Monday, October 31, 2011

Gluten Free?

After lots of deliberation I am stilllll not sure if I should go gluten free. There are lots of conflicting articles out and I am trying to assimilate it all into a smart decision. I was set on the decision till I read an article put out by the Australian Institute of Sport. They claimed that there was no reason for anyone without a gluten allergy to go on the gluten free diet. This got me thinking for a few days until I realized the article had last been reviewed in 2009. Since gluten is such a relatively new subject in the research world I don't trust it fully. The advantages of eating gluten free are (from what I understand):

-Tend to eat less processed foods
-Less stomach upset (which I don't really get)
-Better nutrient absorption in the intestines
-Decreased inflammation

The cons of a gluten free diet:

-Difficult to find foods
-Low fiber
-Lower in some nutrients

I found a few more articles in support of a gluten free diet. An article on Expert Fitness and Nutrition Advice  goes over the benefits of a gluten free diet for anyone. She wrote this in 2011 so I am more trusting of it. She really emphasizes that the absorption is less when gluten is in the diet. I also found an interview with a professional triathlete on First Endurance who goes gluten free 24-48 hours before an event. What she says is based on advice from a nutritionist and she also says the main reason she uses this diet is because the gluten is inhibiting her body from absorbing nutrition.

So I have come to a semi-decision. Over the past week whenever I was out of my apartment I only ate whole foods. So at restaurants no breads or processed types of foods. This has been my first Halloween with my only candy being a piece of gum! In my apartment I am still eating bread from Great Harvest and some Kashi shredded wheat. I think these foods are alright. So I am going with this rule:

-eat whole foods


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Here here heree We Go

So tomorrow is the day. I start training again! Whoopie. I have had some hard training before and expect it to get harder but the major difference for me will be my recovery plan. With a part time job and quitting one of my other jobs I think I can put together a schedule very conducive to recovering. I read in an article in Triathlete once that some professional triathletes and good/elite amateurs will put in the same number of training hours but the difference between the 2 is the recovery plan. An age grouper will most likely wake up early, get a morning work out in, quickly shower and grab a quick breakfast on the way to work. After working all day this athlete will either work out again after work or get things around the house done, go to bed late and do the whole thing again. This is the pattern I had with my training, including 3 part time jobs, plenty of house sitting and classes at UK.

Now, a pro might put in the same training hours but instead of following their morning workout session with a chaotic run to work, they will stretch, maybe do some core work, shower, get in a recovery snack, put on some compression gear, take a nap and maybe get a massage. They can take the time for their muscles to fully recovery and gain from the workout they just performed before taking on the next training session.

I am very happy that I have the opportunity to experiment with this lifestyle. Since I have been applying to veterinary school I have had to stay in school (Auburn requires it, just how it is) and this has inhibited me from getting a full time job since graduating college. This has now come as a blessing because it is much easier to train with a part time job than a 9-5er! I am very excited for the training to come and plan on taking full advantage of this opportunity. Otherwise it would be a huge waste of time.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Baby Caterpillar....

Organic food is a good thin; pesticide free, no hormones or antibiotics, the list goes on. I had to make zucchini muffins last night to take to work so I bought 1 zucchini for those and 3 for my smoothies. Last night I used a zucchini in the muffins and this morning I was chopping one up for my smoothie...and look what I found! It was so gross. There was a small baby caterpillar sitting in a hole in the zucchini. One the outside there was a tiny hole he had drilled to get inside. I checked the rest of the zucchini immediately and didn't see any of his brothers or friends but it was nasty. I didn't let myself think about it as I dumped the rest of the veggie into my blender. The only worrisome part is I did not check the zucchini from last night for caterpillar holes. So if a coworker finds a crunchy surprise oops! Ha that's OK. I think the walnuts will cover them up :)

I probably should have written this after I finished my smoothie because now I just keep thinking about tiny worms in my straw. ew. At least they are chemical free!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Veggie Chopping

It's Monday and in an attempt to make eating healthier easier I went ahead and cut up some of the veggies in my fridge. It is way easier for me to have them ready to go. I cut up mushrooms, carrots, celery, squash and peppers. The carrots and peppers are gone but I need to work on using these mushrooms...
This week has been nice because I have been getting into a more triathlon oriented workout schedule. I ran with a group of girls Mon and Wed at 5:30 am. It is so much better because it pushes me to run harder than I would alone and I get it out of the way in the morning. It has also been pretty perfect weather until this afternoon. It's going to be a rainy few days coming up here. On Tuesday I went to swim practice at 5:30 am and our coach gave us a 1,000 yds for time. Considering I had been out of the water for 2 weeks I was not excited to see my time on this one... :/ but I ended up coming in at 13:12 which I was pleased with, all things considered. I had done a weights class Monday afternoon so this made the last 500 yds really burn! I was glad to be back in the water. I plan on going to swim practice tomorrow morning pending I'm not too tired to wake up. 

I also went for a bike ride yesterday. OUTSIDE! That's big for me because I hadn't been outside on my bike since the duathlon which is ridiculous. We have had so many awesome fall days for riding but I just didn't want to do it. I am so glad that I did yesterday because since I refuse to ride outside in the cold I think that yesterday was the last of the warm weather around here. 

All in all I am super excited to put my race schedule together over the next couple of days and start some training this coming Monday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New B-Fri

For those who don't know, b-fri totally means best friend. Thanks to one of my b-fri's from college I use this term sometimes and people look like they want to kick me in the face. It is obnoxious but I think it is funny. Here he is though:

And yes, that is him asleep on me on my couch. I was dog sitting for him and he has become one of my favorites to take care of. His name is Prince and he is about 1 year old. He was really good when I was sick last week because he made lying around on the couch seem OK and necessary. I hope he is around more often.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dinner on the Fly

I am now gluten free! It is exciting but I am making a slow transition because I still have 2 boxes of cereal and a loaf of bread that are not gluten free and I plan on finishing them instead of just throwing them away or letting them go to waste. I am eating gluten free outside of my apartment though and eating gluten free in my apartment besides these items. It is slowly hitting me what all I am going to have to give up when making this commitment...LHA was a little more than disappointed when he realized I could no longer indulge in cake, cookies or random deserts we come across as sweets-lovers but I assured him this does not have to effect his diet. I can also make some gluten free ones sometimes!

I hadn't really thought about some of the difficulties, like popping over to my parents house for a snack and not being able to eat the bread on the counter, the Annie's Cheddar Bunnies my mom keeps in the lazy Susan for my little cousins or the handful of cereal I like to snack on. Honestly though, this change is only for the better. It really will make me focus. I think that the more times you are tested through out the day and you have to make a sacrifice for something you are trying to achieve, the more focused on your goal you become. It really is putting my training first and foremost in more aspects of my life and this is good for me.

The other night I was making quinoa for dinner and made extra to have around for the days ahead. It was perfect because that next night I came home from work at 8:30 and was really hungry for dinner and had 0 motivation to actually make something. So I put together this little meal! I had the left over quinoa which I put a bit of cheddar cheese in and then defrosted some cooked shrimp and sauteed them in some mango chipotle sauce I had bought at Fresh Market. Then done! It was actually super good and very healthy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gluten Free...

Since reading lots of blogs on other athletes and articles about diet I have learned more about a gluten free lifestyle. I look at it similarly to my decision not to eat fried food. If you don't eat fried food as a guideline then you automatically cut out foods that are, in general, not healthy. I am more likely to get a salad or extra veggie to eat than eating the fried appetizer or chips and salsa. I also am very much a sweets person so I prefer a piece of cake to fried food any day. So this sacrifice was not so hard to make.

Since I am going to take working out more seriously now and put as much of my time into trying to succeed as an athlete I think I am going to jump on the gluten free bandwagon now. It is nice that I don't have to since I don't have celiacs but I think it can only be a good thing. Generally if you eat gluten free then you eat less processed foods. So I think once I start training next Monday I am going to try out this gluten free diet. The below link is to an article about multiple athletes that use this diet:

Gluten Free Athlete

It really reiterates that most of these athletes do not have to have this diet but they choose it. This next article explains there is no proof of better athletic performance with a gluten free diet but there are also no cons of trying this diet:

A Gluten Free Diet

This article also gave a nice list of the staple foods in a gluten free diet
  • rice 
  • corn
  • soy
  • potatoes (I have a feeling this will be my favorite, especially sweet potatoes)
  • tapioca (I don't know about this one...ha)
  • beans
  • quinoa
  • buckwheat
  • flax
  • nut flours and uncontaminated oats
There are also the "inherently gluten-free products which include milk, butter, cheese, fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans and seeds"  which I already eat a lot of. I do not think I could live on a dairy and egg free diet. That would be way too difficult! This next blog is a marathoner who is gluten free and she posts tons of recipes that sound pretty good:

Gluten Free Recipes 

So next Monday here I come! I do not think my family will be happy about this as it complicates things but I think they will support me none the less! It will just require even more planning on my part....bring it on!

Uncle Sam

When I am sick I generally only want to eat one of two things: cereal and mashed potatoes. I got this cold 6 days ago and I have not been blogging about much because I have not done much, besides this weekend. Workout wise though, I have been a major slacker. I start actual training again in about a week and in the last week my diet, training and sleep have been terrible. I hate this feeling and it reminds me why I love my normal, active lifestyle. I have found a new gem that I really like to eat and I polished off a box of this while I was sick:
This cereal is very very good. The only ingredients are whole wheat berry flakes, whole flaxseeds, salt and barley malt. It is made by Attune foods, doesn't have any GMOs and given the name, it is totally all American so that's fabulous.

ONE FLAW: the flaxseeds in the cereal sink to the bottom. So each time you eat this cereal shake it up!

Otherwise, I highly recommend it. Sometimes I put some agave on it:
I use agave instead of honey now because it has a lower glycemic index which means the carbs break down slower so the energy lasts longer! Yay. I like this brand and have gotten used to the flavor.

Hopefully I will find my motivation and energy again soon and have more workout oriented things to talk about!

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Couch..sort of

About 2 years ago I purchased a fabulous sofa from Habitat Restore for $50 that was upholstered in DENIM! Not dark denim or some cool shade but a very 80's worn blue denim. The couch was the right size and I had full intentions of paying to get it redone or redoing it myself immediately but I, of course, did not....until now! I came down with a cold and decided that while spending time on my denim couch recovering I could recover it. I purchased a lot of dark blue fabric from Hancock Fabrics (about 9 yards) at $3.99 a yard, bought some new staples for my staple gun, navy blue thread for my sewing machine and got going. Since I wasn't feeling well I would do a little work then pass out for 30 min, over and over till I was finished. As a reward I let myself spend ~$30 on materials for some throw pillows I really wanted to make. And voila! I am so happy that I finally did this and it was so inexpensive.
This is the couch in a halfway stage before I took a nap. You can see the beautiful shade of denim it started out in. 

The finished product! Pillows and all!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Last night I made a smoothie that was sort of nasty but tolerable. It was a bit on the nasty side because it contained a whole, raw beet. I had recently read about the health benefits of beets and discovered they are in the chenopod family which is the same a quinoa. So it has to be healthy right! Healthy maybe but they taste like dirt when raw. Ew. I didn't know this so I bought 3 beets home and last night finally got the courage to put one into my smoothie. I combined a serving of Fage Greek yogurt, splash of OJ, a few frozen peach slices and strawberries and lastly a beet. I cut it up into a few cubes and it immediately smelled like dirt. I figured I hadn't washed it enough but when I smelled the center it was full on dirt. I knew this was going to be rough so I added a banana to the mixture. My first taste was not really was like mud. So I added some more OJ and got used to the flavor. It was much better when consumed with a straw so the dirt could bypass my taste buds.

I know these veggies are healthy but I just did not really enjoy this drink except for the fantastic fuschia color that the beet made the smoothie. That was fun. This BEETS article is a good one as it describes the health benefits. I also read in a Triathlete magazine that the antioxidant properties of these guys is high so they would be good to eat more of when training picks up again to speed up recovery. Although I will for sure need to come up with a tastier way to consume this super food.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Being a vegetarian is only difficult sometimes. Mostly when I want a filling snack or meal that is easily fixed. I used to always opt for peanut butter but it has started giving me stomach aches so now I stay away from it. I recently found Sunbutter. It is extremely good. I use it the exact same way as peanut butter but it has more flavor and has more natural nutrients and protein. I highly recommend this brand. I found it at Whole Foods. Sometimes I eat it on some crunch bread from Great Harvest with Kentucky Proud blackberry jam on top.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Twerkin It

Within a swim bike run mindset you move one direction. That direction is forward and sometimes as quickly as possible. Well last night I was reminded of some benefits that can come from moving your body in all different directions thanks to my first Zumba class!! IT WAS SO FUN. I took this class at Healthworx. Half the reason I had such a blast was because my instructor was the bomb and she had hips that couldn't stop moving to the music. It was actually mesmerizing to watch her work it...sounds creepy but you would agree if you saw her get down.

I had no idea what the format of this class was. All I knew was it lasted an hour and I had already hit up the rowing machine and a little bit of weights. Basically, she teaches you a new set of movements that turn into a mini choreography for each song that comes on. Since I did ballet for like 12 years I thought I would be pretty good at picking up the steps...weeelllll I was good at remembering what to do but actually doing it was a whole other issue. I can twist and kick and salsa but doing all this with a constant hip thrust is hilarious. I have honestly never felt so rhythm-less. I usually don't mind seeing myself in a mirror while working out but this was at times embarrassing. I would be trying to pop my hips then forget which direction to lock it and then she would say double time and I would just laugh and start to shake instead. It was so fun thought. I was one of 2 new people in the class and she kept smiling at me. This I appreciated but I know she was like ohhh, silly girl with no rhythm. I have rhythm I swear! Ha maybe with more experience this will come out.

We literally did a whole song of pop and locking our hips "around the world". This was NOT G rated. I was in shock at first but then just gave into the fun. We did moves called carry the candle, peek a boo hips, comb your hair back, meringue, salsa, lasso, whip, the come to me, the BAM...the list goes on.  
This was like my girl, totally awesome with us loving her from the background. There were some women in class that would scream during it and that was amazing and hilarious. At the end of each song she would do a move where she like kissed to the mirror or made her arms arch over her head and down into a pose. So stylin.

By far the best part was the end. We had been listening to rap music and lots of Sean Kingston -esque music and then one of the more vocal members of the class yells "where's my Phil Collins warm down??" and we literally warmed down to Phil Collins. Complete with the drum break through, which we played. I really liked the class. I don't think it made my heart rate get very high but I think I benefited from all the movement in the different directions. I could feel it in my knees. They are not used to this but I think it could be good over time to strengthen them!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


The result of Gnocchi day is below. They were pretty good! Mega filling. I ended up splitting it with my parents so I had ~ 1/3 of the recipe. The serving size was 2 and it was in the category "impressing your date". Impressive but if I had eaten 1/2 of this I would have been in a food comma for the rest of the night so I don't know if this is a good first date food, feeling like a beached whale and all. For any other occasion it was excellent! Here is the actual recipe/parts that I left out. 

3 russet potatoes
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c flour 

After you complete the instructions I included in my last post, you put the little potato pillows in the fridge till 30 min before meal time. Take them out, let them get to room temp for about 15 min then heat up some butter in a skillet and sauteed them for ~10-12 min until they get a little brown. At this point they smelled SOOOO GOOD. Then just add some marinara and the key ingredient that made them even better was goat cheese! My mom got some awesome kind that just turned nice and smooth when warm. That's it! We had spinach salad with apples and cheese to accompany.

I think I am going to try making sweet potato gnocchi sometime. Next time I am also going to try to use wheat flour instead of white flour. I wanted to stick to the recipe for the first go round though.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Gnocchi Day!

I decided to finally make some gnocchi today. I have a great vegetarian cookbook and I have been waiting to use this recipe. Since I now have extra time away from training today was the day!
I started out with 3 potatoes, baked them till they were soft and then squeezed them right out of the skins. I added an egg yolk and some salt and then combined it all with a masher. After this came the fun part. 

I started adding flour and mashing it all up with my hands till I got a nice dough. Next I rolled handfuls into ~ 1/2 inch thick ropes and cut them into pieces. 

After throwing them into salted boiling water into the fridge they went to chill for sauteing lataaaaa. I enjoy cooking but I am not very good at it. I don't know how to put like random spices and seasoning in things to make them better. Hopefully I can learn these skills now that I will have more time to do it! I will let you know how these taste and if they are any good I will post the actual recipe. 


Here it is, not too exciting:

First 5k


Second 5k

Sunday, October 2, 2011

This Makes Me Miss Swimming

I survived! The Corman Duathlon (5k run, 16 mi bike, 5k run) was yesterday and now it is over! End of story...cause all that matters is the season is over. Hooray! I will still write about this race. As a precursor, I did not want to do this race. I signed up the Tuesday before and I was so in denial about it I completely forgot to pick up my packet. It didn't even cross my mind until 10 pm the night before the race. At least they let me pick it up on race day :/
It was very very cold. I didn't get much sleep the night before and I usually do not before a race because I generally don't work out as much the whole week so I am not as tired. I got up at about 5:30 and ate my Zone bar and drank some G2. I had packed the night before so I headed to Walgreens to buy a small thing of frosted flakes and some gloves but they didn't have any. I just needed some thin cotton kids gloves so at 6 am I stopped at the WalMart on the way to Nicholasville and found the perfect pair! They were thin and even had these little grippy hearts to make riding my bike and shifting gears in them a breeze!
Plus, as you can tell, they were extra fashionable. Once at the race I delivered some McDonald's coffee to LHA and a friend, set up my bike and then got back in my car to sit in the heat for 30min. Although I was very bundled up it was too chilly to stand around and freeze my muscles into bricks prematurely.

I sadly exited my car and after picking up my timing chip, doing a little warm up jog and seeing my parents it was time to go to the start line. The train whistle/horn thing went off and we went running! The pace was set by two women who I knew would be able to run a lot faster than me. I went through the first mile running a 6:00min/mi pace and for me this is fast. I knew I would pay for it later. I was right there at the front of the race but slowly the gap increased between the 3 of us. I was fine with this because I was already huffing and puffing and the monsters of doubt were already in my head asking my why the heck I had signed up for this thing. I started picturing myself in my tri suit, running a race in warm weather and vowed to never do this again. The weather was the type that immediately gives you a cold. All of a sudden I had a runny nose, phlegm in my throat threatening to choke me and burning lungs from the cold air. It was sort of pathetic how much the first 5k took out of me. I ran the second mile in ~6:23 and was like OMG your going to pass out. Ha but I didn't.

I finished the first 5k and the leader was just leaving T1 as I ran up, snoting like a overheated bull dog....without the bull part because I didn't feel very chipper. Heading out on the bike my legs felt cooked (this is when I truly missed swimmming). I tried the whole ride to reel the leader in but I just couldn't do it. I passed quite a few guys and the course was super windy and hilly so I couldn't even spot her for a large part of the course. Coming into T2 I saw that she was already off and running and I knew she had it in the bag. I was remembering my coach telling me to just have that's what I tried to focus on for the  last 5k run. One dude passed me right after T2 and then I was literally on my own the rest of the run. No one was creeping up behind me and the leader was striding away looking good. I actually has some nice alone time as the course goes back on RJ Corman's property so it is very quiet and serene. Although my toes were numb, my lungs felt like lead and I was feeling hippo-ish I tried to think of the excitement of being done with such a long season. This was my 13th race and I was so happy with my results. It was nice to be able to reflect as my wheels fell off and I brought it into the finish. I was greeted by my cheering parents and LHA with this very wonderful sign he made for me! Creative yeah?

I ended up in second place which I was pleased with. I won $250 so that is amazing considering my bank account is always in need. So Yay! Season over and now I get to look forward to a month of cross training and really doing whatever I please. I will post my Garmin splits later. I did a 3 mile run this morning and felt pretty good!