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The Green Monster Challenge

Last week, our weather warmed up into the 60’s and 70’s for a few days and it made me realize that I had sworn off green monsters for the season way too early!

You see, I am one of those people that can’t drink really cold stuff when it’s cold because then it is nearly impossible for me to warm back up.

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But I decided that the benefits of drinking such an amazing and healthful smoothie far outweighed any discomfort the cold may cause me. Plus, it is still warmer than average here right now (it’s going to be 68 today)!

I was chatting on Twitter with Lauren from Lauren’s Gourmetย about how I missed green monsters and she said “We should do a green monster challenge and try to have one everyday next week.”

So, here I am!

The Green Monster Challenge

It’s simple: Have one green monster a day, every day this week.

It can be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack. I started my Monday off with a breakfast-sized GM. I love to start the day off with some veggies ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • 1 cup light vanilla soy milk
  • 1 sliced, frozen banana
  • 1 tbsp wheat germ
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3 or 4 cups of fresh spinach

I would be remiss if I did not give a big shout out to Angela from Oh She Glows, who introduced the “green monster” to me to begin with. It has changed my life ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Monday friends!

p.s. Check out Eater Not a Runner’s first giveaway! Vegan goodies!!

Breakfast yoga

Hey friends!

I set my alarm to get up 15 minutes early this morning, so I could do some yoga! I took a page out of Angie’s book and decided to use a print guide from Yoga Download as my base and then did my own flow. It was great!

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I used the Morning Flow #1 program and did each move on the pages for a count of 5 breaths. It took me about 25 minutes to get through it all and I felt awesome (and very hungry) when I was done.

This is apparently what I look like at 5:45 am!

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I had also used my cable box to find a “Meditation” music channel to set the mood. So much better than listening to a computer talk at me.

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Suzie kept getting in the way and head-butting me when I was in down dog. She’s so cute though!

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We’ve had Suzie for one year as of today. I can’t believe it’s been a year already, she really is the love of our lives and a testament to how a dog, rescued from a shelter, supposedly with training problems and anxiety, can really thrive and overcome it all. All dogs need is your love, patience and a routine. Even though we have given her a better life, she has truly been the one who has made our lives better.

This was her just 1 year ago, look how scared she was ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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It was alsoย neat to look back at my blog from a year ago. My pictures were terrible! And I was also attempting the South Beach Diet again, eating lots of sugar free pudding, ick. So glad those days are over ๐Ÿ™‚

After my morning yoga flow, I toasted up some Great Harvest cinnamon chip bread for breakfast.

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I chose almond butter and blueberry fruit spread this time, just to change things up a bit ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Yum…

I still have a ton of apples left to use, so I think some baking is in my future. Anyone have any good vegan recipes that involve apples?

Happy Wednesday ๐Ÿ™‚

Brown monster?

By now you have seen and probably even tried the green monster featured on Angela’s blog and perhaps you have done like me and made your own substitutions (I’ve used soymilk, coconut milk and cow’s milk) or additions along the way.

Well, this is one I tried recently and I’m still not sure if I recommend it or not…

Behold the almighty BROWN MONSTER!

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Is it chocolate? No, haha, I wish. Here is what this cup contains:

  • 1 cup 1% cow’s milk
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 tsp ground flax
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries

I have tried a similar combination such as this before, when I experimented with using fresh strawberries in my “green” monster. That one was okay, but didn’t have the same sweetness as the original which makes it sort of hard to mask the spinach taste. It’s not that I hate eating spinach, its just hard to drink sometimes.

I thought the frozen berries, being a mixture and frozen to preserve freshness, would’ve worked better, but not so much.

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If someone gave this to me, I would drink it again but I don’t think it’s one that I will chose to make on purpose again. I’m going to stick with what I know is good, which is milk, spinach, flax and a very ripe banana (frozen or fresh w/ ice).

Has anyone tried it with citrus fruits? I have a ton of oranges at my house and thoughtย I might give that a go. We’ll see!

Do you make green monsters? What’s your favorite combination of ingredients?

Hope you all are having a great weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

Holy planks

Ouch, my upper body and core musclesย are sore today!

Everything I ate yesterday held me over rather well. Even the smoothie from the morning; I was worried that because I didn’t have any grains I would be hungry by 8:00 but no such thing happened. It doesn’t hurt that I drink coffee and chug water when I get to work ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lunch was surprisingly good and that beautifulness that is Fage 2% w/ Cherry held me over well through the afternoon, a workout, and until dinner which was almost 5 hours!

Workout

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. I’m not sure why I think of this as a “bummer” or a “bad thing” but I don’t think I’m cut out for the long distance running, at least not if I can’t commit to a serious training schedule. Last year, I was a beast. I followed the training to a T and did the races almost effortlessly; but then I burned out. I’ve done ok this year, but I struggled at the end of the 10-miler, doing lots of walking, and I know next weekends mini-marathon is going to be a challenge as well. So I’m thinking about walking the whole thing. What do you guys think?

For some perspective, my outdoor workout included a one hour walk. I walk pretty fast normally, so I estimate I kept a good 15-minute mile pace (or 4.0 mph). Iย expected to be disappointed and not even feel like I worked out, but that was so not the case. I should remember, was not long ago that I was walking every day, that’s one of the things that helped me lose over 70 lbs (in addition to healthy eating)! I was breathing harder than I would on a stroll, I sweated (not as much as with running), and my legs are still sore today, just not as much as they would have been. And I chose a route that included some inclines, so that was challenging too. Plus it was just so nice to be out in the warm sunshine, taking in the sights and not overexerting myself.

So I think my walk was a success. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with changing my routine to short distance running and long distance walking. I’m totally a 5k runner and I did enjoy the challenge of the 10k, but the longer distances are/were not my friend this year. We’ll see, I’ll keep you all posted for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

After my walk, I went back to the gym for some good stretching; I’ve been incorporating yoga poses into my routine which has really helped my calves and hips (down dog and pigeon). Now that the races are winding down, I so want to get back into yoga classes. I really miss how yoga makes me feel. So that’s on the to do list.

I also did something inspired by Angela, planks and side planks, oh boy! I started off in regular plank holding for 1 minute. This alone was a miracle because I used to shake and curse through 30 seconds, so being able to do it for a minute without complaining was inspiring to me. Now the side planks (with one arm) I could only hold for 30 seconds each. I rotated from side to side, doing each of the three planks twice. That’s why my arms and core are sore today! ๐Ÿ˜‰

For dinner, my husband cooked some chicken on the grill (marinated in buffalo sauce!) and I had a sweet potato with whipped butter and cinnamon and a slice of flax toast with butter as my sides.

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For dessert, two more great pieces of advice (one said “Happiness is Contagious” I remember that!). My dad calls dark chocolate his “blood pressure medication” (rolls eyes)…

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The husband and I watched “Role Models” which was pretty cute but definitely for adults only; we’re big KISS fans, so if you’ve seen the flick, you can imagine what parts we enjoyed the most ๐Ÿ™‚ I really enjoy Paul Rudd, always have. I’ve had “Love Gun” stuck in my head since last night, going on 12 hours now, hahaha. At our wedding, my husband and I danced our first dance to “Forever” by KISS. Our future children are going to be so embarrassed by us ๐Ÿ˜‰

During the flick, I got a little snacky…guess that walk was more powerful than I thought, so I had a cup of Multigrain Cheerios and some tea.

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Then, I guess this was sort of an experiment, but I had a second cup with a spoonful of Nutella

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I guess this addiction has been broken without me knowing it?! This stuff used to not last a week in my house and now I’ve only had two spoonfuls in almost a week! And last night when I ate this, I actually said to myself “This tastes too sweet!” Hahaha. I guess cutting out the CRAP really did away with some cravings after all. Nutella is not (really)ย crap, although the first ingredient is sugar. There are healthier alternatives out there too, but its not too bad to have in moderation.

I think I will reserve the rest of it for recipes or if I get a nice loaf of french bread one day, ooh or some croissants? ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Friday, yay, we made it!!

1, 2, 3?

An hour & a half after eating lunch, I felt so energized that I decided that would be the best time to go to the gym! Usually I wait until after work but sometimes fight with fatigue then, so this worked out perfectly.

Are any of you participating in Angela’s “Bikini Body Boot Camp“? I am!

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I’ve been doing really well with my running lately but my body could use some toning, especially my midsection. So I said, what the heck?

But I started today’s workout with a 3 mile run. It’s funny how Wednesday I did 1 mile, yesterday I did 2 miles and today 3. Does this mean tomorrow I’ll do 4? Who knows…I doubt it though since I”m spending most of the day in the car ๐Ÿ˜‰

Time: 35:00

Distance: 3.30 (I ran 3 miles in 33:58 which is 11:19/mile, then I walked for a couple minutes)

Calories: 300-ish

Man, have I said it enough times yet? I needย  a heart rate monitor! It’s driving me nutso. ๐Ÿ˜‰

By the way, I don’t recommend running without socks on! I left mine at home this morning but I just couldn’t bare not working out (that’s how you know you’ve got it bad) so I went ahead without ’em. Surprisingly, I only have a couple of small blisters and they aren’t bad. But I need to be careful. I’m always forgetting something. Wednesday, I forgot my t-shirt, but thankfully I had a full-length sports bra, so I just made due and showed a little more skin.

After the run and per Angela’s instructions I did 3 sets of push ups and 2 of Wigg’s Ab exercises.

For the pushups,ย I was on my knees for the first 2 sets and the wall for the lastย 1. I would’ve done them all on the floor but my arms are still kind of sore from Wednesday’s crazy weight lifting! I did one set of 12, one set of 10 and one set of 20. Can you tell which one was on the wall? I suck at pushups but maybe that’s something that can change.

The two ab exercises I chose were 1) regular crunches and 2) Side to side abs. For the regular crunches, I timed myself for 1 minute and just did as many as I could. Repeated 3 times. Then for the side-to-side ab exercise, I timed myself for 30 seconds. I originally intended to do 1 minute, but these are HARD. Repeated 3 times.

So needless to say (but I’m gonna), I feel pretty good today and I’m ready to go home and start my crazy long weekend. New York, here I come (tomorrow)!

Just to reiterate, I am going to keep up with blogging on my trip, so don’t go anywhere ๐Ÿ˜‰

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When it comes to exercise, when in doubt, do a little of everything! That worked for me today. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to run or use the elliptical so I did both. And some biking too! Plus some abs.

Let’s back up though…

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Breakfast today was a green monster (a la Angela) and some whole wheat toast with peanut butter and strawberries (a la Mari). I did like the strawberries with the PB toast, but it worked better for me to eat the strawberry, then take a bite of toast. If I took a bite of the strawberry on the toast, I couldn’t really taste the PB. Ya feel me?

Mid-morning, I started to get rather hungry and instead of ignoring it and trying to hold off until lunch, I went ahead and ate a snack. Sometimes you just have to honor your hunger…plus, I don’t want to pay for it later with late-night snack-raiding.

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Skyr.is Strawberry yogurt

I found this goodie at Whole Foods when I went on a massive yogurt raid a couple weeks back. It’s a little pricey, but I was intrigued by the container, the fact that it’s from Iceland, and the fact that this container of yogurt has 150 calories and 16 g protein!

Let’s take a closer look…

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It is thick like greek yogurt and pretty much tastes like it too. Actually, I’m pretty sure this is THE BEST strawberry yogurt I’ve ever had. Ever.

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It comes with a spoon and a plastic lid to cover the container back up incase you can’t finish it all and want to save it for later (which I totally did today). Half the container filled me up enough for a mid-morning snack and I saved the rest for this afternoon ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve emailed the company in hopes of getting some more samples. I couldn’t find any other flavors at my WF and since they are so expensive, I’d rather test them first. But I will say, I’d totally pay the price for this strawberry again, easily!

Lunch was leftovers only awesome-ized. Can you tell I’m jazzed that it’s Friday?

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Leftover pork “thingies”, 1/2 sweet potato with cinnamon, and some Minute brown rice (love this stuff). This was part 1.

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Part 2 was 1/2 a large grapefruit with a drizzle of honey and cinnamon sprinkled on top and heated in the micro for 30 seconds. Delicious! And it took me forever to eat, even with my nifty little grapefruit spoon ๐Ÿ™‚

About an hour after lunch, I felt this rush of energy and realized I hadn’t been for a workout yet today, haha. So off I went!

I wanted to run today but all the treadmills were taken when I got there. So I hopped on the elliptical and kept checking over my shoulder to see if anyone got off. I kept upping my resistance (levels 5-9, ramp at 10) and was sweating up a storm before long. After 30 super-sweaty minutes, I jumped off and got on a bike to read my new Health magazine. After 8 minutes there, someone finally left the treadmill so I quickly jumped up and claimed it. I walked for 2 minutes because I am weird and like even numbers (the 2 minute helped the bike time equal 10), and then I ran for 18 minutes and walked 2 more = 22 minutes on the treadmill.

That’s 60 minutes of cardio, woo hoo!

Afterwards, I did some major stretching and a couple of quick ab exercises = 10 minutes.

I’ve gotta run but I hope everyone has a great weekend and thanks for the bread tips, I’ll let you know what I end up with!!

Happy Friday ๐Ÿ™‚

I feel like Popeye

This week, thanks to a feature post on Healthy Ashley‘s site, I discovered the wonderful Angela of Oh She Glows! I’ve been following her site for the past few days and I’m so glad I found her ๐Ÿ™‚ She’s also doing a Crap Free Week right now to detox from sugar, but she’s a couple days ahead of me. Anyway, for breakfast, she’s been having what she refers to as “Green Monsters” aka breakfast smoothies that include greens. I had seen people do spinach smoothies before and had always wanted to try one and for some reason she inspired me to do so today.

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Here’s what went into my smoothie, taken directly from Angela’s site, with some slight modifications:

1 cup milk

A few ice cubes

Two big handfuls of spinach leaves

1 tbsp ground flax

1 medium banana

Oh…my…word. This was so good it made me wonder why the heck I haven’t been drinking these everyday! What an awesome way to get veggies in first thing in the morning. She was right too, I could not taste the spinach at all, it tasted very much like a banana smoothie. Every once in a while, I could feel the texture of the spinach (and flax) but I think I could’ve blended it a bit longer. Still, that wasn’t bad or anything. Plus look how cool the green color is! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also had a slice of bread (not toasted) with a tbsp of natural peanut butter. This breakfast was awesome and I can’t wait to make more of these smoothies in the future. Especially in the summer time when its warmer, although yesterday we were in the 60’s (raining and windy though). The temps are going back down today unfortunately but hopefully Spring is right around the corner (please)!

I just feel so good about starting off my morning that way. They are right when they say breakfast sets the tone. If you really enjoy breakfast and it makes you feel good, you are likely to feel that way the rest of the day. How cool. I’m thinking about having another tomorrow and using different fruits. Yay!

Happy Friday ๐Ÿ™‚