Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Who doesn't love shopping??

I am a total girly girl and love to shop and look for deals.  As my size got bigger and bigger it wasn’t nearly as much fun to try on clothes.  But let me tell you it was euphoric to start grabbing the smaller sizes!  As you start changing your eating & exercise habits you will notice the weight coming off and you will need to get some new clothes, but you don’t have to spend a fortune doing it. 

I learned the right colors and styles for my body shape, Wowza!
When you are buying new clothes the first step is to figure out what colors look good on you and what styles and cuts complement your body shape.  I have cool undertones, so I can completely ignore all the browns, taupes and fall colors when I go shopping.  It makes it so easy to quickly eliminate what doesn’t work on me.  Even as my body changed, my colors and style cuts still worked.  And even when the number on the scale wasn’t where I wanted it to be, I was wearing colors and styles that flattered my shape, an in turn immediately looked thinner.  Here’s a quick plug for my sister in law and mother in law and their color consulting business  If you are in Ohio or California you need to meet with them and figure out what works with your skin tone.  They also do skype consulting, I promise it will change your life and how you shop!  No reason to waste any more money on clothes just hanging in your closet that you can't figure out why they don't work on you!

I went from a size 14 to a 4 in a little over 6 months, so needless to say I needed some new clothes.  As much as I love shopping, I love a deal even more.  Luckily I had saved some 10’s & 12’s that I slowly starting fitting back into.  But at 2 lbs. a week, it was a long process and you can bet I celebrated every success of zipping up those 10’s, then 8’s, then 6’s!  Carrie was heading into the sizes I was growing out of, so she inherited plenty of my business attire.  Let me tell you how much better it feels to have a suit you love be too big than be too small!  Have a clothes swap party with friends who are going through a healthy change with you.  It's not about giving your "fat" clothes away, it's about paying it forward to someone else who can use them.  I know when I was bigger I hated people giving me their fat clothes, but that was because I didn't feel good about myself, not because they were doing something mean.

There is no reason to spend money on clothes you will soon be swimming in. You are working hard and looking good and want to celebrate that buy not wearing the same old schlumpy clothes.  Belts don’t work for everyone but they were great for me to cinch in a too big cardigan or shirt.  It allowed me to show off my waist and made me feel confident without having to buy a new top just yet.  Depending on your lifestyle you will need some basics like jeans, a couple pairs of dress or casual pants in neutral colors, suit, dress or skirt and some shirts or sweaters.  You can always add pops of colors in with jewelry, purses, shoes and those won’t change size.  Retail always goes on sale, so don’t pay full price, especially if you are losing weight.  I loved the clearance rack at Kohl’s and then using my extra 30% off coupons, but the clothes are usually for the season we are going out of, so when winter rolls back around I didn’t know what size I was going to be.  $5 is great deal on a sweater, but not if it’s the wrong size when you get around to wearing it.  Now that I have settled in at my size you can bet I troll the off season clearance racks, but I would advise against that until you stabilize for a few months.  You can always check the racks of Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s or whatever discount stores you have near you.  I have found some great work suits for about 70% off retail.

I also love to go to consignment stores.  You can also check out thrift stores if you are really strapped for cash, but usually the items in consignment stores are higher quality and have had less wear & tear.  I had an amazing pair of red corduroy’s I LOVED but they were a 14 and it was hard to give them to Carrie (which I am happy to report are now way too big for her too!)  A few months later I found the exact same pair of corduroy’s in a 4 in a consignment shop.  I danced with glee when I saw they were only $5.  Thank you to whoever donated your red Talbots cords to My Sister’s Closet in Edmond.  I love you!!  Once Carrie, and my co-workers dug through all my too big clothes I took what was left to a consignment shop and over the course of a few months I earned over $200 back.  And that was just the leftovers that I had!  There was my shopping spree money, which most of it I promptly turned around and purchased staples from consignment shops to get me through. 

I know Carrie and I both had problems going into the stores and still reaching for XL, or whatever size we were, going into the dressing room and realizing we were at least 2 sizes smaller.  When you grab that size, whatever it is, for so long, it’s hard to adjust to your new size.   But it’s a fun adjustment.  I’m short so size 4 works for me, but your ideal size might be an 8, and you might have long amazon legs that I admire!

What consignment or discount stores do you love and what’s the best deal you have gotten?     

Monday, May 28, 2012

Facebook and twitter!

Hey everyone! Just wanted to let you know that we now have a facebook page and a twitter account! We would love for you to like our Facebook page or follow us on twitter for more great health tips or links to articles or quotes that Lexy or I like or find inspiring.

Our Facebook page is:

Our twitter account:@smartsassygirls

Let us know if you have a twitter or fb page so we can follow you as well!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Adventures in Gardening Part 2: Planning, Planting and Playing in Manure!

Box #1 Strawberry Patch
Now that the location for my square foot gardens was chosen and the raised bed boxes were built (see Adventures in Gardening Part one) it was time to move on to the next steps in my gardening adventures: designing, filling, and planting the boxes!

Where, When, How and What to Plant:
I quickly learned that growing vegetables is a science which requires a lot of careful thought and planning! A huge thanks to Katrina Boylan for answering all my questions and guiding me in the right direction.  Here is a list of some things I had to consider in designing my square foot gardens:
  • Growing season: Certain plants thrive in cooler spring/fall weather and cannot tolerate heat, while others will die if planted when the weather is too cool
  •  Location within the squares: tomatoes, pole beans and anything that requires a trellis need to be placed on the north side of the bed so that they do not shade the rest of the plants and shorter plants (lettuce, carrots) should be placed close to the edges so they are easier to harvest
  • Seeds versus transplants: I chose to buy plants for the vegetables that required seed starting indoors (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers) and  for everything else I used seeds that could be planted straight into the garden
  • When to plant: the traditional advice is to wait to plant summer crops until after Mother’s Day when there is less of a chance of frost, but since our weather in Ohio has been unusually warm I was able to plant a little earlier.
  • Natural pest deterrents: Certain flowers such as marigolds and zinnias help deter pests (particularly rabbits!) so planting a few squares with these is a good idea if you want to have an organic, pesticide-free garden!

Finally, my major criteria in designing and laying out my beds was that I only wanted to plant vegetables that I enjoyed eating and which could be easily canned or stored if there was an overabundance. Here is the link if you want to see the final design of what I planted in each square:

Playing in Manure

One of the key aspects of square foot gardening is starting out with the proper soil mixture. To fill my boxes with the special “Mel’s Mix” that square foot gardeners recommend I needed 5 cubic feet of vermiculite, 5 cubic feet of peat moss, and
6 cubic feet of compost. One of my favorite things about the square foot gardening method is that I will only have the expense of purchasing the soil ingredients once- next year I will only have to add compost from my own newly started compost pile (look for a separate post on this soonJ ) to the already existing soil! To make Mel’s Mix you need to do the following:
  •  Lay out a tarp near the boxes
  •  Dump all of the bags of compost on the tarp (Mel recommends using 5 different types of compost to get the maximum nutrients, but I could only find 3)
  • Use a shovel/rake to mix the compost- you want to keep mixing until it is well blended and uniform
  • Next add the vermiculite and mix well (the vermiculite and peat moss are dusty, so if it is windy you may want to water it down a little or wear a painter’s mask)
  •  Add the peat moss and mix thoroughly
  • Fill the boxes with the  blended soil mixture (as Kate said, once you add the vermiculite and peat moss to the compost, it feels a lot less like you are playing in shit!) 
  • Once the boxes are filled to the top, use a hose and lightly water the mixture down (repeat this step a few times until the boxes are full)
  • Step back and admire your organic, nutritious soil and get ready to plant!
Brayden and I planting our carrots
Planting my garden was a breeze!  There was no digging in hard clay soil or pulling rocks out- seriously all we had to do was use our hands to scoop the soil apart, put the plant or seeds in, recover it with the soil, and then lightly water the base of the plant (I didn’t even drag the hose out- just used a bucket of water and a cheap water bottle!).  There are only a few things to remember when you are planting using the square foot method:
  •  Know how many plants to put in each square: extra large plants take up the whole square, large plants are planted 4 to a square, medium plants are planted 9 per square, and small are planted 16 to a square
  • If it is going to be a vegetable that requires staking or trellising, put the stake or trellis   in first so you don’t disturb the plants roots
  • Consider staggering your harvest by planting some of your peppers or tomatoes now and another batch in two weeks- that way you have a continual harvest instead of everything ripening at once.

Boxes 2 and 3
I cannot tell you how surprised I was at how easy it was to get the boxes ready and planted! Instead of spending an entire weekend toiling away, I was able to get this accomplished in just a few evenings after work- a total of 4 hours MAX!

Check back in a few weeks for an update post on how my garden is growing and whether my crops are still alive!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Skinny Bitch by: Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

Carrie read the book version and I listened to it on CD.  These ladies are clearly sassy and irreverent, so if you are easily offended by adult language or graphic explanations then this isn’t the book for you!  It was a funny and entertaining listen that made me wish my commute to work was longer. 

They discuss in-depth the evils of coffee, medications, fasting and eating meat and animal by-products. These ladies are vegan and explicitly describe how animals are fed, treated and slaughtered, before they show up in your fast food wrapper. I eat meat a couple times a week, but I haven’t cut it out completely. I have to be honest that some of the descriptions were pretty gruesome. 

 Some of my favorite take-aways include:

·         Soda is liquid Satan.  Nothing in it should be put in your body.  And Diet soda is even worse than regular.  Aspartame is a main ingredient in diet soda and other sugar free foods.  Aspartame turns into formaldehyde; you know what scientists use to preserve things?  No wonder your fat butt is still there, you are preserving it with all the diet soda you are drinking!

·         Unless you are eating organic dairy & meats you are ingesting hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and steroids. 

·         Despite the recent Time magazine cover, most of us no longer drink breast milk, so why are we drinking cow’s milk?  We don’t drink horse milk or elephant milk, so why cow milk?  Despite all the calcium claims of “Milk does a body good” you don’t need to drink milk from another animal to have strong bones.  You get more calcium from grains, nuts and green vegetables.  If you are insisting on drinking cow’s milk make sure that it is labeled rBST free (recombinant bovine somatotropin-a growth hormone).  If factories are giving rBST to 2,000 pound cows to make them bigger, what do you think it is doing to you??  We are also the only industrialized nation that allows milk that contains rBST to be sold. 
·         So what is safe to drink?  Brian likes almond milk, and I prefer coconut milk (so does health guru Jillian Michaels).  You can also try rice milk.  This should be a separate post, but I would avoid anything soy as it is overprocessed.  At Christmas time Whole Foods carries a chocolate mint coconut milk that was amazing, and Brian drinks the Dark Chocolate Almond milk for a sweet treat. 

·         Read Ingredients.  I’m not talking about the front of the package that says “Natural” or “Wholesome” I’m talking about the actual list of ingredients on the back of the label.  Funny how it can say “Natural” on the front but there are 10 things I can’t pronounce on the back.  I don't buy it if it has something I can't pronounce or don't know what it is.  If you aren't at that point yet, then make a threshold for your situation.  Is is 2 unknown ingredients, or 5?  Make sure that the first few ingredients are all real, since that is the majority of what the product is made of.  When high fructose corn syrup is listed first (or at all!) that can’t be good for you.  If you are eating just fruits & vegetables you would have to eat bags full to go over your daily goal. 

My audio version of the book came with a great 170 page recipe book, shoot me an email if you want to check it out. 

 I’ve got to work on my summer reading list…….What health focused books or magazines do you read? 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Finding your WHY

Inspiration board I made to remind me of my "whys"
One of the biggest myths about weight loss is that those who are successful long term have somehow developed an ironclad willpower that makes them immune to temptations. As someone who has been on this weight loss journey for 16 months, let me tell you that is not the case! Even though I have lost 111 lbs, I have not developed a magic shield of immunity from temptation; there is a very good reason why I go out for ice cream on Saturdays instead of taking the cheaper option of having a half-gallon of it in my freezer! While there is no magical willpower pill that will make you lose 4 jean sizes in 2 days by eating whatever you want, there is something you can do which will help immensely in making healthy choices and that is to find a “why” that you want more than you want a bag of chips.

Recently I was listening to one of Jillian Michaels’ podcasts (these podcasts are fantastic by the way- check them out!) in which Jillian debunked the myth that willpower is the key to successful weight loss; in fact, Jillian compared willpower to a muscle that gets fatigued and fails if overused.  Instead, Jillian stated the key to long term success is discovering the true motivation behind why you want to lose weight. According to Jillian, the problem is that all too often we use cliché pat responses such as “I want to be healthy” or “I want to lose weight” as our motivation instead of digging deeper and coming up with specific tangible goals that we REALLY want (some of Jillian’s suggestions were “I want to have sex with the lights on” or “I want to rock a pair of skinny jeans.”)

The truth is that you and I are not always going to want to exercise or eat healthy foods.  If we really want to succeed, we need to stop answering the question of “why are you doing this” with politically correct answers! Jillian’s illustration really hit home to me, because let’s be honest here, 9 times out of 10 I am not going to be able to convince myself that I want “to be healthy” more than I want a piece of chocolate cheesecake!

So the question I need to ask is what do I want more than a stack of oreos? What do I want enough to make me put on my running shoes even when it is cold or raining?

Here are a few of my answers:
Love collecting medals from races!
  •  I want to be described as “sexy” and “hot” instead of “cute” or “nice personality”
  •  I want to be able to wear shorts
  •  I want to be able to go into any store in the mall and try on clothes without worrying if they have plus sizes
  • I want to not be the heaviest female in my family
  • I like the feeling that comes with knowing a guy is flirting with me because he finds me physically attractive
  • I want to be self-assured and confident
  • I want to never shop at Lane Bryant again
  • I want to have a whole wall full of medals from races that I have run all over the country
  •  I love saying, “this size 8 is too big, do you have it in a size 6?”
  • I never want to not be able to cross my legs again
  • I love looking in the mirror and seeing the outline of my abs
  •   I love when I shave my legs that I can actually see and feel how strong my calf and hamstring muscles are
What are your “non-politically” correct reasons for wanting to lose weight or get healthy? Please share them with us in the comments

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mama Mia

If you are like me you grew up eating a lot of pasta, it’s easy and cheap.  Brian and I used to eat it at least once a week, and we still do, except with a twist now.  We don't eat a box of dried, bleached pasta, we eat vegetables!   Spaghetti Squash contains many nutrients, including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A and beta carotene.  For this post I’ll just compare calories and carbs, but you can easily look at sodium, fat and other nutritional information.  Our original pasta meal is below and came in at over 800 calories.  Our slimmed down version is 90% less at 81 calories!!!  If I was hungry I could even double the serving size and it would still be a winner! 

Traditional Spaghetti=820 calories, 121 carbs
De Cecco Spaghetti Noodles 4 oz.-400 calories, 82 carbs
Mid’s Meat Sauce 4 oz.-120 calories, 9 carbs
Cut in half & scoop out the insides

2 slices Texas Toast Garlic Bread-300 calories, 30 carbs

 Spaghetti Squash=81 calories, 16 carbs
Spaghetti Squash  4 oz.-21 calories, 5 carbs

Mid’s meatless sauce 4 oz. -60 calories, 11 carbs

Spaghetti Squash is a beautiful thing.  I don’t like mushy food at all, and even when cooked it still has a crunchy like taste.  We usually buy at least a 2 lb. squash so I have plenty for leftovers, it reheats well. It's a fall/winter squash, so it's usually cheaper then.  In the summertime in Oklahoma it runs about $1.50 a pound and about 1/2 that when it's in season.  Check out pinterest and other recipe sites for ways to prepare sauce, but basically anything you would eat on pasta, you can eat on spaghetti squash, with less guilt!  I like it with Tuscan olive oil, sliced peppadew’s, fresh basil and shaved parmesan cheese (not the powdered crap in the green can).  I also have a great summer time ‘pasta salad’ that I make and eat it cold which I love.  (I'll post that recipe later this summer, when it's way too warm to eat hot meals).  Brian likes it traditional with red pasta sauce.  We make our own or I buy an organic brand.  You can top it with an organic chicken breast or sliced chicken sausage.  Or add some spinach, peppers or olives, or all of the above!  You will still be well below that 800 calories mark and you will be eating all kinds of good nutrients.   
The fun part, making the spaghetti string out!

Cut your squash in half and scoop out the seeds, just like a pumpkin.  Really scrape in it with a spoon and get out all the strings & seeds.  Put it cut side down on a baking sheet for 1 hour at 400 degrees.  Remove from oven, turn over and let it cool for at least 10 minutes.  Here’s the fun part.  Just start forking away.  The squash will string out like strands of spaghetti.  Top with your favorite sauce, olive oil or whatever you prefer. 

What are your favorite ingredients to top your spaghetti squash? 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Adventures in Gardening Part One: Can I really grow my own vegetables?

Now that I am eating clean and organic, a large portion of my grocery bill consists of produce. This summer I knew that I wanted to attempt to get some of my produce locally and so I started looking into CSA’s (community supported agriculture) and farmers’ markets in the area. While I think CSA’s are fantastic, I decided not to purchase a share in one because I was afraid it would be a waste of money since I doubted I could eat a whole “share” and I was not thrilled with the idea of not being able to select which produce I wanted each week- I really did not have any interest in getting loads of turnips or radishes or other things that I do not eat regularly.  While there are a lot of farmer’s markets in the area, with my busy schedule I was not sure I would always be able to get there during open hours.   After dismissing the idea of growing my own vegetables about 15 times (after all, I am the girl who could not even keep the potted pansies on her front porch alive) I realized that it was ridiculous to not try something because I was afraid to fail so I decided to try it!

Next I had to figure out how to actually start and grow a garden! When I hear the word “gardening” images of little old ladies in big floppy hats snipping flowers with pruning shears pop in my mind. Needless to say, this is not the type of gardening I was envisioning! While I was excited to try to grow my own vegetables and herbs, I recognized that I did not have hours to spend every day weeding and watering and I was not convinced I wanted to rototill up a huge section of my lawn for a traditional garden. Luckily, a friend pointed me in the direction of Mel Bartholomew’s book “All New Square Foot Gardening.”

What is Square Foot Gardening?

One of my 4x4x6 boxes, my brother used twine to map out the 16 squares of the grid

The basic premise of square foot gardening is that the old traditional way of gardening is inefficient for individual or home consumption gardening. I love some of the questions Mel asked himself which led to his development of the square foot gardening method:
  • Why do planting instructions on packages of seeds direct the gardener to pour out an entire packet along a row only to have you later go back and tear out 95% of the seeds you planted once they sprout? It is a terrible waste of seeds and time and work- all useless unnecessary work. (Amen, I thought as I read that) 
  • Why plant an entire row of everything? Just because my garden is 30 feet long for example, do I really want or need a whole row of cabbages? Why would I want 30 cabbages to ripen all at the same time? How many people go to the grocery store and buy 30 heads of cabbage once a year?  (Not me!)
  • When told that the reason that a 3 foot aisle was required on both sides of the planted row was so there was room to get into the garden to hoe the weeds, Mel  responded with “But I don’t want to hoe the weeds, that’s too much work.” (Preach on Brother Mel!:) 
Mel then used his expertise as an efficiency engineer to create the square foot method which has the following benefits::
View of the three boxes from my kitchen window
  •    A square foot 4x4 foot layout produces 100% of the harvest in only 20% of the space
  •    A smaller confined space drastically reduces the amount of weeds and the time needed to water, making gardening enjoyable and less of a chore
  • You no longer have to spend years trying to amend your existing soil
  • There is no need to use chemical fertilizers (so no ruining your nutritious vegetables with potentially cancer causing agents!). 
  • By mapping out 16 individual 1x1 squares within the 4x4 box, you are able to grow a wide variety of plants, allowing for crop rotation, staggered harvests and three distinct growing seasons
This was exactly the type of garden I was looking for and after talking to one of my best friends Katie, we decided that we would attempt this endeavor together and start out with two 4x4x6 square foot gardens. I made a list of all of the things I needed to accomplish before I could actually begin to plant my garden:

Brayden helping to measure and tape the cardboard
  •  Buy or build the boxes (These are super easy to make! My brother made me two 4x4x6 boxes plus a bonus 2x2x6 strawberry patch box for $31! Just remember to use untreated lumber, you do not want the chemicals from treated lumber to seep into the soil)
  • Decide where to locate the gardens (I chose a location where they would get a lot of sun, but also where I could see them from my kitchen window so I could enjoy and monitor them easily) 
  •  Make a cardboard barrier for the base of the boxes to prevent grass and weeds from creeping through (A great way to use up all of the extra boxes in my garage!)
  • Purchase ingredients to make “Mel’s Mix” soil (peat moss/vermiculite/compost)
  • Figure out what crops to plant and where to space them in the garden (will be discussed further in next week’s post)
  •  Locate local farms and greenhouses where I could purchase seeds/plants (this was a great experience- I discovered an awesome family farm  The Feed Barn and a great non-chain local garden center Pipkin's Market
Once all of that was accomplished it was time to move on to the next step! Check back next week for Carrie’s Adventures in Gardening: Planning, Purchasing and Playing in Manure!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Easy, Healthy Ice Cream

I alluded to this ice cream in my almond butter post last month.  If you haven’t read it, scroll back, it will change your life!  Living in Oklahoma, we have plenty of days of 100 + degree heat all summer.  This recipe doesn’t take much to perfect it, and I promise you will be enjoying this summer.  Pull out that handy dandy food processor, you’ll need it!

Gravel Banana Pieces


Almond Butter (optional)

Cocoa Powder (optional)

When your bananas are getting pretty brown and spotty, and probably too mushy to eat, you have a perfect banana for the ice cream!  Peel it, and slice it and throw it in a sealed sandwich baggie and pop it in the freezer.  When bananas are on sale I stock up and let them ripen for a few days and then restock my freezer for ice cream goodness.  You have to make sure to slice it up, otherwise your food processor will be very mad at you for trying to blend up a frozen solid banana.

1 baggie/1 banana is 1 serving of ice cream, so plan accordingly. 
Whipped Banana Ice Cream

Throw the frozen banana slices in and turn it on.  It will start to look like gravel, just be patient.  It will slowly whip into this heavenly banana deliciousness.  If you want, you can stop right there.  Ice Cream is done.  It’s light, airy and creamy.  I have yet to find a 1 ingredient ice cream in the grocery store. 

If you really want something decadent put in a tablespoon of almond butter and cocoa powder.  Blend it up and you have chocolate almond banana ice cream.  It tastes sinful, but you know it’s not, since you made it!    

Decadent Chocolate Almond Banana Ice Cream

Monday, May 7, 2012

I Ran 13.1 Miles (aka "no walking b*tches!")

Ann, Erin and I working out the pre-race jitters!
After 4 months and 329.43 miles of training, yesterday morning at 4:30 a.m. I put on my running clothes, gulped down a banana and a scoop of almond butter and walked across the Ohio River to meet up with my running group to tackle the Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon.  I was nervous but meeting up with the people who I had trained with during this journey converted some of that nervous energy to excitement. 
Bob Roncker's Running Spot meet up location at 5:15 am.
My goal for the Flying Pig was to run the entire race without walking. If I had to come up with a theme for these past four months of training it would be "Carrie does not want to take walk breaks anymore." In fact, the title of this post refers to this sentiment, which I made during one of my classic “running causes me to lose oxygen and speak without a filter" moments. Early during training for the Pig (January/February) it was a hard adjustment switching my body to running straight instead of doing 4:1 run/walk intervals.  On an early Saturday morning Valentine’s Day run in the bitter cold with Bob Roncker’s training group, I was ecstatic that I had ran the entire 4 miles without walking, and so as I ran across the finish line I yelled “no walking bitches!” (I of course thought that I said that quietly, but my friend Jonna will attest that I actually yelled that loud enough for most of the town of Loveland to hear:)

Here is a breakdown of my experience of the race:

Miles 1-4: The first miles flew by! I felt like I was running comfortably and I was chatting and laughing with my running group friends; the sun had not completely risen and so it was still a little cooler and less humid.

Jamie and Nicole and I!
Miles 4-8: After mile 4 we started the main incline portion of the route-which basically consists of a 4 mile uphill stretch through some pretty difficult hills. I knew those miles would be tough, but we had trained for those hills and so while it was difficult I felt mentally prepared for that portion of the race and I was able to push myself through even though I was starting to feel the heat.  Just a side note, all week they had been warning us about the heat (the event even offered heat deferrals, which they NEVER do) and I remember looking at the forecast and thinking 68 degrees is not that warm…let’s just say that I learned when you are running for over two hours and uphill, 68 degrees and humidity feels HOT!  

Patsy, Ann and I post-race- they were my rockstars!
Miles 8-10: What I was not anticipating was how rough miles 8-10 would be! Instead of feeling the euphoria of realizing that the hardest incline portion of the race was already behind me, the thought of still having 5.1 miles left just seemed absolutely overwhelming. I am so thankful for my running group buddies Patsy and Ann, because honestly if they had not been there running with me step by step during this time, encouraging me and pushing me, I know that I would have succumbed to that little voice in my head telling me to stop and walk. By sacrificing a faster time in order to run alongside and support me, Patsy and Ann reminded me that the true beauty of running is that while it appears on the surface to be an individual sport, distance running is truly a team endeavor. 

Miles 10-12: By mile10 I had pushed through the mental black that I was struggling with during the past two miles and I was just focused on plowing through the rest of the race.  I was still hot and tired and these miles were difficult, but I was no longer battling the voice in my head telling me to stop every 2 seconds. I just kept repeating that I could do this, that God had designed my body to run, and that I needed to keep going.

Tami and Rianna came down to support me:)

Mile 12-13.1: Seriously, this last mile felt like it was 18 miles long.  I knew that I was sooo close and yet it still felt like soo far away.  I remember telling myself that no matter how tired and sore I was, there was no way that I had run 12 miles only to walk during the last 1.1 mile.  I knew that my friends Rianna and Tami would be near the finish line and I was also thinking that I did not want them to have come all the way down to watch my race only to see me walking:) I will never forget Patsy telling me, “enjoy this, you have earned every minute of it, this is an amazing accomplishment” and Ann telling me that she believed in me.  Patsy also kept telling me all we had to do was turn the corner and we would see the finish line- (we were only like .3 miles away), but due to a dip in the road and a bridge when we turned the corner I could not see the finish line- and I distinctly remember saying “I THOUGHT YOU SAID WE COULD SEE THE FINISH LINE WHEN WE TURNED THE CORNER” and Ann saying “honey, its okay, I can’t see it either;) At the very end, Patsy said, "let's pass these people ahead of us" and even as the words "I can't" were coming out of my mouth, my body started sprinting and we raced into the finish line.

On May 6, 2012, I ran across the finish line hand in hand with Patsy and Ann and I accomplished something I never could have imagined or dreamed of 2 years or even a year ago- I RAN an entire half-marathon!   
All changed in dry clothes!

Carrie 2012 Flying Pig Half Marathon Results

Finish time: 2:25:30

Division place (30-34)- 548/1100

Gender Place: 2971/6761

Overall place: 5873/10853

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Carrie's Homemade Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

I have eaten this every day for about 3 months and still have not gotten sick of it! Just a warning- once you have this, you will never be satisfied with prepackaged apple cinnamon oatmeal again!

6 Gala or 4 large Honeycrisp Apples (I prefer sweet apples, but any will do)
2 C Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

3 ½ c Water

2 T Cinnamon

1 T Nutmeg

  1. Wash apples. Slice the apples and remove the core (I use an apple slicer, it is way faster than hand slicing).  Do NOT remove the peel, otherwise you will be removing a lot of the nutritious properties of the apple.
  2. Place sliced apples in a food processor and pulse until the apple is finely diced.  I have a 7 cup food processor, so I usually end up having to do 3 apples in the processor at a time.  You can chop the apples to the size that you prefer, just be careful not to process them too much or you will end up with apple juice.
  3. Pour 3.5 cups of water in a large sauce pot and bring to a rolling boil. 
  4. When the water is boiling, stir in the 2 cups of oats and reduce to medium heat.
  5. Stir in the diced apples
  6. Add in the cinnamon and nutmeg and stir thoroughly. (I tend to add a lot of cinnamon to mine, but this is completely personal preference, you can add as    much or as little cinnamon/nutmeg as you like.
  7. Stir frequently for 5 minutes. 
  8. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl or casserole dish (I use a round  pyrex dish that I can easily divide into 6 ‘pie size’ servings, but any bowl or    storage container will work. I would advise against pouring the hot oatmeal        into plastic containers though, or at least not until it cools:) 
  9. Once the oatmeal has cooled, eat or place in the refrigerator for storing.

Additional Notes:
-         This recipe reheats great- just pop a serving in the microwave for 1 minute 45 seconds
-         I usually stir in a tbsp of almond butter for additional protein and a splash of almond milk
-         Instead of almond butter, I have also eaten it with honey and milk, or just milk, or even plain! I also bet that it would be great with some walnuts or pecans stirred in, or maybe even a little brown sugar.
-         If you want to make less than 6 servings, just use the amount of water/oats combination on the back of the rolled oat container, and add approximately 1 apple per serving

Nutrition Information: (from myfitnesspal, based on the listed ingredients)
Calories: 167, Carbs: 35, Fat: 2, Protein: 4

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Myth Busters

When I tell people I eat healthy and organic I always hear “It’s so expensive.”  I am here to tell you that is a LIE!  First of all, I would like to spend my money on putting actual food in my body, not added preservatives and chemicals I can’t pronounce.  If your body isn’t worth it to spend some time and money putting quality products in, what IS worth your money?  Heard the adage “Garbage in, Garbage out?”  It applies here also.  Whether that ‘garbage’ is a double cheeseburger, fries and a giant soda, or it’s a prepackaged frozen ‘healthy’ entrée full of substitutes for real food.  If you aren’t putting good products in your body, why would you expect to get good results?  When I was devouring a bag of potato chips or a candy bar it’s no wonder I was tired afterwards, I wasn’t putting real nutrients in my body.  I didn’t sleep well, I always had headaches, runny nose, upset stomach and the list goes on and on.  An amazing thing happened when I started eating real fruit & vegetables and food that only had itself as an ingredient.  I felt better, I looked better, I had more energy and I wasn’t getting sick.     

I don’t know what grocery store you shop at, but a bag of mini carrots is always cheaper than a bag of Doritos.  And cold refreshing tap water is always cheaper than a 2 liter of soda.  When we switched from eating all of those convenience foods to eating clean, non processed, and as many organics as we could afford, our grocery bill didn't go up!  The groceries we bring home now are completely different and I don't have a stocked pantry that would sustain me through WW III.  I was used to having at least five boxes of cereal on hand, half a dozen boxes of macaroni and cheese, dozens of cans of soup, boxes of cake and brownie mixes, and a stockpiled freezer full of pizzas, garlic bread, chicken nuggets, ice cream and skillet meals.  Now my freezer has frozen berries,  vegetables, ezekiel bread and organic chicken and beef.  My pantry has dried black and garbanzo beans, whole grain brown rice, quinoa, almonds and steel cut oats.  On a cold day I can have soup, but it's not the can that has over 20 ingredients, most of which don't resemble soup.  I can actually make it according to my taste with the vegetables and protein I want to eat.  And I'll freeze some for upcoming lunches.  Sure it takes more time, but isn't your body and your health worth more time & effort? 

Another benefit was our eating out budget decreased greatly!  Most of the items at any standard restaurant that I would eat were salads and grilled chicken and vegetables.  I found out pretty quickly I could make those at home, customized to my flavor palette, for a lot less money.  We will go out to eat and have a few great healthy restaurants, but it's not a nearly daily experience.   

Yes, buying organic produce is going to be more expensive than buying produce that is sprayed with all kinds of chemicals, which you then ingest.  There are many different tips on how to save money when purchasing organics, but it basically boils down to this concept.  If you eat the skin, buy organic.  Watermelons, bananas, and oranges will all taste better when they are organically grown, but you get rid of the rind, and that thick skin protects the fruit you are eating.  Apples, strawberries and grapes all have a thin skin and any pesticides can easily seep through to the actual fruit.  

I will warn you that you will have to go to the grocery store about every five days.  The fresh produce you are buying won't last much more than that.  How long do you think the preserved boxed goods that sit in your cupboard for six months will sit in your stomach?  I'm not suggesting you go out and buy every organic or healthy looking product you can get your hands on.  Just start exploring.  Stick with what you know, just read labels and make a healthier choice.  Instead of a jar of applesauce with high fructose corn syrup and ascorbic acid, how about a fresh apple or making your own applesauce, which is super easy and another upcoming post!  Whole Foods and Trader Joe's both have their own organic house brands, and Target, Walmart, Meier and other major stores are all following suit.  Just remember an organic cookie, is still a cookie and should be eaten in moderation.  Once you get used to reading labels you will be amazed all the 'ingredients' (and I use that term loosely) that are in there that don't need to be.  Margarine is actually grey, smelly plastic that has so many artificial colors and flavors added to it, it resembles butter.  Why don't I just gnaw on my printer?  Or how about using actual butter, or olive oil or coconut oil.  You still get the flavor, but not the plastic.