Black Bean and Endive “Tacos”

YUM! These little  black bean and veggie “tacos” were delicious! I basically just threw all the ingredients I could find in my fridge together and came up with these. You could use large lettuce leaves instead but I just love the crunch of the endive and happened to have them on hand already. They were so easy and quick to make, and kept me full all night. They are the perfect bite-size portions and would be great for a Cinco de Mayo party this weekend! What you’ll need:

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped (any color would work, I used orange)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (more if you like it extra spicy)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth

What you’ll do:

Saute onions, celery, and carrots in 1 tsp. olive oil until tender. Add in bell peppers, then after a few minutes, add mushrooms. Stir in the drained and rinsed black beans until warm all the way through. Mix seasonings with vegetable broth and pour into bean mixture. Stir until seasoning coats the mixture and serve on small endive leaves or any lettuce wrap of your choice. Top with avocado, hot sauce, cilantro, salsa, whatever you like! These “tacos” are so healthy – full of fiber and protein – and taste great the next day for leftovers as well. Enjoy!

Losing Weight the Healthy Way – And A Little Barney Butter!

As I have been trying to eat a healthy, clean diet for the Kaia detox, I have been going back to eating like I did when I was seeing a nutritionist years ago. It’s funny how we learn all about nutrition and health and how to live a healthy lifestyle, and over time we slowly drift away from those basics. The truth is, losing weight and getting healthy is a simple concept -calories in vs calories out. The important thing is making those calories work for your body instead of eating junk that doesn’t help you in any way. What I mean by that is eating healthy greens and fruits and getting enough protein and fiber to fuel your body and keep yourself feeling good.

I am not an expert on nutrition by any means, but I have tried many “fad diets” that haven’t worked (or they have worked and I gained all the weight right back) and I have also lost weight the healthy way. At the moment I am about 20 pounds lighter than I once was and I can’t believe I carried around that much weight for so long!

This was the best before/after photo I could find at the moment. I've gained about 5lbs since this after photo was taken, but it is fairly accurate - Check out those cheeks!

Now that I don’t have so much to lose I really want to focus on getting toned and gaining muscle. I’m kind of a weakling to be honest, but soon enough that will change! My main goal for this six-week program: come out of it with super buff arms :)

For the next few weeks I am going to focus on posting some of my healthy meals, some recommendations for some of my favorite items at the grocery store and possibly some workout ideas as well. I’m really excited to get back into a routine that I can stick to since I haven’t done that since my half-marathon trainings!

My first recommendation is for Barney Butter. As I told the Kaia girls this morning, if you haven’t tried it..you need to. It is the best almond butter I have ever tasted. You don’t need to stir it because it doesn’t have all that gross oil at the top, it is very low in sugar (3g per serving) and has very few ingredients with no gross additives. I prefer the chunky but the smooth is great too! I bought mine online but you can also get it at Whole Foods.

This morning I had a tablespoon of it for breakfast with a banana. Yum! Do you have any favorite almond/peanut butters I should try?

Kaia BRIK (and Detox) has Begun!

I am so excited that my six-week boot-camp has begun! I just joined an all women’s program, called Kaia, that meets 5 days a week. Today was the first day (we meet at 6am) and I know I’m going to love it. The women are encouraged to do a complete detox for the first and last week of the program, which means no sugar, no dairy, no carbs (except what is in fruits and veggies) no processed foods and no alcohol. This is exactly what my body needs and I’m really looking forward to how I will feel by the end of the week. Maybe I’ll even extend the detox for a second week!

Last night I decided to make a (mostly) Kaia friendly meal to get myself started on the right track. We had artichokes with an aioli made with vegenaise (usually I would make one from Greek Yogurt but I was all out!), a delicious kale and spinach salad and some leftover pasta salad from the night before. I thought I’d sneak in a little yummy carbs before detox started!

My favorite part of the meal was definitely the kale salad. Usually I saute kale or use it in my smoothies but it can actually be really great in a raw salad. Kale has a pretty rough texture, but when you coat it in a little olive oil and sea salt and massage it into the leaves, it wilts and tastes great! For this salad all I did was wilt the kale, add fresh spinach, red onions, radishes, avocado, a little lemon juice, and salt and pepper (the olive oil I used to wilt the kale was enough to coat the whole salad- no need for more dressing).

I am really looking forward to making lots of healthy, clean meals this week and hopefully I can share most of them with you! To  check out the Kaia in your area, click here! Or go to Kaia Sacramento’s blog for tip and ideas on healthy eating and exercise.

Do any of you have great healthy, clean recipes I should try while on detox? I’d love to hear them!

Happy eating :)

Lazy Sunday

Saturday morning I did one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done! I joined an all women’s boot camp called Kaia from the recommendation from my best friend. She’s basically a walking advertisement for them because she’s always looked great but now she looks and feels AMAZING after joining Kaia (they even have a WordPress blog!) I have a lot coming up this summer and really wanted to get in great shape for everything, and since I won’t be running long distances for a while due to my foot injury, I thought this would be perfect. The six-week program doesn’t start until April 30th so I thought I’d go to a Saturday class to see what I was in for. I have never been so sore in.my.life. 3 days later and I can still barely sit down or bend over. If a program can make me THAT sore, I know it’s going to work.

Sunday morning I woke up and could barely move. So, I spent my day being lazy around the house and took a walk with my husband to stretch out my sore muscles in the afternoon. The weather wasn’t bad so I also spent a little time with my new macro lens in the backyard.

 

Run Run Run

So I started my second half-training yesterday and I am so excited for the next few months. Yesterday we met at the local fleet feet and went for a fun run (3 miles) with some of the group and met some of the coaches. Then we came back to the store, did some stretching and picked up our training schedule and goodies. I trained for about 3 months for my last half and at the time, I couldn’t imagine training in less than 12 weeks. I needed every last minute of those weeks.  But, here I am, training again but with only 2 months between now and the race.  How am I going to do it? Well I am counting on muscle memory to help make up for the time off  and the motivation and encouragement (and accountability) of a structured running group. I was also very excited because my friend Lindsey who I trained with for my last half decided to come run the fun run with me. She was signed up for the Shamrock’n half but opted out of the training group. UNTIL- she had so much fun running with the group that she decided to join :) So now we can train for this one together too. After our run on Sunday we went to coffee and decided this will be our Saturday ritual. The long runs will take place all over Sacramento and now we can carpool and get coffee or breakfast afterwards. I’m so happy to have a friend doing the training with me! It always helps to have someone there with you.

The group was $100 to join and some people have said to me- why pay to run when you can run for free? They have a good point, but I am so looking forward to having a group of people there with me throughout my entire training. Having the help of other runners as well as the certified coaches will for sure help me improve my running and my time. Not to mention the accountability of the group. It’s much easier to flake on myself than it is a whole training group (especially one I paid for).

Fleet Feet also gave us a $20 giftcard to the store for signing up so I was able to put that money toward buying myself another good sports bra. I’m telling you, if you need a little extra support up top like I do this is the BEST sports bra you will ever wear. A little pricey at $46 each , but WELL WORTH IT. I now have three of them and am constantly doing laundry so I’m able to wear one each time I run. The straps have velcro so you can adjust them to the perfect fit. I’ll never buy another brand or style of sports bra in my life.

This is the one I have and LOVE. You can find it here and it comes in so many cute colors.

I plan on sharing my training schedule one week at a time, as well as my progress each week. This week I am going to run 4 days for a total of 15 miles.

Here is my schedule:

Monday– Easy 3 miles. I will do this on the treadmill at my gym tonight and then a little strength training as well.

Tuesday– Easy 3 miles. My Tuesday night training runs don’t start until next week so I am going to do the fleet feet fun-run with a few girls from work.

Wednesday– Active Rest. This means no extra strenuous activity, but it doesn’t mean sit on the couch all day. I will probably do a little light cardio at the gym like the elliptical or bike and some weights. Swimming would also be great on these days but it’s too cold!

Thursday – Easy 4 miles. I will do this in the morning before work on the treadmill at my gym. It’s going to be rough waking up that early before work but I have a wedding reception to attend that night and I have to get those miles in! Oh and by the way, when it says “easy” I don’t mean “4 miles is a piece of cake for me and I’ll breeze right through it.” It means take it easy. Run at a slow and steady pace that you are comfortable with. One that you could hold a conversation during without passing out. That’s what I mean by “easy”.

Friday– Active Rest. I will probably make this a complete rest day to prepare for my long run on Saturday. Or possibly do some upper-body weight training as well as some ab workouts. Having strong abdominal muscles (which I do not at the moment) can really help your running and keep you from getting side aches during long runs.

Saturday – Long Run. This week our training group will run for 50 minutes, which for me will be right around (or right under) 5 miles. I am a slow runner but I think running with the group will make me pick up my pace a little. The most I have run since my half marathon is 4.2 miles so this will probably be pretty difficult for me. I’m happy I’ll have so much support!

Sunday– Active Rest. I will probably rest completely this day as I’m sure my body will be very tired!

Happy running everyone!

Back At It

I’m doing it again! I’m training for another half-marathon. I decided I want to continue training and that I would like to improve my running and my time before the Shamrock’n Half Marathon in March. What better way to improve than to train with a running group? This group I found is through Fleet Feet Sacramento and we will meet on Tuesdays and Saturdays with certified coaches beginning in January. I am really looking forward to training again. I have only been running 1-2 times a week since my last half on October 30th and I’m excited to start back up again. Maybe I’ll do a couple 5ks and 10ks in between. In the meantime before training starts I am going to try to attend as many fun runs on Tuesday nights as possible.

Run to Feed the Hungry

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving (obviously) and I have been looking forward to this day for a few months now. Partly because of time with family and , but also because it is the annual Run to Feed the Hungry in my hometown. I have done this run every year that I have been in town since 2004 (which has only been 3 or 4 years) and I always used to struggle just to run the whole 5k. I always ended up run/walking it, but regardless, it was always a great time and raised money for a great cause. They expect 27,000 participants this year. It really is an amazing event.

This year I have been so excited because I knew running the 5k would be a piece of cake (or a piece of pumpkin pie I should say) and running the 10k wouldn’t be so bad either since I recently ran 13.1 miles straight.

Today I picked up my race packet and my super sweet dry-fit shirt to get ready for the run tomorrow. The only problem…I’ve been sick for 10 days with no end in sight. I feel fine except for a horrible cough that won’t go away and I am starting to think the 10k isn’t in the cards for me. This is so disappointing because I’ve been looking forward to this run as a personal goal. Every year that I have done this race in the past I have looked at all the people running the 6.2 miles and thought, “Wow. That’s impressive.” I have always been so exhausted after the 3 mile run that I could never even imagine how people were STILL running when I was done with my 5k. How are these people STILL going when I am exhausted and huffing and puffing? After completing a 1/2 marathon and finally thinking of myself as a runner I was so looking forward to being one of those people who were still going.

This photo is from a past year’s Run to Feed the Hungry.

Photo Cred.

So, at the very least I am going to run the 5k and maybe, just maybe, in the morning if I am feeling good enough I will run the 10k. I guess there’s always next year, right?

How I Got to 13.1 Miles

I need to start by telling you all that I am not a runner. I’ve never been a runner. I grew up hating running/jogging, and any activity involving those things. In high school, I was the kid who walked the mile in p.e. with my friends. I used to act like it was because I was just too cool, but really I had horrible asthma and absolutely hated running and didn’t want to feel miserable. Yesterday I ran 13.1 miles. I started running in May to get ready to run a 5k (3.1 miles). I was only running on a treadmill at the time and got up to about 2.5 miles before going to run the 5k. When I started, running one mile was difficult for me. I’d want to quit the moment I started, but I kept going so I could finish the 5k. That day came and I ran the whole thing straight through (mostly because I had a friend with me telling me I wasn’t ALLOWED to stop). I did a few more 5ks over the next month or so and they started to get easier and easier.

This photo was taken after my first 5k.

So  I decided to start training for a 10k (6.2 miles) at the end of June. That number sounded HUGE to me. I ran every week and got to the point where I ran 4.5 miles outside one time and figured I was ready for the 10k. That race was at the end of June right in my neighborhood, which has very little shade, so I was huffing and puffing and getting sunburned the whole way. At the end I said to my friend “That wasn’t fun. I’m done. I don’t need to do that again.” And I took a month off of running. I went to Hawaii and planned on running, but I didn’t. Finally, in August I decided I wanted to get back into it. I started running again with a friend who lives in my neighborhood. We ran early in the morning before work and pretty soon we were back up to 6 miles. So, we registered for a 1/2 marathon on Halloween weekend. Each week we ran in the mornings and then did long runs on the weekend. We had good weeks and bad weeks depending on how busy we both were at work. Some days I would get out there and two miles would be extremely hard for me and some days six miles would be easy. On the days when running two miles was difficult, I’d want to throw in the towel. If two miles was hard, how the hell was I going to do 13.1?!

But, we didn’t quit, and a few weeks ago we did our longest run and got all the way up to 11 miles. We were very proud of ourselves. After that long run we both got so busy with work that we only ran 2-3 times in the following 2 weeks up to the race. We were also training on completely flat ground the whole time because there are very little hilly areas in Sacramento and none in our neighborhood. I was nervous about that because I knew our half marathon would have hills, but we didn’t have time to drive for 30 minutes to find them each time we ran. My nerves were warranted because yesterday, there were hills. Lots of them. And the worst one of all was at the very end of the race. How cruel is that?

Five miles into the half marathon I was dragging already. I was dreading the next eight miles ahead and questioning if I could even finish when I saw my dad waiting for me ahead, which meant my mom and husband were waiting for me too. After I noticed my dad was wearing a ridiculous shirt that read “My daughter kicks asphalt” I noticed that it wasn’t just my parents and my husband waiting for me. My best friend, her fiance, and their roommate and my good friend, were all there and ALL wearing their own ridiculous shirts. As silly as it might be, I got all teared up. 13 miles may not be a big deal to many people, but for me, it was a huge deal and having so many important people there who understand and appreciate how hard this was for me really meant a lot. AND their shirts were hilarious. Apparently the runners were loving them the whole way!

“Worst parade EVER.”      “Your feet hurt because you kick so much @$$!”

“You can’t run from your problems”        “My daughter kicks asphalt” “It could be worse. There could be FIVE bridges”

“You Rock!!” (of course, my mom’s is the sweetest)

Around 10.5 miles I was dragging. I knew the last mile was going to be extremely hard for me and I would want to walk. So, I text messaged my husband and asked him to meet me at mile 12. He showed up with my dad and they ran the next 1/2 mile with me and then took a short cut to the finish line so they could see me cross. Having them there pushing me along really helped. Then I bared the big hill on my own and made it to the finish and got my medal.

Lindsey and Me after the race.

If you want to read my past posts about training for the half, click on these links- To Run, or Not to Run? , 1/2 Marathon Update , 1/2 Marathon Update 2- It’s Getting Close!

Finishing felt pretty damn good. I guess I am a runner now?