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Hello…hello…hola!

We are back home from Chicago now! Part of me is glad to be back home and getting on my regular routine but I also feel a great deal of sadness because I love big cities, including Chicago, and I would love to live there 😉

I was going to post last night but we didn’t get in until 3 a.m.! The concert was great and there were lots of other adventures throughout the day and night. But let’s start from the beginning shall we?

I got up at 5:30 a.m. to get in a workout before breakfast. I hit the hotel gym and did 30 minutes on the treadmill. I alternated walking and running, gradually building up my running minutes and then cooled down for 5 minutes. It was an awesome way to start the day!

After showering, we all headed downstairs to check out the continental breakfast. I thought it was a decent spread for a moderately priced hotel (we stayed at a Hyatt in the suburbs). Josh wasn’t real thrilled with it though.

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I was hoping for some instant oatmeal and hot water…bingo! I brought my own almond butter from home and also picked up a banana from the breakfast spread.

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Just like being at home!

I also had some complimentary Seattle’s Best coffee in the hotel lobby. Who needs to pay for Starbuck’s when you can get Seattle’s Best for free? I did laugh at the sleeves though. Seems like a contradiction?

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Once we were done eating, we headed into the city to line up for the concert at Soldier Field.

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We got there at 9 a.m. and yet there was already quite a line!

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We set up camp and started finding ways to pass the time. It was neat seeing what all the other people were doing too. Hydration though, was the key to everything.

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I ended up drinking over 3 liters of water yesterday!

Mid-morning I snacked on some almonds. This was my last pack 😦 I need to get some more!

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Josh and I went for a walk to look for some food for later in the day, which if I had to guess, was about a mile each way. I definitely got exercise in that day!

We decided to eat a really late lunch to hold us over during the concert so I sort of grazed throughout the afternoon.

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By the way, that Odwalla bar above rocked my socks. It was vegan technically (I checked the ingredients) not vegan as it contains calcium carbonate but it only had 7 or 8 grams of sugar, the lowest of the Odwalla bars I’ve seen.

For “lunch” or whatever it was, I got a veggie dog (a stand actually had them!) and some Sun chips. I didn’t get to photograph it because I had to pick up our stuff and move up in the line and my camera got buried in the bottom of my purse and my hands were full.

It was actually really good though. I couldn’t tell you what was in it but it did the job 😉

We finally got into the stadium around 5 p.m.

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What a show! I’m not quite the huge U2 fan that Courtney is (haha) but I had a good time and got to hear a lot of the songs I’ve loved since I was much younger and some new ones too. I can see why the people line up so early, they sounded fantastic…flawless. We were close too!

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After the show, it was hell getting out of the place. That many people all trying to leave from one exit, eek!

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When we finally got to our car and started heading back to the hotel we were STARVING. With it being so late at night, we didn’t have many options, so we hit up Steak ‘n Shake. I’m pretty sure I haven’t been to one of these in years, definitely pre-blog days if not even longer ago.

I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich with french fries. It wasn’t perfect but at least I could keep the meat out of this meal. I was tempted to get a milkshake too, but I managed to talk myself out of that and it was a good thing because this filled me up fine.

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Tragedy struck here though. Before we got our food, I went to the bathroom (since it had been about 8 hours since I’d gone!) and while I was flushing the toilet my wedding ring slipped off my finger (its been too big for too long) and went right down the drain!

I still can’t believe I did it. It’s gone. I was really frustrated and sad but that was mostly due to being hungry and it being so late at night. I’m okay now but I’m still upset at myself for it happening. But my husband has lost 2 so he just patted me on the back, ha!

When we got back to the hotel I had a piece of dark chocolate and some tea and finally hit the hay. It was long, it was hot at times, there were some really interesting people and things but all in all it was a great day. One for the record books 🙂

Coming up next…the last day in Chicago and making our way back home!

A taste of Fall

Good evening blog friends!

Before I made it to bed last night, I had some more snacks, including this 1/2 banana with PB and a small cup of dry Cheerios.

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When I woke up this morning, I went straight from my bedroom into our other room and onto the yoga mat. I did a 20 minute yoga download program, Gentle Hatha #1, and it was the perfect way to wake up and warm up my body for the day!

For breakfast, I had oat bran (made with water) topped with almond butter and the other half of that banana 🙂

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I broke into these bad boys mid morning and took a nice 15 minute walk afterwards.

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Lunch was just boring leftovers. Unfortunately the tofu is not as good leftover as it was the other night. Remind me to eat all of it next time 😉

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It was good, just not as good.

In class today we started talking about metabolism and how the food we eat affects the production of energy in our bodies. While it was very scientific, I’m thinking the next class we will get into more general stuff.

I did have an interesting thought about creatine when my teacher (who has a Ph.D.) mentioned he takes the supplement and that it would be a good idea for vegetarian athletes. Hmm…something I’m going to have to research for sure.

This is the only supplement I take (when I remember) besides my daily vitamin, which is going to be really important once I start leaving out dairy.

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Do you take supplements? Which ones?

My afternoon snack was something I hadn’t had in a while…a Larabar! I had given up bars for the most part because of their high sugar content but I got this one reluctantly because it was a new, enticing flavor.

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So good I ripped it open and didn’t look back. It tasted just like the peanut butter cookie bar but with a hint of sweetness. It really did taste like a PB&J. While I won’t be stocking up on these anytime soon, I would definitely grab one in a pinch. At least this had 6 grams of protein!

And another 15 minute walk was had 😉

While I was waiting for my ride, I tried another refreshing drink:

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Lipton PureLeaf unsweetened iced tea…

So tasty, nothing gross added in. Perfect for a crisp Fall day!

Speaking of Fall, I feel like we got a small taste of it tonight at our girl’s night potluck. We started things off with a few veggies and dip.

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The main course was a vegetarian chili made by my friend Margie which was made of pinto beans, on top of some spaghetti and topped with onions (I passed on the cheese). On the side was Italian sweet bread and more veggies.

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I went back for seconds on the chili, it was pretty good!

I also think I did not get enough fibrous veggies in my meal because I went a bit wild with dessert (which happens when I eat mostly carbs and not enough protein and veggies which fill me up way better):

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S’mores baby!

I had a total of 4 (2 with the girls and 2 when I got home!), plus a few munches of random marshmallows and graham crackers.

I’m glad I chose to enjoy these today because if I do this vegan thing, marshmallows and Hershey’s chocolate will not fit into the plan. Marshmallows contain gelatin and Hersheys milk chocolate is highly processed and contains milk and milk fats.

But man these were good! I’d been craving s’mores for a while so I’m glad I finally got to enjoy some 🙂

Funny thing is, I don’t feel too full or anything. I think I was really still hungry but I don’t even want to think about the amount of sugar my body is currently trying to digest.

No matter, tomorrow will be a much lighter day 😉

Good night all, hope you had an amazing Wednesday! We’re getting closer to the weekend, woo hoo!

Is it really Day 4?

I can’t believe it’s already been 4 whole days of Crap Free Week! Honestly, this doesn’t feel like a Crap Free Week. It feels like the way I want to live. I’m so glad I did this and I’m really glad Caitlin, Lindsay, and others did it too because it inspired me to create my own CFW. I think from the end of the week on, I shall refer to it as Crap Free Living. I honestly don’t think I want another diet soda or artificially sweetened pudding again. 🙂 I’ll be going to Starbucks with my family tomorrow and the strange thing is, all I can think about is a nice hot tea! What happened to me? Ha ha.

Yesterday was a great day even after my breakfast debacle. I’m just glad I ate wholesome foods, even if they didn’t fill me for as long as I would’ve liked.

I mentioned scarfing these down around 9:30 yesterday…

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I also had a cup of black coffee beforehand — might as well just commit this to memory because I have coffee every day during the week but I have switched to tea on the weekends 🙂

Somehow I managed to make it to 11:00, which is when I drug out my lunch. I’m really loving my lunches this week but can already tell I’m growing tired of sandwiches, so I think at the store this weekend, I will plan accordingly. I’m definitely going to pick up some veggie burgers and I still have salmon burgers in the freezer. I’ve also got some stuff to make some big salads so I hope to do that at least one day next week for lunch.

Today was a turkey sandwich (w/ spinach, 2% cheese and light mayo on whole wheat), some carrots + hummus, orange, and a pickle.

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I didn’t end up finishing the carrots because I got full, so there are a few in the fridge for another time.

Aruond 2:00, we had a party here at work for which I was one of the hostesses. I brought fruit & veggies of course. The apples & strawberries were a big hit but not too many people touched the veggie tray 😦 I already had to use up some veggies from my previous one so now I’ll have to deal with this. I’m really going to get sick of broccoli, carrots & celery if I’m not careful. Perhaps I can come up with a creative way to use them? Hmm…

Anyway, at the party, I had some apple slices (pre-cut) and a few strawberries and some nice hot apple cinnamon herbal tea. It really hit the spot. I was having an afternoon workout though, so before I left I ate what has become my daily yogurt. Another new flavor!

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This is the Voskos Greek Yogurt in Honey Vanilla Bean. I didn’t know what to think of it at first — it’s a smaller container than I’m used to (even though I had Blueberry earlier in the week) and I thought it kind of looked like ranch dressing! Don’t you think?

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But I’m glad to say this yogurt was PHENOMENAL! I loved the flavor, the vanilla and honey really go well together, neither overpowered the other.

Its still not the thick greek yogurt consistency that I like, but it’s definitely not runny like Stonyfield. I would definitely buy this one again, not to mention the Blueberry. Can’t wait to try other flavors and even the plain 🙂

I kicked some major butt at the gym yesterday afternoon but it was slow going at first. Around 4:30, I was kind of tired and we started walking on the treadmills at 3.8 and it seemed harder than it was. Luckily my training partner was there (I’m growing quite fond of her!) and she started jogging, so I did too. We walked for a mile, then ran for about 1.10 miles, then we walked again at 3.8 and increased our incline gradually up to 15.0 and then back down gradually too. Then we did some intervals. I had originally thought I would be lucky to get 30 minutes in and guess what…we did 75! We also took some time out after our workout to do some stretching because we knew we’d need it.

Time: 75:00

Distance: 5.12 miles

Calories burned: 500+ (according to the machine)

Wowzah. In a good way! Lets just say when I got home last night I was totally ready for dinner.

I didn’t know it until this week, but I have to declare my undying love for Garbanzo Beans! I knew I liked them but now I love them 🙂 I decided to have my beans + brown rice combo again, only as a side and a pork chop for some more protein. It definitely feels good to eat protein after a tough workout, I could almost feel my muscles repairing!

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I ended up going for 2nds on the beans, so I ate probably twice what you see there. They are so good! I definitely have to get those again. I would love to put those on a salad 🙂

After dinner, I did the dishes and some laundry and then plopped down on the couch to catch up on two of our favorite shows: “Big Love” and “United States of Tara” they were both good episodes too. Between the two, I got up (which was hard!) and made myself some Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea and a little dessert/snack:

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Just a little unsweetened applesauce topped with some cinnamon and a handful of Multigrain Cheerios. This really hit the spot — I can already tell my sweet (fake) cravings are ceasing, this was perfectly sweet enough for me, plus I got another fruit serving out of it!

You know, if nothing else becomes of this Crap Free way of life, I love the way it makes me feel. The bottom line for me is that if I eat crap, I’ll feel like crap. If I eat mostly real food with no added junk, I feel good. You are what you eat?

Have a good day everybody, thanks for stopping by!