Tag Archives: nutrition

A Nutritionist Tips for Getting Slim, Healthy and All Natural

 

A few weeks ago, I met Christian Henderson, MS, RD, CDN at a wonderful nutrition workshop at Physique 57. Christian is the nutrition consultant at Physique as well as the founder of Pure Nutrition.

I loved Christian’s natural approach to diet and health and she was kind enough to share her tips for a slim, radiant, all natural lifestyle.  Below she shares everything from long gone Cinnabon and Snackwells days to the best way to break a bad habit to her favorite indulgence.  If you’re looking for some last minute summer shape up motivation, read on!

christion henderson dietician ms rd new york city

1. If you could only recommend one step toward improving one’s health and diet, what would it be?

Stop counting. So many people, when deciding what to eat, look at the numbers- the calories, fat grams, fiber grams, etc. But, there is so much more to food than the numbers! I recommend looking at the ingredients first and if there isn’t a list of ingredients (for example in fresh, whole fruits and vegetables), all the better!  Take goji berries compared to jelly beans. Although their numbers are similar, their ingredients are quite different. There is only one ingredient in goji berries, while there is a long list of ingredients in jelly beans- basically corn syrup and a lot chemicals. Our body has to process everything that comes in and what it can’t process it is going to store for later- that can’t be ignored.

2.   As swim suit season is now upon us, do you have any tips for shedding a few pounds?

  • Load up on fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in water content and nutrients and low in calories. Although it may seem counterintuitive increasing your intake water rich foods (as well as pure water) will help decrease bloat by flushing out your system. Watermelon, celery, and cucumber are all great options.
  • Limit liquid calories. When it is hot out you may find yourself increasing your intake of fluids, this is great as long as your liquids aren’t filled with sugar, artificial sugar, and/or chemicals. Water is your best bet- if that is too bland try flavoring with a squeeze of lemon and a few drops of Nunaturals liquid stevia.
  • Cut out refined starches and sugars. Not only do refined starches and sugars have little to no nutrition value they also cause belly bloat and water retention. However, don’t eliminate carbohydrates completely, choose high quality grains, starchy vegetables, and whole fruit instead.
  • Watch your salt/sodium intake. Your best bet is to avoid processed/packaged foods that are often high in sodium. Also be aware restaurants want their food to taste good, which usually means added salt among other flavor enhancers. A few of the biggest offenders? Table salt, soy sauce, salad dressing, baked goods, pickled foods, cured foods, and cheese. Note, however, we do need some sodium in our diet- if you avoid processed foods and prepare your own food you should feel free to use a little Celtic or Himalayan sea salt for flavor. Making sure you get some sodium in your diet is especially important when exercising for long periods of time in hot weather- you need to replace the sodium you sweat out.
  • Watch out for foods that cause bloat- artificial sweeteners, carbonated beverages, beans/legumes, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower) can all lead to a bloated stomach. Although I don’t suggest your completely eliminate beans/legumes and cruciferous veggies from your diet, you may want to choose other sources of protein and vegetation the few days leading up to when you will be wearing your bikini.
  • Increase your exercise. You can only cut back but so much on what you eat without compromising your health. Instead, up your exercise to help create a calorie deficit (calories in less that calories out= weight loss).

3.) What are tools to use to break unhealthy habits that are longstanding, such as white flour or a serious sweet tooth?

Honestly, go cold turkey. Try completely eliminating refined starches and sugars, or whatever it is you crave, from your diet for a period of time- ideally at least three weeks. It might be hard in the beginning, but before you know it you will forget what you are missing. Foods that contain refined starches and sugars, such as muffins, candy, soft drinks, have addictive qualities, add fat to the equation and they become even more addictive- for many, once they start there is no stopping.

4.)  Were you always a healthy eater or has becoming a nutritionist change the way you eat and think about food?

Not always, it has been a long road to get to where I am today. Although I would say my household was pretty healthy growing up, I definitely had my fair share of McDonalds Happy Meals and Cinnabons as a young child. In high school I started to care what I ate and had a desire to be healthy, but to me at the time this meant low fat foods, such as bagels and Snackwell cookies. It was towards the end of college that I started to become aware of what was truly healthy and took a serious interest in nutrition and eventually decided to pursue it as a career. Even since becoming a nutritionist/registered dietitian my understanding of what is truly healthy has evolved to a point where I feel very confident that the way I eat and recommend my clients eat is truly health promoting.

5.) What is your favorite indulgence?

Organic Nectars Cahewtopia vanilla “ice cream”. YUM!!

6.)  What are your tips for portion control and listening to your body?

  • Eat a vegetable centric diet.

Start your meal with veggies, whether it is a green juice before breakfast, some crudités before lunch, or a salad before dinner, I always recommend veggies first. Veggies are high in water, fiber (unless juiced), and nutrition. Starting your meal this way will help your mind and body get on the same page and will prevent your from overeating the denser fare included in your main meal.

  • Load up at least half your plate with veggies. You just can’t go wrong with veggies for the reasons listed above.
  • Keep your meals simple.
  • When there are too many flavors and textures in a meal it is easy to overeat because you want a little more of everything. A perfect example of this is a buffet or holiday meal situations- so many options that even if you only have a little of everything you are guaranteed to overeat.
  • I find by having either starch based or protein based makes overeating less likely- it is like built in portion control. For example, instead of having a breast of chicken and a baked sweet potato have one or the other and load the rest of your plate with veggies and a little healthy fat.

7.) What tips do you have for situations where you have little control over your food options such as, catered office meetings and weddings (there are so many in the summer)?

  • Have a snack first. Having a healthy snack before you go is your bulletproof vest. It will help curb your hunger therefore it easier to make good choices.
  • Do your best while you are there. Load up on any veggies that are available, choose healthy protein and fats, and feel free to have one or two indulgences.
  • What you do before and after is almost more important than while you are there. If you are at an office meeting and you choose to indulge in a cookie (or 2) don’t let this ruin the rest of your day. Instead of throwing in the towel do your best to eat super healthy the rest of the day.

8.) Are you a grazer (with healthy snacks always stashed in your purse) or do you like to wait between meals to experience hunger before a meal?

I do keep emergency, non-perishable food in my purse, especially when travelling or on the go for the day, but I am a firm believer in waiting until hungry for a snack and/or meal. Some days, if I have a light lunch, I will definitely have snack but, it I have a substantial lunch I will usually wait for dinner, or at the most snack on raw veggies.

It is ingrained in our heads that we need to constantly fuel our bodies from the very moment we get up in the morning. I, on the other hand, am of the belief that our bodies need a break! Digestion is taxing on a body that has so many jobs- if we give our bodies a break from digestion it can do it’s other jobs, like detoxifying cells and repairing tissues. Plus, we want to give the body a chance to fully digest and absorb the previous meal before we add more food to the digestive load. True hunger is a sign that the body is ready for more food and should not be ignored, but snacking for any other reason than true hunger I don’t recommend.

9.) Finally, what do your clients find most helpful about having personalized counseling from a nutritionist?

My personalized approach and the handholding I provide. People are unique and I treat them as such. During our first session with clients we discuss their health and diet history, lifestyle, food preferences, goals and challenges- taking this information I devise a personalized and unique plan to help them reach their goals and overcome their challenges. During follow-up sessions we discuss what is working and what is not- readjusting the plan as necessary. Another thing my clients find helpful is the hand holding I provide- my clients are given unlimited email support between sessions, this is important especially in the beginning when they are making changes and have questions.

For more about Christian and Pure Nutrition, visit her website. Pure Nutrition is focused on a natural simple approach and provides nutrition consultation services for every need, from a la carte to packages for the bride-to-be, “hot mama,” busy professional, people looking to get the everyday glow and more. You can also find more of her tips on facebook!

Thanks for sharing Christian!

Health Magazine-Session One

So I mentioned a while ago that I was selected to test a new Health magazine diet/lifestyle plan.  It is for a book coming out in the summer. 

I went to the first session yesterday to learn about the plan, meet the other participants, hear from editors at Health and meet the nutritionist who will be counseling the group and me individually.

There is so much information, I am not sure how to even begin in a blog post, so I will summarize as best as I can.

–We will trial this plan for almost 3 months, tracking weight as well as having before and after photos  (eeeek!)

–The plan is not a follow this diet, but more of guidelines that incorporate all of the foods you like in moderation

–The emphasis is resistance starches

–The gave us sample recipes to try if we want, but also understand many of us eat out most meals

–We meet with the nutritionist every 2 weeks

–We submit a meal plan every week, which means, I have to keep a meal journal! I have never done this successfully for more than two meals.

While I can’t reveal too much about the session, there were a few assumptions made that bothered me, but overall it was a great experience.

The best part was meeting nutritionist Marissa Lippert of Nourish NYC.  She actually has a great blog.

Marissa didn’t create the plan, so she is working with us on a personal level to tweak our diets, but also to work on the social, emotional and habit side of eating and weight loss.

She was awesome, I liked her right away.  She had us discuss issues, the whys behind what and how we eat.

She gave us some goals for the week:

–decrease portions 15-25%

–drink more water

–1 treat meal and 1 treat dessert a week still being mindful of portion size (yikes only one dessert?!)

–fruits and veggies at every meal

–focus on healthy carbs

-don’t skip meals

-food journal

–keep alcohol in check.  She said 3-4 drinks a week or less is fine. For those drinking 6-12 or more, cut 25-50%.

–cut back on processed and artificial foods and sweeteners as much as possible.

–increase exercise by 15 minutes a session or increase intensity (that’s a fun one)!

The hardest thing will definitely be so few sweets!  Does anyone have tips on reducing sweets in the diet?

So my goal is to shed 6 pounds by the end of this and potentially 9 by May.  I will have to see how I feel after 6, that might be enough.

I am nervous (and excited) to have this much accountability. I will keep you posted!

Also, tomorrow you won’t want to miss GIVEAWAYS, contests and reviews!  See ya then!

xoxo bloggies!

Emotional Eating During the Holidays

Hi Everyone,

You might remember Hadley, who has done a few guest posts from me before. Hadley is a health practitioner and the founder of Spark Wellness and the author of Hadley Holistics blog.   Today she is gracing Fitness NYC once again with a  great guest post on a topic I am sure many of us can relate to, emotional eating during the holiday season.  Enjoy!

For many, the winter holidays can be stressful. Sure, many of us look forward to gathering with friends and family… but it can also be stressful. How do many us cope? Eggnog, stuffing, cookies, cakes, pies… I could go on. We eat emotionally. According to a 2007 survey by the American Psychological Association, 41% of women and 25% of men eat to comfort themselves during the holidays (compared to 31% and 19% during the rest of the year).

So what is emotional eating?

Emotional eating is defined as using food or the act of eating to fill a void that has nothing to do with physical hunger.  Often there is the feeling of compulsion and an inability to stop. It can feel like the food is controlling you, instead of other other way around. Oftentimes there are feelings of regret afterwards: did I really need SIX glasses of eggnog and three servings of mashed potatoes?!

Sound familiar? It’s not just you: nearly 100% of my clients city this as being one of their top health concerns.

What’s the deal? Why do we do this?

Emotional eating is very much a primordial urge. From the time we’re born, we instinctively turn to our mother’s milk for comfort and nurture. As we grow older, we continue this pattern of turning to food to fill a gap in our lives, whether it be joy, excitement, sex, happiness, tenderness, sweetness. We also use food to cover up uncomfortable feelings, or sentiments we don’t want to acknowledge, such as loneliness, sadness, stress, boredom. Usually these are feelings that can’t be directly addressed in the moment so we use food to ‘shove down’ the feelings for later.

The holidays are a prime target for emotional eating. While the occasion is always superficially joyous, often times there are strong undercurrents of stress, anxiety, and lots of emotional baggage. Many of my clients, especially those who are single, complain about feeling very lonely over the holidays: all the good cheer makes them want someone special with whom to share it. Also, there are a LOT of unhealthy foods readily available for consumption (and very often forced upon you by a relative with good intentions).

So how can I get through the holidays without drowning my sorrows in pecan pie?

  • Plan ahead. Most (if not all) of us won’t get through the holidays without some emotional eating. Instead of fighting it and judging yourself for it, accept it will happen and plan ahead. If you go into the holidays determined not to break your diet, at some point you’ll probably end up scarfing down dinner rolls or canapes. Trust that your body will compensate for any overindulgences that many happen. (And, as any self-respecting woman’s magazine will tell you, don’t arrive at a holiday party or the Thanksgiving table hungry, having starved yourself all day in anticipation of the many caloties you’ll consume. Instead, have a protein-filled, fiber-rich snack 1-2 hours prior.)
  • Eat the foods you love. In love with your gradmother’s pumpkin cheesecake bars but could care less about mashed potatoes and gravy? Take a few minutes before you go to the table to prioritize the foods you really love and decide which you could live without. Give yourself permission to indulge in your favorites (hey, the holidays only happen once a year!) and do your very best to enjoy them without guilt. Trust yourself around these treats: if you don’t think about it as a forbidden food–if you’ve already given yourself permission to enjoy it–you probably won’t go crazy with it. Take this as an opportunity to practice what it is to truly enjoy eating.
  • Suspend judgement. Your body recognizes the post-bingeing guilty as it would any other stressor. So stressing over emotional eating episodes only begets more emotional eating. Instead, acknowledge that it happened, it’s in the past, and you cannot change it. It doesn’t make you a bad person.
  • Name the feeling. As soon as you recognize that you’re eating emotionally, pause and name the feeling that you’re trying to avoid or the gap you’re trying to fill. (e.g., I feel lonely; I really wish my great aunt didn’t always embarass me; I can’t believe the turkey went up in flames). This brings you into the moment and makes it an intentional act. Even if you keep eating the food, at least you know why and, at a later time, can start to work through that problem.
  • Avoid trigger foods. We all have one or more foods that, once we have a bite, it’s hard to stop. Common culprits are sugar (it’s an addictive substance) and wheat (a common allergen). Alcohol can also lead to overeating, as it lowers our inhibitions and makes it more likely that we’ll reach for a second helping of cheese souffle. If you know your trigger food, try to limit or avoid it. If you love sweets but know sugar is problematic, consider making a dessert with natural sweeteners (such as agave nectar, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup) that everyone can share.

To sum it up: the holidays are stressful for many and therefore a prime season for emotional eating. Treat yourself to your favorite seasonal foods so you don’t feel deprived. If you do reach for the leftover chocolate mousse in the middle of the night, don’t judge yourself, just acknowledge why and move on. Instead of thinking of this time of year as something designed to ruin your carefully crafted diet, instead try thinking of it as a great time to investigate the areas in your life that may be lacking. Most of all: practice trusting yourself around food.

Marathon Tips to Get You to the Finish Line-part 3!

 Get ready for part 3 of my tips for the marathon  training countdown  Nutrition and Fueling!  Part 1 and Part 2  in case you missed them!

Carbs on the Run

 So part 3 of the Jack Rabbit Sports Marathon Tips Session covered nutrition.  I am going to be honest and admit I left right before this session, but this was one of the sections that had a handout, so my info will be from there and from the many team in training nutrition clinics I attended—I’ll put the TNT info at the end.

So let me start by reiterating something I have heard from several marathon coaches and trainers: 95% of runners hit the wall due to nutrition.  They run out of fuel.  While Seinfeld popularized riding on “E” to see how far you can coast before dying, it’s not recommended you test this on marathon day.  Fill up your tank and live on the edge the next weekend :)

So here are tips from MS, RD, Cristina Rivera of Nutrition Energy!

Common Mistakes to Avoid leading up to the event:

  • Drastically cutting calories in an attempt to lose weight. This will not only affect your training and decrease performance, but inadequate caloric intake can lead to the breakdown of muscles as well as injury.
  • Using training as a pass to eat whatever you want. While your body needs extra calories to support your workouts, the most efficient times for this are before, during or after your event. 
  • Never eating before you train. This is like driving a car with no gas.  Fill up before you go.  (edited to add: my coaches always said you have about 1 hour of calories in you from the night before, but you want to make sure to eat at hour 1 and every 45 minutes thereafter.  However, you know your needs for morning eating, if you are hungry in the morning eat!  If you have a big nighttime snack and aren’t very hungry, you can probably eat very lightly or wait until the 1 hour mark.  On marathon day, I would definitely say eat before the race, you are standing around for a long long time before you start running!)
  • Losing too much weight during an event.  This means you are not hydrating properly, which can hinder your performance and increase your risk of muscle cramping, fainting or seizure.  For every pound lost, drink 16 oz of fluids.
  • Trying something new on race day.  Don’t do it! Bring your own fuel and don’t take anything along the course that might throw you off!

From TNT coaches:

  • Start hydrating days before any long run or race, get in the habit of upping fluids 3-4 days before.
  • Add salt to your diet a few days beforehand.
  • Increase your proportions of carbs to protein, but don’t increase your portions too much.  So instead of chicken with rice, have rice with chicken.
  • Eat your gus/gels in one shot.  This is not brunch, swallow, drink water and keep running. This way your body metabolizes and then refocuses on giving you the energy you need to keep going.

PRE-EVENT!pasta-party-artist-canvas

  •  
    • Make sure to eat a snack or small meal 1-3 hours before your event.  The size of the meal depends on how long you have to digest. 
      • This will give you energy to enhance performance as well as spare muscle glycogen, which will result in longer, stronger workouts.
    • Try have a mix of carbs and proteins to hold you over until event time.
    • To avoid GI Distress, avoid foods that are fried, creamy or high in fat.  Certain individuals tolerate liquids better than solids before an event.

During the event:

  • For events lasting over an hour, it is important to take in 30-60 grams of carbs per hour.  (a gu packet is 28-29 grams)
  • For events over 2 hours, some protein should be included to keep blood sugar levels steady.

Post event:

  • One of the most crucial time to replace muscle glycogen is within the first 30 minutes of completing the event.  Keep in mind that the first 30 minutes is a window, and like most windows, it is not always open. Don’t wait until it is too late to refuel.
  • Replenishing properly will improve performance, prevent injury and control your appetite the rest of the day.
  • Carbohydrates are absorbed quicker and more efficiently into the muscles when combines with some protein, such as a bagel and egg whites.
  • To find out how many grams  of carbohydrate you need following an event, divide your body weigh in pounds by two.

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More tips from my Team in Training coaches:

Q:   What’s a well-balanced diet for long-distance runners?
While training for your half or full marathon, you’ll want to make sure carbs make up about 60 – 65% of your total calorie intake. Without a doubt, carbs are the best source of energy for athletes. Research has shown that for both quick and long-lasting energy, our bodies work more efficiently with carbs than they do with proteins or fats. Protein should make up about 15% of your daily intake and no more than 25 – 30% should come from fats.
Q:  What should I eat before a run?
When you begin a run, you should feel neither starved nor stuffed. Try to eat a light snack or meal about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before. Choose something high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, fiber, and protein.  Some examples of good pre-workout fuel include: a bagel with peanut butter; a banana and an energy bar; or a bowl of cold cereal with a cup of milk.  Stay away from rich and high-fiber foods, as they may cause gastrointestinal distress (more on that later in the season, but if you are having problems, please let us know).
Q: How much should I drink?
Staying hydrated is critical, especially when running in the heat and humidity. Hopefully you all read the tips on staying safe in the heat, but here are some quick reminders:
> Try to drink 16 to 24 ounces of water or other non-caffeinated fluid about 1 hour before your workout (Stopping fluid intake an hour before your workout will give you a chance to expel any excess fluids before you start running, so you won’t have to stop to use the bathroom during your run).  You can drink another 4 to 8 ounces about 10 minutes before you start, so you start out your run hydrated.
> Here’s a general rule of thumb for fluid consumption during your runs: You should take in 6 to 8 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes during your runs. During longer workouts (90 minutes or more), some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink (like Gatorade) to replace lost sodium and other minerals (electrolytes). 
> Don’t forget to rehydrate after your run.  If your urine is dark yellow after your run, you need to keep rehydrating. It should be a light lemonade color. 
Q: Should I eat anything after a run?
After a workout, especially a long run, you want to replenish energy as quickly as possible.  Studies have shown that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen (stored glucose) stores within the first 30 minutes after exercise. If you eat soon after your workout, you can minimize muscle stiffness and soreness.  Again, you’ll want to consume primarily carbs, but don’t ignore protein.  A good rule of thumb for post-workout food is a ratio of 1 gram of protein to 3 grams of carbs. Nutrition bars, such as Clif bars or Power bars, are great because they’re easy to carry in your bag. Other examples would be a bagel with peanut butter or a smoothie made with fruit and yogurt.

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My two cents on  natural alternatives:

So that is a lot of info, clearly if you follow a specific diet, such as raw or vegan, you will probably have issues with the conventional use of sports beans, gus, blocks and gels—at least there are a few options that are organic and fairly natural thanks to Clif!  But simple things such as coconut water, dates, dried fruits, honey packets, and hemp based protein powders, give you easy sources of natural energy.  I have tried these options, and find they work as well as the commercial products, but I do tend toward Clif Shots since the ingredient list is short enough for me and they are easy to carry.  As long as you watch the fiber before and during the run.  Maple syrup, agave and honey can be substituted for clif energy gels and gus, etc.  For more tips on being a “natural” athlete check out books and articles  by Tim Van Orden (the raw runner)  or the Thrive Diet by Brendon Brazier.

No matter what you decide, make sure you test it several times before the race.  It took me ages to find the right something that didn’t bother my stomach and to figure just how much I needed to stay fueled.  Take the time to listen to your tummy, gain a grasp on your running metabolism, and find products that you can tolerate and work for you.  For example, I found sportz beans to be yummy, but far less effective than gus in providing almost instant and sustained energy.  While I don’t love the taste of gus, they do their job well, and never leave me craving for more.

For more info check out these runner’s world articles:

Snack Smart

Carbs on the Run

What to eat Post Run

Five Pre-race Nutrition Mistakes

Also, check out the Spa at Chelsea Piers for Marathon Mondays, 15% (non-members) to 25% (members) discount on massage treatments every Monday from 4-9PM through Nov. 2nd

Let it Rock

Wow, it’s been quite the weekend!

Last night I hosted a South Africa Reunion for the people who went on my study abroad.  Unfortunately the weather was terrible and what should have been a great roof top barbeque became an indoor soiree.  I have to say, I went beyond overboard with food!  I made like 10 dishes (tortilla espanola, spinach artichoke dip, smore brownies, a huge cheese and prosciutto platter, gorgonzola agave bruschetta with dried cranberries, edammame dip, hummus, mexican lay dip, chips and bread and crackers, caprese salad skewers, tons of crudités,sweet and savory trail mix; I also bought some premade TJs stromboli and feta and caramelized onion phyllo cups that I didn’t even serve.) Oh well, it was the first time I had cooked in a while, and I do love entertaining.  It was fun to see so many people from the trip, including our amazing professor, who stayed until 1:30AM! 

In any case, I had to be at Grand Central by 7 to meet Katherine for our long run, so I didn’t get much sleep.   I was excited to have company, and I knew I would need it.  I also wore my Obamathoner Running Shirt for good luck.

obama 003

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been really concerned about the pain in my foot that I had at the end of run.  So how did the big 2-0 go?  Well, it was the hardest run of my life, I am not going to lie.  From mile 1 there was pain.  However, it was not the sharp excruciating localized pain that I experienced at mile 17 last week.  It was a dull, mild, yet present ache in my left ankle and knee.  There was some pain at the top of my foot for maybe half of the run, but it came and went and wasn’t too bad.  The bigger sneakers helped this immensely.  So I am really hoping that most of the pain is just left over from running in sneakers that all of the sudden became way too small.  I am not really sure what the deal with the ankle and knee pain was all about, but that can also be due to ill-fitting sneakers.  I still don’t know how after 2 years and 5 pairs, my sneaker size suddenly changed, but i guess it is summer and heat and distance cause swelling.

So back to the long run, Katherine and I decided to do an around Manhattan run.  Starting at 42nd and Lex and running east to the promenade then heading uptown to 110th then crossing all the way west to Riverside Park before heading south all the way down the west side and around the very tip of the island and back up the east side. 

The route was great for a few reasons:

  1. I got to see Cathedral Street for the first time, which is just at the top of the park.  I have seen it from the top of the great hill loop in Central Park a million times, but never actually run down it.
  2. I got to run through Riverside Park, which was really beautiful with lots of shade and great views of the sail boats on the water. 
  3. We got to check out a few of the NY400 events going on down around Battery Park City
  4. I got to run up the east side for the first time in years. I actually forgot there was even a path all the way up the east side.  Although I have to say, it is not nearly as immaculately groomed as the west side.  There was a lot of tree debris that made the surface very uneven, and that was when the surface was fairly level, there were a lot of place that were in desperate need of paving with innumerably pot holes, loose grave and haphazard patching jobs.  It’s funny up on the west side and in the park, runners are so well-groomed with their fancy running gear and coordinated outfits, on the east side path the running clientele had a much more jerry-rigged wardrobe.

Overall the run was a struggle, I have never had any pain while running and I was kind of in shock that I suddenly had to deal with so much discomfort.  I used to start runs with the tight lead leg feeling, lately I have started my runs with my legs totally fine, but now I am dealing with something far worse. 

Beyond my own personal left leg and foot issues, running with Katherine is always amazing.  She is a bit stronger than me, but she is very generous in moderating her pace for me and being encouraging when the going gets tough.  We both were feeling it (not pain, just tired legs) around mile 15, so it was great to cheerlead each other through the last 1/4 of the run. 

We decided to use the Galloway method, which Katherine had used on her 18 mile run last week to great success.  I had vaguely heard of the Galloway method, but never used it.  However, I remember that someone told me that the Galloway method is guaranteed to improve your time on all runs, if you run 10 minutes walk 1. There was actually an interesting NYTimes article on the G-method recently.  We ran the first 5 miles straight and then switched to run seven minutes, walk one.  It was a change from last week when I ran the 18 miles straight through stopping briefly twice, once to refill my water bottles and once to loosen my laces.

Results: Well in ways, I thought it would be hard to stop and start.  I mean restart your ipod a bunch of times and you drain the battery, wouldn’t people be the same? Isn’t that the purpose of interval training?  However, it wasn’t too bad, the first minute was rough, but our times were way faster than when I ran without walking!  So weird, but true.  When we were running, it was under ten minute miles, whereas last week I ran at just under 11 minute miles.  I am not sure I will keep using it this training session, but it was definitely intriguing!  And I think it was better for my foot too.  Has anyone else used the Galloway method?

Fuel consumed: seven 6-ounce water bottles and a cherry pie larabar.

Total distance: 20.05 miles

Post-run: While I have described in detail my body feeling during the run, after wasn’t too bad.  I could definitely feel soreness in my knee and ankle, but I iced like crazy all afternoon, took two advil and feel pretty good right now.

Preventative Measures: I am anxious to talk to a doctor and/or podiatrist to make sure that this is just a mild sprain/injury.  I did read that ankle and knee pain is often related to weak quads.  So I am adding strength work for my legs back into my routine stat!  The strength makes me sorer at the beginning of my runs, but clearly it is worth a few miles of tightness for stronger, safer running overall.  I am also going to see how I feel tomorrow and maybe swim or bike for cardio.  Finally, I am going to wear my compression band for a while and see if that helps stabilize my ankle, since it took a beating on all the uneven surfaces today.

Oh, I have to thank Caitlin for her awesome song recommendation!  I downloaded Bombs Over Bagdad (B.O.B.) after seeing it on her 5K playlist.  Wow this is a great running song.  It is so intense!  It is great for the end of a run or race.  I am not even sure what they are saying, but wow is it fast!

Okay, so I said I would announce my new review today, but since this post is so long, I will announce it and go into much greater detail tomorrow.  I am trying Nu-Kitchen for 5 days starting tomorrow!  I am really excited since I was recommended to me by Dara Goddfrey and by friend Sue, who used it to great results after our marathon.  Nu-Kitchen is hands down the best food delivery system out there in my opinion, well not accounting for taste since I haven’t tried it.  But it appeals to me for several reasons:

  • The food is completely fresh, natural and delicious looking and the menu changes every week—unlike nutrisystem which looks like dehydrated dog food in the ads
  • It is affordable by NY standards, nu-kitchen is about what I spend on a day’s worth of food or one moderately priced meal out.  Any where from $11 for lunch or dinner to around $29-39 for  a day with three meals and two snacks depending the special and plan option
  • Lots of plan options, you can do a la carte, a few meals a day or a full day of meals and snacks.  You can even just do a day or two a week if you want!
  • You pick exactly what you want for each meal through a very simple online system
  • Nutritional information is provided for every single item on the menu

So I will explain more of my own personal reasons for wanting to try a meal delivery system and of course review each meal and snack tomorrow!  Yay for my first real food blogging experience.

Using Food as Fuel

I am very excited to have Julie from Julie GoLean here to discuss using food as fuel.  As you know, I have never been a serious athlete, so it is great hearing from a fellow blogger that has PLENTY of experience in the competitive athletics arena.  Thanks so much to Julie for discussing how to feed your body for demanding workouts and training! Oh, and for the divine recipes!

Hi everyone :)  My name is Julie and I’m an avid food and fitness freak! You can check out my blog Julie GoLean where I blab on and on about what I do for eating and exercising on a daily basis. thrilling, right? While Melissa is having a booty-kicking time in South Africa I volunteered to drop by with a little guest post action!
(Julie fun fact: I’m part African! My grandmother (dad’s mom) is actually Tunisian which makes this little Long Islander part African! too bad I got the Irish skin color..) anyways I figured this would be a good time to drop by and talk a little bit about using food as fuel. As a former college athlete and current coach maintaining a well balanced diet was and is extremely important to me. From preseason two-a-days in a sweaty hot gym with no air conditioning to ALL DAY tournaments averaging 3-5 entire matches, it became a serious realization to me that skipping breakfast, having a yogurt for lunch and fast food for dinner on the bus ride home was NOT going to provide the best form of gasoline for my body, an athlete’s body or just simply anybody! It was during my Sophmore year of college that I decided to make learning the right nutrition for an active young woman a hobby of mine.

It is first important to understand that food is fuel. It is not your enemy but simply a delicious form of gasoline to give your body the rev it needs to get through the day. Whether you’re a couch potato, training for a marathon, a teacher on their feet all day, a yoga nut, an athlete, or just an active person, it’s important to find the right balance of nutrients for your day. Your daily food intake  should consist of a balanced portion of carbs, protein, veggies, fruits, & milk fats. please do not fear food! When making the right decision on what to eat if your sticking to lean meats, whole grain carbs and low fat milk fats with an extra emphasis on fruits and veggies you’re definitely on the right track! The fact of the matter is that you need these foods whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply striving for a balanced diet!

After mucho experimentation during my collegiate athletic experience it was such a great feeling to finally find what worked for me and gave me the right kind of fuel to power me through tournaments and help me crush the ball down the other teams throat…I mean have a successful match..

I’ve found that the most important meal of the day for me has been breakfast. Whether I had a 6AM morning practice, a 5PM match, an all day tournament, or just simply an off day. Breakfast has been the go-to meal that gave me the right start to my day.

now I know you want some ideas…

there’s always the infamous green monster (or if you’ve been a reader of mine he’s what I like to call my boyfriend..)
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1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (milk fat)
1 scoop Vanilla (or chocolate) Protein Powder (protein should be atleast 100 cal with 15-16g of protein)
1 banana (fruit)
spinach :) (surprise veggies at breakfast)
ICE & blend baby blend

I usually have some toast on the side also as my carbs for the morning.

Another great breakfast is also the standard go-to oatmeal. Oatmeal is great because it’s EVERYTHING you need in one bowl. And you can make it as yummy as your little heart desires.

Here’s what mine usually looks like..
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1/2c oats
1/4c canned pumpkin
TONS of cinnamon & a little pumpkin pie spice
1/2c unsweetened vanilla almond milk

nuke it baby
on top I’ll chop up a banana, and smother it around with 2tbsp of Better N’Peanut Butter or Naturally More
and for kicks I’ll top it off with some Peanut Butter Puffins.
heaven in a bowl.
The best part about oatmeal is that you can add EVERYTHING and ANYTHING to it. doesn’t get much better then that!

these are 2 GREAT breakfasts that with fuel you through any workout, practice, class, hectic morning work schedule, crazy kids..you get the picture.

I hope you found this post helpful & if you liked what you read stop on by and hang out with me :)

My Study Abroad Health and Fitness Plan

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Yesterday I shared a round up of healthy travel tips.  So today I thought I would go into my specific strategy for this three week trip.  My attitude is always go with the flow and as much natural exercise as possible.  This is a busy study trip and I won’t be back in Africa anytime soon, so I don’t plan to spend all my free time in the gym, but as I do have a marathon to run in November, I hope for a little more than that if possible!

Fitness

(Fitness, Fitness is my Favorite! Insert Will Ferrell SMILE!)

So when I arrived at orientation for the program, the first question I heard someone ask (I was a little late since I had to come from work), was “is there a gym?”  God bless that guy’s heart!  I never would have asked but I almost cried when he did!  JK.  So I knew I was in good company, I hadn’t thought I would join a gym, but since our classes start at 10, there is not a whole lot to do between wake up and class, and the gym seems like a productive use of time for early birds like me.  Actually, almost half the students wanted to join the gym, which is only $35 for 3 weeks!  The cost of 1 Physique 57 class!  So even if I only go a few times a week, it seems worth it!  I am not sure what gym it is, but I am praying it happens to be the Virgin Active that is in the city!  The gym looks awesome and has lots of early morning spinning class-woo-hoo!

I will also be there with one of my biggest sources of gym-spiration, my friend Nico.  He works out twice everyday!  I hope we will run together fairly often, and he will push me outside my comfort zone to improve my speed and endurance.  I do plan to run 3 times a week with at least one long run. And hopefully, when we aren’t traveling, to take advantage of whatever is popular at the gym.

I ordered the Garmin FR60 in early May.  It was supposed to be available for shipment by June 2nd, but unfortunately, it still hasn’t arrived.  I give Garmin credit for being quick to respond; I have exchanged over 15 emails with 4 different people, but even though my watch was supposed to  definitely have shipped by June 24th, it never arrived.  I am a little bummed since it was a $175 investment that I will not be able to utilize while I am away, but I pray that when I arrive home it will be waiting for me—preferably with a huge bow!

Nutrition!

In South Africa you don’t have to worry about eating things cooked or even drinking the water, so I am not too worried about adjusting my diet.  For the record, the second question asked at orientation was, “will there be vegan options?”, so I figure I am pretty safe.   The only supplement I am bringing is probiotics.

For the 17+ hour flight, I am bringing the extra veggies in my fridge: baby carrots, celery, cucumber slices and sugar snap peas, plus a couple energy bars and buying huge bottle of Evian at the airport.  I also requested the vegetarian meal, so hopefully that will be honored.

Every morning the place  where we are staying will provide a “health and english breakfast.” I am not sure what a health breakfast is, but it sounds good to me!

In general, I tend to eat richer food in smaller amounts while I am traveling. I am usually too busy for lots of snacks and grazing, and obviously I don’t have to worry about boredom eating, plus that tends to be the general lifestyle in Europe.  The three meals plus afternoon gelato tends to work out well for me.  In addition to less grazing, I truly believe the limited consumption of processed and packaged foods makes a huge difference. Even though I find I am served food prepared with much more oils, fats and white flour than I am use to, the overall quality and minimal processing of the foods seems to make them more acceptable to the body–in my experience anyways.

I know that we have access to the kitchen and there are regular grocery stores nearby.  Even though it is winter in South Africa, I hear the produce is amazing! Tshwane is pretty cosmopolitan, so there is a huge variety of restaurants of all ethnicities. I plan to prepare most of my own lunches, and save eating out for dinner when possible.  I want to try the regional flavors, but I would rather spend my money on elephant rides than food.

I am bringing some snacks and supplies with me!

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I almost never eat bars at home, but they are great for on the go.  I also decided to bring some of Newman’s Own Organics Dried Apricots and Prunes to help bulk up my salads and for my sweet tooth.  And some oatmeal–because why the heck not?

10 Day Countdown!

I have realized my inability to stick to any kind of formalized plan long term; however, with only 10 days left until I hit the beach, I figure I can commit to some basic eating guidelines and work out goals to give my glow a boost and have me feeling my best!

The nutrition plan:

I tend to go for cognitive or behavioral eating changes rather than food changes, since I think good eating behaviors are practical and maintainable life skills. This is especially beneficial to people who, like me, eat out a lot.  I have at least 5 dining out plans scheduled in the next ten days, so sticking to a pre-designed plan would be impractical, but improving my choices and controlling the amount I eat is not. Speaking of eating out, I had dinner at Itzocan Cafe tonight. It is a tiny, but cute East Village place with remarkable fresh Mexican food.  It also had a menu with great options for absolutely any type of diet and food preferences.  Yum!

I saw this great article in Self last month, 20 Ways to Eat Healthier Right Now! At first I thought some of them were a little harsh/strict, but fortunately the  last one is:

Cut yourself a break!

“If you follow these rules most of the time but occasionally crave a fast food fix, a slice of pizza or a brownie, go for it. You can happily resume your healthy plan once you satisfy the urge. “We all have to relax a bit,” Drewnowski says. “If you want fried chicken now and then, enjoy it!”

I just refuse to feel guilty about anything I eat.  So seeing this was important. 

Thus while, if you can’t grow it, don’t eat it, seemed a bit impossible, I realize these are just general goals, not life sentences. 

It took me a few days to come around to Cake is just not that into you.

“Sugary carbs are the bad boyfriends of the food world. They woo us with sweet nothings and leave us unsatisfied, guilt-ridden and 10 pounds heavier. The solution: Pick a snack that has your back, such as fruit, lowfat yogurt and honey. The occasional hookup with a sexy old fling is fine (hello, red velvet!), but most splurges should have your health in mind.”

I was like seriously? Cake why you no love me? I love you!  But then I realized 90% of the time cake is a bad boyfriend, it doesn’t love me, it loves my cellulite.

  My other favorites tips included:

If it’s not around, you can’t eat it.

Your hips are not a fridge.

You can always have more.Tomorrow.

Beyond Self’s 20 GREAT tips, I am also, for at least 10 whole days, going to really hone in on some habits I have been trying to break: eating standing up, while preparing meals,  and daily desserts and sweets

The workout plan:

I was going to do the 10 Days to a Better Body DVD, but I realized I don’t love love it. It is good, and I like that there is quite a bit of cardio, but some moves are really easy and some are really hard. So I have decided to stick with the classic and go with the 30 day  10 Day Shred, plus alternating abs and legs sections from my Exhale Core Fusion DVD.

For the cardio, 65 minutes a day, 6 days a week.  An hour and 5 seems to be my magic number, and will definitely be an increase from my routine lately.  My plan is to get up early to fit all this in, and sneak in the strength at night if necessary.

 

Only ten days without dessert, sweets and white flour, I can do it! I have a feeling Adora calcium supplements may be my new after dinner bfs!

Best Week Ever Recap

Wow, I am getting very use to this no school thing.  I took a full long week to enjoy my freedom before starting to prepare for my summer courses. While I relished the simple abundance of every moment, I thought I would share some of the notable highlights.

 

The week started out full of NYC pride, as I had my first visit to the new Yankee Stadium…magnificent!  My friend looked like she had found the promised land, she was so excited.

TUESDAY:

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Wow, those mowers deserve some props!

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And then we watched our Yanks kick some Oriole butt back to Baltimore.

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WEDNESDAY:

The rebirth of Washington Square Park…

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In case you didn’t know, and actually care, WSP has been closed due to very controversial construction.  This construction involved moving the fountain about three feet left to be in line with the arch.  This kind of broke my heart because the park is basically the closest thing NYU has to a campus or “college green.”  I can’t imagine my undergraduate years there without it, it’s where we congregate and graduate.  So the incoming classes haven’t had access to it, and the last two graduating classes had to hold all University graduation at the old and new Yankee Stadiums.

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Young and old celebrate the grand opening…

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I have to say, the park is already back to its alive energetic self.

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BEAM GREEN

While I was very excited for the park to reopen, my Wednesday night activity was even cooler.

Gena was sweet enough to invite me to a Beam Green event.  First off, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to go to Tavern on the Green for the first time.  While many people rag on it for being a tourist trap, I couldn’t help but want to experience the fairyland atmosphere for myself.  It was even more extravagant and opulent than I could have imagined, yet elegantly so. Check out the chandelier:

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Beam Green was simply fabulous…I was actually a bit skeptical at first! BG is a social club with a focus on educating the community on achieving a healthy, organic and eco-conscious lifestyle. The club holds monthly meetings and events featuring prominent health and nutrition experts.  I have been a long time fan of Natalia Rose, and I could not wait to hear her speak!  We also had a great presentation from Dr. Ginger on how to progressively detoxify your diet, body and lifestyle.  It was funny that she mentioned Tiger Balm, which I recently reviewed, as the safest pain reliving cream.  Apparently, many other brands have ingredients that are dangerous when they enter your body through the skin, but Tiger Balm is an all natural and safe alternative!

Mary K. Boehmer is Beam Green’s gorgeous, generous and tireless founder.  Mary truly inspired me last Wednesday; I couldn’t get over how contagious her energy was and how flawlessly she put the evening’s program together.  Her passion and generosity are clear. Team Beam Green is on a mission to help educate the world on eco-conscious living and natural health and well-being, and at only $20 a month for membership, Team Green is the best bargain in NY!

The evening started with amazing delectables from Liquiteria, Babycakes, Whole Foods brown rice veggie sushi, a huge grilled and raw veggie platter with yummy dips, and non-soy coconut ice cream from Stogo.

Below: The tables on the left show “fake health” products according to Dr. G.   And the table on the right was filled with this month’s raffle prizes!

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Mary sweetly encouraged us not to be shy about taking home the leftovers.  Here is Gena taking home some kale and veggies! Another great dress Ms. Gena!

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I have to say I couldn’t wait to get home and devour the info provided in the Beam Green packets!  Oh, yeah, and two breakfast’s worth of green juice!

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THURSDAY:

No picture, but I had a cool opportunity to go visit the 50th floor of 7 World Trade Center for an event orientation.  OMG the views were amazing!  I have never seen such a gorgeous view of NY! The Brooklyn Bridge looked so tiny! With a pang of sadness, I must admit I can’t even fathom what the view from 110 floors must have been like!

Friday:

Blogger Meet Up with Gina the Fitnessista! Wow, I was so excited to meet Gena, a fellow fitness-focused blogger. You won’t  believe it but, she was even more drop dead gorgeous and charming in person.  Not only did I get to meet Gina, but I also got to meet/see again,  Ashley, Meghan, Gena, Brooke, Megan, and Katie.

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Seeing this photo, I hate myself for not wearing heels!  I am so freakishly short!

It’s all the fault of these:

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Yeah, I need to accept that I am midget and must always wear heels on most if not all social occasions, even if that means forgoing my favorite flats.

So anyways, swiftly moving on from insecurity, lunch was fabulous.  Unfortunately, my lunch hour was more than over before the food was served, so I had to ask them to package it up for me, so I could eat it at my desk.  I am sorry if I was rude girls, but I hate when people take lunch hour and a halfs, and I figured a lunch hour and fifteen was about as far as I could comfortably push it! Despite being desk-side, lunch was super yummy.  I feel bad for calling Caravan of Dreams too hippy dippy.  Their food is holy yum and holy cheap to boot! And the waiter was really nice to put up with my time paranoia!

I had the Ecuador, which was carrot pasta with tomato jicama salsa, pea shoots, scrummy guac, juicy mango chunks and two flaxseed chips.

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And a surprise treat:  my co-worker had bought me a green juice from organic avenue!  This one was the strongest I have had yet, it was as “meaty” as a juice can get!  Thanks Claudia!

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FRIDAY NIGHT:

No real photos (thanks google images), but I had a fun night at Harry’s Water Taxi Beach with my roommate and a few of our friends.  Plus, Ashley and Bo (the bears) happened to be sitting at the table next to us, so it was one big beach party!  While I had a great time, the drinks were seriously strong, my vodka sodas were basically huge shots with a splash of soda.  So after I was forced  heavily persuaded to get a third, I went to bed with the room spinning around me.  I woke up about 3 hours later and couldn’t go back to sleep, so it was a rough day.  Oh well, it was fun at the time! Maybe I just need some proper training…jk :)

SATURDAY NIGHT:

Gena and I went to Pure Food and Wine to celebrate her promotion, huge success in the raw food world, and much belatedly, her blog!  An evening at Pure is always a great one, and this was no exception.

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We split the sushi rolls, and I had a delicious salad of the day for my entree.

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It was light and delicious.  The tomatoes were absolute divinity and the salt and pepper on the watermelons was genius! The balsamic reduction was very yummy, I didn’t try the pistachio oil, but I am sure it was good!

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SUNDAY:

I invited one of my girlfriends over for dinner, and decided to prepare a tapas spread.   While there were many more things I wanted to make—roasted Brussels sprouts, grilled asparagus, spinach artichoke dip—since it was only two of us, I tried to restrain myself.  Here is what did make the menu:

Caprese Salad—recipe from Everyday Italian Cookbook.  I made this specifically for Laura, since I typically don’t like cold cheese (except goat and cottage), but OMG, this fresh mozzarella di buffalo was the best I have had since Capri two summers ago.  I couldn’t believe how it melted in the mouth! And the yellow heirlooms were so sweet and mild!

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I dressed it with a teaspoon EVOO, half a juiced lemon, a short drizzle balsamic vinegar and S+P. perfect and light!

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I also made a very simple baby spinach and cucumber salad.

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This is another Everyday Italian cookbook recipe, Sun-dried tomatoes and chickpeas spread. I cut the EVOO from 1/4 cup to 2 tsps and added water to make up for the missing liquid.  This tasted just like sundried tomato hummus.  The only problem, I forgot that I don’t actually like sundried tomato hummus; in fact, I really only like Cedars Garlic Hummus—I’m something of a purist. But if you do like sundried tomato hummus, you will like this.

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Next, Moroccan Spiced Carrots from Matthew Kenney’s Mediterranean Cooking.  This came out great!  I substituted cooking spray for oil.  Too much oil tends to be the only thing that bothers my otherwise resilient tummy, which is one reason I always ask for dressing on the side.  I also hate my greens being wet or soggy, it really bothers me as a huge texture person.

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Also on on the menu, but not pictured: Marinated Baked Tempeh.  I just marinated half a cubed  log of flax tempeh in soy sauce and garlic powder for a couple hours and then baked it in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes, turning once.  Very yummy!

Finally, I saw this on my way out of the store and decided to try it: Sabra’s Caponata.  Eggplant caponata is one of my favorite foods and I make it a lot.  However, I was tempted to see how this compared.  It was good, less chunky than most, with the exception of whole olives throughout.  I don’t like olives, but they were easy to pick out.  It was good, and since I don’t like Sabra’s hummus, I was happy I took a chance on their other products.  Mine is way better, but this was way faster!

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All of the above was served with pieces of warm, toasted whole wheat flat bread and a WW wrap. And a very nice Riesling that Laura brought.

 

For dessert, I enlisted Laura to help me taste test some of these great Guiltless Gourmet Dessert Bowls I received quite a while back.   Here’s the deal, they come in three enticing flavors: hot chocolate brownie, black velvet brownie, and banana’s fosters cake.

They have several great features right off the bat,

  1. they are portion control
  2. they take under a minute to make with NO mess (see below)
  3. they are much healthier than any other fudge covered cake I have seen on the market, and they taste very good.

The ingredients like is quite recognizable, we’ve got some sugar and non-whole grain flour, but nothing artificial or scary at all.

Ingredients
Ingredients: Brownie Mix: Evaporated Cane Juice Crystals, Wheat Flour, Cocoa Powder, Nonfat Yogurt Powder (Cultured Nonfat Milk), Palm Oil, Eggs, Kosher Salt, Baking Soda (Leavening), Natural Flavor. Fudge Sauce: Evaporated Cane Juice Crystals, Evaporated Cane Juice Syrup, Water, Cocoa Powder, Nonfat Dry Milk, Cornstarch, Kosher Salt.

The nutrition stats aren’t bad for a warm gooey dessert:  200 calories, 3 grams fat, 3 grams fiber, 4 grams protein

What did we think?  Laura and I sampled the chocolate varieties.  I had the black velvet and though it was really good, natural tasting, certainly not health tasting and very filling.

Laura had the hot chocolate brownie and said it was yummy and super chocolaty!

About a month ago, I tried the Banana Foster’s Cake:

 

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Basically, you just dump the mix into the bowl mix with 2 tablespoons of water and nuke for 30-40 seconds.

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Presto: drizzle and enjoy.

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While I loved the cake part, I didn’t love the sauce it tasted very very banana to me, and not in a good way, I am not a huge banana person…not even banana bread, so while the sauce was too strong, the cake was awesome.  and again, very filling.

Bottom line: These are a great alternative to a rich dessert, if you want to feel like you are indulging, but don’t want to go hog wild on the “real thing.”  Personally, I think these are great for an occasional treat, but I wouldn’t eat one every night because they are pretty rich and a bit high in sugar, and regular flour for a daily indulgence.  But these are not tiny, so at least you know you will stop at one.

MONDAY:

Breakneck Ridge Hike! (previously described)

Monday night post-hike: 10 minutes in the sauna and then I covered myself in Tiger Balm before passing out!

 

Wow that was a lot of info!

Giveaways: Element Bar @ Hangry Pants

Blog Makeover from Zesty Cook

Post-cleanse: clean and simple

First, I want to say that this has been the best week ever!  Yankees game, drinks with girlfriends, and an awesome weekend funfest line up, woo-hoo! While sometimes having plans every night during the week can be draining, this week, I have been in a fabulous mood regardless of whatever life’s little stressors have thrown at me.  Sorry for the delay in part two of my cleanse experience, I have been getting home after 11 and had to write a statement of purpose for school, but at least I have had time to reflect a bit more!

So why did I mention all this mood stuff?  I think one of the things I didn’t really touch on in my last post was that in April I hadn’t been feeling like myself.  Mainly my mood, I have never been a moody person, I don’t generally get too worked up about things, and I certainly can’t stay angry for more than a hot minute, so my general feelings of crankiness and blah, were kind of concerning.  I know that the stress of finals and craziness at work were contributing, but I also felt that my diet was also connected.  I felt that what I was putting into my body had to be influencing what I was putting out into the world. So getting rid of some of the junk weighing me down was a big goal.

So day 1 post cleanse!

Sunday morning I woke up, got my workout on and hopped in the shower.  I had plans for most of the morning and afternoon, but fortunately, on Saturday, I did a little planning and prep for my return to solids.

As I mentioned last time, the worst part of my first cleanse was not properly coming off it, I really felt crappy for the next few days and totally lethargic.  However, just as blueprint’s cleanse is dummy proof, they also provide a great plan for breaking the juice feast.  The plan they gave had a sample day one, mostly fruit, with salad and avocado as well. The second day the emphasis was on greens.   Day 3 steam veggies come back into play.   Day 4 starchy cooked veggies.  Day 5 rice and/or grains.  This is slightly more liberal than the Blueprint website:

Post Cleanse

The idea is to break the Cleanse primarily with fruit (day one), then add salads, then add steamed veggies, legumes (day three), from there you may begin incorporating what ever else it is that you normally eat leaving meat and dairy last to come on board.

Breaking the Cleanse Sample Menu:

Day 1 – A few pieces of fruit spread out through the day, or some fresh squeezed non-pasteurized juice (green/citrus/or fruit). If you wish to drink some freshly squeezed juice, be sure to dilute it with some water.

Day 2 – Raw or lightly steamed vegetables, e.g. spinach, broccoli; try and avoid the more starchy veggies like carrots, beets, squash etc. You may also have a raw green leafy salad with some vegetables.

Day 3 – Green salads should be your staple at this point. If you’re craving some more sustenance, you may choose plain brown rice (a small portion), or a yam or sweet potato.

Day 4 – If you eat meat, you may incorporate some now – lightly steamed or poached fish, with veggies and a salad of course!

Day 5 – Other more “dense” foods are now able to gradually make a come back.

So here is what I bought:

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Mostly organic: celery, kale, romaine, cucumber, carrots, apples, melon, Brussels, yams and seltzer.  Plus a few chobanis for down the road.  (Note: kale + sweet potato, i might have a certain blogger’s famous soup in mind)

I even vita-mixed a batch of Gena’s soup (with avocado instead of oil) to have on hand throughout the next few days. I have a batch at the office and at home.

Saturday I woke up, worked out and got ready to meet my friend for a matinee (in case you didn’t know, the first showing of movies in the city are half price!).  I had to hurry as we were seeing the show at the Lincoln Center Loews.  It ended up being a trek for me as the 7 train decided to stop running for a random 3 hour block that morning.  But after a shuttle bus, a train ride and hopping into a cab, I sprinted to the theater entrance just in time for Star Trek.  Fortunately, Derek lives directly across the street from the theater so he was standing there with the tickets when I arrived.   During the previews, I had my first random bout of uber happiness and for a good 15 minutes I was just loving the world.  Although, I had so much energy, I wasn’t sure I would be able to sit for three hours.  Fortunately, the movie was pretty good and the star was pretty cute, so I was fine.

That morning I cute up a 1/4 of a cantaloupe and packed my last green juice–this kind although it was in a bottle, not a glass of course.  I also packed an apple and a huge bag of celery just in case.juice, yankees, post fast 002

I ate a bit of the melon in the morning.  During the movie, I sipped on my last green juice…tear!  After the movie, we walked around a bit deciding on a brunch place.  I knew I could get a fruit salad anywhere.  Derek is fairly obsessed with Josie’s and I had never been, so it seemed look a good pic–healthy to boot.  It was starker in ambiance than I had imagined, but we only had to wait a few minutes, so that was good.  We watched the AIDs walk, while we waited.

I ordered the fruit bowl and the meuslen salad, vinaigrette on the side.  For some reason, the brunch service wasn’t very good, why does this only happen to me at healthy places?  The forgot to come to our table with their famous raisin rolls, although they were passed to almost everyone else. I was actually relieved I wouldn’t be tempted.  They also forgot my fruit salad, so I just had the greens.  Oh well,  I didn’t have much of an appetite, so it was a good time for that to happen.  At first I thought they were bringing my salad second, so I didn’t follow up, but by the time Derek was done, it was clear it wasn’t coming.

After that we strolled through Central Park, and had a little deja vu of my Saturday.  We went to a very special store to pick up a gift for my little sister’s college graduation next month!  BTW Kristen has almost completed the 30-Day Shred challenge…rock on girl! Then we went to Fossil to pick up my watch.

By then it was around 4:00, so I felt like really should eat something.  It will take a while to break that urge.  So I had some celery on my way home.

When I got home I had a little of Gena’s soup.

For dinner, I had a very light salad of romaine, cucumber and avocado.

Day 2

I stuck with the plan and had fruit for breakfast, more of gena’s soup for lunch, some raw veggies and fruit in the afternoon, juice, yankees, post fast 007and a salad with roasted veggies and a few rosemary quackers for dinner.  I also had a fair amount of extra dark organic chocolate.juice, yankees, post fast 010

So far this worked perfectly, I never felt tired or nauseous after eating and my mood was great.

By Day 3, my appetite was back and I incorporated yams into my lunch salad.  For dinner, I knew I would be at the yankees game, so I picked up a hummus sandwich loaded with veggies from Think.  It was probably the best and easiest choice available, despite the improved dining options at the gorgeous new stadium.  I was excited to find Melissa’s Organic Fruit Cart!  Cool!  I also had a hot chocolate because I was freezing, and didn’t want caffeine from coffee so late at night.juice, yankees, post fast 021

Day 4, I was hungry pretty much all day. I wanted every cookie, brownie and ice cream cone in sight.  I have to say I have pretty much fully integrated grain and dairy back into my life by this point.  While at first I was alarmed at how quickly my taste buds were re sensitized to sweet food and grains, but I realized this morning that hormones definitely played some role in my sudden hunger craving comeback.  But at least no bloating or cramps this month!  I also attended the most amazing Beam Green Social Club event, that certainly will have a post its own post.  All I can say is that Beam Green is the best kept secret in NY.  Events like that usually go for $100, but membership is only $20 a month. First off the events take place at Tavern on the Green–so cool, secondly there is tons of amazing nibblies, such as Liquiteria  juices, babycakes cookies, veggie brown rice sushi, veggies platters and more!  So much more to say, stay tuned.

So that is where I am.  I think my mood and outlook was the most drastic effect of the cleanse.  I learned that your taste buds will crave what you give them, but sugar, starch and sweets definitely have a lasting and instant hold!  I also realized how much better I feel without a big nighttime snack. I have always been a late eater, but I realized how much lighter and energetic I feel in the morning if I stop eating around 8.   Hopefully, I can keep that up.

So that’s my story, I am not crazy, I don’t deprive myself, I love food, eating, and ice cream, but I also really love green juice!