Another Snow Day and Some Paleo Creations

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This is normally the case but not today.  We had another Snow Day.  Now that I am all caught up with my work, this snow day was not as exciting.  A snow day every once in a while is great but back to back starts to become annoying.  Especially when there wasn’t really any snow…

The good news is, I was able to get my pre paleo challenge benchmark WOD done at 7am rather than 5:30pm when the box is packed.  I am already excited to do it again in 6 weeks after the challenge is complete to see some growth…hopefully!

Another benefit to this snow day was a morning full of baking paleo creations!  The key to eating healthy and clean without feeling deprived or insane is creating meals and snacks that are just as tasty and delicious without all the unnecessary crap.  It may take some extra time and money to get the ingredients but the way your body reacts when it is fueled with quality food is well worth it.   I give myself a cheat meal every week to reward myself but sometimes it just reminds me why I don’t eat like that on a regular basis.  After eating out, I always feel bloated, and sometimes shakey and hot from the sugar and carbs.

Lets get back to these paleo creations I was talking about because they are way too great to not show.  But first, let me just address some business I had to take care of last night before the paleo challenge began…

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Yup, it was necessary to get rid of all non-paleo temptations.  So after I polished off the Ezekiel bread with a chicken sandwich with sautéed onion and mushroom, I had to move on to finishing off the last of my arctic zero.

Now onto the things that replace these processed foods.  After this morning’s WOD, I had to get some food in me before I started the baking marathon.  I opted for a nice little stack of banana pancakes with some pure maple syrup. (Blended 1 banana, 2 eggs, 2 tbsp coconut flour, cinnamon and a pinch of baking soda)

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Next was some homemade Paleo Ketchup because if you know me, you KNOW that I can’t go without ketchup.  I found a pretty simple recipe that just called for tomato paste, water, apple cider vinegar, mustard powder, pepper, Himalayan pink salt, cinnamon, ground cloves and a splash of maple syrup.

Now let’s get to the fun stuff… Paleo Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies made with almond flour, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla bean extract, paleo chocolate chips, cacao nibs, and unsweetened coconut flakes.   Can’t wait to try one after dinner, the smell is killer!

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Speaking of dinner…

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Yup.  No words necessary.  

And the best part of all…it took about 5 minutes to prep.  2/3 cup of low sodium chicken broth, a layer of chopped sweet onion, 3 chicken breasts, chopped apple, a variety of spices and a drizzle of honey.

It is safe to say that the paled challenge is off to a great start!  I am excited to take part in this challenge for a couple of reasons.

First of all, I don’t know how to turn down a challege..ha ha.

Second, I still have some thoughts lingering from my “want to be super lean” stage where I obsessed about food and the amount of sugar and carbs.  I used to think an apple was a bad snack because it had sugar and carbs.  I was obsessed with eating every 2-3 hours because I thought that was what I HAD to do to gain muscle.  I have come a long way from that part of my life and that mindset.  Thankfully. First and foremost, I don’t obsess.  Food is not something that should be a stressor. Second, I eat when I am hungry, not based on a time and I feed that hunger with foods that are wholesome and nutrient dense.  However, every once in a while I have those little moments where I over think about the carbs or suagr content in something as healthy as a banana or oatmeal.  This paleo challenge is helping me rid all those thoughts.  With many foods now eliminated, I can’t opt for those low-calorie choices simply because they are low-calorie.  I HAVE to opt for fruit, nuts, avocados, meats, honey..I can’t over analyze the carbs, fats, and sugar.  That being said, it is certainly important to be aware and mindful…MODERATION IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT.  

Well I apologize if all the food pictures and the little personal rant was not very exciting.  Maybe this will help you crack a smile!

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….or maybe I just found it funny because I am 100% guilty of this!

A Few Paleo Trial Runs

Happy Friday!  I thought this day would never come!

…and it almost was almost my last.  I don’t think the schools in the area expected the snow to come down as hard as it did because there were few delays despite the terrible conditions.  My little Honda Civic (yup, I still have that little thing because my new CRV had to be ordered..grrrr.) was sliding all over the road.  I have never been more relieved to get to school.

Before I embraced the snowy conditions, I did a Paleo breakfast trial run.  I start Monday so I wanted to prepare myself for new breakfast options and how long prep will take.  Majority of paleo the breakfast recipes that I see floating around Instagram and Paleo Cookbooks are vegetable omelette, frittata, avocado egg cups, and BACON….all of which are delicious, but I am more of sweet breakfast person rather than savory. SO, I gave my paleo breakfast a sweet twist.

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This right here, was perfect.  Paleo. check. Easy. check. Sweet. check.  I microwaved a small sweet potato for a few minutes, cut it up and sautéed the chunks with some onions while I whisked 2 eggs and 2 egg whites.  Poured the egg whites over the sweet potatoes and onions, added some cinnamon, some coconut flakes, some goji berries and scrambled it all togehter.  It reminded me of a Thanksgivingish savory and sweet breakfast.

I guess you could say I also did a Paleo lunch trial run but really it is just a sign that we are really lacking in the grocery department…

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It was a simply a lazy mix of everything I could find in the fridge.  Chopped up romaine, tuna, avocado and Goji berries for some crunch.  I may not have a Paleo salad dressing recipe created yet, however, I WILL be working on a Homemade Ketchup. That is one condiment, I CAN’T go without.  With some #paleoketchup searches on Instagram and a few google searches, I have found a solid selection of recipes that sound good and the process does not sound like an overwhelming science experiment.  I am all about quick, simple and delicious.  Especially when you go through ketchup as fast as I do.

It may have been a snowy ‘White Out’ over here but ProCompression was not on the same page.

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They are all about the ‘Blackout’ which is fine by me because I could use a new pair of black compression socks and a 30% discount.

Since I have already mentioned my breakfast and lunch for the day, I guess I should just finish off with dinner because it was another wonderful Crock pot creation.  Curry chicken with a side of Garlic Cauliflower Mash (recipe from nomnompaleo.com).  I just can’t seem to get enough of Indian food and Indian inspired meals these days.

Hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Friday! Time to relax and catch up on T.V and sleep! 🙂

Dealing with Stress 101: Crossfit/Running, NyQuil and Pray for a Snowday

Transitioning back to work after a long vacation is always hard but this week was MUCH more difficult than usual.  And I am to blame for this terrible transititon because I didn’t really make a dent in my massive workload that I planned to tackle over vacation.  I have a pretty large, and important portfolio due tomorrow and it was REALLY stressing me out earlier on the week.  I tried to remind myself that IT WILL GET DONE.  It may mean pulling an all nighter on Thursday or skipping crossfit for a couple days but I am the type of person that will find a way to get things done.  Isn’t that what I went to college for??? Learning to procrastinate and then learning to get out of that hole you dug…yup that was what my $45,00 tuition got me  But no matter how many times I reminded myself of that, I just couldn’t shake off the stress.

That is where running and crossfit come in.  The second I walk into Crossfit or head out for a run, my stress just seeems to dissipate.  At Crossfit, I have 60 minutes where my energy is focused solely on my lifts and my mind is in completely in the zone.  When I am running, I don’t necessarily tune out the stressor but I start to think about it with endorphins running through my body and I can think clearly about how I will tackle the problem.  That is why I love being both a runner and a crossfitter.  Running is what helps me sift through my thoughts and find answers to problems and crossfit allows me to just break free from the thought in general and focus my stress and anger on a great lift.  Oh, and then their is yoga where all thoughts just disappear because I am just trying to breathe/survive in the high temperature

So Tuesday morning when I was wide awake at 4:30 am because the stress was keeping me awake, I just laced up and layered up, and head out for a couple morning miles to clear my head.

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Maybe my brain was just frozen, but it certainly felt like it helped with clearing my thoughts.

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I also could not believe that my ‘throw on as many layers as possible in the dark’ outfit somehow managed to match.  That’s a first.

And this oatmeal bowl also contributed to my positive vibes.  How can frozen bananas, cacoa nibs, and coconut on top of warm oatmeal not induce instant happiness?

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After an evening crossfit session, I was able to make a pretty big dent in my workload.  I rewarded myself with a giant sip of Nyquil and an 8:30 pm bedtime.  9 hours of sleep never felt so good.

Another great way to manage stress is to pray for a school cancellation.  I can’t guarantee it will work all the time (perks of being a teacher) but I am pretty thankful and lucky that it worked for me today.

After yesterday’s crossfit session , I quickly whipped up my favorite dinner before another night of shipping away at my work…

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This dinner was great for two reasons.  1.) It was my first time baking cabbage which is now a newfound love.  2.) While consuming this meal the news added my school to the list of cancellations.  The thought of having ALL day to work on my portfolio had me smiling from ear to ear.

However, I can’t say I had that same ear to ear smile when reading today’s WOD at 5:30 am…

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Even with work cancelled, I figured it was best to get up for 6am crossfit for 2 reasons.  1.) I wanted the entire day revolved around my work. 2.) All those burpees hanging over my head until the evening classes would have just added to my stress. ha ha.

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And of course, another post workout oatmeal breakfast bowl.  For those of you who are sick of my constant oatmeal posts, you are in luck!!  On Monday I will be starting a 6 week Paleo Challenge that my crossfit box is putting on.  No oatmeal for 6 weeks! I am thinking some savory sweet potatoe omlettes, maybe banana pancakes!

Time to wrap up this post because I have a massage to get to. Yup, that is the reward I am giving myself for (almost) surviving the week and for completing my portfolio.  Putting that college tuition to use..

T.G.I.F..and Rest Day

imageThis may not have been my immediate reaction when I rolled out of bed but it is safe to say that by the time I walked out the work doors this afternoon, it went a little something like that.

I am not only happy that it is Friday but I am also very happy that it is rest day.  My body definitely needs it.  My legs are not nearly as sore as last week but my upper body can’t take another push up or push press…hell it hurts just to put my hair up. ha ha

Yesterday was a pretty long and eventful day.  It was one of those days where you just bounce from one thing to the next and eventually just cant wait to get home and go straight to bed.  The track team had a 6:45-9:30 meet.  When I first saw that time on the schedule, my immediate thought was..wait what?  People are still up at that hour..LET ALONE HIGH SCHOOLERS? From 9pm on, I am most likely passed out on the couch with the Big Bang Theory on in the background.  I often wonder if I’ve ever watched a FULL Big Bang Theory episode. haha.

Well the time was no joke.  With a stop at Whole Foods for dinner after Crossfit..

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…..and a Venti Americano on the way to the meet, I managed to stay awake and cheer everyone on!  Yup. I am complaining about having to be awake at such a late hour while the team is not only awake, BUT RACING. The athletes are ALL winners for just being able to do that!

I broke away from my oatmeal this morning because I was craving eggs and fruit.

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Oatmeal is great, but eggs with NuttZo and coconut flakes paired with an apple and cinnamon is just one perfectly, sweet concoction.

With no meat left in the house, we hit up a local farm stand this afternoon and stocked up on eggs and grass-fed beef.  Which obviously meant homemade burgers on Ezekiel toast for dinner…and Friday night wine of course.  No better way to end the work week 🙂

Speaking of that 9 pm bedtime that I mentioned earlier.  It is currently 8:50 and that time is fast approaching.  Then again, it is Friday, maybe we will live on the wild side and watch a movie.  Gosh, I really make myself sound like such a fun person 😉

Hope you all have a great Friday and enjoy the wonderful weekend!

Running to a Podcast and Some R&R

 Hi!  Let me fill you all in on some things that are pretty great right now…

1.  It is almost Thursday therefore the weekend and Christmas break are getting closer! Awesome

2.  This is my current view/situation as I type this. There is something about Christmas lights that make everything better

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What was not as relaxing as this view was listening to a murder story Podcast on my morning run in the 5am darkness…lets just say I was a little jumpy.

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There has been much commotion amoungst my friends about this Serial podcast so I figured I would give it a listen on this morning’s quiet run.  I never listen to anything BUT music and often wonder what it would be like to run to a book or story.  When it comes down to it, I never want to give up my 98 Degrees and NSYNC pandora (yup.  My station of choice) for a boring book so I have never tested out my curiosity.  However,  today I gave it a shot and actually really enjoyed it.  The podcast is suspenseful/engaging, you kind of just drift off into the suspense of the murder story and don’t really focus on the miles…or pace. Whoops. Kinda slow.  However, I think I would have enjoyed the run much more if my shin/interior ankle tendon was not hurting…

It is hard to not become immediately frustrated when this ongoing aggrivated ankle tendon just won’t go away.  But of course,  I expect it to go away yet decide to run 9 miles onSunday..smart.

I think it is time to do what needs to be done and take a break from running for a good week…

Though my passion for Crossfit, running AND hot power yoga can be challenging to balance, it has also been my savior when it comes to injuries.  It is great to know that when I need to take a break from one thing, I have something else to focus on and help steer me away from dwelling on the rest.  I may not be running this week but you bet I will be working on my strength at crossfit and really connecting my breathing and muscle movement while at Yoga.  Sometimes you need a break from one thing in order to grow at another.

I cannot stress enough how great it has been incorporating power yoga into my weekly exercise.  My muscles are getting the stretch they need/deserve, I have a space to sweat (profusely) the toxins out my body and I have 90-minutes where I can focus on nothing but connecting with my body and mind. On top of all that….IT IS HARD AS HELL.  For a strong individual like myself, there are many moments where it takes every ounce of willpower and fight to stay in a position.

After a week starting with deadlifts, 300 double unders yesterday and this morning’s run…tonight’s yoga really tested my ability to not let my mind pull me out of certain holds.  The pain was there but the perseverance was stronger!

And on an even better note, I had a delicious meal all cooked up when I got home..

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I am a pretty lucky girl.

I guess that is what I get for cooking up a delicious stir-fry last night

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which also served as a wonderful leftover at lunch today. Double win

In case you were all wondering, which you’re probably not…my oatmeal game continues to remain strong.

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Just a lovely Cinnamon Maca Chia oatmeal base boiled/cooked with a Sugar Cookie tea bag to add some flavor.  Topped with whatever I feel like throwing on from my shelf full of superfood toppings…goji berries, unsweetened coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, raw cacao nibs, almond slivers, hemp hearts.

That about sums it all up!  Hope  you all enjoy these last few work days before the Holidays 🙂

Snazzy Snacking and a New Addition to the Schedule

Happy Hump Day!

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I can’t say my cooking has been superb in the last few days but thankfully I have a wonderful guy who had some delicious dinners waiting for me after Crossfit and night class.  My dinner game may not be on point this week but my snack and breakfast game has been superb.  Let me just let you in on what’s been happening when I get home at 3pm ready to eat my fist…teacher problem #1: absurdly early lunches

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Ezekiel bread topped with Nuttzo, 1/2 banana, and raw cacoa nibs (benefits of cacoa)

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Ezekiel bread with Nuttzo and an organic cage-free egg

Tuesday was an ambitious morning with a 4:30am wake-up for 5am Crossfit.  I had a 3 hour night class in the evening so I figured I would get it out of the way in the morning.  But of course..the school had a 2-hour delay so while everyone was hitting the Ignore button on their alarm, I was about 40 front squats and 200 double unders deep in my day and already home cooking up some wonderful egg-white oats.

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This right here is a glorious bowl of superfoods:  oats, egg whites, cinnamon, maca powder, goji berries, hemp seeds, raw cacoa nibs, unsweetened coconut flakes, and frozen organic strawberries.

Okay. Enough with food.  Lets talk about new and exciting changes in my already busy schedule!  This winter I will be helping out with coaching the high school indoor track team in the town I teach in!  This is even more exciting because I actually attended the high school when I was a kid/teen.  After years of playing basketball, I quit my sophomore year to join the newly launched indoor track program.  To go back and help out a program that grew me as a runner and an athlete is extremely rewarding.

However, when I first got asked to help, the mere thought of adding another thing to my schedule had me terrified.  I am a creature of habit…the thought of change immediately freaks me out.  I need to learn that every time my schedule changes, I always manage to make the adjustment just fine and it rarely interferes with my training.  In fact, this will actually HELP my training because I will be training with the girls… which means SPEED! It is time to incorporate track workouts into my training schedule!  Speaking of time, this also means I will be doing more 5am Crossfit rather than evening classes.  Hello 4:30am.  Like all things, it will be a little rough in the beginning but with time, it all becomes routine.

Today was the first practice and there was a rush of emotion being back on the same track I was on 8 years ago.  It was also extremely strange running with people.  I always run on my own with my lovely little iPod.  It was so nice to run and chat…man those miles just fly by when you’re talking. 

With another fitness related addition to my schedule, I need to really make sure that I take care of my body and listen to the signals.  The balance of Crossfit and running is always a bit of a struggle and takes tons of self-awareness and self-discipline to ensure that I don’t do more than my body can handle.  Sometimes it means skipping runs or skipping workouts but in the long run, it always beats an injury.