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Update on goals

I decided to kick my caffeine habit on Monday, May 24th and I am happy to say that so far, so good.

I still drink one cup of caffeinated tea per daybut that is significantly less caffeine than I was consuming (19 mg caffeine vs. 90). I have only had one minor breakdown where I was literally falling asleep at my desk and had to have a cup of the “real” stuff.

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But once in three weeks is pretty good, no?

I wish I could say it is helping me sleep better but that has actually taken a downturn (hence falling asleep sitting up). I’ve been up every night past 11 (sometimes 12) and then I’ve been waking up every morning at 5 or 5:30 to work out before work.

I can function well on 6-7 hours of sleep normally, but when I start going under the 6, it becomes a problem. I need to work on this soon because not getting enough sleep can cause a whole lot of problems! It seems like it’s hard to fit everything in and still get enough sleep but somehow I have to do it.

I also gave up drinking diet sodas and I think now that I have found enough other drinks to enjoy, it’s not so hard to resist them anymore. I haven’t had one since May 8th! Josh even has a 24 pack of Coke Zero in our house where I can see it and I’m still not tempted.

A diet soda here or there isn’t such a bad thing, but I have no moderation. I would drink that entire 24 pack in just a few days. Then the artificial sweeteners wreak their havoc on me. No good for me, so no thanks!

If you read my fitness blog, River City Fitness, then you know that I have been taking Body Pump classes regularly the past two weeks (this week is the 3rd). Since I am in a regular weight training program now, I am trying to pay more attention to what I eat after my workouts, including adding more protein to some of my meals and snacks.

I’m also learning a lot thanks to this summer “Nutrition in Athletic Performance” class that I’m constantly cramming for taking right now. I’m also having a lot of fun, eating healthy, hanging out with friends, not worrying about my weight and just enjoying life.

So that’s what’s going on right now. How about you?

Have you given up something recently? How is it going for you?

Obsessed with tea

Ever since I decided to cut back on caffeine, I have fallen in love with tea again.

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I still drink one caffeinated cup of tea per day in the morning but the rest is pretty much decaf. I also drink decaf coffee when I have it. The transition was surprisingly easy.

I was able to use up most of the tea I had at home, so it was time to buy some new ones! Unfortunately (fortunately?) I have loved most of them!

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I tried this one while I was at the Louisville Vegetarian Club meeting and immediately went out and bought some afterwards 🙂

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I had a really awesome cup of Hot Cinnamon Spice tea at Barnes & Noble a couple of weeks ago and this was the closest thing I could find to it at the store.

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It’s pretty good, but I’m definitely going to have to hit up B&N and just buy some of theirs. It’s literally like drinking a Hot Tamale (the candy). Josh might even like it!

Jasmine is one of my favorites (that I drink caffeinated) and I got this HUGE box of organic Jasmine green tea (100 bags) for $5! It should last me a while 😉

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As if those were not enough, I ended up with three more boxes over the past couple of weeks!


I loved the mango but the Lemon Ginger is just a bit too gingery for me. I’m hoping it’ll grow on me but if not, I’ll be passing it on to someone else.

I also got myself a new “Hot Pot” for work because our “community” hot water pitcher kept walking away and I hate heating up water in the microwave, it’s so not the same.

This thing works great. Best $12.99 I’ve spent in a while! 🙂

What is your favorite tea?

Number 702

I can’t believe I missed my 700th post! This is actually number 702 🙂

I don’t at all think it is a coincidence that, unknowingly to me at the time, my 700th post was the one entitled Breakthrough. Wow.

It has been an interesting day so far, not necessarily in a bad way, but in a we’ll laugh at this later kind of way. And also a way that makes me realize its good to be prepared!

Breakfast this morning was whole wheat toast with peanut butter and grape preserves along with some FRESH PINEAPPLE!

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I also had some Seattle’s Best decaf coffee with raw sugar and soy milk. Yep, that’s right, decaf! So far, so good. No withdrawal symptoms. Gradually weaning works I guess.

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I have never in my life cut up my own pineapple, I usually get it in the can or precut (which is mucho expensive) but this time I bought a whole pineapple and used my handy dandy new Pampered Chef pineapple wedger. It took a lot of effort (and upper body strength) but the taste of this is so worth it. I will never go back!!

Mid-morning before my run, I had a banana to hold me over since breakfast was a bit on the light side and I was already starting to get hungry.

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So now for the interesting part of my day…we RAN IN A THUNDERSTORM!

When we first left, it was cloudy and when it started to sprinkle, we decided to go ahead and keep running outside because the treadmill is just so boring (unless you are doing speedwork). Then it started to POUR and we were soaked, so there was no turning back now. When we had about 1 mile to go we saw lightning and then the thunder came. I didn’t run much faster than normal, but let’s just say, there was no way I was taking a walking break. We did our 3.24 miles in a little over 30 minutes.

I wish I’d had my camera with me to show you how wet we were but its a good thing I didn’t because it probably would’ve been water damaged 😉

When I got back, I was already hungry, so I had this chocolate chip Z bar, its been a long time since I’ve had one of these, yum! I picked up a huge box of 24 at Sam’s over the weekend (the variety pack now includes honey graham! That’s what sold me).

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I’m glad we survived our run today. I wasn’t scared but in the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “this is probably not a good idea.” Ha ha. Please don’t run in thunderstorms.

Happy Tuesday!

Hitting my stride

Yesterday was a really good day, all around. I love days like that and I try to remember them, especially when the not-so-good days come around. But luckily there haven’t been too many of those lately 🙂

I decided to be a food blogger again yesterday, so here is how the day started out for me:

Pumpkin Oats!

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This contained 1/2 cup oats heated in the microwave (gasp!) with 1/2 cup rice milk, 1/2 cup canned pumpkin. I mixed in some flax and pumpkin pie spice and then topped it with a sprinkle of brown sugar (a little goes a long way!), 2 tsbp raisins, 1 tbsp chopped walnuts, and a spoonful of Naturally More peanut butter.

I hadn’t had oatmeal in ages because Summer pretty much came to Kentucky early! But we’ve had a couple of “freak” days this week where its only been in the 50’s waking up. Once I take the dog outside for a walk, I’m definitely chilled enough for some warm, oaty goodness 🙂 I’m sure I’ll be back to smoothies before long though!

On the way to work, Mom treated me to a tall soy latte from Starbucks. I’m trying not to do soy too much but for some reason this latte just reminds me of a toasted marshmallow and it was just what I needed to get myself motivated to work. This had major caffeine-age though, so I made sure to watch it the rest of the day.

I also had a banana mid-morning to hold me over until lunch, which worked beautifully. Its amazing how eating what you want works better than eating what you think you should be having (most of the time). I’m loving it! Ugh, McDonald’s…haha.

For lunch, I had one of my new favorite vegetarian lunches…

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A sweet potato topped with black beans! Unfortunately, I was all out of sour cream at home, but soon learned I didn’t need it anyway. Some things are just better plain jane. I also had some unpictured blackberries. Ah, I almost forgot to mention…I ate lunch away from my desk!!

Yes, I am now eating a mostly vegetarian diet. This is by choice and by personal preference, there’s just something about the Spring and Summer that makes me want to eat meat less and eat fruits and veggies more. I can’t explain it really, so I’m just going with the flow. I also feel so much more in control of my eating, feeling more intuitive and balanced. Could that be related to going quasi-veggie? Maybe. I’m also getting to bed earlier and sleeping better too, hmm…

I still eat seafood as I need those good Omega-3’s and a girl can only eat so many nuts, ya know, haha. (I feel that someone out there might’ve just said “That’s what she said.” )

I think I surprise myself because I thought if I allowed myself to eat what I want, that I would choose junk or too many desserts. But that hasn’t been the case at all. I’ve been choosing some really great, fresh whole foods. I’ve been giving my body what it really wants.

Anyway, mid-afternoon, I tried this new Clif bar:

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I had really high hopes for this one but it was just okay. Actually, it left a really annoying taste in my mouth that I could hardly get rid of. So sadly, I don’t think I will get this one again. But the three that I had last week were great so I may just stick to those 🙂

Even before I ate this bar, I had been so thirsty all day. I must’ve drank my weight in water, which scares me a bit because I don’t want to overdo it. So at one point, I attempted a non-water beverage to see if that would help and it did.

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I sipped about a third of this bottle before I was satisfied. I had tried carrot juice once in the past from the Wild Oats smoothie bar (which I miss terribly, our Whole Foods doesn’t have one!) and it was kinda yuck. Of course that was ages ago before I was the self-declared health-conscious foodie I am today. This Odwalla Carrot Juice was AMAZING. It was sweeter than I expected even though all it contains is carrots. I would totally buy this again and most likely will — it was on sale! 

After work, I ran 3 miles on the treadmill because it was raining outside (boo). But it was still a good workout and I rehydrated (not that I really needed to, haha) with another Sobe Lifewater – Yumberry Pomegranate. I don’t have a pic but it was just okay too, probably won’t get it again. I like some of the other flavors much better!

I was “starving” when I got home but I managed to have enough patience to make what I really wanted instead of eating something that was quick and convenient. It contained lots of this:

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Purple Cauliflower – I immediately thought of K when I found this 🙂

I decided to make soup with it and based it off a recipe I used a while back for Cauliflower Soup. I made some substitutions from the original recipe, so I will go ahead and post this new one for the heck of it.

Purple Cauliflower Soup

1 head purple cauliflower (chopped into small pieces)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 stalks of celery (chopped)

4 cups of water

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Heat oil in medium-large pot over medium heat. Add celery and cook for 5 minutes. Add cauliflower pieces along with 1/4 tsp salt and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat back to medium and cover, cooking for 15 minutes. Dump contents into food processor or blender and puree until smooth and creamy consistency. Dump back into pot to keep warm. Stir in nutmeg, salt and pepper. Done!

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I had mine in a cereal-size bowl with some shredded cheese and some pita with butter. Perfect dinner if you ask me!

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So pretty, so tasty and so healthy!

Using bowls this size, I ended up with two very generous servings. If I were going to eat it more as a side to a sandwich, it would’ve made 4.

After dinner, I worked on some chores and projects around the house before dessert started calling my name. I have been eating some form of ice cream a few days a week, I think that is another summer thing. I had a coupon for this brand though so I thought I would give it a shot.

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Yum-a-licious 😉 The vanilla “rice”-cream with chocolate swirl and hazelnuts makes this stuff taste like a sundae in a cup. I would definitely purchase this again and maybe even some other flavors from Rice Dream. At my store, these are usually really expensive (like $6!) but they were on sale for $3.99 and I had a $1 off coupon so it was worth it. Hopefully they stay on sale for a while, I have another coupon!

I was left perfectly satisfied with my small dessert cup and didn’t go back for anymore desserts or snacks after this. I drank some water, went upstairs to brush my teeth, talked to a good friend and got in bed with a good book before conking out a little after 10:00. Yesterday was the model day for me!

Happy Friday, hope you have a fun weekend planned. 

June Challenges

Happy Monday everyone 🙂 Hope you all enjoyed your weekend, I sure did.

I cannot believe it it already June! 2009 is flying by me. That’s how you can tell you are getting old, right? Ha. Its also the start of a new week, which over here means it is time for a new Weekly Challenge!

The weigh in challenge from last week was a huge success. I was only tempted once, yesterday, and since I had put the scale up in the closet that kept me from doing it. This morning I woke up and until I started thinking about my weekly challenges, I hadn’t even thought about my weight! So I think this is working 😉

Unfortunately, I had kind of a caffeine “binge” this weekend (by which I mean I had two cups of coffee Saturday morning, a soda and dark chocolate Saturday night and 1 cup of coffee yesterday morning) but I’m drinking tea today and I’m back to monitoring my intake so its no big deal whatsoever.

However, my weekly dinners at home have been planned (even some lunches!) and I haven’t counted a single calorie, so in most respects, the challenges/changes are going quite well.

So, what’s going to happen in June?

Well, starting today, I’m going to READ MORE!

I like adding stuff as opposed to taking stuff away, so this one should be really fun. I have FOUR library books at home right now that have already been renewed once, two of which are due back this week, so I’d better get on it. I’m also a few months behind on all my magazine reading, I have a subscription to Health, Fitness, Shape and Women’s Health, so they are piling up quickly 🙂

The plan is that every day this week, I need to devote (at least) 30 minutes to reading! Reading is a healthy behavior because it gets you away from the kitchen/food, away from the television and for me, its a great way to wind down and relax before going to sleep. In fact, I do most of my reading in bed 🙂

Tonight, I’m going to try and get through a good chunk of “French Women For All Seasons” which I finally started a couple of weeks ago, it is due back on Thursday night so lets see if I can finish it!

Hope you all have a great day 😉

Challenges, changes, etc.

All of my challenges are still going strong!

No calorie counting, mucho meal (well, dinner) planning, moderate and steady caffeine reduction and best of all NO WEIGHING! Thanks everyone who responded both on my post about no longer weighing myself and the Melissa Joan Hart story. I appreciate all of your responses 🙂

I love giving myself a new thing to focus on each week. I find that taking things one small step at a time is the best way to make them permanent changes. If I had in that first week, at the beginning of May, said to myself “Starting today, I’m going to not count calories, plan every meal, stop drinking caffeine and not weigh myself” all at once, I would’ve freaked out and been very unsuccessful at most of those things.

On the caffeine front, I have been alternating coffee with tea (both caffeinated) in the mornings. Yesterday morning, I had coffee with milk and this morning, I had Earl Grey tea. Then the rest of the day is caffeine free tea like peppermint or chamomile (my favorites). I have a lot of new brands and flavors to try so the possibilities are endless. I haven’t had any dark chocolate and have had exactly two sodas (ew, I know!) since the caffeine challenge began 10 days ago.

I have still cut back quite a bit from my original intake and I’m not having any weird withdrawal symptoms. I will continue the every other day approach for a while, then gradually switch to every 2 days and then gradually make my way into half caff or decaf coffee land. Because I really do love the TASTE of coffee and couldn’t give it up completely, no way.

Here’s another interesting development…I know I have touched on this once or twice before. But, I have not had a single bite of meat since last Thursday?! That’s a whole week! I have just found myself not wanting it at all. I haven’t avoided it or chosen junky foods in order to not eat it. I’ve just been eating lots of veggies, fruits, grains, nuts, beans, etc. and haven’t had the need for it. I’ve often called myself “The Accidental Vegetarian” and I believe I have become her again for a while. But you know what’s funny, I feel great! I might have to keep this up.

Since I’m still in Beatles mode, here is a random pic of Paul McCartney related to the subject…

Here’s the neat thing about blogs. It was almost exactly this same time last year (it was June 14th) that I wasn’t eating meat and noticed. Hmm…

My husband hates it when I do that because meat to him is like peanut butter to me, can’t live without it. But I’ve noticed that I can live without it, plus it saves money because meat by far is the most expensive thing we buy at the grocery store. And, even though I don’t do it for ethical reasons alone, there’s always that to think about too. So, why not? We’ll see.

I’m also trying to get out of that “I have to have this with that” mentality which is how I end up eating meat in the first place. I thought for a long time that you had to have meat with dinner. Well, heck, if I’m in the mood for it, I could have cereal for dinner! Its all about balance and every day does not have to be perfect.

This morning, I had a green monster and then packed my lunch which contained no vegetables. Oh well, I thought, at least I’ll get them in at dinner, totally forgetting I’d already had some with breakfast. Its important to get the appropriate number of servings for each food group but not necessary to force yourself to add something to a meal that you really don’t want to eat. So my lunch remained veggie free!

Hope you all are enjoying this short week! I still have lots to share with you (I’m so behind) so stick with me 😉

Adventures in caffeine reduction

Happy Thursday blog readers 🙂 I can’t believe we’re already on the downward slope of this week!

So, today is Day 4 of my caffeine acknowledgement challenge and subsequent attempts to reduce my overall intake and eliminate dependency altogether.

Yesterday (Day 3), I had my normal 1 cup of coffee in the morning but then, in the afternoon, I had a cup of decaf chamomile tea. The only difference I felt was that I was not quite as “alert” as I usually am when I drink caffeinated, but I had no headaches or erratic mood swings that I know of 😉

Day 3 total = 141 mg caffeine

Day 2 total = 186 mg

Day 1 total = 236 mg

I also had a cup of decaf peppermint tea at the girls’ night potluck. One thing I did not know is that both chamomile and peppermint are herbal teas and thus naturally decaffeinated requiring no removal to take place. Even cooler! Those are my two favorites anyway.

As you can see, I have already reduced my daily intake by almost 100 mg since Monday!

Today, I have had a cup of coffee already and at this moment am contemplating some tea. I still have two bags of Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride left over from the holidays so I think I will use one of those…decaf!

Tomorrow (Friday, yay) I will most likely repeat today but on the weekend, I’m going to try English Breakfast tea in the mornings and see how that goes. If I can make that change, even just on the weekends, it would mean 40 mg of caffeine vs. 130’ish. WOW.

**Once again, I want to point out that I am not against caffeine. I am a huge coffee and tea lover with no plans to give them up. What I am doing is an experiment, meant only for me, and not trying to get you to stop drinking it yourself. Caffeine does have some AMAZING health benefits and when taken in moderation, it can be very good for you. My consumption had just become borderline (over moderation) and I wanted to nip that in the bud before it got too far. Thanks!

Day 2 Caffeine Challenge

Yesterday went very much like the first day of the challenge (coffee, tea) only I did not have the Vitamin Water with caffeine in it, so I could subtract 50 from my total!

Tuesday’s caffeine total = 186 mg

I think its going to be a very easy transition. Once I use up all of my caffeinated coffee and tea at home, I can easily just purchase decaf or half-caf next time and work my way down slowly. Everything I have done gradually over time has paid off, as opposed to quick, cold turkey methods. And like I said before, I will still enjoy a caffeinated beverage from time to time, I just don’t want to be dependent.

Sorry the blog has been so boring lately, I am working on lots of product reviews coming very soon and I can’t wait for my 5k this Saturday (!!) so expect a full report on that too!

I really do want to get back to food blogging because I have not posted pictures of my food in so long that I’m starting to miss it. However, I don’t want it to become so repetitive that it loses its excitement, so it won’t be every meal or everyday but perhaps just the things I get really excited about, which happens at least once a day 🙂

Thanks for sticking around, lots to come soon!

Day 1 caffeine tally

Let me just say, it was hard to come up with the correct number because there are so many websites out there claiming caffeine amounts and I wasn’t sure which one to go with. For the purposes of this challenge, I have decided to use the Center for Science in the Public Interests (aka CSPINET), since I know that source and find it to be trustworthy.

Here’s what they have to say about caffeine in general:

CAFFEINE
Stimulant: Naturally occurring in coffee, tea, cocoa, coffee-flavored yogurt and frozen desserts. Additive in soft drinks, energy drinks, gum, and waters.

Caffeine is the only drug that is present naturally or added to widely consumed foods (quinine is the other drug used in foods). It is mildly addictive, one possible reason that makers of soft drinks add it to their products. Many coffee drinkers experience withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, irritability, sleepiness, and lethargy, when they stop drinking coffee.

Because caffeine increases the risk of miscarriages (and possibly birth defects) and inhibits fetal growth, it should be avoided by women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant. It also may make it harder to get pregnant.

Caffeine also keeps many people from sleeping, causes jitteriness, and affects calcium metabolism.

The caffeine in a standard cup or two of coffee is harmless to most people. But if you drink more than a couple of cups of coffee or cans of caffeine-containing soda per day, experience symptoms noted above, are at risk of osteoporosis, or are pregnant, you should rethink your habit. Note that some “energy” drinks contain far more caffeine than most soft drinks.”

Using their chart, I broke down my caffeine consumption as follows:

  • 1 coffee mug of regular coffee = 133 mg
  • Vitamin Water (I was shocked!) = 50 mg
  • Black tea = 53 mg

Total = 236 mg caffeine

I managed to stay away from dark chocolate and soft drinks yesterday since I have been overindulging in both lately. I try to stay away from soft drinks 98% of the time because of the artificial sweeteners and they just don’t sit right on my stomach, even if Coke Zero does taste soooo goooood. But I’m a recovering addict right now.

So, how “bad” is 236?

Depending on which expert you ask, caffeine consumption can become a problem anywhere from 150 mg – 300 mg (exceeding that number). In general, 1-2 cups of coffee per day is deemed safe or average. But it would depend on the type of coffee, the strength, etc. for a true number.

Once again, I’m not knocking caffeine. It has many benefits along with drawbacks. I’m just trying to see what if anything, it is doing in my life. I also want to be free of all dependencies (if possible), so learning how much caffeine I consume on average, can help me do that gradually.

What about you…how much caffeine do you get in an average day? Use the list I linked above and tally up your total! Don’t forget, some foods, candies and over the counter medications count too.

Happy Tuesday.

 

Challenge numero 3

Hey folks!

It’s a new week, which means it is time for a new challenge…this week’s challenge will be…Cutting the Caffeine!

As you all have witnessed here at See Sarah Eat (and drink, apparently) I like to drink coffee and hot tea regularly although not truly in excess. I stick to one cup of coffee in the mornings (two on the weekend) and then 1-2 cups of tea in the afternoon and evening, at least one of them being caffeine free.

But we all know that caffeine doesn’t come from just coffee and tea. I do have the occasional diet soda (ick, I’m giving up again, they make me bloat and feel icky) and lately I’ve grown quite accustomed to having a piece of dark chocolate or two almost every day. It adds up!

I’m not totally against caffeine and this challenge is not to cut it out completely, though I have done that before. Instead, this week’s challenge is to be AWARE of how much caffeine I am consuming on average and to start a gradual cut back to a normal and healthy level. A level that would allow me to not be dependent.

I want to get to where its not a big deal to skip a cup of coffee once in a while or have a Starbucks drink one day and not the next without the serious headaches and grouchiness. I want to enjoy the coffee and tea I drink for its taste and antioxidants (which I do) and not for its keeping me awake benefits.

So for today, Day 1 of Challenge # 3, I’m going to go about my normal ways and count up how much caffeine I’ve had. Tomorrow I’m going to subtract one thing and see what difference it makes.

I guess this is really less of a challenge and more of an experiment, but it will still be fun!

Challenges 1 and 2 are sticking. I’m still not counting calories and Josh and I are sticking to our weekly meal plans, preparing ahead of time and having fun by trying new recipes. This week we are going to try another Ellie Krieger recipe, this time for Chicken Parmesan, yum!

Happy start to a new week 🙂