Trader Joe’s and diet staples

Lets start off with my Sunday night. Since I have next to no friends over here in Albany it was a pretty lonely day, since I decided to stay here for the weekend. Last night consisted of a good dinner, some pre mixed margarita and a chick flick.

Dinner:

I promise that the food item on the right of my plate is cooked and not some bloody slab of road kill that I found on the side of the street. It is grilled chicken with this spicy tomato sauce that my mom brought from Canada, it is very tasty, mixed with some black olives. Again, that is not pieces of dirt and animal flesh. On the side I have some sweet potato wedges with unpictured peanut butter, which are one of my most favorite food items in this universe. And that was a great grammatically correct sentence. The sweet potato wedges are great, I always make a huge batch and then eat them cold for lunch the next day, which is what I did today. With either almond butter or PB!

Sweet Potato Wedges:

  1. Scrub sweet potatoes
  2. Cut sweet potatoes into wedge shapes
  3. Toss into large Ziploc bag, with olive oil, sea salt, cumin, and this time I used some paprika
  4. Close bag, throw and toss bag around, maybe chuck it at someone
  5. Line baking sheet with tin foil, place marinated wedges on sheet, bake at 450 degrees for around 30 min

Viola! Delicious.

I did my Nike Training App this morning. Lots of burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, froggers, planks, lunges. I felt my behind going up the stairs of my apartment tonight!

Breakfast:

Toasted wheat sandwich thin, toasted in my oven, because I am a poor intern too cheap for a toaster. Topped with almond butter, strawberries, and raspberries. Almond butter and raspberries is seriously one of the best combinations ever. Along with sweet potatoes. And a lot of other things.

Today was an uneventful day at the internship, just preparing for the big final presentation on Wednesday, gah! Oh I did burn my hand on the toaster oven, but I will spare you the picture I took of it.  I have to practice my presentation tonight… but soon it will all be over and I will be on the beach with my family. Ahhh I cannot wait.

After work I ran some errands, which included Fleet Feet to drool over the Nike Lunarglide+ 4 that I neeeed to buy. And Trader Joe’s finally! It just opened on Friday so it was packed, and they were in short supply of a lot of items. It is amazing how popular of a place that is. I did not find the Peanut dressing, or the 21 Seasoning Salute, but I did score this booty:

Whole Wheat wraps, Sea Salt, Peanut Butter cups, and Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette.

Those peanut butter cups are amazing, and I wanted to buy a loaf of their fresh bread, but I am trying to cut back on the amount of carbs I eat in my diet. I want them to come from sources such as fruit and veggies, and less from bread and starches. Speaking of food in diets, I was thinking this morning about my favorite foods (no surprise there, that topic tends to be on my mind almost 78% of any given day) and I realized that I eat pretty much the same standard foods every week. I have especially noticed this since I started doing my own grocery shopping this summer. I heard that it is best to only stick to the perimeter of any grocery store when your shopping, because thats where all the whole, healthy and unprocessed foods are located. And turns out, I barely wander down the aisles at all. In fact, the only reason I did yesterday was for a bottle of seltzer water. Just because I feel like torturing you and talking more about my favorite foods, here is the list of my most common diet staples (foods that I must have-cannot-live-without every week): 

  • Bananas
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Nut butters
  • Iced coffee
  • Soy/Almond/Coconut milk
  • Asparagus
  • Hummus
  • Tomatoes
  • Sauvignon blanc
  • Avocados
  • Berries (Rasp, Blue, Straw)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Spinach
  • Salmon
  • Brownies
  • Chicken
  • Almonds
  • Kashi Go Lean Crunch
  • Feta/goat cheese
  • Dark chocolate covered almonds

And thats pretty much it! I’m pretty simple right? Sometimes there could be random obsessions on there, like grapes, peaches, kiwis, cherries, chocolate cake, cupcakes, pizza, etc… but those are the foods I find myself buying every week and always craving! I have made myself into a very healthy eater. I don’t even crave pasta anymore! A big, steamy, meaty and creamy bowl of pasta used to be one of my favorite things in the world, along with a fresh chunk of bread and dipping oil, but now that just sounds scary. I still enjoy a good Italian dinner, but maybe once a month. Random picture from my drive home:

I got stuck at a red light where the sun was so bright that the glare made me unable to see when it was going to turn green, so I had to hang my head out the window for a bit. And this is a longgg light. I got a few inquiring looks from drive-bys. Dinner tonight was Salmon with feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and asparagus, wrapped in tin foil and baked in the oven at 400 for about 20 min. I might turn into a salmon soon with all that I have consumed lately. Its so good and so easy!

Dinner:

Tomorrow morning I have a 4 mile run planned and a reader request! What’s that you say? You have readers? Yes my friends, I received a reader request. Well she is one of my best friends and my very first college roommate and I basically force her to read my blog, but she is a nutrition nut like me and suggested I write about how to get that lunchtime “crunch” without having to resort to packaged foods like chips and pretzels! And she thinks that fruit with lunch is weird… which is just crazy because it is fresh and juicy and sweet and satisfies my sweet tooth and my need for an after lunch dessert 🙂 But I will humor her and come up with some ideas for tomorrow! And she better comment… if she is reading this.. which she will be because I will be forcing her to. Alright, have a great night people!

What are the main staples you find in your diet? Do we have any in common? 

If you like salmon, how do you cook it? 

What is your favorite Trader Joe’s item? 

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Eggs and foods for runners

Quote of the day:

“No candy, no cake, no donuts, no muffins, no white bread, no chips, no fast food, no pastries, no ice cream. Do it for 21 days = results.”

I am trying this. That is, after I finish this premixed Jose Cuervo lime margarita… do chocolate covered almonds count as candy? I just read in Women’s Health magazine that chocolate eaters weigh less…

I made it out for my 5 mile run today. Right before I read the email from my Dad saying that he hopes I am not being crazy and running in the heat/humidity today after my crazy day yesterday… and it was tough run. But I was expecting it to be tough, so it all worked out, and I felt so good after I did it. Gotta love those endorphins. I was in kind of a bum mood and it instantly cheered me right up. Here are the splits:

  • Mile 1: 8:28
  • Mile 2: 8:35
  • Mile 3: 8:31
  • Mile 4: 8:17
  • Mile 5: 8:13 —->where did this random speed demon come from?

Average pace: 8:23. Not too shabby for running 12 miles and biking 20 the day before.

Afterwards I went grocery shopping and decided I was craving eggs so I made this lunch:

Scrambled eggs with feta, spinach, and avocado on a wheat thin. With some juicy strawberries on the side. I have been trying to incorporate more eggs in my diet lately, and I have found that they are especially delicious scrambled with feta cheese and almond milk. The almond milk makes them soo creamy. Try it! Eggs are one of the best foods for runners. Here’s why:

  1. High quality, complete, source of protein. One egg supplies about 10% of your daily protein need. They are great muscle repair food after a long run or tempo workout.
  2. One of the best sources of choline, a nutrient that helps keep the body’s circulatory system clear of compounds that would cause inflammation, which can lead to muscle swelling.
  3. Tons of bone-building Vitamin D. We runners need strong bones. 
  4. Contains lutein, a pigment required for healthy eyes.

Other superstar foods for runners:

  • Almonds
  • Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Chicken
  • Berries
  • Dark chocolate ——>(hey i answered my own question!)
  • Low-fat yogurt

Good thing all of these play a part in my diet! Topic of discussion: Calorie intake. I have been tracking my calories on myfitnesspal for 214 days now. It has become a part of my daily routine, and I feel weird and like I am forgetting something when I am unable to do it. It takes 3 weeks for something to become a habit right? Well this has definitely become a habit… possibly a mini obsession. But, it has helped me lost 14 pounds so I am going to stick with it for as long as I can. I recently changed it to losing 1 pound per week instead of 1/2 a pound, and my daily caloric intake is set at 1460. Do you think this is too low? I find it very hard, near impossible, to stay under this unless I have a big workout that day, which adds to your allowable number of calories. I am going to keep testing it out, see what happens.

I am grilling chicken and baking some sweet potato wedges (yumm) for dinner tonight, and I rented a girly chick flick to keep me company. Oh how I wish I had my adorable pug already to keep me company. I say this over and over again, but the first thing I do once I graduate college and have my very own place is finding a pug rescue and adopting my new best friend.

Do you count calories? If so, how many calories do you consume in a day?

What is your favorite way to cook eggs? 

Pork belly and meal plans

Morning! Woke up bright and early this morning at 5:55 on the dot to turn on the Women’s Olympic marathon! It was a nasty, rainy day there in London but still amazing how they got to run such a breathtaking course. It would be a dream come true to be able to run that course, all throughout London and past the beautiful monuments. Even on a rainy, dreary day I would be drooling. Past Big Ben, the London Eye, the Thames, Buckingham Palace. I want to go to London soo badly. I was supposed to study abroad there this summer, and I would have been there right now, watching the marathon in the rain instead of from my bed in Albany. But then I was offered this internship with GE instead and figured I could not pass up this opportunity. London will always be there waiting for me. Someday London, someday. As soon as there was a commercial break I grabbed this ——> yummm coconut macaroon iced coffee with vanilla coconut milk. I love all of Silk’s milks, the vanilla coconut one I just found this summer and it is really good, coconuty and creamy.

My legs are pretty sore today after my crazy duathlon yesterday. My parents and I ended up biking about 20 miles on the Mohawk-Hudson trail. Then we went to one of my bosses’s houses for wine, grapes and cheese. I made sure she picked up a bottle of Oyster Bay Sauvignon blanc, my absolute favorite. So crisp and fruity and refreshing. Then we went to New World Bistro Bar for dinner, which is known for their spicy foods. My boss made me go with the pork belly, (ewwwww I know), which I have kind of always wanted to try. You only live once right? Turns out its a delicacy and like 800 calories but it was delicious and something I will probably never eat again, but thats okay. I can now say that I have had pork belly. Can you say that?

——> Mom and I on our bikes. That is the state capital in the background, pretty right? Albany is actually quite a nice little city.

I chomped on Grape Nuts and blueberries this morning while watching the marathon, but I am already starving again. And I am supposed to get out for a 5 mile run today… this should be interesting. I winced a little bit getting out of bed this morning. And considering its already 9:00 and a steamy 80 degrees I may be putting this run off until tomorrow morning. But I do love getting my endorphin fix, so I will keep you posted. There is absolutely no food in my apartment so today will include a trip to Price Chopper. Yayyyy grocery shopping! Here is the dinner plan for the week:

MEAL PLAN:

  • Sunday: Baked chicken w/ spicy tomato sauce, black olives. Sweet potato wedges
  • Monday: Baked salmon in foil w/ feta, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, summer squash
  • Tuesday: Almond crusted tilapia, quinoa, summer squash
  • Wednesday: Connecticut (nervous!)
  • Thursday: Scrambled egg and avocado pita
  • Friday: Moving home!
  • Saturday: Cape Cod!

Kind of a random week since I will be moving all over the place. Here is the grocery list:

GROCERIES:

  • Eggs
  • Dried cherries
  • Feta cheese
  • Hummus
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Berries
  • Bananas
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Asparagus
  • Salmon
  • Seltzer
  • Cucumber
  • Greek yogurt

Time to go decide if my legs are up for this run or not. I am bad about taking rest days, and need to start listening to my body when it is sore. Enjoy your Sunday!

How many rest days do you take per week? 

Did anyone else get up to watch the Olympic woman’s marathon this morning? 

Have you tried pork belly? What did you think?? 

Duathlon day

Good morning! I hope that your Saturday is off to a great start. As you know, I had a 12 mile run planned for this morning, as part of my marathon training and to test out my new fuel belt! Well the verdict: it sucked. Okay it didn’t SUCK, it was really nice having water when I got thirsty, I ended up drinking both water bottles during the run and I had a pocket to put my iphone in instead of holding it and getting it all sweaty. But it kept sliding around and sideways to the left, and it made my shirt ride up. Does anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions? I think I am going to keep trying it out, maybe bring it on some shorter runs with me and see if I can get used to it, because I do need to start hydrating during my runs. Maybe I am just not wearing it right? I plan to youtube that later.

Pre-run breakfast! Normally I do not eat anything before my short runs during the week, I hate the feeling of food in my stomach when I run. But before longer runs, I definitely need some sort of fuel. This is what I eat before every long run:

Or some variation of this. Either a toasted sandwich thin or english muffin, with PB and banana. I used to put honey on it also, but found that it didnt digest as well when I tried to run. Weird right? But after eating this simple breakfast, I can be out on my way in about an hour, which is great. It works really well for me. My peanut butter of choice right now is Kraft Peanut Butter, which can only be found in Canada. Whenever we go back we make sure to stock up on this stuff, its sooo smooth and creamy and delicious. and natural. Me with beloved peanut butter during trip to Montreal —–>

Above pic is all happy before the run. Below pic is sweaty and satisfied but sad because all of my water ran out. Do you like my shirt? Its new, I’m loving all the fun new Nike shirt and short patterns. I’m obsessed with their tempo shorts, I buy a new fun pair before almost every race.

12 miles at 8:48 average pace! Not sure why my Garmin says 10:05… that was probably that last .01 of a mile where I was dying. I had to run around in a few extra circles at the end because I hadn’t hit 12 miles yet by the time I got back to the apartment. Hate when that happens. Overall it went well!

I’m soooo pumped for the Olympic marathon tomorrow! Anyone else getting up at 6 am to watch it? I am! Kara Goucher or Shalane Flanagan? I am undecided I love and want to be them both. I just bought Kara Goucher’s Running For Women book, and I can’t wait to dig into it tomorrow. And then going out for my 5 mile run. And then hitting up the new Trader Joe’s!! I am way more excited for that than I should be haha. I just can’t get enough of TJ’s. And I have absolutely no food in my apartment so it is perfect timing. I need to meal plan for the week. This is my last week here in Albany, and I am spending Wednesday and Thursday in Connecticut to present our final presentations and do final evaluations, so I am not going to need that much food. Just a few things for dinner, some more yogurt and fruit for breakfast, and salad stuff and hummus for lunch. I will post a list and full meal plan tomorrow for your viewing pleasure!

My parents are on their way here to Albany now to help me pack up most of my apartment, and they are bringing my beautiful bike! I cant wait to see my baby, it has been way too long.

We are going to ride down to the Erie Canalway trails to the Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway, which starts in Albany and goes past Troy, Cohoes, Schenectady, and I think you can ride all the way up to Buffalo, but that wont be happening today. Not after those 12 miles. I am doing a little duathlon today! If I take any pics of the views ill post them later. Can’t wait to be reunited with my bikeee! And my parents too I guess. Have a great Saturday every body!

What is your opinion on fueling belts? Do you use them? 

What do you eat before a long run? 

Are you getting up at 6 am tomorrow morning to watch the Olympics Marathon?! 

Burpees and ugly sweet potatoes

Hi! Thank goodness it is Friday. This has been a long, slow week. I present my final intern project next week in Fairfield, CT at GE’s headquarters, and then I am doneeeee! And off to the Cape with the family for what should be a glorious week long vacation on the beach with sharks. Apparently lots of them. Good thing we are staying in Chatham on the ocean side… I don’t mind though, give me a book, my bathing suit, the sun, a towel and good drink and I am content on the beach for the day.

This morning I took a break from running and did some burpees! Well specifically I used my Nike Training app on my iphone and did a 30 min boot camp with lots of jumping jacks, pushups (I can do 20 before I die), mountain climbers, squats, lunges, and buuuurpeeeees! My favvvv. Well its a love hate relationship. They are so good for you but they suck. so hard. Here is an example of a burpee if you think I am crazy and have never heard that strange word before in your life:

Do 5 of these babies and you will be breathing hard. Unless your superman and in crazy good shape, then lucky you. You need to find a harder workout.

I have my long run planned for tomorrow morning, 12 miles! I haven’t run that far since my last half marathon over two months ago. I’m pretty excited for this one though because I get to try out this new investment that I picked up after work today:

Finally my very own fanny pack fueling belt! I have been putting off getting one of these because 1) I always thought they looked funny 2) I made fun of people for wearing them 3) they look funny. But on my last long run when I was dying for a sip of water or even better, gatorade, or strangely enough, apple juice (weird mid-run craving) I caved and decided it was time. Plus, if I am going to be taking pictures for this blog for you on my runs, I need a nice pocket to put my iphone in! And with my training runs getting longer and longer each weekend, I know that I am going to have to start drinking gatorade or taking those GU gels, to get in some form of sugar and carbs. Does anyone know at what point during your long run your supposed to start taking in carbs? Is it 45 min in? How about water? (Feel free to please answer me in the comments, as you can see, I am lacking in the comment category). Tomorrow I figure I will just bring along some water and sip it when I start to feel thirsty and see what happens. Hows that for a game plan?

Here I am modeling my new accessory for your viewing pleasure: 

Soo on top of this I really need new shoes. I love my running shoes, I went to Fleet Feet awhile back when I was having knee problems and they fit me with the Nike Lunarglide+ 3 and I became obsessed with them. I have not looked at another pair of running shoes since. It didnt hurt that they were a beautiful neon green and grey and attracted a lot of attention, and when they became worn after about 500 miles, I replaced them with the exact same pair. And then I replaced them again. Well its been about 400 miles since and I am due for a new pair. Excepttttt Nike decided to make them even better and now they have the Nike Lunarglide+ 4, which apparently are lighter and fit snuggier and will make you run speedier. Ummm I want them! I am going to order them online, but unsure which color is my favorite. I am leaning towards either the white with yellow or the grey with yellow. Here the white:

I would just be afraid that white would get dirty! With these shoes, my new awesome belt, and my Oakley sunglasses I am gonna be decked out at my next half marathon!

So I will leave you now with a picture of my lovely dinner.

 Grilled chicken, quinoa, and baked sweet potato with greek yogurt and cinnamon. Taken on my beautiful plate with my ghetto paper towel napkin. It doesn’t look great but actually tasted really good. Check out this nasty looking picture of my sweet potato:

I warned you… weird food habits! It was actually really tasty and got the job done. Time to go but don’t worry, i’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of my 12 miler and ill make sure to include a picture of the fanny pack in action! I am also going to discuss how to properly fuel before a long run, and what my go-to breakfast is. What I need to work on though, is how to fuel after. Is anyone a fueling expert?

Do you have a love-hate relationship with burpees?

Do you bring water/gatorade/GU’s on your long runs with you? At what point during the run do you take them?

What do you normally eat before a run? After?

Any other sweet potato fans out there?

Peanut butter parfait-in-a-mason-jar

Hi! How is your Thursday going? Mine has just turned fantastic because I am at Starbucks, pay day is tomorrow, this time next week I will be done with my dreaded final presentation for GE, and my mom just called and told me that I won another scholarship! Give me that monneeyyyyyyy. Well give UConn that money but still its another line on the resume! And possibly a trip to Beverly Hills… I am invited to PREA (the company that gave the scholarship) Annual Conference and then right after that I jet off to Chicago for the CREW Network Convention to accept that scholarship. Man, life is tough.

Jump to this morning: I had a 6 mile tempo run on the training plan for today, with the middle 4 miles at 7:38 min pace. I was nervous about this one, I havent done a tempo run any longer than 5 miles until this morning. And it was tough. like I am going to stop and throw up on the side of the road tough. But I kept chugging (luckily Albany is very flat) and like always it felt great when I was done. 6 miles done! Here’s the splits:

  1.  9:11 – warm up
  2. 7:41 – too slow
  3. 7:39 – just right
  4. 7:41 – dying
  5. 7:3o – not sure where that came from
  6. 8:4o – ahhhh done

Average pace of 8:04! And then after my shower it was time for this beauty:

Okay so just a forewarning – if you read my about me page, I have really odd food habits. This being one of them. These parfaits-in-a-mason-jar have become my recent summer breakfast obsession. Throw in some plain greek yogurt (Chobani), some berries of choice, maybe half a banana, some kashi or grape nuts for some crunch, and of course peanut butter (Kraft) or almond butter (Maranather) and viola! Delicious nutritious parfait. Here is a prettier one:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In other news, Trader Joe’s opens in Albany this weekend! I am taking full advantage of that and getting there early on Sunday, because I bet it will be packed. I have been making a list of Trader Joe must-have’s all summer, and planned to make a trip to the one in West Hartford before going back to school (to my own apartment!!!). Here is my list of TJ’s need to have’s:

  • Chocolate covered almonds
  • 21 seasoning salute
  • Honey wheat bread
  • Peanut dressing
  • anything else I see in the store that I need to have at that very second

And now I will leave you with a great quote I found in Runner’s World the other day:

“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine… or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”

 

This is my excuse for neeeeeding to get my run in every morning in order to breathe and live and smile and be a nice person all day. It is my staple 🙂 On the menu for dinner tonight: Grilled chicken, roasted asparagus, and either a baked sweet potato or sauteed zucchini and squash. I am still deciding what sounds better at this very moment.  Off to go figure out that dilemma and cook dinner and watch Gleeeeee! Have a good night

Short-term goals

Hello! I do not know who, if anyone, is out there reading this blog and my posts, and if you are, I apologize for the posts being so frazzlied, disorganized, and non consistent. Lets just say it is a work in progress. I guess I am still trying to figure out if this blog is something that I really want to pursue. I love reading blogs and have always wanted to start my own, but I know that they can be very time consuming. I have had some time this summer, but with the fall semester picking up soon and new classes and job hunts (yikes) who knows if I will have enough time. I do love to take pictures of my food though. So I have that going for me I suppose.

Well over the next few days I might take the time to edit my About Me page, and then maybe this blog will actually get underway. I  need a focus. Obviously it will be about running, which is what consumes my thoughts 93% of the day. The other 7% would probably be food and what I am going to eat for breakfast or cook for dinner. So that is a start. Running, cooking, food. I love to bike, but unfortunetly do not have much time for it as I cant bring my road bike to school with me. I love to strength train. I develop a 3 day a week lifting schedule once I am at school. I really want to get back into Crossfit, but unfortunelty I do not think that will be possible on my college student budget. So there we have it. Running, cooking, food, biking, lifting. My dream someday is to do a triathlon. I will have to get used to swimming again in order for that to happen.

So let me start off with my current and short term goals for the next few months. (I promise the next post will be more exciting and visually appealing with pictures)!

In no particular order:

  • Keep up with my training plan for the big 26.2
  • Get back into free weights and strenth training at school
  • Enjoy my week vacation on the Cape
  • Weigh 120 by the time fall semester begins (4 pounds to go!)
  • Spend money wisely.. make it last
  • Apply to a GE leadership program
  • Plan something fun for my 21st birthday
  • Go to Canada over Labor Day weekend
  • Do a Warrior Dash
  • Read Happiness at Home (any Happiness Project fans out there?)
  • Limit pasta and red meat intake to once a week

Don’t worry, my About Me page will include lots more fun facts about me 🙂 And some pictures I promise. I am an organization nerd so I am always making lists in my head and itching to write them out somewhere, you  should see the Notepad app in my phone. So this blog will serve as the perfect template to express all my crazy lists and antics. Your welcome! Thank you to anyone out there who has decided, for some reason I cannot comprehend, to take 10 minutes out of their day to read this post. But really, I do appreciate you 🙂 Happy reading!