Monday, August 30, 2010

Home sweet home

This statement is meant in more ways than one. Dennis and I made a trip back up to our hometown for his best friend’s wedding. Going “home” is always nice but I’m always glad to come back home to my own bed, my cats, and my kitchen!

We left after work on Wednesday for the 6 hour drive back to upstate NY and it was go go go from there. Well, more so for Dennis since he was the best man at the wedding, but I found ways to keep myself busy while the boys were being boys.

The weather was gorgeous and cool which was a nice break from the heat we’ve been getting in Northern VA. Thursday and Friday were sunny in the mid 60s and wedding day (Saturday) was sunny in the low-mid 70s, which is perfect in my opinion.

I packed my running sneakers with the intentions of pounding the pavement while I was home but instead of running, I opted to walk with Dennis’ father who walks every morning. He told me he walks four miles “around the block” and when he’s feeling well enough, adds another mile to the loop on the way back. I told him I was up for the entire 5 mile loop if he was feeling it, and boy was he.  Both Thursday and Friday morning included the 5 mile loop, but Saturday I did a shorter walk on my own downtown.


Dennis’ parents live in the country, so our walks were very scenic. Actually, even though I pretty much grew up in the country I forget sometimes how beautiful it is. We saw deer, turkeys, horses and cows while we walked. It reminded me that slowing down is not just nice, it’s necessary. Luckily, it doesn’t take much to get to the countryside in Northern VA, so even though we live in the hustle and bustle of metro DC, we can wind down in just a short 15 minute drive if we so wish.

Anyway, the wedding was a blast. We spent a lot of time being dressed up which was kind of nice.


If I could zoom in on those shoes—my sister sent them to me. They killed my feet but I was determined to rock them hard!


Bride and groom gettin busy on the dance floor

Although I didn’t really drink much this weekend (it was open bar but I only had one glass of wine with my dinner. Imagine that!) I still feel like I’m toxic. I brought some food with me so I could eat as healthy as possible but I ended up eating out a lot since we were on the go. The first thing I did when I got home was drink tons of water and eat lots of veggies. It’s 8:30 and as soon as I hit publish I am going to bed!

How was your weekend?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Making food memories

One of the reasons I love to cook and (especially) bake is because of the memories that were made doing these things while I was growing up. Everything in our family revolves around food. Everything. I know ours in not out of the ordinary in this aspect (and this aspect only since my family is crazy) but it’s just something we all can relate to. When someone does something nice for me, I bake for them. If they are hurting, suffering, sick, mourning; you name it: I will bake and/or cook my face off for them to show my affection. It’s how I roll.

This has become part of life with Dennis. We both love to cook and try new things. If it’s a failure we laugh about it. If it’s a success, we brag about it. My grandmother likes to pay us with food. When she found out that Dennis loves her black beans, every time she needed something done she’d cook them for him. Last week he traveled to Arizona (where she lives now) for work and we all joked that she would probably show up at his hotel room with black beans. The first thing she said to him was “I would have made you Frijoles negros but I don’t have a stove in my apartment anymore!”  She recently moved to an independent living facility since she’s 90 years old and couldn’t be trusted in the house alone anymore. She can still cook up a storm though!

We have a neighbor who also likes to cook (hi Sue!) so we enjoy swapping foods. Today, for instance, I brought over some rice and beans and came home with fresh zucchini and Quinoa salad. Win/win in my eyes.


I don’t know how to make rice and beans for 2 people, so I always have enough to feed the neighborhood. I took this picture with my phone to send to my mom and sister. They both responded with lots of yums and indicated they were jealous in some way or another. Since I’m the baby I’ve spent the last five/six years trying to perfect our traditional Puerto Rican recipes so I can teach my kids to cook too someday.


I also made my own soy green tea latte with the last of the matcha tea I bought at our local farmer’s market. My tea lady hasn’t been back since 4th of July so I need to get my matcha green tea from somewhere else now. I bought some from Teavana but the quality wasn’t as good. Come back tea lady!!

Do you have any food memories with friends and/or family?

Mine include my grandmother’s frijoles negros, her breakfast custard called Crema, (OMG it’s so bad but so good) and a fork and dish she gave me when I was a kid that I still use today; my mom’s potato salad, flan, watching her teach Dennis how to make a few very key Puerto Rican recipes,  and the Thanksgiving when I was designated the family baker.  I was 14. My mom put my sister in charge of the pumpkin pies and they came out horrible. My job was apple pie and it came out perfect. Now I honestly don’t have a taste for either. Go figure.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why am I so itchy??

All week I’ve been itching like crazy. I have a few red bumps (small ones) on my arms, back, and thighs but it doesn’t look like anything out of the ordinary. Not like bug bites or anything like that. Little red tiny little guys. My arms, legs, thighs, back, sides, shoulders…they all itch. And it’s been going on all week. What is up with that??

I managed to ignore the itching through my awesome lunchtime workout today. I brought the plank back into my life and I think it’s here to stay.


Have you tried doing these on a balance ball or bosu ball? Holy cow that is hard! However I think it’s hard enough on the floor. I did three rounds of planks (including side planks) with one round on the balance ball, one round on the bosu and one on the balance ball (all side planks were on the floor.)

I am a firm believer that there is no better workout for the core than planks. This is my opinion, I’m sure there are people who may disagree, but honestly-these things are bad ass.

I had 30 minutes to get in a good workout so here’s what I did:

First 1o minutes: Treadmill
5 minutes at 6.0 mph-
2 minutes 6.5 mph
2 minutes 7.0 mph
1 minute 6.0 mph

Next 5 minutes: Strength
Plank on balance ball-held for 30 seconds, side planks on floor, 30 seconds each side
Lunges/bicep curls with 5 pound weights-count of 20
Squats/arm rows with 5 pound weights-count of 12

Next 5 minutes: Treadmill
2 minutes at 6.5 mph
2 minutes 7.0 mph
:30 seconds 7.5 mph
:30 seconds walk

Next 5 minutes: Strength
Same as above, except planks were on the bisu ball (with one added on the floor at the end)

Next 5 minutes : Treadmill
2 minutes at 6.5 mph
2 minutes 7.0 mph
:30 seconds 7.5 mph
:30 6.0 mph
1 minute walk

The total time ended up being around 33 minutes.  I was able to get back to my desk exactly an hour after I left. Perfect.

Back to being itchy…I’m going to take some Benedryl in a few minutes to see if that helps. I’m wondering if I’m having an allergic reaction to something….

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rainy days and Mondays

If I had to choose a day to stay home sick from work, it most definitely should have been today rather than yesterday. It’s been rainy and dreary all day today; a definite stay home under the covers type of day. Sometimes I don’t mind the rain but today’s rain included flooding which made traveling around the DC Metro area even more of a mess. Imagine that?

Besides the crappy commute, I am feeling better today. Still a little crampy but better. I even managed to get on the dreadmill today. I did a 30 minute hill walk workout with 5 pound weights. It looked a little something like this:

Minutes 0-5: Warm up 4.0 mph on 5% incline
Minutes 5-10: 4.0 mph, with a bump up on the incline by 1% every minute up to 10%
Minutes 10-20: One minute intervals at 10% incline – 3.0, 3.5, 4.0
Minutes 20-25: 4.0 mph, with a bump up on the incline by 1% every minute up to 10%
Minutes 25-28: Cool down, 4.0 on a 5% incline
Minutes 28-30: 3.5 at 5% incline

Who says you can’t get a good sweaty workout walking on the treadmill?


I was trying to get a close up so you can see the sweat….

This was the perfect workout since I still am not 100%. I didn’t want to overdo it.

I just got my official bib number for the Army 10 Miler and realized that I haven’t run more than 5 miles since 4th of July weekend so I need to get my butt in gear. The race is October 24.

And then I came home and ate this:


Turkey taco salad. Minus the chips (although I did end up throwing a few in there) But this bad boy was GOOD. A ton of lettuce, avocado, fresh salsa and 99% fat free turkey with a taco seasoning that Dennis threw together. This is definitely one of our “go to” meals. Quick, easy, and healthy.

Do you have a go-to meal that you know you can always count on?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sick day

I got a phone call on Friday from my doctor’s office telling me I need to come back in ASAP to re-take my urine test. She said it came back abnormal and I might have an infection. I thought it was strange since I wasn’t feeling any type of symptoms but better safe than sorry.

After spending an hour and a half waiting (and that was only after I complained and pretty much demanded my co-pay back … that’s a different blog post) my urine sample showed I have a urinary tract infection (UTI) and I was prescribed antibiotics.

I hate taking antibiotics. And since I didn’t feel any of the symptoms I almost didn’t buy them. My sister convinced me to be on the safe side, so I took my first dose Monday evening along with a probiotic, and shortly after went to bed.

At 1 a.m. I woke up in SO MUCH PAIN. I couldn’t believe it! All of the symptoms I didn’t have suddenly appeared. On top of that, I was nauseas and freezing. I got up and put on wool socks and a hoodie because I couldn’t get warm. Oh, and I was wide awake and all alone since Dennis was out of town last night for work.  Just my luck!

I spent about 2 hours watching Nick@Nite (I don’t remember The Cosby Show being as cheesy as it was last night—still love it though) and sometime after Home Improvement started, I finally fell asleep again. Sometime around 5 a.m. I woke up again with the same pain, but a little subdued, and I promptly sent my boss an email explaining that a sick day was in order.

I have been on the couch all day recovering with a heating pad watching crappy daytime TV and trying to drink as much water as I can. However, my symptoms feel more like a crampy, achy feeling in my ovaries, not so much in the bladder. Is it possible that I had a reaction to the antibiotics? 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Something so simple

We all know that movie theater popcorn is terrible for you. If you check the stats, it looks something like this:

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 124 g - 1 large

Amount per Serving

  • Calories 664 Calories from Fat 310

% Daily Value *

  • Total Fat 31g 48%
  • Saturated Fat 27g 135%
  • Sodium 443mg 18%
  • Total Carbohydrate 75g 25%
  • Dietary Fiber 9g 36%
  • Sugars 0g
  • Protein 13g 26%


Microwave popcorn can be a better choice if you buy the low fat, no butter, no salt kinds but let’s face it: nothing beats homemade stovetop popcorn.

However, as much as I love to cook, my first two attempts at making popcorn on the stove failed. The first batch didn’t even pop! I ended up burning the bottom of the pot and nearly setting our kitchen on fire. The second batch – well let’s just say it wasn’t edible. Thank God for Dennis.


What you need:

  • An iron pot with a lid. Don’t use glass like I did. It obviously won’t work.
  • 1 tbsp. corn oil
  • 2 tbsp. popping corn
  • Salt, seasonings to taste
  • Butter if you wish

Heat up the corn oil in the pot on medium heat. After a few minutes, throw on one kernel and let it pop. Pull the pot off the fire and let it cool for a few seconds, then put the rest of the kernels in the pot and put back on the flame. Shake the pot a little and get excited when your popcorn pops. I sure do. (Edited to add: I changed the amount of oil from 3 tbsp to 1 because it was obviously way too much. I was estimating by watching Dennis but when I tried to do it myself I realized 1 tbsp. was more than enough. I'd even edit it down to 2 tsp. FYI)

Give me homemade popcorn on my couch and a bad reality show over fatty, salty movie theater popcorn and what might be a good movie in the theaters any day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Drop it like it’s hot

I got some good news when I picked up my blood test results today. I dropped my cholesterol by 75 points! I do have to admit that my LDL – the bad cholesterol – is high at 102, and this is consistent with PCOS. But let’s back up a little.


All of the women on my mom’s side of the family have high cholesterol, and the first time I was tested at the age of 14, it was 212. (My seven year old niece already has high cholesterol for her age.) I got it under control a few years ago (down to 186) but then it shot right back up again. Last year around this time it was 256! So it was nice to know that I was able to get it back down to an all time low of 181.

Yay for oatmeal!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Keeping my mind busy

When I start getting that “I want to munch on something” feeling an hour after I ate, I know more than likely it’s because I’m bored. There are two times of the day when this happens: after lunch and after dinner. After lunch I feel like I could eat a horse (it may be because I work out on my lunch hour and eat shortly after) and when I’m at home sitting on my couch reading/writing blogs. Makes sense right?

I can find a way to keep my mind busy at work by getting up and taking a quick walk around the building. Chances are, I’ll come back to my desk ready to roll. If that doesn’t work, I will actually stand at my desk while I’m working. I’ll take a call while I’m standing, respond to emails standing, etc. This leads me to doing paperwork that I put off because my lack of motivation seems to decrease while I’m on my feet. My co-workers are done with asking me what the hell I’m doing since I’m either doing or eating something strange.

Oh, and cinnamon Puffins rock my world.


Cinnamon Toast Crunch ain’t got nothin’ on you Puffins. Cap’n Crunch doesn’t either. (I think the original flavor tastes a lot like Cap’n Crunch) If you haven’t tried either, you must. They’re wheat free and they taste like heaven.

Do you have tricks to keep away from mindless eating?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hummus, oh how I've missed you


I didn't give hummus up or anything, I just pushed it off to the side for some reason. I do that every so often-eat something until I can't anymore, and then when I re-introduce it, it's like heaven in my mouth.

Kind of like this beer:


When I went to see my doctor last week, she tested me for Celiac, which undoubtedly came back negative. I didn't really think I was Celiac, but when she took the blood I thought she was testing for all food allergies, not just Celiac. I don't think I'm "allergic" to gluten, I think I just have a problem breaking it down and digesting it. I took to trying spelt flour and was able to tolerate that very nicely, so GF bread is not a necessity...although I do like the almond flour bread from Food For Life.

Anyway, I told Dennis that if I come back negative for wheat allergies I will still continue to steer as clear from the gluten as possible only because I feel strongly that it has ridden me of my headaches (and they were constant) but I will NOT continue to avoid beer.

Obviously I will drink with caution-as I always do-but I decided to dive into a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on Sunday and man was it good. I can't wait to drink a Guinness, Young's Double Chocolate Stout and Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter. Easily my top favorite beers, not necessarily in that order. (depends on the day)

So my hummus-

I bought a big bag of garbanzos a while back with the intentions of making Channa Masala (which I did here.) Then I put them back in my pantry only to be neglected. So I decided to bring back my lost love.

I don't make hummus like the normal person does. When I was still a newspaper reporter in upstate NY, there was a deli that was exactly halfway between my house and my office. Every morning I went in and ordered a whole wheat bagel with hummus and tomatoes. I LOVED their hummus. My boss on the other hand...he hated it. Well, the smell that is. It was very garlicky and apparently it smelled up the entire office. I couldn't tell. ;)

I asked how they made it and adapted my recipe to theirs.

My favorite hummus recipe

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (or canned but make sure you rinse them first!)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (I just drizzle it in so I'm guesstimating here)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cumin (I added this on my own. It makes a huge difference)
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Throw it in your blender/food processor/VitaMix and go to town. So.Freaking.Good.


I know I know, traditional hummus has tahini. However, I've made it with tahini and I don't really love it. I like the cumin instead.


Today I tried something different. I did kind of a sprint/stations type workout. I started out with 10 minutes on the elliptical at level 9-just enough to loosen up the legs and work up a bit of a sweat.

Then I moved over to the balance ball and did 1 minute rotations for 5 minutes of crunches and arm rows. Then I went to the treadmill and ran 5 minutes hard. Then back to the weights and did 1 minute rotations of lunges with 5 pound weights, arm raises, crunches, repeat.  Then back on the treadmill for 5 minutes hard. Two minute cool down. Lots of sweat.

Total time: 32  minutes. And it flew! Love workouts like this!

Enjoy your evening!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Feeling better

…although I will have to say that I had a crappy visit to my doctor on Saturday. I’m on the hunt for a new one but we don’t have to get into all that right now.

I want to thank you though for your support and for understanding that not every day is a good one!

So let’s focus on food shall we? After all, with the PCOS diagnosis, I will be changing the way I do things around here. I’ve been toying with the whole vegan thing because I’ve read so many positive things about it, but again, I don’t want to label myself as anything yet. So I’ll start with this: Low carb/low sodium and as little yeast as possible.

Why? Because I feel like this will work best. According to my doctor (and a lot of research) my body is not properly processing sugar. My insulin is messed up, my metabolism is messed up, and this is the reason for the sudden weight gain. Also, after speaking to a co-worker, the bloating, gas and uncomfortable feelings are all normal. So I’m learning to live, adjust, and understand what makes me feel better and under control.

That being said, check out this recipe: Lentil Quinoa Salad 


It was really easy to make and was perfect as a side to my homemade Sunburgers. I ate them both all week long for lunch and will probably do the same thing this week as well.

My version is an adaption of this recipe.

  • 1/2 cup quinoa (I used red quinoa)
  • 1 1/4 cups water, plus 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1 teaspoon no salt added Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 lime, zested
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves


Put the quinoa in a sieve and rinse in cold water. In a large microwave-proof bowl with a cover, add the rinsed quinoa and 1 1/4 cups water. Cover and microwave on high for 9 minutes. Let it sit for 2 minutes then stir. Quinoa should be tender enough to eat, but with a little "pop" upon biting.

Put the lentils in a sieve and rinse in cold water. In a saucepan, simmer the lentils in 2 cups water until the lentils are tender, but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Drain and cool.

In a small bowl, whisk the mustard and vinegar together, and drizzle in the oil to make an emulsion. Add the garlic powder, lime zest, and salt, and pepper, to taste.

To assemble the salad: In a medium salad bowl, mix the quinoa, lentils, green onions, and chopped cilantro. Top the salad with the dressing, toss to coat and serve.


This recipe is perfect as a side or main dish, and it’s perfect for everyone. Vegans, meat eaters, and those who make fun of me for eating “weird hippie shit” love this salad. I brought it to a barbecue this weekend with some friends from high school and they loved it.

I know, it’s not necessarily low carb but quinoa is good for you. I’m obviously not going to cut out ALL carbs, just unnecessary ones.

On a side note, I’ve been neglecting to discuss my exercise regimen. This is mostly because it’s changed drastically from before. I’ve been combining lifting with cardio 5 days a week during my lunch hour. I usually work out for about 45 minutes total: 30 minutes of cardio (run, walk, run/walk hills, elliptical) and tons of ab and arm work. Some legs (usually squats and lunges) and I’ve even started messing around with the cables. I did some bench presses last Friday.

I’ve been incorporating Jillian Michaels’ idea of doing something for one minute at at time…so I do a particular workout for a minute, then switch to abs for a minute, back to the first for a minute, back to abs for a minute, and on to the next. Make sense? And abs have been my go-to cool down exercise. In between my sets of whatever, I do crunches on the balance ball. It might not be perfect but it’s making me happy for now. And since I cancelled my gym membership at Washington Sports Club, I can’t go to any classes.

I’m still supposed to be running the Army 10 miler in October but I have not run more than 3 miles in 4 weeks. I’m not quite sure I’m ready yet either. I need to get my health in order before I start thinking about running this race.

If you have any fun, quick, and easy workout sessions please let me know. I have access to weights and machines, but only have about 45 minutes to work out. Anything to help change things up!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sometimes it takes a stranger

I’ve been going through a lot of things recently both emotionally and physically, but it wasn’t until today that I realized how hard I’ve been on myself. I’ve been treating myself like crap for something that’s beyond my control and I’ve had enough.

Earlier in the year (February to be exact) I gave up gluten. You can read about it here. I had been dealing with GI issues that I couldn’t put my finger on. I’d given up dairy, I’d tried giving up meat, and maybe I didn’t give myself enough time with either (a week or two) but the things that seemed to trigger bloating/gas/discomfort were glutinous: pastas, breads, crackers, etc. A light bulb went off and I made the decision to go gluten free.

I felt better after a few days. My migraines and constant headaches went away almost immediately. Then something crazy happened. I went nearly 4 months without a period. I took 3 pregnancy tests-all negative. Then I saw my Dr. where my blood results also showed negative. But I had gained about 5 pounds at this point with no period and no significant change to my diet (other than going GF.)

I was training for my half marathon and had already ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler so I scratched it up to being muscle. But I still didn’t have a period and my clothes started getting uncomfortably tight. I try not to listen to the scale but when the clothes start talking to me I know there’s a problem.

After a series of test, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal…it was explained that it was normal not to get a period for a while and that it will eventually work itself out. I was sent home thinking once I got my period I’d be OK. I had no idea what I was about to get slapped with.

Fast forward to June. I run a 17.75K race and my first half marathon 2 weeks later. I was very unhappy with my performance, but scratched it up to the heat and the hills. My body was struggling even after all of my training, and I was really not sure why. Again, I figured it was the change in temperature and the terrain that caused for my distress and kept on moving. My knees started bothering me again – something that hadn’t happened since I lost the weight. (I had lost 35 pounds – 20 pounds of which I had gained in college) An outfit I bought specifically to wear in Boston after the half marathon didn’t fit me as nicely as it did just a few weeks before. Something wasn’t right but I couldn’t figure out what it was.

Then about 3 weeks ago we had a friend in town. After work I ran home to change but when I tried to button my jeans, they just didn’t fit. I had a meltdown. I was miserable…the entire time we were out I barely spoke. I tried but I was so miserable and uncomfortable that all I wanted to do was climb in a hole with a pair of sweatpants on and sleep.

It was all downhill from there.

I had worked so hard at losing weight, put so much effort at eating well and taking care of myself and finally saw some results. I was working at being healthy and being fit, and focusing on my goal to beat my 1/2 marathon race time and eventually maybe start thinking about more serious races. But now, all those same things are showing adverse results. I’m eating well, exercising, taking care of myself and GAINING weight? What’s this all about?

Nothing fits me. I had to buy a few new shirts and luckily I kept my bigger clothes (as per the advice of my sister who told me to keep them for when I have a baby. She’s so smart.) How can this not bother me? It would be abnormal for it not to bother me wouldn’t it?

I went back to my Dr. on Tuesday. Since my last appointment 9 weeks ago I’ve gained another 8 pounds. What? Why is this? What the hell is going on? I’ve gained 14 pounds since February!?

She asked me a million more questions, took a ton of blood, and gave me some trial medications to try (probiotics, antacids, etc.) I go back on Saturday for more blood work and hopefully will have some results from Tuesday’s tests to discuss. I went this morning for a sonogram on my abdomen/gallbladder. They said everything looks normal. Just more frustration in my eyes.

I’ve spent the last 3 weeks miserable, looking at myself in the mirror wondering what I can do to get myself back to normal. Sucking in my stomach, tugging at my clothes, feeling like I have to explain myself to everyone about how terrible I look. I’ve walked around the mall thinking how I don’t have the money to buy more clothes one size bigger-and then wanting to cry at the fact that I have to. I have a wedding coming up in 2 weeks that I don’t want to go to because I feel like crap. I don’t want people to see me.

I went out to lunch with two friends (that I am so grateful for) and told them of my feelings (My feelings were hard to hide.) They were both really supportive and helpful in making me see that I was being hard on myself, but I was still feeling bad. I thought long and hard about their advice - trying to keep weight and my emotions separate - but I couldn't wrap my head around it, so I kept on moping.

But something changed when I watched Caitlin on the Today Show and read this.

What am I doing? Why am I letting myself get so upset about this? Sometimes things are beyond our control and we have to take a deep breath and push forward. I am beautiful, even at 15 pounds heavier. Does the weight or the size of my jeans make me different than I was 6 months ago? No, so why the hell am I getting so worked up about it?

Sometimes it takes a stranger to help you see the obvious.

Writing this post is making me realize how silly I’ve been acting. My friend Gina told me to embrace my new booty (even though I wanted to punch her for saying it) and that she didn’t even notice I gained the weight. She said all she noticed was that I wasn’t smiling as much as I usually do.

My co-workers noticed it too. They’ve all been asking what’s wrong and why I look so sad.

So today – today I’ve decided to make a change. My attitude about this does not have to be negative. I have to take this challenge one step at a time until I can figure out what the problem is and make a proper plan of attack. It’s not fair to those around me – or to me – to be anything else but myself.

I’ve been focusing on the wrong things. Instead of focusing on the weight I’ve gained this last 6 months, I should be focusing on what I’ve achieved: My first 10 mile race, many PRs including my fastest 5K time, and my first half marathon. These are things that I never thought I’d see myself doing. These are things that my weight did not have an effect on.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still frustrated. I need to figure out how to control my body and keep working with my doctor to figure out exactly what’s going on with me. If PCOS is really causing all of these symptoms, then I need to figure out exactly how to handle it. But right now, starting today, my attitude is not anger, its acceptance. I’m not letting myself be miserable anymore. Life is too short.

Thank you Caitlin and Jenna for reminding me.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How can I stop the cravings?


I’m having a bad day. Here’s my rant.

I think  the hardest part of my quest to health has been dealing with cravings. I surely don't deprive myself of calories, but I try very hard to make sure they are good calories. But man, it never fails that I have to battle some kind of sweet tooth or salty crunchy craving, and it's like clockwork. Every day.

Usually after lunch I have a sweet craving. This is where a piece of fruit comes in handy. Today, for instance, I brought in some watermelon to eat as my mid-afternoon snack. However, it wasn't long after I was done eating lunch that I felt the need to eat something sweet. Rather than trying to ignore it (which only makes it worse) I ate the watermelon. I figured I'd deal with the lack of a mid-afternoon snack later. (I ate an apple that my co-worker gave me)

And every night after dinner...probably about 2 hours or so after...I get the crunch craving. Pretzels, crackers, Cheez-its (omg deadly) popcorn, blue tortilla chips (love them!) I find myself standing in the pantry searching for them without even thinking about it.

I gave up the Cheez-its, pretzels and crackers all and replaced them with Mary's Gone Crackers (lately I've been eating the Sticks and Twigs version.) I also tend to have the blue tortilla chips on hand for my salsa fix.

I've tried not buying snacks at, not having anything in there for me to be tempted by. That was a big mistake. I ended up getting so agitated that I popped a bag of Dennis' butter popcorn and ate it with anger.

As much as I try, I can't fight the craving. I still, to this day, find myself counting out my portion, rolling up the bag, walking out of the kitchen, eating my portion, and getting my butt up to walk all the way across the house for more. It's like I have some kind of addiction. I've tried all the tricks but can't seem to break the habit. What do you do?

Am I not eating enough throughout the day? What causes these cravings? Maybe I'm missing some kind of nutrient?

Anyway, my training today consisted of 15 minutes of intervals on the elliptical, followed by 15 minutes of run/walking hills on the dreadmill. I'm trying to nurse my quad (even though it seems to be fine but I don't want to overdo it) and I found that the run/walk method with hills is still a kick ass workout. I was at a 5% incline, but when my quad heals I will add more. I think it will help me learn how to properly tackle hills.

How do you deal with cravings? Is there something you crave everyday? Something you feel like you must have?

Monday, August 2, 2010

My attempt at homemade veggie burgers

I love veggie burgers. Scratch that-I love Sunshine burgers. They are, by far, my favorite veggie burger. It's a combination of the short ingredient list and I honestly think the sunflower seed base is just amazing. But they're so freakin expensive!

Then I read Lisa’s blog and she made her own veggie burgers…and a light bulb went off. I don’t know why I didn’t think to this before!

I used her recipe as a base (she got it from here)

Hmm. I didn’t have everything on hand so I made a few changes.

  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1 yellow squash
  • ½ can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup cashews, chopped
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • Salt, pepper to taste (about 1 tsp each?)
  • 2 cups Bobs Red Mill GF all purpose flour

I threw all the veggies and spices into my food processor and blended until smooth.


Looks gross doesn’t it? I almost threw it out right here but I knew I needed to give it a try…

Then I added the flour ½ cup at a time.

I had a hard time getting them to form into patties so I had to keep adding flour. Finally, I got them to look like this:


The verdict? These actually weren’t bad. The texture was a little odd and might take some perfecting but I was surprised by the flavor. And that little bit of cayenne pepper added a nice little kick. I felt the flavors blended together well and that there was not one thing you could taste more than the other. I even let a co-worker try some and he said he would definitely eat them again. Score!


Although I enjoyed these, I felt there could be a better recipe. I didn’t like having to use so much flour and was hoping I could find one more of a nut base like the Sunshine burgers. So I did a little more searching and came across HEAB’s  site on Google. (it recognized that she was in my network. I was so happy!)

Funny thing about this recipe is that I remember reading this post when she wrote it last September but it didn’t hit me to try it. I don’t know what I was thinking!

Sunburger Patties: (via HEAB. I halved it)

  • 2 cup grated carrots
  • 2 cups sunflower seeds (I suggest unsalted!!)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 1.25 cup tomato juice
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS onion powder


Clean, grate and measure carrots.  Place in bowl..  Grind sunflower seeds in blender or food processor until fine.  Add to carrots. In skillet sauté onions in water until soft. Add to bowl along with remaining ingredients.  Stir together well.  Using 1/3 cup portions, place on oiled cookie sheet and form into patties.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  Turn over and bake an additional 15 minutes.

The verdict?

They are exactly what I was looking for. The only complaint I have is that I used salted and roasted sunflower seeds, so next time I will get unsalted. At first I thought they were really small but these guys pack a lot of protein and are really filling. I had one for lunch with a cup of Amy’s split pea soup and I was good to go.

I love the taste of the sunflower seeds. I wonder what other kind of nut/seed would work with this. I'm thinking pumpkin seeds?

There are a couple of other recipes that I want to try so I can compare them all and figure out what I like best. I might even end up mixing and matching.

What do you love making homemade that you can easily buy at the store?

I just like knowing what I’m putting in my food. It’s so hard to know what you’re getting nowadays.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Trying to find my peace

This week flew by me before I had the chance to blink. Between work, a college friend in town for work and the purchase of a new vehicle, we had something going on every single night this week and I didn’t even realize how tired I was until last night.

First-we’ll touch on my quad. I took this week off from running (I pulled my quad last week playing soccer,) but I was sure to get lots of walking and some elliptical training in. However, I thought lunges with 5 pound weights would be a good idea. After about the 3rd lunge, I felt my quad start to pull again … so I immediately stopped, put the weights down, stretched and headed for the showers. The last thing I need is to be out of commission for 6 more weeks. I’ve actually been enjoying the walks. I thought I’d be itching to get out and run but I haven’t. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been so busy or what, but I’ve been squeezing in either hour long speed walks or quick half-hour elliptical/lifting sessions on my lunch break. I’ve enjoyed the switch to lunch-hour workouts because it breaks up my day. I find I have more energy at the end of the day than I normally do, and that’s honestly when I need it most.

I made some interesting recipes this week, including a Bob’s Red Mill GF Chocolate cake that kind of tasted like ass (I was so disappointed in this cake mix.)


It was my boss’ birthday and he requested chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. He told me to go ahead and get a GF cake so I can eat too. I have baked for them before so when I offered to make it myself, he was thrilled. The cake … well, let’s just say I didn’t really like it. I stayed up until close to midnight to make it, and was so upset when I realized I was going to have to buy a cake after all. At least the cream cheese frosting was good.


I called Whole Foods Tuesday morning and asked them to hold a chocolate cake with no frosting for me. There was no way I was letting that frosting go to waste! My co-workers loved it. I ate the GF cake. Even the frosting didn’t cover up the aftertaste. Boo.

FYI-the best GF cake mix I’ve found so far is Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Dreams. I made this for my birthday and everyone loved it.


Tuesday I got a call from D telling me he was driving out to look at a Jeep he’d been researching online. 2 hours later, after he told me he wasn’t sure if he liked it, I got a text: I bought it.  Needless to say we spent Tuesday night driving it around.


Oh boys and their stuff.

Wednesday and Thursday we spent in Old Town with D’s friend from college. He’s a lot of fun and it’s always a good time when we see him. We had dinner at this place called Bilbo Baggins and I ordered the vegetarian platter: wild mushroom polenta, yukon gold mashed potatoes, portabella mushroom, spinach, butternut squash, asparagus spears, broccoli rabe and sundried tomato tapenade


Everything on here was excellent except for the squash. It had vinegar in it and the flavors didn’t blend well together for me.

Friday and Saturday consisted of me walking around like a zombie, a trip to Eastern Market (the oldest continuous fresh food public market in DC-136 years!) and a game of Apples to Apples with my neighbors.  It was my first time playing and I won! I had never heard of it before but it was pretty fun.


Enjoy your Sunday!!