Currently reading…

January 31, 2013


After truly enjoying Michael Poblano’s Omnivores Dilemma, and in the spirit year resolutions I’m squeezing some time in each day to flip through another of his, In Defense of food. I’m not too far in, but it’s already promising to be as mentally provocative a read as my first read. If I’m open minded about it, Michael’s writing brings up points that are worth more than a few seconds of consideration. This morning I read a quote that really resonated with me: “[If] foods are understood only in terms of the various quantities of nutriebnts they contain…even processed foods may be considered to be ‘healthier’ for you than whole foods if they contain the appropriate quantities of some nutrients.” Gyorgy Scrinis, quoted from In Defense of Food. As a healthy eater, who LOVES food, it really made me sit back and think if I cooked meals and food for the sake of their nutrients or not. And I think something like this rings particularly true for Vegans and/or vegetarians. When we exclude foods from our diet, a lot of time the focus is on what nutrients have we lost (not a lot, turns out) and how can we replace them. What turns most people off is the idea that vegans and vegetarians have to replace those nutrients with something fake (fake meat, cheese, etc). And to be perfectly honest, not all of them taste too terribly good. This past year, I’ve worked hard to limit my use of processed food as a crutch for the change in diet. The result has vbeen a massive increase in flavors that I try, can physically taste now and enjoy. I’m far more adventurous in the kitchen and very rarely ask if I’m getting all of my nutrients. By eating “whole foods” instead of processed nutrient counterparts, the hubs and I are getting a great variety of what we need. At least, thats been our take on things so far. But as always, being forced to reevaluate, like this quote did for me, is helpful to look at places that could use improvement. Interesting though, I know there are plenty of people, like my husband used to be (and sometimes still is), who eat only because it’s necessary for survival. Brandon used to claim that if they made a pill to provide everything that food did, then he’d take it. The process of cooking and creating a dish, then enjoying it slowly afterwards hold little romance for him. Whereas it’s one of life’s greatest pleasures for me. Which side so you sit on? Whew. Did that jumble of words even make sense? And just think, all of this from the first few pages… Hope everyone enjoyed their warm spell and are staying warm with winter’s revenge. Xo

Simple thoughts

July 26, 2012

Is it weird that its almost impossible for me to read a good period piece mystery, set in England without a cup of tea?  

Simple thoughts for another day  in the week.



When do you workout?

January 11, 2012

Well, I had great ambitions and plans to night to get a few things accomplished (DIY mani is in the front of my thoughts), but all of that was tossed to back burner, because of one thing:

Oh.  Hello obsession.  Seriously guys, this book, it really is worth the hype.  I am so invested in the outcome of these characters and I don’t want to spoil the ending, but my mind is already begging the story to change its rules.   A lady stopped when she passed me reading it while waiting for the bus (yeah, its THAT good).  And informed me that the book  was simply put, addicting and that I may as well get the next two now and read them as soon as possible so I can get on with my regularly scheduled program life. Thanks lady, what little shred of willpower I had to put this book down, has now thrown in the towel.  At least I remembered to eat dinner…

Another day, another (EARLY) workout.  I’m betting a little better at hauling my butt out of bed to head to the gym – but it doesn’t really make me like it all the more.  Its funny, whenever anyone asks when I prefer to fit in my workouts, I never hesitate.  Morning.  It almost always puts me in a good mood and I love knowing I can carry that momentum through the whole day – and come home to a relaxing evening and accomplish other things that are important to me.   Most days, thats how it goes.  Today, I was a little bit more sluggish.  I’m working on focusing my efforts on one of my running goals, to break that 28 minute barrier for 5k.  This means a lot of speed interval work on the treadmill, which just involves 1-2 minute sprints.  Two days ago, I got a 5 minute sprint in and I think I would’ve fallen flat on my face if I had tried to this morning.  Would working out tonight have gone better for me?  Give up my beloved morning workouts?  From my trusty source (, I gather there really is no actual answer to when is the better time to workout.  And I think I have to agree with this.  Working out is in so many ways tailored to the individual, right?  The limit we can push, the number of days we can go in a row, the amount of weight we can lift and the kind of exercises we can do.  So why would when we workout be any different?   I really enjoyed this article, that lists the pros and cons of all the different times to workout.  Afternoon workouts have never been an option for me unless I get home early and the weather is nice.  I have to admit, I feel GREAT afterwards and maybe its true that I have a little more energy to get in a good workout.  But I can definitely agree that with an evening workout, I have more reason to run a little longer and am constantly worrying about making sure I get in a good workout but at the same time getting home in time to get ready for work.  But of course, the trade off is getting less done in the evening and losing that great feeling of accomplishment, endorphins and adrenaline.  I’m a happy person, so anything that get help to feed that mood, I’m all for 🙂

When I was clicking through some of the posts about when is the best time to work out, I came across this interesting little , that predicts if you’re a morning, afternoon or night person.  The results, while a little predictable, are surprisingly accurate! The “natural bedtime” is almost always around when I doze off, no mater what time I sneak into bed :-p   So, according to these guys, I’m a moderate morning  person, so I think I’ll stick to those early AM workouts for a few more weeks, at least…take the survey and tell me!,  what are you?

And now, I will leave you.  I’ve got a book to go apologize to for putting it down 😉


ps – don’t forget to follow me on twitter!  Feel free to give me a shout out and let me know what else you’d like to see on the blog!

Did everyone have a good weekend?  Mine was buuuuusy.   But busy is good, right?  I’m pretty proud of myself for sticking with the last two days of training for week one.  Saturday wasn’t so hard, took my book down to the gym and had a good bike workout for cross training – but not so intense that I couldn’t turn a few pages in the book i’ve been reading.  If you haven’t jumped on the David McCullough bandwagon yet, I highly recommend it.  I’m reading his biography on Theodore Roosevelt, Mornings on Horseback and the writing is far from dry and monotonous, like a lot of biographies can be.  I also got in a nice, steady and enjoyable (!?) “long run” outside.  I felt like I had the amazing fall morning all to myself.

Unfortunately, the downside to a fun and busy weekend is that I feel like I got absolutely NO sleep and of course, indulged a bit on food and sugar.  While I don’t feel guilty, exactly, I’m definitely feeling the physical consequences, sluggish, SUPER tired and just plain ol’ blah.  My training schedule calls for Mondays being a strength and stretch day, so I didn’t bother getting up early to go to the gym – especially since I wanted to take some time and learn a little more about putting together a lifting routine. Without having the benefit of some text books, I spent some time this afternoon learning about different muscle groups and the exercises that target those muscle groups.  When doing my lifting, since I’m only going to be doing it about twice a week, I decided to focus on some full body lifting circuits.  Where I did lifts that targeted more than one muscle groups at a time and tried to get a well-rounded workout.  That means targeting my legs (quads, hamstrings, gluts and calves), my arms (biceps and triceps), shoulders (deltoids all sorts of ways and the rotator cuff), and my core (abs and obliques).  There are a ton of different exercises to target these different muscle groups and today, I tried to hit a few for each major muscle, using just my limited dumbbell weights here at home (and believe me, by the time I was done, I was pretty sure I didn’t need anything else).  The last thing I did was make sure I snuck in a lower back exercise.  From what I read though, its pretty important to not push it on these, but still something important to have.   So here’s what I did:

Lifting Circuit

DB Squats (3×10):  Gluts, Quads, Hams

Dead lifts (3×10):  Hamstrings, Lower back

Pushups (3×10):  Back, delts and chest

Internal Rotation (3×10): rotary cuff

Single leg Calf Raises (3×10):  calves (duh?)

Side plank bridges (3×10):  Obliques

DB Bench Press (3×10): Chest

External Rotation (3×10):  rotator cuff

V-Ups (3×10): abs

Arnold Shoulder Press (3×10): anterior deltoid

DB flies (3×10): Posterior deltoid

Lat raises (3×10): Lateral deltoid

Curls (3×10):  Biceps

Tricep extensions (3×10): triceps

I know it looks like a lot – but I wanted to get the most out of my workout.  And lemme tell ya – my upper body is feelin it.  And those V-ups?  Yeah – these puppies almost had me cryin.  I’m not ashamed to admit it 🙂 I’m out of practice with lifting and its definitely a little harder when lifting from home – but so much nice when you can do your workout without having to bundle up and head out to the gym.

Not much on the food front to share with you tonight – we didn’t get grocery shopping in until this evening, so it was a simple veggie burger and homemade sweet potato fries kind of night.  I have a busy week with random guests showing up and then a parental unit visit for the weekend – which means I am planning menus! I think I have a pretty good one planned and it features a dessert recipe from one of my favorite blogs   But what I CAN leave you with tonight, are some pictures from my weekend, which included a play downtown, errands with my mom and dinner at my parents house.  My mom roasted some root veggies (wonder where I got it from…) and I roasted some asparagus (yes, again).  My dad grilled up some fish for the rest of the family and I noshed on a “chicken” cutlet that was breaded with some grueyere.  While I’m definitely trying more vegan recipes, I figured I’d take it easy on the fam for the night and let that slide a bit.  🙂 Dinner wasn’t anything insanely special, but it was at home and just what I needed.

happy almost Halloween!

Try as I might, my veggies NEVER look this good getting ready to be rinsed. Its a mom thing 🙂

because…who doesn’t need a reminder that sometimes happiness is in the little things.