Whoa, life, slow down!

Things have been nuts. Not necessary “I’m busy every second of every day” nuts, but just overwhelmingly overwhelming.

I can’t believe it’s already August. I can’t believe my husband is a 3rd year Medical Student. I can’t believe next year he’s going to be applying to Residency’s (Residencies? I don’t know). I can’t believe in a year and a half we’ll know where we are going for Residency. For the next four years of our lives. For the next four years of this incredibly long journey to becoming a doctor. I’m complaining, but really, being the wife of a med student isn’t hard on me. It’s hard on my emotions. It’s hard on my husband, which makes me sad I can’t help him find more hours in the day, more days in the week, more weeks in the year, more brain room, more study time. It sure sounds (and looks) like trying to be the best doctor you can be is exhausting!

Moving has sucked up all my time. If I’m not physically trying to unpack/organize, I’m thinking about it, worrying that it’s not getting done fast enough, or wishing I was physically doing it. It’s exhausting my brain

Eating lower carbs and running again are exhausting my body. 

Work is exhausting my emotions. Applying for jobs is exhausting my will.

Finances are exhausting my hope. Hope of starting a family in the next year. Hope of affording a much needed vacation when my husband has time off. Hope of making our new house guest-ready. 

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If I’ve learned one thing from Calvin in the last week, it’s that you should always be sneaky. “I’ll just try to push this gate open and combat crawl into the bedroom for some cuddles…”

***Now exiting Complaint Central***

Diet is going well. Exercise is going pretty well. I need some mid-week running motivation. I’m hoping I just *snap* into half-training mode after Saturday, when my training schedule official begins. I can’t wait to get back to 8, 10, 12 mile runs on Saturdays. I miss those days.

I found this recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Riblets. I absolutely adore my slow cooker, so decided to give it a try. Of course all the meat fell off in the process, and the “riblets” because pulled pork (did I cook them too long? Was it necessary to use baby back ribs like the recipe called for?), but it was still delicious! I’ll link back to recipe later, and make a “Recipe Page” when I figure out where it came from!

It’s super easy and there are only 6 ingredients!

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs pork ribs, cut in half horizontally (you can ask the meat department to do this for you at the grocery store)
  • 1 tbsp garlic-pepper seasoning
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp hot chili paste
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar

Directions

  1. Spray crock pot. Add pork and season with garlic-pepper. Cook on low 7-8 hours.
  2. Remove pork riblets (or if your recipe turns out like mine, pulled pork without the “pulling”) with a slotted spoon and toss in maple syrup.
  3. Combine all other ingredients. Mix together with ribs. 
  4. Cook riblets on a grill or in a wok for 10-12 minutes.**

*I didn’t do this step because my riblets all pulled apart. I instead mixed all the ingredients with them and put them back in the crock pot for another hour on low.

Two days ago I made some Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters, which are delicious!!

Ingredients

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Coconut Oil (~1 tbsp)
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Unsweetened, shredded coconut
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Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters

And that’s all I’ve got for today! I’ll add the nutrition to these recipes later this week. Happy Wednesday!

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Today is the (re)Start of Something Beautiful

Firstly, Happy Anniversary to my awesome husband! The last 4 years have been amazing and I’m so thankful to have you in my life. You push me to be a better person: spiritually, mentally, physically — and I’m so, so, SO thankful for you and all you do!

Today is not only my 4-year-wedding-anniversary, but also the re-start of my low carb life! If you haven’t been following me from the start (which not many of you have been), my husband and I started eating a low carb diet last summer, a little after July 4th, and continued until maybe September or October? I could go back in the blog but it’s just too much to sort through!

We took a break from low carb (and just tried to limit our carbs – w/ not much success) since then, after reading a study that basically said eating low carb wasn’t necessarily the best for your future health (higher risk of heart disease and other things that scared me). BUT…after weighing the options (and spending the last 10 months only losing 15 or so lbs), I’ve decided being overweight is worse for me in the long run than those future health risks. So back to low carb I go!

Thus brings us to today: the (re)Start of Something Beautiful.

Welcome back to my journey! I may be 50+ lbs lighter, but I’ve also still got 40+ lbs to lose.  Any recipes or quick take out/restaurant low carb (or paleo) suggestions would be very helpful, as well as any tips! I’m basically considering myself a newbie since it’s been so long since I’ve been strictly low carb.

My next half marathon in 11/9/13 – so training starts next weekend. I am 100% returning to my original blogging purpose!

Low Sugar, Low Carbs, Long Runs (attempt #2)

Here goes nothing!

-A

 

thank you + an important question (at the end)

I wanted to thank you all (ya’ll? i’m having an identity crisis stemming from my 2nd year of southern living) for your comments and likes yesterday. I was overall just having a bad, bad day and was upset with the negative comments I received (and did not approve) on my posts.

I guess it comes down to the fact that this is my blog, and so I’m going to write about what I want to write about. I definitely want the folks who read my blog to enjoy the content, so that’s why I asked your opinions.

The goal of this blog was (at the beginning) and is (now and forever more!) to document my journey to healthy, and my journey maintaining healthy once I get there. For me, this doesn’t include eating no sugar. It includes eating limited sugar (and avoiding added sugar), making healthy choices, avoiding things like breads and white potatoes and other useless (in my opinion) carbs, and enjoying this lifestyle change along the way! So, that being said, I will probably still post some fruity smoothie recipes that I think are delicious and natural and healthy for me (but maybe less in number)

I really, really, really appreciate your readership, your understanding, and your skipping over my posts (or individual sections) if it’s not something that interests you! I’m going to work on increasing the quality of my posts, since I know I’ve been lacking in that department. I hope to keep on blogging and keep on working towards healthy for months and years to come!

And now — one question for all the long distance runners who follow me — what do you use to fuel yourself for a long run? Last week’s 8 mile run was such a drag, I was so fatigued and just completely beat by 6 miles. I have been trying to eat around 1200-1300 calories a day, and limiting my carbs (other than fruits). I’m trying to eat no different on Friday nights than any other day during the week (I used to eat more on Fridays to account for my long runs on Saturdays — but decided that wasn’t necessary).

Last Friday night I had a weird dinner — chicken breast and mashed cauliflower and a red pear. What might be a better option to fuel me on my long runs Saturday mornings? I want to stick to my diet but am willing to add in a carb-heavy item like brown rice or whole wheat pita bread if need be — just not too much. Also, I ate a banana about an hour before my run. thank you in advance for suggestions!

Have a Happy Thursday!

“Paleo” Brownies & more running!

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Yesterday when it was getting colder out and I wanted to skip my run, Zooma posted this on their Facebook page and I immediately had a change of heart. Thanks for keeping me encouraged, Zooma!

Only one week until the half! I’m so super excited! And we’ve decided to bring Calvin along to Tybee Island for the day, so he’s super excited too!

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Doesn’t this face just scream “I’m so excited!!”
…. or not …

The only problem with this half is the distance from my house. We are too financially strained to get a hotel room, so we are going to drive the 4.5 hours that morning. I’m not really too worried about it since when I do stay in a hotel room I normally only sleep 3-4 hours because of nervousness/uncomfortable bed/brain can’t relax/etc.  I wake up multiple times the night before a race to check my alarm. Call me crazy, I know. So, waking up at 2 am the morning of my race won’t be too bad.

I’ve been attempting to change my sleeping habits by getting up at 6am (normally I get up at 7am – – ahh the joys of working from home!) the latter half of this week (finally succeeded this morning, yes!), and will be getting up at 5 am starting on Sunday, and 4am on on Wednesday & Thursday to prepare my mind/body for my 2am wake up on race morning. This way I can go to bed super early Friday night before my race and at least sleep for 7 hours (I’ll probably still wake up to check my alarm like a crazy person, but you can only prepare so much!)

My running has been going great. I’ve done all my training runs this week. 13.1 on Saturday, 6 on Monday, 3 on Wednesday, & 3.5 on Thursday. My weight loss has been at a standstill. But I’m okay. I’m not eating that bad. I’m sneaking in a few more snacks than I probably should simply because of hunger.  I’ve been letting myself get away with it, so all I can do is work to put a stop to it. Stop making impulse buys at the grocery store, as seen here:

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The BEST popcorn combo I have ever had — who would have thought that cheddar and caramel would go so perfectly together?!

Stop baking treats. I may have had two of these beauties  (no flour, low carb, low sugar brownies — are you drooling yet? go ahead, click the link!) the day I made them:

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“As Paleo as Brownies Can Get” Brownies!

AND, stop snacking when I’m not hungry. Yesterday I made a new version of my homemade granola bars, which can be found here. They were so awesome that I had 1 and a half (+ crumbs from the baking sheet) just because, I wasn’t even hungry and I definitely didn’t need any additional calories:

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I don’t normally like to brag, but these granola bars are A-MA-ZING!

So, as you can see, I’ve been busy in the snacking-department. I have’t gained any weight since I’ve also been busy in the working-out-department, but they seem to be canceling each other out. Time to stop snacking!

Have a wonderful Friday!

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“I’m too cool for the camera ” -love, Calvin

I hate the dentist, and I’m pretty sure she hates me too.

My day started out with a 3 hour long trip to the dentist, to have 3 cavities filled and a cleaning. Not the best way to start my day, but better then working I guess, and it reminded me how thankful I am that I am so over my love of sugar (and one of the reasons my teeth suck)!
So I took it as a sign when I found this little quiz on the news site I visit daily. As I took the “quiz” (it’s not really a quiz, just a few questions you answer ‘true’ or ‘false’ to), I was amazed how every single question would have been a ‘TRUE TRUE TRUE!!!’ only 3 months ago. But thanks to my friend, the low carb diet, I have kicked my sugar addiction to the curb and am moving on with my life.

In no way is sugar completely out of my life. I enjoy baking (just using alternatives to sugar) and I’m sure when my weight loss journey is over I will eat things that contain sugar, but in moderation. Moderation is something that I’m still working on, but getting better at. It feels nice that I don’t feel the need to rush to candy when I’m upset, and I in no way need to incorporate it into my diet like I did before. I honestly feel more free.

I had some free time at work and was googling articles on low carb diets, and found this one from  NYTimes.com. I shared this article with The Hubby, who is a little genius and is a doctor-in-training, told me there are some concerning parts about this article that may make us re-think our diets.

He’s been asking if we could switch to the Mediterranean Diet for weeks and I think I’m finally ready to agree. For now, I’m going to focus on one serving of whole-grains a day, and go from there. I’m going to still watch my sugar like crazy and watch my carbs, but maybe aim for 150-200g per day, instead of under 100g, and focus on my carbs being from fruits and veggies for the most part. I can’t wait to eat fruit again!

I’ve been sick for the last 2 days, which has meant no exercise. I have this annoying, awful cold that has been keeping me up at night (even with Nyquil!) and has kept me hopped up on cold medicine all day. No. Fun. At. All! I’ve given myself a 3-day break from exercise, but today is the last day. Tomorrow I’m going on a lunch run and am lifting with the hubby at night. No excuses!

Tonight’s dinner was Chicken Lettuce Wraps, which are my favorite thing to get at P.F. Chang’s. I got the recipe from Iowa Girl Eats and changed it just a little.

Lettuce Wraps

from Iowa Girl Eats

Chicken Lettuce Wraps (chicken portion!)

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground chicken breast
  • 1/2 large onion, minced
  • salt & pepper, a dash of each
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch nob fresh ginger, peeled & minced
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili sauce (or more if you like it hotter – I’m a wuss!)
  • dash of fresh pepper
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained & chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped (optional)
  • 10-12 large outer lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry

Directions

  1. Heat a wok or large pan on high heat with 1-2 tsp olive oil.
  2. Add ground chicken, onion, salt & pepper and cook until almost done.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and cook until done (not pink).
  4. Combine sesame oil, soy sauce, Hoisin Sauce, Chili sauce, and fresh pepper. Add to pan. Mix until combined.
  5. Add green onions, chestnuts, mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat and add peanuts (if desired).

Yum! This recipe was delicious and filling. I love lettuce wraps so much!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a sleepy puppy to curl up with on the couch for the remainder of my ‘I’m too sick to run my errands’ night…

My Sleepy Calvin

Bite Size Zucchini Pizza’s

I have had two extra zucchini in my fridge for a few days and had no idea what to do with them, so it seemed like an amazing coincidence when SugarFreeMom posted this recipe on her Facebook Page! I used this recipe and instead made Bite Size Zucchini Pizza’s, and they were delicious!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup Italian Cheese Mix
  • 12-24 pepperonis

Directions

  1. Mix grated zucchini, 2 eggs, parmesan and mozzarella cheese in a bowl.
  2. Place mix into a 12-cup muffin tin and smash down.
  3. Bake 20 minutes or until browned on edges. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes.
  4. Add sauce, cheese, and pepperoni and bake additional 4-5 minutes.

I didn’t take pictures, I didn’t know how delicious these would be and didn’t think I’d even post them on the blog, but they were so tasty that I had to!

Nutrition (in all 12) : 840 calories // 20 g carbs // 6 g sugar*

*The nutrition depends on the types of cheese, pepperoni and marinara sauce you use of course!

Fall Baking: Day 1

It’s bright, hot (high of 86) & sunny here in Atlanta, but it’s also officially fall, so I’m in the kitchen doing what I do best this time of the year — bake!

Apple Cider Paleo Donuts

from PaleoSpirit

Apple Cider Paleo Donuts

Yum, yum, yum , yum!! I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a few weeks, and one of my friends from my hometown was nice enough to send me her Baby Cakes Donut Maker so I wouldn’t have to buy my own!! It arrived yesterday and I just knew today would be the day I finally made this recipe.

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

2 eggs

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup warm apple cider

2 tbsp butter (for dipping)

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (for dipping)*

1 tsp cinnamon (for dipping)**

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional)**

*I used 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar and had way too much left over, so I suggest starting out with this amount of dipping sugar and making more if you need it! Coconut palm sugar is expensive!

**I LOVE pumpkin pie spice, which if you frequently visit my blog you are learning pretty quickly. You in no way have to use this spice, the original recipe calls for just cinnamon, which would be great too!

Directions

  1. Heat mini donut maker according to directions (or own personal experience). Since this wasn’t my donut maker, I used serious caution and read that owners manual front to back! Lots of useless information in there, let me tell you!
  2. Mix dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, honey, and coconut oil together.
  3. Combine the two, and add in warm apple cider until combined.
  4. Cook in the donut maker 2.5-3 minutes. Move to cooling rack.

    Baby Cakes Donut Maker

  5. Melt butter and mix sugar and spices together.
  6. Dip in butter on both sides, then dip or sprinkle with spices. Let them cool (if you want, they are good warm to…)

Nutrition

Batter makes 12 mini donuts. Nutrition includes cinnamon sugar topping as well.

Calories : 85 // Fat : 5g // Carbs : 7 g // Fiber:  1.5 g

Today I let laziness overtake my run. Don’t get me wrong, I ran a great pace (for me) at 10:05 avg per mile, but I ran 6 miles and then I said “I just don’t feel like going any further”. The truth is, I definitely could have…but I was bored. I forgot my headphones and didn’t have anyone to run at at the group…so I just quit. Not my usual style, but I guess I’ll get ’em next week!

Running low carbs is getting so easy. As the mornings cool down, it’s almost like I don’t even feel the need to hydrate with carb-filled drinks. I only drank 1/2 my 20 oz bottle of watered-down gatorade today. [[Don’t get me wrong, I totally re-hydrate with lots and lots of water, but during the actual run I allow myself some gatorade for the mental aspect of it]]. I rarely eat my energy ‘gel bites’ (I don’t know what the proper name is at the moment, I can’t think of it), and I still feel great. Better then great, I feel fantastic. My pace shows it too. I really like the direction that my running abilities are headed!

And one more fall-themed topic: candles. I only burn candles during the winter months. I love pumpkin, apple, fall flavors. My current favorite is:

Bath & Body Works – Leaves

I love it so much! I’m a huge supporter of sharing things you love, because those companies deserve for their product to be spread around. So here you go! Bath & Body works in no way endorsed me to share my love of this candle =)