Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Paleo - 2 Week Check-In

I know everyone is dyingggg to know...have I turned into a cave-woman yet? Not really. 

About two weeks ago, I set my September goal and have been attempting to follow an 80/20 Paleo diet. I would say it has turned out to be more like 70/30, but ratios were never really my thing.

I knew going into this goal that I had to be honest and realistic with myself. With it being football season, it can only mean one thing...consuming some adult beverages and eating some Not-So-Paleo meals more often than not. 

During the work week (AKA zero football times), my breakfasts and lunches are 99% Paleo (everything minus some salad dressings here and there). The trouble comes on the weekends and some evenings during the week when I'm actually a social human being. Eating Paleo at home is extremely easy, because I know what to buy and avoid at the grocery store. Dining out or eating at other people's houses on the weekends is a different story. 

I'm not sure if it's because I'm not 100% in it or what, but I really haven't noticed that big of a difference. For the most part, I have cut out certain foods like hummus, quinoa, rice, black beans, sugar, and most refined carbs like bread/pasta...but I don't really feel a change. I never considered the majority of the above foods "bad" in the first place (everything in moderation), so I haven't decided if I would benefit from going Paleo long-term. 

Maybe it's the 20-30% cheats that ruin any chance I have of progress or feelings of change? Thanks pizza. 

I definitely think this is one of the harder diet-related goals I've had this year. Gluten-free wasn't easy, but it gave me more options that Paleo. And Vegetarian was a breeze compared to both of those. 

Two weeks to go! 

In other news, the weather is amazing now and I'm back into my running-after-work routine. Two months until the Vegas Half Marathon!! I gotta break these bad boys in. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September's Goal: Paleo Diet

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day! It's safe to say Tuesday is the new Monday today.

Now that we've started a new month, it's time for another monthly goal. 

September: Paleo! Otherwise known as "The Caveman Diet."

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Paleo Diet, there is quite a bit of information here

But just as a brief overview, the basics of the diet instruct that you only eat the following:
- Lean proteins (such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, etc. It's important to pick grass-fed vs. grain fed)
- Fruits and Vegetables (natural fruits and nothing deep fried)
- Healthy Fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, etc.)

It suggests avoiding certain kinds of foods, such as:
- Dairy
- Grains
- Processed Foods & Sugars
- Legumes
- Starches
- Alcohol

For the most part, my diet already fits fairly well into this lineup. But there are a few foods that I do regularly eat that aren't allowed, such as beans (sad face for no hummus), quinoa and rice, and peanut butter (yep, peanuts are actually a legume/bean). 

I'm going to try and be realistic here and know that I won't be able to go 100% Caveman (another month of no alcohol...not gonna happen). So instead of setting myself up for failure, I'm going to approach this with an 80/20 mindset. 80% of my diet will be on the Paleo track, while 20% will most likely be "whoops" incidents. I still view certain beans, grains, and other "off-limits" foods as healthy, but my main goal here is to avoid the processed fake "food" as much as possible, and stick with all-natural, multi-ingredient-free choices. If the name of the food isn't actually the name of the food in it, it's not happening (ex: a banana is a banana...chips are not just chips). 

I've heard a lot of pros and cons regarding this diet, so instead of being confused about it, why not try it myself and see how my body reacts? 

Good news - Bacon is allowed. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Alcohol Free August Recap

Happy Friday!

So, I'm a failure. I completely bombed Alcohol Free August...okay, not completely, but I did drink. Who didn't see that coming, right? 

That being said, I did make it 14 straight days without a drop. Then I had a fun outing planned with some girl friends on August 14th, where I was okay with having a "cheat night." I knew about this night going into my monthly goal, so I had already planned on it happening. This night was going to be one and done. Or so I thought.

Basically, after that evening, I told myself I had ruined my progress and rounded out the rest of August without a care in the world (I don't recommend this mindset). A cheat night turned into a cheat weekend, which turned into I really don't care anymore. 

I will say this...there were only 4 times the entire month where I drank more than 1 alcoholic beverage. Impressed? Small victories, people. The other few times I did have alcohol, only one drink was consumed (i.e. a work happy hour cocktail, a glass of wine with dinner, one margarita with Tex Mex, etc.). All in moderation. 

I'll be posting September's goal next week. I'm pretty excited about it. It does involve cutting back on alcohol again, but come on, it's football season...the likelihood of that happening is slim. 

And on that note: Hope everyone has a great Labor Day Weekend! Stay safe and don't drink too much ;) 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back to Running

Lately, I've been trying to ease my way back into my usual running groove. After preferring to stay indoors and beat the heat during June & July by completing Insanity, I need to start logging the miles now. 

I have a few upcoming races I've already registered for, with the next one being a half marathon in Las Vegas in November. This gives me about 2 solid months to get my mileage back up. I'm not necessarily out of shape, but it will still take me a few weeks to get back to where I was earlier in the year. I have another half in January and one already set for June 2015 (in Liverpool...more on that soon)! 

Until recently, I hadn't run one mile since May. That's quite the break! But I needed it. It's always a good idea to switch things up and take breaks so you don't burn yourself out. It was also a welcome hiatus for my knee. 

I've kept track with my "daily mile" app and surprisingly, I've only run 203 miles in 2014. This time last year, I was probably close to 75% of the way through my goal and nearing the 750 mile mark. I'm thinking I'll hit close to 500 miles this year. 

August is still extremely hot here in Texas, but I've decided to just deal with it, go in the evenings, and start slow with short distances. My plan is to stick with 3-4 mile runs 3-4 times a week, where hopefully it'll help me slowly get back up to 5-6 mile runs once it eventually cools off within the next few months (with longer runs on the weekends). 

Thursday, August 21, 2014


If you're looking to mix up your cardio game and build up your leg strength at the same time, might I suggest running stairs? It's an extremely effective way to get your heart rate up while also working your leg and glute muscles. 

Yesterday, my friend Ashley and I, drove about 10 minutes from my apartment to one of the highest points in good ol' Austin, Texas. Mount Bonnell is a popular tourist destination for both locals and visitors. It's known by many as quite the romantic date-night spot and has amazing views overlooking the Lake Austin portion of the Colorado River. It's about 780 feet above sea level...talk about altitude man! See, not all of Texas is flat. :) 

There are 100 stone steps up to the top and 100 (slightly scary ones) back down. Ashley and I completed 10 full reps. You can do the math. 

This is my third time going and I really enjoy it. It's good people watching and it can be completed rather quickly (20-30 minutes). Plus you get to end it with a really great view! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Recipes

One of my mini-goals this month is to try out new recipes. See, previously, when I had cable, I "didn't have time" to research recipes, buy the ingredients, and then try making them. Obviously, that was just a dumb excuse I was telling myself because I've created two new dishes so far and each one took less than 10 minutes to do. 

The first recipe I attempted is from PBFingers.com. Since it's so hot out in Texas right now, I went with her Grape Blueberry Mint Popsicles. First, I had to order some popsicle molds. If you don't have any, or are too impatient to wait for them to arrive, you can always freeze the recipe below in a ziploc storage container and eat it like a sherbet. 

Here's the recipe (credit PBFingers.com).

Grape Blueberry Mint Popsicles

Makes 6 popsicles (in my molds)

- 1 1/2 cup fresh red grapes
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 7 fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup light coconut milk

- Blend everything in a blender until smooth
- Pour mixture into popsicle molds (or storage container) and freeze for a minimum of 4 hours.
- If you have trouble getting the popsicles out of the molds, run them under warm water to help loosen     them. 
- Eat up! 

These are amazing little treats after coming back from a hot run or pool day! I did the math and each one is under 25 calories and costs less than .50 cents each. 

For my second recipe, I was on a mission to find a legit replacement for pasta. I LOVE pasta, but know it's not the healthiest option out there. So I searched around and found Spaghetti Squash. I vaguely remember hearing about it before, but thought it would require too much effort and time for what it was worth. After checking out different variations and ways to make it, turns out it takes the same amount of time (or less) as cooking pasta. Below I did my own spin on a healthier version of spaghetti with meat sauce. 

Here's the recipe.

Spaghetti Squash with Ground Turkey and Diced Tomatoes

Makes one serving (I got a small squash, so if you're feeding more people or want leftovers, make sure and buy a bigger one or two small ones)


- 1 Butternut Squash or Acorn Squash - whatever your store has in stock (but don't get regular yellow       squash
- 1 lb Ground Turkey (99% lean)
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes


- Wrap the squash in a damp paper towel and microwave for 5-7 minutes (maybe 10 if it's on the larger     side). If you have more time, you can cook the whole squash in the oven for 20-25 minutes on 400         degrees. 
- While the squash is in the microwave, season and brown the ground turkey until cooked. Set aside. 
- Carefully cut the squash in half (long-ways) - it'll be hot! Scoop out the seeds.
- Scrape out the inside of the squash with a fork and heat in a skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.     This will remove some of the extra moisture so it won't be soggy.
- Quickly heat up the diced tomatoes (microwave or stove) until warm.
- Serve like normal spaghetti and enjoy! I topped mine with a little parm. 

The squash makes the dish a bit sweeter than normal pasta, but I was still a big fan and will be recreating this often. Especially since it only has 40 calories and 8 grams of carbs, compared to 200 calories and 40 grams of carbs for regular pasta (1 cup comparisons). I also went with plain diced tomatoes and seasoned them myself. Most jars of pasta sauce have way too much unnecessary sugar added. 

I think the next recipe on my list will include a crockpot meal of some kind. I've had one for a while and it has yet to leave my cabinets. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

I wanted to change things up this morning. I get bored easily (I'm surprised I made it through 63 days of Insanity), so in order to avoid weight room redundancy, I decided to throw on my one piece from high school (genuinely shocked it still fit...that was 8 years ago, people!), grab my goggles and a towel and headed to my apartment complex pool at 6:30 this morning. Call me a rebel, but the pool technically isn't open until 8. Oh well! No one was awake anyways. Pretty killer view of downtown Austin, huh? 

I went into it unsure how my body would keep up. I haven't really swam laps for a workout since I was a lifeguard in high school. I went into thinking "10 laps...that should do it." After I finished the 10 laps, I realized it only took me about 15 minutes and I had another 30 minutes to kill. That's when I started to get a little more creative.

Below is the workout I finished this morning. It took me around 40 minutes to complete. I did take a minute or so rest in between sets. 

*Note: I forgot to add "Repeat Set 3x" on Set 3...that'll show me to not close a window before saving. So do Set 3, 3 times. 

Happy Swimming!