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

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 😉

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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Because in the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion – most of what we’re consuming today is no longer the product of nature but of food science.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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…or is it “school interferes with Rock Band“? 😉 I went downstairs to get a glass of water and got lured to our Wii by the sound of music. When I looked at my watch, it was 10 p.m.! And I have work to get done! What can I say, sometimes this girl loves her video games!

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My school runs its own organic farm and this summer, they sold packages where, every week for eight weeks, they will deliver a fresh assortment of organic vegetables. Our first delivery came today and it was so fun to see everything we got! My definite favorite was the rainbow chard!

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First of all, it was giant. And it’s so pretty! From TrueStar Health:

Chard’s leaves can be prepared like spinach, and its stalks like asparagus. In fact, its leaves serve as a good substitute for spinach in most recipes, but they will need to be cooked slightly longer.

Chard may be steamed, sautéed, or braised, and it can be added to soups, stews, and casseroles. The leaves and stems may be cooked and served together, or prepared separately as two different vegetables. The Italians make an egg frittata with chard.

For salads and sandwiches, it’s best to use young, tender leaves. For a simple side vegetable, leaves of medium size can be quickly sautéed—the stalks can be prepared this way, too. Older leaves and stalks are best steamed, boiled, or added to soups, as the stems require a longer cooking time to become tender than the leaves do.

Rainbow chard also is a good source of Vitamins A and C, and contains a huge amount of Vitamin K!

Tomorrow is Farmer’s Market day, which is perfect because I used my last leaf of kale today. I’m going to pick up some more kale and see what else I can find!

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My knees feel much better today. I’m glad I took a rest day, I think it was just what I needed. I’ll be back in my running shoes tomorrow 🙂 I snacked on two mini ClifBars while babysitting. Nothing was sounding good to me for dinner, so I just went with PB & banana quesadillas. You can’t really go wrong there, at least in my book. I had a gala apple on the side. Later on, for dessert, I had a half cup of coconut milk ice cream with two mini gluten-free cookies.

Today’s exercise was yoga, yoga, and more yoga! I did half of this week’s YogaToday class in the morning and then this evening I restarted it and did the whole thing from beginning to end. Now, this was a tough class! It is an Anasura-inspired class, so it is very focused on opening the heart. There were a ton of front planks, side planks, downward dogs, and lowering from planks to the floor, so I know that my arms will be sore tomorrow! I didn’t get to the gym today because I figured that this yoga class would give my body a better workout than a few miles on the elliptical. My body is very used to the elliptical, but yoga always knows how to make it work. 🙂

The class also including a good amount of warrior poses, which was great. I love the Warrior set of poses. Warrior II is my favorite – I feel strong and beautiful in the pose, like I am a warrior who can take on anything!

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Q: What’s you favorite yoga pose, and why?

Good night, everyone! I’m off to bed shortly too, right after I catch up on a bit of work.

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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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Ouch! My legs are SORE. I went for a great run today through the park trails, about 3.5 miles, but my knees are hurting a bit now. I have a speed work day on the track scheduled for tomorrow, but unless I feel miraculously better, I think that I’m going to have to push that back and do yoga/cross-train a bit on the elliptical tomorrow instead. My body is speaking, and I’m going to listen to it!

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Run Stats:

Duration: 35:58
Distance: about 3.5 miles

I felt a little sore the first mile, but after that I felt great – I made sure to walk down any steep downhills and mostly avoided hills to protect my knees, but I pushed myself on the second half of the run and it felt really good to fly along the trail like that!

When I got back from my run, I was starving. I was going to try my new Gardenburgers tonight, but instead made a quick go-to meal of mine: a pita spread with pb, topped with a sliced banana, and folded in half. I had a gala apple on the side. Not long after that, I made some dessert: one tofutti cutie (peanut butter flavor) with one tablespoon of White Chocolate Wonder PB. Today’s snacks were a Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar before lunch (delicious! Will be buying this again!) and a mini ClifBar around 9 p.m.

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I was planning on re-capping last week’s half-marathon training, but I feel like talking about rest days and listening to your body instead. The first paragraph of this post sounds very positive, like it is easy for me to take a rest day. Well, it sure isn’t! Even now, I am second-guessing myself about it.

One side of me thinks that I’ll be fine, it’s just soreness, I just need to push through the pain! I’ll get my speed work day out of the way, and then I have a shorter run Wednesday and a scheduled rest day on Thursday. I can make it until then! I already made one change to my running plan last week/this week, and I really shouldn’t screw around with it any further!

The other side of me has these facts.

1. My knees hurt. The pain isn’t terrible, but it’s bad enough that I have to limp a bit to go down stairs.

2. Running repeats around a track with knee pain is not going to help with my training. I am at my best for training when I do not feel pain. It is okay to feel sore, and I do feel sore – but not pain, which is what I am feeling in my knees today. Running speed work with pain could make this minor pain, which will probably go away if I just take a rest day, turn into something more serious and lead to taking more time off than just one rest day. It could even turn into an injury that would prevent me from running my marathon!

3. I talked with a friend who lives in my house who pushed herself too much running and didn’t take enough rest days. She now has chronic knee pain and has to be very careful about her running. I love that I don’t have any recurring running injuries and I would like to keep it that way.

4. No training plan is set in stone. I found my training plan online. It is a good plan for the average intermediate runner. However, it is not Lindsay-specific; it was not designed especially for me, so how in the world could it be the perfect plan for me that I absolutely must follow? Reason: it’s not! Adapting the plan to suit my own needs and my own body will not be harmful; it will be helpful! As long as I use the plan as a general guideline, which I am, I will be ready for my half-marathon.

Obviously the logical thing to do is to take a rest day. It is the perfectionist in me telling me to stick to the schedule, to push through the pain! But tonight, I’m not going to listen.

I’m going to make a commitment not to run my speed work tomorrow.

Instead, I will cross train on the elliptical and do a yoga video. I will tentatively adapt my plan for this week to:

Tuesday: cross train, yoga
Wednesday: 3 m easy run
Thursday: 6×400 at 5-k pace
Friday: cross train, yoga
Saturday: 4-6 mile run

I am a bit anxious about this, but I’m sure that it is the right thing to do, and I will just have to stick out the anxiety! I’ll update tomorrow on how it’s going 🙂

Good night everyone!

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After class, I walked to the post office to check my mail, and guess what arrived? I’ll give you a hint: as soon as I opened it, I immediately made a smoothie!

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That’s right, my new blender! We have two cheap ones in the house I live in, but they get abused often and aren’t for the serious Green Monster making that I have in mind! 😀 I couldn’t get it open and washed out fast enough before I was throwing in ingredients

Lunch-time smoothie:

  • 6 frozen strawberries
  • 1 kale leaf
  • 2 c baby spinach
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 c soy milk
  • 1 Flax Pak (to be reviewed soon!)
  • 8 ice cubes
With a July-4th-themed straw from a package that my mom sent me!

With a July-4th-themed straw from a package that my mom sent me!

The rest of lunch consisted of a plate of carrots and Mary’s Gone crackers with a scoop of almond butter and 2 tablespoons of garlic hummus for dipping, with a cup of cantaloupe on the side.

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I didn’t get back from classes until 2 p.m., so I was hungry and ate my lunch right up. I’m still deciding what I’m going to do for exercise today. I have a 3.5 mile run scheduled for my half-marathon training, but my knees and legs are pretty sore from yesterday’s run, so I’m thinking that I will either run on a very soft surface (park trails) or do some cross-training on the elliptical, especially since I have a speedwork day tomorrow.

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Truly “Calci-YUM”

While talking with my new nutritionist about calcium intake, she said, “I have the greatest calcium supplement that will make sure you never miss a dose!” and pulled out this bag:

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Now, I have tried Viactiv and assumed that this would be similar – some fake chocolate, powdery tasting chew. I’d rather just swallow a pill! I reached in to pull out a dark chocolate “disk” and was surprised – it actually looked like a piece of chocolate!

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I still wasn’t convinced. Sure, it might look like a piece of chocolate, but I’ve learned, especially from Green Monsters, that you should never judge taste by appearance! I flipped over the package and saw that for one disk, I would get 30 calories, 2 grams of fat, 100 IU of Vitamin D, 40 mcg of Vitamin K, and 500 mg of Calcium. Now, I was pretty impressed by those stats, so I decided to give it a nibble…

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YUM!! It tastes just like my Green & Black’s dark chocolate bar that I have a few squares of after dinner! I am picky about dark chocolate, and I give this 4.5/5 stars for chocolate, and 5/5 stars for a supplement! These are made by Adora and can be found at selected stores including Whole Foods and GNC. They also make a milk chocolate disk.

Because the body can only absorb so much calcium at one time, it is important to stay aware of when you are taking calcium supplements. For example, after my meal from last night (tofu, broccoli, pasta, cheese) would not be a good time to take a supplement because my meal was fairly high in calcium, so my body wouldn’t be able to absorb the extra calcium from the supplement. A good time to take these might be with an afternoon snack or an evening dessert. I’m putting them on my list to pick up next time I go to the Co-op!

See you tonight for my Week 2 Half-Marathon training re-cap 🙂

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Good morning A Taste of Sparkle readers!

Before I run off to class, I just wanted to make a quick update about the nutritionist’s appointment that I was so scared of last night. It went really well! I think that she will be very helpful. She met me where I was at, instead of treating me like someone who has no knowledge of food or nutrition.

Before I left, I had a quick breakfast of Flax Multibran with raisins and soymilk.

She had me give a run-down of what I ate yesterday, and complimented my overall healthy eating! When I told her about my Green Monsters, I said, “Ok, now this is going to sound weird, but…” She laughed and said she admired my commitment to health. It’s not such a hard commitment when they taste so good!

We did talk a bit about my vegetarianism/veganism and how she was concerned about my calcium/iron/protein intake. I am going to see my doctor soon to get my iron levels tested, just to make sure they’re ok, because she said that even a slight decrease in normal iron levels could highly impact my running and overall feeling of wellness.

She introduced me to the greatest calcium supplement I’ve ever seen! Stay tuned, I’ll share it with you all later today.

What I’m going to work on this week is decreasing my soy milk intake and replacing it with other sources, such as almond milk, protein powder, and (eek!) cow’s milk. This will be a challenge, but I want to be the healthiest I can be!

See you all after class!

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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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