Friday, March 30, 2012

March Foodie Penpal Reveal

Last fall, Lindsey of The Lean Green Bean started the Foodie Pen Pal Program, and it has taken off.  After a couple of months reading other blogger's posts about the food exchange, I finally signed up for March.  I can't believe it took me this long to join.  It was so much fun!  I'm already looking forward to doing it again next month.

As someone who loves sending and receiving packages and eating fun snacks, this is the perfect program for me.  I had so much fun shopping for my pen pal, but I won't tell you about what I got for her.  If you want to read about the treats I sent to Jen at Juanita's Cocina pop over to her blog to read her post.

Today's post is all about the goodies I received from Brooke at The Well-Nourished Traveler.

When I came home from work on March 15th, my package was sitting on my dining room table and I was soooooooo excited.  I really love getting packages, especially when they are full of treats.

So, I let the kids watch a show and I tore open the box. 

What awaited me inside was so wonderful and perfect that I couldn't stop smiling.

Brooke did an amazing job picking out fun, local treats.  She told me in her handwritten note that she purchased all of the goodies at a shop called Smucker Farms, which sells products made in Lancaster, PA.

The first item I opened was this bag of dried apples, which made me laugh out loud.  Not because dried apples are particularly funny, but because I had just come from our local co-op where I purchased a bunch of dried fruit...except for dried apples (which I really wanted)...because they were out of them.  I knew upon opening those apples that this box of goodies was going to be wonderful.

The next item I opened was this pretzel mix, which I was so excited to try.  I love baking and I love soft pretzels.

In fact, I was so excited about the mix that I made the pretzels the next day.  They were YUMMY!

The third item I opened was this bag of popcorn, which I opened and ate right after I took pictures of it.  Hey, it was 4:30 pm and I had the afternoon munchies.

Brooke also sent me this Italian seasoning which I have used in a few different dishes.  It's great!

And, she sent me this cookie that I haven't tried.

I have it in my desk at work for an afternoon when I want something sweet.  It says on the package to sit it on top of a hot beverage prior to eating it, so I'll have to have it with my afternoon coffee some day.  Although, I have to admit that I have been tempted to just eat it straight out of the package a few times.

I had so much fun opening the package that Brooke sent, and even more fun eating the snacks.  Foodie Pen Pals is so awesome and I am definitely going to do it again next month (and the month after...).

Some of you may not have heard about the program, so here's a little information about it from Lindsey:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penal!

-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

-Foodie Penpals is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I'm going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

If you’re interested in participating for April, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by April 4th as pairings will be emailed on April 5th!

If you want to see what all of the other participants sent and received, head over to this spot and check it out.  Over 300 people participated this month.  That's a lot of food love!

If you are interested in joining, you should.  It's so much fun!

Thanks again Brooke for all the wonderful treats! I can't wait to see what shows up next month.

The Lean Green Bean

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Missing: My Mojo

I'm in a rut.  A running rut.  I'm four weeks away from my third half marathon and I'm missing my mojo.  I know it happens from time to time.  It's not the first time I've been in a rut and I know it won't be my last time, but it's still no fun.

I LOVE running!  I mean, I really love running.  I love the feeling of running and the idea of running and everything about running.  I love when I have a bad run because it makes the good runs even better.  I love training for races and pushing myself to go farther and faster, and I love leisurely runs with friends.  Quite honestly, I don't even care how far or how fast I'm running.  I don't have dreams of becoming a competitive runner, and I don't even care about constantly getting a new PR (although that is a little fun, I have to admit).  I really just like running.

So, it's particularly frustrating when I get into these ruts.  It's not even like I suddenly hate running.  I'm just apathetic about it.  I don't have the motivation to get up from my desk and go running at lunch time.  I would rather sit here and eat these

and read these

Last Sunday, instead of going out on my 11 mile run, I just wanted to stay home and do this. 

I went, and my run was OK, but I wasn't loving it as much as I normally do.

I have read enough blogs and articles to know that these phases are normal and that they pass.  I'm not worried that I will suddenly stop being a runner.  But, I want to get through this rut so that I can feel excited to run again.  So, I'm trying to be proactive.

I'm making fun, new playlists to listen to.

I'm reminding myself that I run because I can.  Then, I force myself to think about all of the people I know who want to run and cannot because of physical limitations.

I'm making deals with myself and promising myself rewards if I make it through my run.  Chocolate works wonders for this.

I'm envisioning myself finishing the half marathon feeling strong and proud.

Hopefully, all of this will work.  I'm sure I'll get my mojo back soon.  In the meantime, I'm still lacing up my shoes and running, and that's what matters.

What do you do when you're feeling unmotivated to exercise?  How do you get your mojo back?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Back to Reality

Well, I guess the heat wave is over.  Yesterday I ran 11 cold, rainy miles.


Last week I posted a picture of my car thermometer which read 73 degrees.  Today, it read 37 degrees.

Last week, I was wearing capris and sandals.  Today I needed my winter coat.

So, I guess we're back to regular March temperatures in Upstate NY.  I'm wondering if it will get warm again, or if the cold temperatures will stick around.  The 10 day forecast isn't looking terrible, but it's not great either.  That's the problem with a week of unseasonably warm makes the regular weather seem so cold.

I'm not too worried.  Unless we end up with a major snowstorm on the day of my half marathon...which is April 22nd.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Date Night

For those of you with kids, you're totally going to understand how incredible what I'm about to say is.  For the rest of you, who experience date night's on a regular basis...well, good for you.  Enjoy it, because someday you might have kids and suddenly realize that a half an hour spent as a couple at Target without children is magical.

Anyway, last night Paul and I had a date night.  Both kids were at my parent's house and Paul and I had three hours to know, to have dinner and then run errands, because that's what parents tend to do on date nights.  I know it sounds boring, but if you have ever tried to shop with two kids in tow, you understand how fabulous it is when you don't have to chase anyone around the store.

So, like all parents who have a night away, we made plans to eat dinner at a restaurant that isn't completely child-friendly. Tonight's choice was a new Himilayan restaurant that I have never been to.

The place is small and intimate and beautifully decorated.

The food was fabulous and Paul and I enjoyed eating together without having to tell anyone to stop getting up from their chair or throwing food on the floor.  It was so strange.  At one point, I almost reprimanded the old man at the table next to us for getting up from his seat, but then I remembered that he wasn't with us...old habits die hard.

I had a soup called Vegetable Thenthuk, which the menu described as "pulled wheat noodles in a vegetable broth with spices, radishes and spinach."  The menu stated that it was hearty enough to eat as a meal.  After trying it, I have to agree.  This soup was incredible.  It was spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and many other fabulous spices and full of hand pulled wheat noodles, radishes, spinach, carrots and celery.  I loved it.

Paul and I had a great time chatting over dinner and enjoying each other's company.  The food was delicious, the atmosphere was intimate and charming, and the couple time was much needed.  I left the restaurant feeling very relaxed and ready to tackle the week ahead.  After all, sometimes all you need is a good date night.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hills + Heat Wave = No Fun!

I can't believe I'm even typing the words "heat wave" in the middle of March.  This weather is so crazy.  Yesterday, it hit 80 degrees!  Seriously, our normal temperatures are 30 - 40 degrees at this time of year.  The lilac bushes along my driveway are sprouting leaves, which doesn't usually happen until May!  It's just so bizarre.  But, like all good things, this too must come to an end.  Today's temperatures were lower and next week is going to be in the 40's and 50's.  There's even a chance that we could still end up with a big snowstorm in the coming weeks as it is not uncommon to have a March or April snowstorm in Upstate NY.

I have been running outside during my lunch hour, and it has been difficult to adjust to running in the high temps.  Two weeks ago, I was running in 20 degree weather, and my body is still in cold weather running mode.  I usually have time to gradually adjust to warmer weather running, but this was not the case this past week.

Yesterday, I decided to do some hill work during my lunch hour.  The college where I work sits atop a very steep hill and we have a pedestrian road that runs parallel to the main road.  I use it a lot during my summer runs.  The hill is intense!  If you look at these pictures, you'll see what I mean.

This is the first thing you see when you look up from the bottom of the hill.

Then, after you crest the top of the first steep part, you see this ahead of you.

But wait, you're not done yet.  This is the last section of the hill.

The total distance of the hill is about 1/2 mile, and it's really steep.  I don't know the exact elevation because I forgot to wear my garmin yesterday, but I do know the elevation is pretty intense.

Since it's quite the climb, it's a popular spot to do hill work. 

Yesterday was tough.  The intensity of hill work combined with the hot mid-day temperatures and glaring sun did a number on me.  I really felt it and ended my run really sweaty and a bit overheated.  I only ran the hill six times, which is just over 3 miles, but it did me in.  The rest of the afternoon I was exhausted and felt like I couldn't get enough to drink.

I love this warm weather, but I definitely do best in regular spring/fall temps of around 50 degrees.  That's my comfort zone.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's all new to me...

When it comes to food trends and new products, I tend to be behind everyone else in blogland.  Case in point, it took me ages to jump on the overnight oats in a jar bandwagon.  So, it's not surprising that I discovered a few new things this week that seem to already be old news to most bloggers.  But, that's not going to stop me from singing their praises on my little blog.

First, let me introduce to my new favorite yogurt

This stuff is sooooooooooooo good.  I'm usually a plain yogurt girl.  I typically buy plain greek yogurt and eat it with a little homemade raspberry jam or some fresh berries.  But, I decided to buy this new Chobani flavor on a whim, and I'm so glad I did.  I won't buy it all the time because I still like to buy the big containers of plain yogurt each week, but I will treat myself occasionally.

My next discovery was this great combo

That's laughing cow cheese, but it's not just any laughing cow cheese.  It's blue cheese!  I had no idea this stuff existed.  Granted, Laughing Cow cheese isn't a pure, whole food, but I still like it once in a while as a fun spread on crackers.  It's not something I eat on a regular basis, but I'm so excited to have this new flavor.  I LOVE blue cheese.

The little crackers next to the tiny wedge of Laughing Cow aren't mini wheats, even though that's what they look like.  Those are mini triscuits, and they're just about the size of mini wheats.

I love these!.  They're great for snacking on during the day.  I like triscuits, but I don't always want to eat huge crackers.  These are a great way to get the taste of triscuits without the size.  I will definitely be buying these again.

And here is my final discovery

I love Popchips, but I have never had the sour cream and onion Popchips before.  These are yummy!  I'm still waiting for the other new flavors to make an appearance in my grocery store, but until then I am happy to have a new flavor to add to the mix.

So, this is probably old news to most of you, but it's exciting to me!  I love new food discoveries, especially snacks!

Monday, March 19, 2012

I could get used to this...

Today, when I left work at 4pm, my the temperature gauge on my dashboard looked like this

That says 73 degrees!  In Upstate NY!  In mid-March!  Seriously, if you are unfamiliar with Upstate NY in mid-March, this is incredible.  Spring doesn't start until tomorrow.  It's technically still winter.  Now, if you live in the South you're probably shaking your head in confusion wondering why this is so exciting.  Well, let me tell you why.  In our region, the average temperature at this time of year is 22 - 40 degrees.  I can't tell you how good this warm weather feels.

Today, during my lunch hour, I took advantage of the great weather and went for a 40 minute walk with my co-worker.  Since I ran 10 miles yesterday, I wanted to take it easy today.  It feet so good to be outside with the sun warming my face.

I think the kids are enjoying it as well

I could really get used to this.  This must be the average temperature somewhere right now.  Seriously, is there anywhere that has average winter temperatures of about 30 - 40 degrees (with occasional snow), beautiful fall foliage and cool, crisp fall days, early spring weather and average March/April temperatures in the 60's and 70's?  If so, I might just consider moving there...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Double Digits

I'm at the point in half marathon training when my long runs enter the double digits.  This is my favorite part of training.  I love the feeling of running a 10+ mile long run.  This morning, a group of us set our for a solid ten miles.  It was fabulous.  The weather in Upstate NY is unseasonably warm and we actually hit 70+ degrees today.  The sun was shining, the birds were singing and we were all running with short sleeves and shorts or running capris.  I was actually hot while I was running.  For those of us who run in extreme winter weather, these warm weather runs are incredibly exciting.  When most of our winter runs occur in single digit temperatures, it feels so good to embark upon warm spring running when we are actually running in the double digits.  Usually, it's about 40 degrees during mid-March, so these super warm temperatures are particularly exciting.

The kids loved the warm weather.  They were able to play outside in their T-shirts.

This weekend wasn't just about enjoying the warm weather, though.  It was all about good food as well.  We had a potluck dinner with friends on Saturday and a traditional Corned Beef dinner with relatives tonight.  Since Saturday was St. Patty's Day, I had to make this:

It's a Chocolate Guinness cake (Nigella Lawson's recipe) and it's incredible.  It's my most requested cake.  
It's a good thing I ran 10 miles today, because I certainly ate my share of good food this weekend. 

Obviously, we had a great weekend.  It was so warm and sunny and springlike.  But, the most exciting part is that our entire week is going to be like this.

I know the wether will get cold again.  We won't go as low as we were a few weeks ago, but we will probably drop back down to the 40's again for a few weeks.  After all, it's not often that it gets this warm in March.  So, we're going to enjoy it while it lasts.  The week will be spent playing at the playground, taking walks, grilling, running outside, and soaking up the sun (with plenty of sunblock, of course).  Even though it won't last, it will certainly help us get through the last few weeks of winter/spring weather.  It's just nice to have temperatures in the double digits.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Making it Work

As you know, I work at a community college, and while I do teach part-time in addition to my full-time responsibilities, I do not have summers or breaks off.  I'm a 12-month employee.  This week is spring break which means all students and full-time faculty are off.  It also means that the childcare center that Ben goes to is closed. Since it's a college childcare center, they are only open during the semesters when classes are in session.  So, those of us who work year round are forced to find alternate care for the breaks.  I spent three weeks arranging childcare for Ben for this week.  I had each day carefully planned out and an arsenal of babysitters lined up to hang out with my funny 2.5 year old.  But, as is the case with these kind of plans, they fell apart the first day.  So far, my childcare has fallen through three out of four days this week.  This means that I have had to leave work early and/or take time off so that I could be home with Ben.  You know, because it's frowned upon to leave a 2.5 year old home alone.  Don't get me wrong, I always love an opportunity to take a day off to spend time with my kids.  It's my favorite thing.  However, it's tough when it happens over and over again.  Luckily, I have a really understanding, family-friendly boss.

Having to leave early and take time off also means that I haven't been able to run since Sunday.  I'm down to the last few weeks of half marathon training and I really need to get in four solid runs each week.  That's just not going to happen this week.  I am going to run on my lunch hour today and tomorrow and then do my long run on Sunday, but that's all I'm going to have time for.  Saturday is my swimming day.

I love my job and my family and I feel really blessed to be able to do something I love that offers a bit of flexibility.  However, it's weeks like this that make me feel completely overwhelmed as a working mother.  It can be so tough to find the balance between career, mothering, marriage and self.  Honestly, earlier this week I had a mini-breakdown because I was so stressed about childcare issues and work obligations and lack of running and I found myself telling Paul that we need to figure something out because this schedule just isn't working.  But, you know what, today is a new day and I feel better about the whole thing.  I know that I can do this, even when there are weeks that feel like too much.  I just have to be committed to making it work.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Learning the Ropes

So, I have this thing coming up the first weekend in know, my first triathlon.  Anyway, I feel nervous and excited about the whole thing.  It's not a huge tri.  The swim is 1/2 a mile, the bike is 18 miles and the run is 4 miles.  But, it's still my first and I'm taking it very seriously.

Even though the event is still months off, I'm trying to slowly prepare for it.  I recently start swimming once a week and I'm quickly learning all the rules.  I find swimming intimidating.  Not the act of swimming.  I'm actually a pretty strong swimmer.  It's the whole public pool thing.  First of all, I'm pretty freaked out by public pools.  I think they're really gross.  But, I know that I have to use one if I'm going to train for the tri.  After all, it's still winter in Upstate NY, and I don't think a swim in the lake would be a very good idea, even if we are having unseasonably warm temperatures.  Also, I'm really intimidated by all of the other swimmers who are in the pool during lap swim time...especially when I have to share a lane with someone because it's too busy, which seems to happen a lot.  A few weeks ago I showed up at the pool and all of the lanes were in use.  It was the first time I experienced a full pool.  I didn't want to ask someone if I could share a lane, so I just turned around and went home.  Then, I stayed away from the pool for a couple of weeks.  I found reasons (excuses) not to swim.  Obviously, this won't work for me if I want to build up my swimming endurance.  So, this Saturday I went to the pool prepared to confront my fears about lane sharing.  I had a little pep talk with myself on the way there.  What, you don't talk to yourself on the way to the gym?  Oh well, I guess we all have our quirks.  When I got to the pool, all of the lanes were in use.  So, I just stood there clutching my swim cap and goggles and stared nervously at the pool.  Luckily, at that moment a woman got out.  I thought I was going to get away free and clear, but she was just getting a kick board to swim with.  I took it as my opportunity and walked up to her and asked if I could share a lane.  She smiled and said "Of course."  I felt so much better and realized it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

During my swim, I had to pay attention to her and make sure I wasn't crowding her.  At first, it felt awkward.  But, over time we got into a groove and I ended up having a really great swim.  So, I guess I can figure all of this out.  One thing is certain, the next time I go to the pool, I won't feel nervous if all of the lanes are full.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Be Strong

I work out 4 - 6 times a week and consider myself to be in pretty good shape.  After all, I can run 13.1 miles without dying.  However, while my cardiovascular health is great, my muscle tone leaves something to be desired.  Even though I exercise 4 - 6 times each week, I only do cardio.  My workouts typically involve running, elliptical, or swimming (only recently in preparation for my tirathlon). 

I actually wear the smallest size pants I have worn since I was in high school (you know, when I had an eating disorder).  I eat healthy and work hard to stay fit.  But, I'm not actually as fit as I think I am.  My body is flabby.  I have a pretty big gut as a result of two pregnancies. 

They were completely worth it!

My arms jiggle and my thighs still have a lot of "extra" on them. 

Please don't get me wrong.  I'm proud of my body.  I'm proud that it is able to maintain the demands I put on it each week.  I'm proud that it carried, birthed and nourished two children so well.  I'm proud of how I look and who I am.  But, I still feel like I need to do something about my muscules.  Not because I want to be smaller or because I want toned abs.  I want to start strength training because I want my body to be stronger.  Even though I can run for 13.1 miles, I still struggle to lift moderately heavy objects.  So, I'm going to make a committment to start strength training. 

I'm trying to decide what I actually want to do for strength training, but I have it narrowed down to the following three options:

Cross Fit
We don't have a cross fit center here, so I would have to find my own exercises online and create my own routine

Jamie Eason's Live Fit Trainer
This is the program Janetha raves about and it looks awesome!

Standard Gym weights
I used to do some strength training, and I always used the free weights and some of the resistance machines at the gym.  I'm considering doing this again.  We have a weight room at work and I could do some strength training on my lunch hour.

So, those are my three options.  I'm going to do a little more research before I decide for sure, but I don't want to take too long.  I need to start doing this soon!

I'm also going to start adding yoga to my exercise routine.  I think yoga will help me build muscle and reduce stress.  I have time early in the mornings, before the kids get up and start the day, so I think I'll start doing a half an hour of yoga each day.

So, that's the next phase in becoming healthier and stronger.  I'm so excited to start!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Being Mindful

Now that the CFC is over, I have been thinking about how I felt during the week and how I want to proceed from here.  If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I firmly believe in the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating (and most other things, really).  I don't think any foods should be completely banned ( unless there is an allergy).  Instead, I like to make sure I eat healthy, whole foods at least 80% of the time.  That way, I don't have to worry as much about what I'm eating the other 20% of the time.  Quite honestly, It ends up being more like 90/10.  I really LOVE healthy, whole foods and my regular diet is comprised mainly of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans/legumes.  However, there are times when I just want to eat something that isn't as healthy, and I don't sweat it.  I know that I'm eating well most of the time.

Since I have two kids, I really try to set a good example for them.  We don't have tons of junk food in the house and they always have vegetables as part of their meal.  I don't buy a lot of processed food and avoid the big no no's like hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup and too many artificial colors/flavors.  But, my kids are in school/daycare and have a social life, so these items make their way into their diets occasionally.  Since I provide a healthy foundation at home, I don't worry about it.  I'm not extreme by any means.  I want my kids to develop healthy relationships with food and understand that there's a time and place for everything.  I want them to be mindful about what they put in their bodies.

As I reflect on the CFC, I realize that I want the same for myself.  I want to remain mindful about what I'm putting into my body.  I want to eat when I'm hungry and not just because the food is in front of me.  I want to eat sweets because I'm really in the mood for something special, and not just because my co-worker is eating M & M's in her office...or these great bakery cookies, which she brought into my office today.

I had a few bites of each and then put them away.  In the past, I probably would have ended up eating all three over the course of the afternoon.

I really want to practice mindful eating.  So, that's what I'm doing.  I'm trying to make food choices that keep me feeling as good as I felt over the past week.  I'm not eliminating anything anymore, but I am going to pay attention to how much of the "unclean" foods I'm consuming.  A few chocolate chips is one thing, but handfuls each night are a completely different story.  I need to remember to practice moderation.

But, I do have to admit that I am enjoying having the ability to eat some of the foods that I eliminated last week.  Last night, I had these for dinner and enjoyed every bite.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

CFC: Days 6 & 7

I'm home from Massachusetts and almost done with the Clean Food Challenge.  Today is day 7!  I'm happy to report that, other than one specific indulgence (more on that later), I was able to stick with the CFC while traveling.  Quite honestly, it was really easy and just proves that it's not hard to eat healthy even when you're on the road and at restaurants.

I had a great time in MA, especially since I was able to shop at both Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.  We don't have either where I live.  This was actually my first time at Trader Joe's and I am completely hooked. Oh, how I wish we had one closer.  I hear one is supposed to open in Albany, NY, but that's about 2 hours south of me.  I travel there often throughout the year, so I'll be able to stock up when I go, but it's not close enough for me to do my weekly grocery shopping.

Since I have two days of CFC to report, I'm going to break it down by day:

Day Six


I had the orange mango banana smoothie from Starbucks, but I asked them to make it without dairy.  I also ate some mixed nuts.  I was hoping to get oatmeal at Starbucks, but they didn't have any.  So, this is what I ended up with.  It was really good.


I ate this in the food court at the mall.  It's Dal Makhani from the Indian restaurant.  It was really good and contained no "unclean" ingredients.  (Oops...when I just looked this up to make sure I spelled it correctly, I realized that most recipes use butter.  So, it might not have been as clean as I thought it was.  Oh, well. There's nothing I can do about it now.)


This was my favorite meal of the day.  It's from the salad bar at Whole Foods!  Since they list the ingredients in each item, I was able to choose things that were allowed as part of the CFC. At the bottom is a bed of greens, and on the top is kale slaw, sesame tofu, dolmas, black bean and corn salad, quinoa, cranberry and cashew salad, edamame, shredded carrots, roasted mushrooms and eggplant, roasted garlic, hummus and a falafel.  I loved this so much and wish I could eat it every day.

I didn't really have any snacks on Day 6.  We were running around so much that we didn't have the time to eat other than when we got the above meals.

Day Seven


I had another smoothie for breakfast.  We went to Trader Joe's first thing this morning and then left to come home from there.  So, we stopped at Starbucks to grab breakfast for the road.  This was a perfect option!

Lunch was really just snacks in the car.  I had a tropical Lara Bar and some tortilla chips, along with orange segments and baby carrots.  It wasn't very exciting, but it held me over.

Dinner was a huge salad with tons of veggies and beans on top.  I didn't take a picture because I had two kids crawling all over me with "welcome home" excitement.

I also snacked on some cashews and dried fruit.

So, here's the part where I have to come clean (pun intended).... 

I knew going into this challenge that I was going to be traveling during the last two days of it.  I also knew that I would be traveling with one of my girlfriends and that we would want to drink wine together in the hotel room.  I mulled it over in my head in the week and half before the challenge started, and I weighed my options.  I considered postponing the challenge, but I really wanted to do it with everyone.  I wasn't concerned about eating clean during the trip because I knew I could find plenty of healthy options, and I really liked the challenge of doing it.  But, I wasn't sure I was OK with refraining from the glass or two of wine I knew we would want to drink while hanging out in our hotel room.  So, I decided that I would let myself do whatever felt right when the time came.  I didn't bring any wine with me, but my co-worker did. We didn't have any on Friday night, but last night she decided that she wanted to have some.  We were hanging out in our hotel room and enjoying some girl time, and it just felt right.  So, I decided to have a glass.  I know it's not allowed as part of the clean food challenge, but I don't feel bad about it.  I still ate clean 100% of the time I was in MA, and I still consider the CFC a success.  So, there you have it.  I'm not going to lie about my weekend and pretend that I didn't drink the wine.  After all, this blog is a reflection of my life...real life.  

Friday, March 2, 2012

CFC: Day 5

Well, I'm in Boston (actually just outside of Boston) and all settled into my hotel room. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures because I'm posting from my phone and it keeps messing them up.

I'm happy to report that I have been able to successfully stick to the Clean Food Challenge since I got here. That's no small feat considering dinner was at Cheescake Factory! When we sat down, a basket of bread immediately appeared at our table. I didn't take a bite!

I was tempted by all of the different foods on the menu, but I ended up ordering white bean hummus with corn tortilla chips (technically processed but all natural), and the chopped vegetable salad minus the cheese.

Both items were great and left me feeling satisfied.

I have to admit, it was pretty tough walking by those amazing looking cheesecakes, but my body is happier and healthier for it.

Other eats for today:

Breakfast - oats with raspberries

Lunch: salad with black bean burger on top

Tomorrow, the challenge continues as I spend a full day here. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

CFC: Day 4

Well, another day done!  Today went just as well as the other days.  I'm so surprised about how well I'm responding to the challenge this time.  It's as if my body has been waiting for me to clean it out a little.  I feel great!  However, I did have an issue this morning.  Remember how I posted that my dinner last night was just a big garden salad and that I didn't feel like I had enough protein?  Well, I woke up this morning and a while after I was awake, I started to get that shaky, low blood sugar feeling.  I felt dizzy a couple of times and my body felt tingly all over (the only way I can describe it) and I could tell my blood sugar was low.  I was also ravenously hungry.  My overnight oats were sitting in the fridge and I didn't have time to eat them, so I just munched on some homemade granola (totally clean) and a spoonful of almond butter.  I felt off until I got to work and had the chance to eat my big container of oats.  I looked over my food list from yesterday, and I realize that my caloric intake was pretty low and I definitely didn't have enough substance.  The Clean Food Challenge isn't supposed to be a weight-loss diet.  It's meant to eliminate unhealthy foods from your system and replace them with healthy, whole foods.  Since I ran yesterday, I burned a lot of calories and I didn't take enough in.  I really felt it this morning.  I made sure to eat a lot of protein today and I feel fine tonight.

Other than early morning low blood sugar, I felt great today.  I have definitely reached the point in the challenge where I am physically noticing the difference.  I'm less bloated and sluggish and I'm not craving sugar anymore.  I was in my co-workers office today while she was eating skittles (a guilty pleasure of mine) and I didn't even feel the urge to eat any.  I wore my smallest pair of pants today.  While they always fit me, they have been snug around the waist lately.  I know it's because I have been bloated.  Today, they didn't cut into my gut at all.  It's not weight loss.  It's just the loss of unhealthy bloat.  That's why I love this challenge.  My system really feels clean after I do it.

Here is what I ate today:

Breakfast:  Hmmm...I wonder what it could be.  Oh yeah, overnight oats.  Like yesterday, I topped them with blueberries

Lunch:  A huge container of cut up veggies and hummus.  This is one of my favorite lunches even when I'm not doing the challenge

Dinner:  I made Mama Pea's Black Bean Burgers, which are yummy!  I ate my black bean burger topped with chopped jalapeƱos and salsa, alongside a salad of romaine, orange pepper, and avocado and a side of sweet potato and regular potato fries.

This dinner was excellent!  I have another burger to eat with a salad for lunch tomorrow.

Tomorrow afternoon I head to Boston for my girl's weekend.  I plan to stick to the challenge the whole time I'm there, and I'm actually really excited about it.  It will be a great way to show how easy it is to eat healthy even when you're on the road.  I won't have wireless internet in my hotel room, so I'll have to blog from somewhere like Barnes & Noble or Starbucks.  I'll have to figure out what to do once I get there.