Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oops, I have a blog?

Sorry for that long hiatus. I'm alive, I swear! I wish I could say that I have been terribly busy this past couple of weeks, but that would be lying. My laziness got the best of me, which is why I haven't posted a thing since my trip to DC. Which was great, by the way! I got to go home and visit the fam. Fun :)

I got to try a couple of restaurants while I was in DC. The first day, we went to Bus Boys and Poets, a hip restaurant near the DC Convention Center that is also a venue for artsy community events. There's also a small fair-trade market and bookstore. Food-wise, they offer sandwiches, soups, burgers, salads, pizza, coffee. Pretty standard and solid. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, which are clearly labeled on their menu. I chose the veggie burger which came with sprouts, tomatoes, and avocado with a side of sweet potato fries. The veggie patty was a bit dry and dense, but overall, it was quite yummy. The best part was the sweet potato fries. I am obsessed with sweet potato fries, and these were perfect! The skinny fries were perfectly crunchy and sweet, and the burger came with a lot of them. They filled up more than half my plate!
I cleaned my plate, and ate every last one of those delicious fries. It was very filling and my tummy was happy :)

The next couple of weeks will be final exams, and then I'll be going home! I can't wait, mostly because I miss cooking in my kitchen (haha, is that bad that I miss my kitchen more than my family?). I'll try to update more often and be a better blogger :P

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On the Road Again

Guess how I'm going to be spending my Thursday night and Friday morning? Driving! (and hopefully sleeping, as well) But where am I going? To Washington DC! What am I possibly going to do there? Attending Powershift 2011!

What is Powershift? It's a conference for young activists who are passionate about global environment issues. Here's a description taken from the website:

This spring, over 10,000 young leaders will converge on Washington, DC to stand up for our future. At Power Shift 2011, we’ll stand together to reclaim our democracy from big corporations and push our nation to move beyond dirty energy sources that are harming the health of people and the planet.

I'm SO excited for this! However, between here and there, it's about 850 miles, a 16 hour car ride, factoring in breaks, and a long, sleepless night. However, it'll be so worth it! I enjoy road trips, especially in a car full of college kids :)

Oh, and did I mention that I am kind of from DC? I live in the suburbs, so more like the DC metropolitan area. I love DC and would have to say it is one of my favorite cities.

I'll be sure to update about my trip, if not during, then after :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rainy Monday

I woke up this morning at 6am on the dot. I have been trying to go to bed around 10pm for the past few weeks, and every morning, like clockwork, I wake up around the same time. Usually, I need about 7-8 hours of sleep to feel fully rested, and then I wake up automatically. I usually don't like to sleep in, unless if I go to bed super late, and I would definitely say that I am a morning person. I just love the light of dawn, the quietness, and leisurely getting ready for the day. This way, I am never rushed to get out the door, and I can sit down to a nice breakfast.

Actually, scratch that. I do that in the summer, but when I am at college, I tend to sleep late (around 2-3am) and wake up around 10 or 11am! It's funny, because all my friends have to wake up early during the school year, and sleep in during summer break, but I am the opposite. I sleep in at school and wake up early in the summer! However, since I am trying to be healthier, I am trying to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.

Waking up early gives me the time to squeeze in a run. I like to run in the mornings, especially if it's going to be a hot day. I can't stand running in the heat. This morning was wet and a bit rainy. I was going to take a rest day today, since I ran Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Also, I am adverse to getting wet (I hate wet feet!). However, since I woke up so early and have so much time before my 11am class, I got a bit restless and went out for a short jog. Although it rained a tiny bit, I am so glad I went out today! It was cool and breezy, and it felt glorious. I should take more advantage of rainy days like this.

Okay, gotta eat breakfast and get ready for class, now! Have a great Monday!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring is most definitely in the air

This morning was beautiful; warm and sunny, a light breeze, the smell of flowers, and... pollen. I set out for a run this morning, and mid-run, my allergies started acting up. By the time I complete 5.6 miles, my eyes were itching like crazy, my nose was running, and I couldn't stop sneezing. Come on, trees, you're killing me... KILLING ME.

Ugh, this time of the year, it's unavoidable. Being indoors helps a lot, but I don't want to hole up inside when it's just so nice out! I try to avoid taking allergy medication, but I might have to buy some if it gets any worse. Hopefully the trees will stop trying so hard to reproduce, and I can go outside without wanting to scratch my eyes out.

After my run, I fueled up with a huge bowl of mango chia oats. I am probably going to hang out at the bookstore later today and get some school work done. Hopefully. I am usually so lazy on Sundays. Actually, I am lazy most days, but especially on Sundays ;)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Food= NRG

Note to self: eat before going out on a run!

This morning, I woke up at 6am because I had trouble sleeping. I had coffee, and felt a bit queasy, so I didn't have my usual protein shake: 

I usually have a serving of Spirutein before I go out to run. I like it because it tastes pretty good and gives me a boost of energy in the morning. It also helps me stay hydrated. So when I skipped out on it this morning, BIG MISTAKE!

The start of my run was pretty painful. My muscles felt fatigued and I started breathing rather heavily. It got easier after the first 10 minutes once my body started to warm up, but I could feel my energy draining. I was REALLY hungry during my run, and all I could think about was breakfast! I pushed myself, though, and kept going because the faster I finished, the quicker I could eat!

By the time I finished my 4 mile run, my blood sugar was crashing. I quickly made a bowl of oats mixed with chia seeds and a mashed banana. I like to cook oats with a lot of water in the microwave. It comes out watery, but adding chia seeds thickens it up.

Let this be a lesson learned. In order to function properly, food and water is necessary. Don't drink enough water= dehydration. Not eating= no energy. So simple, but apparently I didn't get it.
Ah, that hit the spot ;)

I also went grocery shopping today, and bought a ton of fruits and veggies, as well as almond milk and pita bread. My fridge is well-stocked, and that makes me happy :D

For lunch, I ate an apple and a green smoothie with spinach, cucumber, mango, and chia seeds. I sorely miss my Vita-mix blender (it's at home, I'm not). My wimpy Oster blender is just not powerful enough to completely pulverize all the green bits.
Using your laptop as a place mat is NOT recommended! I have a bunch of crap on my desk, so my laptop was a convenient place to plop my smoothie on.

Got hungry a couple of hours later, so I made myself a pumpkin sandwich. I spread pumpkin puree on a pita and topped it with cinnamon, ginger, raisins, and sunflower seeds. It's not very sweet, but I can eat pumpkin straight out of the can!
Hmm, not very neat
Still tasty, though!

Friday, April 8, 2011

(: Friday!

Yay it's Friday! Well, Friday's actually almost over. I've been pretty busy today, though, and I'm going to try to go to bed before midnight because I want to get up early tomorrow to run. It's going to be hot tomorrow (nearly 90 degrees!) so I want to beat the heat.

I didn't run this morning because I needed to study for an exam at 11am. Had another class, had lunch with a friend, and then went to work. After work, I came home to change, and went out for a run in Vibram Fivefingers. They are supposed to mimic barefoot running while protecting your feet. They look funny, like toe socks, and I always get comments on them. It is kind of weird to wear them just walking around, but I think they are comfortable and enjoy the feeling of walking barefoot. I bought them in January, and used them for a bit of walking, but I haven't really ran in them, yet. They are supposed to strengthen muscles that don't get used as much when running in traditional shoes. My calves got a bit sore, since I am not used to barefoot running.

Argh, I don't know why, but I have trouble staying hydrated. I feel like I am drinking enough water throughout the day, but as soon as I started out on my run, I started feeling thirsty. By the time I came back, my mouth was dry and I was REALLY thirsty. I carry around a liter water bottle during the day, and I drank at least one and a half bottle of water today, but I was still dehydrated. It was pretty hot today, and I sweat quite a bit, though. I'm like the opposite of a camel, really inefficient at retaining water. I have to pee like crazy when I drink a lot of water, too. Meh.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hump Day

It's Wednesday night, and the week is more than half over! This post is just going to be my ramblings about my week, so feel free to bypass it.

I felt pretty crappy on Monday and Tuesday, and to be truthful, I've fallen off my healthy eating routine wagon. It was thunder storming on Monday, so I ran 3 miles indoors at the gym instead of my usual run in the neighborhood. On Tuesday, I had no energy and had no motivation to work out, so I didn't do anything except for walking back and forth to class. I skipped out on work, as well. Ugh, some days, I just feel too depressed to do anything. I don't know what triggered it, maybe the cruddy weather or feeling stressed out, but I binged on a bunch of crap foods that made me feel like crap.

Haha, I used crap a lot in that paragraph. Well, I'm hopping back on track and pulling myself out of this slump. Today, I went for a short run in the evening. I wanted to run more, but I didn't drink enough water during the day and was dehydrated. Need to make sure I'm getting enough water. Afterwards, I fueled up on a green smoothie with collard greens, spinach, cucumber, 1/2 an avocado, and chia seeds. Yummy and refreshing :)

Well, two more days until the weekend! Nothing much is going on, but my mood always seems to improve the closer it is to Friday. I just need something to look forward to.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Raw Zucchini Pasta with Cashew Sauce

Last night, I made raw zucchini pasta, or rawsta, for dinner. It takes less time than boiling a batch of cooked pasta. I wasn't that hungry, since I already had a green smoothie, so the portion I made was quite small.

Raw Zucchini Pasta with Cashew Sauce
makes 2-4 servings

  • 1 cup cashews
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt, to taste
  • water
  • 4 zucchinis, or yellow squash
  • salt, to taste

First, make the sauce by blending the cashews, lemon juice, and salt in just enough water to cover the nuts. You want to add enough water so that the blender will be able to blend it smoothly, but not so much water that the sauce will be too thin. 

I made the sauce with only 1/2 cup of cashews, which is enough for two small portions (2 zucchinis)

Make the noodles by grating the zucchini length-wise with either a vegetable peeler, box grater, mandolin slicer, or if you want to get all fancy, a spiralizer. I only had a box grater, and a mini one, at that. It worked, although my noodles did come out as pretty and uniform as a spiralizer would have made.
My mini box grater. It's cute, but not that grate great...

Bowl full o' noodles :) I think it's rather pretty, anyways. Season the noodles with salt, and let it hang out for a few minutes.

The zucchini will release some water, so be sure to drain it off before tossing it with sauce, or else it'll make your pasta watery. I made this mistake, so I had watery pasta ): 
It was still good, though!

I still have some sauce left over, so I'll be eating rawsta again some time in the next day or two. The sauce will probably keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pumpkin Banana Wrap

Like I have said before, I LOVE PUMPKIN! I had this wrap for lunch today, and it was sooo good and satisfying, and kept me full throughout the afternoon.

I love eating wraps because they are so versatile. They are also very portable, as long as you don't fill them up with soggy ingredients. I often make veggie wraps for lunch when I am at school, but I'll be making more sweet wraps in the future.

Here's the recipe for my pumpkin banana wrap, but of course, you can choose to add whatever fruit, nuts, honey, seeds, etc. you like! Choice; that's the power of the wrap ;)

Pumpkin Banana Wrap

  • 1 multi-grain tortilla (or whatever flavor you like)
  • 1 Tbsp your favorite nut butter 
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • pumpkin spices, to taste (I used cinnamon and ginger)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 chopped medjool date, or other dried fruit
Spread your nut butter in the middle of your tortilla

Spread the pumpkin puree over the nut butter and sprinkle pumpkin spice on top

Slice the banana and place on top of the pumpkin. Sprinkle on some chopped, dried fruit.

Roll it up, cut, and enjoy!
So simple, yet so good! :P

How to Start a Workout Routine

Today, I woke up early, had coffee and a protein shake, threw on my running clothes, and went for a run in the neighborhood. And kept running. Actually, I ended up running over 5.5 miles, according to mapmyrun.com

Let me say, I am not a runner. Today was the first day I went outside to run, this year. I have always been intimidated by running outdoors, afraid that it would be too hard and tiring. However, once I finally got out there, I felt so great and energized, that I wanted to keep going! I don't really run that fast, and I was going at a leisurely pace so I didn't get too tired by the end.

So how did I go from running adverse to enjoying it? First I should clarify that I am not a couch potato. I actually hate being sedentary, and get restless if I didn't do any physical activity for the day. In high school, I was an athlete, playing for the varsity volleyball team. But once I got to college, I didn't do any sports, and avoided the fitness center like the plague. I bought a membership, but haven't used the gym until the past couple of weeks.

After I committed to becoming healthier, I decided that it was high time to get some exercise in my daily routine. It started with taking a walk around the neighborhood for about an hour in the mornings. The weather was beautiful and warm, so I was motivated to go outside to enjoy the sunshine and warmth. Then, as good things never last, it got cold and snowed! That's when I started going to the gym.

At the gym, I started slow, and worked my way up to longer workouts. The first day, I just did a little cycling. Then I started running on the elliptical, and speed walking on the treadmill. For the past week, I have been going to the gym everyday, doing about 50 minutes of aerobics, some light weight lifting, crunches, and yoga to stretch my muscles. I could feel myself getting more fit, and it became easier to run on the machines longer. I stuck with going to the gym every morning, no matter how I felt, because after my workout, I always felt really good about myself.

Today, the weather has finally gotten a bit warmer, so I finally got out of the gym and hit the pavement running (literally, haha). I might have gone a bit overboard, today, but I didn't have to push myself to run that much, and I felt great afterwards. That can't be a bad thing, right?

The key steps to developing a workout routine is starting slow. If you are afraid of running and feeling exhausted by exercise, then you are less likely to do it. A good workout doesn't mean that you have to do it for hours, get all sweaty, and feel fatigued. Spring is the perfect time to get fit. The weather is warming up, so there's plenty to do outdoors!

Steps to go from Couch Potato to Fitness Fanatic:

  • Start by taking a walk. That was easy, right? 
  • Go for longer and longer walks, making sure to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
  • If you have a gym membership, try using an elliptical, stationary bike, or the treadmill. Don't push yourself so hard that you feel fatigued, but go at a pace to raise your heart beat.
  • Working out regularly is a habit. To form a habit, consistency is key. If you don't have time to work out everyday, make a goal, like "I will workout at least 4 times this week", and stick to it.
  • As you exercise more regularly, you will feel your fitness increase, and that you have more energy to go for longer and faster runs. If you did 25 minutes on the elliptical yesterday, and today you feel energized after 25 minutes, try going for 5-10 extra minutes longer. 
  • It is important to do something that you really enjoy. If you just hate being stuck in a sweaty gym, go outdoors to run, walk, play sports, whatever! If you have terrible allergies, join a gym, your local aquatic center, or even buy a workout DVD to do at home.
  • If you'd like, you can log your workout to see your progress. Seeing improvement can be a great motivator.
One more reminder: be sure to stay hydrated! You should drink water before, during, and after your workout. There's nothing worse than that dehydration-induced headache. Yuck.

So, question for you: What do you do, or what would you like to start doing, to get fit?