I hope everyone’s weekends were fabulous! I personally had a great day. Why? I got see to my kitties again! Image

That’s Charlie! He’s the biggest sweetie! He purred in my bed all night! For some reason last night I kept thinking about vanilla protein powder…I must have had a strange dream! Image

A sleepy purring cat led to my 3rd nap in as many days. Because who can stay awake with all that going on?Image

As I was packing up my stuff to go back to school, he became even purrier. He’s trying to convince me to stay!Image

And of course the playful kitty, Lilly. 

Ok, now on to the good stuff! Last night I had dinner with one of my high school friends. It was really nice to catch up and introduce her to everyone here!Image

Mixed greens salad, green beans, curry cauliflower, lentils, and a little bit of thai chicken. The cauliflower was actually really good! Normally I find cauliflower too boring or bland! I also had a few pieces of melon and a slice of cinnamon raisin bread with smart balance. That stuff is actually going to save my on my no sugar challenge! The bread is sooo good and definitely not sugary! After dinner and introducing my friend to my dorm, I went home to visit my kitties. At home, I snacked on pita chips with peanut butter and blueberries, as well as artichoke dip. I had really wanted to try eating popcorn with Nutritional yeast sprinkled on top. Why? I had just listened to a Nutrition Diva podcast on nutritional yeast, and it recommended putting it on popcorn as a healthy cheesy alternative. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any popcorn! How is that possible? We even had nutritional yeast! Ah well. You can’t win them all. At home, I caught up on Castle (love that show!).

What shows do you watch? Any suggestions? I love mysteries, but I also love How I Met Your Mother.

After a night of purry cat and protein powder filled dreams, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Breakfast?


Whole wheat toast with peanut butter, and butter and an egg, which I made in the microwave. If it isn’t obvious enough by its square shape. Plus tons of blueberries and raspberries. Yum! I also had a little bit of shredded wheat cereal to eat with peanut butter and berries. I love the combo of peanut butter and blueberries on bread because it reminds me of healthy pb and j. I used to be completely obsessed with pb and j. I would have it every singe day. Ohh how times have changed. After breakfast, I headed to my home gym for a Spin class with one of my favorite instructors. I did a quick set of abs on a Bosu ball beforehand. The class was awesome, as usual. After class, I rolled my legs out a little with a pipe, and then did a quick 20 minute piece on the rowing machine. (For future reference, I’m going to refer to the rowing machine as an erg, for those of you unfamiliar with the term. I’m getting tired of writing out ‘rowing machine’!) I’ve felt better about my erg pieces lately. For the last month or so I don’t think I’ve been using my legs as much, and instead, I’ve been pulling more with my arms. The last couple of times I’ve really focusing on feeling the burn in my legs though, and my times (pace) are returning more to normal. As it turns out, pulling with your arms creates a lot less power. 

For lunch, I snacked on some barbecue baked potato chips from Trader Joe’s.Image

I haven’t had chips in the longest time, and these were seriously addicting!

For lunch I made myself a smoothie and a salad.Image

Now it may not be normal to top a smoothie with peanut butter, but it’s seriously delicious, and you should all try it. Like now. My smoothie included frozen cherries, blackberries, mango, and banana, plus greek yogurt and milk. My salad was pretty basic. Lettuce and garlic roasted almond, with Trader Joe’s Spicy Peanut dressing. This salad is 1000x better with avocado (because what really isn’t better with avocado?), but there was no avocado at home because I stole them all for school (all mine! hee hee). At the end of my meal, the peanut butter jar was almost empty, so I naturally had to take care of it. I heated up some frozen blueberries until they were warm, juicy, and delicious, and added them to the jar. Yum! After lunch, I had a minor sugar craving. Not exactly a sugar craving, but more like a feeling that I needed dessert after my meal. But that obviously wasn’t going to happen, seeing as I’m doing a 30 day sugar challenge! Instead, I enjoyed some Ghiradelli baker’s chocolate with nuts and dried fruit. For those of you that are unfamiliar with baker’s chocolate, it is just unsweetened chocolate used for cooking. Warning: this is not for everyone. I happen to love super dark chocolate, so this ends up being delicious to me. Especially with some salted cashews. Which we did not have. Oh well. Still good. After lunch I did some work, then bid goodbye to my cats (wow, I already sound like a crazy cat lady) and headed back to school in time for dinner. The best part about dinner? I managed to snag some bananas on my way out. Score! It’s the little things in life guys. Dinner was predictable for a Sunday night. Meals on weekends are generally pretty predictable.Image

A spring roll, whole wheat mushroom pot stickers, a shrimp dumpling, and brown rice, topped with sweet and sour sauce. For some reason there never is any soy sauce…Plus a baby salad on the side. Dessert? I really should put that in quotes.Image

Fruit plus half of a buttered english muffin.

So, today I was pondering my nutrition. I know a ton about nutrition, but I haven’t really applied it much lately. For the most part, I am eating fairly healthy foods, but I don’t think I am optimizing the ratios. One fantastic thing about this blog is it makes it insanely easy to reflect on my nutrition. A picture is worth 1000 words, right? 

I’ve been thinking about my goals for rowing. Obviously, I want to get faster. And let’s be honest, all those Christmas cookies didn’t help this! Nutrition is such a powerful tool when it comes to improving. So what are my goals for the week? First, of course, is my no sugar challenge. This takes precedence over any thing else. At all. Second, I want to work on optimizing my nutrition for performance. How? Well, I’m going to get into a little bit of what I learned in my nutrition class last quarter. Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietician, and I am certainly not telling anyone to cut out carbs!

Carbohydrates are fuel. Glucose, in particular, is used by the muscles in our bodies, as well as by the brain. It’s possible to survive without carbohydrates, such as with the Atkins diet, but it’s not ideal, as it sends a body into a state of ketosis, which I’m not going to get into right now. Anyway, we really need carbs to fuel exercise, but we need them even more to fuel our brains. Muscles can store glucose, but the brain cannot. For this reason, a reasonably frequent supply (as in, roughly every meal) of glucose is beneficial. However, what happens if you ingest a ton of glucose at once? The cells that process glucose and turn it into energy can only process a certain amount per minute. In addition, carbohydrates store 4x their weight in water (ever felt bloated after a huge plate of pasta? this is why). So, if these glucose processing cells were to take in the huge load of carbohydrate that has been ingested, the cell would swell with water and most likely burst. To protect themselves from this, these cells will shut down and not take in sugar to process if the load of sugar coming in is too large. As a result, the glucose cannot be processed and turned into energy, and instead will converted into triglycerides, or fat. In addition, this effect takes some time to go away. After a carb heavy meal, your body may crave more carbs later on, because the carbs you ingested were not used as fuel. Does this sound familiar? After a huge carb heavy meal, you are hungry and crave carbs later in the day? However, depending on the carb load or amount of time since the carb load, the cells may still be in this state and unable to take in glucose. So this really is a lose-lose. 

So as a person eats carbohydrates, the said person is fueling her body. As a person continues to eat carbohydrates, at some point, the person will stop fueling the body and in turn, shut down the process of fueling the body. See the problem here? Carbohydrates are important to refuel from exercise, or to eat for energy, but after a point, too many will actually not fuel muscles. So if I am trying to recover from a hard workout, I don’t want to overload on glucose, and therefore not refuel my muscles at all. So what is this magic point? It’s different for everyone. And unfortunately, as far as I know, there is no great way to tell when one is at this point. However, the body can process glucose much faster after exercise, which is why it is important to eat as soon as possible after exercise. After an intense workout, the first 5 minutes are important because that is when the glucose processing is the fastest. See why I love Biochem? 

So what is the best thing to do? Eat slow digesting carbs. Or better yet, eat some veggies with your carbs. Raw vegetables significantly slow the digestion of carbs, which will slow the rate of glucose entering the cells. In terms of carbs that digest more slowly on their own, beans digest slowly. Coarse grains digest slowly as well. the course the grain, the slower the digestion rate. For example, steel cut oats digest more slowly than whole wheat bread. European style bread is a great course-grain bread (plus it’s delicious!) However, the raw vegetables digest the most slowly of all, so that is the best option. With slow digesting carbs, you can fuel your brain and body for hours after eating.

Don’t like this idea? Another option is try eating more frequent and smaller portions of carbohydrates. For example, split your sandwich into 2 meals, early and late lunch. 

If I sound completely crazy to you, and you don’t buy any of this, I swear it’s straight from my class, so don’t shoot the messenger. Want more? Check out this website. http://www.drclydewilson.com/

I bought the nutrition books, and they are the best and most inclusive of the nutrition books I’ve read. I highly recommend them if you are interested in learning more!

Wow, that was a long tangent! So if you’re still with me after all that Biochem, how does this relate to me and my performance? I’m pretty sure I’ve been overloading on the carbs lately. I believe my professor recommended a serving of carbs the size or your palm for each salad you eat. So my goal for this week is to stick to that and see what happens!

I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into the world of Biochemistry! I had a ton of fun reviewing what I learned last quarter. That was by far my favorite class I have ever taken. Have you ever loved something so much you have wanted to cry? That was actually me in that class. No joke. That class more than confirmed that I know what the heck I want to do with my life. Especially sugar metabolism, that’s my favorite! 🙂 

How much do you want to learn about nutrition? Do you want me to go more into Biochem topics and metabolism?

Feedback would be much appreciated!

5 comments on “Challenge Day 2

  1. Andrea

    Yes, definitely more science!

  2. Pingback: Recovery Drink | Fitness is Sweet

  3. Pingback: Make Up Post 1/15! | Fitness is Sweet

  4. erika

    I really enjoyed this post. I’ve always wondered why I seem to crave carbs more if I eat carbs for breakfast/earlier in the day. I’ve found it works best for me to eat carbs more in the afternoon/evening otherwise I just to carbcarbcarb all day. It’s scary to know that if I eat too many carbs at once they’ll just turn into fat!!! Eek. Anyway, great post 🙂

    1. astottler

      It’s crazy, right? I’m glad you found this helpful!

Comments are closed.