I won’t send it until it’s perfect; I need them to take it seriously.)

So here’s my comment card, front and back:

ImagePLEASE offer more healthy options! I don’t want to eat the disgusting fried food everyday and the salads are redundant. I would love to see a wider variety of… (con’t on back)

ImageVegetables and fruits. Especially SPINACH, strawberries, blueberries, etc in their natural form. Fruits (not the “fruit salad” full of nutrient-lacking melon) would be amazing for on salads.

ImageIt would also be great to have more vegetarian sandwich options. The “wheat bread” isn’t 100% whole wheat, so it is tasteless. And it would be fabulous to have spinach, avocado, bell peppers etc for on sandwiches. I will not eat the meats because they contain nitrates and sodium in excessive amounts.

ImageAlso, it would be great to have almond milk available as an alternate option to soy milk. Soy milk is full of hormones and it has more calories.

So I don’t know how seriously they will take me. I did provide my name and email address on the front so if they do reply, I’ll provide details. If not, I’ll write more comments until they do.

I tried to back up my requests with nutrient information, so hopefully that will give more incentive to make some changes. I know there are other vegetarians/vegans/gluten-free people at my school who would like to see some more options for those of us who choose to eat healthy. (I’ve seen their comment cards.)

My View

Seriously, I picked a great room. Its not quite as good as my freshman year, which had a great view of the social quad and the cafeteria, but my view of the garden is gorgeous.

Also, I have a very special tip to share: If you’re a high school student looking at colleges, visit the schools during the semester! It’s important to see how the students dress and what kind of people go there. My school is very relaxed, people are always wearing jeans and sweats. There are some schools where dressing up is the norm. Know what you want!

Home Cooked: Veggie Omelets

ImageAfter eating school food for the last three weeks, I was so excited to go home. My main goal was to go to the local fair to eat pizza, deep fried oreos, and orange juice. This mission was a success. However, Saturday and Sunday were both full of delicious meals. My favorite? OMELETS.

It might not be that complex to make an omelet, I’ll include the ingredients and quantities for the omelets I made, feel free to use different quantities at any point or substitute in other ingredients. There is really no way to mess up an omelet. But, as a warning, I’d like to state now that I take my omelets very seriously.

My Recipe:

  • Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Local Free-range Eggs
  • 3 Organic Portobello Mushrooms
  • 1/2 a Banana Pepper (or any kind of pepper)
  • 1/4 cup of Spinach or Arugula (or another dark green)
  • A Chunk of Hand-Shredded, Hormone-Free, Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese

**Alter quantities to fit your appetite and diet. And I personally recommend using the whole egg. Did you know the whites are used in homemade wall paper glue? Imagine what that could do to your digestive system. Plus the yolk is yummy.**

Directions:

The first step to the perfect veggie omelet is to cook the veggies. I start by chopping up my ‘shrooms and peppers into little cubes so that they spread and cook better. Then I put them into my favorite pan with a small chunk of butter.

While these veggies are cooking, I crack my eggs and whip them up.

There are two ways to get your omelet started. One way is to keep your veggies in the pan and pour your eggs over it. This could lead to crumbling when you try to flip it. I prefer to pour the cooked veggies into a bowl, then pour the whipped eggs into the pan then immediate add the veggies while the egg is still raw. It holds it in and nothing falls apart. Fabulous.

Anyway, after the egg and veggies are cooked and the omelet has been flipped, put a layer of either spinach or arugula over the omelet and your hand-shredded cheese on top. Let the greens wilt and the cheese melt then fold it in half and ENJOY!

Yum-o. Seriously, after being at school for weeks there’s nothing better than a free-range, hormone-free, organic, locally-grown omelet. And yes, I did eat a giant omelet the size of my head. No regrets.

Other Ingredient Suggestions:

  • Tomato
  • Meat (Ham, Bacon, Turkey, etc)
  • Red Onion
  • Herbs (Basil etc)
  • Zucchini (I’m tempted to try this one, shredded)
  • Broccoli (This was available at the “omelet” station at school once, yum.)

Omelet Links:

Wikipedia offers an interesting list of different omelet traditions around the world.
Jamie Oliver has some tips if you’re a first time omelet maker. Plus I love Jamie Oliver.
And here’s the history of egg consumption. Am I the only one who finds this fascinating?

Workout Playlist of the Week: (2) September 16, 2012

I’m still without my iPod! However, due to my lack of interest in overpriced electronics, I had no idea that Apple was coming out with new iPods. It’s like my iPod broke on purpose so I could get a new one. So, does anyone think buying a new iPod (any of the models) is worth the price?

But anyway, these are still the songs I listen to  before my runs to get me pumped up. Let’s go!

*Just a warning, I linked to the CD quality songs or the music videos where possible, some of them (most of them) are explicit so be cautious!*

Image1. Timeflies – For You

Timeflies is probably my FAVORITE band. Their music has an amazing beat, and their covers of songs have great rap portions. I have never heard a song by Timeflies that I didn’t enjoy. Now that they have their own original songs I’ve been listening to them non-stop. This song is one of my more recent discoveries and I’m loving the lyrics and the music. It’s definitely going to be on my half marathon playlist in October! (I even have a whole Pandora playlist dedicated to Timeflies and similar artists and I LOVE IT!)

Image2. Kid Ink– Time of Your Life

I love the chorus of this song, especially the part that goes “Yeah I said, you ain’t gotta, you ain’t gotta leave.” The way he says it is extremely catchy and I can’t stop listening to it. It’s seriously addicting. I could listen to this song on repeat. I love when I can get a song that I LOVE to sing along with because it really helps me to distract myself from what I’m doing and I can breathe better because I’m not psyching myself our about my breathing pattern. And who’s not having “the time of their life” when they’re running?! (And, I just found a remix with Tyga and Chris Brown. YAY! [I know, Chris Brown is a terrible person but I still listen to a lot of his music.])

Image3. Sean Paul (feat. Pitbull) – She Doesn’t Mind

This song is just so easy to sing along with. It has a nice medium paced beat which will keep my from trying to do a 7 minute mile for an 8 mile run. As much as I enjoy the high energy intense songs, sometimes I just need something that I know will slow me down and give me some recovery time before I get back to campus and have to run up the hill to go over to the baseball and soccer fields. Not only is it great for running but I love cleaning, doing laundry, stats homework, etc! (Also available without Pitbull.)

Image4. Lil Wayne (feat. Big Sean) – My Homies Still

My sister and I were pretty much obsessed with this song before I came to school. We loved blasting it in her car when she drove me all over the place (because I didn’t want to pay for gas!). This song, unlike the other ones this week is more like my usual music. The fast beats and catchy raps are great. AND I get to listen to both Lil Wayne and Big Sean in the same song. I can see myself listening to this song for the next few months and far into the future.

Image5. B.o.B (feat. Nicki Minaj) – Out of My Mind

This song is so fun. It has a great rap part, like all B.o.B. songs. I love his voice and his style. Nicki Minaj sounds great. They have very similar styles. This is just one of many songs I love from Strange Clouds (including Strange Clouds, So Good, and Ray Bands). And since I like puns and everything, sometimes I feel like I’m out of my mind when I’m running. Seriously who runs half marathons? An the part at the end where B.o.B. says “Shh, they might be listening” is funny EVERY TIME. LOVE. IT.

So that’s my list for the week! Click HERE to checkout last week’s workout playlist.

KIND Bars: Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants

ImageBrand Background:
KIND is the type of brand that I aim to purchase when I’m shopping. The high quality of ingredients and general brand philosophy are exactly what I like in a snack food. I like to vote with my money and my money votes for non-GMO, healthy, delicious snacks.

KIND is unlike the typical granola/protein/snack bars. Their website states “For us ‘being KIND,’ means to ‘Be KIND to your body, your taste buds, and the world.’®” And in my experience, they truly do follow through with this philosophy. They emphasize their use of ingredients that the everyday person could pronounce. You don’t need a degree in chemistry to understand what you’re eating.

KIND is Non-GMO Project Verified according to nongmoproject.org. (For those of you who don’t know, GMO means Genetically Modified Organisms.) I find this to be very important, considering all the progress with GMOs recently. With Proposition 37 up for vote in California, now more than ever it is important to support the brands that don’t use GMOs. What better way for those of us not in California to voice our opinions than to stop buying from companies that are opposing Proposition 37.

KIND also has started the KIND Movement, which encourages individuals to make a difference in their own community. They have KIND Food Trucks that travel across the country to give out healthy snacks as an effort to “spread kindness across the country.’ To read more about their movement visit their website.

Nutrition:
Ingredients:Almonds, dark chocolate (sugar, palm kernel oil, cocoa powder, soy lecithin, milk powder), cherries, cranberries, cashews, peanuts, raisins, honey, non GMO glucose, crisp rice, chicory fiber, soy lecithin.
Vitamins: Vitamin A Acetate, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vit. E).

Vitamins and Minerals:Vitamin A (50% DV), Vitamin C (50% DV), Calcium (4% DV), Iron (6% DV), Vitamin E (50% DV), Vitamin B1 (2% DV), Vitamin B3 (4% DV), Phosphorus (8% DV), Magnesium (10% DV), Zinc (4% DV).

One bar contains 180 calories. It has 14 grams of sugars, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, and 3 grams of fiber. It has a variety of vitamins and minerals and not a single ingredient that can’t be pronounced.

My Impressions:
Chewy and crunchy. Sweet but not too sweet. Healthy but a treat. As you look at the bar, you see the ingredients themselves. The bar has a chocolate coating along the bottom and a drizzle of chocolate along the top. The bars are absolutely beautiful. It’s so pretty to see the ingredients in their natural state!

This bar was so good! I couldn’t stop eating it, but I didn’t want to finish it either. It kept me full between classes and it satisfied my craving for something sweet. This bar was really even better than I expected and I had high expectations. There’s not much more I can say.

I think that this is a high quality brand. The ingredients are all natural; the brand encourages individual charity work and does community events across the nation. KIND is also non-GMO. This brand is one of a few mass-produced, high-quality brands. I do not have a single complaint about anything.

The bars cost about $1.50 each, depending on your location. I found boxes of four at Walmart for a little over $4, so that is a much better deal. Image

Recommendation:
I loved this bar! I’m excited to try all the different flavors. They may be a little expensive, but the quality of the product is totally worth the money spent. Buying them in boxes will reduce the price a little. Honestly, I think they are completely worth the money.

Runner’s Legs: Half Marathon in 38 Days

I have news. I’m running a half marathon in a little over a month. This will be my second, and I’m nowhere near at the same place I was when I ran my first. I believe I can do it through. The course has some “rolling hills” and is “mostly flat.” Hopefully this is true. Since headphones are not allowed, it will really be a challenge.

Enough talking, let’s discuss my training plan:

When I’m not training for anything, I usually aim to run around 20 miles a week. Each run is a minimum of 4 miles.  In addition to my running, I like to do some general body weight strength training, which includes:

  • 3 sets of 10 pushups
  • 3 sets of 25 crunches
  • 3 sets of 15 triceps dips

I really like to maintain a lightly toned upper body in addition to my skinny little runner’s legs.

Now that I’m training for a half marathon I’m stepping it up. I’m trying to run closer to 30 miles each week. My body weight training will be generally the same, but I’ll add one or two of the following exercises per day:

  • 2 sets of 60-second planks
  • 3 sets of 15 dolphin pushups
  • 3 sets of 20 lunges
  • 3 sets of 20 squats

I play racquetball on my rest days. (And the way I play racquetball is a great butt workout. It involves lots of squatting, running into the walls, and sprints.)

My running plan for next week is:

  • S:    5 miles
  • M:   4 miles
  • T:    REST DAY (Racquetball)
  • W:   4 miles
  • T:    4 miles
  • F:    10 miles
  • S:    2 miles

And this will bring me to a total of 29 miles. Hopefully this plan will get me in shape for my half marathon next month. I know that as soon as I’m out there at the race I’ll have the motivation to finish, but my only goal is to get a time under 2 hours.

Have any tips for me? I’d love to hear them! 

How to Eat Clean in a College: Surviving the Cafeteria

ImageEating in a college cafeteria can be intimidating, especially if you wish to eat organic or if you are a vegetarian, a vegan, gluten-free, lactose intolerant, or have any other food allergy. In reality, the majority of the food is geared towards the typical meat-eating, starch-loving young adults of today’s American culture.

However, you’re not going to starve. You can and will find things that are both healthy and delicious without eating something you’re morally against or allergic to. It will just take a little planning.

Surviving the Cafeteria:
As I enter the cafeteria, what do I see? French fries, hamburgers, mystery meat, caviar. (Yeah, my school is crazy.) The salad bar is full of wilted lettuce and floppy cucumber slices. The sandwich line is full of full-fat mayo and lunch meat. What will I eat?!

1. The Sandwich Line is Your Friend.

Nothing else to eat? Make yourself a sandwich! Whole grain bread will provide you with complex carbs and fiber to keep you full longer. If you’re looking for some protein in your meal add some chicken or turkey to your sandwich. Don’t forget to include your vegetables! Dark leafy greens and tomatoes are my personal favorites. Some other great veggies for on sandwiches include peppers, mushrooms or avocado (if your cafeteria has them).

Don’t forget to add some fresh or steamed vegetables and fresh fruit to your meal!

2. DIY Veggie Pasta

A great way to get a delicious meal out of your cafeteria is to get a little crafty, and combine dishes to create your own unique meal. Take whole wheat pasta from one part of the cafeteria, add steamed vegetables to the mix then put your favorite, healthy sauce on top. My favorite combos include roasted zucchini and tomato sauce or steamed broccoli and olive oil. (You may be able to find olive oil by the salad bar!) Add chicken, ham, or turkey if you’re interested in incorporating some protein into your meal.

3. Grilled Instead of Fried

Fried chicken not your style? Ask the cafeteria employees if they’ll make you a grilled version instead. They can usually meet these requests; you just have to be willing to ask!

4. Spice Up Your Salad

Tired of the typical lettuce/cucumber/carrot/dressing combination? I am too! Look for dark leafy greens instead of the iceberg lettuce to get the most nutrition out of your salad. Add your favorite toppings from the salad bar, but don’t be afraid to mix in some ingredients from other parts of the cafeteria! Add some grilled chicken for protein or look for mushrooms or peppers from other sections of the cafeteria. Look for fruits like fresh grapes or cubed pineapple to add a sweet side to your salad. And avoid the creamy dressings! The vinaigrettes are just as delicious but healthier.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!

Don’t see something you want? Speak up! Fill out a comment card; get other students to fill them out as well. Send an email to the food service department. Make sure your email is well worded and you effectively ask for what you want and explain why it will be beneficial to have it in the cafeteria. Do your research, don’t just sit there paying for food you don’t enjoy. The worst they can do is turn you down. The best situation is you end up with a cafeteria full of food you can actually enjoy that is good for you as well!