Foods on Fridays

I’ve been doing well the last 2 days since the long weekend’s super multi day binge. I’m a little nervous about this weekend, though – moving is usually a huge binge trigger for me. It’s hard work, so it makes me super hungry and feeling like I need a “reward.” At least this time it is super rushed so I didn’t have time to run myself out of food and I can eat semi-normally – I also have a bad habit of not wanting to move food and getting rid of all of it too early and eating nothing but fast food for like 2 weeks. Strangely, the thing I am least worried about is the fact that I will probably be ordering a lot of pizza (pizza is one of the few foods I have a hard time resisting). Since I had a big pizza binge last weekend, and there will probably be multiple instances of pizza, I won’t care as much about eating ALL THE PIZZA. This is because part of the thing is that I can usually convince myself when faced with a tempting food that there is no reason to eat a ton of it now, because I can always have more later, but this doesn’t work with pizza because I crave FRESH pizza – therefore I can only trick myself if there will be more fresh pizza in the future. I’m weird, I know. At least moving does actually involve a lot of activity/calories burning – the problem is more that I tend to overeat due to business in the days that surround it.

But on to the bulk of today’s post: food reviews!

  • Target. Yes, I know Target is not a food, but I’d like to begin my making some comments on them as a grocery store. First of all, do not buy fresh produce there. Just don’t do it. Every time I try it ends up going bad super fast. I bought strawberries there there other day and they were moldy in THREE days. Strawberries never last long enough to go moldy in my house. ┬áI do like to buy a lot of their prepackaged Archer Farms brand foods, though. Some of my favorites: the Hawaiian BBQ sauce (put it in a crockpot with meat and pineapple); the hummus; the granola (it is like $3, comes in a resealable bag, and there are like 500 flavors!); and a recent find, the pizza crusts (they still aren’t as a good as homemade or fresh, but are wayyyyy faster).
  • Voskos Greek yogurt. I’m really really really really picky about Greek yogurt. In fact, I’m so picky that I have almost completely stopped experimenting with it. I basically eat Chobani and Fage (but only if there is no Chobani). My roommate saw this brand at Walmart the other day though and it was on sale for like 94 cents so I bought 3 to try out, mostly because the ingredients looked legit (no weird thickeners or sweeteners or anything, these tend to make it taste weird to me). It isn’t Chobani, but it is good enough for me to consider buying it again if it is on sale for a substantially cheaper price than Chobani (around here the Cho is like $1.33 if it’s not on sale, so if something else I’m ok with is $1 I will probably do that instead).
  • Bisquick Complete (I think it’s with whole wheat and buttermilk – not sure if they make different varieties). Don’t do it. Normally I buy regular “heart healthy” Bisquick that you can use to bake anything, but then only use it to make pancakes. Then, I saw this pancake only mix and was enticed by the fact that it was $1 cheaper and had “whole wheat” in it (I probably shouldn’t have fell for the fake healthy thing). I figured it couldn’t hurt because I never use the Bisquick to make like biscuits or anything anyway, just pancakes. It was SUPER gross, though. Like it tasted like nothing but water. And this was not just because you mix it with water instead of milk – I’ve had other pancake mix + water concoctions taste like normal pancakes. These tasted like nothing but the added blueberries.
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Moving!

So, after a year of having a broken air conditioner (that mysteriously got fixed when we announced we were leaving), my roommate and I are moving. We are basically trying to move everything (we haven’t even really started packing) over the course of the next 3ish days, so I might not post too much. Be certain that I will be working out, though – 3 mile run tomorrow, 13 mile run on Saturday, and probably quite a bit of heavy lifting ­čÖé

Exercise pro of moving: epic fitness center (they have free weights!).

Exercise con (or maybe pro) of moving: will have to devise new running routes.

Too Much Rest

As I mentioned before, my husband was here over the weekend. He actually ended up staying an extra day as he got “sick” (he sometimes gets dizzy spells and so while he was mostly fine he was too dizzy to drive home)! That was nice, but the weekend was simultaneously too busy and too restful.

My lower calf muscles had been hurting a lot, especially after my 12 mile run on Friday. I decided that as my husband would be here, I’d give myself a super rest weekend to recuperate – no cross training on Sunday, and moving my 3 mile run to Tuesday (when he should have been gone). This, however, was a grave error. I went out yesterday for said 3 mile run and my legs were soooo tight and stiff. I felt like I could hardly move. In fact, I still sort of feel that way, which is not normal for me after such a short run. My pace also suffered – I ran that 3 miles at my long run pace!

I also took quite the rest from my diet. It all started when I allowed myself to indulge at the wedding on Saturday. I just kept going, eating pizza, ice cream, cookies, brownies, and alcohol all weekend. I gained about 10 pounds! I’m sure that at least 8 of that is water weight, but I very well may have gained like 2 real pounds. I haven’t seen a weight this high since spring break (mid March), so while I’m trying to just move on and have a good day today, I feel very disappointed in myself for letting the binge this weekend get SO out of control. It was probably my worst ever, largely because it was multi-day.A large part of the overeating was that this was a chance for me to take Kris to a bunch of new places (as well as old ones he enjoyed) to eat. A large part of it, though, was simply that I made bad choices. For example, I made 2 dozen brownies in preparation for his arrival. I then made a whole batch of chocolate chip cookies because I won a Tardis cookie jar at the wedding (they were the centerpieces) and I just HAD to fill it. At least most of those got eaten at a party, but I think I ate a whole dozen myself.

At least I looked awesome representing Ravenclaw at said wedding!

I am getting back on track for the rest of the week and hopefully until my half marathon, though. I’m going to be really busy (hopefully moving soon) but at least I will try not to surround myself with baked goods. Or at least I’m trying. Today has already been mildly unpleasant – our AC is broken (hence the moving), it is 90 degrees, and I forgot my running shoes when I went to use the treadmill at the gym so now I have to wait until it cools down tonight to run or decide to make today a rest day and tomorrow a workout day. Ugh.

Celebrating Life

I mentioned yesterday that today is a busy day – I am going to both a memorial day cookout thing for our department and a wedding! In a way, I am very glad for this, because I will be distracted from something very sad by multiple celebrations happiness, friendship, and love. Warning: personal, sad and sentimental post ahead.

Today would have been my maternal grandmother’s 64th birthday. Yes, you read that right – she didn’t even qualify for some senior citizen discounts yet when she passed away just a few months ago (January).

She was the first family member that I was very close to that passed away – I have been lucky to have very young parents who had very young parents, so everyone in my family is relatively young. I had prepared myself for the eventual passing of my grandfathers (they both have chronic, albeit largely manageable health problems) but both of my grandmother’s were young and relatively healthy, so I was completely unprepared when I found out that this grandmother had cancer.

Because of my family situation, I am very close to all of my grandparents. My parents were not just young, they were teen parents, and they ended up staying home to live with their parents until my mom finished her master’s degree when I was about 6-7. While custody, as I recall it, was split pretty evenly, so I became close to all my grandparents, I lived primarily with my mom at her parents’ house, so I definitely became very close to my maternal grandparents. Even after my parents moved in together and we had our own home, I would often spend nights at these grandparents’ house because my parents worked so late into the evening. In fact, I believe that there has never been a point in my life where I did not have my own bedroom at their house (although now that I am grown up and moved away, it has become a bit more of a generic guestroom).

After moving away, I became particularly close to this grandmother, in part because she was quite technologically advanced. My other grandparents can barely use their cell phones; my maternal grandmother helped me shop for my first laptop when I got it as a high school graduation present…and helped me shop for the laptop I am typing this on via Skype from her hospital bed only a few weeks before passing away. Because of her use of Skype, we were able to talk almost daily (I do call my other grandparents every few weeks, it’s just super easy to send a quick message over Skype which enables a lot of conversation).

She was also there for me a lot in person. She loved to travel more than anyone else in my family, so she came to visit me a lot after I moved away. She helped me hunt for apartments and move two times during graduate school (I’m honestly dreading moving without her, she was very good at cleaning). She also came all the way out here for my MA graduation (because I am working on my PhD, at the time, her coming out here seemed silly, but I’m really glad she did now) and always came for visits with my parents. She extended the same care and attention to others, as well – attending graduations of nieces and nephews and helping them move thousands of times during college in other states; thinking to stop and visit my husband when driving through his town even though I wasn’t there; remembering to send presents for my roommate in the care packages she sent me. She was very thoughtful and truly supportive of everyone that she cared about. These comments do not even touch the surface of all that she did for me – she is the one who taught me to sew, for example, which is something I have not touched on at all. The point is that she was a lovely person whose passing came far too early, and far too fast.

To make a broader, less personal point, I will end this post by talking about the disease that killed her: esophageal cancer. Basically, it was caused by being plagued by ulcers and acid reflux her whole life, meaning that it is not really that preventable. It kills very quickly, largely because there are no symptoms until it is too late. Once the disease is apparent enough to be noticed, it basically spreads more quickly than it can be treated. ┬áFor reference of how quickly this disease kills, she started to feel discomfort with swallowing around June/July and after speaking with her family doctor, simply changed her acid reflux treatment and began to feel a bit better. Below is a picture of her (she is the redhead in blue) at my wedding on August 11, 2012, before we knew anything was wrong. She did not find out there were any abnormal issues until August 28 (I remember the date because my husband was in the hospital too, long, off topic story), when she found out that she had an ulcer. It was not until early October, however, that they were able to determine that the ulcer was cancerous. They began treatment, with the plan of eventual surgery, but on January 3 (my husband’s birthday) she became very ill and entered the hospital. The scans showed that the cancer had spread despite treatment, and she passed away only weeks later. Less than 6 months passed between her diagnosis and her passing – in fact, 6 months before, she had been this healthy and happy:

Before she was diagnosed, I had never really heard of anyone getting esophageal cancer other than smokers/chewers. I also did not know that it was so deadly (I think the 5 year survival rate is something like 12%). There is not much one can do to prevent it, as it’s not like you can really prevent having acid reflux/past ulcers, but people who are plagued with these problems can get regular screenings, because those who do catch the cancer early are those that have hope.

Eff cancer, and remember to give attention to those other than the “big” ones like breast cancer (still important, yo, I have relatives who died from this, but it def gets more attention than things like this). And remember to celebrate and enjoy life ­čÖé

Foods on Fridays

Today is an exciting day!

First of all, I am administering the midterm in my class today, which means that I am halfway done and get to go back to PA for the summer soon!!!

Secondly, my husband and our doggy are coming out to visit for the weekend!!! Kris has not been out here for a little over a year (to be fair, I took last fall off so it’s not like he could have come at another time) and so I’m super excited to share new things in the town with him and for all my friends to visit with him again. Plus, my scientific mind cannot help but wonder what will happen when the world’s two most neurotic pitbulls (that would be Belle and River) combine.

The weekend will also be exciting!

The main reason Kris is coming out here is that we will be going to a wedding. Some friends I made when I first moved here three (WTF really 3?!) years ago are getting married this weekend…in a Harry Potter themed wedding. I think I mentioned this before, but a fun aspect of the ceremony is that they have asked guests to dress in their house colors – I have my blue and bronze already to go, and hopefully Kris’s yellow shirt fits or we will be pretending he is not a Hufflepuff. My roommate is in the wedding party, and I must say after seeing her bridesmaid’s dress yesterday, I am impressed with the level of sophistication with which they have incorporated the theme. Wedding party members will be dressed in black, with the ladies wearing a sash and accessories to add the house colors (the dresses are adorable chiffon LBDs with sweetheart necklines, that was a good pick), and the men wearing coordinating vests and ties (don’t worry, they still added an element of fun with custom Converse for the party members to wear in order to party!). I only know this because a certain chain bridal store wanted to charge my roommate like $85,000 (perhaps it was slightly less) to trim the ribbon they are using as a sash, so yesterday she and I instead trimmed it with sewing scissors and melted the end on the stove in order to keep it from fraying. We should probably just quit grad school and start DIYing things for a living somehow instead. I was proud of us.

The day of the wedding, a faculty member in our department is also having a crawfish broil. I have never eaten crawfish, so hopefully it is good. I expect it to be a wild party, as he is apparently setting up tents for those who become too incapacitated to leave. This almost makes me sad that Kris and I will have to leave at a reasonable hour and limit our homemade sangria intake in order to go to the wedding – I’d like to see what happens when political scientists party like this! I’m just glad that a department event happens to coincide with Kris’s visit. I’m fairly certain most of the faculty think he is an imaginary being I made up as an excuse to do less work on breaks.

Now, I know that this post is supposed to be about food, and I’m getting there. It’s just been a lengthy segue. Obviously, with all these events, I am going to be eating a ton. I also will be eating a ton at home. I’ve already made these┬ásnickerdoodle blondies as a treat for Kris, who loves snickerdoodles, and they are amazing and worth every one of their 250 calories. I also plan on trying to make us some white pizza tonight, following this┬árecipe, which has a picture that closely resembles the heavenly pizza made at a local pizza place back where we live in PA. We shall relax after his 600 mile trip with that and some Goose Island 312 (it occurred to me that I should buy localish beer for his visit – too bad that I didn’t think of it sooner, or I would have run to a local brewery for a 6-pack, but alas, I was limited to the selection at Kroger). I also plan on sharing with him my favorite Mexican restaurant, which I discovered after or around the same time as him coming out here last year, so he hasn’t been able to try it yet. This is the restaurant featured in one of my progress pics, and one reason that this place is so awesome is that the margaritas we are holding are only $5 and taste amazing:

However, I don’t feel that bad about all of this potential food, because I have eaten like next to nothing all week. The one exception was Thursday, when we had a mini party and I binged on a bag of Doritos (it still wasn’t that bad). Part of the problem was that our AC was broken, so I just didn’t want to cook. Also, for some reason, in the summer I crave almost no food except ice cream, and I know it would be unreasonable to eat for every meal, so I don’t eat that much since I have no cravings for anything else. Therefore, ┬áI have this gigantic calorie deficit for the week already, and I haven’t even had my 12 miler!

That being said, this is actually a really good opportunity to discuss what a 1750 calorie day looks like. Here was a typical day for me this week:

Breakfast

  • Coffee
  • Greek yogurt cup
  • Granola (2 tbsp)
  • 208 calories

Morning Snack

  • 2 Clementines
  • 80 calories

Lunch

  • Sweet potato topped with cinnamon, splenda, and 1/2 tbsp light butter
  • Tilapia filet cooked in 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp chili powder
  • One mango (tossed in with tilapia for like 2 seconds)
  • 456 calories

Afternoon Snacks

  • Protein shake (just one scoop chocolate powder with 8 oz vanilla almond milk)
  • 8 strawberries
  • 201 calories

Dinner

  • Chicken salad on rice cakes (chicken breast tenderloin, 1 tbsp light mayo, 1 tsp spicy brown mustard, 5 grapes, 1 tbsp toasted slivered almonds, celery)
  • Baby carrots
  • Garlic Hummus (1 tbsp)
  • Red grapes (1 cup)
  • Trail mix (1/4 cup)
  • 543 calories

Dessert

  • 1/2 cup Edy’s slow churned vanilla ice cream (the brand is important because it’s awesome)
  • 1/2 a banana
  • 1 tbsp natural crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar free vanilla chocolate syrup
  • 313 calories

 

Rest Day Reflections

Time for another day of ramblings rest day reflections!

  • Tornadoes. They suck. People never seem to understand why they are one of my biggest fears until one is imminent or a big one strikes somewhere. Poor Oklahoma ­čśŽ
  • Expensive makeup. Buy it. ┬áThe last few days I have realized that even after long runs and showers, I am still wiping makeup off my face at the end of the day! Until a few years ago, I didn’t know you could buy non-drugstore makeup. Now, I don’t think I own ANY drugstore makeup!! Wait, wait, I do – I have some translucent powder from Physician’s Formula that I use to set my concealer. The first time I set foot in a Sephora I was so clueless and thought everything was soooo expensive. Now, I’m like “Oh, this thing is only $35?!?!” And trust me, it’s worth it. One thing I REALLY put off was buying nice eyeliner. ┬áThen, I bought some of the Urban Decay 24/7 liner. It’s so good it’s almost too good – I have trouble removing it after 5 mile runs!
  • Ice cream. It’s too good. In the summer, I want to eat pretty much nothing else. At least the fact that I know I can’t eat ice cream all day and my desire to eat nothing else keeps me from going over my calories too frequently.
  • Memorial day. Speaking of overeating, I’m going to a cookout thingy. Should I take my mom’s super duper strawberry jello cake thing? I’d link a recipe, but I can’t find anything like it quite online. Basically, it’s white cake that rests on a bed of strawberries and mini marshmallows in strawberry jello covered in coolwhip mixed with vanilla pudding. I think I could make a semi-“healthy” (read: sugar free-ish) version. Or, should I make something from Pinterest that I am pretending I am going to make someday? Decisions, decisions. Either way, I’m pretty excited because…
  • MY HUSBAND IS COMING TO VISIT ME!!! Because of vacation/schedule flexibility/car quality issues, I typically visit him. I’m fairly certain everyone here thinks he is some person I invented so that I have an excuse to go out of town (he has visited before, but still). I’m pretty excited because he will get to go to a lot of parties and such with me this weekend and so people will get to remember that he is real…and for some people, meet him for the first time!!

Homemade Running Fuel

I mentioned in my post about training options that I’m considering possible fuel options. The author of Running Without Sugar┬áhelpfully commented that I should look into what gels/drinks are being offered at the race! So I went to the race website to look…and it only ambiguously states that they will be there. I guess I could email them, but that might take effort! Maybe I’ll get around to it? It just seems like a fairly small race, so I don’t want them to like, remember me as the weirdo that emailed them about gels. I’m sure people have emailed them with weirder questions, though.

I was also considering using something that I could easily have on hand at my house so that it is easier to use it in my remaining training runs (because I live like right next door to a running store, gels technically count in this category, but still, they are expensive and I’d have to go to the running store and walk out with nothing but gels, which seems impossible). I read that a couple good options are fig newtons and orange slices. However, the problem here is that I am afraid these will get warm and/or crumbly and just be super gross (fig newtons don’t seem that sturdy to me).

Another thing I was considering was making something like miniature homemade energy bars. I was inspired by Kelly the Culinarian, who wrote about this just the other day! Her recipe in particular doesn’t seem appealing to me (I’m not a huge coconut fan), but what I took from the post was that it might be possible to make something homemade! I’m not the world’s most amazing cook, but I can get by, and I enjoy trying out new recipes. Also, she made some really good points about digestion – I’ve read others have trouble with it, and I know I have a fairly sensitive stomach, and the idea of sucking down an energy gel has just sounded absolutely disgusting ever since I first heard of it. Like, I was mentally prepping myself with “it will just take a few seconds and you will drink water with it so you will survive.” I’m afraid that even if I don’t have a physical reason for digestion problems, this would give me a mental reason. So on a hunt for homemade running fuel recipes I went!

I have a list of recipes I’m considering using:

The main reason I’m considering these: most of these include things that are reasonable ingredients that I either already own or could easily purchase at a chain grocery store. While I’m ok with trying new recipes, I’m a lot more┬áhesitant┬áto try new foods, especially if they are something that seems like it might not be as healthy as the hype and is expensive. It took me AGES to try quinoa. Quinoa, for crying out loud. It’s basically just expensive rice with protein, why was I so┬áhesitant? The thing hanging me up on a lot of these, of course, then, is the chia seeds. WTF are chia seeds? They seem similar to flaxseeds (my source is wikipedia, so I might be wrong)? Do I need to include both? Could I just include flaxseeds? I bought these once because they were in a recipe on pinterest that I heard rave reviews of and I heard they actually supplied good fats, so I decided they might deserve the health hype they were getting, plus, even though they were pricey, a little goes a long way, apparently. My grinder is like half full of them and I still have like 90% of a bag and I’ve made that recipe multiple times. So my conclusion is that unless I find convincing evidence that chia seeds are WAY different I’m not going to waste my money!

To end this post, I will tell you my small gym story from today. I got on the treadmill to do my 3 minute warmup jog before lifting, and noticed that blood was EVERYWHERE. It was all over both hands and like on my chest where I apparently scratched it and on my phone and it had like dripped down on my shirt ughhhh. I might have peeled my finger making sweet potatoes yesterday and thought it was sufficiently scabbed to not do this, but I turned out to be wrong. So I went in search of a bandaid. I first checked the desk where they rent like balls and crap and that guy didn’t have any, but said that all gym employees are meant to have a first aid kit if they are walking around, so find literally any gym employee. The first guy I found only had GIANT bandaids. So apparently my gym is bad at bandaids. He also might have been hitting on me? He was like “Aww, did you get a little cut?!” then after I thanked him for the bandaid he was like “I’ll be around if you need anything else!” Maybe he was just being nice. I don’t know. I don’t understand gym employees.