As mentioned in the last few posts, I have had to make a big life decision rather quickly and here it is: I am moving to Los Angeles. There is no real rush because I am not yet signed on my next project, (hello freelance life) so I have decided to drive west. V had to leave abruptly for a series, but we’ve been talking about possibly moving to LA for the winter, since the Detroit film industry definitely dies down in the winter months. Last year we were out west for just a month or so, but this year we will probably stay longer. Who knows, maybe we will stay out there since our lease runs out right after the new year. He is a California boy and I am most definitely a New Yorker, but I do love the state of California after spending my middle school years there. Another perk is that I will be able to run outdoors all through the winter. Yes, that is a real reason I am excited. The hiking, biking, year-long farmer’s markets…it is all so appealing. LA is also home to many of my favorite vegetarian and veggie friendly restaurants. I can’t wait for some delicious M Cafe and visiting more restaurants that I have yet to eat at. Although I miss all my friends and family in New York dearly, there are a few of my college friends in LA, and my brother, who I haven’t lived close to in 10 years.
I’ve never driven that far solo, and am lucky enough to have persuaded my mother to travel halfway with me. In preparation, I have spent the last few days at the parents, organizing plans and routes. This morning, I was happy to find some irish steel-cut oats in their pantry and many honeycrisp apples in the fridge. On the stove top, I mixed in some organic light coconut milk (another parent’s pantry find), half a banana, chia seeds, and ground flaxseed (I came with the chia but they already had flax). When I couldn’t find any vanilla, I searched the spice rack and sure enough, found vanilla beans. I scraped half a bean into the oats while still cooking and heated up half an apple sprinkled with cinnamon on another burner. I’ve mentioned before, but I love cooking at my parents because they have an amazing old AGA stove.
They also have my favorite latte bowls (I have the little ones for prepping) in every color imaginable. My mother and I both have an affinity for kitchen goods, and she made sure to show me her recent finds and gifts (thanks to my lovely Aunt for picking up an olive tree cutting board while in Italy).
Since I’m currently working on emptying out my fridge, I brought over leftover roasted veggies. The parents always have veggie burgers in the freezer in case I come for a visit, which I used to round out a lunch.
While the car was getting a check up for the road trip ahead, I stopped in the local gourmet market for a snack. This Pure NRG bar is made just a few miles from my parents home. Usually I am not a fan of carob, and opt for pure dark chocolate, but this bar really surprised me. Maybe it was the coconut flour and flakes, but I didn’t find the carob overwhelming at all and actually enjoyed it.
When dinner rolled around, I centered it around the dumpling squash I also had picked up while out. Oh, and there were GT’s Kombucha too! That needs to be mentioned since there have been months of an unplanned Kombucha famine.
Isn’t she beautiful? She is local and organic too.
The other component I wanted to use was the lacinato (or dinasour) kale my father picked up at the farmer’s market on Sunday from my favorite organic farmer.
The kale was sautéed with this stoneground Inglehoffer mustard and I loved it. Wanting to eat with my parents, I threw together this local and tasty dinner for one in a hurry. I roasted the squash in the highest oven of the AGA to cut down the cooking time and used Michigan’s eden baked beans (organic and bpa free) to fill the squash.
Other things going on in my kitchen:
The two pie pumpkins on my counter needed to be roasted before I leave. I sliced and deseeded them, and then baked them for about an hour at 350 degrees. All I wanted was some simple pumpkin puree for morning oats.
I see some pumpkin oats taking over my morning meals these last four days I am in the midwest.
Considering I had taken off most of the summer from running, I started slow and with low mileage. Unfortunately it might not have been little enough, because instead of aggravating my consistent left shin or foot problems, I have a new-to-me pain. Although I’ve heard the words “IT Band Syndrome” before, this is a first for me. The pain has appeared on the outer side of my right knee on each run. Even just running 3-4 days a week, totaling 10-15 miles, I feel pain. Honestly, I’ve been doing most of my runs on a treadmill because Detroit isn’t necessarily the safest city to run alone in. I’m hoping that running outdoors on dirt and grass will help it heal.
Other strategies to let it heal:
- Cross training to keep building my endurance
If you have any advice, I’d really appreciate it.
Thanks for all the brownie advice on my last post. I am thinking I might have to wait a little before baking some fudgy brownies, but I can’t wait.
How do you keep your attitude positive when sidelined by an injury early into training? There were a few half and full marathons I’ve really been intrigued by and I don’t want to write them off yet. At the same time, it is pretty discouraging to be caught off guard by this new injury so early in my training. Of course I am not a doctor, and am not sure that it is ITBS, but the pain does nag in that general area. I even feel pain going down the stairs.
What is your favorite road trip food? Do you pack sandwiches, fruit, bars, etc? Do you stop places? So far, I am stopping in Des Moines, IA, Denver, CO (to see a best friend and get my mom on a flight home), and Richfield or St. George, UT (anyone know which is better?).
Have a grand week!
I really can’t start this post without saying a big thank you to everyone for understanding or trying to see where I was coming from when I wrote “tired of defending my choices.” Before posting, I was worried others would feel it was just a good whining session, but so many of you knew exactly where I was coming from and instead of fearing comments, I was full of joy reading each one over the last day.
Here are a few words/conclusions about the topic of having to defend or explain our food choices:
- Many of you have also had instances where you were criticized or even poked fun because of the way you choose to eat.
- When met with questions of curiosity concerning the way we eat, we are more than willing to answer and explain ourselves.
- If we feel criticized or attacked by our food choices, it is best to try to keep our responses simple and maybe, try to shrug or laugh it off if you can.
- Don’t feel like you have to explain yourself when others refuse to believe you are getting adequate protein, fat, and other nutrients. Many times, people are not aware that you make sure to take care of yourself and try your best to make your diet well-rounded, whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, etc.
- Most importantly, as long as we feel personally satisfied and proud of the way we eat, there is no reason to be embarrassed by not eating what most would consider the “norm.” No one else needs to play a role in our personal food decisions.
As I mentioned before, I will be heading to Philadelphia this weekend for my younger sister’s fashion show and graduation. I knew I probably would be unable to post but when my camera starting acting up yesterday, I realized it might be close to impossible this weekend. I think it is time to think about purchasing myself a “real camera.”
Here are some of the delicious eats from yesterday:
I have tried Angela’s Vegan Overnight Oats before in Banana Split form, but I wanted to try them again after seeing them on Ashley’s blog with coconut milk kefir. Instead of the kefir, I used my So Delicious coconut milk yogurt that I purchased with a coupon. I love this stuff! The combination I used was:
- 1/3 cup oats
- 1/3 cup coconut milk plain yogurt (you could use other flavors, but I find them all too sweet for my taste buds)
- 2/3 cup almond milk
- T ground flaxseed
- 1/4 t cinnamon
- 1/4 t vanilla
- packet stevia (this was too sweet for me…I should have opted to forgo the sweetener)
Instead of whipping up some of Gena’s Banana Soft Serve, I decided for something a little warmer after seeing that it was another dreary day. On the stove top, I heated up half a thinly sliced banana with frozen black raspberries in a saucepan with a little maple syrup coconut oil, and almond milk. These compote toppings inspired by this one has seriously made me craving oats everyday. I love a nice berry and banana topper but when spring is nowhere to be seen, simmered fruit compotes are just what I desire. I layered the overnight oats and compote and then added a spoonful of Naturally Nutty vanilla almond butter to sweeten the deal. This was another satisfying and delicious way to start the day.
After trying to eat my breakfast outdoors, I quickly resorted to the warmth of my own kitchen to read up about healthy body fat percentages for women and runners.
A few things I learned about body fat percentages and runners:
-My body fat is on the low-end of the average athletes percentage
-All women need 10-12% essential body fat
-Female athletes tend to have 14-20% body fat
-Fit women should have 21-24% body fat
-Acceptable female body fat is 25-31%, anything over is considered obese
-Often, runners who cover the greatest distance in training have lower body fat levels. They also eat tend to eat more food than those who do less running.
-The low body fat content of female distance runners is particularly striking; values of less than 10-15% are commonly reported among elite performers, but are seldom seen in healthy women outside sport.
-Reducing fat levels will not automatically guarantee success and may even be counter-productive.
-A reduction in body fat may well boost running performance, but if you cut down your food intake drastically, not only will training quality suffer, but the risk of illness and injury also increases dramatically.
-Generally speaking, sprinters have powerfully developed musculature of the upper body and of the legs, while distance runners have low body mass, with smaller muscles and extremely low body fat levels.
-It is probably not sensible for women’s body fat to fall below about 10-15%.
-For female athletes, there are some very immediate consequences of a low body fat level, including especially a fall in circulating oestrogen levels. This in turn can lead to a loss of bone mass, causing problems for women in later life through an increased risk of bone fracture.
I am nowhere near an elite runner, therefore, it was very interesting to find that my body fat fits within this range. It has been a long time since I have competed in races, but I will be upping my mileage in hopes of finishing my first marathon in the fall. At the same time, I will be working with a trainer at my gym occasionally so that I can monitor my body fat in order stay healthy. More resistance training will also be added to my current weekly plan. It has always been hard for me to maintain strength workouts alone, therefore, I feel it may be best at this time to seek some assistance from a trainer (being pushed always helps me). I haven’t discussed my injuries over the years, but I was over-trained at a much too young age and left with many shin splints turned into stress fractures. I once ran on a broken foot without being aware it was broken for over a month. These next six months will be all about listening to my body as much as possible and striving for a distance goal over a time goal. Of course I will aim to train with times in mind, but I definitely think it is important for me to remember that I have never ran close to as far as a marathon distance, and this needs to show in my times, as well. It is hard as a former consistent 5K runner to learn to slow down. I wish I could find more people to run with but haven’t had luck in my area. This is just one reason I miss living in Boston and New York so much.
I hope that you found the body fat percentage information among runners just as interesting as I did. I am sure many other runners also seem to have lower than average body fat percentages that we should not necessarily worry about, but be aware of. I don’t talk about this often, but when I first went to college I had many symptoms of the female athlete triad develop from not properly fueling myself. If you are interested in reading about the Female Athlete Triad, here are some links:
Now back to the eats…
After a quick shop at Whole Foods for traveling goodies, I picked up another packet of the Brown Rice Tortillas when I saw they were on sale. When it was time for lunch, I spread one with hummus, homemade pesto, bbq tempeh, and sun-dried tomatoes and warmed it up a few minutes in the oven. On the side, I sautéed the remainder of the swiss chard with tamari, lemon, and ginger.
This is around the time that I realized things were not looking so great with my little fujifilm camera and started obsessively roaming amazon and ebay for a nice new DSLR. Maybe my wishes will come true in the next month. Canon or Nikon? Any suggestions? I want something with better photo quality, but it also needs to be easy to use considering I’ve never studied photography.
Here are some things I am packing for my road trip/long weekend in Philadelphia. I know it is a very veg-friendly city, but I was not in charge of choosing the restaurants and have already realized some may not be easy for me to be well-fed.
These photos are upsetting me but I thought you might like to see what I bought. The Whole Foods Coupons may have influenced me in some of the purchases (clif c bars & dagoba chocolate).
- Figs & Mulberries – dried fruit is one of my favorite oatmeal toppings
- Apples – road trip. enough said.
- Tea – always great for a pick me up when in a hotel room before going out or to relax after a long day
- Almond butter – another favorite oatmeal topping or in case I need some healthy fats to go with fruit. Justin’s packs really make me smile when I can’t fit in a jar for the weekend. I need to try the chocolate hazelnut butter soon.
- Vega & Hempshake – these are two of my favorite vegan protein powder sources. I am sure there will be a time when I feel protein deprived over the weekend. I have had times in the past where the only vegan option was a white bagel. These are always good to have on hand.
- Go Raw Spirulina Energy Bar – I’ve only had this flavor once before, but I loved the crunchy texture and banana flavor. The Banana Bread Flax bar is also pretty good for a chewy snack when you feel an energy crash.
- Clif C bars – I haven’t tried these yet but have heard good and bad things. The good thing is that they are all natural fruit and nut bars, so they can’t hurt.
- Larabars – I only pictured one because I later picked up two more at my boyfriends. The tropical fruit tart is not a favorite flavor but it will work when I need some fruit and nut nourishment. I am also bringing apple pie, peanut butter cookie, and cashew cookie.
For dinner, I reheated one of Angela’s “In a Jiffy Spelt Veggie Burgers” that I had made about a month ago. It was eaten with spinach and bbq sauce on a Rudi’s Bakery multigrain bagel that was in the freezer. I have been thinking of trying to stick to a wheat-free diet (vs. gluten-free) when I get back from Philadelphia because since reintroducing wheat into my days, I haven’t slept as well. In the meantime, it is best to eat what we have now before restocking the carbs. The bagel I had the day before made me crave another. There were days in high school in college cross-country season where I ate up to three bagels. I have a feeling that may happen as I start upping my running mileage. Maybe not three, but definitely one. I also have been missing the Ezekiel english muffins tremendously. Sprouted grains are so fulfilling and what I missed most during the gluten-free challenge week.
On the side I made a massaged kale salad like the one I often eat from Whole Foods, and that has been seen across the blog world. I simply mixed avocado, lemon, and red onion and massaged it for a few minutes before topping it with large daikon radish shreds (read about some benefits here).
Later, some Chocolate Mousse was eaten before heading out for the night. The lack of camera has really been upsetting today, but I hope to at least borrow one for some better photos over the weekend.
-Would you be interested in hearing more about the Female Athlete Triad? I have never opened up about it on the blog myself, but it is definitely something I would consider researching more or even talking about my own personal experiences.
-Do you like to pack snacks or meal components when traveling? Any favorites? I have made the mistake in the past of not bringing enough things to complement my meals on vacation. I tend to get cranky when not eating often enough and definitely always need breakfast to fuel the day.
Any Philly tips? I will have a limited amount of time to do anything straying from the graduation/fashion show schedule but would love to have some more ideas in mind.
Here is the thing. I am completely satisfied with my daily “diet.” I never feel deprived or lacking in something by eating all plant-based foods. However, last night I had to defend the way I eat. Sometimes I am more than willing to talk about why I choose to eat the way I do. I can give facts about how the world is negatively impacted by the livestock industry. I can talk about how “cage free” can mean that chickens are allowed to leave their usual coop for only one hour a day. I can talk about these things or I can just suggest some good books, films, or articles. I just don’t always want to. Sometimes I just want to be quiet and not have to justify myself. Sometimes people are in the mood to criticize my beliefs and say thing like “Claire, you know all little fish are eaten by big fish.” Really, I had no idea. This may seem like a rant but I am just a little tired of it. I work hard to make sure I am educated about receiving enough nutrients I may be lacking in. I KNOW that I am not deficient in protein and vitamin B12. Should I have to defend myself to everyone? When I suggest trying to read a book to see my view or watch a movie, why should you refuse? I am fine with people who don’t share my views. My boyfriend is a meat eater, but is well aware of the industries that are cruel and tries his best to choose better, more humane choices. It just upsets me when someone refuses to educate themselves in order to see both sides. I am not suggesting someone change their ways, but purely to look at it from both sides and accept it. I remember Averie talking about why she doesn’t feel like she needs to explain herself and her choices. I don’t always feel that I need to either, but then there are times where I just feel attacked. This is what I am tired of.
I am sorry to sound so defensive, but when someone you care about so much and is supposed to care about you refuses to see your side, than why should you try to see theirs? If they are unwilling to make even the smallest change in their life for their health and the world, it upsets me. I hope you can see where I am coming from at least in a small little way.
I woke up this morning feeling like I “had” to change things up, as though I had to prove that my eats aren’t boring. I had a bowl of So Delicious Coconut milk yogurt topped with Puffins, a handful of Smart Bran (not gluten-free, uh oh!), raspberries, and ground flaxseed.
This did not hold me over like my usual oatmeal concoctions do. I think that I was still upset about the night before and was trying to overcompensate by changing things up. Why should I change it if it is something I love? Not quite sure, obviously I am still working out some thoughts…
I decided lunch time was prime time to try out Angela’s Nut Butter Crusted Parsnip Fries via Diet, Dessert, and Dogs. I didn’t want to use my fancy Naturally Nutty vanilla almond butter so whipped up a combo of peanuts, almonds, and coconut oil in the food processor to coat my root veggies. I only had one parsnip left from my mother’s day meal, so I used two carrots to bulk it up. More nut butter should have been used, but these were delicious.
I was running behind and didn’t want to overfill my belly before a fitness evaluation at my gym so I headed out the door with an apple and kombucha like the day before. Halfway through the car ride I realized that this was not a smart choice. I was wishing that I ate a big salad or wrap with the fries, but munched on the apple in hopes of some pre workout fuel.
The fitness evaluation was really great. I haven’t worked with a trainer since college and am not that great at keeping all areas of fitness in check by myself. I must admit that I was spoiled during my high school and college cross-country days with coaches and other team members. Healthworks in Boston also really kept me motivated with the help of a great trainer and classes like Running into Yoga (= total bliss). In the past year, my running has slipped and I haven’t taken care of myself in the same way. Of course, I know I eat well and work out moderately, but I thought I was no where near my old days of activity heading into this appointment. Wow, I was wrong. I have talked about my current career choice recently, and how it often keeps me running around all day but I had no idea it has also kept my endurance and other areas in check. Weight is something I don’t care to discuss on this blog because I have never thought it was a good measurement of fitness. I honestly don’t own a scale or use one. However, I was seriously shocked by the low number of my body fat percentage. It was only 1% higher than my peak racing days and apparently off the charts low. The trainer was kind of floored, as was I. At the same time, I became worried. A low body fat for women equals loss of menstruation, iron deficiencies, etc. I will be reading a lot more about this tomorrow and the next day to evaluate this more clearly. In the next few months I plan on significantly upping my workouts for half marathon training and then full marathon training for a race in the fall. There is no way I will let myself get unhealthy while training and hope to also stay injury free. I want to be significantly fueled and have enough energy for a fast paced job and great runs. I had all sorts of tests done other than body fat. If you are all more interested, I can go into more detail about the tests and results tomorrow. Honestly, a lot of it seems to go over my head. I am better at pace, time, and distance than I am with heart rate and the other logistics. It shall be interesting to see how these next few months shape up. Goals will start with distances covered and pace will be more focused on later.
Afterwards, I came home to re-carb with a sprouted cinnamon raisin bagel topped with better than cream cheese, and crofters on one side and grated carrots on the other. My day was looking low in greens. In the blender went almond milk, a frozen banana, and a few cups of spinach. Yes, I finished the bag of spinach in two days.
It had been way too long since I had a bagel and I realize that I totally slipped from the gluten-free eats today. I couldn’t help it, but hope to do better tomorrow. Maybe all the wheat will fuel a nice cross training session planned in the morning. Dinner looked strikingly similar to our Mother’s Day feast. The chickpea and sweet potato tagine has really stretched for days and I don’t mind. The Mousse Pie was a nice close to the day.
Do you feel the need to justify your diet, even if it isn’t vegetarian or vegan? Do people criticize you for your healthy choices? Are you ever tired of explaining yourself?
Have you ever had your body fat tested? Did you feel like it was beneficial to your training or important to know? Part of me feels as though I didn’t need this information. Will my body fat really affect the way I train and race?…maybe, but sometimes I feel like trainers are so quick to spew out facts based on what they feel works and not what is universal to everyone. At the same time, I am more interested in the body fat percentage than weight. After an injury years ago, I had my body fat tested and it was higher although I weighed less. Just some thoughts.