This past weekend I spent a long weekend (Thursday night to Sunday night) in Cincinnati for one of my college best friend’s wedding. It can be very difficult when traveling to fit in exercise and healthy eating. There are new fun things to do and fun foods to try so you want to indulge, but you don’t want to forget about your goals. I just wanted to share a post with you guys this morning about sticking to a healthy diet and enjoying things in moderation while on vacation or traveling, as well as keeping up with your fitness. That being said if you go four days without working out or eating tons of veggies just try to get back on track when you get home. Don’t deprive yourself, or make yourself feel guilty for a missing your weekend run or leg day. It happens and it’s not the end of the world. But a little bit of planning can go a long way for keeping on track while away.
Workouts: I know I feel better physically and emotionally when I exercise. I also know a lot of people don’t like to exercise on vacation or while traveling. If you want to but struggle to accomplish it my best advice is to plan to workout… think about your tentative schedule and where you can fit a quick workout in and what you’re going to do! (Don’t forget shoes, clothes, ipod, etc). Also it doesn’t hurt to make sure you get your workouts in before you leave town if you want to take the weekend off. I took a spin class Thursday morning and felt energized for the rest of the day which included work and then travel. I looked up our hotel and health club was listed, sometime hotel gyms suck and have like two treadmills and that’s it. This was an actual public gym attached to the hotel, which was awesome so I did a cardio warm-up and then did legs using their equipment. If your hotel gym doesn’t have substantial equipment, take your workout to the streets or do a HIIT workout. Tabata is great is you want a quick make you sweat sesh. Saturday morning I squeezed in a quick run before heading to watch the Penn State football game with my other college friends in town. It was a refreshing and fun way to see the city and got me pumped for the day. When visiting a city try to walk everywhere instead of cabbing it. You would be surprised how many miles you walk in a day.
Eats: I won’t go through everything that I ate but there were definitely some indulgences since it was my first time in the city, I wanted to try their hot spots per my friends recommendations. A must try is a Taste of Belgium! Delicious Belgium waffles! Ahhh! We went there Friday morning and it was so good we went back Saturday. It was hard to get veggies in at this brunch place so I balanced the carb heavy waffle with some protein to help keep me full and fuel my workouts. Post workout I enjoyed a very delicious salad while others started day drinking. I missed lunch with my group while I was working out but was able to find an awesome healthy option and even better did not partake in boozing (yet). We did head to a local brewery after this and if you know anything about me, you know I love craft beer. Pat and I split a flight, or two before heading back to the hotel. We went to the Reds game that night since my Buccos were in town (yay for playoffs starting this week!). Pat and I enjoyed the game with another couple we were traveling with and loved the fireworks after show. Cinci is famous for chili and apparently Sky Line Chili is the well-known spot… they had some at the game. I wanted to try it because Pat had been talking about it nonstop, it was gross. It was like fast food which I never eat and it made me feel sick naturally. Blah. Saturday the wedding wasn’t until later so after another Belgium waffle I went for a run and then met friends at a local bar/restaurant to watch PSU. I balanced my meal by getting a lunch special of half a chicken/veggie pizza with half a salad. I was pretty hungry after the run and knew we wouldn’t be eating dinner until after 8pm. At the wedding I had salad, steamed veggies, stuffed chicken, and a roll. I had a couple bites of wedding cake and a few drinks. Sunday I had amazing Mexican style brunch featuring Cincinattis signature goetta. I wanted to get crab benedict but everyone at brunch was like noooooo get the goetta. Goetta is ground meat with oats and spices… sort of a cross between sausage and meatloaf. It was interesting… I’m not a big meat fan so it wasn’t my favorite but I guess it was definitely something different to try. The benedict had pico de gallo and a full avocado in addition to the eggs and hollandaise. Yum!
I really had a great time with my friends and took part in some less healthful eats but I enjoyed all of them (except the chili). I felt better squeezing in some salads and workouts but still trying some other delicious foods. Everything in moderation friends :)
I'm not going to lie Brussels Sprouts are not my favorite veggie... But these tiny cabbages are nutritional powerhouses. If I've learned anything about cooking Brussels sprouts it is that you need to remove the stems and outer leaves, and halve or quarter them. This elevates the roasting quality and makes such a difference in the taste. I was aiming for adding some sweetness to this cruciferous veggie, and clearly maple syrup + coconut oil= delicious. If you have more time you could roast these bad boys in the oven, but broiling adds a nice crispness. These are considered a good "winter stock" vegetable because of their harvest time. Sometimes I buy frozen to save on prep time, just defrost and then follow the directions from there. If you're not a big sprouts fan, just give these a try, they are definitely different (and healthier) than the ones your mom used to make covered in butter or Velveeta cheese. Haha. These are even husband approved and he "hates" Brussels sprouts.
1 lb Brussels sprouts
3 TBSP Balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP maple syrup
2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cut off ends of sprouts and outer leaves (if fresh).
2. Halve sprouts
3. Combine all ingredients in bowl with lid or plastic bag to even coat veggies
4. Spead onto baking sheet
5. Broil for 10 minutes on high.
6. Serve warm or put in fridge for meals during the week.
Do you like Brussels sprouts? How do you like to prepare them??
Chicken is ugly. It doesn’t look pretty in pictures, unless maybe if it’s fried, then it looks crispy and delicious. I don’t usually eat many fried foods. This chicken isn’t breaded, or deep fried. But it’s delicious. You can use either lemon, lime, or orange citrus juices to create different flavors. Versatility at its finest. Do you have a juice well? I love mine. I probably only use it a couple times a month but it was only $2.99, so it’s okay. Anyways I was talking about how ugly chicken is because I didn’t want to photograph it alone…so I added pretty green veggies to make it look more yummy. In case anyone was wondering I steamed frozen green beans and edamame and placed them on top of a bed of mixed greens. Add chicken and the sauce and you don’t even need a dressing. Really you could add this kind of chicken to any salad you want, or eat it separately from your veggies. Definitely eat some veggies with it though. Enjoy!
¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TSBP tamari or soy sauce
1 TBSP ginger
1 TBSP garlic powder
¼ cup freshly squeezed citrus juice (orange, lemon, lime)
2 TBSP honey
1 tsp citrus zest
2-4 Chicken breast or thighs
1. Combine first 7 ingredients (vinegar through the zest) in a Pyrex or Tupperware container
2. Add chicken and allow to marinate in fridge at least 1 hour to overnight
3. Transfer chicken to hot skillet, after cooking for a few minutes on each side, add marinade
4. Allow chicken to continue cooking thoroughly
5. Once marinate is bubbling and chicken is cooked, add cornstarch and stir around
6. After marinade thickens into sauce, remove from heat
7. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top, as generously as you want
8. Serve with veggies or on top of a salad
Which citrus fruit would you use? Lemon, orange, or lime??
I competed in a very small triathlon in southern NJ this past Saturday. I signed up for it about a week prior after not being able to complete the swim at Nation’s Tri (due to a sewage spill in the river) on Sept 7th weekend. I wanted another chance to do a full Olympic distance tri and I found this small triathlon about an hour from Philly I spontaneously signed up!
Nation’s Tri had over 4000 people, this tri had less than 200. When I was in transition I could literally see everyone else that would be racing, which is crazy. You could set up wherever you wanted and Pat actually was able to come into transition with me (usually spectators aren’t allowed). He helped me set up and I got my bike double checked mostly for peace of mind. Side note: it was really cold… in the upper 50’s to start the morning and going up to mid 70’s by the end of the race.
The race started at 8:00am and was only two waves (compared to over 30 at Nation’s Tri)- Men and women. I wore a wetsuit since the water temp was only 67 degrees. It was chilly when you first got in but some girls were just wearing bathing suits and once I got moving I was fine. I felt great during the swim and knew I was at the head of the pack of women, and even passed some men. It was an out and back in a lake with small orange buoys. Only bad part of the swim was on the way back we were directly facing the sun and it was super hard to see, note to self to invest in UV goggles in the future. I completely killed it on the swim clocking in at 25:40. I do question the accuracy of the distance because that is extremely fast for me… I think the fastest I’ve ever swam a mile was like 30 minutes. But anyways it was USAT certified so there is a small chance it was adrenaline and not having to battle a current.
Out of the water, stripping the wetsuit as I go, into transition…. Yup I take my time in transition, I know it’s a race but I’m about to sit on a bike in soaking wet clothes for an hour and a half so I want to be as comfortable as possible.
Off on the bike…. Super easy bike course… it was on the open road but very cars were around… and there were dotted yellow lines so they would drive in other lane and for some parts there was a large side of the road to ride on. The streets weren’t in awesome condition in some parts but overall it was a smooth ride. It was so flat and fast of a course I must have started out going really fast. In the last 5 miles I got a terrible stomach ache (I’m guessing I swallowed too much water on the swim, because I didn’t eat anything out the normal). The stomach pain really slowed me down in the end but I guess because of a strong start and fast course I made up my time in the beginning. Clocked in at 1:28:24, similar to my time in DC.
The run was two loop out and back on pine needs and sand in a very secluded wood area. Definitely not my favorite run because all you saw were trees and it was a pretty thin path in some places and you had people running in both directions. Also running on sand sucks. But I still made decent time, 56:25. I felt a little sick still getting off the bike but was able to power through… that’s a slower time for me, but I guess with the sand it’s expected.
Overall results: 2:55:06!!! Under 3 hours and 1st in my (very small) age group! Yay! Awesome time and I would definitely do this tri again! Thanks for all the congrats and support friends!
I swear fall hit hard this week. Highs only in the 70’s (compared to 80’s and 90’s last week) and it’s now super chilly in the morning. I love the summer but fall is awesome too. Perfect running weather, pumpkin everything, beautiful leaves changing, football, my birthday, so many wonderful things. I probably shouldn’t complain. But fall reminds me winter is coming, and last winter was terrible, I’m kinda scared for this winter. I’ll try not to think about it yet.
Anyways…. MUFFINS! Muffins are definitely a fall food… especially when they come out of the oven fresh and warm. Add coffee or a chai and you’ve got a perfect snack, or treat, or breakfast. These muffins are all of the above. And they’re gluten free for my intolerant friends. Yay! You could make them with wheat flour also but if you’ve never used oat flour or coconut flour before it really gives a great flavor. Simply grind oats or coconut flakes in a food processor. You can also buy them in the store. I’ve been on an orange kick lately, definitely recommend buying oranges and using FRESHLY squeezed juice. It makes all the difference.
1½ cups oat flour
½ cup coconut flour
1 cup ground walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup coconut sugar
¼ tsp salt
1½ tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP orange zest
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)
¼ cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Grease muffin pan with coconut oil
3. Measure and combine dry ingredients.
4. Beat egg and combine wet ingredients
5. Add wet to dry until everything is just moistened, over mixing can lead to less tasty muffins
6. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
7. Allow to cool, serve warm, or store in airtight container
Is it cold where you live? What’s your favorite season??
Friends looking for a challenge for the next 30 days should check out The Wall Cycling Studio (on Facebook) and @thewallcycling on Instagram to follow the #30DayWallChallenge !! My friend Cat is an instructor there (definitely go check out her classes if you live in the Philly area!)and I always love a new challenge so I’m going to follow along as closely as I can. More info can be found by connecting with their social media accounts but essentially you want to eliminate 3 foods or habits. Plus focus on eating more greens, drinking more water, decreasing salt, and choosing healthier condiments and eliminating ones with added sugars. Of course, it also recommended to exercise regularly (spinning 2-3x/week, strength training, yoga, and running). By participating on social media you can help keep yourself accountable!
My 3 things I’m going to work on eliminating is:
1. Negative thinking
2. Drinks with dinner/happy hour
3. Non-natural electrolyte replacements during training (GU gels, Gatorade, etc.)
Just to elaborate on my goals… First of all negative thoughts can apply to all aspects of life: having a bad workout and being hard on myself, work, issues with friends, etc. I want to start looking at the more optimistic side of things and spread more positive energy. Putting happiness and good vibes out in the world usually comes back to you. Second one… I am not a big drinker but I’ve been known to indulge in the occasional wine or beer with dinner and hit up a happy hour, so while I drink an insane amount of water I would prefer avoiding booze during the week (even if it’s just 1 drink). Lastly… when I do 2-3 hour workouts my body needs fuel and I usually resort to gels for convenience. I’m investigating using more healthy options to refuel and trying to eliminate these not so great ingredients gels with something a little more natural.
Do you want to participate?? Make sure you connect with The Wall on social media and if you are local check out some awesome spinning classes!
Fall is approaching… Somewhat depressing that summer really is ending… but weather in PA is so unpredictable. Case and point: my birthday is October 7th, and two years ago it was like 50 degrees and rainy, the year before that it was 80 degrees and sunny. I prefer it to be warmer so I’m making one last summer recipe in hopes of holding off the fall. Positive vibes people! I know everyone wants pumpkin this and pumpkin that but it’s not quite feeling like fall to me yet, although I’m not turning down pumpkin beer (ßsoooo good). Can you say denial? Anyways enjoy this summery salad and pretend with me that fall isn’t about to hit hard. You can add more veggies like cucumbers or bean such as cannelloni to make it more of a meal, or serve atop greens. Enjoy and keep those fingers crossed with me for more summer weather!
1 cup uncooked couscous
1/3 cup lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
2-4 garlic cloves
1 cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped mint
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
6-8 green onions, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Follow directions for cooking couscous and allow to cool
2. Make sure all veggies and herbs are chopped and combined.
3. Add garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste
4. Combined cooled couscous to the other ingredients
5. Mix thoroughly and serve chilled
Are you ready for fall or still hoping for a couple more weeks of summer weather?? Have you made anything pumpkin yet or like me, are waiting for slightly cooler temperatures?
As I have mentioned many times recently, I was completing my first Olympic triathlon this past weekend (Sunday). Good news and bad news. Bad news: the swim was canceled due to a sewage spill in the Potomac (grossss). Good news: The “triathlon” was still amazing and I did extremely well, especially on my nemesis the bike! Here is the full recap:
I was staying with my awesome friend Carmen (who has completed a Half Ironman and is doing another one in October- pretty much amazing!)and at 4:30am on race day, we found out the swim was canceled. A lot of friends asked if I was angry, disappointed, relieved… and honestly I was just disappointed… I had trained for the swim (I’m not a swimmer but trying) so I wanted to do it! But there may be another chance… more on this later.
So race morning we still arrived early because transition was still set to close at 6:55am. Unfortunately I was in one of the last corrals (31 out of 34) so this meant a lot of waiting around. The elites went off at 7:00, I don’t think I started until close to 8:30. Luckily Pat was there to keep me company along with Carmen and her crew. Note: In the ten minutes before we walked over to line up I think I went to pee at least 4 times, can you say nervous bladder!?
We simulated coming out of the water in groups of 10 and ran to transition… I started getting super nervous as soon as I started running… would my bike hold up? Would it take me two hours? Would I wreck!? I took my time getting my gloves on and bike together and set off for the bike start! Note: I was one of probably few people not clipping in for an Olympic triathlon… goal for next season though! The bike included a double loop and was mostly flat… the course became very crowded at parts and the keeping to the right unless you are passing rule was definitely not enforced. I hate when slow riders are in the middle of the road, please move over!!!!!!!!!! Grr! There was also a no passing section which is frustrating because you get stuck behind slow bikers but I followed the rules and did not pass (unlike some people). I didn’t see Pat on the bike at all which was weird because I had told him my projected time and we figured out a couple good spots for him to sight me.
I felt pretty good on the bike but had no clue about my time, so I headed on the run feeling pretty good. I began slowly picking off and passing a lot of girls in my age group that had passed me on the bike (yay me!). I get passed on the bike A LOT, but did most of the passing on the run. Felt good on the run but got a little bored sans headphones and tunes. Also Nation’s Tri boasted of a scenic DC course, a majority of the run was through a parking lot, not the scenes I was looking forward to it. I had taken two gels on the bike and shot blocks to start the run so I fueled with water and some sort of sports drink that was offered along the course. Note: I had those sports drinks, they taste super sugary and I don’t like them, but since my blood sugar tends to drops easily while exercising, I try to take a sip or two.
Coming into the finish I was able to sight Pat and waved and he snapped a couple pics. I finished strong and felt great afterwards… great energy not tired or dehydrated! Yay for figuring out the nutrition I need during an intense workout. I have no idea how some people take zero nutrition during a 2-3 hour workout, your body needs fuel so give it some!
40km (25 mile) bike ride: 1:28:04
10k (6 mile) run: 55:20
I absolutely killed it on the bike. I had predicted it would take me closer to 1:45:00 which is why I had missed Pat on the bike course. The run was basically what I had expected since the first mile off the bike is usually a challenging one until your legs stabilize. I felt good during it and know I could’ve pushed myself a little harder so hopefully next time will be better.
Very proud of myself and how I did Sunday at Nation’s Tri but definitely curious as to how I would’ve done with the swim included. I predict the swim would’ve taken me 35-40 minutes. But why guess how I would’ve done when I can find a small local tri to do in two weeks!? That’s right I’m signing up for another Olympic triathlon to finish off the season. This is a very small tri run out of New Jersey… more info soon! And thanks for all the well wishes Sunday!
Well my first Olympic distance triathlon is this Sunday, Nation’s Tri in DC. I’m super excited and nervous at the same time. The sprint tri I did in July didn’t go as well as planned due to bike issues, so I’ve been dying to be able to compete at my full capability. The course itself looks pretty solid… the 1.5 K (about 1 mile) swim is half with current and half against (which is the first time I’ll be swimming against a current in a race). The 40K (25 mile) bike ride is flat and fast and detours through the monuments, one portion is a double loop which I’m not a huge fan of for two reasons 1) I’m afraid I’ll mess it up and DQ myself 2) I’m afraid of how crowded these loops will get. The 10K (6 mile) run is also flat through the monuments. Also to note that will be the furthest I’ve run without headphones… I just hate running without my music but I’m just the adrenaline and atmosphere will power me through the run.
Right now they are calling for rain on Saturday and Sunday which is very unfortunate… I hope nothing gets canceled and it doesn’t rain. I would be pretty uncomfortable riding my bike through lots of rain…. The swim could also become dangerous with lots of rain. I definitely wouldn’t mind running in the rain though. I don’t have a specific overall time goal but I guess around 3.5-4 hours. I think my swim will be around 40 minutes, I’m hoping my bike will be around 1hr 45 minutes, and run around 60 minutes. After the Tri marks the start of football season and we will head to bars to watch and celebrate. I currently reside in Philadelphia but I’m born and raised in Pittsburgh so I’m diehard Steelers fan and can’t wait to see my boys play!
What team do you cheer for? Have you ever done an Olympic triathlon before? Any insight to share for a first timer!?
Hope everyone had a great long weekend. I don’t always have off on holidays in the medical world and I was off yesterday which was awesome. Cheers to long weekends J
Today let’s talk about tofu, a popular meat substitute that most vegans and vegetarians swear by. Although I’m neither vegan nor vegetarian I do eat meat pretty sparingly… so tofu is a house staple. Tofu is low in cholesterol, fat, sodium, and calories, and is a good source of protein, phosphorus, selenium, copper, magnesium, calcium, and manganese. I adore plant protein, sorry paleo friends, meat is just gross sometimes.
Anyways I get a ton of questions about how to prepare tofu from people… and there is one KEY step in tofu preparation… PRESSING IT! Pressing tofu pushes out the excess water and allows the tofu to soak up more flavor of the marinade. Some people own an actual tofu press but usually I wrap my tofu in a dish towel and put a cast iron pan on top. I know some people use cookbooks or cookie sheets with cans on top, basically you just need something flat and heavy. Some people also prefer paper towels but I like to keep it green and I feel like the towel soaks up more water. After pressing tofu I recommend allowing it to marinate for 20-30 minutes. Then you basically cook it how you would chicken or any other meat, on the stove top pan fried, or baked in the oven. (Pictured below is my homemade tofu press complete with dish towel and cast iron pan).
I’m sharing a very simple Asian inspired tofu dish. My husband, Pat, isn’t the biggest tofu fan but when I made this last week, he loved it. This is definitely a good dish to make for those trying tofu for the first time or for meat lovers.
For the Sauce/Marinade:
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup PB
1 1/2 TBSP ginger
2 TBSP rice vinegar
2 TBSP soy sauce
2TBSP warm water to thin
For the Stir Fry:
1 TBSP sesame oil
2 cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion
1 block tofu extra firm tofu
1 cup shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper
1 handful spinach
1. Press tofu (cast iron pan as previously explained) for at least ½ hour
2. Mix together ingredients for sauce and allow tofu to marinate for 20-30 minutes
2. Chop and shred veggies
3. Add sesame oil to pan, add onions and allow to cook down for several minutes
4. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, don’t let garlic burn or brown completely
5. Add bell peppers and carrots and cook for a few minutes
6. Add tofu and sauce/marinade and cook for 10 minutes flipping tofu over halfway through cooking*
7. Add spinach and allow to wilt
8. Make sure sauce is evenly mixed throughout veggies and tofu and serve
*You can cook tofu and sauce/marinade in separate pan if the veggie pan becomes too crowded
Have you ever had tofu before? Have you ever made tofu before!?