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Product Review #1: Flax Paks by Carrington Farms

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I was so excited to find these because I do not have the time or kitchen machinery to buy whole flax seed and grind the amount I need each time I want some, and I don’t want to buy a huge bag of pre-ground flax and leave it in my fridge because I’ve read that this can lower the nutrient level. These Flax Paks are a great alternative!

I pour a packet of flax into my smoothies most days to give my body a source of healthy fat and to give my smoothies a slight nutty taste. The taste isn’t very noticeable, but it makes the smoothies a tiny bit less smooth. I personally don’t mind it though. I think that these packs would also be great mixed with oats, sprinkled on top of a salad, or with fruit and yogurt. The company says to make sure not to heat them above 120 degrees to retain their nutritional content.

Look at all the healthy fat! And 2 grams of protein too, in this tiny little pack!

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This is how much flax is in the pack, poured into my blender in the GM-making process.

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The final product! (1 banana, 1/2 c strawberries, 1 c soymilk, 3 c spinach, 1 Flax Pak, 8 ice cubes)

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Product Review #2: Gardenburger GardenVegan burgers

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First of all, the ingredient list: Bulgur Wheat, Water, Textured Wheat Protein, Cooked Brown Rice, Onions, Mushrooms, <2% Vegetable Gum, Wheat Gluten, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Garlic Powder, Salt, Natural Flavor, Spices, Annatto for color, Olive Oil, Caramel Color, Soy Lecithin.

While the list is longer than I’d prefer and has some things in it that I’m not crazy about (artificial coloring, ‘natural flavor’, soy lecithin), I think it’s pretty good for a vegan ‘burger’ alternative. I like that soy is last on the ingredient list because this makes this a non-soy protein food. I try to only eat soy protein (like tofu) for a meal two or three times a week.

Next, the nutritional lineup:

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Now this is pretty great. 9 grams of protein!

These burgers can be cooked on the stove-top or in the microwave. I have been microwaving mine for two minutes. This results in a nice crisp gardenburger. I was afraid at first that it would be soggy and gross, but it was actually great! I could taste the brown rice. I love my garden burger with some garlic hummus!

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The Farmer’s Market was great! They didn’t have my kale though, so I had to pick some up at the Co-op. I had lots of splurges today: crepes, nutella, and pizza! TheyΒ  were yummy and worth it, but I’m going to make sure to get lots of greens in tomorrow!

I’m in the process of getting a contest together, so stay tuned!

Good night & wish me luck on my quiz tomorrow!

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It’s raining here again! Although I’m not going to complain, because I love thunderstorms. πŸ™‚

I woke up earlier today, around 8:30, so I was happy with that. It gave my just enough time to do the readings for my Classical Mythology class today. However, I think that it may have contributed to my feeling extremely hungry during my classes. Because I woke up earlier (and I have my breakfast within 10 minutes of waking up), I also ate breakfast earlier (the usual Flax Multibran + raisins + soy milk). Thus, around 1:00, I was starving! I snacked on 2/3 of a nutrient dense Organic Food Active Greens Bar around 11, and found that it didn’t keep me full and energized like ClifBars do.

As soon as I got back from class, I whipped up lunch. I really liked my lunch from yesterday and was in no mood to be creative (Lindsay is not a happy camper when hungry!), so I decided to go for it again. A Gardenburger on a sandwich thin spread with hummus, carrots with almond butter, with a side of melon. For dessert, I had a few squares of Green & Black’s chocolate along with an Adora dark chocolate calcium disk.

I finally used up my first jar of almond butter, all by myself! I have a jar stashed and ready to go for tomorrow πŸ˜‰

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Today I decided to start a book I got last weekend, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, who also wrote The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The summary:

Food. There’s plenty of it around, and we all love to eat it. So why should anyone need to defend it?

Because in the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion – most of what we’re consuming today is no longer the product of nature but of food science. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American Paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become. With In Defense of Food, Pollan proposes a new (and very old) answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Pollan’s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.

I’m interested to get into this book because when I read the summary, I feel defensive. I feel attacked for thinking about “nutrients” and always being aware of the balance of foods that I’m eating during the day. However, I do agree with his thought that food should just be simpler! I know a lot about nutrition because it interests me and so I have read a lot about nutrition: books, journals, scientific articles, etc. However, many people do not have this passion for nutrition, but do have a passion for losing weight. When they see an article in So-and-so Magazine called “The Way to Lose Weight”, they’re going to read it. And then they might pick up Blah-blah Magazine, which has an article with the same title and completely different advice! No wonder it’s confusing! Sometimes even I am confused!

I think part of it is that even science is confused. There are conflicting studies, inconclusive results, and things that are distorted by the media. This is where I feel that Pollan’s book’s premise has a point. Sometimes it is easy to get so bogged down in the science of it all that we forget the simple things we know are true. He sums these things up with his slogan “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.”

I’ll let you know what I think when I finish the book.

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I’ll leave you with this quote that I found in this month’s issue of Runner’s World that fits perfectly in with my post from a few days ago, To Rest or Not to Rest.

Runner’s World: Jack Daniels, a coach and exercise physiologist in Flagstaff, Arizona, recommends putting off workouts if you’re feeling tired. “The most important thing is to recover,” he says. “If you’re tired on a workout day, there’s nothing wrong with moving it to another day.

I take this not to mean just don’t run if you don’t feel like it, but to make sure that you are feeling well enough to get the best out of your workout.

Well, I’m off to get in a quick run before I have to go spend four hours in the lab mating fruit flies!

‘Til tonight,

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Good afternoon!

This is going to be a short one because Tuesdays are busy for me! I have class and then I babysit in the afternoon.

I woke up later than I wanted to this morning – 9:20! I usually get up around 8, but ever since the 4th of July weekend I’ve been waking up late, no matter what time I get to sleep. I guess I’ll have to set my alarm for a week to get back in the habit!

Breakfast was Flax Multibran with raisins and soy milk.

I had a GM for a snack (strawberries, banana, spinach, kale, flax pak, soy milk) around 11:30, and then I just had a small lunch of a Gardenburger on a sandwich thin spread with hummus with sides of carrots with hummus and a cup of pineapple.

I got in about 1/2 hour of yoga this morning, but I was stressing out and so didn’t get the most out of it. I might do some more tonight.

See you after dinner!

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1. Here’s what was hiding in the corner of my grocery goods:

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Gerbera daisies! Settled in their vase atop of my desk. Every Sunday when I go grocery shopping, I treat myself to a couple of flowers. They always sit on my desk and whenever I’m stressed and swamped with work, I can always look up at them and smile. They just make me happy.

Q: What are the small things in life that make you happy?

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2. Easy-peasy-yummy-vegan PASTA time!

Ingredients:

  • pre-marinated tofu (I buy mine already marinated, but you can marinate your own too)
  • whole wheat rotini pasta
  • crushed garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 c broccoli or other vegetables
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • mozzarella cheese (I use SoySations)

1. Boil water on the stove with a touch of salt. When boiling, add the pasta and boil for 8-10 minutes until tender.

DORM TIP: If you don’t have a stove, but have a microwave, you can still make pasta! Using a ratio of 1 c pasta to 1 quart water, cook on high power for about 20 minutes, checking every 5 minutes. More information here. This would have been helpful to know when I was living in the dorms!

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2. While pasta is boiling, cut tofu into cubes and saute in a pan until light brown.

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3. After tofu cooks for about 4-5 minutes, add a big handful of spinach to the pan to wilt.

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4. A huge handful shrinks to this!

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5. When pasta is cooked, drain and rinse, then pour back in the pot you cooked it in. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1-2 cloves crushed garlic, then mix in the tofu/spinach mixture. Add broccoli/other veggies and stir mixture for 3-5 minutes until veggies warm. Serve on a plate topped with mozzarella cheese!

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That was my yummy dinner for tonight. Before dinner I snacked on a gala apple and a handful of Mary’s cracker with hummus. After dinner I snacked on 1/2 c of my chocolate coconut milk ice cream with the other half of my Vegan Nirvana cookie.

Now it’s off to bed because I have to be up early tomorrow – I have an appointment with a new nutritionist! I’m very nervous about it because I haven’t seen a nutritionist in a few weeks and I’ve never seen this particular nutritionist, but I’m trying to keep an open mind and breathe through the stress. Adi of this week’s free YogaToday video would be proud!

Have a lovely Sunday night!

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First, the results of grocery shopping Sunday: (I love going to the grocery store – it’s one of my favorite things to do. Is that sad? πŸ˜‰ )

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First I tried a Co-op that just opened in Lyme, NH. It was nice, but wasn’t big enough to have the variety I was looking for (plus I couldn’t find my coconut milk ice cream – big problem!). So I just went to my trusty Hanover Co-op.

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  • Organic WestSoy Lite Plain (I go through one of these every two days!)
  • Once Again Organic Peanut Butter (I can see in the picture that I accidentally bought crunchy…so *NEW*)
  • Once Again Organic Almond Butter
  • WestSoy Pre-Marinated Tofu: Italian Garlic & Herb flavor
  • Pavich Organic Jumbo Raisins (to have with cereal!)
  • Flax Paks *NEW*
  • Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream (chocolate flavor)

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  • Olivia’s Organic Baby Spinach
  • SoySation “Mozzarella Cheese”
  • Gardenburger GardenVegan Burgers *NEW*

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  • Pineapple
  • Organic Carrots
  • What are those in the back left? You’ll have to wait and see!

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Running and Hydration

As I’m sure we all know, it is so important to be hydrated when we run (or do any sort of exercise!). Two main ways we lose water are through breathing and sweating, which means that we lose more water during exercise (faster breathing, more sweating)

For 3 mile runs, it’s a breeze – chug a glass of water a little while before you leave, have a glass or two when you get back. However, for longer runs, this presents a problem. Going 60+ minutes without water can dehydrate the body, impacting running performance and causing symptoms such as increased fatigue, lightheadedness, and muscle cramps. So, of course, this means we need to hydrate not only after, but during our long runs!

Different Ways to Hydrate ($-$$$)

1. ($) Run repeats of a short route close to your home, for example three repeats of a three mile loop. Each time you pass your house, gulp down 4 – 8 oz. of water. An easy way to do this is to leave your water bottle in your mailbox!

2. ($$) Hand-held bottles like the Amphipod Hydraform provide a simple way to get in your H20, but may be cumbersome. I remember the time I ran with my regular iPod and had to hold it in one of my hands the entire way – all I wanted was to be done with my run so I didn’t have to hold it anymore! Also, carrying something in your hand can alter your running form, especially if you always hold it in the same hand.

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3. ($-$$$) Water Belts fit around your waist and can hold anywhere from 1-4 bottles of water. Most of the ones I’ve seen have small zipper pockets to store an ID, a small cell phone, or gels. One downside of water belts is the excess weight, however this should not severely affect your running form. Also, some water belts can bounce up and down irritatingly. This Waterboy Aid Station by Brooks ($) has an elastic band designed to prevent this:

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I also like the Delaney by Camelbak ($$$):

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4. ($$ – $$$) Backpacks can hold a lot of water (1.5 – 3L) and have tubes that provide an easy access to water without having to pause or stop your run. They are generally more expensive than other methods of hydration, so make sure the one you buy has a comfortable fit. Improper fits can cause bouncing (imagine if you wore an incorrectly fitting sports bra!) and pain in the back and shoulders. Look for a snug fit and remember that it will be a lot heavier filled with water! Almost all have pockets for ID/gels. The Camelbak Annadel ($$) is designed especially for women and holds 1.5 L of fluid.

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Personally, I think I’m going to try a water belt first. My long runs for the next few months will range from 6-12 miles, so I think a water belt should be able to carry an adequate amount of water for that. I will let you know which one I decide on

Sources:
http://www.medicinenet.com/dehydration/index.htm
http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-240-323–7004-0,00.html
http://ezinearticles.com/?Water-Bottle-Belt-For-Serious-Runners&id=2380125

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See you tonight for:

1. What was that in the corner of my grocery goods? πŸ˜‰

2. Easy-peasy-yummy-vegan PASTA!

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Today was my scheduled 6 mile long run. Luckily, when I woke up this morning, the rain had cleared and it was sunny and breezy outside! By the time I finally got out to run, it was about 72 degrees – a bit warm for my taste, but the breeze helped keep me cool.

For pre-run fuel, I had a bowl of Nature’s Path Flax Plus Multibran Cereal with organic jumbo raisins and about a cup of soy milk.

cereal with raisins and soy milk

I ate around 10 and went for my run around 12, and I was hungry! I thought about eating a small snack before heading out, but decided against it and I forgot to bring my Luna Sport Moons that I was going to try out. A lesson for next time. I think I’m going to look into getting one of those belts that holds water or a CamelBak, because as my long runs start increasing in miles, I know that I need to stay hydrated.

Running Stats:

  • Time: 1:07:12
  • Distance: 5.8 miles
  • Pace: 11:35 per mile

Needless to say, when I got back, I was starving! I fixed up a green smoothie:

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It contained:

  • one leaf of organic-grown kale
  • 2 cups organic spinach
  • 5 frozen strawberries
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 c soy milk
  • 2 c ice (I wanted it cold with lots of volume!)

Alongside, I had a cashew butter & strawberry jam sandwich on an Arnold’s sandwich thin and a side of honeydew melon.

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For dessert, I had half of a “Vegan Nirvana” cookie from the bakery in town, Lou’s. They are made with pumpkin, dark chocolate chips, walnuts, and cranberries. Delicious! I had a spoonful of white chocolate pb on top.

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Later on today:

1. Results of grocery shopping Sunday!

2. Research on hydration methods during a run

3. An easy, yummy, vegan pasta recipe!

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