Unwitting Title

Unwitting Title

SoHo House Chicago Margarita
Spicy SoHo House Chicago Margarita

I have acquired the unwitting title of “Margarita Maker”.  I did not seek this title, but everyone talks tequila with me as though I’m George Clooney and Randy Gerber.  As a lifelong calorie-phobe, I have always been on the lookout for low-calorie drinks.  Alcohol was never a requirement in my diet.  Although in college, we drank a lot of beer at fraternities and boy this put me off beer for life.  And, a group of us would go bar hopping as seniors and drink long island ice teas.  Now one of those was all I needed because we ran and didn’t bother with dinner!  We usually got pizza around midnight.  Sigh, youth.

I moved onto vodka and pineapple juice in my early twenties.  I was introduced to this drink by a coworker.  After finding out that my new and cool drink was over 350 calories a serving, I lost interest…

Gimlets, either gin or vodka were my go to drink in my late twenties.  My husband’s uncle, who drove a Porsche 911 made one for me and I loved them.  It is what all the cool grown ups were drinking in the late 90’s.  My early thirties were all about marathon training.   I did not drink any alcohol then because those long training runs were brutal.

What bought me back to drinking was playdates with fellow moms.  I remember a lot of wine playdates.  I am not a wine person and therefore decided to drink something else.  Somewhere in my kitchen was a large stainless steel cocktail mixer with a dozen drink recipes on.  Just twirl to the drink of choice and the ingredients appeared on the side!  Before this margarita immersion, the only margaritas I had were from that fancy restaurant chain “Chi Chi’s”!  The super sweet, goopy, made with fake margarita mix concoctions that came in gigantic glasses.

I made the margarita recipe from my cocktail mixer.  It was too sweet for me and had too many calories.  I did experiment with some other versions, but I did not care for them.  There are many, many margarita recipes out there.  But I came across a simple recipe that is the best margarita I have ever had.  It is refreshing, delicious and not too sweet.  Just for the record, one of these is all I need.

Seshu’s Margarita

1.5 oz Tequila (silver or reposado)

1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

1 t agave syrup

crushed ice to taste

Combine all ingredients, shake and serve.

Seshu's Margarita
My Margarita with a silver tequila
A Legend…in my own mind

A Legend…in my own mind

The rule is…there are no rules!  For decades, I had three rules that I ran by.

  1. Once you start running, don’t stop until you finish your said miles.
  2. If you can talk when you are running, you are not going fast enough.
  3. No music, that’s cheating.  I am a purist…thank you very much.

So, those rules worked in my twenties and thirties.  Nowadays, I have a phone and GPS watch strapped to my left arm, water bottle or pepper spray in my right hand.  And I will mention the metal plate and six screws in my right leg.  (Fell down the stairs during my second pregnancy at 37 weeks, tri-malleolar fracture…that story is another post).

My younger self would have never believed it.  But to be fair to myself, I am running longer and faster than I ever did.  Aside from training for marathons back then, I usually ran twelve miles a week in my twenties and fifteen miles a week in my thirties.  That is all it took to stay in shape back then.  Aah, youth.  I run over 25 miles a week now…Dear metabolism…thanks for nothing!

I have come to accept aging and all the rules I have to break to manage.  I think breaking those rules and getting rid of my running vanity has made me faster and able to run longer.  Apple music has made my hot and humid Raleigh runs so much more bearable.  Stopping to drink water is just a necessity in our humid state.  And talking while running is okay too because slow days are necessary to prevent overuse injuries.

A lot of my runner friends have asked me what I listen to when I run.  I have no shame in liking these songs.  Whatever works right?!

I have so many favorites, but here are some tunes with a fast beat that take me up those hills:

Fantasy, Aldo Nova

Original Sin, INXS

Evenflow, Pearl Jam

Magnificent Seven, Clash

Legs, ZZ Top

Dr. Feelgood, Motley Cru

Kickstart My Heart, Motely Cru

Iron Lion Zion, Bob Marley

How Do U Want It, 2Pac

Renegades of Funk, Rage Against The Machine

No Church in the Wild, Kanye and Jay Z

Bullet the Blue Sky, U2

IMG_2831
Bono, U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour, Chicago, United Center, 2015

 

Happy running to you all!  I will have my Chickpea Fry recipe in my next post!

 

 

 

Small Steps

Small Steps

It is the middle of January.  While I haven’t been perfect in checking off everything in my New Year’s to do list, I am on the right track.

img_0952

On getting enough sleep:  I have made it to bed at 10:30 only once in the past two weeks.  My bed times have been between 11 pm and 11:30 pm.

On managing my time:  I am doing better on this one.  I have been finishing about 90% off my daily to do list.  However, I haven’t started meditation yet.  I did download several apps to help me do this.

On getting back to my usual running pace and mileage:  This one is going well.  I have managed to get back to doing physical therapy.   I am back to my usual mileage and the physical therapy is going to get me back to my usual pace.

Trying to improve my habits is going to take time and won’t happen overnight.  Small steps will lead to my goals.  I have to remember that each day is a fresh start and a chance to improve.  It’s funny that I am so disciplined in certain areas of my life such as my Vegan diet, exercising and managing the household.  But I slack off with sleep, time management and physical therapy.

I am entering everything I need to do into my calendar.  This way, my schedule is on every device:  iPhone, iPad and Mac.  I have got reminders and alerts on items that involve others.  The calendar will help me become more mindful of what needs to get done.  Hope your New Year plans are going in the right direction also!

fullsizeoutput_1f9d.jpeg

 

 

 

A Brand New Year

A Brand New Year

The New Year is just days away.  Every year, I have friends and family who make resolutions.  Resolutions to change habits, lose weight, do more of something…the list goes on.  Many of them achieve success but many of them don’t make it past March.

I have never made New Year resolutions in the past.  But this year, I plan on improving myself.  The path to change is not easy right?  It is not enough to say “I want to change…”.  There needs to be a plan with details for change to happen.  Writing down the changes you want to make, may or may not help you.  This year, I am writing them down.

Change 1:  Get enough sleep.  Shut everything off and be in bed by 10:30 pm.

Change 2:  Manage my time better.  Write down a schedule for each day of the week because everyday is different.  I will use my calendar to help me from missing events and scramble last minute.

Change 3:  Get back to my usual running pace and mileage.  I have been plagued with injuries and simply need to do my physical therapy in order to improve certain muscles.  I have been blowing off my exercises and it has really affected the way I feel and how I run.

It is a brand new year and I want to make it count.  I want to make it an awesome year for me, my family and my friends.  Will keep you posted on how it is going!  (Pun intended…)

Are you planning on improving yourself this year?  How will you do it?

IMG_0516.JPG
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota Florida

 

 

 

Unbearable Lightness of Being

Unbearable Lightness of Being

Rain is sprinkling lightly.  I am gearing up to run.  A little rain is not going to spoil my workout.  I try to run at least three days a week, usually 25+ miles a week. There are two days that I bike with my workout buddy, M.  Running has been a must for me since I was 14 years old.  It helped me lose weight as a teenager and has become a necessity like air or water.  Most people who don’t run always ask me how I run by myself and why I run so many miles.  The simple answer is “I feel like a million bucks.”  I have this “lightness” after my runs.  I like to call it an “Unbearable Lightness of Being”.  Yes, it is a runner’s high, endorphins…There is a Daniel Day Lewis movie by the same name, but that lightness is not from running!

I wish I could bottle that feeling so my friends, who always shake their heads at me, can feel it too.  If they did, I bet they too would take up running or biking.  This feeling lasts all day.  On the days that I don’t run or bike, I don’t feel light.  Unfortunately, I can’t run everyday because I have a metal plate and six screws in my left leg, (that’s another post!).

M and I have both suffered from overuse injuries this spring and summer.  These injuries are fixable through physical therapy.  Both of us are working through them and injuries are not a reason to stop moving.  When one of us could not run or bike, we walked.  Walking is a great exercise.  It certainly takes longer to walk than run, but it still moves major muscle groups and burns calories.  And the best part, it gets the heart rate up and results in that “unbearable lightness of being”.  Now, I can’t tell you at what mileage or how long it will take for you to feel “lightness”.  Each person is different and therefore, it will be a pleasant discovery for you.

According to most health experts, a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy.  In my suburbia, we don’t walk very much.  Most people drive to their gym and drive elsewhere.  Compared to the rest of the world, Americans are very sedentary.  My mom and dad were really surprised to see how many steps they got in a day.  Their inexpensive Fibit clips have motivated them to get 10,000+ steps a day.  My mom is now understanding how good it feels to walk.  She has lost a few pounds, but isn’t feeling the “lightness” yet.  It takes time and patience.  I like to encourage her everyday because it will happen and she will feel it!  I have included one of my easy post workout snacks below.

 

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER SMOOTHIE

2 T Jif Peanut Butter Powder

2 T Trader Joe’s Chocolate Hemp Powder

1 T Nesquick or Cadbury’s sweetened Chocolate Powder

1.5  C So Delicious Xtra Protein Vanilla Almond Milk or your milk of choice

Based on the nutrition label on each product, I calculated about 235 calories and 16 g protein.

Combine all ingredients in an immersion blender or regular blender and enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You are holding the key

You are holding the key

“How do you do it”?

“How do you have the self-control”?

These are questions I get asked all the time about not just being plant based, but portion control and staying fit.  These are not easy questions to answer.  We are all different and what works for me may not work for you.  I can however, provide you with some habits that I formed in my teens.  During my senior year in high school, I lost fifteen pounds and have kept it off using portion control and running.  This post is about eating, I will talk about fitness in my next post.

Eating a meal should be only that.  Just eat, don’t do anything else.  Don’t multi-task.  Look at your plate and pay attention to your food.  Enjoy the taste and get the satisfaction and nourishment that it provides.

Eat sitting down.  When you are eating anything,  a meal or even a snack or having a drink, sit down.  Don’t stand when you are eating or drinking.  Take the time to look at what you are eating and drinking.

When you are still craving more of what you just ate, change the taste.  For example, when I am craving more potato chips and I have already eaten two servings, I wait.  I drink some water, then eat something with a completely opposite taste like cherries, or vegan yogurt or sorbet.   I forget the taste of the salty, fatty chips because I have tasted something else.

Portion out your food.  I know this piece of advice gets such a bad rap and a bad reaction from people.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with measuring or weighing out serving sizes.   Eating snacks like chips out of a bag usually means overeating because of their small serving size.  Serving sizes for potato chips are usually around 150 calories for 28 grams or around 14 chips.  I usually lose count after 4.  I have an inexpensive food scale and measuring cups/spoons.

Eat your meals on smaller plates.  I have both 10 and 8 inch plates.  But I always use the 8 inch plates.  This optical illusion works by tricking my mind into thinking my plate has runneth over.

Not having bags of readily available junk food forces me to make my own snacks.  If I am feeling too lazy to cook, I end up eating a fruit or doing something else besides eating.  See below for an easy yet healthy smoothie bowl.

I am not perfect by any means.  We all have good days and bad days.  But starting with a health eating goal in mind everyday is really important.  Do your best and try to stick with your eating goals everyday.  It will pay off eventually.  Good eating habits and physical fitness can help with weight loss and improve health.  It won’t happen overnight, it takes time and patience to change behavior and break lifelong habits.  Next post is all about moving!

 

Easy Smoothie Bowl

img_0144

There are thousands of great smoothie bowl recipes.  This one is easy, lower in calories and high in protein.  I did not have any of my favorite berries to add when the above picture was taken, but feel free to top with blueberries or strawberries.

1 container Silk soy yogurt (or your favorite low fat yogurt)

4 T Trader Joe’s Chocolate Hemp Powder

1 T unsweetened Coconut Flakes

Around 8 Pistachios (mostly crushed or whole if you prefer)

In a bowl, mix yogurt and hemp powder together.  Top with coconut, pistachios and fruit.  Enjoy!

Using the nutrition labels provided on all the ingredients, I calculated this smoothie bowl at approximately 310 calories with 15 g of protein.