Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Eat Your Freggies... Here is How!

Are you getting enough freggies into your menu on a daily basis? 

Fruits and vegetables are the mainstay of my diet.  It always surprises me when I hear people say that they just don't seem to get enough and that they struggle with it.

Without going into all the reasons why we should be eating them, I thought I would talk a bit about how to eat enough of them...  give some ideas from my typical day's menu, so that you can get some ideas.  I don't suggest you follow them... they are just examples to show how easy I find it to eat my freggies.

The U.S. Food Pyramid suggests between 5 and 9 servings of fruit and vegetables, for adults, every day. 

So what is a serving?

Most whole fruits are considered 1 serving... apples, pears, peaches, oranges...

Blood Orange

but there are a couple of noteworthy exceptions:

A whole banana = 2 servings
A whole grapefruit = 2 servings

1/4 cup dried fruit such as raisins = 1 serving

1/2 cup fruit juice = 1 serving

For most vegetables 1/2 cup = 1 serving

For leafy green vegetables 1 cup = 1 serving

Tomato sauce can be counted... 1/2 cup = 1 serving
Salsa as well... 2 tablespoons = 1 serving

So let's look at a sample days eats...


1/2 grapefruit with cinnamon
egg white omelet with 1/2 cup of slivered onions, peppers, mushrooms
2 Tbs salsa on top

Total = 3 servings

After-run protein smoothie:

1 cup spinach
1/2 cup mixed berries
1/2 banana
protein powder

Total = 3 servings


3 ounces baked chicken breast, sliced
1 cup mixed Spring greens
1 tomato, sliced
slivers of mushrooms, green onions,  and cucumber to equal 1/2 cup
dressing of EVOO, vinegar and minced garlic
1 tomato and basil rice cake with 1 wedge Laughing Cow cheese on top
1 glass of fat free milk

Total = 3 servings

Afternoon Snack:

3 ounces edamame, steamed

Total = 1 serving


Pasta with 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
garlic, onions, peppers, bit of spinach to equal 1/2 cup
1 cup scoop of broccoli slaw

Total = 4 servings..

Evening Snack:

yougurt with 2 Tbs raisins, slivered almonds, cinnamon, and 1/2 apple, diced

Total = 1 serving

Day's Total = 15 servings.

Did you get that?  15 servings.  It really is not hard at all.

If you really have trouble getting in your freggies, you could easily drink 4 ounces of orange or grapefruit juice with  your breakfast, or have 1 cup of ice cold tomato juice as a pre-dinnner cocktail.

Here are some other ways to add more freggies to your day:

  • snack on fresh fruit and a handful of nuts instead of protein bars
  • use spaghetti squash instead of pasta or noodles for main dishes or soups
  • have humms for lunch with a variety of fresh veggies to dip into it
  • pile slices of fresh tomatoes on your pizza
  • add sprouts, cucumber slices and fresh tomato slices to your sandwiches
  • add veggies to your sauces, soups, stews and casseroles
  • add cooked veggies or fruit to your scrambled eggs or omelets at breakfast
  • keep dried fruit in your desk at work to snack on instead of candy or chocolate
  • experiment with different fruit and veggies in your smoothies
  • uses fresh fruit on skewers as cocktail garnishes
  • make fruit kebabs to grill on the barbecue
  • add spinach, bananas, squash or other sweet potatoes to your protein pancake batter

Green spinach pancakes for St.Patrick's Day
Peach and blueberry smoothie, premixing.
Spinach and raspberrie smoothie, pre-mixing.

And I urge you to try new kinds of fresh produce as often as you can...  make it an adventure.

So, how many servings do you get on a typical day?

If you don't get 7 to 9, can you think of some ways to eat more?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Testing My Simple Hydration Bottle

We got out for a run before lunch today... the sun was streaming in through our windows and I had to close the drapes to keep our living room and bedroom from getting too warm... so I was a bit shocked when we got outside and the breeze had an icy chill to it.  I was glad I had agreed to wear a light jacket because I had originally thought to go out in just long shirt sleeves.  Yikes!

I don't normally carry water for a 5 km run, but I was eager to give my new Simple Hydration bottle a tryout.  I won it in a Facebook giveaway a short time ago, and today was the first chance I had to test it since it arrived in the mail earlier this week.

I love it!

It holds 13 ounces... just enough to share with The Captain on a short run or enough for me alone on a longer one.  It fits nicely in my hand, too.

But the coolest feature is the hook... can you see the indentation in the bottle, just above my index finger?  Well, that little hook will sit in a belt (in the brochure picture to the left of my hand) or it will tuck nicely into a waistband.... and that is the way I tried it out today.
I filled the bottle with tap water (didn't want it too cold nestled next to my body on a cool day) and tucked it in the back of my waistband, under my jacket, and off we went.  I was conscious of it for about the first 1/2 km because I thought it might bounce out of place... it didn't.  And it didn't feel heavy, as 13 fluid ounces doesn't really weigh very much, and it was easy to grab from behind, have a drink from the spigot in the lid, and replace it back in my waistband.
Did I tell you I love it?  I have got to get my hands on another one for The Captain so he will have one of his own.
So the run... it was our usual 5 km around the park, along the waterfront through the off-leash doggy play area (love that) and through the village shopping area and home.  It is a nice loop, mostly flat and even though I started out quite slowly, I finished strong and happy.  Funny, that is usually the way it happens for me.
W2 R 36.25 @ 10/1 W3
stretch 10 minutes
All in all, a fun run and it was great to get outside in the sunshine.  I think there may be a walk coming up this afternoon too.  Tea first though.... and it's ready.
Have you tried the Simple Hydration Bottle?
What is your favorite hydration tool?
So if you happen to check out Simple Hydration on Facebook, please let them know I sent you.  I would really like them to know how much I love this product.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Top 5 Favorite Breakfasts

As I get more into my weight training and muscle building workouts, I am getting more aware of 'food as fuel'.  I realize that I need to provide my hard-working body with good nutrition in order to get the results I am after.... fuel to power the workout itself and then fuel to help me recover from it!

I am an enthusiastic breakfast fan.  I don't like to eat the same thing every day, though, or even more than once or twice a week.... I am always on the hunt for new breakfast ideas.  Sometimes I come up with new things on my own, and sometimes I run across a great idea on another blog or recipe site, that I can change up to my own tastes.

Here are 5 of my favorite breakfasts lately:

Pumpkin Protein Cake
This makes up so quick and easy in the microwave oven and can be ready in just a couple of minutes.  If you don't like pumpkin, try it with an equal amount of applesauce, or cooked squash or a whole banana, and vary the spices and the protein powder.  It is awesome!

Healthy Breakfast Bowl
This is really just a bowlful of everything you like! In any combination you like. I ususally put in some milled flax, chia, hemp, nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, almond milk or yogurt, cinnamon or other spices... it can be different every time you make it!   My sister in law in North Vancouver introduced this to me when we visited in July and I have been enjoying it ever since.
Eggs N Oats
This is a great way to kick off a busy morning.  And there are so many ways you can vary this dish that you will never get bored with it.  Scrambled eggs and rolled oat... make it savory with some veggies thrown in, or sweet with yogurt and fruit, or peanut butter, as toppings.
Hot Ground Flax 'Cereal' Bowl
This is just some banana, egg white and milled flax seed, cooked and plumped, with some fruit and yogurt on the top.  Sorta like cooked oats without the oats...  Try it, you will be pleasantly surprised at how filling and tasty it is.

Flourless Whey Protein Pancakes
I still make these about once a week, but I just make a large pancake per serving now as it is quicker. I have also made these with soy protein powder and they work just fine.  And you can use other flavors... chocolate... and I bet that new cinnamon bun would be wonderful.  I have used pumpkin instead of the banana too.  Lots of ways to top them... Greek yogurt, honey, fruit, nut butters....
What is your favorite breakfast right now?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday Truths

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the day I met my match and our lives together have been one adventure after another ever since. 

This morning I had my G&E and celiac biopsy done at a local hospital.  The doc left a note for me (cause I don't recall much!) that he saw no physical signs of celiac disease but did send tissue samples to a lab for testing to make sure.  That makes me very happy.  Gluten intolerance is much less threatening to my health than celiac disease.  I am going ahead with my plans to live gluten free.
I signed up for the 2012 - 2013 Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge... yes, a change of heart but now that it is done, I am pretty excited about it and am hoping to participate fully.

Join The Holiday Challenge
If you decide to join in too, please let Amanda know that Elle, from Eat Run Sail, referred you! 
I am very excited about the response we got on the The Captain's Under Armour Spine RMP Running Shoe Review and Giveway.  Thanks so much!  And the giveaway ends at midnight EST tonight so there is still time to get in on it, if you haven't yet. And don't forget, you can select either men's or women's shoes, if you win.

So, do you have any Tuesday Truths to share?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Goodbye Gluten ... We are Never Ever Getting Back Together

After breakfast this morning the sun started to stream into the living room so brightly that I could not see my computer screen to start a blog post... so I did the next best thing... I went out for a run.

The Captain was settled nicely into watching some curling on TV so I got into my gear and when I bent over to lace up my running shoes, I felt a wave of dizziness wash over me.  I have learned not to panic when this happens, but to just allow it to pass... and then afterward, to not push myself too hard physically.  I didn't tell him about it because I know he would have made a fuss about my going out alone... I fell down on the road once a few years ago when a dizzy spell knocked me down and he worries too much at times.  It happens when my head and ears feel inflamed.

Off I went, and I did our usual 5 km loop around the park and along the waterfront that marks our Canadian/U.S. border, and thoroughly enjoyed my lope through the off-leash dog area along the way.  It was not the day to go for broke and I finished in 36.5 minutes which is not too bad... my nose running off my face for the first half and my ears buzzing.  I loved being out in the fresh air and sunshine as it has been a rainy and dismal few days outside here lately.

When I got back I did a nice long stretch while I drank some water and then started making some lunch... the bath could wait!  I needed to eat.

W2 R36.5 @10/1 W4
stretch 10 minutes

So now I am fresh out of the tub... had a nice soak in my homemade Snickerdoodle Bath Salts, and have settled down to make some sense of my health situation.  I am even making myself some talking points so that I make sure to get it all in this one post... If none of these things interest you, you should stop reading now. This post is going to be a place for me to just write things down as a reference.
  • where I am at and how I got to this point
  • what is about to happen
  • how I proceed from here
Immediately after I ran a half marathon on Mother's Day, May 13th this year, I experienced extreme dehydration and salt depletion which led to severe leg cramps for many, many hours... it was about 12 hours before I felt well at all, actually.  My left leg was also swollen from my foot to the thigh and a doctor at the race site told me I should have an ultra sound on it to make sure I had no blood flow issues or clots.  After learning that this swelling had happened to me several times over the past many many years, one leg or both, he agreed not to admit me to the emergency ward for the tests immediately, but admonished me to get them done.

So over the next several weeks I saw my own doctor and I had ultrasound done on both my legs and they were clear of any flow/clot issues. But I did find out that my blood protein was low and that was likely the cause of the edema in my leg... in simplistic terms the low protein makes the blood too thin and it 'leaks' into my flesh.  The swelling comes and goes and sometimes my right leg swells too.

Now we are trying to find out what causes the low blood protein.  Is there a problem with the liver or kidneys, etc.?  The blood tests were repeated to make sure the results were reliable and I had a thorough CT scan of my abdomen from my pelvis to my lungs which showed no irregularities, tumors, etc.  Whew!

During all of this time I was reading books and searching web sites, looking for clues.  I read a book called Wheat Belly, which describes some symptoms I have aside from this 'leg edema/blood protein issue' such as inflammation in my head/dizziness, runny nose, belly bloat, stomach cramps, and so much more.... I talk to my sister-in-law who has been diagnosed severely gluten-intolerant and who has CFS... and she explained to me how I could go about doing some gluten experimenting on my own.

I talked to my doctor who agrees with me that it could be gluten-intolerance causing the low protein in my blood and perhaps even celiac, so he has me go for celiac blood tests, which are inconclusive because my blood protein is too low to give reliable results. Argh.

I gave up gluten.  And over the next couple of months, my head/dizziness cleared up, my runny nose cleared up, my stomach flattened again and the bloating disappeared.  And while I was visiting my older sister at the beginning of September, the leg swelling disappeared... for the first time since May, my leg was not swollen by the end of the day. 

I was a very happy girl.... no more ugly swelling - I could wear all of my shoes again... and I know pretty much for sure that gluten is the culprit.  Happy, HAPPY.

At about that time, I got a phone call from my gastro doc's commander general (that is what I call his office manager cause she runs a tight ship) and she said I was to have a G&E and a celiac biopsy and that I need to be eating gluten again for 2 WHOLE MONTHS before we can do that.  Argh!   I thought long and hard over the next 2 weeks before THAT day came, trying to talk myself out of it.  Did I really need to know if I am celiac?  I have no kids, no offspring to worry about passing that genetic shortcoming... but I do have nieces and nephews and I really suspect my sister and brother have neurological issues that are gluten-related so yes, I guess I should find out. 

So how much gluten do I need to eat?  Could I eat a piece of bread or a cracker every few days? Would that do it?  Nope, I needed to eat the equivalent of 4 slices of bread every day. If I am celiac, and there has been any healing by being off gluten for a couple of months, I needed to eat enough gluten to damage the villi in my small intestine so that the doc can see that damage when he looks at it.

THAT day arrived September 20th... back on gluten.  And within a week my head was stuffed up, my nose was running, my tummy is pooched out and my leg is swelling.... unhappy!  But I perservered and hung on and on November 20th, I am scheduled to have my G&E and celiac biopsy.

I am getting pretty excited about it all.  I don't even mind that the doc is going to put a scope down my throat and look at it and into my stomach and into my small intestine.  I will be sedated and I am so used to the needles and nurses by now that it all seems like old hat to me.  I just want to get it done!

Because, I have plans to NEVER EAT GLUTEN AGAIN... We are NEVER EVER getting back together!

I admit, I have some favorite foods that have gluten in them... I love No-Pudge Brownies and whole grain breads, toasted and slathered with Laughing Cow cheese or butter.  I like pizza and wraps and let's not even talk about cookies and PIE!  I like black licorice and jujubes.

But it is just not worth eating these things if they contribute to my not feeling well, not BEING well.  Even if there is no celiac, there is gluten intolerance.  INTOLERANCE.  Not tolerant. NOT GOOD FOR ME.  That is pretty much it in a gluten-free nutshell.

So this past week I have been eating some of the things I know I am never going to have again.. saying little goodbyes as I go and just like old loves, I might think about them from time to time and reminisce... but I am looking FORWARD to the freedom of being GLUTEN-FREE  4 EVER.

Friday, November 16, 2012

What Motivates Me... Yes, it is Vanity

Would any of you be surprised to learn that VANITY is my main motivator... and HEALTH is the second.?

Now I am wondering what motivates you to to keep working out?  What was your 'aha moment'  to kick you into getting your butt into a better place?

I was a chubby kid, active enough, but never the first one to get picked for the softball team, if you get my meaning. I loved to be outside playing ball or tag, skating in the winter, splashing around the pool in the summer.  But I had no skills; I was not very coordinated, and definitely not athletic. I was the bookworm, the SMART one, and I was okay with that.  Outwardly at least... very confident in my mental and verbal abilities with no confidence at all in my body or my physical abilities.

Fast forward a few decades and I found myself in the same place.  I recall seeing pictures of myself after family outings and was quite disgusted!

I read a book about JOGGING (jimminy how I hate that word!) and started doing rounds of the nearby schoolyard with our dog.  She loved it.  I hacked and coughed, still a smoker, but stayed with it. I  joined Weight Watchers, and over the next several years I lost and regained some weight... I turned our basement into a home gym and had a library of workout video tapes and really worked hard at learning what I could to whip myself into decent shape.

I joined the multitudes of the 'low fat' brainwashed.... and dieted with Scarsdale, Atkins, Susan Powter, and Dr Pritikin.  When I think back now of what I put my body through, I am amazed that I have survived it all!  But I grew some pretty awesome arms and shoulders and my butt almost disappeared.

So, here I am, all this time later, at a relatively low body weight and body mass and low body fat ratio for my height, and finding myself still not quite content.  I am about as thin as I have ever been.  But I need some mass. MUSCLE MASS.  And I am working hard to get it.

I keep reading, and I keep learning.

I recently read in Abs For Women, that during cardio exercise our bodies burn lots of calories while we are doing it, but not many extra after we stop, while resistance/strength training doesn't make us burn a whole lot while we are doing it, but it causes us to KEEP burning calories afterward to repair the muscles that we challenged during the workout.  The 'after-burn' it is called.  It has given me a whole new respect for strength training.

I also have learned that I need time between my hard workouts to let my muscles repair and that is when they grow and get stronger.  Aha, rest is good.

I have also learned that while losing weight we not only lose fat, we lose also lose muscle.  And we lose muscle as we age.  I need to build muscle. 

That is my new mantra. I NEED TO BUILD MUSCLE.... and guess what? I find that I LOVE TO BUILD MUSCLE.  I really enjoy my workouts.  And I love the way I feel when my muscles are working hard and getting fatigued.  And I love the way they feel weak like jelly when I am done and I love stretching them after I am done.  Stretching feels so good.

Cripes, I wish I had discovered this joy this a hundred years ago!  But better now than never.

I have been working my shoulders, back and arms HARD consistently for the past few weeks.  And I am seeing really startling results.  Happy, happy results.  The looseness in the skin on my biceps is disappearing with growing muscle and my triceps are firm and strong and my delts and shoulder caps are looking pretty good to me.  I almost have the arms I did when I was 25 and I am so excited about it.

And my core is not only getting and feeling stronger, it is LOOKING sleeker and stronger.

So if you ask me what is my motivation, I am definitely on the VANITY bandwagon.

I see pictures of people like Ernestine Shepherd, at age 77, who is a world class body builder....

and Tosca Reno at 53 still on stage competing...

And I have to admit, I am in awe!

And they inspire me to work a bit harder and to eat a bit cleaner, to see if I can't get a bit better myself.  I love the ideas of getting better and stronger with age!

At the Weight Watchers meeting, we talked about whether or not writing down our goals would help us reach them.  The leader encouraged us to make lists and to update them regularly as we are inspired by new motivations and seek new goals.

And we also talked about keeping these lists as a way of tracking our own journey - to help us move forward as we look back on our successes. 

I think over the weekend I am going to work on a new Pinterest Board... all about my body/fitness goals and motivators.

What motivates you? 

Do you write down your goals?  Or keep a Vision Board? 

If you have a Fitness Board on Pinterest, I would love to follow it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sleep Glorious Sleep - How to Get Enough

For most of my life I have been one of those lucky people who has no trouble falling and staying asleep.

Normally, I can drink coffee all evening and then put my head down on my pillow at night and go to sleep almost instantly.  Sometimes it drives The Captain a little crazy. I have not only fallen asleep in the middle of a story he is telling me, I have been known to fall asleep in the middle of something I am saying to him! 

I like to think I am such a good sleeper because my conscience is clear!

But, occasionally I have had a few sleepless nights.  To name a few:
  • When my Mother had a stroke and was hospitalized 500 miles away from where I lived
  • When I was having a conflict at work with my boss's colleague
  • When my hormones were acting up
  • When I drank ouzo and ate the coffee beans on the bottom of the shot glass - about 4 ouzos and 12 coffee beans
  • When I ate steak and lobster at midnight on New Year's Eve
  • When I experience cramping in my legs after long runs
  • The first couple of nights in our new apartment, our bedrooms was too light
  • When I have had a nap during the day
So what have I learned from this? 

Facing a stressful situation that is unresolved makes it difficult to go to sleep.  As hard as I try, it is impossible not to keep thinking about 'what ifs'.  I have learned to quit fighting it and just make peace with the fact that I am not going to be able to sleep until the situation changes.  And I have also come to realize that the 'great ideas' I come up with during the night don't always look so good in the light of day!

Eating too close to bedtime is not good. I toss and turn and am generally uncomfortable.  If alcohol is involved, I will be too hot to sleep and have to keep getting up to drink water.

If I don't stretch out and drink lots of water after I run, I experience leg cramps at night. Sometimes they are horrible and I have to wander around, or put Ben Gay Zero or Tiger Balm on the muscles. or even take a hot bath.  Other times I merely have to stand up - at least I can usually go right back to sleep after taking care of the cramp.

When we first rented our apartment, and were going there every day to paint and put things away, and arrange the furniture we were buying, we had never been there at night.  The first night we slept there, we discovered that there are outside lights on the building and our bedroom was lit up like daytime all night long!  The third day we were there we went out and purchased drapes that had blackout liners... the light problem disappeared immediately.

I am not a good napper. I wake up cranky and not refreshed at all... but I have occasionally caved to a nap after a great day's skiing or a long hike in the mountains... when I do that, I don't sleep well that night... ever.  I really should not nap.

When I don't sleep well, it really affects me during the next day.  I am usually cold, often hungrier than normal, and usually my cheery self is a bit cranky, too.  I try not to make important decisions then, because I am sure my judgment is impaired, and I also don't make myself work out too hard.   I would not want to do a long run on little sleep and I am always amazed when I read race recaps about how people have run half marathons and marathons on 4 or 5 hours of sleep, or even less.

Are you a good sleeper?   If not, here are a few things that might help yout:
  • kick the caffeine - The Captain has learned that he cannot tolerate even black tea after 5 p.m.
  • pass on the nightcap - sometimes people think that having a drink helps them nod off, but it can make your blood sugar drop and then you wake up and cannot go back to sleep
  • pull the shades - the darker the room, the better for sleep
  • try reading a book - sometimes reading can make you feel drowsy
  • don't workout or run at night - working out is an energy boost and it takes a while to slow down again - a bit of light stretching might be okay
  • skip the bedtime snack - a spike in blood sugar can keep you awake
  • go easy on fluids in the evening - trips to the bathroom may make it difficult to go back to sleep so get your hydrating done early
Do you get enough sleep?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Handful Needs Your Help

So you ALL know that I am a fan of Handful bras and now tanks, too.  And you can believe me when I tell you that Handful really is the only bra I ever wear.

I'm A Handful

And now Handful needs our help.. Please click on this link and vote for Handful to win some $$ for advertising and marketing.  You have until November 16th to make your vote count!  And only if you live in the U.S. 

I cannot vote, so I am trying to help them by reaching out to my readers... if you are a Handful fan at all, please click on this link and vote!  You only have to do it once, promise.

Thanks for your help!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thursday Things...

Lots of things to talk about today:

The Captain's Spine RPM Running Shoe Review and Giveaway... we are both blown away by the number of comments and entries this shoe giveaway is generating.  It has been a wonderful response and we are so happy about it.  Whoever wins is going to be thrilled with the new kicks so make sure to keep entering and do check out the Under Armour site as well for information about other shoes.

Hello Fitness.... We Meet Again... is giving away LARABARs... check it out!

I have been taking part in the November #MakingMoves Daily Challenges at Renewed Fitness. Gives me an extra little shot of exercise and I usually tack the move on to the end of my daily workout.

Day #1 Side Planks with a Twist

Day #2 Single Leg Bridge

Day #3 Side Planks

Day #4 Side and Back Butt Lift

Day #5 Squat with Step Back

Day #6 V-Sit

Day #8 Stacked Pushups
Day #7?  It was her 30th birthday so she took the day off!  Good for her.  I am really having a tough time with some of these moves so it is a good way for me to try them out!
A few days ago, Jen, from Running With the Girls, mentioned that she was cooking Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken for dinner and shared the link.  I have it cooking right now and it smells awesome!  I am so glad I made enough for leftovers cause I think it is gonna be great.
Today we did a 3.7 km run... it should have been 5 km but it was so windy out there, even though sunny and bright, that I decided to cut it short.  After I cooled down and stretched and drank the chocolate milk that The Captain insisted I have, I enjoyed a long soak in the tub with some of the Oatmeal Cookie and Milk Bath  that I made last week.  Luxury on a dime...

On my food blog this week I shared a recipe for Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal from nutritious eats.  It is truly delicious and Melanie won a prize for it from Quaker Oats in a recent competition.
Have you found anything great in blogland this week that you care to share?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Under Armour Spine RPM Shoes Giveaway

The Captain and I both want to say thank you for all of the lovely comments you left yesterday on the post where we shared his thoughts about his new Under Armour Spine RPM Running Shoes.

Big smile of thanks from You-Know-Who!

 And today we are really happy to share great news with you!

Under Armour wants to give one of you a pair of their great Spine RPM Running Shoes - you can choose either a pair of the mens' shoes or a pair of the women's shoes... are you as excited as we are?

Check out the mens' shoes here.... or the women's shoes here.... and then use this Rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway.

I have never used Rafflecopter before, for giveaways on my blog and I would be most happy to hear how you like using it. I find it so easy when I am entering giveaways on other blogs that I decided to use it for this giveaway.

So let's get this party started!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And here is the bonus for those of you who left a comment on yesterday's REVIEW post...
IF you complete the mandatory entry in the Rafflecopter form AND:
  • IF you left a comment on the review post before this giveaway post went up, you will get 2 extra entries
  • IF you didn't leave a comment on the review post before this giveaway post went up, but do go leave one before the giveaway ends, you will get 1 extra entry
Good luck, everyone!  This giveaway well end on November 21st and I will attempt to get in touch with the winner, but will also publish the winner's name on this post so be sure to check back. 

If you comment on the review post, there is no need to tell me in a separate comment - I will pick it up AND yes, this giveaway is open worldwide. Wahooo!  Get entering!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Captain Loves His New Under Armour Kicks

I have never seen The Captain so excited about a pair of running shoes before...  when the Fed Ex man brought this parcel from Under Armour, he ripped into like a kid at Christmas!

I have to admit, these shoes are pretty special... just look at them...

And they fit like they were made for him.  When he knew he was going to be trying them out, he looked at the Under Armour web site and checked their sizing chart to find the right fit.  But it is kind of a guess when you don't have the shoes there to actually try. I think that the natural tendency, mine at least, is to order larger than you might really need, but he went by suggested sizing and the shoes he selected fit perfectly.

And he loves the color!    Who knew men were so interested in the look of their running gear? Well, apparently they are!

I couldn't get him to take the new kicks off! And he wore them around inside pretty much for the rest of the day.

His first opportunity to take them out for a test run happened the next day... the weather has been blustery and soggy here, on and off for a couple of weeks now... so we have only been getting out intermittently, between rains.  And we both thought it might be a good idea to go for a short run the first time he wore the new shoes, just to make sure they were going to be all right.

Normally when we run, he holds back and stays at my pace.  He is usually only interested in going cause I want to go.  But on this particular day, I had to run a fair bit harder to keep up with him.  He was really enjoying himself and I could tell he was loving the running for himself, not just because I was happy to be out.

I kept asking him how the shoes felt, and how his knees felt. And each time the reply was 'great'.  This was a real concern for me as we know he needs a cushioned shoe.  And this Under Armour Spine RPM Running Shoe provides lightweight and responsive cushioning without sacrificing stability and support.  We finished that 3.7 km and came in and had a good long stretch.  He went and checked the Weather Channel to see when we might go out again.  That was a first.

5 days later we set out for our normal 5 km around the neighborhood and he was prancing.  The Captain has a very natural Chi Running gait.  He lifts his whole foot and has a fairly upright posture with just a bit of a forward lean, and lands each step on the middle of his foot... a gait I spent a great deal of time and effort learning to execute, over the past couple of years in reading about Chi Running and Walking.

It was another good run and he enjoyed it a lot.  He says that he is confident in the support the shoe offers and that is it very comfortable. And just as an aside, he is also happy that the laces are not overly long like they are in some of his other running shoes.

A few days ago, another 5 km test around the same route found us completing it in 1-1/2 minutes under our normal time. I am happy to say that I am getting faster myself, cause he seems to be pulling me along faster and  I know it is because he is feeling so great running in these Under Armour shoes.

There are a lot of large trees in our neighborhood... chestnuts, a variety of large oaks and maples, birch, willows, figs and lots of other fruit trees... it is Fall and the leaves have been raining down the past couple of weeks and covering the sidewalks and streets.  They are beginning to rot so the sidewalks and trails are getting quite slippery and we have been cautioning each other to take care not to slip on the rotting leaves or on the wet paved trails. 
But The Captain is very confident in the traction of the solid rubber sole of his new running shoes.  Even though they are lightweight, they are solid and have a well-designed tread.

We urge you to have a look at the Spine RPM Running Shoe on Under Armour's web site and read some of the other detailed reviews you will find there.  It comes in a wide array of colors and sizes so you are sure to find something that suits you as well..  There is a lot of technical information available, too, about the innovative design of these Spine shoes.
And be sure to check back tomorrow ... hint hint.... something very special coming your way... for you ladies too!
Under Armour did provide The Captain this pair of shoes at no cost, but the opinions expressed are his via me, alone.

Mixing up Bath Goodies in My Kitchen

I have been interested in homemade skin care and bath products off and on for years.

I used to make facial masks from a variety of ingredients including such things as egg whites, honey, oatmeal, avocadoes, and cucumbers, to name a few. I recall using lemon juice to add highlights to my hair, and also have used olive oil to condition it, and apple cider vinegar to make it shiny.

Recently I used a mixture of olive oil and coarse salt to help my runner's feet recover from our Spring  half marathon training. It helped shed the calluses and nourished the skin and nails very well.

Now that we are not living on the sailboat any longer, and I have a real bathtub and all the hot water a girl could possibly want at my fingertips, I thought it might be fun to make some bath goodies.  I do love me a long hot soak.

I have been looking at Pinterest for bath salts recipes, and at personal blogs for bath bombs, and also different lotions. A couple of days ago, someone loaned me a fairly recent issue of Women's World Magazine... and it just happened to have an article on homemade bath goodies.

I didn't want to go out an purchase a bunch of odd ingredients that I would never use again, so I decided to concentrate on a couple of the recipes that required things I already had hand.  And then I picked up a couple of decorator storage jars from the local dollar store.  You could certainly dress these up with ribbons and labels if you decided to use them as gifts.

I chose two recipes... one for Snickerdoodle Bath Salts and the other for Oatmeal Cookie & Milk Bath... oh my.   They are both lovely.

Snickerdoodle Bath Salts

I have long been a fan of epsom salts. As a child I watched my Mother soak her tired feet in a basin of hot water and epsom salts about once a week.  It is magnesium-rich, and I find it relieves muscle soreness and aches, especially nice after a long run or a hard workout. Combined with cinnamon and vanilla and a warm soothing bath, these are the makings of a calming, soothing indulgence. I love to soak in the tub and the aroma arising from the warm water is just luxurious.

You will need:
  • 2 cups epsom salts
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 drops vanilla extract
  • 2 drops yellow food coloring
  1. Mix half the salts with vanilla extract and yellow food coloring, and the other half with the cinnamon.
  2. Alternate layers of each salt color in a clean, reusable jar and cover.
  3. To use pour 1 scoop of the salts under warm running water as you draw a bath.
  4. Keeps indefinitely.
In hindsight, I think I should have chosen a plainer jar for this mixture so that the striped effect of the two different treatments of the epsom salts would show more.  You may want to measure how much epsom salts your jar will hold and then work the recipe with just that amount.

Oatmeal Cookie & Milk Bath



Oats have been used for many years to soothe rough, dry, irritated patches and the lactic acid in the milk gently exfoliates and brightens your skin.

You will need:
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup powdered milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  1. Place all the ingredients (see my comment below) into a food processor and blend until you have a powder-fine mixture.
  2. Pour the sweet-smelling bath soak into a clean reusable jar and cover.
  3. To use drop 2 scoops of the powder under warm running water as you draw a bath.
  4. Keeps indefinitely.
I poured the vanilla through the feed tube of my food processor while it was blending the other ingredients.  I was afraid it might make some clumps if left sit on the other ingredients before I got the food processor working.

I think either of these would make lovely and inexpensive gifts... for gift exchanges or to have for unexpected guests or events where you need something quick to take along... for your child's teacher or a neighbor…

Have you ever made your own cosmetics in the kitchen?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fall Fresh Start Comes to an End

Saturday marks the end of the final week of my 6-week personal Fall Fresh Start Challenge.  I am pretty happy with the results... and very happy that I got back into the groove of daily workouts and am enjoying it all so much.

  • 5 km run and 10 minute stretch
  • 10 minutes of upper body work w/dumbells
  • 3 of fitknitchick's work along videos for a total of 30 minutes
  • CRUNCH yoga/Pilates DVD for a total of 40 minutes
  • Karen Voight's Burn and Firm DVD for a total of 45 minuts
  • Renewed Fitness #MakingMoves High Plank with a Twist - 20 per side
  • 5 km run and 10 minute stretch
  • Renewed Fitness #MakingMoves Single Leg Bridge - 20 per side
  • 30 minute walk
  • Renewed Fitness #MakingMoves Side Plank - 30 seconds per side
I am already working on my November goals and intend to carry on with my workouts and tightened up food plan, full steam ahead! 

For me, the hardest part about side planks is putting all my weight on my forearm and elbow.
Take 5 today
  • I picked up a copy of The Abs Diet at the library today and have been reading through it and can see that there are some changes I can easily make toward eating leaner.
  • Another wine/alcohol-free day under my belt and I like that I can spend those calories on nourishing food!

Did you have a good week?  Anything new on the horizon?

Are you taking part in this years Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge?

Are you turning your clocks back before you head to bed tonight, or will you change them in the morning instead?

Friday, November 2, 2012

November #MakingMoves Day 2 and Taking 5

Today The Captain and I got in a great 5 km run just before noon... great because it was speedier than normal but didn't feel like it and also because there were so many dogs out playing in the off-leash area on the trail we ran along the waterfront today.  I love seeing all the beautiful dogs running and playing together and am always happy when one or two run alongside me for a while, or jump up and say hello.

We did our usual 5km route and I really think I have to get on Map My Run and find us some new routes soon.

W2 R34-12 @11/1 W3
stretch 15 minutes

And then I opened an email from Renisha at Renewed Fitness to find out what the #MakingMoves challenge was for today... Single Leg Bridge.  Good. I can do that.... and did her version ever burn my butt!

Single Leg Bridge
After lunch I made a small batch of cookies for The Captain and I am happy to say they didn't even tempt me.  Big win!  I made myself a bowl of protein 'sludge' instead... today's version was protein powder, yogurt, milled flax seed, hemp seed, a bit of chunky peanut butter and some cinnamon.  Lovely.
Take 5 today
  • went out for a run when I felt like being lazy
  • avoided cookies I baked for The Captain in favor of a high protein snack
  • planning a light dinner so I can have popcorn for a tv snack tonight... it's been weeks!
How did your day go? Did you stop to celebrate your positives today?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November Brings 3 New Challenges

November!  When did that happen?

The whole month of October flew past me in a whirlwind. Looking back I know I accomplished a lot in October... I got in lots of sweaty exercise sessions, ran a few times, worked with and tested many new recipes... tidied up several little household projects as well as some personal ones, and managed to do a bit of volunteer work as well.

My personal 6-week Fall Fresh Start Challenge is winding up at the end of this week, and I am very happy to be back in a routine of doing some kind of a workout every day.   The weather has been windy and soggy so I am not running a whole lot right now and only getting out there on dry, calm days.  But I have been working very hard on my abs, and getting in lots of workouts with my dumbbells and my kettlebell to continue to strengthen my legs and build up my arms and shoulders.

So, for the month of November, starting today, I am taking on 3 new challenges: 
The first one is food-related.
I have been reading about how abs are created in the gym, but revealed in the kitchen... was that you, Tamara Grand, or you, Brad Gouthro, who said that?  At any rate, I am taking it to heart, or rather, to mouth, and I have decided that I need to clean up my diet a little more. 
I want to make sure that all of this ab work I am doing is not going to be for naught.   So I am spending some time today reading more about it and working on a new food plan.  I will write more about that in a future post.
The second one is fitness-related.
I have discovered a new workout challenge.  One of my other fellow Fitfluential Ambassadors,  Renisha James, who writes Renewed Fitness, has created a fun way to get in some extra movement during the month of November and I have decided to take part.  It is just one exercise per day and Renisha says " Let’s use this month to continue to make movement a priority. "  I am all for that! 
She calls it the #MakingMoves Challenge and is starting off the month with High Planks with a Twist.  Have a look and I bet you will want to join in, too.  I intend to add it to whatever workout I do on the given day.  Gosh I hope she doesn't throw in lots of burpees and mountain climbers!
High Planks with a Twist

The third challenge is about healthy behaviors.
At a recent meeting I attended, we discussed Taking 5 every day to plan and review - take 5 minutes to think about what the day will bring and how we will handle it... and to review how it all went down.  We were encouraged to focus on positive behaviors in order to keept the self-talk uplifting and motivating.  Then possibly identify things we could have done differently... better.
For this month, I am going to make a note here about the things I did right and perhaps confess some I didn't do as well as I might have.
So to review today:
  • Instead of having cocktail hour today, I made a pig pot of spicy chai and we enjoyed it immesely.
  • We had our favorite take out pizza for dinner so I made a big green salad to go along with it and I ate only half as much pizza as I normally would have.  Big win. I don't feel stuffed and will sleep better for it!

Have you set November Goals?  I would love to hear about anything special you have planned this month.
Do you ever Take 5 to plan and review?