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Post-Holiday Happenings + “No Gym Required” Workout

8 Jul

I hope you all enjoyed a long holiday weekend! Ours was great- family time, friend time, pool time, patio time (and a million bug bites to show for it!). I always feel a little foggy coming off of an extended vacation/holiday and look forward to getting back to my routine 🙂

To lift myself out of my fog on Sunday, I did this cardio workout. You guys have requested more “no gym required” workouts, so here you go! This is a great workout to do at a track/bleachers or anywhere with a flight of stairs.

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After getting hot and sweaty I showered and headed straight to the kitchen- my favorite place to be on a Sunday afternoon. We got an amazing farmer’s market haul on Saturday, so I was extra excited to do some cooking. I made a green juice with grapefruit that totally hit the spot. Then I got to work on Kath’s baked oatmeal for the week, and white bean veggie burgers, kale chips, and sweet corn for dinner.

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After dinner activities included some work (yuck!), couch time, and popcorn (yum!).

I kicked off the post-holiday Monday with a baked oatmeal square topped with peanut butter and headed to the gym for work. After work I made a spontaneous grocery trip primarily to get anti-itch cream for my bug bites. They kept me awake last night!

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The rest of the day…

Lunch

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Veggie burger crumbled over greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and topped with balsamic dressing and goat cheese. A mix of Popchips and rice crackers with hummus on the side.

Pre-yoga snack

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Greek yogurt, almond butter, the juiciest peach ever (SO happy peaches are in season!!!), and apple slices. Not very pretty, but yummy!

Yoga was really hard tonight. At one point I even considered leaving, but I toughed it out and my stress levels (and my hips) are happy I did.

Dinner roasted in the oven while I showered.

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Tofu with a sriracha/cayenne/chili powder/paprika rub, beets, and beet greens sautéed with olive oil/garlic/apple cider vinegar all topped with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Now it’s time for reading and sleeping! Thanks for reading 🙂

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Video Post: Easy Weekday Steel Cut Oats

19 Mar

Yesterday started as a gloomy, chilly Monday here in St. Louis and I found myself searching for something warm and comforting for breakfast (and something fast because I needed to get out the door!). Good thing my fridge is stocked with my easy weekday steel cut oats. My breakfast warmed me to my core and I was off to work in a flash.

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Easy Weekday Steel-Cut Oats

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups steel cut oats, dry
  • 5 cups water
  • 5 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other milk)

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in crockpot, set crockpot on high.
  • Cook for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally, until the oats thicken. I like to leave them a little soupy because they will thicken even more as they cool.
  • Divide oats into microwaveable containers, cool, and refrigerate.
  • When you’re ready to eat, add a splash of milk or water and microwave for 2-3 minutes. Add toppings and enjoy!

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Thanks for reading 🙂

Heart-beet Smoothie

16 Feb

Hello there and happy weekend!

Whether or not you spent Thursday with someone else’s heart in mind, the first heart you should be caring for is your own!

Heart disease is serious business. It’s the leading cause of death in Americans. The good news is that most heart conditions (even if you have a family history) are preventable and food and fitness are your most effective arsenal.

One of my favorite heart-smart foods: beets! …Wait! Don’t close your browser yet. I know what you’re thinking: “This chick is a crazy freak of nature vegetable worshipper! If she thinks she’s going to convince me to eat beets, she’s out of her flippin’ mind!” Most people who tell me they despise beets are only acquainted with the gelatinous canned version of beets. They were forced to eat them as a child and still have nightmares of their mother dumping the cylindrical jelly glob out of the can and slicing it into circles of disgustingness (this is a real description from one of my clients 🙂 ).

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{Boulder, CO farmers market}

Beets are rich in nitrates which lower blood pressure and in turn protect your heart. Newer research boasts the benefit of beets for exercise. Nitrates reduce the amount of oxygen that is required during exercise which improves exercise performance.

When I think of beets, I imagine the vibrant red root vegetable roasted up with olive oil and spices or peeled, steamed and blended into a smoothie. Yep, you read that right- a smoothie!

Heart-beet Smoothie

adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sliced cooked beets

  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries

  • ¼ cup plain non- or low-fat yogurt

  • ¼ cup orange juice

  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed

  • 1 tsp honey (optional)

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend for 1 minute or until a smooth consistency is achieved. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

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Still not a fan of beets? No worries, nitrates are found in many other veggies including leafy greens like kale and spinach, lettuce, parsley, and celery.

Now, go do something for YOUR heart today: take a walk, eat a beet, have a salad.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Homemade Chocolately Millet Granola

8 Feb

This granola has been a big hit at our house lately! It’s easy to whip up a batch on the weekend and enjoy as a quick weekday snack paired with yogurt or sprinkled on top your morning oats!

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Chocolately Millet Granola

adapted from Oh She Glows Lightened Up Summer Granola

Ingredients:

Dry

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup uncooked millet
  • 2 T ground flaxseed
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Wet

  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 T peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 t vanilla extract

How-to:

  • Preheat oven to 325*F
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Combine wet ingredients in a saucepan and heat on low, stirring constantly, allowing the mixture to come to a simmer. 
  • Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and stir… and stir, and stir, and stir until thoroughly combined. 
  • Spread granola evenly onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. 
  • Allow granola to cool and then break apart into clusters. 

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Thanks for reading 🙂

This Week’s Eats

13 Oct

I get extremely excited for the weekends these days. My weeks and weekends are such stark opposites. I run around like a crazy person Monday through Friday and then relax, sleep in, and do all things calm and mellow on Saturday and Sunday.

A peak at some recent eats…

Wednesday breakfast was smaller than usual because I had early morning workout plans and wanted something that would digest quick.

Coffee, a Trader Joe’s frozen waffle topped with almond butter, banana, and honey, and a taste of JWD’s smoothie (served up in a teeny beer festival glass).

I did a full-body strength workout at the gym and enjoyed post-workout pumpkin overnight oats at my desk.

Old-fashioned oats, plain non-fat greek yogurt, soymilk, pumpkin puree, bananas, walnuts, stevia, and cinnamon. Yummy!

Lunch was leftovers.

Tofu stir-fry with homemade peanut sauce. 

Afternoon snack:

Trader Joe’s whole wheat mini pitas, hummus for dipping, and an apple.

Dinner was a little unconventional.

Eggs with veggies and toast. Plus a bowl of frozen yogurt topped with chocolate peanut butter 🙂

I’m off to start my Saturday with cleaning, foam rolling (this week’s workouts have left me SO sore!), and plans with friends! 

See you soon to talk workouts! Thanks for reading 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

16 Sep

Hello, friends! Happy Sunday 🙂

It was a very fall-like weekend in STL, complete with cooler temps and fall activities. We enjoyed a cozy bonfire with my family. It was fun to break in to my fall wardrobe for the first time!

I was inspired to break in to my pumpkin puree for the first time too! I posted the recipe for these energy bites and mentioned I was planning on playing around with the recipe. Here is my latest creation, a perfect seasonal snack.

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

makes 15-20 balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ (or ground flaxseed)
  • 1/2 cup protein powder (I used vanilla Sunwarrior. If you don’t want to use protein powder, substitute extra wheat germ or shredded coconut)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped or crushed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (I used almond butter)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • about 1/3 cup honey 

How To:

  •  Combine first 8 ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Add nut butter and pumpkin puree and mix with a fork until mixture is crumbly and the nut butter and pumpkin are evenly distributed. 
  • Drizzle in honey and mix until evenly distributed. 
  • Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  • Wet hands and form mixture into balls. Store energy bites in the refrigerator.

Mix until crumbly.

Add honey.

These little guys are great for pre- or post-workout fuel and midday snacks. I always stash a couple of them in my bag for the day. They are portable and delicious! 

As promised, here is a peek into my favorite room in the house- the kitchen, of course! What sort of dietitian would I be if I didn’t unpack and organize the kitchen first? 

Bulk food heaven 🙂

The bottom shelf is full of things we use on a daily basis- coffee, oats, brown rice. The second shelf is all dried beans and the top shelf is grains.

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend. See you soon, friends! Thanks for reading 🙂

Workout of the Week Part II: Hydration

3 Apr

I can’t believe that my half-marathon is one week away! I hope the weather is as beautiful next weekend as it is on this fine Sunday. I’m about to knock out my last long run, and then comes the hard part- the week of rest before race day.

The week(s) right before a race, milage drops considerably and other activities like strength training are decreased to prevent excessive muscle fatigue. I kind of have ants in my pants around the clock, so physical “rest” is difficult for me. Anyone else have ants in their pants when they don’t get a sweat session in or am I the only crazy one? 🙂

To keep my sanity before race day, I turn my attention to other things like stretching, fueling, and hydrating. That last one is very important.

During exercise, water helps cool the body, maintain blood flow to the muscles, and rid the body of toxins. Dehydration can negatively impact your exercise performance.

Signs of Dehydration:

  • muscle cramps, fatigue & soreness
  • dry mouth
  • sweating may stop
  • lightheadedness or headache
  • dark yellow urine
  • decreased frequency in urination

Proper hydration is important for everyone, but it is especially crucial when intensity, duration, and temperatures are high.

Hydration For Exercise Rules of Thumb:

Before Exercise

Drink 20-40 fl ounces of water (about 3-5 cups) in the 2-3 hours prior to intense exercise.

During Exercise

Drink about 4 fl ounces (1/2 cup) every 30 minutes during intense activity.

*TIP: one “gulp” = about 1 ounce

After Exercise

To determine fluid needs for post-exercise, weigh yourself before and after exercise and drink 16 fluid ounces (2 cups) of fluid for every pound lost during exercise. Because this isn’t always convenient, do it once and use this as a guide for future workouts.

What Should You Drink?

For the average exerciser and workouts <60 minutes, plain water is the perfect rehydrating fluid. For athletes and intense workouts lasting >60 minutes, a sports drink may be beneficial.

A sports drink must have liquid for hydration, carbohydrates for energy and refueling, and electrolytes to replace sweat loss. Zero-calorie sports drinks don’t have carbohydrate for energy, so they aren’t a good choice for intense workouts. Plus they contain sugar substitutes. Yuck. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of drinks like Gatorade because they contain high-fructose corn syrup. Yes, these beverages are effective recovery drinks, but putting high-fructose corn syrup into my body makes me a little uneasy.

My Solution: Coconut water


Coconut water is the clear liquid that comes from the inside of young coconuts. Because of its carbohydrate and electrolyte content, it has been dubbed the “natural Gatorade”. You can find brands like Vita Coco, O.N.E., and ZICO in the beverage aisle of many grocery stores.

Coconut Water Ingredient List: 100% Natural Coconut Water

Gatorade Ingredient List: Water, Sucrose, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Mono-Potassium Phosphate, Ester Gum, Yellow 5, Brominated Vegetable Oils, Yellow 6, Red 40, Blue 1, Caramel 1

The new Gatorade labels list “Glucose-Fructose Syrup” in the ingredient list, but there is no sign of the words “High-Fructose Corn Syrup”. Did they take out the HFCS? No! Glucose-Fructose Syrup is a less common name for High-Fructose Corn Syrup. Very sneaky, Gatorade.

The only problem with coconut water is its electrolyte balance. It is heavy in potassium and light in sodium, while Gatorade is the opposite. We lose more sodium than potassium when we sweat, so this makes coconut water a less ideal electrolyte replacer. My solution is to pair my post-workout coconut water with a salty snack such as salted pretzels.

A Few Hydration Tips:

  • Carry a water bottle with you at all times. I never leave the house without a water bottle in tow.
  • Sip water throughout the day. Try to remind yourself to drink every 1/2 hour – 1 hour.
  • Always drink water before, during, and after intense exercise.
  • When out to eat, order a glass of water along with your other beverage choice. Drink a glass of water along with your morning coffee.
  • Water can come from food too! Consume foods with high water content including fruits and vegetables. These help keep you hydrated and curb hunger.
  • Before reaching for a snack, drink a glass of water. Often, we confuse mild hunger with mild dehydration.
  • Monitor urine color. If you are properly hydrated, urine should be pale yellow to clear and transparent.

For exercise fueling tips, check out Part I

Happy Hydrating and Thanks for reading 🙂

Workout of the Week: Fueling Your Workout

20 Mar

This workout update is way overdue!

I just finished up week 9 of half-marathon training. With race training amping up, I’m a bit too sore to maintain my regular lifting routine. I’m still trying to make two dates a week with the weights, but yoga has taken priority this week. It feels so great to stretch my very tight, sore body.

Lately, some of my runs have been a little less than ideal. I haven’t been feeling my best, so I’m really focusing on proper nutrition and hydration. It must be working because JWD and I had one of our best long runs yesterday (we switched our long run to Saturday and rest day to Sunday this week). We had a great first 6 miles, then I got really tired and sluggish for the next 1.5 miles, and then I rallied and we finished with a strong, fast 1.5 miles. Whew I was tired afterwards.

Whatever spring race is on your agenda, you are probably settled in to your training program by now. But what about your nutrition routine? Proper nutrition is just as important to exercise performance as the training plan, and a poor diet isn’t going to get you a PR. This will be a two-part post for workout nutrition & hydration.

PART I

Here’s an exercise nutrition plan that’ll get you to the finish line in record time.

Pre-Workout Nutrition:

Pre-workout meals equip your body with the proper fuel to power your workout. Because carbohydrates are the body’s fuel of choice, pre-workout meals should be high in carbohydrates and easily digested. Easily digested meals are relatively low in fiber and fat. These two nutrients slow down digestion. If too much food is left in your stomach when you begin exercising, it will feel very uncomfortable and inhibit your performance. So when it comes to pre-run meals, timing is everything. Larger meals should be consumed 3-4 hours before a workout, while smaller meals can be consumed 1-2 hours before your workout.

Examples of pre-workout meals: toast with peanut butter and honey, oatmeal with fruit, or cereal with a low-fat milk.

Post-Workout Nutrition:

Post-workout meals are key to replenishing and repairing the body. For maximum recovery benefits, consume a meal rich in carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes after completing your workout. This is your optimal recovery window, so take advantage of it! Carbohydrates help to replenish muscle fuel and protein repairs and rebuilds muscle tissue. Proper recovery nutrition after a run can help improve performance during your next run.

Examples of recovery meals: turkey/veggies/hummus in a whole wheat wrap, veggie stir-fry with tofu and brown rice, peanut butter and banana in a whole wheat wrap, low-fat chocolate milk and a banana, or a fruit and yogurt smoothie.

Other Tips:

  • Experiment. Early in your training program, experiment with different pre- and post-workout meals and meal timing. Everyone’s body has its own quirks, so there is no one-size-fits-all meal plan. Keep a journal of what and when you eat and how you feel during your workout. This can help you pinpoint the best meal routine for your body.
  • Practice! Once you’ve found your perfect meal routine, practice it throughout your training. Use long run days as dress rehearsals for the event. Practicing your race day routine, especially your nutrition routine, will help your body perform its best on race day.
  • Don’t be afraid of salt. When I sweat for an extended period of time, my skin is covered in a salty residue. Sodium is an electrolyte that helps with fluid balance in the body and needs to be replaced after hard workouts, especially if you are a salty sweater like me. You may even find yourself craving something salty after a hard workout. Listen to your body! Salty pretzels, whole grain pita chips, or salted nuts can help do the trick. However, this is not permission to devour a bag of potato chips every time you break a sweat. High sodium intake is linked with high blood pressure, so if you or your family have history of high blood pressure, sodium intake should be monitored carefully. Sports drinks also contain sodium, but we’ll save that for next time.

***Just an FYI– Running on Sunshine is moving to a new server, so she may be out of commission for a little bit in the next 24 hours. Hopefully everything goes smoothly and I’ll see you on the other side!

Happy fueling and thanks for reading 🙂

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