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Wildwood Probiotic Soyogurt

Before I gave up dairy products, I was a big fan of Greek yogurt because it was high in protein and contained very little sugar (I stuck to the plain variety). Ever since I became vegan, I have been struggling to find a non-dairy yogurt that met my high standards. And I have tried a lot of them!

Most of the flavored soy yogurts (and even some plain, like Whole Soy & Co) I have tried have sugar grams at least in the double digits (some even in the 20’s). I’ve tried just about every brand of soy yogurt on the market.

I even tried coconut milk yogurt but I really did not care for it at all. Since my last container of plain soy yogurt ran out, I had sort of given up and decided to take a break from yogurt for a while.

But then I found another brand, Wildwood, at a local health food store and I knew I had to give it a try.

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The first flavor I had was blueberry (16g sugar):

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This one was pretty good. A bit on the sweet side but I felt that it went very well with my blueberry granola 🙂

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Then strawberry (17g sugar):

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This one was okay too, just as sweet as the blueberry, maybe a little moreso. You know how when you eat really sweet yogurt it sort of stays with you (like an aftertaste)? Yeah.

I also tried the vanilla, which managed to escape the camera. It was actually sweeter than the first two flavors I tried (21g sugar, good Lord). I didn’t care much for this one at all, it was pretty overwhelming. I was surprised it had more sugar than the other two.

And then finally…drumroll please…

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This is THE BEST SOY YOGURT I’VE EVER HAD which contains just 4g sugar and 6g protein! I apparently saved the best for last. It was so creamy and to me tasted even better than the overpowering sweetness of the other three flavors.

This is my perfect vegan yogurt. It also boasts 5g fiber!

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I am beyond thrilled. I had heard of this product before but I did not know anywhere in Louisville sold this brand since they don’t seem to carry it at Whole Foods (although they do have Wildwood Probiotic drinks there). I sort of found it by accident one leisurely Saturday while out shopping!

But I will be making more trips to Amazing Grace to pick up some more of this stuff. I can’t wait to make overnight oats with it 😉

Healthier baked beans

As many of you know, two of my favorite meals are beans with rice and a sweet potato covered in baked beans!

However, when I started the 30 Day whole foods challenge, I knew there had to be a better choice out there than the usual baked beans I buy, which contain a lot of sugar (both brown and regular) and sodium.

Aside from making them myself, I found the next best thing! Healthier canned baked beans 🙂

These beans are made with the following ingredients: Organic Navy Beans, Water, Organic Sorghum, Organic Tomato Puree, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Mustard Seed, Organic Onion, Organic Spices, Sea Salt.

They contain significantly less sugar (6g as opposed to 12, per serving) and sodium (130 mg vs. 550)!

These Eden beans also have slightly more protein and fiber. It took a little getting used to at first because I was so hooked on the “sweet” taste of the Bush’s beans, but now that I’ve had these a few times, I prefer them — plus you can’t beat the nutritional upgrade!


They are a little more expensive per serving than some other brands out there. I think this 15 oz. can ran me about $2.49, while a larger, 28 oz can of Bush’s costs me $1.75 on average.

But, for my health and peace of mind, it was well worth it.

What healthier foods are you willing to pay more for?

Note: I bought this product with my own money and was not paid to review it for the company.

Early workout

Since I skipped my run last night, I decided to hit the gym first thing in the morning!

By 7:15, I had gotten in  a 3 mile run, which works out not just for my schedule but believe it or not, the weather has been a bit on the hot side!

Before I left home, I had half a pita with almond butter.

Even though I trying to just eat enough for my workout, I was kind of hungry still, so I had half a banana which did the trick.

Sorry it’s so dark, it was rather early this morning!

After my run, I refueled with this delicious Odwalla beverage that I will be buying again in the future (when it’s on sale, ha ha).

You gotta love a drink that tastes like a fruit smoothie, yet in addition contains things like wheat grass and Jerusalem artichokes. Plus no added sugar! Love it.

Today was another day without coffee. I don’t know what has gotten into me but I just don’t want it. Hmm…I did have two cups of tea though.

And some edamame for a snack later in the morning.

For lunch, I had leftover refried beans from last night on a salad, only I totally forgot to bring the rest of my avocado! I was so bummed. But luckily I found some leftover salsa in the fridge which helped spice things up a bit 😉

Finished off by a juicy delicious orange. I have found that eating a piece of fruit with lunch not only makes lunch more filling, but totally satisfies any sweet cravings I get so there isn’t a need to hit the vending machine or go on the hunt for chocolate.

When I started writing this post, I had just finished eating my afternoon snack. This is my last soy yogurt for a while.

I bought a bunch of them when they were on sale but I’m doing a challenge in May (details soon) that this will not fit in with because of the added sugar.

That being said, the peach flavor was really good! I believe this was my first time having it, in a while at least.

Are you doing any challenges in the coming months?

I’ve got one lined up for May that is food related and I’m thinking up one for June that is fitness related. Challenges really help keep me motivated and focused on my overall goal, which is to live the healthiest and happiest life possible 😉

Back on track

I just wanted to take this moment to share something with you today. You might remember, back in July, I was experiencing a slight weight gain that startled me a bit. I was also tired, somewhat unmotivated and bored with my “routine.” The summer seems to be a time of temptation for me too, with holidays, cookouts and birthday parties galore.

Once I did some investigating (thank goodness for this blog), I found that I was eating too much and exercising too much for my body. I had lost a bit of control. I also had a sneaking suspicion that some of the sugary foods I was eating were not only NOT satisfying me, but that they could’ve been increasing my hunger.

I decided to start with reducing the sugar in my diet first (checking labels, cutting back on fruit and watching “bad” carbs like baked goods and processed snacks) and I was immediately impressed. My energy was better. Food tasted better. Workouts were more productive. It’s amazing how getting a chemical out of your body will do that 😉 I also realized how carb-dependent and heavy my diet was and I made adjustments to that as well. There is nothing wrong with carbs…I just had that “pyramid mentality” of thinking I needed at least 7 ounces a day and that’s just not the case.

Then, just 8 short weeks ago today, I got really serious. I started counting calories again, though not obsessively, and I realized that I had been eating more because I thought it was what I had to do, instead of listening to my body and paying attention to my habits. Once I started tracking, I could see what days resulted in what calorie intakes and it all started making sense again. I don’t set a range for myself, I just tally up what I have for the day. I know I’m going to have to eat more on days I work out, around my menstrual cycle, and due to some other biological factors. Somedays, especially if I’m not very active, I will eat less.

But having that sheet in front of me also showed that I sometimes eat out of stress, boredom, etc. and I believe I have remedied that now. I think I might almost be a recovering emotional eater! Tracking my meals also helps me plan for the week and be super efficient at grocery shopping. I’m spending less money now and using up lots of things that have been sitting around the house for too long.

I have a very healthy relationship with calorie tracking now. I don’t try to limit my numbers or beat myself up if they go above a certain range. I just live.

And I have noticed that since I’ve been doing that, reducing sugar, and controlling portions again, I eat much less. I don’t eat out of habit or by the clock anymore. I’m not eating a certain number of calories because so and so eats that much. I have stopped comparing myself to other people, other runners, other women my age and size. We are all so different!

I eat when I am hungry, with real foods that I want to eat (not that I think I have to) which satisfy me, with an occasional “treat” (but not every day). Sometimes I don’t need a snack after dinner. Sometimes I don’t need one mid-morning. Sometimes I have a light lunch or a heavy dinner. Sometimes I’m not hungry for breakfast first thing in the morning, so I wait until I am.  Nothing wrong with any of that.

On the exercise front, I have still been working out 5-6 days a week. But I’m not killing myself anymore. I still get a good mixture of cardio, weight training and yoga when I have the time. But I went from sweaty, long and intense workouts that made me want to pass out to shorter, more moderate level workouts that still make me sweat, but don’t zap my energy for the rest of the day. That don’t leave me too tired that I can’t do anything when I get home from work. That don’t make me extraordinarly hungry for the rest of the day and so on. I don’t rely on “calories burned” to determine the quality of my workout anymore. I don’t set time limits…even small bouts of exercise are effective.

Right now, the only thing that matters to me is that I am moving. That I am having fun. That I am honoring my body by giving it what it needs and not pushing it too hard. A little pushing is okay 😉 If I need to rest, like yesterday, then darn it, I will rest. There is nothing wrong with taking a day (or two) off now and then. And naps are such a good thing too!

I also weigh myself reguarly, one time per week, always on Monday mornings before I eat breakfast. I find it is a good way for me to start off the week. Whether it is up or down, it gives me the motivation to set some weekly goals, even if that is just to keep doing the same things. But this works FOR ME and I know not everyone can see it this way. In fact, I used to let a weigh in disrupt my entire week. Now, it is just a side note. I’ve even had slightly “up” weeks since I started this new “track” but I haven’t let it affect me negatively.

Well folks, it has all paid off. In the last 8 weeks, I have lost exactly 10 lbs. I am still not back down to my “happy weight” yet, but I am very happy with where I am at right now. I feel great and I feel the healthiest I have EVER been. I love my diet, my workouts, and the way my clothes fit. I love not being stressed out about food or exercise anymore. Everything seems to be back on track.

I just want to say that if there is something you are struggling with in your life, including weight, don’t give up. Don’t succumb to the stress and the pressure. Search yourself, be intuitive and find a healthy balance for you and only you. Use others as inspirations but not guides. Listen to your body and only speak to yourself positively. If you think you might need professional help, don’t be afraid to seek it out. I think it takes more bravery to do that than anything. You are worth it.

Be kind to yourselves and each other. God bless 🙂

Prioritizing

Happy Thursday y’all! Thank God it’s almost Friday, right? Thank you for all the great comments on my last post about the Bittman article! I appreciate it.

For breakfast this morning, I had two Eggo waffles, a Morningstar Farms patty and some canned pears that I drained and rinsed (can you tell I’m trying to use stuff up)?

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I debated over whether to put something on the waffles but in the end I just ate them plain and enjoyed it that way 😉

Mid-morning, I snacked on some mixed nuts and took a 15 minute walk, yay!

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For lunch, I reluctantly had the leftover Lentil Rice and Veggie Bake that I made for girls night this week. It was actually kind of better today or perhaps I was just really hungry 😉

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Yes, I threw some Brussels on there! I love them and they are high in Vitamin C! That is especially cool with cold and flu season upon us.

After lunch, I had some fruity tea and a piece of dark chocolate. Sorry recycled pic here, the other one disappeared!

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For my afternoon snack, I decided to give soy yogurt another try. I’ve been doing some research and it is hard to find non-dairy yogurts that are also low in sugar! I’ve found one brand that I want to look for next time I’m at Whole Foods but for now, this one had to do.

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This little container has 18 grams of sugar. This made me realize I need a priority? What is going to take precedence? Sugar or the fact that this is non-dairy?

I’ve long said I would not choose “junk” in favor of avoiding meat or dairy products. There are a lot of restaurants where the only vegetarian or vegan options would be French fries. I’m sort of in a pickle here. Ooh pickles…I digress.

But for now, the soy yogurt was good and I won’t eat it everyday so perhaps it can remain a part of my diet? I also don’t want to overdo soy products. This does have some good points though.

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To “bulk” it up a bit, I added two tablespoons of Ezekiel golden flax cereal. I did just a little bit first to try it.

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But it was totally yummy so I threw the rest on there and went to town. The yogurt was so creamy and just a bit sweet, not terribly overwhelming like some of the fruit flavors. I’d get it again.

After work, I got to take an hour long yoga class. It was pretty simple, for beginners, but I enjoyed it immensely. I left there feeling relaxed and peaceful which is my favorite thing about yoga.

Our teacher was also really funny! She was an older woman and she made the funniest little jokes during our practice. She said her instructor once told her that if you don’t breathe during your asanas, your brain will freeze, ha ha!

The class was great and when I got home I was STARVING! So I hurried up and made dinner. On the menu tonight…TOFU!

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I got a small package of Silken Extra Firm tofu (Mori-Nu), drizzled some canola oil on it, sprinkled on some seasonings and baked it in the oven at 425 for 25 minutes (a bit longer since it’s Silken).

On the side I had some mixed veggies, a pita pocket (plain) and some ketchup for dipping the tofu. It was so delicious!

I’m enjoying a nice cup of peppermint tea and a piece of dark chocolate. This kind that I have, it is vegan and it only contains 5 grams of sugar per 3 pieces! Thank goodness I don’t have to make a choice there 😉

The cool thing is that this is MY diet so I can decide. I hope you do the same for yourself. Good night!

Feeling alright

Hey guys, happy Wednesday 🙂

In the words of Bon Jovi “Ooooh, we’re halfway there…”

Aww, yeah!

I don’t have any food pics to share with you yet but I hope to have those up tonight. Basically, after a long day at work and a nice walk at the park with Suzie and a friend of mine, I was whooped and fell asleep around 9:00. But I woke up at 11:00 to go downstairs, turn my phone off, wave at my husband (literally, I was too tired to speak) and then go back to bed, ha ha.

But I’m feeling good today. I don’t have any cold symptoms and that tired worn down feeling is gone, even if I have been feeling the need for more sleep lately — I think I’m ready for hibernation mode since it’s been so cool outside. We’re having 70’s this weekend after a brief heatwave over the next couple of days. What is this?

But, I still took some Vitamin C this morning and I’m still washing my hands every opportunity I get 🙂

Weight Update

I looked at my calendar this week and realized that it has been a month since I started working toward a lower sugar lifestyle. I officially began this journey on my husband’s birthday, July 27th, and here we are a month later already, I can’t believe it. Read my post about it all here: What’s going on?

Since I prefer to look at my weight progression over the course of a month, rather than week to week, I thought it was high time for an update. I do weigh myself every Monday but I don’t feel like it is worth it to mention every single week since we know there are times when it fluctuates for reasons that we cannot control.

On 7/27, I weighed in at 160.5 lbs.

On 8/24, I weighed in at 151 lbs.

So, in a month’s time I was able to get back into my comfort zone by paying more attention to the foods I was putting into my body, cutting back on processed junk, exercising moderately and resting when I needed to rest. It is easy to get caught in a rut of desserts (like baked goods, candy and ice cream) and sugary foods (like sweetened yogurts, energy bars, fruit). It’s like an addiction. Now that I have that under control, I no longer feel the urge to eat sugary foods, even fruit. I do like to have a serving with breakfast for the nutrients and because it goes well with oatmeal but other than that, I don’t really crave it the way I used to.

I do eat dark chocolate almost every night but it’s enough to satisfy me and dark chocolate does have antioxidant qualities (that’s my story anyway). I do have the occasional dessert but only on special occasions (like Wednesday nights with my girls) and I am not keeping them in the house! I do have a container of ice cream in my freezer right now from the other night when I was feeling ill, but it’s not staying there, ha ha.

I also realize that it’s easy to get caught in exercise ruts too. I think sometimes I would exercise more so that I could eat dessert, and that is not healthy either. I also ate way too much when I was running/training and it has been a hard transition now that I don’t run long distances anymore. I’ve had to relearn body needs vs. wants and habits.

Now, I just try to stick to moderate workouts, including a good mixture of walking, running, weight training and yoga. Plus occasionally venturing onto new cardio machines like the stair master and rower. I’ve also come to appreciate days off from exercise or at least lighter days and not packing a gym bag to work every single day. Today is one of those days…I wore tennis shoes though so I can at least take a few short strolls to clear my head 🙂

Exercise, like dessert, can be overdone. I think I am finding a balance, slowly but surely. I still plan on tracking my calories for a while just because it has been interesting for me to see the days when I need more than others and what foods keep me more satisfied at what times. I set no goals for the day and it is in no way obsessive. If it becomes that way, I will end this little experiment.

In summary, I feel great. I feel like I’m in control again and I certainly don’t feel deprived in any way. I feel like I’ve found what works best for my body and I have no plans of changing that any time soon. It is important that we all find what works for us and this won’t necessarily be the same as another person in your life, another blogger, etc. It’s something you have to find for yourself, even if you are inspired by others along the way.

Thanks friends! Be back soon 🙂

What’s going on?

I’ve taken the last few weeks to reflect on my goals, make some adjustments to my habits, and try some new things.

I’ve also had quite a few indulgent weekends this summer that have left my pants a bit tight and my energy levels zapped. I hadn’t weighed myself in a LONG time, so I figured it was time. I wasn’t surprised to see that I had reached 160.5 lbs. I always said if I ever hit 160, it was time to make some changes. The difference this time was, I was not at all upset or disappointed. While it doesn’t really matter, for new readers to get an idea, my lowest weight was 144 and my “happy place” was 147.5.

I knew where it came from and I knew what I had to do to change it! Plus, I’ve found that being positive is the only way to live one’s life. Negativity will always drag you down and probably everyone around you too. So why bother?

Before I get in to this, let me issue a disclaimer: What I’m about to describe is working FOR ME. It may not be for you, since we are all so different in our genetic make-ups and lifestyles.  And it is certainly not meant to replace a doctor’s or nutritionist’s advice. This is just my story.

You may recall a few weeks back, I mentioned that Heather had inspired me to be more conscious of the sugars I was ingesting on a daily basis. If you haven’t read her post on sugar, you should do it now!

For longer than I can remember, my diet has been carb heavy, meaning it is the majority of the food I eat. That only increased when I became a runner in late 2007. I read in a magazine once that my body type and shape (apple) can actually have a hard time handling sugar (even in whole grain form) and I was told by my doctor that this could impact hormone levels and even have an effect on future fertility, but I didn’t want to listen, until now. But it is not only “carbs” that create problems for me — it’s those added sugars in things like yogurt, bars, and other processed foods that my body just doesn’t handle very well.

Once I was out of fruit, Z bars, dried apricots, and a few other things, I began a new, lower sugar lifestyle. I’m focusing on eating mostly vegetables, protein, fat, a little bit of fruit and a little bit of grains. Now, I have another confession to make.

Last week, I started counting calories again. Not to limit myself, but to be observant of my body’s true needs and as a form of research if you will. The most interesting thing I have learned is that I do not eat the same amount everyday. In fact, I operate on an every other day fluctuation of sorts. For example, one day I will have 1400, the next day 1700, the day after that 1300 and so on. Now, I know they say never to eat less than 1400 calories a day but I swear on those days I was completely satisfied and did not want to eat just because I had the calories “reserved”.

Note: Earlier this year, I challenged myself to stop weighing and stop counting calories. These were both very positive behavior changes and I feel, are responsible for my new outlook on both things even though I am now doing them again.

Before this, I estimated that I ate around 1800-2000 calories every day. While this works for some people, I believe that my current body composition, activity level and history of weight loss does not allow for this much. The thing about losing weight is that the more you lose, the less you need. A girl who weighs 160 lbs — but always has — needs more calories per day than I do since I used to weigh 225. I never ate 1800 calories when I was losing weight before, so why am I surprised that eating that much caused me to gain?

I had been making myself eat that much (and sometimes more) even though my body nor my appetite required it.

One thing people assume is that we need a certain amount of food groups in our everyday diets. I was one of those people, thinking I had to eat so many servings of fruit, 3 glasses of milk, so many ounces of grains, etc. I asked Heather if she felt her vitamin and mineral levels were suffering because of lower fruit/carb intake and she gave me some of her wisdom as to the vitamin content in vegetables as well as taking a supplement where you see yourself deficient.

I tracked my eats for one day in order to determine where I stood and I noticed that the only place I was really missing out was Vitamin E, so I try to add wheat germ to my oatmeal and I’m considering taking a supplement soon too. I was surprised how well I still met all the other requirements! I also already take a calcium + vitamin D + magnesium and zinc supplement on the days I can remember to (this is in addition to my multi-vitamin which I do take most days).

Another way I think many people go wrong is that they think lowering sugar in their diet means eating a lot of processed “sugar free” foods (which are not always good for you) and/or using foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, etc. I will admit this was a concern of mine since I had previously cut out most artificial sweeteners in my diet already.

How can you avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners/ingredients at the same time? It’s actually quite simple.

For the past week now…

I get grains and fruit from breakfast consisting of oats (made with 1/2 milk 1/2 water), a sliced banana, and a spoonful of PB (all natural!) on most days. I’ve also been able to reduce the portion sizes a bit and I’m trying to get out of the mentality that you have to eat a certain amount of something, instead of listening to your body and your fullness (something I picked up from reading French Women for All Seasons). There have been also been a couple of days when I’ve had eggs or an omelet (with toast) for breakfast. 

I drink one cup of coffee every day and I do use creamer, which doesn’t have the best ingredients (I do use a no trans fat kind) but if it is my one and only vice right now, I don’t mind that at all. Plus it makes drinking coffee a little bit more fun 😉

When I need mid-morning snacks (which is not every day now), I’ve been working with hard boiled eggs, veggies with hummus or PB, and a few other smaller, more protein dense snacks. I used to eat a lot of bars, both with and without protein, and those hardly ever felt like they held off my hunger. In fact, bars like the Z bars, with over 10 grams of sugar and very little protein (not to mention most of them include chocolate) only caused my hunger to grow.

Lunches have been a lot of salads, which weren’t big on my list before, but now that I have learned from Heather and many other bloggers out there, to make bigger salads with more veggies, protein (beans, etc.), and other ingredients, salads have become not only fun but quite satisfying. Never again will I eat a wimpy salad with just dressing. In fact, I’ve hardly used salad dressing, choosing instead to rely on hummus, which is a magical food in it’s own right.

I used to get the worst 2 or 3 p.m. slumps at work and those have completely disappeared. I had read before that excluding carbs from your lunch could help with this and I see now that whoever said that was right. I used to eat bread (or pasta or crackers) and fruit with lunch every day! I have also noticed now that I am more productive throughout the day and in a better mood when I get home from work, which I now makes my husband and dog happier campers too.

Afternoon snacks are pretty much the same as mid-morning, but the best one for me is usually mixed nuts with their protein + satisfying fat content, they keep me perked up and satisfied throughout the rest of the afternoon. I also sometimes like to have a cup of tea either between lunch and a snack or between my snack and going home for the day. While mid-morning snacks are not always required, I have yet to have a day go by where I didn’t need something to hold me between lunch and dinner (which is a longer period of time usually).

Dinners have been here and there, mostly protein and veggies. But a few times, I’ve had veggie pizza, beans and barley, or other meals including carbs and I feel okay doing that because I have them under control the rest of the day. After dinner, I am consistently full and not having thoughts going through my head about hitting up the pantry for another snack because dinner was not enough.

My sugar demons are leaving me!

For dessert, I have been eating mostly dark chocolate in controlled portions. Every now and then, I’ll have a spoonful of peanut butter. I also love to drink a cup of tea at night to relax me before bed. Gone are the days of eating multiple bowls of cereal, ice cream, or endless spoonfuls of Nutella or Dark Chocolate Dreams after dinner. Those things are not bad themselves, but my ability to control myself around them had become troublesome.

I do not feel deprived at all. In fact, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to eat sugary foods, my body does not want them! I drink lots of water, eat when I am hungry, don’t when I am not and stop eating when I am full, not when the plate is empty. Or if I’m still hungry, I eat more. Every day is not the same.

I’m also happy to say I plan to start blogging more regularly from now on. When I had taken breaks before, it was mostly because I was not happy with what I was eating or I felt like I was in a rut. I also think it is related to my energy because I hardly “felt” like blogging most days. I’m finally back to a place where I look forward to blogging again and I’m happy to be doing it.

If I wasn’t able to workout at work, with a partner who holds me accountable, I probably would’ve skipped that a lot too. Thank goodness it never got to that point!

My exercise this past week or so has been the usual, lots of strength training and cardio sessions with a few Yoga Downloads here and there. The intensity has remained the same and the time for the most part (30-60 minutes per day). Even though you could say my diet is now lower in carbohydrates, my workouts are not suffering at all. In fact, I think they are better now than they have ever been. I plan to start training for 5K’s again in September, so we will see if I am impacted at all then.

I feel great. My skin is clearing up (unexpected side effect). I’m sleeping better. I’m having more fun. I feel happier. My pants are already loosening. Life is good.

Thanks for reading if you have made it this far. I feel really good about where things are going with my new way of eating. Once again, let me just say this is me. What works for me may not work for you, I know that from trying to do many things other people have done for years. I know my body now and I listen to her when she tells me something ain’t right. I hope you do the same for you 🙂

For the love of almond butter

Hey blog friends! I guess I just barely made the self-imposed 3-day limit between blog posts, whoops. How are you?

I have lots to catch up on but let’s talk first about something “new” I tried recently. I have had almond butter before but only the chunky variety. It was good but I still think PB is the best, in my opinion.

This past week or so, I started using another kind of almond butter, Blue Diamond creamy almond butter which I found at Whole Foods. Unfortunately almond butter tends to be a bit more expensive…this one clocked in at $4.99.

I have eaten it many times this week, many different ways, but mostly in my morning oatmeal!

With dried apricots and chocolate chips:

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The usual (aka banana):

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Just as a side note, I have used up all my dried fruit and am now down to just bananas in my oats in the morning. I’ve also cut back on my grain intake (which I learned to overdo as a runner), especially mid day, which I have already noticed make a HUGE difference in my energy levels. No more 2 p.m. slump for this girl!

I am a fan of gritty nut butters and this one certainly satisfied that. It took a little getting used to after using PB for so long but it certainly keeps me satisfied and tastes very good.

That being said, I’m ready to switch back to PB for a bit – but I’d like to keep almond butter in my regular rotation, maybe I will even try to make my own?!

It also makes a great topping for plain Greek yogurt, mmm…

Have a lovely evening!

p.s. I noticed on the website that they have a honey variety, oh oh! 😉

Checking in

Happy Saturday friends!

Just thought I would check in before Mari sends out a search party, haha. How are you all?

This week was just a bit too crazy for me. I had my photo shoot, anniversary, etc. and ended up staying home from work yesterday because I was exhausted and started getting headaches. But after lots of naps and sleeping until 9:15 today (unheard of!) I am feeling much better and ready to make this a productive weekend 🙂

On Wednesday, I met the stylist at a very cute place in the Highlands called Pitaya. There are a few other locations but you can also check them out online, they have some seriously cute clothes (that I couldn’t afford right now, haha).

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Here are my two favorites from what I tried on. The stylist ended up picking out something totally different for the actual shoot though, which I have no idea how it looks since there weren’t any full length mirrors, so I guess we’ll all be in suspsense until September!

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I loved this dress because it is my favorite color, plus the belt gives me more of a waist and it makes some other things look bigger too 😉

This is what I was supposed to wear before the last minute switch…remember, this is a “business woman” magazine.

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I loved this one too, I would go back and buy it if I could. Someday!

For breakfast this morning, I had 1/2 cup Quaker oats (got a HUGE 42 oz container at Walmart for $2!) cooked in the micro with 1/2 cup plain light soymilk and 1/4 cup water, added some wheat germ, and topped with chocolate chips, PB and dates.

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I am trying to use up all of my fruit and dried fruit since I’m going to try and cut back on sugar. I think I’m still going to have one piece of fruit a day (most likely a banana in my oats!) and then strive to get my other nutrients from veggies.

I can’t wait to finally get started! I think doing it slowly might be better though 😉

Whirlwind weekend

Hey peeps!

I can’t believe it’s already been three days again since I’ve been on here (sorry Mari, haha). It’s been a crazy weekend…took a trip on Friday to Indiana to see No Doubt with Paramore, which was awesome but left us not getting home until 4 a.m.! Then Saturday I had a day trip downtown with my girlfriends to an amazing restaurant and art gallery (photos coming soon). Then that night was UFC 100 which we hosted at our house complete with pizza and boneless buffalo wings!

Needless to say, I’m ready for this week to start. I’m still trying to use up a lot of foods in the house before I start “cleaning up” my diet again. I don’t believe in wasting anything (as in throwing it away) so I’m thinking that perhaps next week or the week after I’ll be ready to get on a new track.

I’ve been reading Heather’s blog a lot recently and I’m taking a lot of what she says to heart. We have similar stories of HUGE weight loss (she’s kept hers off for 10 years!), being runners, and also experimenting with lots of different diet “strategies.” Lately, she has shared a lot about sugar (how we don’t need it) and it has really hit home for me.

I’ve cut back on sugar before and it made me feel great…until I started supplementing it with artificially sweetened products. Then, earlier this year when I went “crap free” I removed artificial sweeteners from my diet (mostly) and have also been more conscious of things like high fructose corn syrup and products whose first ingredient is sugar.

But, I know I’ve let the sugar slide a little too much lately and I am paying the price. I’m finding myself more and more tired, not getting as much out of my workouts as I used to and just overall, feeling kind of crappy (for lack of a better word). I’m also realizing that I need to do what works for me, what I’m feeling, and what I want instead of what a book or the food pyramid or anything like that says. So, even though I’m using Heather as inspiration, I’m doing my own thing and will adjust for my own needs and tastes.

This whole thing is still sort of in the brainstorming stages, but here is what I’m thinking about so far:

More : Vegetables, protein (seafood, nuts, nut butters, beans, etc.), good fats (nuts, avocados, some oils), plain Greek yogurt, cheese…

Less : Fruit, grains (bread, rice, etc.), bars as snacks, desserts, diet soda, heavily sweetened yogurt, adding sugar to anything (coffee, oatmeal, etc.), chewing gum (sugarless, but still a bad habit)…

FYI – I am not doing this for weight loss! I’ve actually only weighed myself a couple of times this summer (since starting my no weigh in challenge) and I’ve remained steady. My clothes fit fine, even a bit loose at times. I’m doing this to feel better overall, to get more energy (and more out of my workouts) and also to have a little fun experimenting with new foods and recipes along the way.

I’ll discuss this more when I’m ready to get it going and with more of a plan in mind. As for today…I have leftover pizza for lunch 😉

Happy Monday!