Thursday, February 27, 2014

Marathon Eating

There is no denying that running longer distances will make you hungry.  Several nights of running over an hour, and I come in the house ready to eat the entire jar of almond butter.  However, what I think has been happening this week, is pre race "screw its!"  No, I'm not drinking, and I'm not eating tons of unhealthy food, but I have been letting my portions get large just because I have a race this weekend.  My brain has the bad habit of thinking, "we'll tighten up the portions on Monday."  Yesterday was the first time that I felt the effects of over eating, and I felt like I did so often in the past.  All day, I was in pain from over eating, and it made me lethargic and unhappy.

I started the day off well enough, but because I had eaten crazy huge portions the night before, I was still sluggish in the morning.

Breakfast Smoothie:  2 scoops vanilla protein powder, 1/2 cup blueberries, mixed greens, 1 cup coconut milk, 1 tbs chia seeds.

At lunch, I had to run out and get healthy snacks, and my urge to eat so much, coupled with the cold temps, made me crave soup.  So, I kept my smoothie in the fridge and went for the salad/soup bar.  I got a kale posole, which was actually really good, some broccoli and quinoa salad.

It was fine, but when you usually have a smoothie for lunch, your stomach tends to wonder what the hell is going on.  Apparently, this wasn't enough for my raging appetite, because I had my packed quinoa salad for lunch.  So, by the time I got to hot yoga, I was feeling pretty crappy.

I know a lot of you are following along and are engaged in your own struggle with your weight, so don't let this get you discouraged.  We all have days where we eat too much, and we all have weeks where we struggle with motivation.  The key is to understand why and keep moving in a positive direction.

Because my lunch was so huge, when I got home from yoga, I whipped up a blueberry and vanilla smoothie (with tons of greens) and called that dinner.

I know that just because I'm running a race this weekend, I don't have to keep eating like a beast.  I am working on an amazing "pasta party" menu for this weekend, but instead of gorging on tons of carbs and sugar, I am working a menu that will be full of plant based awesome-ness to fuel all my friends and myself through the race.

It's going to be a super busy couple of days, because we have many friends coming in from out of town for the race.  I may not be able to post again until after, but I will try!  I will also be back with a review of Solfood Catering's Carnival Vegan Dinner!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quinoa Black Bean Balls with Sweet Potato Hash

As I said last night, I was playing around in the kitchen for a good black bean ball recipe.  I played around with the recipe a little today, so I'll give you what I got.  You could fry them, and they might stay together better, but we went the baked route.  Also, I succeeded in making a pretty yummy sweet potato hash!


Garlic Thyme Beans 


1 cup dried black beans
3 cups water
3 additional cups water
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 tbs dried thyme

  • Soak beans overnight in water.
  • Discard water, rinse beans, add to crock pot.
  • Add additional water, minced garlic and thyme.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours, or until beans are soft.
  • Let cool before using in bean balls.

Bean/Quinoa Balls


Garlic Thyme Beans (or use 1 1/2 can of beans)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 jalapeno
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs ground chia seeds
9 tbs water
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs dried onion
drizzle of olive oil and cumin

  • Mash beans with a potato masher.
  • In a separate bowl, mix water and ground chia seeds.
  • Mix in the rest of the ingredients besides olive oil and cumin.
  • Form into patties.
  • Put on baking dish with parchment paper.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and cumin.
  • Bake in oven at 400 degrees (F) for 30 minutes.



2 cups brussels sprouts, ends cut off
1 sweet potato
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 tbs coconut oil
3 tbs balsamic vinegar

  • Pulse brussels sprouts in a food processor 3 times.
  • Grate sweet potato with grater.
  • Add sweet potato and brussels sprout to a large baking dish.
  • Melt coconut oil in microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Add coconut oil and balsamic to pan, toss.
  • Top with pine nuts.
  • Bake at 400 degrees (F) for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

If you are in the Little Rock area tomorrow, head over to the Green Corner Store for a Mardi Gras meal cooked up by Solfood Catering!  It will be all vegan, and I'm sure, all amazing.  I have been wanting to try Solfood Catering for so long, and tomorrow, I will get to!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

NEDAwareness Week

Most of us go through life not knowing that people we know and love are struggling with a secret.  So many people battle eating disorders, hiding their pain and guilt from everyone in their lives.  It is a secret many of us have lived with, one that sometimes we think we will have forever.

It's National Eating Disorders week, and although I don't talk about ED a whole lot on the blog, it is something that shouldn't be hidden.  Too much of what grips us during our illness is hidden in secret, so as a recovering bulimic, I am here to say that we should talk about it.  Recovery is definitely possible, although sometimes it seems like it's not, and your friends and family will still love you no matter what.

I look back on my decade long ups and downs with my relationship with food, and I feel very lucky that my head is safely now above the water.  I felt thankful today, when I went to get a physical, that my body feels strong and healthy.  I feel thankful that I'm listening to it, fueling it with nutritious food, and loving it just the way it is.  It was a long road, and to some extent, that negative space will always be there in the back of my head, urging me to purge or skip a meal.  Recovering doesn't mean that that voice is gone forever, it means that you know you don't have to listen to it.

One of my favorite blogs, Choosing Raw, had a great post recently on the 5 Reasons to Embrace Recovery.  Gena sums up this topic way better than I can, so if you're interested, give that article a read.

So, speaking of nutritious food, let's get to the smoothies!

I had to fast for a blood test this morning, but when I got done with that, I had a delicious smoothie in the car ready for me.

Breakfast Smoothie:  2 scoops choc protein, 1 tbs chia seeds, 1/3 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, ice.

Lunch Smoothie:  GREEN MANGO TANGO!  (everyone... I think I have a new smoothie!)
2 scoops vanilla protein powder, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1 tbs hemp seeds, 2 carrots, 2 cups mixed greens, 1/3 cup frozen mango, 1 tbs spirulina, 1 cup coconut milk, ice and water to mix

It's just so green!  This is definitely my new favorite mix.  I love smoothies, because you can throw all of that into a blender and you have lunch!

You may have noticed, I eat at my desk a lot.  Now that the weather is getting nicer, I definitely need to get out and breath some fresh air during my lunch break.  It's something I need to work on, not necessarily for anything else but my mind.  Sitting all day was definitely the hardest thing to adjust to once I got a "big girl job."

Josh and I were hungry and exhausted when we got home from work.  I munched on a handful of cashews while I decided what to cook.  I've been mulling over a black bean quinoa ball and brussels sprout hash in my head for awhile.  Honestly, I don't have the recipe quite down yet, but I'll share tomorrow what I did and what I think I can do better.  You don't learn unless you try, right?

If you, or someone you know needs help, please check out National Eating Disorders' website for more information.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Warm Quinoa and Brussels Salad

I have a yummy recipe for you!  This salad came together in less than an hour tonight, and it was filling and nutritious.  Quinoa + brussels sprouts seemed like a good mixture, and I have been seeing people trying out different combinations across the blog-o-sphere.  Let me tell you, these two ingredients are definitely friends.

After my insane refueling from my 12 mile run Saturday, I thought today needed to get back to basics, and by that, I mean smoothies.

There were more snacks than usual today, but I kept it healthy.  I think I broke my kale chip addiction, because these curry ones were kind of disappointing.  The flavor was fine, but it was more like kale dust, which wasn't too fun to eat.  So, back to making kale chips in my own kitchen!

Breakfast Smoothie:  2 scoops choc protein powder, 1/3 cup blueberries, 1 tbs chia seeds, mixed greens, mix with water

Lunch Smoothie:  2 scoops vanilla protein, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 2 tbs almond butter, 2 carrots, 1 cup coconut milk, ice.

I got in a hot yoga class tonight, which felt wonderful to my legs.  When I got home, I put together this salad.



2 cups cooked red quinoa (about 3/4 to 1 cup dry)
3 cups rough chopped brussels sprouts
1 tbs coconut oil
juice from 2 lemons
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
2 stalks green onions, chopped small
1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped small
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and chopped small
1 large carrot, shaved
1/4 cup tahini
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
ground fresh pepper (a few cracks)
ground pink Himalayan salt to taste

  • If your quinoa is not already prepared, cook in rice cooker per instructions.  1 cup quinoa needs about 2 cups of water.
  • Heat a large pan on medium high heat.
  • Add coconut oil and let melt.
  • Add brussels sprouts and juice from 1 lemon.
  • Lower heat to medium, cover with a lid.
  • Steam for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Chop vegetables and set aside.
  • Make dressing:  add tahini, olive oil, juice from 1 lemon, rice wine vinegar and nutritional yeast to a bowl and mix vigorously until combined.
  • Remove brussels from heat once they have softened and browned on some edges.
  • Add all ingredients except dressing in a large bowl and toss.
  • Slowly add dressing and toss, careful not to over saturate.  You may not need all of it, depending on how strongly you want your salad to taste of tahini and lemon.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve warm immediately.

This salad really hit the spot!  I'm sure that it will be even better the next day cold.  I'm sure all the flavors will have a little time to get to know each other in the fridge.  I'll report back tomorrow!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Vegan Running Fuel

With the Little Rock Half Marathon coming up next week, Josh and I were determined to get a 10 mile training run in on Saturday.  Before our run, I got in the kitchen and made breakfast smoothie that would fuel me for hours.

Pre-Run Fuel Smoothie

2 scoops vegan chocolate protein powder
1 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs almond butter
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 1/2 cup almond milk
2 cups mixed greens

This smoothie is protein packed, and it will fuel you through hours of running.  I let it digest, and we set off for our run about an hour later.

We set off with a few of Josh's coworkers, for what I thought would be a 10 mile run with plenty of water fountains on the path.  I had us start in Burns Park, head over the Big Dam Bridge, out to Two Rivers Park and back.  I turned on my new Garmin Forerunner 10 and we set out.  I'll give you a write up on the watch soon.  So far, I really like it.

Our run started off great.  It was almost 70 degrees (F), the parks were full of people, and the sun was shining.  We ran into trouble quickly, though, when we realized that none of the plentiful water fountains had been turned on.  After 5 miles, we were thirsty and getting headaches, but we pushed on in hopes of a water fountain down the trail.  We finally found one at Two Rivers Park, but we had run almost 7 miles, and the damage was done.  I ate a Vega endurance gel, which was better than I expected.  We got a little water, and we kept going.

The lack of water and detour took a toll on my head, and after about 9 miles I realized that I was going to run much farther than 10 before the day was over.  In total, we ran almost 12 miles, and I was dehydrated and exhausted when I got back to the car.  All of this did not put my head in a good place about my impending race next weekend.  I am staying positive, though.  My goal is not to crush the half marathon, it's to finish, and if I can run 12 miles with basically no water and a huge bridge to climb, I can finish the half.

When we got home, we were exhausted.  I attempted to take an ice bath, because I heard it will help your muscles recover.  However, after about 45 seconds I was done with that.

After chugging a sports drink or two, Josh and I laid around trying to decide what to eat after such a run.  My watch gave me an estimated calorie burn of 1400 calories, but I was feeling so sick that I wasn't hungry.  We decided on pizza, as is our usual post-epic workout food.  So, we pulled up the US Pizza menu and ordered TONS of food.  I wanted to try their gluten free pizza, as I am trying to stay within my set parameters of a healthy diet, but they let me know that it's only a 7" pizza.  Now, that simply won't due when you've spent 3 hours running, so I ordered a 13" regular crust.  US Pizza's crusts are fairly thin, so I knew I wouldn't have a bread overload.  The staff are awesome, and they let me substitute a vegetable for every different cheese that was left off.  So, I ordered:

1 large primavera salad, sub a side of guac for the cheese
1 13" vegetable medley pizza, sub green olives for mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes for feta and banana peppers for Parmesan.  

This was by far the best pizza order I've put in from there.  Yum!  We also stopped at kroger to grab some chips and salsa.  Our eyes were WAY bigger than our tummies, though.  Josh ordered two pizzas for himself!

After a couple slices of pizza, some salad and a few chips, I was tapped out.  We settled on the couch to let our tired bodies rest, but not before we made a vanilla/strawberry/almond butter smoothie to share.  Recovery, complete!

I will be happy when the marathon is over, and I won't feel like a hungry beast after long runs.  I think that, coupled with some added strength training, will help fuel my weight loss.  One more week, though, til the marathon.  After all these carbs this weekend, I'm excited to get back to my smoothies and almonds!

What do you eat to refuel after a tough workout?