Food = Energy

Food = Energy

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

SMART Resolutions for the New Year

It's here already. It feels like it was just yesterday when 2012 was ending and 2013 was about to begin. Now an entire year of accomplishments, failures, minor setbacks, and various hills and valleys are over and done with and t is time to look forward to a  fresh, new year full of exciting possibilities. I'm definitely not going to wipe away all of 2013 and start with a clean slate; I'm going to take what lessons I learned in 2013 and apply them to my aspirations for 2014. It's going to be a great year.

For starters, I'll be back to taking classes again. December 23rd marked the end of my student teaching experience and now I have 5 courses left to take before I receive my Master's in Education in May. My dad saw the big 5-0 on his cake this past November and my mom will see it on January 31st which is definitely something to look forward to. Val and I will celebrate 3 years in February with a much-anticipated dinner outing at the most talked about vegan restaurant in the city, Candle 79.


2014 will also be filled with various athletic goals as well. Val will be competing in the USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships in April and, of course, training hard for that race until then. I am hoping to start the new year with a January 11th 50 mile trail race although might have to take the 30 or 40 mile option due to some unforeseen training woes. Post-January will be full of exciting running challenges for me. I will be registering soon for my second marathon in late April (NJ State Marathon in Long Branch) and am hoping to recover quickly enough for a mid May 50 mile "urban" ultramarathon in Pennypack Park in Philadelphia. This summer I will likely attempt my third (and seemingly annual) triathlon in July unless I choose another running event to pursue. Most important on my 2014 Calendar, however, is a feat that Val and I will be attempting together within the next several months that will surely test our willpower--if not our entire relationship! 

All these events and the training that will be required will definitely require many more of my go-to bar on the run and even as part of my lunch. Good thing I got a couple of gifts like the following for Christmas this year:

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My parents gave me a nut mix and Clif bar goody box for Christmas! Such smart parents!!

My wonderful Val gave me, among other things, a box of Spiced Pumpkin Pie Clif bars. I believe this seasonal flavor is already done being produced so I'm definitely stretching these bars as much as I can (a week maybe?)

I hope you, too, have some awesome resolutions for the new year. This is the year you will show everyone just what you're made of. Resolutions tend to end after the first month or so and you'll hear (and maybe even create) tons of excuses for ending a former new year's resolution. "Not enough time in the day." "I was too tired after the gym." "I wasn't losing any weight, so why bother?" The list can and does go on and on. How can you protect yourself from failing to see your resolutions all the way through? You need to be SMART!

What being SMART means, is that you should literally be setting smart resolutions that you can actually achieve. SMART is actually an acronym and it is broken down as such:

Your resolutions should meet these criteria to increase the likelihood that you will achieve success. Let's take a look at a common resolution and see how it measures up to the SMART criteria: Being healthier this year.

Be Specific about your resolutions. Wanting to live a healthier lifestyle is admirable and a perfect goals, but what EXACTLY does that mean? Will you reduce your sugar intake? Will you exercise at least 5 days a week? Will you stop eating processed foods? Will you, ahem, adopt a plant-based diet? "Healthy" is too broad and you find it easier to include some specificity for a resolution such as this one.

How will you measure your success? Reducing sugar might be the step you want to take to be a healthier you this year, but how will you know that it's working? If you are unsure that your reduced sugar intake is helping you then maybe you will resort back to the foods and tastes that are more familiar, yet less healthy for you. Will you weigh yourself to see overall weight loss? Will you try to fit into your old jeans to determine a slimmer waistline? Will you attempt to run 2 laps or 1 mile on a track once a week and see how much faster you are able to run this distance after a month or so? There are many ways you will be able to measure your success this year.

If you are currently overweight by 20 pounds or more or if you cringe at the sight of broccoli, you will greatly benefit from setting resolutions that are attainable. Someone who is overweight by 20 pounds or more might have a resolution that eliminates this "overweight" status from their name, and while this is a great and perfect goal for someone in this predicament, losing 20 pounds or more in 1 year and keeping that weight off is an incredibly daunting and challenging task that requires great discipline, support, time, and effort to achieve success. To make this immense weight loss goal more attainable, you could break down the resolution into parts: you can aim to lose 5 pounds every 2 months or maybe you only seek to drop 10-15 pounds this year instead of 20 or more. Making a goal attainable can help keep you motivated in your personal challenge to achieve success. Similarly, if you completely avoid vegetables, I wouldn't advise that you set a goal that you will be eating every vegetable at the grocery store by the end of the year. Break that goal down and maybe aim to include one or two vegetables a month and see where that takes you.

Making sure your goals are relevant to your life at the moment is also important. What is most important to you right now in your life? Is it your career? Are you trying to start a family or just beginning one? Maybe you are trying to get through college with a decent GPA while balancing a couple jobs on the side. Your new years resolutions should match where you are in life and what you deem most important to you at this point in time. If you are starting a family, perhaps you will be more likely to achieve resolutions that involve your new family. If you are really trying to break through in your career, perhaps set a goal that either helps you in that endeavor or allows you to de-stress a bit and give yourself some me-time doing what you love. An irrelevant goal is one that will likely be dropped and thus may bring on a sense of personal failure which, though it is not the end of the world, is stress that nobody needs and can be avoided by making your resolutions relevant. 

And lastly, your new years resolutions should be time-bound. When do you want to achieve that resolution? By the end of the year? By your birthday or class reunion? By your friend's wedding? By your wedding?! Having a set time-frame for meeting your goals will keep you on task and increase your chance of success. 

Here's to hoping that you all achieve success this year! 

Happy New Year everybody and happy running!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Celebrated Christmas? Congratulations on your Marathon!

If you think of Christmas in purely the consumer-culture sense and take away the religious part, it's pretty fitting that Christmas falls on December 25th. What do I mean? Let's look at each day leading up to Christmas as a mile run. Once Thanksgiving ends, the Christmas season begins....literally. The next day is Black Friday in America and what is Black Friday for? Why, it's to spend money on gifts for the holiday season, of course. Now let my analogy begin...

What is the greatest and one of the most important elements of marathon preparation during the week prior to your event? Sufficient and proper food intake, a.k.a. carbo-loading. What better way to carbo-load for this 26 day Christmas marathon experience than by enjoying a delicious, carbohydrate-packed Thanksgiving meal?

Media: Fill 'Er Up
(Article on Carbo-loading: )

Thanksgiving fell on November 28th this year. I want you all to open up your phone or desktop calendar. Now, count the number of days from Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) until Christmas day. 26. Miles in a marathon? You guessed it: 26 + .2. Okay's so it's almost a marathon. This is kind of what the consumer-culture Christmas feels like nowadays: a full-blown marathon. 

Each day can be considered a mile of the marathon: your end-goal. You begin your Christmas marathon journey on Black Friday which is kind of like the first mile for many marathoners. How you run that first mile is important for how your overall experience will be. Most marathoners will advise any newbie to not go out too fast so you don't burn out or bonk before you hit the half-way mark.

 So, do you spend, spend, spend and overexert your wallet or purse early on or do you spend wisely, only purchasing big-ticket items that you know will cost much more in a week or two? Decisions, decisions. You barely have time to enjoy Thanksgiving before you are thrust into the holiday-spending season. 

Hopefully, you get through that first mile unscathed and your marathon/Christmas experience isn't jeopardized in any way. You're not done, though. You still have 25 miles left and those 25 miles have to be run smartly. How you stretch your dollars over these next 25 miles is crucial to your overall experience and what you think of yourself after you cross the finish line that is Christmas morning.  

For Val and I, we definitely had to stretch our dollars. We weren't able to go all out like our hearts desired; we had to spend wisely and maintain a frugal sense of mind. In a sense, we really had to pace ourselves so that we didn't collapse before Christmas arrived and as I'm posting this on the night after Christmas day, it's safe to say that we survived.

So I guess I owe Val a congratulations on completing her first, albeit proverbial marathon. We put in our training (work) for the holiday and we definitely carbo-loaded before the big day (more Tofurky please!). Now we can begin our post-Christmas recovery plan which definitely includes replenishing our glycogen stores (read: bank accounts). 

All of this sounds pretty heavy and maybe as if I only think of Christmas as something I'm forced to just get through. This is not the case at all. I am merely hitting that stage where Christmas is starting to revolve around others and not yourself and with that comes the inevitable reflection of the financial cost of how our society-at-large "celebrates" Christmas. To me, I can literally breathe a sigh of relief that Christmas is done because, like I said, I can stop spending money and start earning and saving it again. 

It's kind of sad that this is part of how I feel, but I have to stress that it is only part of how I feel. The rest of my feelings are much more positive and certainly dominate the negative ones. These feelings include: the swelling of my heart that I felt when I saw my 7 year old niece opening up her gifts from Santa and remembering how I felt at her age. Or seeing Val's little cousin fill with excitement and become overtaken by hyperactivity as Christmas Eve started to wind down and her bedtime was fast-approaching. These are the memories that make it all worthwhile in the end. 

As a Christian, Christmas is a time to celebrate Jesus's birth and I acknowledge and celebrate this important event. As an American, though, I have to accept all the elements of Christmas and those include the consumer-centric elements. What gets me through this sad truth is the look of our family's faces as thoughtful gifts and cards are exchanged on Christmas day. Decorating our first Christmas tree with Val and enjoying soy eggnog for the first time (definitely worth a try!) are some additional memories that make it all worthwhile. 

I hope everyone who celebrates it had a safe and very enjoyable Christmas. The holiday may have passed, but the holiday season has certainly not ended yet (just take a look at any department store for the proof!). So, enjoy your post-Christmas Marathon everybody. We will all celebrate our accomplishment together in just a few days...get it?

Happy Running!

Don't know what Silk Nog looks like in your grocery store? Here it is! You can also look for it in a red carton as well. Try it!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Confused...winter solstice or summer solstice?

Is this weekend just a complete dream that I am soon to be awaken from? According to the calendar, yesterday was December 21st, aka the first day of winter formally known as Winter Solstice, but that had to be a mistake right? I mean people!!! The temperature outside rose to 62 degrees during my long run! That hasn't happened in months! I don't know if I should be extremely worried about the state of our planet, or just selfishly ecstatic because I got to thoroughly enjoy a 20 mile run yesterday.

I had a late start yesterday morning with Val, but I was still set on running at least 3 hours. For the first 20 minutes I felt like I was going to be a bit slower than usual for my long runs so I changed my goal to at least 20 miles. After the first hour I was able to pick up the pace a bit and hold it for the remainder of the run...I was beyond happy to have logged that 20th mile in 2:57! Of course I then used those 3 minutes and more to cool down. Just as warming up and stretching is always advised and encouraged, so too is cooling down and stretching.

Val and I then spent the rest of the afternoon getting ready for a holiday party we were attending that evening. Val and I de-shelled some peanuts (she'll hurt me if I don't give her most of the credit though) and she proceeded to baking these delicious vegan blondies that she baked for the first time a couple weeks ago. Just 4 ingredients: chickpeas, natural peanut butter (hello that's why we were de-shelling peanuts!), maple syrup, and chocolate chips. This recipe and ingredient list is so simple I almost had no guilt being the one to eat the most at the party we brought them too! Ahh well...I guess I needed the carbs anyway.

I'll be sure to include the recipe in my next post after I ask Val to write it down for me. Hopefully it's not too much of a secret!

I am also playing around with the idea of making specialty peanut butters for us to enjoy and hopefully share with our friends and family. Should they come out well, you'll definitely hear about them soon!

Oh and btw, as I'm writing this post, my phone indicates that it is 72 degrees in New Brunswick. This is scary! Hopefully it doesn't start to pour though because I am planning on heading out for another long run.

Happy Running and happy...Winter?


Yesterday's run: 20 miles; minutes under 3 hours

Pre-run fuel: water; I was planning on using the previous day's carbs to get me started

During-run fuel: 2 natural fruit bars at 120 calories each, and water. I had one bar at the 1 hour mark and the other bar at the 2 hour mark each time making sure to wash it down with water.

Post-run recovery: big bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, teaspoon of brown rice syrup, tons of cinnamon (I mean, tons), and a sliced up banana.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Over the hump!

Okay now given the title of this post you might be thinking something bad or unwanted has happened...wrong! All I mean is that posting today means I got through hump day of my last week of student teaching! It's kind of bittersweet really. I love the 7th graders I've been teaching--all 150+ of them. I'm going to miss my cooperating teacher and our Common Planning Time meetings (CPT's) as well as our prep period laughs and conversations. It's really been a great 6 weeks that I wouldn't trade for anything else. So that's the bitter part. The sweet part? Where to begin...

1) Slightly increases chances of sleeping in (very slight chances)

2) I get to run in the morning again as opposed to 3:30pm runs! I've definitely missed this as part of my day.

3) Not packing lunch in a lunchbox (I'm going to miss this a bit, but now I get to cook fresh veggies for lunch if I choose to!)

4) Going back to school! I have 5 classes left to complete before I earn my M.Ed. from Rutgers and I couldn't be more excited. I think you have to love school to be a are actively choosing to teach in a school after completing school; there's gotta be some love there! For me, I absolutely love school and cannot wait to be taking notes, participating in discussions, and writing papers again (let's see what my posts start to look like in March and again in late April!)

But truthfully, I've had a great time at the New Brunswick Middle School this past month and a half and it was just a small taste of what's to come for next year if all goes well!

After hump day at school, I celebrated the completion of my last observation by my supervisor with an out-and-back 10 mile run down a major street of New Brunswick which led me past the middle school (I just can't get enough I suppose). Then how did I celebrate the 10 mile run? Indian food at Val's Aunt and Uncle's! Garlic naan has to be one of the best breads out there. So freaking good. It could have been my appetite telling me all this last night, but I'd still defend garlic naan if I had to.

Anyway....enough for today. Off to the school. Enjoy your day everybody.

Happy Running!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holy Crutches!!

When I was in high school, I was forced to use crutches after I experienced a hairline fracture in my ankle. Getting around school for the next week or so was brutal! It was towards the end of May and I was sweating through my school uniform just getting from one end of the hallway to the other!

I probably looked like this guy in the morning:


And this kid throughout the day:


If someone were to ask me to complete anything further than 100 yards while on crutches I would probably look at them like they had three heads. So you can imagine my awe when I  read about a guy crutching 3.1 miles this past Saturday. I can't begin to fathom how my upper body would feel after a feat such as that. I still think I'd feel like the kid in the picture above, but this guy probably felt like this:

If anyone saw me getting ready to run in this northeast cold, you might think it's blizzarding outside. Lately, I am putting on some kind of short base layer tights, topped with track pants or sweat pants (different bottoms if it's a speed workout). I then put on a short sleeve cotton t-shirt (should probably start with a wicking shirt), then layer a long sleeve running shirt or jacket over that and then top it all off with a wind-resistant jacket. And it's not a winter run without the thermal headband or running beanie and gloves. 

I have been encouraging everyone to not let the winter cold stop you from getting outside and getting in your form of exercise, but sometimes that cold can just stop you in your tracks once you open that front door. I came across a article that shares with its readers 6 precautions to take to safely and happily enjoy a run or outdoor exercise during these wintry, snowy times! Enjoy:,,20753416,00.html

Happy Tuesday Night everybody!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Great weekend for running!

Christmas is coming!!!! Ten days. Holy Cow! Good thing I'm already done all the Christmas shopping and wrapping...kidding! Though, I wish I wasn't. I guess I can look at it this way: I still have ten days to finish my shopping and wrapping. Yeah let's go with that. Clearly I'm a bit addled this evening. I think it's the Sunday off from any kind of work or maybe the chocolate coated mini rice cakes Val and I just enjoyed as dessert. Whatever it is, I'm loving the energy.

Speaking of energy, this weekend was a great weekend of running. I hope everybody else managed to show Mother Nature who's boss out there. I tried on Saturday. She won. But I did manage to get in a little over 13 miles before I decided to wave the proverbial white flag and surrender to the relentless cold that She sent to squash my hopes of running for 3 hours. I think I might have had a chance if it wasn't for frozen hands....second pair of running gloves I've bought this season and I was promised that these would do the trick..Err!! Wrong! I guess I have to figure out what I'm going to do for the 50 miler in January that I'm planning on running...wishful thinking aside, it only gets colder for the next couple of months.

Today's run wasn't bad either. After binge eating after work last night while visiting Val's mom, I had all the energy in the world for this morning's run. I managed to get Val to run with me and we got in a nice 90 minute run...I could have run longer, but I'm glad I didn't. According to the conventional wisdom in the running community, total weekly mileage should't be increased by more than 10% each week. Now, I've bent that rule a few times this past year alone, but had I run the planned 3 hours this morning, that would have been an increase of about 30% of last week's mileage (which has been roughly consistent for the past month or so). Besides, I enjoyed getting out there with Val and toughing out those slushy roads.

Enough about me and my rambling...Here's the good stuff:

I don't know how many people checked out my most recent post, but I'm hoping you enjoyed the Run, Run, Run song I shared with you. Here is another video that you HAVE to watch video. It was posted on an ultra running and trail running group page I'm linked to on Facebook. I think you'll enjoy it even if you haven't participated in a marathon, but if you have then you should enjoy it 10x more! The link is below the picture.

Prototype of 3D printed protocell running shoe
"What the heck is that," you might ask. "Running shoes of the future," I might respond. Click below!

That's all I have for you tonight!

Happy Running!


Today's run: About 9 miles
Pre-run fuel: Nothing (going off of last night's binge-eating feast!)
Post-run recovery: Banana and natural peanut butter with cinnamon.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Run, Run, Run

Had to share this news article before I called it a night! Check out this guy's video at the end of the
Cover of the album Run, Run, Run

Off to bed to try and beat the snow in the morning! Long weekend run...have to run off these extra calories thanks to Val's Blondies that she baked for a holiday party.

As I say that, I can't stop thinking that Val should try these out:  

Happy Running everybody!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sometimes you just gotta to go all in

I received a text from Val while I was in school today and she informed me of a beautiful 5 mile run she had just completed earlier this morning. I was jealous. Getting a taste of early morning runs again due to yesterday's snow day was and is making me crave these runs again. When I got home after school, I kicked off the dress shoes (read: took them off slowly after untying the laces so as to preserve their condition), and laced up the running shoes. I grabbed my Garmin running watch and out the door I went for an 8 mile workout. Val had said in her text that she loved the dodging ice patches part of her run. Me? I did an 8 mile workout in a 1.5 mile radius so as to avoid these ice patches and iced over sidewalks. 

Even with the confined route, I thoroughly enjoyed the run today. I think it was this enjoyment and the endorphins that were released that led me to the second half of my feel-good evening: food :) . Val brought home some Spicy Tomato soup from the restaurant she works at and we warmed that up for dinner. Nothing like hot soup after a cold, Winter run! As we were eating the soup, I had a mouthwatering lentil and black-eyed peas dish cooking in a saucepan with some chopped up broccoli, onions, and fresh garlic. I had mine with cayenne pepper and another Latin-style spice mix we have; Val decided to add nutritional yeast to her dish for a cheesy-like taste. And if the soup, lentils and black-eyed peas, and a shared avocado wasn't enough to satiate my hunger--apparently it wasn't--we would always have our beloved George St. Co-op.

The George St. Co-op is a local natural foods store that we frequent when we are looking for something in particular or just want to treat ourselves to some of the many vegan and sometimes-but-not-always natural snacks. Tonight was a treat ourselves kind of night. We went for gluten free cookies and coffee and left after enjoying and sharing vegan Thai Dumplings (delicious!!), coffees, 3 small gluten free cookies, and 2 vegan chocolate bars that we NEVER get (and yes, maybe I put "never" in capital letters to relieve myself of some of my guilty conscious!). If you have never tried one of the chocolate bars located below, please do yourself a favor and locate one ASAP. You will not regret your decision, nor will you find the need to indulge in a Milky Way, Snickers, or whichever candy bar suits your fancy. Plus....these are vegan. And vegan ALWAYS means healthy...right? Oh...It doesn't? Well uhh...Hey! Sometimes you just gotta go all in and tonight we had no regrets. 

Val and I spit a Twilight bar, think "Chocolate Milky Way" and a Jokerz bar which tasted like a new and improved Snickers bar. Yes...I went there.  

Happy Running everybody! And I guess it's also fitting to say, "Happy Eating"!! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Day!!

Last night I gave a quick speech at a casual dinner celebrating the student volunteers that will be embarking on some truly awesome community service trips this school year (some students have already completed their trip). These trips are planned by student leaders involved in the group Alternative Breaks here at Rutgers University and I had the pleasure of being an "Alt Breaks" member for three years as an undergrad at Rutgers. Being able to speak at their Kick-Off dinner as an Alternative Breaks alum was a great experience and one that can now be added to the many great experiences and memories I have as a result of the community service trips I participated in during my college career. 

After the dinner, I returned to the apartment to do complete some late-night planning for today's school day and having closed the laptop after 11pm, I was not looking forward to the now-inevitable dragging state I'd be in for school. You will understand, then, my relief and excitement to find out this morning that school was closed due to the impending snow, however I did not read that "impending" part. So as I go to look outside the bedroom window, I am expecting to see nothing but a pristine, white blank of snow covering the street and sidewalks. Instead, I see absolutely no sign of snow. "Oh well. No school!" I think to myself. So I change my alarm clock to 7am (yes, that's sleeping in for me), but as I am lying in bed I can only think about the endless possibilities of a snow day: a ten mile run, completing a paper due Thursday, buying fish food, a ten mile run, doing laundry, catching up on some TV episodes, a ten mile run, enjoying a hot lunch at the kitchen table, writing this blog post, and lastly, a ten mile run. Needless to say, I could not fall back asleep and decided, instead, to go guess it....a ten mile run. 


I haven't been so ecstatic about a run in a long time. I would choose an early morning run over any other time of day without pausing to think about it. Having been unable to leave the apartment for a run while the sun is yet to rise made the run today so much more enjoyable. Andddd to top it off, it started snowing about 5 miles into my run and with no sunglasses to protect my eyes from "the elements" I was really forced to enjoy Mother Nature in all her beautiful glory. 

I just wish I had my phone with me to take a picture of the untouched snow covering the streets and sidewalks not even 20 minutes after it started coming down. 

If you haven't gotten a chance to exercise today, I encourage you to grab some gloves, layer up, and go "play" outside. Don't think of it as exercise. Throw snowballs in the air for your dog to catch or jog around a local park that's bound to be more beautiful when covered in snow. Or you can be like my girlfriend, Val, and get off of the bus a mile and a half early and walk back home (or to destination x)! Now that's the spirit, Val! 

Lastly...I stumbled upon an article for those of you who have contemplated changing your diet to a vegan, plant-based diet or for those of you who have tried, but reverted to your old ways for whatever your reason. This article may prove helpful! I encourage you to read the article even if just to educate never know if a friend or family member of yours might bring it up in conversation.

Happy running!


Today's run: 10 miles

Pre-run fuel: Nothing, unless half a glass of water counts. I was aiming for my late dinner, as a result of the event I went to, to hold me over for the run. I was right!

Post-run recovery:  Breakfast: Two small, toasted whole-wheat rolls (from last night's dinner event) with natural peanut butter and a banana sliced up for each one (2 small bananas). Excellent recovery breakfast or snack for multiple reasons: potassium for muscles, protein for muscle and tissue recovery, and carbs for restoring glycogen levels.    

Thursday, December 5, 2013

News Blast!

I can't believe how fast this year has flown by! I remember talking to everyone about my upcoming student teaching internship in the Fall and now I have 13 school days left to teach. Additionally, I asked Val about any upcoming exams she may have and she replied, "Not until final exams." I was shocked at this long break in her exam, however I was also dead wrong. The last day of Rutgers classes is next week! I've been out of the college courses game for almost an entire semester already. I guess celebrating Halloween and then Thanksgiving weren't really time-checks for me; the days have just been rolling on, blending into one another. 

As I'm posting before school this morning (due to my increasingly busy days which is the reason why I've lost all track of time!) I'm going to keep today's post a news blast! Maybe I'll post again later on if I feel..inspired. Please feel free to post any comments following the post. I'd love something to read tonight after class!

A pair of running Christmas cookies
Did you think you can just run away all of those holiday/winter-time calories? "Think again," says a recently published study. I probably should have taken notes while reading the article, but I couldn't help salivating at the look of those runner gingerbread cookies! 
 Check out the news article here:

Would you like increased heart contraction rates with that drink? Didn't think so. 
Check out the article here:

Did you have a bowl of these at your Thanksgiving meal? Well if not, there's always next year! Oh and the 364 days in between. They help with more than just preventing UTIs. Check out why cranberries should be a regular part of your diet:

Jay-Z and Beyonce. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

And of course I couldn't be "up with the times" and not post about the latest celebrities to try a vegan diet...that's right: Beyonce and Jay-Z are going vegan for 22 days. 
Read about it below:

I hope you enjoyed today's news blast! 

Happy Winter (okay, cold Fall) Running!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cinnamon is da winna mon!

How was everybody's Thanksgiving!? I'm truly sorry for not wishing everybody a Happy Thanksgiving. Between grading projects and tests and making sure Val and I had all the ingredients for our Thanksgiving dishes, I was too tired each night to post anything.

Speaking of Thanksgiving dishes, ours was a success! It took three kitchens to complete our cooking (our apartment kitchen, my parents' kitchen, and my sister's kitchen), but the effort was worth it! Our dishes were the following:
  • an Almost raw pumpkin pie - courtesy of Rich Roll
  • a hot vegetable dish of oven roasted sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and beets
  • the best stuffing I've ever had- Val's masterpiece that was a huge hit this year
  • sweet potato-cranberry sauce- I was so happy for how this sauce came out!
  • Tofurky's Tofu Turkey w/ gravy- Val and I tried the Tofurky for the first time last year at a "Friendsgiving" dinner party we attended and knew it had to be on the menu this year!
There were many other dishes on the table that Val and I were able to enjoy due to the considerations of my family as they prepared their meals such as mashed potatoes with soy milk, butternut squash and cranberries prepared with Earth Balance (vegan) butter, and yellow rice (Spanish-style). For an ingredients list of the dishes that Val and I prepared, check the end of this post.

On another note...who remembers eating this cereal      when they were younger or maybe even this morning? I never actually opted to get this cereal when I tagged along for grocery shopping, but I have vivid memories of visiting my family in Virginia and having Apple Jacks for breakfast (it was my cousins' favorite cereal). Well it turns out their selections were probably a bit better than my Count Chocula or Cocoa Puffs. Why is this so? One reason: Cinnamon.

If you haven't heard lately, cinnamon has been the center of many recent studies on the benefits of particular foods. It's nothing groundbreaking. The studies pretty much just support what was already shown back in studies 3 or more years ago, but there's nothing wrong with reassurance! It has been shown that cinnamon helps stop blood sugar spikes, provides blood sugar control over a longer period of time, and lowers the risk of diabetes! So cinn-a-mon reall is "da winna mon" as Stick so accurately puts it in those great Apple Jacks commercials. Of course the benefits of cinnamon are kind of neutralized by all the grams of sugar in Apple Jacks so I highly recommend adding ground cinnamon to your apple slices in the morning or maybe your banana or pear. Oatmeal or cereal person? Sprinkle some on there too! It also is great to add a dash of it in your morning coffee! You really can't go least, it's not easy to do so. If you're skeptical about what I've shared with you, then that's great to hear! I like skeptics. Check it all out for yourself by simply Googling "cinnamon" or "benefits of cinnamon" and find some credible sources so you can find sources. Credibility-advice aside, here are some sites I found when Googling "cinnamon" for this post.


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Val's Thanksgiving Stuffing
Main Ingredients: Butternut squash, brussel sprouts, shallots, gluten-free bread, an apple, dried cranberries, walnuts, and celery 

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The Tofurky (The size of the box was quite deceiving. Good thing it was only Val and I enjoying this softball-sized ball of tofu!

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Val's Almost raw pumpkin pie
Main Ingredients: fresh, cooked pumpkin, coconut milk, maple syrups. Walnuts, dates, and flax seeds (crust)

AND my Sweet Potato Cranberry Sauce (think of a puree)
Ingredients: Sweet potatoes, cranberries, brown sugar, orange juice

SO glad to be back to blogging with all of you! Until next time!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

News Blast!

Tonight will be a news blast of both running and vegan news (I have some homework to get done!). Enjoy!!

5-year-old runner Anthony Russo
My mom ran the Trenton Half Marathon that this 5 year old ran in about two weeks ago. He just ran a 26:43 5k (roughly 8:37 mile). Read this story here: 

Zach Miller - 2013 JFK 50 Mile - tow path
Zach Miller wins the most famous 50 mile race: the JFK 50 in Maryland. His time: 5 hours 38 mins. His pace per mile: 6:45. Crazy. 
Emily Harrison - 2013 JFK 50 mile - win
Emily Harrison is the first female finisher of the JFK 50. Her time 6 hours 35 mins. Her pace per mile: 7:54. Equally crazy. She was runner-up last year. Way to get em this year Emily! 

Not the greatest quality of studies, but it promotes nut consumption. Always a plus in my book! Check out this article about why you should consume nuts more frequently! 

Val's favorite: Cashews. 
My favorite: Almonds. (Walnuts are creeping up there). 
Nuts sometimes get a bad rap because they are high fat. As long as you aren't inhaling handfuls of nuts at each meal, you should be fine. The fats are good fats and fats have been shown to enable the body to better absorb the nutrients and vitamin founds in in vegetables. So if you are packing in the veggies at lunch or dinner, pair them with a slice of avocado or a handful of nuts of your choice. Also, pair nuts with raisins or dried blueberries or cranberries for a healthy afternoon snack!

And lastly, I love having you here, but if you have the time, check out another blog by a passionate runner who loves blogging about healthy eating and living a healthy, active lifestyle: Christina, The Athletarian 

Happy running! (And yes, you local readers...even in the rain.  It's so much fun!) 

Monday, November 25, 2013

3 days until Thanksgiving!!

As far as Mondays go, today was a pretty good one. I didn't have any lessons to plan out as I was continuing a lesson in the school from last week so that was a relief; I was able to enjoy a relaxing Sunday and an even more relaxing Monday at school. I hope tomorrow's quiz on the Byzantine goes well. I know it's a test the students take, but their scores reflect my teaching thus far so I truly am mentally invested (read: nervous) for how well they are going do. There's one thing that is going against me which happens to be the thing I'm most excited for this week: Thanksgiving. That one word translates to "break" for the students--this is the excitement that could distract them from their studies--and "endless amounts of amazing vegan food" for Val and I!! Good luck students. Now onto an equally important ( of) point of business: Thanksgiving.  

I'll post about the menu later on in the week either after the feast or the next day, but here is a peak at what's probably to come!

I came across this recipe for an amazing salad with caramelized pecans, apples, and cranberries while I was perusing through VegNews and am thinking about adding it to the Thanksgiving Day table. The recipe can be found here: 

And as of now, Val will be making a raw pumpkin pie for our dessert. She made a pumpkin pie (obviously vegan, but all that means is that EVERYONE can enjoy it!) for my niece's Halloween birthday party right before Halloween and it was a big hit! I'm sure she'll top it! She also makes a mean cocoa-banana bread if anyone is interested in the recipe or, if you're local, she'll happily bake it for you and drop it off. Yeah. She's pretty sweet. Recipe for the raw pumpkin pie can be found here:

    sn select bait x saucony shadow original cruelworld cover BAIT x Saucony Shadow Original: Shoes for a Cruel World
Okay, these aren't on the menu BUT can they be?? Pretty please?? BAIT and Saucony have teamed up and have created a casual vegan sneaker that will hit stores December 2nd. I guess even if I could be granted my wish, Thanksgiving is still a few days too early. Christmas maybe? Check out the story and read about these awesome kicks by clicking on the following links: 

Happy running everybody!

Thoughts for the week: 
-What are you thankful for in your life right now?
-Who are you thankful for in your life right now?
-What is your meaning of Thanksgiving? Is it about the food, the family, the days off, or something else entirely? 

Would love to read the comments if anyone is willing to post! 

Today's run: a quick 5 mile run around New Brunswick. Had to get back to cook Val a dinner I promised before she had to head out for class.
Pre-run fuel: 3 dates with water (plus breakfast and lunch of course)

Post-run recovery: Dinner

Dinner: sauteed cabbage, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, and fresh garlic with a side of green beans and a adzuki bean and lentil mix. AMAZING!!! 

Dessert: dairy-free strawberry and cookies and cream ice cream from our favorite local spot: Dairy Deluxe in Highland Park! You don't know what you're missing...oh wait..maybe you do: the dairy! Check them out if you're nearby, but please do order a dairy-free option. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013


As I lied in bed last night, I did what I pretty much always do before turning in:
1) I played my moves in Words with Friends (I've been playing a 70 something year old woman from out west for the past 4 years and it's become a ritual to make sure I at least catch up on my moves before the night's up. I sometimes joke with Val that she's my backup love. I has been 4 years!)

2) I made sure my alarm was set for the right time so I can get to work on time and still sleep as much as possible.

3) I checked the weather.

If my memory is correct, I'm pretty sure it said between 30-32 degrees would be the high for the day. Yes. The high. "Good thing I made tomorrow my rest day or lowest mileage day," I thought to myself as I lay in bed. Well, when I woke up I thought maybe I'll get in a few miles on the treadmill at the YMCA where I work after my shift and then I'll be able to workout afterward. I haven't run on a treadmill since sometime last January and that was only because I was recovering from an injury and was going to the gym on campus quite often to keep my fitness up. Well as soon as I told somebody--and said aloud--my plan to run on the treadmill, I decided I couldn't do that. Yeah it was the coldest day of the season so far, but if I can't take the cold now, how will I take it later? How can I run 50 miles in the January temperatures if I can't handle an hour or so run today.

Well that did it. When I got back from some grocery shopping (slightly disappointed after having to put back gluten free and dairy free pizza crusts because they contained eggs--man, dinner could have been great!) around 2:30, I got on my running gear and headed out the door.

I felt great! I ran into the wind only about half the time and I had a tailwind for quite some distance too so overall it wasn't too bad. The Saucony 3 season gloves I just bought about 2 weeks ago were really put to the test today...They passed with flying colors. The gloves handled the frigid temps with no problem and my trusty Nike thermal headband that I've had for at least 5 years now did the same. A little over 5 miles my watch died, but I was completely fine with that. I was too busy enjoying the beautiful day outside--despite the cold, it truly was a gorgeous day!

When I got back to the apartment, I was curious what the temperature was that I just ran in: 27 degrees according to my phone. Awesome. I could have easily run in the nice warm gym or taken the day off altogether, but I succeeded in not letting the day go to waste. And I wasn't the only one. I saw at least two other individuals who thought they were going to be tougher than 27 degrees today and it was awesome knowing there was company on the road--even if they were running the opposite direction.

When I got back I couldn't wait for dinner! Around 4 I started up some adzuki beans to let them cook through and by 5 I was sitting down for an early dinner. I had several small dishes that I cooked up; I ate one dish, waited about 5 minutes, then got another dish until I was done. Because it was early, I decided to eat dinner this way so that way I would be satiated longer. I managed to take a picture of one of these dishes:

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Cabbage with tomato and tofu topped with an Asian style stir fry seasoning and good old ketchup--buy natural to nix the high fructose corn syrup  


Pre-race fuel: Clif bar with banana for lunch
Post-run recovery: banana and natural peanut butter
Dinner: adzuki beans (protein), tofu (protein), cabbage dish (pictured above), green beans, and a side of carrots and kale w/ hummus. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Slow down!!

Late post tonight. I really have to start posting earlier and getting to bed earlier. Hmm...a New Year's Resolution perhaps.

As planned, I woke up this morning and was all set to help out in any way that I could at a YMCA 5K about 25 minutes away. I was so glad that Val decided to volunteer with me; there was a chance that I was going to be venturing out alone as Val was contemplating sleeping in and studying for her exam all day.

Our car ride was a bit rocky heading over to the 5k. Usually on her game with the phone's GPS, Val proved to be a bit directionally challenged this morning (Sorry know I'm right though!). On top of that, we stopped for Dunkin' Donuts coffees and were attempting to mix in our own brown sugar and almond milk that we brought, but of course the coffee was to the brim and being seat-belted in my seat and in an awkward position I proceeded to spill some of the coffee over the center console. Doesn't seem like a big deal, but it wasn't something that I preferred happen. "Hopefully the volunteering will go much more smoothly than this car ride," I thought to myself.

So we finally got to the check in area, initialed our names on the volunteer sign-in sheet, and received our assignment which was to direct runners up a street at about a mile into the race as well as stop traffic when runners were nearing the intersection. We stopped at a bagel place before heading up our post. Blueberry with grape jam. Split that and had half a banana each. The combination: fantastic. Those simple carbohydrates would come in handy during our run later on. Anyway, when Val returned with the ca$h to purchase said bagel, she informed me that we had company at our post. Now I'm expecting a cheery volunteer to share the post with...was that so wrong an assumption? I mean it was about 40 degrees outside on a Saturday morning so clearly some heart was necessary.

I was expecting someone like this gentleman:

Or maybe a kind, more-experienced community resident such as this cheery lady.

Not quite.
We wound up sharing the post with this woman...


 Okay maybe not so cartoony, but you get the idea!

All jokes aside though I think she scared the living bajebus out of one woman who was going about 10 mph past our intersection after screaming for her to slow down!!!...there was not a runner in sight. But hey! We didn't let any runners get hit and no cars laid on the horn so I guess that's a success story if you've ever heard one.

Overall, I think the volunteer experience was certainly a good first-time experience. The event was pretty small and I didn't have as much interaction with the runners as I thought I was going to have. I was expecting to hand out life-saving containers of miracle fluid (read: cups of water) to runners with pit stains who were sweating profusely. Maybe when it's a bit warmer out. As for now, I'm grateful for the experience I shared with Val. Without volunteers, these runs literally could not function. I mean had we not been at that intersection, runners would easily have continued running straight for who knows how long. Plus, there were some runners who were definitely struggling and the words of encouragement that the volunteers provide--today, that was us--really do make a difference. This is coming from experience being one of those runners on multiple occasions.

I have a newfound appreciation for these volunteers after today, especially during the winter runs. At least the runners get to warm up after about a mile of running. The volunteers have to stand the cold. Leave your post and you seriously risk harming a runner--and during a race, this could mean either her time or her body should a car not know what is going on!

I encourage all exercise enthusiasts out there to volunteer at an event you have run or have performed at. Maybe that event will be at a local organization such as the YMCA or a public library. The service to the community is obvious and you never know how your actions or words may impact those receiving them.


Check out a Runner's World list of the best Thanksgiving foods to add to the table. Then count how many are cruelty-free.


Today's run: 9.4 mile run with Val.
Pre-run fuel: 1/2 blueberry bagel with grape jam, half a banana, half cinnamon-raisin bagel. (Bagels are great simple carbohydrates that can be broken down by the body quickly which helps with an upcoming run, race, or other cardio performance.
Post-run fuel: 1 1/2 bananas (potassium) with natural, home-made peanut butter (protein), and cinnamon (to reduce any inflammation). And coffee, of course.