…And That’s A Wrap!

It’s Monday, which means that I usually wake up very grumpy because I don’t want to start another hectic week of work. Today, it was a little different. I woke up with a BIG smile on my face and in better mood than any other Monday. Why you ask? Well, I concluded my 40 day challenge with the Miami ING Half Marathon yesterday and I had a wonderful time. The weather was okay for Miami, not too hot not cold and overcast. A bit humid earlier in the morning but nothing unbearable.

I was rather calm of nerves but excited to get the running started that morning. The amount of people and the energy is just amazing. Watching the wheelchair group come in as we all stand around them and cheer them on always gets me a bit choked up. I was ready! Positive talk all the way through. Reminded myself to push through and give it my all. I’m happy to report that I made my goal! I came in at 1:59:10 for 13.1 miles!

Oh happy day! It’s such a great feeling when you know you have worked so hard for a goal and see it come a reality. It’ s great feeling of accomplishment and in my case, it keeps me wanting more. I was also very happy to see friends including my training partner carry out the same goals. Many had a great race too so congrats!

Have a wonderful week everyone!

My results!

The Medal

ING 2012

2 Days Away from MIAMI ING 2012

Time is approaching quickly and I’m as excited and nervous as it would be my first race. I’ve prepared a few months for this race but these two days before are critical! Water, water, water and some more water is all I’m thinking about. Being hydrated is so important for any type of race. Today I also started some carb loading. I get to eat a whole sweet potato today and another tomorrow. This is exciting to me as I limit my carbs and usually only have half as my serving. A quick light workout today, and nothing else to do but to get mentally prepared.

For those running GOOD LUCK! I hope to see some familiar faces out there. 🙂

My lunch today. 1 sweet potato and Eggplant Lasagna.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here’s a great weekend treat. These are grain free cookies made with Almond meal/flour. They are a good option when craving a treat and still keeping it pretty healthy. This recipe is from Primal Palate.

Ingredients:
3 cups Blanched Almond Flour
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup
2 Omega 3 Eggs
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine dry ingredients.
In a small mixing bowl beat eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and beat with hand mixer until combined.
Melt coconut oil, pour into batter, and continue to blend until combined.
Stir in chocolate chips.
On a parchment lined baking sheet, drop balls of cookie dough, about a tablespoon in size.
Bake for 15 minutes.

Roasted Red Pepper Paleo Crackers

I came across this recipe on Facebook and I just had to try it out. I do miss eating something crunchy once in a while. When having people over I can think of 10 dip recipes I would like to make and then think to myself “and what do I eat it with?” Crackers and chips are not a part of my regimen so I was very excited when Jenna posted this online. Her blog is The Paleo Project.

Ingredients:
1 cup of almond meal
1 red bell pepper
2 tbsp ground flax
1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp + 1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Cut red bell pepper into slices and drizzle with 1/4 cup of olive oil, place on sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients, add 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 tsp of olive oil. Combine into dough.

Remove peppers from oven and place right into a blender. liquify peppers for about 1 minute.

Add roasted pepper sauce into bowl of dough. Stir to combine.

Lower oven to 350 F.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place dough on paper and place another sheet of parchment paper over the dough.

Roll out the dough until it is even and forms a thin layer on baking sheet.

Score dough into squares.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.

I was so happy I could now enjoy a tasty dip!

ING Miami Half Marathon 2012

So this is the race that started it all. Last year as I began training for my first full marathon and I also started this blog. Things have changed quite a bit this year. This blog is now more focused on food and recipes than actual training. It was not my intention but it was what people (my friends mostly) were more interested in. I still like to included the races I’m training for and completing. I find that as much as I enjoy reading other people’s experiences and learning from them. Maybe, just maybe some one can learn something from me. 🙂

So after running the full marathon on Jan 30th 2011, just the day after the race I decided to sign up again. Yup! you read this correctly. The day after running 26.2 I decided I wanted to do it all over again. Mind you, I still couldn’t walk I was in so much pain…

A few months ago I made a decision on where to take my training. I often battle with this because I enjoy both strength training and endurance training. I could either go on and start really pushing distance and train for my full marathon and maybe get into longer distance triathlons or I could focus more on strength training and getting my running pace back up. After the marathon I just couldn’t run as fast as I used to and would have trouble with keeping pace. After much consideration and deep conversations with my poodle, I decided to switch to the half marathon and begin strength training.

If you recall my 40 days of training were about this, in fact it hasn’t finished yet. My 40 days are up just on the same weekend of ING. 40 days of strict clean eating, increased protein, intense workouts and no alcohol. Yes, it has been tough. Could not have done it without the support of my husband who helps me in whatever crazy idea I have going on at the moment. My Jungle Fitness trainers have destroyed me at some of these workouts. But they have been truly amazing in helping me meet my goals. I have already seen some improvements in pace, overall performance, my weight and body appearance.

The last test, ING half marathon. My first half I ran at 2:15 which was my slowest and my fastest was at 2:00 flat. This coming Sunday the 29th will be my fifth or sixth half (can’t remember how many I’ve done) and I’m hoping for a PR. Won’t get disappointed if I don’t make it but I will certainly push myself towards as I have worked very hard and will continue to do so.

If you are in the area, come cheer! It’s an amazing experience!

If not, feel free to track a runner or even ME! 🙂 My bib number is 13290.

http://www.racemyrace.com/hosted/ingmiami_half.php

Here’s a map of the 13.1 miles I’ll be running.

My Kind of Oatmeal!

I was never a big fan of cereal so I would only have it once in a while. What I was always a BIG fan of was Oatmeal. I would wake up just thinking about that warm bowl of tasty oatmeal to get my day started. And then….(as you may know) my eating habits have changed a bit and I had to say goodbye to oatmeal. When I think about it I’m rather surprised that I don’t miss it as much as I thought I would. Just like with coffee, I think that I don’t miss the real food but the feelings that go with it. Yes, the feelings… You know, when you eat something you enjoy and you all of a sudden have a smile on your face without knowing. Now in retrospect I think I just miss having something warm in my hands and filling to my belly. Specially on that one night a year that Miami weather gets to 40 degrees. So what to do?? I have my mango green tea handy and this recipe below for when my mood craves something warm.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup almonds pulverized
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk, plus more to taste
Fresh berries

Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and add 1/4 cup milk. Microwave for a minute or until warm. Take out and mix, add more milk to your liking.

Add in the fresh fruit. Eat! 🙂

I have seen other variations of this so feel free to experiment. Others like to add in half a banana mashed into the mixture and/or add another 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. Try different options until you get the consistency and taste you wish.

To Eat Gluten-free or Not To?

Since my eating started to follow a more “clean eating” style I wondered about gluten-free products. I mainly follow Paleo cooking but I take supplements that don’t go with the “caveman” style of eating. That’s why I refer to my meal plan as clean eating, because it does not follow the Paleo plan 100%. When it comes to processed carbs, the Paleo plan states that one should go with gluten-free items specially when doing endurance training or if you follow the “Paleo for athletes” model. But the following questions always seems to come to mind. Isn’t rice and corn more fattening than whole wheat??? So if I don’t have a medical excuse to cut wheat out, why would I eat gluten-free foods that are mainly made with rice and corn?

Here’s an article I found that has helped me made up my mind. The good news, I rarely have any processed carbs anyways and this will just keep my away even more. 😉

Marta Montenegro’s blog

Roasted Eggplant

The easiest way for me to cook anything is by putting it in the oven. When I cook you can find my oven with 4 different trays going all at once. Whether is protein or vegetables I place them all together resulting in better time management in the kitchen. Recently I gave it a try with eggplant.

Just slice the eggplant and place it on a baking sheet. Try to layer them so that they are not directly on top of each other. Sprinkle some olive oil, pepper and oregano. Flip them and do it again. Super easy! Bake them at 350 for 25 minutes.

Now you have a vegetable side to last a few servings.

Eating Out 101

The last week of December I was on vacation from work. My husband and me decided to make it a stay-cation and I was happy to do so. I never realized how many invitations for Christmas parties, birthdays and gatherings we were going to have so we never had a dull moment. I took a break from cooking that week which meant we went out to eat for almost every meal. If you remember from earlier posts I was on a clean eating challenge all through out the holidays and that meant vacation week too!

Here are some examples of my meals when eating out. There are no excuses if you want to eat well through any circumstances, I guess it just depends on how bad you want to meet your goals. The more I resist temptation and stay focused, the easier it becomes without giving it much thought. Even when eating out almost everyday I manage to lose some weight during the holidays, now that’s something you don’t hear very often!….Moral of the story, stay focused my friends. Keep your eyes on the prize! 😉

@ Berries Coconut Grove - Chicken, sweet potato mash and broccoli.

@ Coral Bagels - Eggwhite omelette with peppers, onion, tomatoes and fruit cup

@Deli Lane - Low Carb Eggs Benedict no sauce and fruit cup.

@Montys - Grilled Dolphin and side salad.

@ Outback - Steak light style, veggies and asparagus.

@ Season's 52 - Chili and house salad

@ Spris - Grilled chicken and house salad with balsamic vinegar.

@ The Fish House - Grilled salmon with squash and zucchini.

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower is a vegetable I like but for some reason I forget to buy it more often. Making it into easy and different side dishes like this one will definitely help me keep it in mind.

Ingredients:
1/2 head of cauliflower
1/2 of a Vidalia onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and pat dry the cauliflower. Cut into chunks and grate or place in food processor until you have a rice consistency. Set aside.

On a large skillet saute the onions and garlic with coconut oil until onion is tender.

Add in the grated cauliflower with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until you reach your desired texture.

Enjoy!!