Monthly Archives: January 2014

Why This Half Training Will Be Different

Hey guys! I’m solidly in the middle of week 2 now! And some things are changing-I’ll discuss in a minute!

Let’s back it up a bit, shall we? 

Wednesday morning I went to the gym for a Crossfit-like workout (basically the one they did on Tuesday that I couldn’t make), plus 2 miles on the treadmill. The workout was working on hang cleans, and the conditioning part was 3 rounds of 500m row, 21 pull ups (assisted), and 21 push ups. The sad thing about this workout is it definitely made me realize my knee isn’t 100%. I had some trouble with the rowing! Also, I have a mystery bruise on the top of my foot, right along one of the seams…so that feels fabulous.


I went to the dining hall for breakfast-I really wanted a change of pace! Sadly they didn’t have just egg whites (which can be less sketchy), but I went with plain scrambled eggs and egg onion, spinach, and cheese. Plus a side of fruit!

Wednesday was a little crazy-I had an evening midterm, which needed to be studied for. Plus, I had lots to do for Thursday! I actually got 9 hours of sleep Tuesday night, and it was absolutely glorious. And I’m currently contemplating bed…

Anyways, here’s my randomly packed lunch-totally normal to eat turkey burgers and corn on the cob out of a bag, right??


This filled me up SO MUCH. This is the change I was talking about-when I get full, I’m SO FULL CAN’T EAT ANOTHER BITE. And when I’m hungry, I’m KILL ME NOW I’M STARVING hungry. I’m not sure if this is my metabolism changing? 

Fun fact-did you know that polyunsaturated fats get used as hormones that regulate metabolism? So maybe this is because I’m eating more fat?

Now I’m thinking it may be something else though-like my body adjusting to more fiber/different foods. Today, I couldn’t eat a ton without being TOTALLY stuffed.

But on that theme, I left studying to come back to my room and eat a snack-the last of the yogurt from the giant container, with berries and sunflower seed butter.


If you can’t tell, I’m running a little low on bowls. And utensils…I ate my soup off of a plate.


I have real, non-paper bowls but they’re really deep, and since the soup got thinner when it thawed, all the goodies on top sink to the bottom. So plate=problem solved…?

My test went fine. Which is good. And I was on top of things enough that I wasn’t up crazy late (5 hours of sleep-yay!). 

The next morning I went to spin, and studied for my morning midterm while eating. Breakfast was 0% Greek yogurt+mashed banana+cocoa powder. I poured everything onto a (you guessed it) plate, and it’s amazing how much yogurt comes out of a tiny container!


I ended up finishing my Nutrition midterm 30 minutes early-this stuff is my jam 🙂 So I had plenty of time to do my pre-lab before my afternoon class. 

For lunch, I went with something small and more moderate-butter sage mashed sweet potatoes-but I didn’t want to waste the skin, so I stuffed them! Yum!


Look how it compacted after rolling around in the container all day!


After lab, I had a snack of sunflower seed butter (the last of it 🙁 ) and an apple, plus corn on the cob (totally normal, right??). Then, Crossfit. We didn’t have strength today-just mobility. Which basically meant foam rolling for half the time. Since my race is coming up, I wanted an easier type of workout anyways! The WOD ended up being worse than expected-we did 10, 9, 8, 7,….1 thrusters, with 90 jump ropes between each set, followed by an 800m run at the end. My shoulders are still really sore from push presses on Tuesday, so that was kind of terrible. 

I pushed the run a lot at the end, and ended up feeling kind of sick, thanks to whatever changes are going on. I’m kind of concerned about this given my 5k is this Sunday, and that naturally has a tendency towards nausea. I think I may to stick to lower fiber/easier to digest foods or something! I think I’m going to have kombucha tomorrow morning too. 

I forced myself to eat something afterwards-what ended up working the best was the brown rice fried rice (not really fried rice, they just like giving their rice different names to seem fancier.)


Veggies weren’t that appealing (but maybe the veggies choices also weren’t great), and I ate a lot of the tofu. Plus this mini plate with more rice and chicken, and a little pineapple.


So hopefully whatever is going on resolves itself-this is really strange! But I guess your body will react when you completely change what you’re eating!

Oh, and I came back to my dorm to find this:


Yes, that is my door. (And by that I mean the door I always use to enter/exit my dorm). No clue how that happened. #collegelife

One story is someone was mad and kicked it in. Another is someone accidentally ran into it. Not sure how that is possible….

In fitness news-why is this half training different? Besides the fact that I’ll be doing more speed work than before, some of the longer runs may be a bit more…unconventional. Why? I’m doing a Tough Mudder! The weekend after my half…the timing isn’t ideal, but I’m doing it with my sister and her boyfriend. We’re trying to get up a bigger group as well! So some of my longer runs may incorporate more strength elements-like running 5 miles, doing Crossfit, running 5 miles. Or doing some type of strength move every mile. That would definitely break up the monotony of a treadmill run as well!

Can I confess something? I’m on week 2 of my project…and I don’t feel different. Maybe feeling good is my new normal (I think this is the case), but I want to keep seeing changes! I’m scared this project won’t work. That after 4 months nothing will be different. That my theories were wrong. And I understand that it’s really too soon to tell whether this will be life changing, but I’m impatient. I would just feel really silly if after 4 weeks, nothing happens. I mean, I’m definitely developing new habits and trying new things, which is great, but do you have any idea how many cookies I’ve passed up on? I never realized how abundant cookies are on a college campus. They even had cookies for us after the bio midterm! But I know I need to be patient. And I’m determined to stick with this. And get more sleep…I’m actually not sleep deprived right now thanks to Tuesday night, but I know it will happen again if I don’t make sleep more of a priority. One of my chem friends today was super sleep deprived, to the point it was amusing to witness. Remember last Thursday when I was running on 3 hours of sleep? I was flat out delirious. Inspired, yes. Very inspired. But totally delirious. I’m running out of energy here-and since no more work needs to be done today, bed sounds really nice right now. Maybe I am more sleep deprived than I thought?

Have you ever done any type of obstacle course race?


WIAW-Oatmeal, Oatmeal, and More Oatmeal

Happy Wednesday! How’s the week treating you guys? I’m definitely dragging. Midterm season is officially upon us. Yayyy. Thanks to Jenn for the food party!


This morning I got in a quick treadmill run. The good news? My feet are still cooperating. I guess this ‘no processed food’ business really is doing something? The true test will come when I start half training soon!

Breakfast was leftover banana egg white oats with yogurt stirred in.


I apologize that everything I eat is in a cup. I then topped it with some berry compote.


Plus a little crockpot oatmeal-but more on that in a minute! 

Lunch was eaten outside in the beautiful weather-although I think we’re getting rain soon!


Brussels sprouts tossed in balsamic dressing plus a turkey burger.

And this:


I definitely thought this was a blood orange, so I packed it in my lunch. Upon further inspection, it was clear something was up. It was a Meyer lemon! Meyer lemons are a cross between oranges and lemons, and I was convinced to try it anyways.

Yeah, it’s still just like eating a lemon. 

So, yesterday, we made applesauce in my roommate’s crockpot. Since it was out, last night she put in the mixings for baked oatmeal, which I HAD to try this morning, as it smelled amazing. When I returned from class, she was fiddling with it a little more. She added all kinds of things-banana, raisins, cinnamon, dates, egg, pumpkin.


After cooking all day, the texture was more like a sticky pudding-very soft.


Then, we tried to make a quick bread type of deal out of it by adding more egg and coconut flour, and cooking further.


It baked a little on top, but it was just too wet for bread. The texture because a thick, stick to your rips custard type of deal. Definitely good, but not really resembling oatmeal or quick bread! But still a great snack on a cold (ish) afternoon!

Dinner was at the dining hall. After talking about fats on here yesterday, and talking this morning about how fish oil is the ideal type of fat, I was pretty excited to see fish at the dining hall that didn’t appear to go off my project!

Plus, I was ready to load up on veggies!


Tilapia, a simple spinach salad, cabbage salad, mushrooms, and some type of potato dish.


And a baby plate of cilantro rice, more potatoes, and green beans.

Plus a little bit of applesauce.


It was a good day of food! But not going to lie, there are only so many ways you can do oatmeal, bananas, and yogurt. I’m getting so tired of them! I think I’m going to try to go to the dining hall for eggs tomorrow, but still not the most exciting option!

Any good ideas for breakfast that have no sugar and are easy? (As in dorm friendly…)


The Chemistry of Fats

Hey guys! This is midterm week…yay. And since I don’t have much time to study for Human Nutrition (thanks for that Bio), I figured I’d double my efforts and multitask-a blog post that I’m being tested on! So-today, we’ll talk about the difference in types of fat!

First, let’s go through a quick day of food. 

This morning I woke up to run. After yesterday’s bout into the world of sugar, I felt really gross and full-and I didn’t sleep well at all. I considered skipping the run all together.

I fueled up with some energy balls (I think this is going to be my pre-race breakfast).


The run was…surprisingly amazing. I expected to feel awful, but I felt great! Lesson-a week of hard work is not undone in a day. I even started thinking about my goal paces for my upcoming halfs-in the (long distant) future, I could imagine doing a sub 2. My 4 mile run was a tempo run, so a middle mile was at my 5k goal pace. 

The best part? My feet. Maybe there is something to the hope that this whole cutting out processed food business will magically cure my foot pain. I didn’t really feel the numbness at all, and my tendonitis is getting better (but I have been doing rehab exercises for this). So things are looking up on that front! Really quickly, I’m going to go through food, and then get on to fats!


Plain yogurt with fruit compote.


Chicken with steamed spinach and leftover lentil mix.


A hot apple with cinnamon and sunflower seed butter, plus a hard boiled egg.


A surprisingly good persimmon from the campus market.


Same old, same old. But for some reason the freezer made it thinner…and I am out of paper bowls so real bowl for me! 


I still needed something so brown rice with butter.



And homemade applesauce! My roommate brought a slow cooker, and this is the first time we used it! We just chopped up a bunch of random apples and threw them in…needless to say our room smells amazing! And applesauce is good with creme fraiche…just saying.

NOW. On to fats!

There’s been a lot of confusion lately, and a lot of labeling “good” and “bad” fats.


There are 3 types of fatty acids:

-Saturated-no double bonds

-Monounsaturated-one double bond

-Polyunsatured-more than one double bond

Which gives them this general structure:


(Totally stolen from my lecture notes.)

The double bonds cause bending, so the fats can’t stack as closely, hence the liquid texture at room temperature.

Fats in our bodies are mostly found as triglycerides-a 3 carbon backbone that holds 3 fatty acids together.

In general-animal fats are mostly saturated, plant fats are mostly unsaturated, and fats in fish have the longest carbon chains, and are the most unsaturated. Tropical plants (coconut and palm) have saturated fats.


Fats in the foods we eat are mixtures of these different types, but there is usually a dominant type. (Coconut oil is mostly saturated, but it has some monounsaturated.)

But it’s not as simple at just called saturated fats “bad” and unsaturated fats “good.” It’s a bit more complex.

Animal fats, such as geek or butter, have 16-18 carbons in their chains.

Coconut saturated fat only have 12-14 carbons in its chain.


This is why coconut oil does not react in our bodies in the same way that something like butter would.

Almonds, avocado, and olive oil are examples of monounsaturated fats (remember-one double bond).


Omega-6 polyunsaturated acids have 2 double bonds and 18 carbons, and are common in walnuts and sunflower oil.


Omega-3 fatty acids in flax are different from those in fish-flax have 3 double bonds and 18 carbons

Fish have 5-6 double bonds, and 20-22 carbons.


Hopefully that little tutorial was helpful! Let me know if there are any further questions!

What’s you favorite source of fat?

Things Break Down (And Science Doesn’t Lie!)

Hey guys!

I wan’t really feeling the posting today…but I’m keeping it real here on the ol’ blog. In terms of the project, things are a little hot and cold. 

Last night, I ended up making homemade chocolate-it was really good! Super rich, super dark, not that sweet. It was simply coconut oil, maple syrup, and cocoa powder. 


Last night was spend studying and hanging out with friends. And maybe singing to ’90s music at 1am. 

This morning I woke up and stabbed myself for the sake of science. Image

I read the directions (yay) and successfully took my blood sugar! It was lower than last March, but still on the high side of healthy, so there should be some improvements, hopefully! My roommate’s blood sugar was on the lower end of healthy, so it’s unlikely she’ll see much of a drop. 

For breakfast, I tested out my pre-race breakfast.


Banana and egg oatmeal! This was a little different than how I normally make it-I used extra thick rolled oats instead of instant (so I soaked them overnight), and a whole egg instead of egg whites. Plus, I normally make this with almond milk, but that’s not technically allowed, and i don’t really want dairy before a hard run, so I just used water.

Remember how I was craving bananas so much?

I’m SO. SICK. OF. THEM. Banana overload!

Plus a kiwi.


For this morning’s workout, I wanted to do a pace run. I went to the track and did 2 miles at race pace. And it was doable! Let’s just hope I can push out another mile at that pace!


Plus the course isn’t exactly totally flat…and it’s never exactly 3.1…but I still have a week to get faster and stronger, right??

I followed the run with some weights-back lunges, single leg RDLs, and abs. 

And then-lunchtime!


Salad with oil and vinegar, mixed grain salad, and a garden burger with cheese cubes. Not totally sure on these ingredients, but I felt good after so we’ll go with it! Plus nonfat plain Greek yogurt with pineapple. Ignore the strawberry mess-I was hoping it would be without any added sugar, but a small taste immediately told me otherwise!

Later in the day is where things started to break down. I felt SO great. I kept thinking how I barely notice feeling great anymore because it’s my new normal! But then I was hungry. So I had a snack. 

Yesterday I talked about “fake” desserts-which for the record I should especially avoid because my stomach was not a big fan of all the coconut flour. Today, I’m talking about “real” desserts that don’t seem real. It’s science people! (kidding-that probably makes no sense.)

Over the last couple of days, I’ve had a decent amount of sugar. But it’s “natural” sugar, so totally doesn’t count, right? But here’s the crazy thing. In your body, sugar is basically just sugar. And if you’re sensitive to sugar anyway, and then you try to avoid it, you’re likely going to react to natural sugars as well. 

I’ve had a few too many dates and dried mangoes lately…and I feel it. And I react no differently than regular sugar. 

I feel sick. I can’t focus. I’m anxious. I want more sweet stuff. 

So I caved. It happened. I’m being honest with you guys. But I’m also learning from it. 

How did I feel? Gross. Sick. Panicky (this is probably not a normal reaction to sugar but it always makes me crazy). 

But what did I do about it? 

I learned from my mistake. 

1. Sugar tastes good. Desserts are great. But I’ve never been one of those people that handles sugar well, and I honestly should try to keep it out of my life. For me, the worst effect is mental. To be clear-the problem is NOT that I beat myself up over it, but I’ve always had bad reactions. My heart races, I get really hot, my hormones go crazy. Those physical responses lead to anxiety, lack of focus, feelings of panic. Which makes sense-those physical symptoms evolutionarily would indicate a reason for panic (like seeing a tiger).

2. Sugar is sugar. Sugar makes me crave sugar. Dried fruits (especially dates) are still sugar. And I need to be more careful.

3. I can’t wallow in self pity. Feeling bad about not being able to eat things is a recipe for failure-I need to focus on the delicious things I’m CHOOSING to eat (not just that I CAN eat).

4. I may need to take a step back. From the Internet world. Just for a little while-I love looking at pictures of froyo and chocolate and muffins, but if I’m going to finish this thing, I need to limit my exposure. But I have midterms anyways so there’s that distraction…

Oh, and here’s dinner:


Bottom line: I really want to finish this strong. The changes I’m seeing and feeling are amazing. My confidence is higher than I can even remember. And I’ll do whatever I need to do to finish this out. Depending on what’s happening 3 weeks from now, I may go an extra week to really do a full month. But given the changes I felt in a week, we’ll see. 

Another thing I’m recognizing: just HOW MANY occasions come up that I would have grabbed a sweet at. Multiple cookie parties, giant cookies at late night, waffles and muffins for brunch. I now understand exactly where the Freshman 15 comes from! 

So-yes. I slipped up. But I’m not going to sit here and complain about it, because it’s an opportunity to learn. 

To be quite frank, the thing that worries me the most is life post-Project. After the difference in how I felt this morning vs. after sugar, I don’t know how I can possibly function in a life with sugar. Yes, I have the biggest sweet tooth, but I also have a really bad reaction to it. I don’t know how I can go through life functioning and feeling good with it. I feel like a lot of the stress I felt last year was a result of overconsumption of sugar. It’s crazy how things work, isn’t it?? I wish I understood WHY I’m so sensitive!

But-tomorrow is another day! Please don’t take this post as me complaining and feeling bad about eating sugar. I’m only posting because I want to be honest with you guys, and I do think it’s an important learning experience. And remember-the things my body responds to are completely different for a lot of other people! Some people can have a moderate amount of sugar everyday and it works for them-if this is the case for you, but all means go for it! These are just my experiences.

I think I’ve asked this before, but: any ideas on how to be get magically fast in a week??

Faking the Good Stuff

Hey guys!

Let’s go through the day, shall we?
(I’m currently kinda waiting for my laptop to charge so I can go to the library…)

I considered going to Crossfit this morning, but instead decided to sleep in and give my legs a rest day. Tomorrow I’m going to do a short run at my 5k goal pace-probably about 2 miles, so I want fresh legs!

Brunch this morning was beans, chicken, salsa, and guacamole over lettuce.


Plus some frozen blueberries and mango.


Today was a little bit rough in project land-we had a tea party for a sorority recruitment event, and there were so many cookies!


But hey, at least it got me out in real people clothes, right?? I mean a dress-who’d have thought?


After staring down tons of cookies, I desperately wanted something when I got back.

Enter my special delivery-my mom is the best. She brought me this vat of berry compote-blueberries and raspberries!


Which I paired with yogurt and sunflower seed butter.



I was still wanting my cookies, so I did a bit of experimenting. I had an idea for cookie dough style pre-workout balls, so I thought I’d give it a try.


I made chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin. The base was banana, coconut flour, vanilla, and salt. For the chocolate chip, I simply added unsweetened chocolate. For the oatmeal raisin, I added cinnamon, oats, and raisins. Overall, not bad, but a little bit too coconut flour-y for me. Plus, coconut flour is very high fiber which may not be the best pre-workout option. 

Today, I had a lot of “sweet like things” which I think is where I can tend to get in trouble-I stuffed now from these balls plus some dried fruit and dinner!


Brown rice, chicken, broccoli, and this mixture:


Which surprisingly has a decent ingredient list!

Today was going to be our dessert for the week, but to be honest, I’m not really feeling it at this point. 

The moral of this post? When trying to be healthy, you don’t do a lot for yourself by trying to mimic the real thing. This is where I’ve gotten in trouble in the past, and while today wasn’t awful, it’s still kind of besides the point of the project. And I think ultimately, it makes things more difficult because I’m not eating the real thing. As I enter week 2, things will change a bit. I don’t have the same quantity of food prep done, I’ve eaten a lot of the same foods, and I’m going to venture into the dining hall more. On the easier side though, there are less events with cookies this upcoming week. 

I guess what I’m saying is if you aren’t me doing a super strict project, you may be better off just having the real thing-in moderation of course. Faking it just doesn’t do it! 

Do you have any favorite healthy versions of things?