Health & Fitness

Chicken Fajita Salad Recipe

Posted by on Jun 25, 2015 in Clean eating, Dinner, Healthy Recipes, Recipes, Uncategorized | 0 comments

In the summer, I hardly ever want to cook because it’s so effing hot! The good thing about this recipe is even though it requires you to cook for a minute, it takes under 5 minutes to make this recipe. Can’t beat that, right?! Fajitas are one of my go to favorites, but this is a lighter, cooler, healthier version.

5 minute chicken fajita salad

Ingredients

1 chicken breast

olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

salt to taste

6-8 sweet mini peppers, sliced

1/4 onion

Lettuce, chopped

1/2 cup cheese

cilantro

chipotle ranch dressing

 

Directions

Add olive oil to a saute pan and cook chicken, salt, spices and onions on high heat until cooked through. Add in sliced peppers, stirring until very lightly cooked, only about 1 minute and set aside. divide lettuce into individual bowls and add sauteed mixture on top, followed by cheese, cilantro, and dressing.

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Tropical Green Smoothie

Posted by on Jun 14, 2015 in Clean eating, Green Smoothies, Healthy Recipes, Recipes, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Happy weekend, everyone! I am absolutely LOVING the sunshine here and all this beautiful summer weather has me craving smoothies so bad. That’s a good thing, yes? This time of year I basically never want to cook because of the heat and something cold and healthy is always a good answer. My son was asking me to make him a smoothie and since I’m too lazy to do much else, we whipped this up together. After all, he pretty much always insists on helping me these days. I’ll admit, it kind of makes me wish I was drinking it at the beach instead of in this desert, but I’ll take it.

Tropical Green Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups spinach
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 banana
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1 tablespoon coconut coffee creamer (this may sound crazy, but it’s delicious in smoothies)
water
chia seeds (optional)

Directions

If you have a Magic Bullet, use the big cup. Add in all ingredients and blend your tropical deliciousness. Add chia seeds. Come to mama.

Tropical Green Smoothie Recipe

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Tips on Pacing Yourself Running

Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Health & Fitness, Running | 9 comments

pacing-yourself-while-running

In honor of my long run this week right smack dab in the middle of my eight week half marathon training, let’s talk about pacing! Last week I talked about how as a new runner, the two biggest things that have helped me stick to it and even enjoy running are 1) distracting myself and 2) pacing. Now I say “new runner” because it was only two years ago that I started actually running for myself and not just to give my dog exercise.

To give a little background, I have been struggling with my hatred of running my entire life. Yes hatred. Before I became a runner I literally would have told you I would prefer any other exercise over running. In junior high I could ice skate 5-6 days a week or dance for hours, but I swear I could barely survive a mile without dying. When I was in excellent shape in high school working on my Gold Medal figure skating tests plus going to the gym regularly it still was the bane of my existence. I tested out of gym to graduate early, and had to perform all these rigorous fitness tests. You know what was the hardest part for me? Running a 10 minute mile for three miles.

Here’s the problem — I didn’t know how to pace myself. Many other exercises I was used to, especially skating, were all about pushing yourself to your max in intervals. Because of this I would start out with all this energy, push myself too hard too fast, and then get a side ache that would kill the rest of the run for me or just tire myself out so my pace was waaaay slower after that first half mile.

The other part is the monotony of it, not even from a mental perspective (which is where the distracting comes in), but from a physical perspective really got to me. I would find myself super aware of using the same muscles and tendons over and over and over and only be able to focus on the discomfort of that.

That all being said, I went from struggling through a single mile without a break to happily running 13.1 miles without stopping. Right now I’m training for my fifth half marathon in two years (and ever for that matter). In this time that I’ve fallen in love with running, I have learned a ton about pacing myself and how to then push that pace to start getting faster!

Start slow.
When you first get going, you have all this energy and may want to rock your pace and see taking advantage of this early energy as a way to do so. Resist the temptation! Time and time again when I have done that I have a) gotten so tired I slow down the rest of the time or b) get such an awful side ache I’m forced to walk the rest of the way, not because I’m tired, but because I can’t make the cramping stop. Let yourself warm up for at least the first half mile to mile at a nice medium pace.

Keep going slower than you think.
Once you get in the groove, you may not know how fast you should really be going. Until I really learned my pace, my rule to myself was always to push it to about 60-70% of my ability. I wasn’t insanely out of breath, but it wasn’t necessarily easy either. This is particularly important for longer distances. That being said, for me my speed and how much I push it depends on how long my run is. If it’s a shorter run like 2-3 miles I might push myself a bit just because I know it will be over soon. If it’s longer I think of it in terms of “survival” and am a little more conservative. If you’re going at about 60% at the beginning, that same effort might feel harder at the end, but you can keep that same consistent pace. Then, as you get stronger, that same 60% effort takes you farther and faster!

Take deep breaths.
BREATHE! I cannot emphasize this enough. Learning how to properly control my breathing was a huge factor in learning to pace. When I would take lots of shallow breaths I would not only tire myself out, I would also dry out my mouth, give myself side aches, create tension in my body, and get exhausted from even small amounts of exertion. Different activities require different types of breathing, but I think Pilates-style breathing (deep in through the nose and blow out through the mouth) is what helped me most for running. A big part of training is actually conditioning your lungs, and getting all that oxygen in to your body makes a huge difference. If you have a hard time forcing yourself to take deep breaths slow down — if you can’t breathe deeply you’re going to fast. At the beginning it may even help you to count. 1, 2, 3, 4 in — 5, 6, 7, 8 out to the beat of your music.

Counteract your weak spots.
As I mentioned, running exacerbates the areas of the body you use most or your weak spots. For instance, with all my current training runs I have been really tight in my Achilles. It can hurt to the point that it’s almost impossible to focus on anything else. So I have found stretching really well before and sometimes in the middle of my runs helps a lot so it doesn’t slow me down the entire time. Also my calves can get really tight, but when I make sure to point my toe on my backward running stroke, it stretches that opposite muscle and helps my level of discomfort. Some people get really tense in their arms and shoulders and have to think about releasing and relaxing those areas. Knowing and understanding where your pain points are can help you counteract your weaknesses and gain better form overall!

Use a running app.
Using a running app like Map My Run, Runtastic, Nike+ GPS, or RunKeeper Pro can help you understand how fast you’re going. This helps you find your pace better and also know when you can push it. On that note…

Know when to push it!
This all being said, know when to push yourself. I like to have my running app tell me my current pace every quarter mile, which ends up being every couple minutes. For some, that would be too much, but for me it’s a reminder of when I’m getting slower or mentally cheering myself on when I am getting faster. That way I don’t generally get too off track from my goal for more than a half mile.

That’s all folks! What helps you pace yourself when you’re running?

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Muscle Repair Smoothie

Posted by on Apr 26, 2015 in Clean eating, Green Smoothies, Health & Fitness, Recipes | 0 comments

My my, yesterday was a doozy! I started my Saturday early to squeeze in my long run for the weekend (which I swear, nearly killed me), then rushed Zach off to swim lessons, dropped him off and spent the rest of the day busting my butt moving boxes around and out of my house. We’re getting ready to sell, so it’s not a full move yet, but we are limiting what’s here to just the stuff we need for daily use so we can stage it. So after 6 miles and about a billion times up and down the stairs of my house with our belongings, my body is sore!

I had a protein shake right after my run and I should have had one last night so my body could repair while I was sleeping, but I’m made another this morning. 

Also, there’s some method t my madness! Below is a breakdown of all the ingredients and why they are good for muscle repair. 

 muscle repair smoothie 
Pineapple is rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and nutrients that help with tissue growth and healing.

Bananas are full of fast-acting carbs that help your body rebuild damaged muscles and potassium that helps with tightness and cramping.

Blueberries are full of antioxidants. Some studies have shown they can help triple the rate of recovery for muscles.

Cucumbers are actually filled with most of the nutrients we need in a day! They have the sugars, minerals, amino acids and vitamins that human bodies crave after exertion.

Protein increases muscle protein synthesis after exercise which promotes muscle build and repair.

Chia seeds are about 20% protein, which exceeds the protein content of most other grains and seeds. They are also full of antioxidants which help repair muscles.

Muscle Repair Smoothie

1/4 cup frozen blueberries 

1/4 cup frozen pineapple 

1/2 banana 

A couple slices of cucumber 

Scoop of protein powder 

Water 

Chia seeds sprinkled on top

 

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5 Tips for Distracting Yourself While Running

Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in Health & Fitness, Running | 0 comments

For some reason, people seem to assume I have always loved running. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Yes, I am training for my fifth half marathon, all of which have been in the last two years, but two years ago I would have told you running was my least favorite workout. Like rock bottom. I hated running, and the only reason I had sort of started in the last few years was because of my dog.

I am the type of person that always needs to be doing something, if not three things. I have a hard time sitting and relaxing on vacation even. Because of that, I found running monotonous and repetitive and I would get bored just being there alone with my thoughts. Listening to my brain non-stop without a distraction? Kill me.

Then it came to the muscles. Using those same muscles and tendons over and over and over for hours on end, I became very aware of the discomfort and pain, which then lead to it worsening, me slowing down, and it becoming more challenging to keep going.

That all being said, I have since discovered lots of great tips which help me overcome these mental and physical roadblocks! Now I love running because of implementing these, and I switch out my methods depending on my mood.

runner on a bike

1. Pretend you’re doing another activity.
This is one of the biggest breakthrough methods for me! I am a figure skater, so while I’m in the midst of my run, I will envision myself jumping, spinning, ice dancing, skating with my team, etc. I’m quite good in my imagination! I think the reason this one works so well for me is my breathing, heart rate, and physical movement match what I’m actually doing, so it’s a simple distraction that entertains me as I choreograph in my head. This would also work really well for other activities like dancing, swimming, roller blading, biking, etc.

2. Give yourself a mental “to do list.”
I actually used to practice this back when I had a super boring college job. My mind is always racing, so throughout my week I will add to my mental to do list to process things during my run. This might be brainstorming, analyzing, or working through a problem. Doing it at a time when I’m uninterrupted and can’t do much else is super productive for me! If I need to take notes, I will use Siri and my notes app. Works like a charm.

running tips  

3. Distract yourself with audio.

Okay, so this one isn’t news. Lots of people have workout playlists that get them pumped up (or even relaxed) while running. I personally love to listen to Jesse Cook’s flamenco guitar while I run as it will help me get into meditation mode. That being said, there are so many more options these days! Audiobooks are a great way to get yourself out of your physical body and into a story. Podcasts are too! I recently have been listening to the How They Blog podcast while I’m running, and it’s great to be learning and bettering myself mentally while I am physically too.

running tips

4. Plan for great scenery.
Where I live provides a multitude of beautiful locales for running and finding the beauty of nature while you’re running can have a huge impact on your mood and how distracted you are. I will plan my runs purposefully in gorgeous places so that I can enjoy the beauty and just being outside while I run.

running with a companion

5. Bring a companion.
I actually prefer running alone for various reasons, but a lot of people find having a companion who they can talk to and pace with really helpful for training. For me I usually don’t have a human companion, but my dog Daisy is a great running mate! She has done almost every single training run with me, and she motivates me to keep it up and makes it so I’m not alone.

What helps distract you most when you’re running?

 

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Baked Heirloom Carrots

Posted by on Apr 17, 2015 in Clean eating, Healthy Recipes, Recipes | 0 comments

I just love when delicious side dishes are easy, especially when they are healthy and pretty, to boot! There’s something I just love about heirloom carrots — the colors are so beautiful!

 

carrots2

It’s silly, but I love shaving off the outside peel to discover this bright white or vibrant purple carrot flesh, and then cutting into them to discover the varied, colored centers. Okay, I know, enough with the ode to a root.

The other fun thing is kids get a kick out of having veggies that are a different color, so if your kiddo is a picky eater, this makes carrots just that much more fun. My little guy loves veggies, but he thought having purple and white carrots was so entertaining. Ha!

carrots3 carrots4

This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prep and is full of flavor the whole family will love. It’s also a super easy one to prep in advance so you can just toss it in the oven when it’s dinner time.

 

Ingredients

6-8 heirloom carrots

1 tablespoon olive oil

A handful of fresh thyme (or about 1 tsp dried)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon water

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice carrots in quarters, lengthwise and then in half. Spray a little olive oil in a oven safe pan and toss carrots in. Drizzle remaining oil over the top, stirring around until lightly coated. Dust garlic powder, salt, and pepper, then top with fresh thyme add in water. Bake for 20 minutes or until soft.

baked heirloom carrots side dish

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