Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder

Happy Earth Day! My foot is finally better and I cannot wait to get back into my normal exercise routine. Although April is technically still "Insanity Month," I'm going to wait to restart the program for May's goal. While my foot is feeling 95% back to normal, I don't want to push it and re-injure anything, so I'd rather start back with some lower intensity workouts for the remainder of April while attempting to stick to a healthy diet (weekends have been killing me lately)! 

But have no fear, I have received some help in the healthy eating department

A few weeks ago, a rep from Kiss Me Organics reached out to me to sample their Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder. I'm a lover of normal green tea, and I had heard of Matcha before, but I still wasn't 100% sure what is was or what made it so great. After doing a little bit of research, I decided to give it a go.

Some of the benefits of their Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder include:


"USDA Organic Matcha Green Tea can only be used in a powdered form because, unlike brewed green tea, it contains the entire tea leaf which dramatically increases the nutritional content." 

There are many ways you can consume Matcha. So far, I have only included it in my morning fruit smoothies, but apparently you can use it in baking, seasoning, cooking, or just drinking it with water/milk as you would normal tea. It's a great way to sneak in some healthy benefits without altering the taste too much. But fair warning, depending on the amount of powder you add, the color of your food might be green-ish (it's great for Christmas or St. Patrick's Day). 

Before adding it to my smoothie, I gave it a taste so I would know if it would alter the flavor at all. I assumed that it would be somewhat sweet (similar to a protein powder or shake mix), but it didn't have much of a taste at all...definitely not sweet! You only need 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per day to reap the listed benefits, so it doesn't take much. I incorporated a spoonful of the powder into my usual mix and enjoyed! 

The product is available exclusively thru Amazon.com and runs about $25.00 for a 4 oz supply. Depending on how much you use per day, that should last you anywhere from 24-48 days. 

I've only used it about 5 times so far, but I do notice having more energy throughout the day. I'll make sure and do an update on the other potential benefits after my first supply is gone! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Insane Yet?

Today would have been the two-week mark for my April goal of doing Insanity. Everything was going great and I kept up with the schedule for 12 days! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do it for the past few days due to an injury.

It makes me very frustrated, angry, sad, annoyed, etc. that I haven't been able to workout due to something that is out of my control. 

I completed my 6th half marathon on Saturday and I believe that is what sparked the cause of my new injury. After the race, I felt fine and don't remember an exact point in time during the run where I may have injured my foot. The next day, I woke up and my body wasn't sore like usual - which was surprising. Instead, I felt like I had bruised the outer bone of my left foot. It wasn't extremely painful so I continued on with my Sunday and completed a few errands. By the end of the day, I was limping. 

I got up and went to work yesterday and did a little "self-diagnoses" thanks to Google (not always recommended, but I was curious if other people had experienced this after long runs). I came away with what I believe to be Peroneal Tendonitis

According to my "research"...

"The peroneal tendons run on the outside of the ankle just behind the bone called the fibula. The reality is that there is tendinosis, which means that there is enlargement and thickening with swelling of the tendon. This usually occurs in the setting of overuse, meaning a patient or athlete doing a repetitive activity which irritates inflames the tendon over long periods of time.​ People having peroneal tendinosis typically have either tried a new exercise or have markedly increased their activities. Characteristic activities include marathon running or others which require repetitive use of the ankle. ​As discussed above, improper training or rapid increases in training and poor shoewearshoe wear can lead to peroneal tendinosis."

So there you go - that describes my situation perfectly. Overuse and improper training (I hadn't ran in 3 weeks before Saturday). Thankfully, I don't believe it to be a severe case and it should hopefully heal on its own with some rest. If the pain continues, I will be going to see a doctor within the next few days, but I'm praying that staying off of it and taking some time off from leg exercises will do the trick (I'm pretty stubborn when it comes to seeing doctors...I do not like taking excessive medications just to mask the pain and not fix the real issue). However, I would be open to physical therapy. 

If my diagnosis is incorrect, this could very well be a stress fracture. But I'm not sure I'd be able to walk with that going on. There is no bruising or swelling, so I don't believe it to be the case. 

Hopefully this will subside soon so I can get back on track! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

April - Insanity

Another month gone, another goal down. I actually completed this one too! 

March's goal was to keep a food journal, and thanks to the handy MyFitnessPal app, I kept up with it and stayed within my calorie range about 90% of the time (London doesn't count)! 

I'm not going to post everything I ate on here, but if you're super interested(?) and want to know, you can friend me on the app by searching my username: KelsieRaKay

Originally, April's goal was going to be Alcohol Free April (which, after this past weekend and celebrating my birthday a little too much, that goal still sounds like a good plan). However, with my "official" birthday celebration coming up this Saturday and my best friend's bachelorette party happening later this month, I've decided to rearrange my monthly goals a bit. I'm now going to push Alcohol Free April until June. 

Instead, I will be swapping monthly goals and start doing Insanity tomorrow. I've mentioned that I tried Insanity once before, but it only lasted about two weeks. It was one of the best workouts of my life and I noticed a big difference, even in a short amount of time. I'm really excited to try an entire month (or more) of it. I love the fact that I can do it from the comfort of my home, on my own time and schedule, and that most of the workouts can be finished in under an hour. 

I'll make sure to take before pics so I have a good after comparison. Wish me luck! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

European Food Journal

Happy Friday y'all! 

I know it's been a while since I've checked in and gotten the blog up to date on my March goal of keeping a food journal. So far it's been a success! I haven't missed a day of logging my food choices and it's really been helpful with keeping me on track. 

The first week of March, I used the My Fitness Pal app on my iPhone. I stayed within 1200-1700 calories each day. Then I left for Europe...

I didn't want to sacrifice precious time overseas counting calories, worrying, and not enjoying my trip. So I opted to not use the counter on the app, but instead just wrote down what I ate using my iPhone notepad. I did want to dedicate a few minutes to this each day so that I'd always have the memory of the food we ate over there and so I could share with those of y'all who are curious about their food selection and my favorites. 

I did eat more than usual - but I wanted to try a lot of different things. Plus, we walked A TON!  Thankfully, the weather was amazing, so who wants to take the underground tube and miss all of the sites? Not us. 

Here's what I had on the trip:

Saturday - Travel Day
Breakfast: Naked Orange Mange Smoothie and 1/2 Plain Bagel w/ Plain Cream Cheese at the Airport
Snack: Granola Bar
Lunch: Asian Crunch Salad, Dirty Vodka Martini - Charlotte, NC Layover
Snack: Frozen Yogurt, Glass of White Wine, Mozzarella and Tomato Caprese Salad (Shared w/ Mom)
Dinner: Airplane Food - Pasta in White Sauce, Salad, Roll, Brownie, Red Wine

Sunday - Arrived in London at 7am
Super Early Breakfast: Airplane Food - Banana Muffin and Orange Juice
Late Breakfast: Cafe Mocha and Poached Egg on an English Muffin w/ Hollandaise sauce near Big Ben and Westminster Abbey

Lunch: Cheese Plate (Brie & Gouda), Prosciutto, Pickles, Bread w/ Chutney, White Wine at Gordon's

The Oldest Wine Bar in London - Very much like a cave

Dinner: Carrot Cake and Red Wine - The Dinner of Champions right? (Our lunch was late and we were very tired from traveling, so we went to bed early)

Monday - London
Breakfast: Tea, Cafe Mocha, Almond Croissant near Buckingham Palace

Also Pictured - Mom's Breakfast

Lunch: Assorted Breads and Pastries from the deli inside Harrods, Sparkling Water

Dinner: Fish and Chips, Stella Artois, London Prime Beer, Zucchini Cake, Red Wine at a neighborhood pub by our flat

Tuesday - Travel via Train to Paris
Late Breakfast: Cafe Mocha, Chorizo Frittata at the EuroStar Train Station

Early Dinner: Veggie Pizza, Vegetable Crudites, Crepe w/ Ice Cream (Shared all w/ mom), Red Wine (Did not share) outside the Eiffel Tower
Late Snack at Bar: Local Blonde Beer, Long Island Iced Tea, Nachos w/ mom

Wednesday - Paris
Breakfast: Coffee, Croissant at the Louvre
Lunch: Croque Monsieur, French Fries (We were in France...we had to), Sparkling Water, White Wine outside Notre Dame

Snack: Pistachio Ice Cream in a Waffle Cone at the Eiffel Tower
Dinner: Shared Cheese Plate, Lasagna Bolognase, Red Wine, Creme Brulee (Shared) outside the Eiffel Tower

Thursday - Travel via Train back to London
Breakfast: Orange Juice 
Lunch: Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Baguette Sandwich, Chocolate Cake Pastry at the EuroStar Train Station
Snack: Mixed Nuts, Red Wine
Dinner: Bread Basket, Grilled Chicken Wrapped in Bacon w/ Roasted Garlic and Fennel, 2 Blonde Beers by the London Bridge

Friday - London
Breakfast: Cafe Mocha, Apple Berry Juice, Toast w/ Beans and Eggs by the London Bridge

Snack: Sangria and Chocolate Chip Cookie at Borough Market

I did not eat that entire cookie in one sitting...

Lunch: Chicken Marsala, Stella Artois near Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square

Snack: M&M's from M&M World! 
Dinner: Bread Basket w/ Olive Tapenade Spread, Fresh Mozzarella, Zucchini Fries, Berry Ice Cream, Red Wine next to London Bridge

Saturday - Travel Day
Breakfast: Naked Blueberry Smoothie, Egg Sandwich
Lunch: Airplane Food - Pasta, Salad, Roll, Brownie, Red Wine
Snack: Mixed Nuts, Bloody Mary Mix
Dinner: Airplane Food - Turkey Sandwich, White Wine
Snack: Mushroom Soup, Cheese, Olives, Red Wine at the United Club during a layover in Charlotte, NC (Thanks Dad)

Carb City as you can tell! The trip and the food was amazing and I do NOT regret eating one bite. I think my favorite meal was either the Fish and Chips, the Chicken Marsala, or the Chicken wrapped in bacon (it's hard to pick!), but my favorite place was definitely Gordon's Wine Bar. We tried to go back a 2nd time, but it was a Friday evening and it was packed. Womp Womp. 

While I did enjoy it all, this week I am back to my normal calorie intake and cutting back on carbs for a week or two. 

I'm very grateful for the time change and extra daylight so I can start back up with running after work. I have another half marathon tomorrow in Waco. 

Note:- I had a few more pictures of the food, but technology hates me and my iPhone crashed this week so I only have what I posted to social media. 

Have a great weekend! Sic 'Em Bears!!! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

March – Keep a Food Journal

My March goal is a little different than the other ones I've mapped out for 2014. It doesn't require a specific workout or diet change. 

For March, I'll be keeping a daily food journal and tracking my calorie intake. I knew I'd be going to Europe over Spring Break next week, so I chose to do this goal in March on purpose...I want to eat whatever I want in London and Paris! I figured I'd be taking a lot of pictures and talking about the food I eat in Europe anyways, so this goal lines up nicely with my trip. 

I don't usually count every single calorie I eat every day, but I do estimate them most of the time and try to stay within a certain range. However, I believe everyone should treat themselves every so often and eat what they enjoy, regardless of the calorie count. #yolo? no? ok. 

In order to maintain my current weight, on days when I do not exercise, I can up eat to 1,700 calories. On days when I do exercise, I can eat up to 2,200 calories to maintain my current weight (Source: Calorie Calculator - numbers provided after entering my age, gender, weight, and height). 

I feel like these numbers are a little high for my normal diet. I usually stay anywhere between 1200-1500 on days I don't exercise and anywhere from 1400-1800 on days I do workout. Typically, these numbers are a little higher on the weekends :) But this month, I'm really going to try and keep count and do my best to stick to those ranges. I'm sure in Europe it'll be on the upper tier of it, but I want to enjoy all the food the country has to offer and not restrict myself to their delicious options! 

I've used the My Fitness Pal app before and it's worked great for me in the past, so I'm going to continue to use it for this month's goal. It's free and easy to use, so I definitely recommend it to others who want to keep track! 

I'll be sharing my food logs on the blog about once a week or so (just so it keeps me accountable). I've found that even though monthly goals seem easier than yearly ones, it has been quite tough for me to make it through entire monthly goals. I'm sure this is due to the fact that I know it's only a month and if I fail at it, it's okay because I didn't really commit that much time to it. With the running 1,000 miles last year, if I had quit after putting 3-4 months of work into it, it would have been a bigger deal to me, so I continued to push through and not give up. 

This goal seems fairly simple so I'm confident I can keep track throughout the entire month.

And on that note...I'm back to having a set running schedule to prepare for my upcoming races. Three half marathons within 20 days...definitely need to train! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

My First Raw/Vegan Food Experience

Since my Uncle Alan and I both work downtown Austin, we do our best to get together about once a week for a lunch date. We always try to hit up new places around town and he mentioned a local spot called Beets Cafe. It's not walking distance from either of our offices, but it's only about a 2 mile drive away. He had been to Beets Cafe before and raved about how delicious and healthy it is. He also did the same 3-day cleanse I did last month after I recommended it to him, so he's always down to try new and exciting healthy adventures.

Uncle Al picked me up at my office and we arrived at Beets Cafe around 1:00 (he recommend we not go right at 12 since it gets a little packed during peak lunch hours). There were plenty of open tables at this point so we grabbed a booth and browsed the menu. Since he had been there before, he suggested a few items and we opted for sharing multiple plates instead of ordering our own individual entrees. 

Note: I warned him before we dug in about all of the picture-taking about to go down...

The first thing he recommended was their "Beets Me" juice. It's a blend of beets, carrots, apple, and ginger. The color is fantastic! 

This was my first time drinking any kind of juice with beets in it so I wasn't sure what to expect. He assured me before I ordered it that it did not taste like grass (like other juices I've tasted before)! It was actually quite tasty! Since it contained apples, it was sweeter than I expected. It was served at room temp and I probably would have enjoyed it even more if it was blended with ice and a tad cooler...but still a good drink overall!

Next, he suggested I try their curried carrot soup. It contained carrot juice, orange juice, pine nuts and cashews, miso, ginger, garlic, lemon, spices, and crystal salt.  

In contrast to the beet juice, I expected this to be warm...it was not. It obviously did not click with me that this is a raw restaurant and nothing is cooked/heated. After the cold shock wore off, this soup turned out to be delicious! It was probably my favorite part of the meal. Next time I go, I'll be ordering the large bowl of it instead of a cup. 

After the soup, we went for the Nori Rolls. These were similar to little sushi rolls, filled with "mock tuna" pate, vegetables, and sprouts, served with tamari dipping sauce (you won't find any gluten-packed soy sauce here)! According to their menu, "mock tuna" is a mixture of almonds, sunflower seeds, celery, onion, kelp, lemon juice, herbs and spices. You can get your Nori Rolls filled with that or sliced avocado. I wanted to try something new and different so we opted for the "mock tuna" filling. 

It was extremely pretty to look at it! This roll was very very crunchy (I'm guessing it's from the nuts in the "mock tuna") but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminded me of a veggie roll at a sushi place, so it was pretty normal tasting for me. 

Next up were the entrees. We ordered the Pizza Rustica and the Taco Plate. 

The Pizza Rustica is made on "a sprouted sunflower seed, hemp crust generously topped with seasoned almond nut cheese, zesty tomato sauce, marinated mushrooms, sweet peppers, crispy onions, olives, fresh tomato, basil, spices, and crystal salt, served with a petite Caesar salad." Keeping with the theme, this pizza was uncooked. It was a cold pizza with a soft crust (not crispy like most thin crust pizzas, but I'm sure that's because there is no flour in it). Even though it didn't taste like a traditional pizza and had quite a different texture to it, it was very flavorful and I ate most of it ("Oh, you wanted to share Uncle Al?"). 

The Taco Plate included "three crispy corn taco shells filled with a veggie ground meat, topped with shredded lettuce, salsa and drizzled with cashew nacho cheeze, served with "sunflower beanz" and a choice of side salad." We went with the Cabbage Kraut side salad. Once again, these tacos were cold as well, but I didn't mind it. My favorite part of this dish was the cashew nacho cheeze. It reminded me a little bit of thousand island dressing. And the taco shells themselves were extra thin and crispy. They were a little messy and hard to keep together while eating, but most crunchy tacos are like that! 

Surprisingly, they offer cooking classes at the restaurant every so often. I'd love to learn how to "cook" vegan and explore these other options, but the classes can be a tad pricey...just like their food. For all of the above, our bill was about $50 (before tip).

Overall, I loved our visit to Beets Cafe and I most definitely want to return to try out other dishes on their menu. They have an ELT (their version of a BLT) but it's made with crispy eggplant instead of bacon and served on an almond sunflower flatbread. Their smoothies and desserts also sound very appealing to me!  Vegan Chocolate Mousse...sign me up. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cowtown Half Marathon Race Recap

This past weekend I drove up to Ft. Worth to participate in my 4th Half Marathon. 

I left work Friday afternoon and stayed with my friend Kristen throughout the weekend. She ran the race with me (she did the full 26.2) so we planned on having a nice, relaxing weekend to rest up for the race on Sunday.

We went to bed early both Friday and Saturday night. Saturday morning, we headed to Ft. Worth for the packet pick-up and to explore the Expo. The venue itself was crowded because they had just finished the 5k, 10k, and Kid Fun Run that morning. We got there right at the end of the races, so it was a little chaotic. However, the lines to pick up our packets and t-shirts were really short. We stopped by a few booths and sampled a couple various products before heading back to Dallas. 

Sunday morning, we woke up bright and early at 5am. By 5:30 we were in our cars for the 30 minute drive back to Ft. Worth. The weather was close to perfect at the beginning (around 50 degrees). We had about 45 minutes to kill before crossing the starting line, so we walked around looking for her group of running friends. Unfortunately, we were only able to find one of them and couldn't locate the others. We lined up in Corral 5 and were off running around 7:15. 

I knew going into this race that it would be a slower one for me. I was not familiar with the course, I hadn't trained properly, and I wanted to run my portion of the race with Kristen to keep her company for her first portion of the full 26.2. Pacing yourself for a full is much different than pacing yourself for a half, so I knew my time would be a bit slower than if I was running alone and going at my normal half marathon time. But I was completely fine with it! 

The first 3 or 4 miles our pace was anywhere between 10:00-10:30. After that, we picked it up a bit and got closer to 9:30-9:45ish until mile 8. Somewhere in between there we ran through the Ft. Worth Stockyards. Let me just say, the cobblestone streets were not my friend! My knee was killing me on the uneven pavement. 

So you see what happens after mile 9? I could see that hill from a ways back and I knew it'd kill me. So I stopped at a hydration station for some water where Kristen and I got separated. It was okay though because the half and full marathon courses split off at mile 9 anyways. I was on my own for the remaining 4 miles. It was so hard going from having a running partner, to tackling that hill alone, and trying to pick the pace back up. Let's just say it didn't happen! 

Miles 9-11 were terrible and I walked for a few minutes of it. I knew at this point there was NO way I would PR or even break 2 hours, so I really didn't even care. I just wanted to finish. My hips and toes were hurting and at this point the weather had warmed up a bit. 

Thankfully after mile 11 there was a huge downhill that I basically sprinted down and by that point I only had 1 mile left. I crossed the finish line and I wasn't upset but wasn't happy with myself either. This was one of the hardest races I've done and by far my slowest time ever. Which, as I said earlier I expected that going in...but 2:11...yikes! That's close to 20 minutes slower than my past half marathon times. 

The best part of this race was having my first experience running  a race with someone. I've only done half's alone, so it was pretty awesome to have a partner...Kristen is so amazing and kept me entertained the whole time. I also really like the finishers medal. It's so country! 

Even though I'm not overjoyed by my finishing time, it was a fun day and I know there are more races coming up where I can try prepare more ahead of time and push myself a little harder.

My next race involves Kristen again, as well as my friend Brett. We are doing the Bearathon Half in Waco, TX on March 22nd. This is Brett's first half so I'm excited to see how he does and what he thinks. Apparently this race is known as the "hardest half marathon in Texas." 

8 days later, I have the Biggest Loser Half on March 30th in Austin. Back to back race weekends should be interesting! 

I just signed up yesterday for the ZOOMA half in April in Bastrop, TX. I think that will be the last half I do until the fall, because I know the Texas heat will soon be kicking in!  

A full recap of Gluten-Free February coming up soon.