Monday, December 31, 2012

Humbling

If one word could sum up my entire year it would be this: humbling.

Time and time again I was humbled by how little power I actually possess. My life is completely orchestrated by an omnipotent God, and for that I am very grateful.

2012 has been the hardest year in my life, bar none. In January, my little brother was abruptly taken from the world and it left me feeling confused about the purpose of life. If life can be so easily ended then what is the point of working towards a goal?

I pushed on through the entire spring semester and then continued pushing through the summer in efforts to continue my plan of graduating college a semester early. Once fall rolled around I wasn't ready to start school again. Reluctantly, I struggled through the semester finally finishing up my general education requirements (forcing me to sit in classes I had no interest in... aka China150). All that time I  wondered about my passion for health and fitness. Why do I spend so much time interested in healthy foods? Why do I beat myself up over eating 3 pieces of dark chocolate cheesecake? Why do I put down my computer and go run 8 miles on a freezing cold morning when I could have just stayed in bed watching Netflix?

It all seemed so pointless to me.

My little brother Blake was in incredible shape. He had just finished training for 3 weeks at a tennis academy and he had a 6 pack to show for it! (I'm serious). But none of that mattered on the afternoon of January 28th.

Thinking about all this would make me want to spend a week binging on cookies because "none of my hard work really matters anyways." As 2012 comes to a close I realize that it does matter. Eating healthy and exercising helps me feel so much better in my day to day life. By putting my health first, I am able to be a sweeter daughter, a better sister, a kinder friend, and most of all, I am able to love myself and stop being so critical of my flaws.

So beginning today, December 31st, I started a 3 day veggie "cleanse." It's not really a cleanse, but I am eating only vegetables and 3 fruits per day. The 3 fruits are all consumed in the form of a Glowing Green Smoothie. So basically I am drinking 64 oz of a vegetable/fruit smoothie throughout the day and then the occasional brussel sprouts, okra, etc.

The Glowing Green Smoothie

I am excited for 2013 to begin and I am ready to take it on full force with healthy eating, running, weight lifting, crossfitting, yoga, pilates, you name it!

I do these things so I can be my best self for others. As I read this morning in 2 Corinthians 3, as a Christian I am a letter of recommendation for Christ, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God. I think a healthy lifestyle is just another way for me to accomplish this task.

Bring it, 2013!

To read more about my brother and his life click here. (this is a blog post written by my cousin Jenni)
Also, check out his website at www.blakesstory.com




Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pure Barre

I went to my first Pure Barre class!


My friend Christina from lululemon invited me to come to her class on Thursday.

It was completely different than anything I am used to. If you're not familiar with pure barre, it is basically a full body workout using a ballet barre and a couple other props, like 5lb weights and a small red ball. 

It primarily focused on core and legs, which is basically the opposite of what I usually focus on... Needless to say, my core and my hamstrings were particularly sore. My arms on the other hand, not at all.

I would definitely go again sometime because I love to work muscles that aren't worked as much in my weekly workout schedule, but I couldn't see myself doing this on like a weekly basis. It is much more "toning" and high-rep strength training than I prefer.

I can't wait to try another new workout class! I have so many options now that I am not training for a half. Maybe I'll try crossfit?!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reese's Protein Drink


So I know I have raved about PB2 before, but I have recently found another delicious use for it. After my workout this morning I put a scoop of Cytosport Whey Protein Isolate Chocolate in my shaker bottle, along with a tablespoon of PB2. Then I just added about 8oz of water and shook the bottle to mix. It was so amazing! I seriously felt like I was drinking a Reese's peanut butter cup! It is definitely worth a try. Not to mention I just realized that WholeFoods now carries PB2, although it is MUCH cheaper if you buy it online in a larger quantity. (You can buy it here.)

The drink has 115 calories and 22 grams of protein.


Today's workout (Shoulders, Bi's, and Tri's):

Seated DB Bicep Curl 3x10/arm
Arnold Press 3x10
Bodyweight Dips 3x8

Barbell Bicep Curl 3x10
Overhead Cable Shoulder Press 3x10
Tricep Rope Extension 3x10

Rope Bicep Curl 3x10
DB Shoulder Press 3x10
Overhead DB Tricep Extension 3x10

100 Reps of Abs

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ramblin' Rose Half

What a fun day! Stephanie and I woke up at 5am to eat my typical pre-race breakfast: toast with peanut butter. Then we headed back to bed to sleep until 6am. We arrived at the race at 7 and we were so ready to start running. The hardest part to me is the first couple of miles because you know you have 13.1 ahead of you.


Once we started I knew that I was going to have to be pretty uncomfortable the whole time if I wanted to get a decent time. I never listen to an iPod or wear a watch while I am running because I like the mental aspect of racing. I like pushing myself as hard as I can and then finding out my time once I have crossed the finish line versus trying to keep a set speed throughout the race. 





I have never felt so uncomfortable while running. Mentally I was completely there, but I felt dehydrated and I had a headache beginning at mile 1. The course was incredibly hilly and my calves hurt from reducing shock to my knees as I went downhill and my quads hurt climbing up all the hills. I was reminiscing about the Tobacco Road Half Marathon, where the course was almost completely flat.

I remember the sense of joy as I turned the corner and saw the finish line. As I got closer and closer I could read the clock and I saw that I was going to PR! I sprinted through the finish line (or what felt like sprinting at that point) and finished with a time of 1:52:31. I PR'ed by a minute and a half.

I finished 4th in my age group and 79th overall (out of 785) with an 8:35 mile pace.


I definitely think that my lululemon running skirt helped score the PR. I mean it's a lot easier to run fast when you look cute doing it...

After the race we went to my favorite cafe in Durham, Nosh. My mom and I split the peanut butter, banana, and honey stuffed french toast, along with a side of cheese grits. It was incredible. And fattening. But so incredible.

Then I headed to lululemon where my boyfriend rewarded me with a new pair of running crops. The Run Inspire Crops are seriously my all time favorite pants ever. Ever ever ever.

And then to top it all off, I went and got a pedicure with my cousin. My disgusting feet look much better now!! But they still have quite a few callouses and blisters. They could use some rest!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Boost to the Immune System

So I woke up yesterday morning and my symptoms from my terrible sickness from the other week were coming back! My tonsils were extremely red and swollen and my energy level was super low. I went to the doctor this morning and told them I NEED to get better because I have a half marathon on Sunday. They gave me some medicine and I am going to pray it works because I am running in this race no matter what. I can't just train for 12 weeks and then not run the race. That would be awful.

I went on my last training run this morning after the doctors appointment, and it was not good. I only had to run 2 miles, and afterwards my body felt like I had just run 20. So I decided that I was going to spend the next two days completely resting and eating lots of dark leafy greens and citrus fruits that are high in Vitamin C.

I got out the blender and made a huge green smoothie. I filled an entire Nalgene bottle (32 oz) and I even had a cup left over that I drank immediately. My plan is to drink this immune boosting drink intermittently throughout today and tomorrow in hopes of restoring my sick little body in time for my race.


"Boost Your Immune System" Smoothie:
1 Frozen Banana
6 Strawberries
3/4 c. Unsweet Almond Milk
2 Huge Handfuls of Baby Kale
1 Handful of Baby Spinach
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
Juice of 1/2 of a lime

This will make a large smoothie, but don't fear, it won't make as much as I did. I doubled this recipe and was very generous on the portions. This will serve 2 regular people or one extremely hungry, post-workout person. ;)



I need to heal!!!! Only 3 days till race day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Break

Finally done with exams and now I am two classes away from fall break! I plan on my fall break containing a multitude of protein pancakes, green smoothies, and running (in my half marathon, that is).

It is always so great when I am home from college and I can eat food that isn't raw or cooked in a microwave. I mean my oatmeal, BBQ chicken deli meat from WholeFoods, split pea soup, and frozen spinach are delicious, but it can get old sometimes... That is why I am going to make sure I fill my fall break with all the foods that I ate during the summer and have been sorely missing.
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So, I never made it to Pure Barre on Friday. I had planned on going, but I was extremely sore after running 8 miles on Thursday (it was my first long run after being sick) and then I "biked to Uganda" with some of my friends as part of a school fundraiser Friday morning. That being said, my entire body was screaming at me and squatting for an hour off of a ballet barre surprisingly did not sound too appealing.

Catherine, Maggie, Me, Stephanie, and like 5 rando's in the background.
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On a completely unrelated note, our WholeFoods starting caring a local brand of Kombucha called "Buchi." I have been a fan of G.T.'s for a while now (especially the Citrus flavor), but this brand is amazing! It is a female-owned Kombucha brewery in Asheville, and it has a very different taste than G.T.'s. My favorite flavor is definitely "water." All the flavors are like fire, water, air, earth, etc.

Downfall of this brand? The bottle looks like I am drinking beer while walking to class at 9am. Not cool.

I am not one to believe that the fermentation in Kombucha is going to prevent cancer or any of the other health claims out there (similar to what I said here), but I honestly just like the taste. I drink it as an occasional treat, and the carbonation is a fun change since I don't drink soda. 

All that to say, if you like Kombucha, then try Buchi's water flavor.

(5 days till half marathon!)


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Upcoming Race

I can't believe it is about to be one year since my first half marathon. I am running the same one this year (Ramblin' Rose), making it my 4th half. I am super excited, but because I had to take last week off due to sickness, I am starting to get a bit anxious.

(Here is an extremely blurry picture from my first half marathon, October 2011)


I know I can finish the 13.1 miles, it just stinks that I trained for 12 weeks and then I got sick just a couple weeks out, causing me to question all my hard work.

We will see how it goes... October 21,2012. Just 10 days away. I hope that determination joined with adrenaline will earn me a time that I won't be too embarrassed about... I am hoping for 1:57:00, but this course is very hilly, so I may not reach my goal.

I can't wait to cross the finish line and take a couple months off of long distance running. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Healthy Sweets

I made these "healthy" desserts a while back, but I haven't had time to put the pictures up. The cookies are the same protein cookies that I posted here, but this time I froze the batter into balls and just kept them in the freezer. That way when a craving hit I could just grab out one or two and bake them.



The next dessert I made was extremely delicious, and extremely high in fat :) Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups! That is the way I prefer my desserts: high in fat, but low in sugar. I prefer rich over sweet any day. I found the recipe on Pinterest, and it can be found here.



Because the recipe used coconut oil, the cups had to be stored in the fridge. Otherwise they would turn very oily as the coconut oil tried to separate out. They were super delish, but next time I want to use a sweetener other than honey. I think the honey taste is too strong.

Last night I found a healthy recipe for orange chicken. It was amazing!! I'll put the recipe up soon.

I am trying Pure Barre for the first time on Friday! I am a little nervous, but mostly excited. We'll see how it goes, considering I have absolutely no dancing skills. I am hoping it is primary core work and not actually ballet...


Friday, October 5, 2012

The Great Greek Yogurt Comparison


Greek yogurt has been one of the many foods I would consider a part of the "healthy fad," along with pomegranate juice, acai berries, Kombucha, etc. Sometimes it's fun to roam around Whole Foods and try weird stuff and feel like it's magically making me "healthy." And sometimes, I just have to be honest, it tastes amazing. Like I don't care what Kombucha does for my body, it's delicious. (As of today, my new favorite is Buchi's Water flavor. It is so worth it.) 

But when it is all said and done, no Incan berry that has been growing in South America for thousands of years is going to make my body "healthier" than just a bowl of fresh spinach. Not to mention it can be hard to cough up $16 to try some mysterious food when you know your body will benefit just as much from a $0.10 banana and some carrot sticks. 

All this to say, I do like greek yogurt. I think it is a food worth eating, unlike regular yogurt, which seems to be primarily sugar. That being said, I have compared my three favorite brands and picked the one that I think best suites my life.
They are all plain flavor, and 0% fat.


Trader Joe's: 90 cal, 15g protein, 5g sugar (150g container)


Fage Total: 100 cal, 18g protein, 7g sugar (170g container)


365 (Whole Foods Brand): 120 cal, 18g protein, 2g sugar (170g container)

As you can see, Trader Joe's has the least amount of calories, but it also has 20g less of yogurt per container, so it really contains the same amount of calories as the Fage, about 0.6 cal/g.

BUT, I honestly don't about calories. I care primarily about the protein and sugar content. So, out of these three I choose the 365 brand because not only does it tie for highest protein, but it has the lowest sugar content. Win Win.

I usually add about 4 drops of NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia drops and a dash of cinnamon. A perfect way to add flavor without the calories!

Hope this was somewhat informative.

OH, and I almost forgot, my favorite greek yogurt to eat as a treat is Chobani's Blood Orange. Amazing... but it definitely has its fair share of sugar :)

Have a wonderful weekend,


Monday, September 24, 2012

Dash to Downdog

On Saturday, Stephanie and I went to Lululemon's Dash to Downdog. It was such a fun event!! It started with a 2.5 mile run followed up by an hour of yoga on the Durham Athletic Field. 

The weather was absolutely perfect! I definitely think yoga is more enjoyable outside versus in a studio. The event was a great way to connect with local fitness enthusiasts, and an enjoyable, sweaty Saturday morning.



Saturday afternoon I went home where I had access to a kitchen and so I had to cook. I feel like I haven't cooked in forever!! I made a recipe from my favorite clean eating blog: Turkey, Spinach, and Feta Muffins.


I used the same recipe as posted here, but I changed the proportions a little. They turned out so good!!! I want to make them every weekend and store them in my fridge as a quick grab-and-go protein source.

Ingredients:
1.3 lbs 99% Fat Free Ground Turkey
4 oz. Feta Cheese Crumbles
2 Blocks Frozen Spinach, Thawed
1 Tbsp Greek Seasoning
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
3 Egg Whites

I put all the ingredients in my KitchenAid and blended until well combined. Then I sectioned them out into individually-lined muffin tins, baking at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. It made 20 total muffins, around 65 calories each. Once they were completely cooled, I placed them in a container and stored them in the fridge.


They tasted WAY better than they look. Promise.

In celebration that my cousin is moving to North Carolina on Friday, I am posting two pictures of Burdick's goodies :)

Chocolate Mousse Tart


Almond Milk Latte 

Uhh... I want them NOW.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Peanut Butter Pasta

Sadly it's back to dorm life and I can no longer cook delicious meals all the time. Here is a quick whole wheat pasta dish that I made this summer. It was so good. Basically it is a thai peanut pasta, but it is my made-up version... So it's more "peanut buttery" and less "thai peanutty."




Peanut Butter Pasta:
1/2 c. Whole Wheat Spaghetti (cooked)
1 tbsp. Peanut Butter
2 tsp. Sesame Oil
1 Green Onion (chopped)
2 tbsp. Chopped Fresh Cilantro

Melt the peanut butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until it becomes runny. Mix in the sesame oil, and set aside. Chop up the cooked whole wheat spaghetti and stir in the green onion and cilantro. Pour over the peanut butter sauce and mix it all together until evenly combined. Enjoy!


This makes me miss summer break... and good, healthy food...


Leg lift later today!! And I need to do 4x800 sprints. Thank goodness it is short distance today, after a long ten mile run on Sunday.



Monday, July 23, 2012

Cilantro Lime Quinoa and Chocolate Cravings

Everyone who knows me really well knows that I am obsessed with Chipotle (probably because I have an intense passion for anything with cilantro and lime). Chipotle recently added brown rice to their menu, which made me so happy that I could stick to only complex carbs and still enjoy their cilantro lime rice.

So when I was spending a minute (okay maybe more like an hour) on Pinterest, I saw this recipe for Cilantro Lime Quinoa. Genius! I don't know why I didn't think of it!!


The original recipe can be found here. I only slightly modified it.

Ingredients:

1 c. Vegetable Broth
2 c. Water
1 Clove Garlic
2 tbsp. Fresh Lime Juice
1/3 c. Chopped Cilantro
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Bring the water and vegetable broth to a boil, and then add the quinoa. Stir occasionally until all the water is evaporated and the quinoa is the desired softness (took me 18 minutes). Then add the rest of the ingredients and stir!


I served it with organic grilled chicken, topped with homemade guacamole.



On a completely unrelated note:
What do I miss most about New Hampshire? (Besides my cousin Sarah)


THE CHOCOLATE!! Oh man I miss it so much. 


Dark chocolate filled with honey and caramel.



Homemade chocolate ice cream with dark chocolate sauce...



... And of course just eating the plain sauce. :)

Too good!

I ran 7 miles yesterday and it was my first run in a longgggg time. The heat wasn't too bad so I took one of the few opportunities I have during a North Carolina summer to go running outside. I felt good, but I am sore today!

I lifted upper body with my dad this morning:

Pushups 3x15
Lat Pull Down 3x12

Cable Flys 3x10
Reverse Cable Flys 3x12

Chest Press Machine 3x10
Cable Rows 3x12

Tricep Rope Extension 3x10
Dumbbell Bicep Curls 3x10 /arm

Tricep Dips off Bench 1x15
Cable Bicep Burls 1x10 /arm

Crunches on Decline Bench 3x15
Russian Twist on Decline Bench 3x15 /side

And that's all.