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Posts tagged ‘clean eating’

My New Favorite Peanut Butter

I have a problem and unfortunately it comes in the form of peanut butter. 190 calories, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and that’s just for one serving. But who can really stop at just one serving of peanut butter? I certainly can’t.

A few weeks ago my dear friend Emily brought us a sample of PB2, a peanut powder. To turn it into actual peanut butter, just add 2 tablespoons of powder and one tablespoon of water and voilà, you have peanut butter. The best part? It’s only 45 calories, 1 grams of fat, and 4 grams of protein. Now no, it doesn’t taste exactly like delicious fresh roasted peanut butter, but it’s quite similar. And there is even one with chocolate. Ingredients include peanuts, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Deliciousness.

Delicious peanut butter and chocolate

Delicious peanut butter and chocolate

Bell Plantation:

Peanut butter has always been a staple for the health conscious and physically active. But even peanut butter can be improved. PB2 reduces fat through a chemical-free process. Like all Bell Plantation products, PB2 and Chocolate PB2 are all natural, preservative free, and contain no artificial sweeteners. And that makes them a sweet alternative for active lifestyles, dieters, and moms who want healthy snacks for their kids.

You really can mix this stuff with any liquid you want. You can add it to smoothies, oatmeal, or even to your baking. It’s yummy, 85% less fat calories than regular peanut butter, and convenient. Thanks Emily for the sample! I now have a new problem, but at least it’s less fattening.

It comes in a powdered form

It comes in a powdered form

Happy Trails and happy Running,


Recovery Update: I am actually feeling a lot better today. Hip is still sore but I feel like my back has opened up a lot and I’m doing a better job of engaging my lower abs when I walk. I’m crossing my fingers I can start some active recovery runs next week.


I feel like not enough people know about the awesomeness of kefir. I’ve only known about it for a year or so but it is now a staple in our household. Kefir is basically fermented milk that tastes a little on the sour side. It can be made from any type of milk and it is full of nutrients, probiotics, and awesomeness.

Chris Kresser:

Besides containing highly beneficial bacteria and yeasts, kefir is a rich source of many different vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids that promote healing and repair, as well as general health maintenance. Kefir contains high levels of thiamin, B12, calcium, folates and Vitamin K2. It is a good source of biotin, a B vitamin that HELPS the body assimilate other B vitamins. The complete proteins in kefir are already partially digested, and are therefore more easily utilized by the body. Like many other dairy products, kefir is a great source of minerals like calcium and magnesium, as well as phosphorus, which helps the body utilize carbohydrates, fats and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy.

Kefir is a source of vitamin K2, which apparently is lacking in most American diets. It can also help protect against gastrointestinal disease (it has a LOT of microflora) and can improve lactose digestion. A 2003 study of 15 adults who had difficult digesting lactose, found that drinking kefir reduced lactose maldigestion symtoms by 70%. That’s a big deal if you like your occasional piece of cheese. But perhaps the best reason I like Kefir is it makes an amazing  spinach smoothie, way better than almond milk, soy milk, water, or anything else.

If you’ve never tried it before, go for it. Just  be sure to get the plain kind. There is so much sugar in the fruity one. .

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: Well I ran today. The thing that is killing me is aerobically, I feel awesome. A 7:12 mile feels very normal and easy for me. However, my leg is another story. I can definitely tell my left side is opening up. I am running like I should be. But it feels like my leg isn’t use to running this way (the right way). Therefore, there is a lot of stress on some of my leg muscles. Maybe if I take a lot of Advil before the race, I’ll be fine. Saturday is soooooo iffy. Stats from today are here.

The History of Diets

Oh diets… always changing, always evolving, and always something new to try. CNN recently published this article about diets throughout history. There are two things I took away from this article. First, diets have been around for a long time. And second, there have always been crazy diet trends.

In my opinion, some of the more interesting trends mentioned in the article, dating all the way back to 1820s, are the vinegar and water diet, the tapeworm diet (which involved swallowing a parasite packed pill), the Sleeping Beauty Diet, the cookie diet, and Beyoncé’s Master Cleanse Diet – hot water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. You can read the complete article here.

If I had to venture a guess, I’d say some of the crazier diets, such as the tapeworm diet, were not sustainable. Something tells me the side effects of swallowing a parasite would be much worse than a few extra pounds. And the Sleeping Beauty Diet? Well I guess that explains why Aurora was so thin. Either way, no matter how many extra pounds I may put on in life, I’m not swallowing a parasite,  being sedated for days at a time, or drinking water and vinegar. I think I’ll just go outside and run. It just seems a little more practical.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: Last night I may have slept 2 hours. I pretty much expect to see a six pack tomorrow due to the fact my abs are so sore from all the coughing. I didn’t go to work and slept another 4 hours this morning. On the plus side, after my kombucha and a visit to Dr. Molly (my chiropractor), I feel so much better! I’m even expecting to get a run in tomorrow (fingers crossed). Dr. Molly put me through some intense Active Repelase Therapy which was no fun for my sore abs. And I got my bib number today, #5384, so that got me excited for Saturday, no matter what happens.

Ryan Hall’s Diet

Ryan Hall recently released a PDF document of his recommended diet. Because I’m always looking for that edge, I was ready to make my grocery list and head to Trader Joe’s. Well it turns out I already eat 95% of what he recommends. (YAY!) Kale, beets, kefir, avocado, sweet potatoes, eggplants, bananas, eggs, cottage cheese. They are all in my refrigerator, with the exception of beets. (I prefer beet juice instead.) And the best part? Also, his recommended dinner includes sweet potato fries, my absolute favorite! And his bedtime snack is oatmeal with almond milk. Well if I’m not eating peanut butter before bed, I’m eating a bowl of muesli (which includes oats) with almond milk. Perhaps it isn’t the best idea to eat that much before bed but whenever I’m running a lot, I’m pretty much hungry every 2 hours.

The main thing that I do not include in my diet, that Ryan Hall does, is Muscle Milk. There is something about the fact that it is called milk, but doesn’t include actual milk that bothers me. Plus the Muscle Milk light includes fake sugar. That’s not my thing.

Check out his diet… a lof of good information:



Ryan Hall's Diet

Check out Ryan’s Diet here

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: Over the past 24 hours, my hips have popped, cracked, and stretched every possible way. Literally, my bones are sore. However, my  body feels much more in alignment and my hips feel better. We pushed my track workout to Thursday to give my body a little more recovery time. I ran an easy 6 miles today and made sure to go slower than yesterday. Other than my sore bones, everything went well. I’m amazed at how easy the miles feel. 8:00 pace and I felt like it was more of a jog. Now if it can just stay that way for 1 1/2 more weeks. Stats are here.

Whole Foods Eating

I’m one of those people who really believes in everything I do and I’ll probably do my best to convince you to do the same. Throughout the years, I’ve gone through some interesting phases. During my time as a vegetarian, I showed my sister one too many PETA videos and convinced her to go veg with me. However, after a month she gave in to a Wendy’s bacon cheeseburger. I eventually forgave her. 😉

I believe in whole foods eating. Any opportunity I see to promote the idea, I do it. (I’m a little more tactful now with my approaches.) However, I’m often met with the response everything will give me cancer or Doritos just taste so good or healthy food tastes so bad. Those comments literally make me want to hit my head against the wall. Granted, as a young teenager I ate crappy food all the time. McDonalds, Wendy’s , Bojangles, you name it. But that was because I didn’t know any better. I thought that was the norm. 

How can I get people on the whole foods eating bandwagon with me? Well I found this beautifully written article by Rachel and how clean eating not only saved her from cancer, but changed the lives of everyone in her family.


All my life I poked fun and laughed at “crunchy” people. I thought natural food stores were weird and smelled funny. 🙂 I would see the headlines everyday, about the “latest this or that, that may cause cancer” and think well, is there anything that doesn’t? Do I just quit enjoying life because I “may” get cancer?

Well, after having had it and been treated for it, I felt it was time to open my mind a bit and see if there was anything to this natural living thing. Honestly, I don’t remember exactly where or how it began. I believe I was just finishing up radiation therapy when I decided to drive over to the local Whole Foods Market and explore…

You can read the entire article here. To sum it up, Rachel  has a much healthier life, is cancer free ,and her mom is now able to travel, move, and actually enjoy life. Kudos to Rachel and her family.

What are your thoughts on whole foods eating?

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: Oh running how I’ve missed thee. After lots of stretching and praying to the Running Gods, I was able to get a speedy 6 miles. I did have to make an effort to focus on my pelvis and hip alignment  but aerobically, I felt amazing. I ran 6 miles in 43:53. Stats are here.

Clean Eating

There is no specific definition of what is clean eating. Generally speaking, I consider myself to be a pretty clean eater. In any given day, the worse thing I eat (other than a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate) is a handful of plantain chips. (My sweet potato chip habit has been traded.) However, this year I want to focus on really clean eating. I’m a firm believer that food is fuel and that it is also medicine, which heals the body from the inside out.

Why do I want a cleaner diet? First, I want energy and lots of it! Caffeine energy is not the same as an overall feeling of oh my gosh, I feel amazing and can do any and everything. That’s the feeling I want. Whenever I’m on my green smoothie kick, my mornings are so productive, it’s unbelievable. And as a runner, that extra energy can go a long way. The second reason I want a cleaner diet is because I want better gut health. Maybe I’ve listened to a few too many Ben Greenfield podcasts, but it seems gut health is a pretty important part of your overall health. Did you know about 80% of your immune system is in your gastrointestinal tract? Here’s a podcast with Mr. Greenfield himself discussing how gut health can also affect endurance performance. Like I said, it seems pretty important. And the third reason I want a cleaner diet is because I want to be kind to my body. My body has carried me through a lot and I believe in order to do its best, it needs the right fuel. I’ve been reading a lot about how the body will always try to maintain a state of homeostasis. By eating cleaner, I am helping that.

I’ve been researching recipes for clean eating and came across this website. So far, I’ve tried two recipes and they were quite tasty. Another one of my favorites is Oh She Glows. Her stuff is pretty awesome as well.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: Today was a rest day and I actually took the day off! No gym. No running. Nothing. It was nice.

Chicken, veggies, and endives

Chicken, veggies, and endives

The Smarter Science of Slim

As I’ve written before, I love podcasts. Lots of free information by some pretty smart people (well I guess that depends on the podcast). While trying to expand my knowledge on health and nutrition, I came across The Smarter Science of Slim. So far I’ve listened to 5 episodes and I’ve really enjoyed them all.

The hosts, Jonathan Bailor (@JonathanBailor) and Carrie Brown (@CarrieBrownBlog) make scientific information about food and exercise easy to understand and fun to listen to. The information varies from high fructose corn syrup to eccentric exercises, and Jonathan cites many studies to go along with the conversation. What do I like most about this podcast? It’s about clean eating, staying away from processed foods, and how to get your body back to a point of homeostasis. It’s simple information but since we like to make things more complicated than necessary, we tend to overlook the simple way of life. The Smarter Science of Slim promotes simple eating and exercising and uses science to prove the point.

Here is the website.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: This week I ran 46.91 miles. I desperately want to hit that 50 mile mark but next week is a heavy mileage week, so I’m sticking to strength training and yoga today.

Mileage for this past week

Mileage for this past week

Increasing ATP

Friday I briefly wrote about ATP and the different energy pathways in the body. In trying to speed up the process to being a faster marathoner, I concluded if I can increase ATP in my body, then my oxygen energy pathway will have more to use which in turn may improve my abilities as a marathoner. So how can I increase ATP?

Turns out there are no known ways to definitively increase the amount of ATP the body produces, but there are supplements that may help boost levels of ATP.  They are creatine, a 30 to 200 mv daily supplement of coenzyme Q10, and a B vitamin complex.  CoQ10 is involved in the body’s production of ATP and can help increase energy levels. Certain B vitamins are also necessary for the production of ATP. You can read more about increasing ATP production here.

I’m horrible at remembering to take any sort of vitamins or supplements. Vitamins can sit on my kitchen counter for 6 months before it dawns on me to take one. However, I’m always interested in trying new things and being that it’s a new year, maybe a goal for 2013 will be to take my B vitamin complex. 🙂 Does anyone have a suggestion for the best brand of these supplements? I prefer all natural – no red #40 or any other crap that gets put in a lot of vitamins.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: I was suppose to run 6 miles but ended up going 7. I should plan my route better. I did have to make an effort to slow down because I want to be ready for my workout tomorrow – mile repeats at half marathon pace. Overall, I felt great and stats are here.

Photo Credit: UIC


I’ll call this post semi running related. Perhaps because I run so I don’t feel so bad for eating my favorite chocolate.

I pride myself in eating few ingredient, natural foods. I’d rather eat two scoops of almond butter or avocado than eat a Special K breakfast bar. But that’s just me… I prefer natural over artificial. Every Christmas I get a delicious box of Godiva chocolate from my parents. It has become my favorite gift. I really do love chocolate. Tonight after dinner, Mario and I were enjoying some Godiva truffles for dessert. I, being the label reader I am, decided to check out what made Godiva so yummy. Imagine my disappointment when I learned red #40, blue #1, high fructose corn syrup, and sorbitol were just a few of the many ingredients in my chocolate truffle. Then I went to their website to see what they had posted about their ingredients. Oh how my disappointment grew…


Unlike brands that rely heavily on artificial flavors and preservatives, when you buy Godiva you’re buying chocolate made from only the highest quality ingredients.

Grade A dairy butter and heavy cream are used in large quantity in the formulation of our fillings – something that is rarely done by American candy manufacturers.

U.S. Grade #1 nutmeats earn our nut confections high distinction. Notably, many of our chocolates contain hazelnut praline, a favorite European nut filling that is in keeping with our Belgian heritage.

Real cherries that contain no food coloring are used to make our famous Cherry Cordials. For other fruit-filled confections, we use fruits that undergo a special drying process to capture the freshness that is lost during conventional freezing. Pure, additive-free cherry and raspberry juices give flavor to our Cherry and Raspberry Buttercreams that simply cannot be matched.

Well I’m pretty sure red #40 and blue #1 are additives. Therefore, I believe the above information to be false. I wonder what chocolatier would be a better replacement? But don’t worry mom, I’m pretty sure that box of Godiva will be eaten very soon. I’m just disappointed they aren’t what I originally thought. Their chocolate is still tasty though 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: Today I did something I haven’t done in almost 2 months. I ran on a treadmill! It was cold and raining here so I took it inside today. I ran 8 miles in 1:05. It was quite boring but I guess it wasn’t that bad. Tomorrow I have a “hill run.”


Chocolate Truffle Ingredients

And a few other random Christmas pics….

Breakfast Christmas morning with the family

Christmas morning with the family

Christmas Day Running, Warm up Mile

Christmas Day Running, Warm up Mile and waving at Dad


Christmas Day Intervals - doesn't look as fun :)

Christmas Day Intervals – Not as fun as the warm up 🙂

This was our dinner tonight. Mario loves his new fancy plate and wine glass…

Pork with sautéed apples and couscous

Pork with sautéed apples and couscous




Many years ago, I read It’s Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong. That was the first time I ever heard about muesli. While in Switzerland, Mario and I went to a yummy breakfast place that served muesli and that was the first time I actually ate it. Recently, I’ve been buying it from Trader Joe’s and since we were out of the normal pre-run food this morning, I had a bowl for breakfast. I mean if Lance Armstrong recommended it as his breakfast before a long training ride, I thought it would be suitable for a 12 mile run.

So what is muesli and why should you eat it? Read more