Friday, May 31, 2013

Exercise: My Thoughts

Author's Note:
As I was browsing through my older posts earlier, I realized that I don't have much on my exercise routine.

It's interesting to try to strike a balance within my posts as I try to lean away from the "HLB" label, but still incorporate my love of food, fitness, nutrition, and my thoughts on recovery.

Therefore, I've been hesitant to get into any sort of detail on exercise, but as I started thinking about it, I figured that this is just a part of my journey through wellness. There's no judgement, there's no crazy weird plan that I follow, and there's nothing to be ashamed of. So here goes:

P.S. Sorry for the lack of photos!

If you've been reading for a while or you know me well, you know how much I love move move moving. I have a love of the outdoors, the fresh air, and that feeling of being active. I'm also a big fan of "non-workout workouts." Where this all came from, I couldn't tell you exactly. Perhaps the fact that I've been practically on bedrest and restricted activity for rather extended periods of time, yada yada; maybe from my Dad who also enjoys being outside, yard work, fixing up cars, and racing; probably because I'm really in tune with my body now and know it feels just.....great.

I could get all science-nerdy and talk about the awesome health benefits of exercise, but for now I'll just start with the basics of what I've been doing and why.

I really, really enjoy "non-workout workouts" because I think that exercise should be incorporated into our every day lives without a lot of stress and confusion. I think back to how our bodies were made, and how in the Bible, there are mentions of how keeping your body physically active is important, but most people in those days were getting in their physical activity through their occupations and every day lives. People walked everywhere, harvested grains, hammered metal, hand-washed textiles, most of the day every day. Only in modern times have our occupations and lives become less active, with technology developments such as cars, the appearances of fast-food chains, the spread of public education (and transportation), and the inventions of televisions and computers. Because of this, people had to start getting "additional" exercise, which according to our bodies, should have been the exercise we were getting in the first place.

To me, "non-workout workouts" expend the energy that we need to expend without being a conscious "workout." Confused?

Here's some examples of what I *personally* consider daily exercise. Going out and doing yard work, cleaning up the house (I'm talking major house-cleaning, not just a few chores), shopping (yeah, it's true - especially the mall: bleh!), working in the garden for a few hours, swimming at the swimming pool, and just playing outside such as playing baseball and jumping on the trampoline with the bro or biking in the park. Hiking is at the top of my favorite non-workout list.

I've said it like 15 times now, but I'm not a big fan of the word "workout" in general. It feels like something forced, or deliberately done, and not enjoyable. I like to enjoy what I'm doing, even if it isn't easy. Believe me, there are runs where I'm like, "Why do I like this again?!"


So before I get carried away and mega-wordy, here's what's been going on my fitness life right now: I've given you tibits on the fact that I'm starting to add running back into my life again. WOOHOO!

I kept this to myself for a while, but this actually happened quite a few weeks ago - I've been at it for 2 or 3 months! Before, I was just walking and doing my other activities such as hiking and biking and whatnot. I've also been enjoying yoga and strength routines for a while.

And let me tell you: I have never felt better. I have been incredibly blessed with support from my nutritionist (whom I see once a month, or less if possible), my therapist (who I see once probably every 2 months), my family, and my friends.

Running just feels so right to me. I can't explain it. I prayed so hard, had so many sleepless nights worrying about when I would ever be able to do it again. I knew I loved it. I'll admit it was difficult not being very good  being really bad at running at first, but I pushed on and I am proud of what I've accomplished in strength, speed, nutrition, and getting in necessary relaxation time. I had a bout of calf muscle fatigue once (fixed), but have so far avoided shin-splints (which I better not jinx my luck by typing that! ;)), and I really credit my efforts of taking it slowly!

I do wear a watch to record time, mainly out of curiosity and goal setting, but I do not measure paces or try to make certain distances over certain times. I tried this at first, but I started getting stressed and frustrated, especially when I couldn't hit my goals. My philosophy now is a cliche, but so true: just do it. I just get out there and enjoy it. I normally hit about three miles (the perimeter of the neighborhood - that includes Mount Doom!), sometimes it takes me 35 minutes, and sometimes it takes me 24 minutes. It all depends on the day, how I feel, the weather, etc. I also make an effort to space out my days and have rest days. My max is generally 3 times a week, sometimes I've done 4 times, with rest days or strength days in between. But normally I stick to 2-3 runs a week, because that suits my legs best. I actually run faster with a couple of days in between.

I just feel so great adding fitness back into my every day activities. I've had to adjust nutrition and food to suit it, but that really wasn't a problem for me. Smoothies, here I come.

There's no way to explain how amazingly awesome this stage of life I'm in feels. I am so blessed by God - I feel blessed to have the great outdoors, blessed to have strength, blessed to feel so healthy, and this just solidifies my trust in the Lord that His timing is right and He is with me always. I could not have done this without my walk with Him, and His love overwhelms me daily.

All this to say: I'm excited to add some fitness into my blog posts. It will be a topic in upcoming posts! I'll mention it here and there along with my every day life, as usual. Thanks to everyone who supports me and believes in me - you'll never know how much it means.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Summer eats are starting to appear on my plates, finally! Overnight oats, colorful berries, vine-ripe tomatoes, breaking out the grilll - yes please!

(Lots of love to Jenn for hosting!)

Warming temperatures are just another excuse for me to eat more overnight oats. I promise you, I did make breakfasts other than oats this week, but I never got out my camera for the french toast I made and I was missing an important ingredients in my "pancakes" I made earlier this week...overnight oats it is.

Overnight oats with pear, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sunflower butter. Side of coffee to wake me up!

Lunches were definitely highlighting all the light, fresh summery ingredients!! Light, but enough to fill me up. 

Tortilla "pizza." Tomato paste, smashed white beans with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, topped with tomato slices, drizzled with EVOO, baked at 350 for about 15 minutes. 

And a mound of blueberries and watermelon as a side. :) 

Monday, Mom didn't know what to make for dinner, so Rebekah and I suggesting getting some tilapia for fish tacos! I think yes.

I seasoned it with Whole Foods Tequila-Lime seasoning along with red pepper, pan seared it, and served it on a whole wheat tortilla topped with store-bought pineapple salsa and bell pepper slices. SO GOOD. 

Tuesday was reeaalllyy nice, so we headed out to the pool for a couple of hours. After getting home, Mom made us a really good summer BBQ dinner. 

Baked beans flavored with bacon (!!) and green bell peppers.

Potato salad. 

Pasta salad.

Regular salad! My only contribution to dinner besides setting the table. :)

I got no close-up picture of it, but there was grilled barbecue chicken. Barbecue is possibly my favorite Southern flavor of all time! 

I did have snacks to fuel me throughout the day, but sadly, no pictures made it onto my camera. A few were the Strawberry Crumble Bars, bowls of cereal and milk, peanut butter and banana, and a newly discovered Chocolate Brownie Pure Bar that I loved!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Summer Lovin'

Hey, friends. Monday's here. Bring on the week.

During the summer, I'm the kind of person who gets bored really easily because I need to be doing something all the time - and not having a job, I find myself running out of options way too quickly.

I make to-do lists at the beginning of the week to give me a few ideas if I find myself lolly-gagging around the house - crossing off things I've done feels rather accomplishing, even if it's just something like washing my sheets. ;)

Note: the "Nutrigrain Bars," which I baked yesterday, should be called "Strawberry Crumble Bars." They're adapted from Angela's recipe, and they turned out seriously decadent! (Shh! They're whole-grain, low sugar, and vegan!)

Rebekah and Mom promptly gobbled some up before I even told them how healthy they were. Vegan win. The secret was Mom's homemade strawberry jam.

With summer finally being here, I realized that I've just gotten to my first blogging anniversary! I started blogging last summer to kind of keep myself on track and share my successes as I was navigating my way through the later stages of recovery. I spent a little bit of the morning looking back on those posts just to see what was going on in my life at that point - my, how things have changed.

I'll admit, I kind of thought I would have been writing posts at that point through rose-colored glasses, but I realized that all of them were really true to how I was feeling. Last summer, I had just gotten the okay to do any sort of physical activity on a regular basis, and that was seriously exciting for me! I swore I'd ever be able to run again, and here I am now getting ready to go out for a jog this morning.

On the food front, I can definitely see where I was still struggling - even just subtle indicators - but hey, I've learned, and I've confronted those issues.

Needless to say, I am so looking forward to this summer - it's going to be even better than last year!

This year kind of skipped spring - it was cold, then kind of warmish for a couple of weeks, and now the heat is starting to really kick in! The desert heat should be following behind soon. 

Things I love about summer:

Laid-back attire. My typical "summer look" is t-shirt, hair in a bun, bangs pinned back.....

Smooootthiiieess. I am a die-hard oatmeal girl, but smoothies are so much more appealing after sweating it out oustide.

Which brings me to getting outside! Hikes, walks, bikes, pool, wooohoooo.

Photography - without school, I have more time to think about getting good pictures throughout my day, which would tend to really lack throughout the school year. Unless all you wanted were pictures of notebooks!

Fresh, summer foods. Nectarines and peaches are at the top of my "I can't wait for" list. Mom and I will be heading out to some farmers' markets pretty soon. 

New York City! HolycrapI'msoexcitedIcan'teventhink. T-minus 13 days!


Pinterest recipes and activities. Check out this balsamic veggies and quinoa bowl!

Have a fantastic start to summer the week!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Like a Kid in a Candy Store

Hello, friends!

Summer is finally, finally here. AP test, done. Study sessions, done. Mega-stressed-out-late-night-homework, done. 


So much to do, so much to see! ;) Okay, that's a little exaggerated, but there are some seriously awesome things I'm looking forward to over the summer. One of them being actually wearing shorts and short sleeves. 

In all seriousness, my sophomore year was probably one of my best years since elementary school. Middle school was a bust, freshman year I was just getting back on my feet, but I truly feel like I've blossomed as a sophomore. I feel like I've grown mentally and emotionally,and I am just truly truly blessed. I'm getting kind of emotional thinking about it!

So far this summer has proven to be really busy for me and the fam, including getting back into the running mojo (woo, new post topic!), running errands, and yummy yummy recipes. A blog post of mine wouldn't be complete without some comida, right?

We can start off my official summer posts with a mini-recap of my very first trip to Trader Joe's! I was impressed with some of the deals and Mom and I probably looked like dorks ooh-ing and ah-ing over all the cool products! Typical.

The funny thing is whenever Mom and I take trips to Whole Foods or some sort of specialty store, we have the mindset of going in and buying completely different/unique stuff, but end up with either staple items that we love or something we always get! 

But having never been to TJ's before, I'd say this is all new stuff. ;) Jessica in a Trader Joe's = kid in a candy store. 

Here's a roundup of our purchases:

TJs brand Greek yogurt + almond milk (organic)

 Honey Nut O's, graham crackers, and cat cookies (as if we could resist)

Tomato basil hummus, baby carrots, sundried tomatoes

Frozen berries, frozen mangoes, bag of organic pears that I freaked out over

Baaarrzz, cacao powder (great deal), chocolate wheel that I also freaked out over

Honey-roasted almonds, plantain chips (Mom's), sunflower seed butter (!!)

Bulgur, tortillas, and spaghetti

Most of these were quite the treat and lots of stuff I picked out specifically for some recipes I'll be making later this week. Excitement!

~SuMmEr Is UpOn Us~

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday Ramblings

In lieu of a WIAW, I thought I'd catch you guys up with what's been going on around these parts lately. 

Blogging has been on the back-burner a little bit, so I just decided I'll go chronologically from the pictures on my camera! Haha! There's actually been a lot going on lately, and the top of my list is the SPRING WEATHER. Thank you Jesus, the jackets are coming off! One of the first things we did was head out to the strawberry fields. 

Holy strawberries, Batman. Between the  four of us (Mom, Reibs, Jonathan, and I), it only took around 30 minutes to pick almost 30 lbs! Working up a sweat was so worth the divine homemade strawberry ice cream we got before we went home. How do they make it taste so good?! 

Fresh strawberries. Duh. Mom got about 20 cans of homemade strawberry jam plus some leftover to freeze.  I'm hoping we'll get to go blueberry picking this later in the summer - our baby blueberry bushes have some catching up to do before they're ready. :)

Luckily there's always frozen blueberries available, and I was able to make more muffins! These were Mama Pea's Orange-Blueberry Muffins that were absolutely delicious, despite the fact that I did something wrong and they deflated like a little souffle. Try, try again.

So what else has been up in my life?

Uno: Studying, studying, studying. AP world history test is this Thursday, and finals start this week. Yikes. 5 days of school left!

Dos: Running, oh how I love thee. I love everything about it, especially getting out on the trails on beautiful, warm days. 

Tres: Good fuuuudddd, as always. I don't generally eat a lot of meat (mostly when Mom makes it for dinner), and I've really been gaining interest in more plant-based/vegan recipes. My Pinterest followers get explosions of vegetarian recipes, and most don't include meat-substitutes because I really look for family-friendly recipes (the fam is a little iffy about tofu and seitan...). Oh She Glows, here I come!

Cuatro: We've had this planned for a while, but I haven't mentioned it here yet: New York or bust, baby! The second week of our summer break, Mom, Reibs, my Grandmother, and I are heading up to the city so nice they named it twice. *Squeals and jumps up and down while clapping hands*

Cinco: FRIENDS! I'm hooked. Remember LOST? Yeah, it's moving up to that level. :)

That's all for today, folks. Adios and have a wooonderful Wednesday!