pancake-mix muffins

Ok y’all, I must say I’m kind of proud of myself for figuring this out on my own. The other day I made a yummy juice with oranges, grapefruit, and cucumber. I didn’t want to waste all that pulp and thought it would make some tasty muffins. I didn’t have any gluten free flour in my pantry, but I did spy some GF pancake mix. I figured, what’s the worst that could happen? I try to make muffins with pancake mix and they suck so I toss them. Or they make really cute muffin-shaped panckes.

I followed this basic fruit + muffin recipe from smitten kitchen, just subbed the flour for pancake mix and omitted the baking powder and baking soda. They turned out just fine! The only thing I didn’t love were the bites of muffin that had too much grapefruit — it was just too bitter. Here’s the recipe. (Sorry I don’t have any pretty pictures for you… I don’t care enough today to drag out my big camera. 😉 )

Pancake Mix Muffins

Yield: 18

Time: 25-30 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 C fruit pulp
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 1/3 C oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt (if you want)
  • 1.5 C pancake mix

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. Mix all the wet ingredients together until well combined.
  3. Add pancake mix a little at a time, stirring until just combined.
  4. Scoop into muffin tin and bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick comes out clean. About 25-30 min.

I’d imagine you could sub any pulp and they would be yummy. I made another batch with apple pulp and cinnamon (no zest or juice of orange), they were quite good, too!

Paleo: Don’t Miss the Point

We are into our second month on the Paleo diet. I feel like I’ve learned a lot and I’m enjoying it more every day. I know it’s not for everyone, but I think everyone could benefit from it. Going dairy-free and gluten-free at the same time is tough. But you will feel so much better the longer you stick with it.

On that note, if you go Paleo and then stock your shelves with gluten-free bread or pasta, gluten-free beer, and dairy-free ice cream, you’re missing the point. Those are just fillers, filling your stomach for now but leaving you hungry later and not giving you any nutrition. The point is to eat whole, unprocessed foods that will fill your stomach and keep you full, keep your blood sugar stable, and help your systems get back in order.

And you don’t have to just have a salad every day. This is my basic math for making a meal:

protein (2 palms-ful)

+ colorful veggie (1 palm)

+ healthy carb (1 palm plus a little)

I’m full and happy for 4+ hours!

I think portion sizes are very important and you should basically do the opposite of what our government has taught. Take a look at this chart I’ve seen floating around Pinterest from a how-to-lose-weight website:

If you want to lose weight or get your blood sugar under control (i.e. get your grumpies under control), you need to eat more protein and drop the rice, pasta, chips, popcorn, and pretzels. It’s that simple. We weren’t trying to lose weight, but we definitely have. (B-skinny more than me…)

All that to say, think about what you’re eating and why you’re eating it. Are you just used to eating a sandwich and chips for lunch every day? Do you think bolognese could only be tasty on pasta? Do you feel like you need something white with every meal? Are you afraid your life won’t be complete without cheese? These were all questions I had to ask myself. And when I get that craving for something salty and crunchy, I ask myself why… usually it’s because I’m bored or I think it will make me feel better.

And then there’s fat… You probably need to be eating more fat. But I’ll save that lecture for another day. 😉

Paleo Update

We’re in the home stretch of our 30 day Paleo diet and I have a few thoughts.

Fiber. It’s tough to get your daily fiber when there are no grains allowed (no oats, rice, corn, bran, etc). There is so much meat in this diet that you really have to make sure you’re getting lots of fiber and eating your sauerkraut. My digestion hasn’t been as good as usual this past week so we’re switching back to white meat and fish for a while.

Fruit. There isn’t any fruit in the meal plan that we’re following. We have oj every morning and I made some apple muffins (here’s the recipe) but that’s about it. I would usually have fruit and yogurt with breakfast or lunch, but since we’re not having dairy I don’t get those berries.

Weight. I don’t think I’ve lost a significant amount of weight but I do feel like my clothes are fitting better (i.e. not so snug around the middle). It was not my intention to lose any weight. Actually, it was never my intention to go on any sort of diet. But since I’m not a short-order cook, I won’t be cooking two separate meals for Bri and me. I’m not an expert, but I feel like cutting out the gluten is what really caused my body to change (maybe because I’ve been sneaking dairy 😉 but no cheese).

Sustainability. At first I didn’t feel like this was a sustainable way to live, especially traveling as much as we do. But it’s getting easier, it just took a little change in how I plan my meals. I used to automatically reach for oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast, sandwiches and chips for lunch, and meat + veggie + something white for dinner. Here’s what a typical meal looked like:

IMG_0046Not nearly enough protein, especially when I would make a sandwich… unless you’re making mega-sandwich with about 2 inches of turkey meat. Here is what each of our meals look like now:

IMG_0048Not perfect; I definitely need more fruit and, in my opinion, dairy. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that I need more protein at each meal. Protein is so important for blood sugar regulation (which also means for avoiding the grumpies). It’s amazing. I can go for hours without eating. No snacks. And I don’t even get hungry for lunch until after 12 or 1. Unheard of. Surprisingly I don’t miss cheese as much as I thought I would. I do miss salty goodies like scones (I know they’re not terribly salty, but they’re fluffy and buttery and now my stomach is growling) and chips and biscuits. So maybe it’s more sustainable than I thought. And if you’re on the Paleo diet and have any pointers on getting more fiber, please share.

something about how I’m a hooker

I’ve been going to a Pilates class for a few weeks now and I love it. Not just like it, but love it. As in I’m willing to get up at 5:15 twice a week for it. The only problem is, I can’t sit up (without flailing my arms or hooking my feet) to save my life. Thankfully the mats have straps for people like me.

Here’s what we we do at least 50 times each class. Step 1) Lie flat on your back, arms raised to the ceilings, heels anchored to the mat.

IMG_0039

Step 2) Slowly raise your head, then shoulders, rolling all the way up.IMG_0038

Step 3) Sit up tall.IMG_0037

And here’s me after step 2.IMG_0036

I get stuck.

The thing is, I’ve never been able to do a sit up without hooking my feet for as long as I can remember (and I can remember what I wore on the first day of school in first grade — Mrs. Hill’s class, pink shirt and plaid jumper. I cried and she let me sit on her lap in circle time). I thought maybe something was wrong with my lower back, like my lumbar just doesn’t curve that way… Therefore I cannot slouch very well either. But I digress.

I don’t think anything is wrong with me, I just have weak, tight hip flexors. Check out this post about “ending your lower belly pooch.”

So in an attempt to actually be able to sit up some day, I’ve been doing these quick and easy stretches and really paying attention to my lumbar position. No more hooking my foot under the coffee table to get up when I’m reclined on the couch. No more poking my butt out subconsciously when I’m just standing around. It’s hard.

I wonder how long it will take me to be able to sit up. Or maybe I’m just destined to have to hook.

Paleo Diet for Allergy Relief

As soon as we got home from our anniversary trip to Blowing Rock, B-money and I started the Paleo diet. If you haven’t heard of it, the Paleo diet is gluten, dairy, and processed foods-free. It’s based on the paleolithic diet — meats, eggs, and veggies that don’t require much work (i.e. no legumes that have to be soaked).

I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, so I got Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo ($9.99 on iBooks and Kindle, but I ended up buying the hard copy, too.) It is THE BEST book on this whole subject, in my opinion. The first half is incredibly informational and educational. The second half is filled with multiple 30-day meal plans and all of the coordinating recipes with notes on food exceptions for those avoiding FODMAPS, nightshades, nuts, etc. You can even find a grocery shopping list for each meal plan on their blog, Balanced Bites. (She has a chapter devoted to your digestion, including a pretty awesome Guide to Your Poop chart. Did you know you can test your “transit” time? Swallow 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds after a meal — watch your eliminations, you should see the bulk of them appear together. A healthy transit time is 18-24 hours. Sorry, is that gross?)

We had already been eating this way 2-3 meals per week, but I wanted to give it a try full time to see if it helps B-mucous and his allergies. (Sorry, is that gross?) Since moving back to NC, his seasonal and environmental allergies have been significantly worse, so much so that he had to get an inhaler.

The idea is that if gluten is attacking your small intestine and allowing food and other particles to leak into your blood stream and other innards (check out this article on Leaky Gut for a better explanation), it will trigger an autoimmune reaction, using 60-80% of your immune system. Essentially, most of your body’s autoimmune attackers are going to work in your gut because of your latest meal, leaving a small percentage of your immune system to fight the actual invaders like germs and allergens.

So. No gluten and no dairy for 30 days for us. No pasta, rice, quinoa, or oats of any sort. No milk chocolate, chocolate ice cream, Chickfila, tacos, granola bars, yogurt, oatmeal, or egg in a hole.

We’re on day 8. So far so good.

The hardest part for me has been figuring out what to eat for a snack. But to be honest, with this plan, I’m eating so much protein at every meal that I don’t usually need a snack. I could set my clock by my stomach rumbling every day at 3:55, signaling that if I didn’t get a snack soon, Grumpy Becca would be here in full force.

"Who's gonna be the grumpus?"

“Who’s gonna be the grumpus?”

I also didn’t realize two people could run the dishwasher so often. Since we’re cooking and eating every single meal at home, we’re using lots of pots, pans, dishes, and utensils. So if you hate cooking, this might not be the best plan for you. And yes, our grocery bill is higher, but we’re saving money by not eating out. Like, at all.

I know for some people, being gluten-free isn’t a choice like it has been for us. I’m sorry and I’ll pray for you. (I’m being sarcastic, it’s not that terrible, you just have to change how you think.) I think for others, it’s another diet to try to help you lose weight. I may have lost 2-3 pounds so far, but my weight fluctuates that much in a day. B-muscle thinks his cookie pooch is getting smaller. Of course he never had a cookie pooch (aka gut) to begin with, but he’s been working hard with Tony doing P90X again, so I’ll let him think that. (I said no thank you, I’ll stick to my slow jogs.)

But I don’t think this diet is sustainable for me. I think a bowl of oatmeal is healthy, especially when you make it yourself and add lots of goodies to it like berries and nut butters. I also think yogurt is incredibly good for me. My intestines need it.

Everything in moderation.

I must say, though, I never paid attention to how much gluten I was eating before. And really, it’s all just fillers. Bread, pasta, cereal, oats, crackers, chips, breading on your chicken. Imagine going just one week without any of that. You’d be forcing yourself to eat foods that are whole, straight from the earth or the animal, and not processed in a factory. (If it has to go through a factory to be made into food, it’s not food.)

I am looking forward to seeing my husband go for a hard run outside in the cold and not need an inhaler. I’m looking forward to not feeling those grumpies every afternoon. (As is my husband.) I’m also looking forward to trying new foods and adding new recipes to my list of go-to’s.

If you have any gluten-free and dairy free recipes that you love, please send them my way!

ProCompression socks deal

So I know I haven’t been posting about it, but I’ve still been running my 1/2 marathon training plan pretty consistently. I did take a week off here and there for vacations and trips. But I’ve kept up the longer distance runs and built my way up to about 6.5 miles. I’m loving that I can run for over an hour and still feel good, but I think I’m going to switch to a plan that will help me run faster.

One of my favorite ways to recover after a long run (besides a yummy chocolate protein shake) has been wearing compression socks. They compress in the right areas and keep the blood flowing so you can recover faster. I don’t wear them while I’m running, but I know long-distance runners swear by them. And they’re great for anyone who is on their feet a lot, flying, or just wants to keep the blood moving in their lower legs.

Anyway, ProCompression is having a sale on their Marathon Socks! Thanks to SkinnyRunner, use the code GARMIN at checkout and get 40% off plus free shipping.

I have this pair of orange socks and love them. Anytime you can find compression socks for $30 or less, it’s a good deal. And if you buy a pair with that code, you’re also entered to win the Garmin 10.

Next I want a pair of compression shorts. You know, to help the hammies be strong and stable.

Sometimes I feel like a wet noodle when I run.

it’s friday

(Now that song is in your head. You’re welcome.)

I kept meaning to blog this week but ran out of steam/time everyday. My apologies. We’ve had a full week. I’m going to work my way backwards, if that’s okay with you.

Today I had an awesome run.

It was a 45 mi run: 5 blue, 35 green, 5 blue; plus some extra because I decided to run a loop rather than double back. I’m so unpredictable. I don’t even know what the heck I’m going to do until I get to a corner and have to turn left or right.

But anyway, I had a great run. I feel like running in the morning has been challenging for me, feeling empty if it was a fasting run or feeling heavy/tasting breakfast if I ate something first. Today all I had were 3 Clif Bar shot bloks and a few chugs of water. I didn’t realize it until now, but they have caffeine from green tea (I probably wouldn’t have chosen to use them had I realized it… thought it was just a bunch of sugar). They tasted good and I felt great on my run, probably due in part to them.

I did the 4.8ish mile loop in just under an hour and mostly in the green zone (i.e. slower pace). I’m wondering how tomorrow’s run will compare since it will be half green, half yellow.

I also learned some new things about the miCoach app today! If you love seeing a graph and breaking down your run, I think you should definitely give this app a try. Check out the additional notes (shown for my red zone, available for the others as well):

I ran all the way back up the steep hill, trying to maintain <12:00 mile, which naturally put me in the red zone for over 5 min. But I conquered that beast and still felt good.

Compared to last Friday’s run (slightly longer loop):

I also learned that miCoach keeps track of any songs you play (through your music player, not Pandora)! Brilliant! Not brilliant: Britney Spears feat. the Ying Yang Twins somehow always cycles through. Must remove from playlist.

I also added my new shoes to my list so they’re ready for me when I decide to take them out for a spin.

See that middle box? I made that up, I haven’t run 200 miles on a pair of shoes nicknamed BOOM. Just wanted to show you what your shoe boxes look like if you choose an Adidas brand (vs New Balance and Reebok that I have). Neat.

This week’s runs were pretty good. I think I got sprinkled on by various sprinklers at least thrice. It was nice. We leave one week from today for Panama and Guatemala for 16 days and I highly doubt I’ll be able to run there. So I’m kind of bummed and don’t want to loose any stamina I’ve built up. Just crossing my fingers that our hotel in Guatemala has a decent gym with a treadmill since, being the blonde chick that I am, I will not be running on the street alone in either country.

Yesterday I met my seester at some outlets and enjoyed a hot afternoon walking around shopping.

Wednesday was the Fourth and it was fun! We hung out with some friends, had too many watermelon cookies, ate delicious pasta for dinner, and watched some fireworks in our neighborhood. It was quite good!

Nothing happened Tuesday.

But on Monday I got to meet our new nephew, Mordecai!!!

He’s just a bundle of cuteness. So sweet and content.

Uncle Bribri is a natural.

Seriously. Does it get any cuter? He didn’t cry once.

We also hung out with Mordie’s older brother Malachi.

This little punkin head snuggled up to me while we were watching some educational cartoon that I can’t remember the name of and you probably wouldn’t know. He’s a keeper. 🙂

Since we’re leaving in a week, it’s time for me to start the annual gathering of all things mini or trial-size. New to this year’s lineup (thanks to various germaphobic friends and news segments): a small bottle of mattress cleaner.

Perhaps I’ll do an entire post on how to pack for an international soccer tour for those who don’t play soccer but have to go. No one’s blogged about that before, right?

hot night, wind was blowin

I must say, I’m quite proud of my run this morning. It was a 45 min run: 5 blue, 35 green, 5 blue, but I ran a longer loop so my run lasted just at an hour. This is the fastest I’ve run this 5.2 mile loop! I know for some people (ok, most people) this is a mediocre to moderate pace at best, but for me to maintain <12:00 pace for 5 miles is awesome! In fact, for a good bit of it, I was maintaining <10:00 pace! Knowing that the heart rate monitor requires me to slow down going up hills, I’ve been taking advantage of the down slopes and booked it at nearly a 7:00 pace a few times. That’s flying for me!

Instead of just wetting the heart rate sensors like I’ve done up until now, I decided to put some gel on it and it seemed to work fine today.

I felt pretty good today, despite the heat. I left the house before 7:20 and it was already over 80* when I got home. In fact, the hardest part of the run was coming up the 3 flights of stairs to get to our place.

The other day, I enjoyed reading out on the balcony. That wasn’t an option today. I know I’m the fajillionth person to talk about it, but dang. It got smokin’ hot today.

I got my hair done this morning, which meant showering and blow-drying my hair before I went to the salon. So basically I didn’t stop sweating for a couple of hours.

After lunch, I started feeling rather yucky. I had made sure to stretch well after my run and rehydrated like a champ. I feel like most days, after I’ve run more than 4 miles, I just feel yucky. I was even wondering if it was my blood sugar so I had healthy snacks throughout the afternoon. Perhaps it’s a combination of the heat, running, and someone putting a spell on me.

No, not really. But I am enjoying Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s just so creative, the way Rowlings interweaves magical twists into the ordinary.

new kicks

Today’s run was a laid back 35 min: 5 blue, 25 green, 5 blue. It was the first time in a long time (maybe 2 weeks) that I felt good throughout. My legs weren’t heavy, my chest wasn’t tight, and I wasn’t fighting to breathe through the humidity.I did pretty well staying in my zones, only had to stop and walk once or twice just to keep my heart rate down as I went up hills. I probably could have gone longer, but I’ve been trying to stick to my scheduled time lengths and save up for my longer runs–tomorrow I have a 5 miler. The heart rate monitor wonked out on me at the beginning a bit (notice the big jumps in the blue) and as I was sticking my finger on my tongue and lifting my shirt to wet the receptor, a gentleman came running around the corner in time to see me remove my finger from my mouth and stick my hand up my shirt. Nice.

Now you know why I always run with sunglasses on. Eye contact would’ve only made that worse. Plus I think it makes me look pissed off so no one messes with me.

Speaking of tomorrow, it’s gonna be a doozie…

Yoinks! 80’s before 9:00 and 90’s before 11:00! I am not made for the heat, so that means I’m planning on being home from my run by 9:00 at the latest. And for those visual learners among us:

Yowzas. I will be staying indoors tomorrow staying hydrated. Speaking of which, yesterday I posted about some coconut water that I wasn’t a huge fan of. When I picked up that one to try, I also grabbed another bottle of red tea & coconut water.

This one I actually really liked! They had other colors of tea as well, but I avoid caffeine, so red tea was perfect and tasty with a blend of hibiscus and citrus flavors. I liked it so much I actually drank it pretty quickly. I’d definitely buy this again.

This evening B-money and I found ourselves at some outlet stores and I popped into Reebok. I’ve been trying to find a pair of cross trainers to wear when I’m exercising/lifting so that I’m not always having to wear my runners. I had seen some other bloggers’ reviews of Reebok’s shoes for CrossFit and thought I’d try some on.

These were the first ones I tried on and I fell in love. If only picking out my wedding dress had been this easy. They’re the Reebok Yourflex Women’s in gray/pink/orange.

Not the prettiest shot, I know, but I love them. I usually wear a size 6 in every-day shoes and a 7 in running shoes (since your feet flatten out as you follow through your stride). I wanted a pair slightly smaller than my runners so that my feet didn’t slide to the front while doing push-ups or other on-the-toes exercises.

These fit in the length and in the toe box (so my forefoot doesn’t slide side to side). They’re surprisingly light weight, breathable, have a moderate rise, and super cute colors. Plus, probably the best feature, they were less than $60.

I tried on some of the other zigs and “running” shoes, but these were the best. Love. Them.

I guess that means I need to start the next fitness program in miCoach since I finished Base Strength and Flexibility last week. And I guess I should go to bed since I have to run at the butt crack of dawn.

let’s do this

Every time I press ‘start’ in my micoach app, Reggie Bush says, “Let’s do this.” So now I find myself thinking it at the most random times. Getting ready to cook dinner, changing the sheets on the bed, trying something new…

This week I picked up some coconut water in attempt to try other ways of hydrating after a run rather than Gatorade. (No hate-or-ade here, just wanted to mix it up.) It was meh. I didn’t love coconut water the two times I tried it straight from the nut. [TWSS] So I shouldn’t be surprised that I didn’t want more than a few sips. But I heard there is a dark chocolate flavor so… I’ll be trying that.

Today’s “Let’s do this” moment came when I finally decided to buy the first Harry Potter book and start the wild ride, contributing to Rowling’s $10/second earnings. That’s right, I managed to make it this far in life without reading anything by J.K. Rowling. But I’ve seen the first couple of movies and played through Lego Harry Potter on the Wii, so I kind of know what to expect. Kind of.

I’m already over 50% through it and I’m wishing I hadn’t seen the movies. You know how you might picture things a certain way as you’re reading, but then you see a movie and those faces and buildings and scenery are stuck in your mind’s eye? Yeah. Not my fave.

I think I was expecting more adventure from the get-go, so I was a little surprised that I was nearly half-way through the book before Harry even got to Hogwarts.

I decided to read the series on my Kindle rather than borrowing or purchasing hard copies because I have a few trips coming up and the Kin-kin is way easier to travel with. Another reason I chose the Kindle is for the dictionary feature. Yes, I still have to look up words in a young-adults fiction book, but I also like to look up the names of various characters. I started doing this while reading The Hunger Games trilogy and Suzanne Collins’ other series, Gregor the Overlander. Collins is brilliant. It was like finding Easter eggs as I went on these adventures with Gregor and Katniss! E.g. in The Mockingjay, Katniss meets a pair of twins named Castor and Pollux, the names of the twin stars in the Gemini constellation. Side note, twins in Spanish is gemelos, in French is jumeaux, and in Portuguese is gêmeos. Bam. A little classical education for you.

Today, I had a few chuckles as I read some of the characters’ names in the Sorcerer’s Stone. Some were obvious like Emeric Switch who authored A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration and Phyllida Spore who authored One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi. With the help of the dictionary I saw the humor in the name Sirius Black: Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky.

And now I’m rambling. Anyway, if you have a Kindle and are reading a fictional novel (other than the Bourne series), check out the names of some of the characters. If the author is worth her weight, there’s probably a story behind those names.