Monthly Archives: May 2010

Blogger Break: Happy Memorial Day!

Blogging = Work; While I Take a Break, Check This New Blog Out!

Happy Memorial Day! Take some time to celebrate the freedoms we have and those who fought and died so we could have them!

Monday is a day of no school, no work, and no blogging. Just a chance to regroup and remember. Be back soon! ~Mel

(Note: Photo links to a new blog for the new “Cooking Channel” network: http://blog.cookingchanneltv.com/.)

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Updated Pictures

Haven't posted a recent pic of me in a while - love this green!

My Favorite Workout Outfit

Baby Potatoes

Look at these adorable little potatoes. I accidentally pulled them out when I was weeding the other day, so I cooked them up with some shrimp and homemade tomato sauce (from the tomatoes I got at the market and herbs from my garden). Pretty tasty!

Caffeine Revelation!

I had a revelation today! I’ve been wondering why I felt so tired this week…more than usual. I was talking to a coworker as I was fixing coffee for the office this morning and he mentioned that he had a bad experience several months ago and that he could only have caffeine about once a week. He had been drinking lots of coffee and it started giving him chestpains and even one blackout. So he went to the doctor and had an EKG done. He’s perfectly healthy, but he has to watch the caffeine so his blood pressure doesn’t spike and damage his heart.

Caffeine

 So, I was thinking back over the week. My first week of classes and working full time went fairly well. But then I ran the 5K last Saturday. Everything started after that. I had a hard time catching my breath and felt exhausted Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Tuesday was okay, but then after my workouts on Wednesday and Thursday, I felt extremely fatigued and just plain strange.

While talking to my coworker, I realized something. Just before the 5K, I had overheard some other runners talk about the value of drinking 8 oz. of coffee right before a race. I had never heard this before, and since it was my first race, I thought I’d give it a try. Well, I was able to run further and faster than normal. Here’s why: it spikes your bp, so your heart thinks it’s already been warmed up, and thus when you begin exercise, it takes a shorter amount of time to hit the “runner’s high.”

Well, I think I overdid it. I remember my heart feeling really heavy just after finishing and I had to walk around a bit to get my heart rate down to normal. Then I thought I was okay, but I was really tired the rest of the day. I don’t normally run quite that hard, but I do 3.1 miles about 3 times a week, so it wasn’t like I was running a marathon or anything.

It was a busy weekend and I didn’t get a lot of rest. So I attributed the fatigue on Monday to lack of sleep and “self-medicated” with an increase of coffee. Turns out that’s the exact opposite of what I needed. Monday through Wednesday were significantly higher intakes of coffee than normal (3 to 4 cups each day instead of my normal 0 to 1). Yesterday, I only had 1 cup of coffee and, guess what, I slept better last night and have a ton more energy today than I have the rest of the week.

I had a similar revelation in college. My senior year, I got to the point where I was staying up till midnight studying, then getting up at 5:30 every morning to finish studying before work at 6:30. I drank too much coffee and would have heart palpitations when I’d lie in bed each night. That’s when I switched from coffee to tea for the first time. I’d been drinking more tea recently, but this week I’ve been slacking and slipping into my old coffee ways.

So, I guess I need to lay off the coffee. I’m considering dropping back to 1 cup on the weekend. My body needs water and rest primarily, not caffeine. Good thing I talk to my coworkers!

How Good Are Vegetarian Diets for Your Health?

Only 5 days left of “Meatless May” and the last two days have been a little strange. It may be because of the unusually hot weather we’ve been having this week, or the fact that I’m tired from working full time, working out at lunch, and taking night classes. Either way, I’ve been more tired than normal after my workouts the last two days. I am working on increasing my water intake.

Today I had a protein bar and a small handful of potato chips (I know, chips aren’t the healthiest, but I felt like I needed to get some sodium back in my system and it was the only thing available at the office). It seemed to do the trick. When I told my husband, his first question was “Are you getting enough protein?” I have been tracking my protein this month with going meatless, but I haven’t been as careful about tracking the last few days. So, I’ll be careful these last 5 days of May to get my protein and water in.

Meanwhile, I found this link from a tweet posted by @EarthFare and thought it was worth passing on.

There are actually 6 articles that can be found here: http://www.helium.com/knowledge/353570-how-good-are-vegetarian-diets-for-your-health.

Here’s one by Theresa Rose:

“No one will argue that a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is a healthy one. When the primary source of protein is removed from the diet, it is necessary to look for substitutions that can provide comparable nutrition. Vegetarian diets require a great deal of discipline, but it will also be necessary for any “would be” vegetarian to take the time to find out what they can use to ensure that their diet provides them with sufficient protein. It also means that you can’t just decide to become a vegetarian without knowing what you’ll need to eat to get sufficient protein, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients.

“Consider the extent to which you want to be a vegetarian –

“There are levels of vegetarianism . Some people who aren’t used to the strictest of vegetarian diets will opt to go the route of moderation in which they eat fish, and some people will also eat poultry. These people are referred to as flexitarians because their diet is more flexible. This can be a very healthy diet because it ensures that you get sufficient protein, but it eliminates the cholesterol causing problems of red meats and other fattier animal proteins. The more flexible you are in terms of eating fish, dairy products and perhaps chicken, the less you’ll have to worry finding other ways to get that nutrition.

“*Lacto-ovo vegetarians*

“Lacto-ovo vegetarians are probably the most common types of vegetarians. They don’t eat meat or fish, but they do eat dairy products and eggs. This is important because eggs can be an extremely effective source of protein, and many dairy products provide both vitamin D and calcium, and in order for the vitamin D to be absorbed properly. Foods like cheese, milk and yogurt can provide both the calcium and vitamin D, but it may be necessary to include other foods such as beans, tofu and other vegetarian forms of protein to the diet to make it healthy.

“*Vegan vegetarians* –

“Vegan vegetarians are those who don’t eat any meat or dairy products or eggs. They must therefore find all protein and amino acids from plant products. Tofu and other soy products can provide the main source of protein. Alternatively, combining rice and beans together can provide a complete protein and provide all of the essential amino acids as well. Anyone on a vegan diet has to take the time to learn about the foods that can be used to provide adequate nutrition in place of animal products.

“Because a vegan diet doesn’t use any type of animal product, it can be helpful for maintaining weight (or for weight loss,) and for lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. In addition to the fruits and vegetables that form the basis of this type of diet, whole grain products are also part of the diet, and these types of complex carbohydrates are not only good for health reasons, but also because the high amount of fiber they contain helps to maintain the feeling of fullness that can’t be achieved solely through the consumption of fruits and vegetables.

“*Potentially lower in fat and calories-

“A vegetarian diet that is followed properly can be lower in fat and calories, and in particular, in the saturated fats that lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and other problems. A good vegetarian diet can get the necessary dietary fat from good sources of monounsaturated fat such as olive oil, peanut butter, nuts and avocado. It may be necessary to eat multiple smaller meals throughout the day in order to get sufficient nutrition and to stave off hunger, but that too, can be healthier.

“Following a vegetarian diet requires discipline and the willingness to learn the necessary ways to combine foods in order to get complete proteins. When properly followed, a vegetarian diet can push a person to reexamine their overall diet and to overhaul their lifetime of bad eating habits. This can lead to a much healthier way of eating, weight loss, the abatement of health issues that might be related to diet and/or weight and many other things.

“All in all, because fruits and vegetables are so low in cholesterol and calories, and are so high in fiber and essential vitamins, a diet using these foods as the basis can be very helpful. It can help to unclog arteries, lower blood pressure, triglycerides and improve health in many other ways. Beans, tofu, tempeh and other high protein vegetable based products can be used as a source of protein to replace animal products. When using canned beans, be sure you rinse them well because they often contain a lot of sodium because that is used as a preservative.”

Quinoa Recipes on Whole Living Website!

I just had to share this.

Warm Quinoa, Spinach, and Shiitake Salad

Find this recipe and tons more quinoa recipes at http://www.wholeliving.com/.

Meatless May Check-In

Breakfast: small bagel with 1 Tbsp. organic cream cheese, 8 oz. Green Goodness Smoothie.

Lunch: brown rice and Chinese mixed vegetables.

Dinner: low fat veggie lasagna.

I’ll check my calories and nutrients and see if I need to eat a snack sometime today.

Check-In: Well, I’m on Day 24 of Meatless May, with only 7 days left (and counting).

Has it been hard to eliminate meat from my diet? It hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would have been to go meatless. I did allow myself fish, eggs, and dairy products, so that made it a little easier. I still got all my nutrients, had plenty of protein, and hit my calorie ranges.

Have I noticed a difference in my energy? To be honest, I haven’t. Maybe it’s because I allowed myself fish, eggs, and cheese, but I didn’t feel more energetic or less energetic. Or maybe it’s because when I did eat meat (prior to May), I didn’t eat large portions. I kept my meat portion sizes to 3-4 ounces and only ate meat 2 meals a day instead 6-12 ounce portions 3 times a day (like many Americans).

Did I lose weight? No. My weight stayed exactly the same. I did, however, drop body fat % by almost 1% and lost 1/4″ per site in my calves, thighs, hips, waist, biceps, and neck this month. I’m not sure if this is because of eliminating meats or if it’s a result of increasing my strength training; it’s probably a combination of the two.

 What did I miss the most? Chicken on my salad and turkey burgers! It was especially hard while traveling at the beginning of the month, but I made it.

Girls on the Run 5K, Etc.

What a great day! I woke up about 6:45A,  got up and put on my pink GOTR t-shirt, ate a Zone Protein Bar for breakfast, and made it to CU-ICAR shortly after 8AM. I picked up my race pack, pinned on my “GOTR Coach” tag and my race number. They had all kinds of booths set up for the girls. They got their faces painted, got their hair sprayed with pink and glitter, got little GOTR 5K washable tattos, chapstick, BiLo coupons, orange wedges, bananas, bagels, Rita’s Italian Ice samples, water, lemonade, and even coffee for the grown ups. It was fabulous! And B93.7 was there documenting the whole day. I grabbed a small coffee and a half banana before the race. It was just what I needed.

We started just before 9AM and my co-coach, Carmine, got to lead the whole race in pre-race stretches. She did a great job!

Carmine Leading Stretches

Pre-Race Stretching

At 9AM, they blew the whistle and the race was on! The girls did such a good job! I’m so proud of them!

Coach Melissa (that's me) & My Running Buddy

I ran with our fastest runner (which surprised me). We kept each other going. I ran the whole first mile with no problem, then I walked for about a minute and started running again. I only walked 3 times for about a minute or so, I think. It was a lot of fun. Towards the end, I told my running buddy, “Okay, if you were on the treadmill and saw 2.7 miles, would you keep going? I would! Come on, you can do it!” By the last little bit we hit a good stride and I hit a “runner’s high.” I crossed the finish line at 34:20. I know it’s not super fast, but it’s probably the fastest I’ve ever run 3.1 miles. I usually walk more than what I did today. It was so much fun to see the girls succeed! I’m pretty sure all of them beat their practice 5K times! I’m just so proud of them!

Little Miss Initiative

Girls on the Run is So Much Fun!

Family Involvement! Lots of Parents & Siblings ran too!

Spunky - Speedy - Spirited

I used to say I didn’t understand why people payed to run, but after today, I kinda get it. It was so much fun to run with that many people! They keep you going! The last picture is of a girl on my team whose mom was my freshman Speech teacher in college. What a small world! Her mom and I ran near each other pretty much the whole race. It was really fun to run with her! And there was no way I was going to let her beat me. 🙂

After the race, I came home and took a nice hot bath, used a sugar scrub my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas on my feet, and soaked in some oils. It was so refreshing!

WholeFoods 365 All Natural Lavender and Mint Body Washes, Organix Coconut Shampoo & Condition, Burt's Bees Facial Cleanse, Homemade Sugar Scrub

Then I got ready and headed to Earth Fare for a “Free Lunch with Purchase” with my sister and nephews. We each bought a drink and got sandwich, soup, and chips for free! I love Earth Fare coupons! I had a veggie hummus wrap with vegetarian 3 bean chili, tortilla chips, and Coconut Water. I know Coconut Water is good for me – electrolytes and minerals and such – but it really wasn’t that tasty. Everything else was delicious though.

My Sis & Jordan (yes, we're twins, no, really, we are)

"Aunt Mel" & Micah

My Lunch!

Weekend Glimpse

Well, I’ve made it through my first week of classes and full-time work. It’s going to be a busy load, but I’m thankful to have Bryan’s support. He cleaned the bathroom and even went to the grocery store today for me.

Breakfast was blackberry quinoa. Snack was figs with ricotta and honey-cinnamon butter. Lunch was a small bagel with organic cream cheese. It was a long day at work. But I got to look forward to one of my good college buddies coming to stay with us for the weekend! While I anticipated her arrival, I straightened up the house and made a big lasagna. While the lasagna baked, I did the XStretch video in preparation for my first 5K tomorrow!

The lasagna was delicious! I made half with all-natural ground chuck for Bryan and half with veggies for me (organic mushrooms, Vidalia onion, and green pepper and summer squash from Saturday’s market basket). I used 1 jar of Earth Fare’s Organic Portobello Mushroom spaghetti sauce and 1 jar of Muir Glen’s Organic Mushroom Marinara Sauce. For the cheese, I used 1/2 large container fat-free ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, and filled the second 1/2 of the container loosely with freshly grated parmesan cheese, and mixed in 1 all-natural egg.

Dinner’s done. I had some good catch-up time with Meg, though she’s feeling sick and tired after traveling today. 😦 Bryan’s friend Josh came over for dessert and now he and Bryan are chatting. Meg is in bed and I am heading to my bed momentarily. I need a good night’s rest before tomorrow’s run. We have to be at the race at 8AM. Start time is 9AM. It should be a fun morning! Bryan’s even coming to cheer me on, even if it rains.

Then I have a couple errands to do and Bryan’s probably helping photograph a wedding. At 2, he and the guys are coming over to watch soccer while my friend April and I address baby shower invites for my cousin! They’re adorable! I can’t wait to see them printed!

Saturday evening I need to study and put my schedule in my daytimer with all my assignments and due dates. Then hopefully I get at least an hour to chill and maybe hang with Meg some more (she has plans all day on Saturday). Then she’s coming to church with us on Sunday a.m. before heading home. Meg was my prayer partner in college. I’ve missed our prayer times.

Well, all, it’s past my bedtime. I’ll let you know how the race goes…even if it’s just a comment on this post. Good night!

I Married My Best Friend!

These Willowtree figures remind me of my relationship with Bryan–always sharing something and casual. The girl has jeans, tee, and a ponytail, and the boy is adorable. We even sit like that when we talk. Reminds me of falling in love with him at The Wilds Christian Camp in Brevard, where we met, worked together, became friends, then best friends. So many late nights talking and getting to know each other. May we always be like that! By God’s grace we will! Thank you, Lord, for letting me marry my best friend!