Friday, June 29, 2012

Travel wrap up

Two things I’m not going to talk about: 
  1. The heat 
  2. Obamacare
If you want to read about those, go … anywhere else.

Today, I will wrap up my travel summary and I feel like I had another topic, but to be honest, my crossfit workout was extra tough today and I’m already feeling kind of fried (at 9:05 am).

  • Day two of corporate travel (day 5 of travel overall) – Dinner at Maggiano’s. They were very accommodating to my dairy-free, gluten-free needs. Yay, Maggiano’s. I honestly thought Italian restaurants were a thing of my past, but gluten-free pasta and some good marinara are in order sometimes! I also had a glass of red wine. It was lovely and I had no ill effects from the first alcohol I’ve had in over three months!
  • Day three of corporate travel – I did a pseudo-crossfit workout (from Women’s Health magazine) in my hotel room then followed it up with 30 minutes in the pool in the morning. Lunch was another salad and some crackers and hummus. Dinner was a veggie burger with extra veggies and wedge fries at Fuddruckers in the airport. I could probably go online and find out what was in the veggie burger, but I think I’ll stay in blissful ignorance.
  • I’ve been home now for over 24-hours. I actually got to sleep in my own bed two nights in. a. row. Tonight I’ll be elsewhere again. Last night I did not feel like fixing dinner after a long day at work and a hard 1.5 hour workout in the gym (not outside because of the you-know-what). So I drug the family to Kroger. I got stuff off the olive bar and some brown rice; they had fried chicken. I love my rice bowls, but they are usually of a more Mexican or Asian variety. Last night was Mediterranean. For lunch I’ve got leftovers. I’ll post a “recipe” at the end of this blog.
  • I think I have identified the source of the digestive problems I was having. Sugar. Since I didn’t take my blender with me, I was having Bear Naked granola with vanilla almond milk for breakfast along with fruit. I don’t think my body was doing well on the extra sugar. I realized I hadn’t been eating meat, gluten, eggs, dairy, etc, but I had increased my sugar intake. Now that I’m back home, I switched back to shakeology with original almond milk for breakfast and I’m fine again.
  • In the next month (28 days until I leave for Yellowstone), I have some homework to do. I need better travel foods – with less sugar! Plus I’ll be going camping, hiking and backpacking so I’ll need good options that can be carried with me. I’m going to try to make my own energy bars this weekend and try out a recipe for roasted chickpeas that I’ve heard great things about.
  • Tomorrow – another race will be crossed off my bucket list. Tomorrow is Mudathlon. I’m approaching it like another Crossfit workout. Tough, but I can do it and it’ll be over before I realize it! I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to wear though…

Mediterranean Rice Bowl
1 serving of Minute Rice Ready –to-Serve brown rice (or brown & wild rice)
1 roasted red pepper (I love the olive bar at grocery stores)
1 artichoke heart
2-3 sundried tomatoes
1 clove garlic – roasted is awesome, but it doesn’t have to be
½  tsp olive oil (if your sundried tomatoes are in oil, you can just use a little of that)
1/3 cup garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

Throw red pepper, artichoke, tomatoes, garlic and oil in a food processor or blender. Pulse a few times  until everything is chopped up. You want the veggies in small pieces but not smooth like a spread.  **Update: On second thought, it's probably best if you carefully place them in the blender rather than throw. That could cause a mess.**

Mix rice, veggies and garbanzo beans together in a bowl. Heat in microwave for 90 seconds. 

Some feta cheese or even parmesan would be good on this as well if you eat cheese. Which I do not.

I will be having my rice mixture over romaine lettuce today. I can’t wait for lunch.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ready for a Shakeology Fast

I'm still in Virginia (I fly out tomorrow night) and today was okay. Breakfast and lunch was provided at our training - breakfast was bagels and fruit. I had a bowl of granola before leaving the hotel and had some fruit. Lunch was a couple of different kinds of wraps. They looked delicious...I had a salad that I brought instead. I'm taking a salad again tomorrow, but I've been advised that the cafeteria at corporate has plenty of options as well.

We headed to Maggiano's for dinner as a group. I considered not going and getting something at the store or in the hotel restaurant, but I took a chance and found out that Maggianos does have gluten-free pasta and I was able to get a dish without cheese - it had sundried tomatoes, spinach and broccolini in it. I kind of wish I'd just gotten marinara. I was craving the tomatoes.  I also had a glass of red wine. I haven't had alcohol in ages. Thankfully it didn't affect me much.

I found out today that Shakeology just released Vegan Chocolate. I am SO excited! I cannot wait to order it tomorrow. I've decided that this weekend I'm going to do a Shakeology fast - Shakeology and fruits and vegetables only. I'm having more bloating and gas than I've felt in months and think the traveling and changes to my routine lately are probably causing it.

Travel sucks

Travel doesn't suck in general. If you know me, you know I LOVE to go new places, but travel sucks for people with special diets. Amusement parks and ball parks are not designed for people who eat like I do! 

This past weekend we took the kids to Cincinnati for the weekend and ate most of our meals out. Friday night we went to a Mexican restaurant and I had “meat” for the first time in a month. I got the grilled tilapia. It was very good and thankfully I had no ill effects from having fish.

Friday night I also went to the nearby Kroger and picked up some fruit and granola for breakfast to hopefully save us some money and help us eat better. 

Saturday we were in Kings Island all day. Lunch ended up being a salad from LaRosa’s pizza. It was mostly iceberg lettuce with mozzarella cheese and a couple tomatoes and olives thrown in for color. And the only dressings they had were ranch based. So basically I had lettuce and a little bit of dressing. Thankfully it kept me full enough though. I also had some fries (the real kind made with big potato wedges, not frozen fries). For dinner I had a burrito bowl. I had some strawberry sorbet while the rest of the family had ice cream and funnel cakes. 

Sunday was the Reds game. For lunch I had 7-layer bean dip, minus a couple layers (cheese & sour cream). Dinner was a side salad from McDonalds. 

I’ve been paying the price for eating junk this weekend, BUT there is good news…We went to Jungle Jim’s Market in Cincinnati yesterday also. I bought bulk rice, black eyed peas, red pepper spread, some fancy mustards and Scott bought us a dragonfruit to try as well. I took a photo of it in case you haven’t seen one…but I don’t have the camera with me to upload the photo. 

Anyway, I’m now sitting in a hotel room in Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. alone tonight. I will be at our corporate office for training tomorrow and Wednesday. I went on a two-mile run ending at the local Harris Teeter and bought some food for the next couple days: almond milk, peaches, bananas, salad, and almonds. And I bought tonight’s dinner before I headed back to my hotel. 

Tonight – a Mediterranean feast: stuffed grape leaves, roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, artichoke hearts, hummus and crackers. The only thing they didn’t have on the olive bar was marinated mushrooms. It’s kind of nice to have a couple evenings by myself like this to do whatever I want.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

22 miles on the bike

I logged over 20 miles on my new bike today. I rode it to work today - the first time I've done the bike commute from this home. I used to ride regularly when I lived near the Monon Trail. I'd pull Annyka in the trailer to the daycare before heading across the street to work, but that was only 6 miles each way. The ride from this house is a little more challenging - more traffic and it's almost twice the distance. But I made it. I had also planned to swim on the way home at the YMCA, but the wind was picking up and I saw rain west of my location, so I decided getting home would be better.

Anyway, I was pretty hungry by the time it was dinnertime - I had a mango salad from Qdoba for lunch. So tonight was stir-fry night. I used a Cooking Light recipe for Honey Cashew Chicken...but it wouldn't be me if I didn't change the recipe up at least a little.

So I'll start with the recipe and tell you about my minor changes as we go.  The recipe called for 18 oz of chicken breast cubes and 1/2 a cup of cashews, but since I'm currently vegan, I doubled the cashews and I used brown rice rather than instant. I also added a few extra veggies that I needed to use.

Honey Cashew Stirfry

1 cup rice

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
broccoli florets - I used one stalk
1 cup edamame - I didn't use quite that much because I also had some snap peas to use
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp sodium sauce  - I used Bragg's Aminos instead
1 Tbsp sriracha sauce

Cook rice.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oils. Once warm, add vegetables - I also added carrots to mine. Cook about 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp tender. Stir in cashews.
Combine vinegar, honey, soy sauce and sriracha in small bowl.
Toss sauce with vegetables and cashews.
Serve over rice.
Serves 2-3.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A lazy dinner

I was enjoying myself swimming at the Y so much today that I did not feel like rushing home to get dinner I didn't. I did 1500m and the last 300m or so I was really feeling strong.

Then I went to Kroger to get Scott a sandwich and since I was there, I decided to get some edamame caviar from the deli rather than make my own succotash. The veggie mix from Kroger was garbanzo beans (ie chickpeas), edamame, black beans, red onion, bell pepper, parsley and a light oil & vinegar dressing. I added corn to it. I did also cut a sweet potato into wedges and broiled. I'm super full. The two glasses of water I just drank probably are adding to that full feeling!

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

1 sweet potato
1 Tbsp oil - I used grapeseed
chipotle pepper powder, smoked paprika or chili powder (chipotle pepper powder is spicier)

Turn on broiler (mine was at 500 degrees). Peel sweet potato. Cut into wedges. Toss with oil.
Spread wedges evenly on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and chipotle pepper powder.
Broil for about 20 minutes, turning once.

Serves 2.

I ate mine plain, but some people might like some sort of dip on theirs. Google for dip options.

My new staples

I am an avid meal planner, so I save my shopping and meal lists in excel. It's interesting to see how the groceries I buy have changed. I've put together my personal list of staples that I keep stocked in my gluten-dairy-ovo free kitchen. I didn't include meat on my list of staples because it no longer is a staple. It's an extra that I get occasionally.

brown rice
rice pasta (and I do buy flour pasta for the kids)
gluten-free oats
corn tortillas
Tortilla chips (one of my remaining junk food vices)

bell pepper
bok choy

Canned goods: 
tomatoes (petite diced, crushed and paste)
beans (black, pinto, red, garbanzo, cannellini)
green chiles
chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
marinara sauce

almond butter
sunflower seeds

sriracha sauce
dijon mustard
spicy brown mustard
ketchup (for the kids)
tamari sauce

Herbs & Spices: 
Lime & lemon juice
salt (Himalayan or Real Salt)
black pepper
smoked paprika

Oils & Vinegars: 
apple cider vinegar
rice vinegar
red wine vinegar
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
sesame oil
coconut oil
chili oil

almond milk
coconut milk
dark fruit juice (cranberry, cherry, pomegranate, blueberry, plum, etc)

Lunch fail

So let me tell you what happens when I'm not paying attention...

Last night I made pasta, right? I made rice pasta for me. I had planned on Scott having rice pasta also, but I only had little bit left in the bag, so I made the rest of the rice pasta for me and made him regular spaghetti. There was enough rice pasta for two small portions. So one I ate last night and the second I put in the fridge.

This morning I decided that I wanted to take the remaining pasta of mine to work, but to bulk it up a little, I broiled some white button mushroom to go with it and cut up some broccoli to steam as well. I threw the mushrooms on the pasta and put it in my lunchbox.

And at 12 pm today I took it out of my lunchbox and started to put it in the microwave. It was at that moment that I realized the pasta was not the rotini that I was spaghetti. Gluten-filled flour pasta with cheese added to the sauce. Scott's leftovers! GRRRRRRR.

So I had to go to our little cafeteria that has very few healthy options that don't have cheese or egg or croutons. I ended up with roasted potatoes and a cup of strawberries and pineapple. I also grabbed a banana in case I need it later. I also had a large portion of steamed broccoli. I'm relatively full now, but I hope its enough to stick with me through my swim after work.

I feel your pain

I heard something on the radio this morning that really hurt me today. 

Occasionally in the morning I listen to the Bert Show on 93.9 fm. Today they were talking about addiction, specifically to pain medication. I think this type of addiction touches me more than alcoholism, or nicotine or recreational drugs because it’s not recreational. In most cases, it starts out as legitimate medical treatment. People don’t walk into the situation (most times) to get high. They do it just to function. 

The guest on the show starting taking lortab for severe migraines and got to the point that she was taking it daily for five years and taking up to 12 pills a day. Here’s what breaks my heart…what alternative pain management methods could have been explored before turning to pain medication? Granted, the beginning of her addiction journey started over 9 years ago, so I’d like to believe that pain management therapy has come a long way since that time, but I fear that it hasn’t. I fear that too many doctors take the easy way out and prescribe pain medication when yoga, diet, acupuncture or some other more alternative therapy may work to treat the underlying issues causing the pain. I fear that our current health care insurance culture feeds that cycle of treating pain. 

I cried on my way into work listening to this. It pains me to think there are people out there in pain, sometimes from injury, sometimes from some other chronic condition, desperately trying to find an answer, but don’t know where else to turn besides their doctor (or maybe even an ER). People who couldn’t afford to turn elsewhere even if they knew about other options because all their insurance plan will cover is a prescription that could lead to an addiction. 

I invest a lot on a lot on my “healthcare.” But I don’t think my healthcare is traditional – my healthcare comprises of fitness, a diet that some might think is extreme, chiropractic care, dental hygiene, a couple specialists and some prescription medication (very seldom do I take pain meds though). It’s not cheap to spend $80/month to belong to a good gym, another $100/month for chiropractic care and pay insurance and copays on top of that. But if it keeps me off pain medications or even more invasion medical treatments, it’s worth it. 

But what I really want to figure out is HOW to help others. How can I help others figure out where to get help?  How do I open up the eyes of other sufferers of chronic conditions that there are other options? And how can I help them find that care in an affordable manner? I don’t have those answers, but I hope that is something I can figure out in my own personal journey.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I'm spent

I went to Crossfit after work. I enjoy the workouts because a) they are hard. Yeah, yeah, I know that's a crazy thing to say, but sometimes when I work out on my own, I don't push myself as hard as I should. Crossfit ensures that I do. b) they pretty much fly by. Once we get started, I lose track of time pretty quickly. That's always nice. c) I appreciate someone else making sure I'm getting my form correct.

Anyway, once I got home I didn't feel like doing anything too strenuous so I grilled the two portobellos I got from Green BEAN Delivery last week and made some pasta and sauce to go with it. It turned out super yummy, so I'm going to, of course, post the recipes here.

Marinated Portobello mushrooms with grilled tomato sauce

4 large Portobello mushrooms

1/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Pasta Sauce:
16 oz campari tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 sweet onion, cut in half
1 15 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 6oz can tomato paste
8 oz spaghetti or other pasta of choice

Clean four Portobello mushrooms. Place in a casserole dish, gills up.
In a small bowl whisk together wine, olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, garlic and mustard. Pour marinade over mushrooms. Let mushrooms marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Heat grill to medium heat.
Place mushrooms, tomatoes, bell pepper and onion on the grill. Do not discard marinade. Remove the tomatoes after about 5-7 minutes. Leave other vegetables on the grill for about 10-15 minutes.
While vegetables are grilling, bring pot of water to boil and prepare pasta as instructed on pasta container.
Remove remaining vegetables and allow to cool slightly.
Chop tomatoes, onions and bell pepper. In a medium saucepan, combine remaining marinade, chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and artichoke hearts. Stir in tomato paste. Let simmer for a few minutes.
Once pasta is al dente, drain and stir in pasta sauce. Divide pasta into 4 servings and place on plate. Top each mound of pasta with a mushroom. Top with cheese if desired.
Serves 4.

Two thumbs up lunch

That's how I'm rating the majority of my lunch. I didn't spend a lot of time planning my lunch today and I didn't have any leftovers I could just grab on the go, so I decided to make the veggie wrap I've been thinking about for a while.

Veggie Wrap

1/2 sweet bell pepper, cut into strips
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup matchstick carrots
1 cup baby spinach leaves
(or a variety of any of your favorite veggies - I think tomato and cucumber would be good, but I had no cucumbers)
2 Tbsp roasted garlic hummus
Sriracha sauce
1 large tortilla or wrap - I used Food for Life gluten-free rice tortilla

Warm tortilla in microwave for about 20 seconds. Spread with hummus. Squirt a little sriracha sauce over the hummus. If you aren't familiar with sriracha, take it easy, you can always add more. Tabasco sauce would work fine as well. Or if you don't like spicyness, just leave it out.
Add veggies over the hummus.
Wrap it up.
Eat it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Fathers Day, y'all!

I hope all the fathers and father-figures and single mothers (since they often do the work of fathers) had wonderful days today!

We had a part recupe day and part fun fathers day. As I often do when I take my meds on Saturday night, I slept until about 10 am today. I don't think there's anything wrong with me doing that once a week.

I didn't eat breakfast - smack on the hand - but I did make lunch for Scott and I. I broiled zucchini, red bell pepper, onion and asparagus and made a smokey black bean spread that I found the recipe for in a Sonoma Diet book and put that in tortillas. Flour tortillas for Scott (he also got cheese) and rice tortilla for me. The black bean spread was super easy so I'll post the recipe below.

Then we picked up Wilson, played some miniature golf and took Scott to the Asian buffet. I had an all veggie stirfry from the hibachi grill with my own tamari sauce and some sriracha sauce. I also had a plate of fruit.

Smokey Black Bean Spread

1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed.
 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (1 pepper, NOT one can. Store the remaining peppers for another use)

Saute onions in hot oil with coriander and cumin in small saucepan until onions are soft. Put all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth. Add a little water if you would like the consistency a little smoother. Use as a dip or as a spread on burritos.

I'm in the process of planning out this week's dinners. I think tomorrow will be grilled portabella mushrooms with pasta.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Getting my Qdoba fix

Weekly weigh-in: 162 lbs.

I didn't make dinner last night. I got home from work right around 5 pm and crashed...for 3 hours. Maybe I was pushing myself a little too hard this week. When Annyka goes to her dad's I try to pack in as much "me-time" as I can...and for me that is working out. I need to make sure I'm getting enough sleep, but for the most part I feel pretty good.

I've been eating vegan for three full weeks and don't feel the need to jump back into meat anytime soon. I do have one tuna recipe on my meal plan, but other than that, I'm enjoying being meat-free.

Once I got up at 8 pm, Scott and I went to the Q (aka Qdoba) and I got my naked veggie burrito, no cheese, no sour cream, add guacamole. Then we headed to see Prometheus. Don't bother going to see it. At least don't waste your money at the theater. It was ridiculously predictable.

This morning I got up and did a practice sprint tri. I rode 4 miles to the YMCA, swam 500m, rode 4 miles back to my house. Changed shoes and ran a 5K. I averaged under 12min/mile for the 5K. Technically the tri I'm doing in August will be a 10 mile bike, but what's 2 more miles?

And now I'm chilling out with the dogs catching up on my DVRed shows. Maybe I'll head to the Y pool later.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thanks, Puccini's

I met the family and some friends at Puccinis Pizza and Pasta.
As a gluten and dairy avoider, I generally shun pizza places, but puccinis noted gluten free options on the menu so we tried it out.
I went back and forth deciding what to get but ended up with pizza. I got the gluten free (rice flour) crust with sundried tomatoes, spinach, basil and garlic...and no cheese. It was really good and hit the spot after a swim at the Y.
And since they only offer gluten free in medium, I have enough for another meal!

Vegetarian Websites

This one's going to boring to read, but I felt like I needed to keep a list of the websites that have a lot of good recipes I would like to try. So here goes. If you know of more, please leave them in the comments and I'll add them to the list. 

21-Day Vegan Kickstart

Veg Web

Cooking Light - Vegetarian

Forks Over Knives

Vegetarian Times

The Gracious Pantry

The Clean Eating Mama

Chocolate-Covered Katie  - My go-to for vegan GF desserts!

My New Roots

Yum Universe

Engine 2 Diet

PETA Vegetarian Living

Karma Chow

Naturally Ella

Tea-Addicted Geek

Beans, beans, good for the heart...

Tonight, I don’t know what’s for dinner, but I’ll be happy if I decide to have last night’s leftovers. But a veggie & hummus wrap also sounds good.

I made a Latin bean and corn salad – another recipe from Cooking Light. I had mine over quinoa. The boys had hot dogs with theirs. I’m the only one who loved it.
Here goes:

Three Bean Salad
3 cans of beans, drained and rinsed. Choose a variety of the following: black, red, pinto, kidney, garbanzo, etc. I chose black, red and pinto.
3 ears of corn, shucked
5 campari tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 red onion, cut into quarters
1 jalapeno
1 red bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime Seasoning
½ tsp salt

Heat grill to med-high.
Place tomatoes in large and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Brush corn, peppers and onion with olive oil.
Place remaining vegetables on grill rack. Grill for 8-10 minutes, turning corn and peppers once.
Add rinsed beans, cilantro and Mrs. Dash to tomatoes and gently stir together.
Remove vegetables from grill and let cool for a few minutes.
Remove corn from cob.
Coarsely chop onion.
Remove seeds from peppers. Finely chop peppers.
Combine vegetables with beans & tomatoes.
Serve alone over rice or quinoa, or as a side. As a side dish, serves 12.