Getting Back on the Healthy Train and Starting Crossfit Again

I live and die by schedules.  I love checklists, to-dos and deadlines.

I love to know exactly what I have to done and when it has to be done.  In work, that’s great.  I get things done quickly.  In life, it means when my schedule gets thrown off, I have a hard time maintaining sanity.

Moving to the Bay Area has really thrown off my schedule.  It used to be I’d wake up at 5:30, be at the gym by 6am (or out for a run), be at work by 8:15.  My morning schedule was great.  I was used to it.  I was so productive.  Exercising in the morning makes me feel great.

Then the past few months happened.  We went to Mexico and Guatemala, we moved and got settled and all that went away, especially because I work remotely while I look for a new job up here.

Moving is hard.  It’s hard to get used to a new place and get your bearings.

So while all that was happening, I basically ate terribly and didn’t exercise.

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(Please see my Instagram for more details)

But all that said, it’s finally all coming together. But it’s not magic, it takes work (and contrary to what other blogs like to tell you, getting healthy is not always fun).

I’m figuring out my schedule.  I also found a new Crossfit.  I’ve been 3 times so far and let me be perfectly honest with you, going to a new crossfit is scary.  You’re not sure what to expect, because every box is different, and people are different.

I think I’ve lucked out, because everyone has been extremely nice.  But it’s still scary, and I miss my old box with my set of friends and coaches that I like.

I had to make myself go this morning.  I was dreading it, because I was scared.  But once I got there and did the workout, I had a great time (p.s. my back squat 1 rep max has gone down by 22lbs, I’ve got work to do).

The key for me to stick with it is to just make myself do it.  I don’t have my running buddy anymore, so I need to find other ways to make it work.  My solution: Nike it.

Then there’s eating healthy.  I’ve struggled, because cheese and cake are delicious.

LemonRicottaCake3

So just like how I have to force myself to exercise, I currently have to force myself to eat well.  I’m trying, because I pretty much want to eat Chinese food and cake for every meal.  I cleaned out my fridge and left only non-processed foods and made normal meals for myself trying to balance protein and carbs.

breakfast

lunch

Healthy and colorful meals can be awesome.  They just take some getting used to, because I’m convinced your palate changes after eating a certain way for a few weeks.  Being healthy is important and let’s be honest, sometimes it’s not fun and you just want to eat cake (I can’t be alone in this sentiment).

There’s a time for cake, but right now, it’s time for vegetables.  And let’s not forget, I’m getting married next year, now is not the time to start gaining weight.  I’m also not into crash diets, so probably a good idea to just maintain my weight for the next year (or lifetime?).

Do you have any tips for getting healthy after being off-track for a while?

Coconut Mint Cooler

I signed up for a half marathon.  Somehow I thought it was a good idea to run 13 miles.  So here it goes.  It’s not til November, but training has commenced (luckily, I run with Allison from Sweet Potato Bites and she keeps me going).

This morning I ran 8.  I’ve noticed I’ve been having some issues with hydration after these longer runs, especially since we’ve been having ridiculous humidity in southern California and I sweat like a whore in church.

I know coconut water is great for hydration, but sometimes, just plain coconut water is boring.  Sometimes you need to get a little bit fancy.  If you’re feeling fancy and dehydrated, I have the perfect drink for you.

Coconut Mint Cooler

Coconut Mint Cooler

4 cups coconut water
Juice of 2-3 limes
12-15 mint leaves

Blend together all ingredients.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Serve over ice (or with a dash of rum).

Coconut Mint Cooler

I’m pretty pretty much convinced that this would also make a great mixer.  I think it’d go great with rum… like a coocnut mojito! Would you say no to that?

Or if you wanted to keep be alcohol-free, mix with some club soda to give it a little fizz.

Coconut Mint Cooler

Either way, you’ll feel fancy drinking this and knowing you’re on your way to full hydration without any added sugars, chemicals or crazy ingredients.

 

What’s your favorite way to hydrate? 

Ceviche de Jaiba

I’ve been agonizing over this post for about two weeks now.  I’ve had a million ideas about what to write and none of them seemed to work out.  Instead of agonizing any further, let’s talk about what led up to the amazing recipe I’m going to share with you… It all started with a hike… a 10 mile hike to a bridge where people were bungee jumping.  If you’re in the LA area and have never been to the Bridge to Nowhere, I recommend it.

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Given how NOT graceful I am when it comes to balance, I’m really impressed that I could cross streams on rocks and logs.  I think the hike is medium difficulty, and overall really fun.  It took us about five and a half hours.  On the way back, we were all ready to be done, because it was hot and we ran out of water.  Clearly a bad combo.  Next time, I’m bringing a water filter and a swim suit.  There were tons of little pools in the stream for swimming.  It would have been great to swim given the heat.

That particular day, my legs were sore.  The previous week, I had hurt my arm at crossfit.  While I let it heal, I modified all my workouts to involve only lower body movements.  Basically I just squatted and ran for a week.  Then on Saturday, Allison and I ran.  So by Sunday, my legs were toast.  This hike did them in.  By the end of the hike, all I wanted to do was drink a gallon of water and sit for a bit.  Being the dream boat that he is, Jesse made this:

Ceviche1

I’m going to go ahead and say that this is really his recipe, but I’m sharing it with you because it’s damn delicious.  Gentlemen, make this for your lady.  She will appreciate it.

Ceviche de Jaiba

1lbs imitation crab meat, shredded (or Real Crab meat)
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
juice of 4 limes
salt to taste
Avocado and Chips/Tostadas, for serving  

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Serve with sliced avocado on a tostada or with chips and cover in hot sauce.  Jesse likes to put ketchup on his too.  That was tasty enough but I was a big fan of the hot sauce.  You can also add fresh sliced jalapeños or habanero peppers for some extra heat.

Ceviche2

This ceviche with a nice cold beer was the BEST post-hike meal.  It’s light and citrus-y, and if made by a nice fella… it’s pretty much everything a girl could ask for.  I can’t wait to go on another hike and eat this again.

What’s your favorite place to hike? How about post-hike meal?

R.I.P. Ipod

My nano is a goner.

As a result of my dead ipod, I went to the gym music-less today.  It wasn’t too bad at first because they play loud pop music in there anyway for example this came on:

So that was fine, until a woman decided the music was too loud for her so she turned it off. Boo!

She was polite enough to ask me if it was okay, but sadly my Italian is good enough to understand what she said but too bad to know how to say “can you just turn it down instead of off?”

The next half hour of my workout was in silence. Woh woh… Not as fun, but the 45 minutes went by pretty fast.  Apparently I have a lot on my mind.

On the bright side, there was basically no one there when I got there!  It was lovely since that place is pretty small.

After the sweaty work out and a shower, I made lunch.  This meal was a crazy mish mash of things that probably don’t really go together, but I sorta loved it.

Tuna Salad + Curried Potatoes with Peas (Aloo Mattar, sorta) + Green beans

Delicious!  I’ll be making those potatoes again. Super tasty and went great with the green beans.  Tuna salad (made with a small can of tuna, mustard, lemon juice, capers, onions, salt, pepper and a handful of garbanzo beans) surprisingly wasn’t bad when mixed with the curried potatoes.  But then again I’m generally a fan of mixing everything on my plate together.  I seem to have this idea that it heightens all the flavors.

True or False? Who knows!  Probably all in my head…

Enjoy the weekend!

Moving Myself

My former (but quited beloved) roommate, Christina, would always say “I’m going to go move myself” before going to the gym.  So in the spirit of missing her… today I moved myself and it was great!

I came home from work, had a snack:

2 egg white and a banana that for some reason look like they’re smiling at me.  Don’t you think?

Then I headed over to Nancy’s, and we walked to the river for a nice jog along the water.  The weather was perfect.  We didn’t go too fast, and I was pretty pleased with life.  After our lovely jog in the perfect 65F Roman sunshine, I headed to the dark dungeon that is my gym.  I’m not sure I mentioned this before, but my gym is in a basement, which is no fun.  It usually sticky and humid down there, probably because there’s no ventilation and tons of people sweating in close quarters.  Not cute.

Per usual, I was a sweaty mess there for a while.  But hey, at least I moved myself a little bit.

Then dinner:

Who says healthy has to be boring?

Certainly not my Palak Chana (Spinach and Garbanzo bean) Masala with Chicken on rice with green beans.  Basically chana masala with spinach and chicken added.

Ready for a recipe?  It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those:

Palak Chana Masala

adapted from Manjula’s Kitchen

1-3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 can of tomato puree
4 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1/2-1 tsp chili powder
1 cup water
1-2 cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed (I used one since I added chicken)
few handfuls of spinach
1/2 tsp garam masala
3 grilled chicken breasts, sliced (optional, I actually used less)

Heat the oil in a pot.  Once the oil is hot, add cumin and flour and stir and cook for 1 minute.   Add ginger and tomato puree and stir.  Add the remaining spices (except garam masala) and stir.  Add the garbanzo beans, water and spinach (and chicken if you want to use it), cover and simmer on low for about 10 minutes.  Lastly stir in the garam masala!

Serve with rice and/or vegetable of choice and a dollop of greek yogurt!

Serves 4-6.

Vegetabley mess, just how I like it!

Well, I should probably go do some exit project editing, but let’s be honest, I’ll probably watch an episode of my new (to me) obsession… Alias.

Goodnight!

Countdown to Ibiza: Day 18

Italy has over saturated me with food.  Don’t get me wrong, I love food.  But I can’t do this anymore.  Not only have I gotten a little softer than I would like, I’m just plain tired of eating.

So for the next few weeks, my blog will become a diet blog.

In 18 days, I’m going to Ibiza.

You know what that means?  Bathing suit.

For the next 18 days (and hopefully beyond), I’m stepping it up.

More healthy food and more exercise.  Less carbohydrates.

I can’t wait.

My First Time in an Italian Gym

After a desperate weekend of not feeling too great about myself, today I went and signed up for the gym.  I was so enthusiastic that after a reception where I stuffed my face with mini sandwiches, I made my way to the gym for my first work out in an Italian gym or palestra as they are called here.

I decided to start out slow after over a month of not exercising any more than simply walking.  So I did 25 minutes on a cardio machine that somewhat resembled an elliptical machine.

Now let me tell you a few things about Italian gyms, based on my first observation.

First off, you need to have a medical certificate to join.  Luckily, I could get one of those at work (they call it a medical certificate of fitness for non-competitive sports, makes me feel like weak sauce but alas I’m not competitive in sports.  So be it.).   It was sort of a waste of time.  The doctor asked me if there was anything wrong with me.  I said no and she promptly signed the form… One of the many markers of Italy’s inefficiency (not that the US isn’t either).

So with my medical certificate, I signed up.  The gym has a rule that you should bring shoes only to wear inside the gym.  I’m not sure how strict this rule is but on the first day, I figured I would follow the rules.

Shoes packed in a Zara bag, because I’m classy like that.

Then for storage… you need to bring a lock.  Italy is not like the US.  You can’t just go to Target and pick up a lock, a pair of socks, sunscreen and some peanut butter.  I had no idea where one goes to buy a lock in Rome.  Luckily, Cornell in Rome saved me and just gave me one to borrow.  They also mentioned I could have gone to a locksmith.  Who knew?

Case in point.  I now have a lock in my possession.  Hooray!

So after locking up my Zara bag that held the green flats I wore to walk to the gym, I jumped on the first familiar-ish looking machine in sight.  After fumbling with the buttons, I figured out how to enter all the information.  I was good to go.  From here, I realized three things:

  1. I am horribly out of shape.
  2. I forgot a towel.
  3. Italian men are ridiculous.

Let me elaborate on the third point.  Italians are really animated when they talk, which I appreciate.  The gesticulation carries on to the gym.  They’re also really obvious about certain things, like wearing short shorts and shamelessly checking out ladies.

I’m sure I’ll have some better observations when I made my way to the weight room tomorrow.  Wish me luck.

Discovering Indoor Exercise and Roasted Vegetables

As much as I hate to admit this, being at my parent’s house was driving me crazy.  For some reason, being there makes me the most sedentary person on the planet.

Example: I watched every episode (5 1/2 season) of How I Met Your Mother in the nearly 3 weeks I was home.  Hilarious show! But that’s wayyyy too much TV.

The truth is, I feel better when I’m more active.  I like walking places and working out.  It just makes me feel better about myself.

So now that I’m in Ithaca, I’m trying to find ways to feel better about myself and my health… despite this:

I won’t lie.  The weather here can be terrible.  I walked to meet up with some friends and my toes were numb even though I was wearing tights, thick socks and snow boots.

But to keep myself moving, I present to you, my home gym:

Real state of the art, right?

Lately I’ve taken to doing circuits while watching episodes of last season’s The Biggest Loser.

Circuit 1: 25 Step ups
Circuit 2: 20 crunches
Circuit 3: 25 jumping jacks
Circuit 4: 20 bicycle crunches
Circuit 5: 25 bunny hops (back and forth over my computer charger)
Repeat

Not the most exciting work out ever but definitely better than sitting and doing nothing.  I’ve also recently discovered ExerciseTV online!

I made another discovery.  It’ll revolutionize lunch (or dinner… for me, at least).  Okay so I didn’t really discover it.  Rather, it’s new to me.

Roasted Broccoli

Who knew it could be so delicious.

What you need:

  • Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, etc.
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • baking sheet
  • oven preheated to 400F

Combine broccoli, other vegetables, olive oil, balsamic vinergar, salt and pepper.  Put it all on a baking sheet like such:

Roast at 400F for about 25 minutes.

Makes a wonderful side dish.  I’m so pleased!  Last night I went and bought more broccoli just so I could have it again.

Definitely recommend it if you haven’t tried it.

Off to try to get some work done, or at least move myself a bit.  Have a wonderful day!

Honey Coconut White Chocolate Chip Ice “Cream”

Do you ever have those days where you spend the day doing random things and you don’t realize time went by SUPER fast?

Today flew by. I woke up late, I think it was 9:00am.  Had pie and cucumbers for breakfast (not together).

Went for a fantastic 5.5 mile run.

Hung out with this lady

Basically we were ridiculous (as we usually are).  We went by Six Mile Creek Vineyard for Sara to pick up some wine.

We also made ice cream (I’ll tell you about that one later in the week) but first let me tell you about this stuff I made at some point last week.

Honey Coconut White Chocolate Chip Ice “Cream”

2 cans of coconut milk**
1/2 cup honey*
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded coconut

In a bowl mix together the honey and coconut milk.  Chill for a few minutes in the freezer or in the fridge for a few hours.  Pour into your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.  In the last 5 minutes of turning, drop in the white chocolate chips and shredded coconut.  Freeze for a few hours in a container before serving.

**I used one can of full fat coconut milk and one of light coconut milk.  You can also use two cans of full fat, which will make it taste even more delicious and the texture will be creamier.  I don’t suggest using two light cans.  I tried that and it turned out too icey.

*To veganify use agave nectar instead and vegan white chocolate chips.

Lovely and (almost) Dairy Free!

It also happened to go perfectly with the champagne brownies I made a few days ago, which by the way turn into full on FUDGE once chilled.

All sorts of amazing.

I need to give Slick Rick back his ice cream maker, ASAP!  There CANNOT be this much ice cream in my freezer!

What was the highlight of your weekend? I had a dinner party last night, super fun. Stay tuned for that!

Baked Falafel

Today was much better than yesterday.  I was still pretty lazy but not NEARLY as much as yesterday.

I got my butt to the gym as soon as it opened (12:00pm, isn’t that crazyyy late?!?).  I did a FANTASTIC interval work out inspired by this lady.  Actually I wrote this work out plan on a little piece of paper with the intention of taking it to the gym with me, but left it at home as I often tend to do.  Instead, I made up my own on the spot.

5 min warm up
3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 6.0
1 min 7.0
1 min 4.0

3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 5.6
1 min 8.0
1 min 4.2

3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 6.5
1 min 7.5
1 min 4.5

3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 7.0
1 min 6.0
1 min 4.0

3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 8.0
1 min 6.5
1 min 4.2

5-10 min cool down

LOVED IT.  I was a sweaty mess at the end.  The work out just flew by!  Probably helped that I was listening to an old school playlist that I hadn’t listened to in a million years.  I hate to admit it but I like running on treadmills.

I’m excited to do this again sometime this week.  Next time, I’ll do her actual work out.  Definitely recommended!

Then I came home and made the most magical lunch ever!

Baked Falafel

adapted from Epicurious
1 cup dried garbanzo beans
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons flour (I used sorghum flour, so I think they were gluten free)

Soak beans overnight in plenty of water.  The next days, put the garbanzo beans and onion in the food processor and pulse to roughly chop.  Next add remaining ingredients and pulse until combine.  Refrigerate mixture for a few hours (this is when I went to the gym and did the above mentioned fab work out).

After the  mixture is chilled, pre heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Form garbanzo bean mixture into 20 walnut sized balls.  Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn and baked for another 15 minute.  Serve on lettuce with cucumbers, tomato and yogurt tahini sauce.

Yogurt Tahini Sauce

1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp water (more or less depending on how thick you want it)

Stir together in a bowl and drizzle over falafel.   This recipe makes enough to serve 4 or 5.

In case you’re curious, this is the nutrition information for each ball:

Pretty tasty!  I will say that they can be rather messy to eat, God forbid I use silverware!

Of course after lunch I watched the World Cup Final.  Big surprise (I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about it, but it’s over now).

Spain won! I’m pleased!

Alright now back to my book!  Have a great night!