Run Find Your Happy Pace

finding my happy pace in running and life

January and the Year of the Veggies and Low Carb / Gluten Free

 

So around the new year, as you may remember, I decided to make 2014 the year of the veggies.  However I also decided to go gluten-free and low carb.  Hey I don’t mess around 😉  I have never seriously considered dropping wheat before.  I mean I had heard about it (cause I don’t live under a rock)  but I had never done any serious research on the subject.  My biggest decision to take the plunge came after reading these two books

Grain Brain – by Dr. David Perlmutter, MD

Wheat Belly – by William Davis, MD

I actually read Grain Brain (click for more info) first.  It hasn’t been around as long as Wheat Belly (click for more info) But I ran across it while doing some research about Alzheimer’s / Dementia.  I am not going to get too into why in this post but lets just say the evidence is pretty convincing (for me at least) as to why I need to cut especially wheat and gluten OUT of my healthy lifestyle.

So what the heck is the Grain Brain diet?  Well my best description (remember I am not a nutritionist or dr) is that it’s sort of cross between a Paleo  / Wheat Belly diet.  One of the biggest difference from Paleo is that I can have some dairy (ie: cheese), although there are some other differences.

How’s it going?  Honestly it seems to be working out pretty darn good for me so far.  I have not had any wheat, bread or gluten in almost a month.  I thought giving up bread would be the biggest issue.  (Yes I know there are gluten-free breads out there, but you need to read the book)  I have upped the veggies big time which has helped me include lots of whole and organic foods.   In the future I do plan on making some gluten-free bread/muffins.  I figured I better completely stay away from them at first as too not crave it, soon I am going to experiment on homemade breads, etc.  And YES there must be gluten-free cupcakes!!!!

Anything but boring!  I have also tried to keep things interesting and tasty for both myself and my hubby, who I have dragged along into my journey!  It’s a tad bit harder for him because he is a vegetarian.  So now he is a low carb, gluten-free vegetarian kinda guy.  Anyway Google, Pinterest and even YouTube have become a bit of an obsession for me, lol.  I have made everything from Homemade Humus, Coconut Butternut Squash soup to baked (not fried) eggplant parmesan.  I have also had a few misses such as my failed Paleo chocolate chip cookies, but I am working on finding a better recipe for that!  However I just totally scored yesterday with Mint Chocolate Chip Paleo Ice Cream. 🙂

The hubby has been following the plan more for weight loss and I have been doing it more for future brain benefits. (remember the Alzheimer’s/dementia reference from earlier)  

Results so far?  My hubby is down about 10 lbs (he’s only been on it just shy of 3 weeks).  As for me my belly is the flattest it has been in a long time.  I haven’t weighed myself but my body composition is starting to change for sure.  Just as a reference I am still continuing to maintain my usual workouts of 5-6 days a week including both cardio and weight training.  I hope to give another update in a month or so.

So what about you?  Have you ever heard of Grain Brain or The Wheat Belly Diet?

Here are a few pics from my healthy and delicious adventure so far:

Mint Chocolate Chip Paleo Ice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip Paleo Ice Cream

Homemade Hummus

Homemade Humus

Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

 

 

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Homemade Coconut Hot Chocolate on a Snowy Day – Nikki’s Coconut Butter Review {Ad}

A few months back I ordered a jar of Nikki’s Coconut Butter in the Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie flavor.  To be honest I liked it but didn’t really know what to do with it.  But today…ta daaaa!

Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 3.28.18 PM

Since it’s a snowy day I was really craving hot chocolate and so were the kids.  I got the can of hot chocolate out and ughhh!  Really?  You would not believe the amount of strange ingredients in hot chocolate mix?!  So anyway I decided to make some of my own.  Enter Nikki’s Coconut Butter 🙂 (click to find out more about Nikki’s Coconut Butter Products

Coconut Hot Chocolate

8 oz of almond milk (I used Silk unsweetened)

2 Tablespoons Nikki’s Coconut Butter (Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie flavor)

1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup

1/2 Tablespoon Dark 100% Cocoa Powder (because I love me some extra dark chocolate flavor)

 

Heat all ingredients to a nice simmer so all the ingredients blend together, let cool and yum!  Hot chocolate with a nice hint of coconut that doesn’t scare the heck out of me 🙂  Enjoy!Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 3.07.29 PM

** Nikki’s provided me a jar of coconut butter of my choice (I paid shipping only) I was not monetarily compensated.  All opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by the Nikki’s Coconut Butter company. 🙂

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Motivational Monday January 27 2014 – Warm Smiles

We had some really frigid weather this past week in Virginia.  It brought me back to all of the cold winters growing up in Connecticut.  I loved the snow as a kid.  Snowmen, sledding and best of all no school!

As I grew (and even more so when I moved south) I have kind of lost my love of the cold and snow.  It went from fun, fun, fun to more about shoveling, heating up the car and driving in unfavorable conditions.  But last week I watched my kids smiling and happy as could be. playing outside in the snow having a great time, and not caring one bit about the cold.

It has reminded me that it’s not about how cold the weather is, it’s about your attitude toward it.   I also thought about the wonder and love their warm smiles brought to the cold winter day.

I goggled the word warmth, just to see if I could find some inspiration in the cold that surrounded me.  I found this beautiful quote from poet Dejan Stojanovi:

MM127

 

How about we all give someone a warm smile this Monday. 🙂

 

 

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Year of the Veggies – Snacking and the Great Kale Chip Experiment (Kale 3 Ways)

Lets talk snacks.  I love snacks, I love to snack, in fact I MUST snack throughout the day.  How about you?

Problem is with so much easily accessible crap, I mean processed/convenient snacks around (read crap, see I was right the first time) good for you snacking can be an issue.  However in honor of my 2014 Year of the Veggies I decided to bring back something I haven’t talked about in a while.

Meet my very good friend Kale, isn’t she beautiful  🙂

Not to mention so green and healthy for you!

 See my past post about Kale by clicking here.

kale-pear-and-cranberry-salad-11

I have a sick child home today so I had some extra time around the house.  Which leads me to want to snack, but instead of getting too crazy I decided to attempt my very own Kale Chip Experiment, in other words kickin’ plain kale chips up a notch! Nothing to ground breaking here but  veggies are on the menu so…let’s get to it!

I made three batches of chips each just a bit different.

I started each batch with the same basic prep:

Basic Prep

  • Wash kale 
  • Dry very well (I used my salad spinner)
  • In a bowl drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil over the kale and toss with your hands

note:  all variations were also baked on pizza stones at 350 for 12 minutes.

Batch #1 Sea Salt Kale Chip

  • follow the basic prep (above)
  • place kale on the stone
  • add a dash of sea salt prior to baking

Results?  Well the never fail Sea Salt Chip version was a winner with both myself and the hubby.

Batch #2 Curry Kale Chips

  • same basic prep
  • place kale on stone
  • sprinkle with curry (I have been on a bit of a curry kick which is strange because I used to dislike curry a lot.  Hmmmm?)

Results?  Kale chips with a kick, a nice change of pace from your basic chip.  Thumbs up from the hubby.

Batch #3 Parmesan Kale Chips

  • again same basic prep
  • place the kale on the stone
  • I then grated my own parmesan block (around 2 tablespoons)
  • I sprinkled the cheese on top of the kale rather than tossing it together.  I was careful to get it ON the kale and not on the stone because well, that would be pointless 🙂

Results?  Ding, ding, ding.  WINNER!  This was our favorite of the day.  I mean its got cheese people! 😉

kale

 What is your favorite kind of Kale Chip or healthy go to snack?

 

 

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What’s Best for Me in 2014?

I have been thinking about writing this blog for a while.  It’s not an easy one for me to write.  Thanks to my running buddies who I reached out to for support, I can now write it without a heavy heart. So here goes….

2014 will most likely be a nearly race-less year for me.  A time to take a step back and keep the mileage low.  I have been so blessed the past few years to have been able to run and travel to many, many races.  It helped me so much in keeping my motivation and sanity throughout my husbands many deployments.  However this year I have come up against scheduling conflicts with nearly EVERY race I have wanted to enter.  Does it hurt?  Yes to be honest it does, however I need to put my family first and I know it’s the right thing to do.  I am so proud of my kiddos and I know they won’t be “kiddos” forever.  Although the feet say go!  The heart says stay.

Am I done with running?  Hey, hey now just you wait a minute there mister!  Put your pants back on!  ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!  I just don’t see myself doing any half marathons.  I do however see some virtual races in my future 🙂   If an “actual” race comes up that I can fit in my schedule, I hope to be able to do it, if I am ready and able.  In the mean time I will continue to support others in their fundraising efforts with things like Team in Training.  

Although I know it’s the right decision it hasn’t been an easy one to admit.  I let myself fall into the trap of “racing makes me who I am” instead of  “running is a great part of who I am”.  After weeks of feeling down right sorry for myself I have finally decided to take some really good advice from the following friends:

~ The Sub 30 Club and “Suck it Up Princess!”  and keep running

and

~Courtney from So Many Miles, So Little Time, who told me “It is TOTALLY OK to not run 5 half marathons or 14 in 14 or do every online challenge you come across.”

Therefore, I am going to make 2014 a great year in so many other ways!  Physically I am using my time to get healthy (my IT band is still acting up) get stronger (more focus on weight training and yoga) and work on eating healthier (thus the year of the veggies).  I also recently went low carb, not exactly the eating style of champion runners, lol.  (more on that in future blogs.)  I am also really excited to put an even bigger effort into growing in my faith.  Because God made me to be the best me I can be whether I am running half marathons or not 🙂

So I hope you all stick with me and I promise to keep cheering you on from the sidelines!  

Have a great year everyone, no matter what you do.  Be your best, have fun and find YOUR happy pace!!!

 

 

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Motivational Monday Jan 20 2014 – The Power of Laughter

Laughter has to be, without question, one of THE most wonderful expressions a human can experience in life.  You cannot deny the feelings of joy, happiness and exhilaration a really good belly laugh can bring you.  And let’s not forget how contagious it can be!  Is there nothing more wonderful than the giggle of a child’s laughter, or a laugh from so deep in one’s soul it sends you to the ground in tears!  aka ROTF  

It’s one of the few emotions that can cut through other emotions such as sadness, pain and even fear.  And when used in its purest form (I’m not talking about when it’s used to be spiteful or malicious to another for that is not true laughter and joy.)  is it not one of the most delightful gifts God has blessed us with!?  Here is to at least one good belly laugh this week….happy Monday.

MM113

 

 

 

 

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Motivational Monday Jan 13 2014 – Self Improvement

Last week I wrote about self-improvement.  A few people commented about my quote that I included in the blog write up.  Thank you for the wonderful support and feedback on it.  Because of you guys I have decided to continue the theme of self-improvement and use that very quote this weeks theme.

It’s about the evolution of me (and you) not just in running but in all parts of life.  In faith, in love, as a family, neighbor and friend.

Keep self improving, make it a never-ending task until you breath your last breath.  For your life is to be lived to the fullest potential God has for you.  It will benefit so much more than just yourself 🙂

Have a great week!

MM120

 

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Why don’t we share God? 2014 Time With God Challenge Part 2

The pastor that spoke at my church today posed to us the following question:

“Why don’t we share God?”

One reason given as to why many don’t share is “Because we (those who believe) feel were they are not qualified to share.”   He went on to say, you don’t need to be a scholar to share Him.  If you have a personal relationship with God then that already qualifies you 🙂

This is what I am trying to do with the 2014 Time with God Challenge, it’s one of the ways I am sharing God with others.  I know God loves me, has great mercy, forgiveness and grace for me and I want others to know it too.  He already loves you, you don’t have to earn it!

 What God really wants is a relationship with you.  

The second reason given as to why we don’t share was “We don’t know what to do”.  His suggestion was invest in people (care and befriend) and invite people.  As I mentioned earlier in the week on the Facebook event page (click here to join) God already has a place waiting for you at His table you just need to accept His invitation, but how can you if no one ever asks?

Still unsure how to share God in your life?  Maybe this week you could add that to your prayer during your daily quiet time.  Ask Him to show the best way to share.

TWG2

 

 

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Getting in Those Veggies – Part 2 Year of the Veggies

In case you missed it I have pronounced 2014 “The Year of the Veggies” for Runfyhp.  Don’t get me wrong I eat veggies, in fact there are some I actually love.  However I do not eat nearly enough veggies in a week, and in too many cases even in a day.  Last “Year of the Veggies” (click here if you missed it) post I talked about adding spinach to your smoothie, today lets talk juicing.  When in comes to juicing using as much of the veggies is best….as in all the peels, pulp etc.  The “WHOLE” veggie is best!  Juicing your veggies should not be your main source of veggies but if your not eating enough in the first place, this is a good addition.

I am lucky enough to own a Vitamix, I splurged (big time) for it over a year ago, with NO regrets!  The Vitamix is a true workhorse and can handle almost as much as a juicer, I do cut up bigger things such as cucumbers so I don’t over load the machine, and there is NO waste!

Last year on my Facebook page I posted a wonderful green “juice” I found on-line.  Since then I have spruced it up a bit by adding parsley (vitamin k),  and flax-seed (omega 3 fats), because of the awesome health benefits of both.  Parsley is soooo much more than pretty green plate decor and since it is the lesser known of the two you can check out the benefits of parsley here – at whfoods.org

Give it a whirl and let me know what you think 🙂Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 8.36.32 AM

 

Green and Delish “Smoothie” 

1 small organic cucumber

2 stalks organic celery

1 organic pear

1 small bunch (around a 1/2 Tbsp) of parsley

1/2 Tbsp ground flax-seed**

ice

** if your not currently using flax-seed you want to add it to your diet a little at a time.  Check out more info on flax from WebMD here , it is also not suggested for pregnant/nursing women

Cut up bigger pieces of cucumber, celery and pear into pieces your mixer can handle.  Also keep as much of the peel (cucumber and pear) on the veggies/fruit so you get all of their benefits.   If you own a Vitamix it should be able to handle all the peels.  Add water, parsley and flax-seed.  Mix until smooth.

 

 

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The First Motivational Monday post of 2014

I really enjoyed doing Motivational Mondays in 2013 so I have decided to keep them up in 2014.  To be honest I am doing it as much for me as for anyone who happens to see them.  Monday’s are rough and I need all the motivation I can get!  It’s nice to start the week off with a positive thought isn’t it?  I hope you enjoy Motivational Monday in 2014.  I will do my best to post one each Monday.

This motivational Monday is a fitting one for me.  I admit I have been guilty of comparing myself to others in the past and still catch myself doing it at times.

 “I need to be faster than” “so and so”, I need to do more for my family like “so and so”,  I need to be more disciplined, etc.”

When in all reality I should be putting my energy into being the best ME I can be.  Not better, faster or more witty than someone else.

” Self-improvement is just that improving myself, not becoming someone else.” ~ Runfyhp

 I continue to be a work in progress…for the better.

MM16

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