Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Tale of the Lazy Mouse and the Industrious Mouse

I ran my second half marathon last weekend.  My sister ran her first. If you've seen the Ricky Gervais skit about the Lazy Mouse and the Industrious Mouse this post will make a lot more sense.  This video cracks us up!  My sister often refers to me as the Industrious Mouse...and she is the Lazy Mouse.  But really she isn't, my sis was always the natural athlete in the family...when she was on varsity basketball as a sophomore I was sitting keeping score on the sidelines. What ever athletic ability I have now I've really had to work for it and the Lazy Mouse the video and then I'll tell you our story:

This is the tale of Laura, the Industrious Mouse, and Jenny, the Lazy Mouse...who set off on an adventure to run a half marathon.

The Industrious Mouse trained for over three months every Saturday morning. Industrious Mouse ran hills, did cross training work outs, and speed work outs. Industrious Mouse also monitored her diet, tracked all her training times and knew she was going to finish the race better than she did last year. Industrious Mouse kept reminding Lazy Mouse to sign up for the race before it sold out. Industrious Mouse signed up plenty early to take advantage of the lower entry cost and secure her spot in the race. Industrious Mouse also told Lazy Mouse months before the race that she needed to train or she would never survive the race.

Lazy Mouse missed the sign up dead line and had to go on the wait list.

Lazy Mouse did not train for the race.

Industrious Mouse was sad that Lazy Mouse wouldn't run the race with her, but low and behold a spot opened up three weeks before race day and Lazy Mouse was able to run the race!

Lazy Mouse still did not train for the race.

Race Day finally arrived. Industrious Mouse was pumped! She trained, she properly carbed up, she ate a protein/high carb energy bar before the start to give her that extra boost. On the other hand, Lazy Mouse was feeling a little nervous.

So the race started and Industrious Mouse was in the one point Lazy Mouse caught up with her but Industrious Mouse said "NO WAY You're not going to beat me". She soared ahead and did not see Lazy Mouse for the rest of the race.

However, Industrious Mouse ignored a foot injury that started out of no where around mile 2. She continued to run hoping the pain would go away but it escalated instead, by mile ten the Industrious Mouse had to stop and walk because her foot was throbbing. But the finish line was near so she forced herself to run again. By the last half mile she was sprinting to the end and finished the race in 2:22:11. Lazy Mouse was no where in sight.

The only problem was once the race ended Industrious Mouse couldn't walk on her foot that was bothering her during the race. She went to the medic tent to get tylenol, but then pain shot up her calf muscle. The medic staff made I.M. get in a wheel chair and took her to the main medic tent and had her lay down on a hospital cot. Industrious Mouse started hyperventilating because of the pain.

Then strolls in Lazy as a cucumber with a medal around her neck. Lazy Mouse...WHO DIDN'T TRAIN....only finished five minutes behind the Industrious Mouse (2:27:30). Lazy Mouse then called out to the nurse... "She's faking it!!"

Industrious Mouse was not happy.

Once she was able to breath normal again, the nurse gave Industrious Mouse a little kit kat bar for doing so well. (which I was going to save for later), but Lazy Mouse snatched the kit kat bar from Industrious Mouse and took half of it! Oh the humanity!!

So what's the lesson in the tale of the Lazy Mouse vs. The Industrious Mouse? Clearly those who slack off still win...and get kit kat bars out of the ordeal as well!  Damn her!


Haha seriously...what type of person steals an invalids kit kat bar!! It's just not right...not right I tells ya!  Lazy Mouse Jenny is also an ICU nurse so she has a certain level of immunity and intolerance towards  She's a suck it up type of person...and sometimes I'm a bit of a drama queen (as if quirks of this blog weren't any indication).  Anyway, I was just upset after running this race because I was so prepared ,so excited to run the race and really REALLY looking forward to crossing that finish line with a sense of accomplishment.  

Last year when I ran my first half I made the mistake of throwing my interval training plan out the window and attempting to run the race straight though.  I burned myself out by mile 7.  This year I restarted my training plan with the goal of running straight though.  I started at 5 miles and worked myself up to running 12 miles with out taking any breaks.  I was consistently running 10.5 minute miles through out all my training and I was running the toughest hills in my area as well.  I had no pains other than the usual aches I've been getting from running long distances (calf cramps and hip aches), but never had a problem with my foot.  I was ready for this race!  So to end up getting injured randomly during my run and being in so much pain after I crossed the finish line was a real let down.  It makes me question if my body is physically cut out for this type of exercise.  Maybe I'm just not cut out to be a distance runner...but at the same time I really REALLY find a lot of enjoyment out of running and it's amazing stress relief so the only thing to do is to carry on. 

On the upside my time was 15 minutes faster than last year and my mile time was 10.8 minute miles (so almost 11 minute miles).  If I wasn't injured and could keep up my pace and if I didn't have to stop those two minutes I KNOW I could have run a faster race.  Maybe I'll have to try again next year. 

I haven't actually worked out since the race, and it's been a really strange feeling not getting up in the morning, but I know I needed a few days to put my foot up and let it heal.  I was going to attempt to work out this morning but I haven't gotten my sleep cycles back to normal yet so I'm going to see how I feel this afternoon. Keeping my fingers crossed!

 Eye of the tiger baby! running through the pain!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Running for a Cause

Several of the girls I play soccer with (myself included) are running in the Baltimore Running Festival for a little girl named Emma Grace that is fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  Emma has been fighting leukemia since before she was even able to talk.

You can read about Emma's Story on her Caring Bridge website and make donations on this page as well.  Donations will really help the family with the expense of Emma's treatments.  Or you can also donate money to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help continue research for blood cancers.  Emma has a light the night team page that you can donate to HERE.

Please please if you can spare a few dollars, please donate to this cause! Last year I raised $225.00 for LLS lets try to make that number bigger on behalf of Emma!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Things That Piss Me Off...

I know I haven't written in a while, and I'm not trying to be a downer on this blog, but sometime I have to rant!! Just to preface, I'm just dandy lately and I will write more on that in another post...but there's been some stuff that I keep reading about weight and body image on the internet that infuriates me so MUCH I had to blog about it.

I have a bit of a celebrity gossip addiction.  I read a few celebrity gossip blogs and one of my favorites is Cele|bitchy.  So in the past week alone there's been a lot of stuff that I've read of celebrities talking about their bodies and it pissed me off enough that I wanted to write this post.  I know I know, I shouldn't care about what these people are saying because "celebrity" is a strange bizarre world completely disconnected from the rest of the world, BUT they are putting it out there to the public and what they say is downright harmful...and misleading to many many women who struggle with their weight and their body image!


Kristie Alley... I have nothing against her, and I'm very happy for the weight loss she did achieve on dancing with the stars...but what the HELL are these claims that she's making that she's a size 4 now?!?  If that's what a size 4 looks like at 5'8", then based on my real size in her world I'm a size 20 at 5'9" (I'm a size 10-12 depending on the cut of the pants). She claims that she went from a size 8, and after losing 100lbs, she went to a size 4. WHAT? When I lost 100lbs I went from a size 22 to a size 10-12.  Who is she trying to fool besides herself?

Here's my advice to her/her publicist, STOP WITH THE DELUSIONS!! Be proud of the weight, you DID lose it's a great thing, you're 60 years old and your skin looks damn good...  but please...please stop being dishonest about how much weight you actually did lose and your "size 4" pant size. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say she's a 12 and she's carrying her weight around her middle and her hips just like I do, hence the the smaller upper body.

Moving on...


I had never heard of this woman before, but she's the heiress of the Guinness fortune and she's some sort of "fashionista"  Looking at her here I'd say she's pushing 75+....she's only 43.  That's scary.  What's more frightening is the things that come out of her mouth...

In a recent interview with New Yorker Magazine style icon and international heiress Daphne Guinness, whose couture is currently on display at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, has revealed her stay skinny mantra – and it is sure to shock eating disorder groups.
“I’ll eat when I’m dead!” the startling thin and pale-faced fashionista exclaimed when offered lunch during her photo shoot with the magazine.
According to the publication, the 43-year-old Brit, who is the daughter of brewing heir Jonathan Guinness and the ex-wife of Spyros Niarchos, keeps her stick-thin figure through a diet of Red Bull and Ensure shakes.
She defended her diet by simply stating, “If I eat, I can’t work.”
A few years ago, Kate Moss created controversy when she coined the phrase “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
Jesus... I'm not even going to pretend to understand whats going on inside the head of someone with an eating disorder, but I do understand what it feels like to have no control over what you eat and to want to have that control.  I was having a discussion the other day with a co-worker about the very FINE line that dieters sometimes straddle between eating healthy, eating the right amount of food vs. not eating enough because you  keep cutting back little by little.  I can see how women fall down that rabbit hole. After struggling with my weight my entire life I understand the mentality of someone who thinks I can't I can't I can't when it comes to certain types of food.  I have that struggle myself daily sometimes, and sometimes I even feel a resentment towards junk food laying around the office and towards people who eat what ever they want all the time.  Because I can't eat what I want all the time and that's just part of my life and my metabolism.  I know by now how my body treats excess sugar and junk, it turns it straight to fat that takes a heck of a lot longer to burn off than to gain.  I need to reach that point in my life where I stop thinking how unfair it is to have to be diligent about the way I eat.  My struggle may be for a while finding my happy place with food.  My goal is to get to a place where I'm ok being around bad food and snacking every once in a while with out feeling guilt!  Anyway, that being said although I do have my hangups with food, I'm in no way heading towards having an eating disorder like surviving off of ensure and redbull.  I feel bad for people who deny themselves the food that is good for them, I understand giving up snacks and junk food, but all solids??     It's sad and these people need help. It really is sad that she thinks that she has to live her life this way, and that some women think that this is how you might have to eat to get "skinny".   


Goopy tries to be this I'm every woman type on her know by blogging about stuff most women can't really afford and sharing her experiences that most women will never experience (again the celebrity disconnect) presenting at the emmy's and walking the red carpet...or winning an Oscar and hanging out with Beyonce and Jay-z...or having a guest appearance on a hit TV show and singing at the grammys...why does she try so hard?  She already had most people's admiration with her acting and beautiful looks and figure... now she's everywhere and it's annoying.  But she really did prove she's just like every woman out not by blogging about how she's better than you, but because she's insecure about her appearance just like 99.9% of us.  Oh, Goopy, here I was thinking you were so far above... well, everything for that matter.. Here's what Goop had to say:
I live for Tina Fey and I love Kenneth from 30 Rock! Wait ... why does my arm look like that and since when do I have 9 chins?
Ok. So I'm looking the picture over closely.... Dear god in heaven....does this mean Goopy is human and has flesh that moves and flattens in certain angles like the rest of us? She's not a robot slowly taking over the our movie theaters, tv's, kitchens and mark my words radio and broadway will be next! NO ONE is safe from the Goop... But she is right about one thing... Tina Fey.  Now she's someone to admire all around.

On to the next thing that pisses me off...


I get asked pretty often if I watch the biggest loser, I don't, but I previously I wrote my mixed feelings on the show after seeing one episode.   Well one of my co-workers mentioned they were having a new season so I thought maybe I'd give it a chance and check it out again now that I'm moving to the "other side" (ie losing the last few and maintaining) of this weigh loss journey.  I watched the first episode of the new season Battle of the Ages... and once again.  I have issues with this show. 

  1. They take people completely away from their home life which could be the root of 90% of their problems with poor diet and lack of exercise.
  2.  They exercise exercise exercise all day long.  realistically how many of us can dedicate more than an hour at the gym?
  3. They never show the participants refueling with protein or banana's or some kind of healthy snack even though they spend hours working out and burning hundreds of calories.
  4. In fact...they didn't show them eating AT ALL in the first episode.  
  5. People loose ridiculous amounts of weight in a short period of time so it leads me to wonder what their diet is and how is that diet maintainable for the long term.
  6. If someone loses the least amount of weight they aren't rewarded for the hard work it took to even lose the amount they were able to lose, they are instead punished and possibly booted off the show.
I will give the biggest loser credit for showing that it DOES take hard work and dedication to lose weight, but so far it's a lot of smoke and mirrors and it completely glosses over the fact that realistically 2lbs of weight loss a week is healthy.  I'm going to stick around and try to give the show a chance to redeem itself, but for now my opinion remains firm that just like Kristie Alley, the Biggest Loser is spewing out a lot of myths and misinformation about weight loss.

I don't think people realize how damaging the media is to someone struggling to lose weight.  Magazines are airbrushed, XXS is the new Small, celebrities are botoxed, nipped and tucked on camera projecting a image of what an "ideal figure" or an "ideal face" should look like.  Everywhere you turn there's a new fad diet a new fad work out...there's SO much misinformation out there its hard to process fact from fiction.  Fact: Eat vegetables, eat whole grains, eat lean proteins, eat occasionally some the diet that the human body was meant to live off of before cheetos and twinkies and coca-cola and McDonald's was invented.  Fact: watch your portions.  Fact: Exercise at least three times a week, even a long walk is enough if you're watching your diet.  That's that trick to being healthy and the pounds will come off in the process.  BTW... you know what tastes better than skinny feels.  Chocolate.  Just saying.  It won't kill you every once in a while.

Just so this entry doesn't end on a completely negative note, I'm going to write about a few people I admire for their recent comments on tv about their weight and body image.

I loved this woman's story.  Her sense of humor is awesome and she really does prove that confidence makes you a beautiful person no matter what your size.  I just want to give her a fist bump and say I wish I had as much balls as she does!!

Also, I want to give much love to Hope Solo.  Hope Solo and Abby Wambach were on Letterman after the world cup final this summer and Hope was talking about her shoulder injury around the 5:30 min mark in the video:

She mentioned her weight on the air and then she said "Yes, as a woman I just gave all of you guys my weight!"  I was stoked when she said that on national television and then pretty much said yea I weigh 150 what of it!?  And she said "I'm proud of it" !!  I LOVED HEARING THAT.  I dare anyone to say she looks bad. She just proves that weight is just a number on the scale, it is not a reflection of our physical appearance. Plus, she's my height!!  150lbs is totally an obtainable and realistic weight for me but I also have to remember she's a professional athlete and I'm just a pretend one on the weekends ;).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Treadmill "Backpacking"

This is actually what the Fitness Dweeb command center looks like...

I just wanted to share this little exercise I do with you all. The nutritionist I've been seeing for the past two months told me about it. He's an old school body builder and knows how to shred the fat. I've not seen much of a drop in scale weight since I started following his meal plans, BUT that doesn't mean I haven't dropped any body fat. According to his caliper measurements I've dropped a ton of fat and built up a ton of muscle at the same time. When I went to him two weeks ago I was only seeing a 1lb drop on the scale, well it turned out that I lost 10.5lbs of body fat, but gained 9.5lb of muscles, so there would be my one pound scale difference. See, it's not always about the scale.

Anyway, he introduced me to a new exercise that is guaranteed to make you sweat your butt off and shred body fat. It's not a cardiovascular exercise.  The point of this exercise is not to get your heart rate up, but to make you work your muscles hard over a long period of time at a slower pace and lower impact.  This is an exercise that should put you in "fat burning zone".  I've been curious what exactly  "fat burning zone" meant so I had to search it:

The fat-burning zone. Yes, it exists, but it has been misinterpreted. The fat-burning zone is a concept that the body burns a greater amount of fat at lower-intensity aerobic exercise than it does at higher intensities. Actually, the body burns a greater percentage of fat at lower intensities than at higher intensities. At lower intensities the body may burn 50 percent of the calories from fat, while at higher intensities it may only burn 35 percent. But at higher intensities you burn way more total calories—and more fat calories overall—than you do at lower intensities.(from (Further reading: another article on Fat Burning Zone in USNews)

So basically it's a long slow burn, and you're targeting the fat calories more effectively than doing high intensity training (which is basically anything like kick boxing, bootcamp work outs, sprint intervals etc.), but you also have to do these exercises for a longer period of seems to me it's a toss up as to what type of exercise is absolutely 100% efficient.  I do this exercise in ADDITION to my bootcamp work outs, running, and soccer, so while I may shred fat with this activity the other exercises I do help me tone muscle.  

I like this treadmill work out because it really is a great sweat...I'm sweating out the toxins as they say :) and it's an exercise anyone can try.  You don't need to be fast or strong or coordinated, you just need to be willing to put in the effort and the time!

Anyway, here's the exercise:


All you need is a backpack, access to a treadmill and some free weights.

Try this out with out the backpack first...

  • Set the treadmill at the highest incline which is 15.
  • Don't let your speed go over 2.5, try to stay between 2.3-2.5
  • If walking uphill at 2.5 is too easy, add weights to a backpack and walk on the treadmill with the backpack. Try starting out at 10lbs, increase to 15 or 20lbs if necessary (I use 15lbs).
  • Walk "uphill" for a minimum of 45 minutes, 3x a week.
  • DO NOT HOLD ON TO THE TREADMILL, that is cheating and you are not using your muscles to get yourself up that "hill".

Your heart rate should not spike or get high for a long period of time as if you were running or sprinting, but you WILL sweat so so much! This activity is supposed to feel like walking up a mountain.  I promise you that's what it will feel like.  You will be tired and worn out.  Make sure you have a water bottle with you to stay hydrated....also it can get kinda boring on a treadmill for 45minutes so have some good music handy or grab the one in front of the tv and catch up on the news.

Also, make sure you have a good backpack.  I actually didn't own one since I'd been out of school for so long, but I went out and bought a bag that I think will be pretty versatile for me.  I can use it for school, hiking, travel and these exercises :)

I bought this Kelty bag...because it was extremely comfortable, it has a waist belt to keep the weight off my shoulders (if you have a bad shoulder like me this is a BIG plus...probably a MUST have for your next backpack purchase), and the shoulder straps are contoured and very comfortable.  The back of the pack has an aluminum "spine" for even more stability.

I asked my resident backpacking/hiking/all things outdoors expert (my cousin's hubby...we'll call him Bearded Vegan) if this was a good bag and he said that Kelty bags were good middle of the road packs, and he also recommended that I use sand bags instead of free weights because they won't wear out the fabric as easily and it will extend the life of the bag...Really good advice!!  Plus I have a lifetime warranty which I didn't know because clearly I don't read tags.  So thanks Bearded Vegan!  I'm happy with my purchase :).

Ok, so now that we've gotten the technical part of this post out of the way...I just wanted to share an email from my cousin (she's the one who married Bearded Vegan ...we don't hold that against her), anyway, I told her I hadn't given up on the blog...and this is her response... she knows me TOO well: 

"Imagine how excited you would get if the characters from true blood made a guest appearance on Game of Thrones and played a soccer match with their characters.  That is how excited I am that you are blogging again."

Like I said she knows me TOO WELL.  AND did you actually picture what that soccer match would be like between these characters??  If you're anything like me of course you did! But what advantage would Game of Thrones characters have over the super naturals of True Blood.  If true blood had a mixed bag of players, no more than two vamps on the field at one time, none could be keeper.. .and also no shape-shifting allowed on the field..hrm, well I'm thinking the only way Game of Thrones characters could have an advantage is if they wore silver pinnies to stop the vamps.

Welcome to my brain!
It's a strange place to be.

Anyway, this post needs more soccer so I'm stealing this video off of Kickette because it's awesome... and this is how the game of golf should be played...  Here's Diego Forlan, Uruguayan national player, kicking ass on the links.

p.s. Even if I played this way I'd still be shooting like 5 or 6 over par every hole. MULLIGAN!

p.s.s. Half marathon training is chugging right along. I'm improving my time a lot this year. I finished 8 miles in 1hr23mins on Saturday before that "little storm" called Irene hit our area.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Well it's Official...

If you haven't seen this movie...we can no longer be friends. 

So this morning I decided to bite the bullet and register for the college algebra class I've been dreading preparing for by going to a tutor to refill my brain with all the math I've forgotten over the past ten years... I think it was a coping mechanism.  Math was not my favorite subject, I did well enough in it, but just because I tolerated it didn't mean I liked it.

No seriously though, I am kind of having fun with math... so let's make this post all about math!  Math has a lot to do with nutrition.  I use it every day to measure portions and calculate calories.

So lets say we have a turkey sandwhich that is 3" wide and 4" tall, if we cut it on a diagonal what is the hypotenuse of our sandwhich.

Well... assuming our bread forms a perfect right triangle.. which maybe it does that is yet to be known... we can use the Pythagorean theorem!

Pythagoras was a pretty smart dude, he figured out in a right-angled triangle the area of the square on the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the areas of the squares of the other two sides...huh... ?


^^ This is our half of a turkey sandwich^^

So... if we have 3^2 + 4^2 = c^2

so, 9 + 16 = 25

take the square root of 25 you get 5, so c=5

So the theorem works: 3^2 +4^2 = 5^2

And that means our bread was baked in a tin that made it a perfect 90 degree angle!
(because of course all bread is baked like that in real life :))

Honestly, the Pythagorean theorem probably has nothing to do with my day to day applications of weighing and measuring my food, but it's fun! And it makes me feel smart.

But... lets say you're on a diet and one of your meals requires exactly 25.88g of protein.  The suggested serving is 100g of a can of tuna.

So based off of my meal plan 100g of canned tuna = 25.88g of protein.  But you go in the cabinet and you're out of tuna... so what else can you replace your 25.88g of lean protein with??

How about chicken breast?

Hrm, according to calorie king 100g of chicken breast is 31g of protein. 

But you should only have 25.88g of protein in this meal.

How much chicken can you have?

Guess what, I have no freakin clue! This is why I'm going to a tutor.  I'm not math saavy enough, but if you play around on calorie king long enough and plug in the numbers you can have 83g of chicken breast. There's got to be a way to figure this out other than clicking till you get the right number!!?!

... wait a light bulb went off... 

last night I was retaught to cross multiply when trying to find the length of a sides of similar triangles...and I was taught to set up my formula to solve for the angle not given... that the similar side of each triangle determines your numerator and denominator (ie side a of triangle 1 is similar to side g of triangle 2 so a/g etc. side b of triangle 1 is similar to side x of triangle 2 so b/x... I was given the values of a, b, & g so I had to solve for x )... anyway, before I go off on too much of a tangent...

(I just did a happy dance and I'm not even kidding!)

 We know based off a 100g portion of chicken we get 31g of protein so 31g/100g
we have to have 25.88g of protein but what is our portion??... that is "X"

31g/100g = 25.88g / x

Protein servings / portion size

Cross multiply you get 31x = 2588
Divide each side by 31...
31 is eliminated from one side of the equation leaving x by itself

x= 83.48g of chicken!!

I can't believe I just figured that out... that means I'm actually retaining this knowledge.

Algebra CAN be applied to weighing and portioning out your food.

Alright I'm done geeking out.

School officially starts August 29th, this is the first step towards becoming a registered dietitian. I'm only taking one class because it's all I can afford to do right now and it's all I have time for as well.  If i can survive this then maybe I can survive biology, and microbiology... and then organic chemistry...ugh what am I getting myself into.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Did I Find the Holy Grail of Chocolate Bars??

Well I thought I did...but alas it wasn't...maybe...

I was in Trader Joe's yesterday picking up a few items.  I only had chicken, egg whites and vegetables in my shopping cart, all and all a successful trip, but then I got to the register.  The registers at Traders Joe's are always filled with sweets. I really feel like Trader Joe's should be considered a high end snack store not a health foods store...I don't mean that in a bad way it's just that they have a lot of snack foods there and let's face it... they're delicious.  Anyway,  I know a little dark chocolate every once in a while isn't a bad thing so I decided what the hell, why not grab a little treat for myself?  I was drawn to this Simply Lite dark chocolate bar because the label claimed it to be sugar free, low calorie and low carb.

Sugar free and the words chocolate usually don't go hand in hand, unless it's bakers chocolate, so I was a little leery of that claim.  The bar uses Malitol as a sweetener.  I had never heard of that sweetener before, but I assumed it was similar to xylitol which is a natural sweetener not artificial like aspartame or sucralose.

Their label also claimed it was "Fine Chocolate for the Health and Calorie Conscious". Hey that's me!  The nutrition label seemed to verify that it was indeed low sugar and low calorie, their packaging claimed the sweetener they used was low on the glycemic index so that it was a diabetic friendly product as well.   So I bought the bar, and I ate a square...and OMG it was delicious!  It totally satisfied my chocolate craving.  I ended up eating two more squares because it was so good, then I put the bar away.

I looked all over the label wondering how in the world this could taste so good and be considered a diet friendly product.  I wasn't finding the answers on the label so I started digging around on the internet.

The ingredients of the bar are as follows: Maltitol, Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter, Inulin (natural vegetable fiber), Soy Lecithin, Natural Vanilla, Cinnamon.

There are three ingredients on that list that are a little bit of a red flag for me, so I wanted to learn more about them. 

1. Maltitol: is it good for me?  It is a better alternative to sugar?

Maltitol is a sugar alcohol (a polyol) used as a sugar substitute. It has 75-90% of the sweetness of sucrose (table sugar) and nearly identical properties, except for browning. It is used to replace table sugar because it has fewer calories, does not promote tooth decay, and has a somewhat lesser effect on blood glucose.

ok, so far so good...slightly better for me than sugar, but let's not be fooled it's still sugar and my body will process it as such.   Let's read on...
Maltitol is a disaccharide produced by Corn Products Specialty Ingredients (formerly SPI Polyols), Cargill, Roquette, and Mitsubishi Shoji Foodtech, among other companies. Maltitol is made by hydrogenation of maltose obtained from starch. Its high sweetness allows it to be used without being mixed with other sweeteners, and exhibits negligible cooling effect (positive heat of solution) in comparison with other sugar alcohols, and is very similar to the subtle cooling effect of sucrose. It is used especially in production of sweets: sugarless hard candies, chewing gum, chocolates, baked goods, and ice cream. The pharmaceutical industry uses maltitol as an excipient, where it is used as a low-calorie sweetening agent. Its similarity to sucrose allows it to be used in syrups with the advantage that crystallization (which may cause bottle caps to stick) is less likely. Maltitol may also be used as a plasticizer in gelatin capsules, as an emollient, and as a humectant.

Not unlike other sugar alcohols (with the exception of erythritol), maltitol (when consumed in large quantities or at a particularly high concentration) can have a laxative effect. (wikipedia)
 Ok, so maybe not??  To be fair the packaging on the chocolate bar does warn you that excess consumption can have a laxative effect. Seems to me that it's doubtful that one bar can cause that though.

2. Inulin??  What the heck is Inulin??
Inulins are a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides produced by many types of plants. They belong to a class of fibers known as fructans. Inulin is used by some plants as a means of storing energy and is typically found in roots or rhizomes. Most plants that synthesize and store inulin do not store other materials such as starch.

Inulin is increasingly used in processed foods because it has unusually adaptable characteristics. Its flavour ranges from bland to subtly sweet (approx. 10% sweetness of sugar/sucrose).It can be used to replace sugar, fat, and flour. This is particularly advantageous because inulin contains a quarter to a third of the food energy of sugar or other carbohydrates and a ninth to a sixth of the food energy of fat. While inulin is a versatile ingredient, it also has health benefits. Inulin increases calcium absorption and possibly magnesium absorption, while promoting the growth of intestinal bacteria. In terms of nutrition, it is considered a form of soluble fiber and is sometimes categorized as a prebiotic. Due to the body's limited ability to process polysaccharides, inulin has minimal increasing impact on blood sugar, and—unlike fructose—is not insulemic and does not raise triglycerides, making it considered suitable for diabetics and potentially helpful in managing blood sugar-related illnesses. The consumption of large quantities (in particular, by sensitive or unaccustomed individuals) can lead to gas and bloating, and products that contain inulin will sometimes include a warning to add it gradually to one's diet.  (wikipedia)

Ok, so from what I'm reading one of the products in this bar is going to cause me to poop a lot, another is going to make me gassy and bloated. 

3. Soy Lecithin.  I see this added to a TON of products. But what exactly is it? As a general rule I keep my soy consumption to a minimum because it's  not the best source of protein out there and because of research indicating that it can cause hormonal imbalances in women...but what is Lecithin?

Lecithin is a generic term to designate any group of yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in animal and plant tissues, and in egg yolk, composed of phosphoric acid, choline, fatty acids, glycerol, glycolipids, triglycerides, and phospholipids. 

Ok, so it's a fat derived from the soy bean.  Why does my chocolate bar need that?

The non-toxicity of lecithin leads to its use with food, as an additive or in food preparation. It is used commercially in foods requiring a natural emulsifier or lubricant. In the food industry it has multiple uses: In confectionery it reduces viscosity, replaces more expensive ingredients, controls sugar crystallization and the flow properties of chocolate, helps in the homogeneous mixing of ingredients, improves shelf life for some products, and can be used as a coating. In emulsions and fat spreads it stabilizes emulsions, reduces spattering during frying, improves texture of spreads and flavour release. In doughs and bakery it reduces fat and egg requirements, helps even distribution of ingredients in dough, stabilizes fermentation, increases volume, protects yeast cells in dough when frozen, and acts as a releasing agent to prevent sticking and simplify cleaning. It improves wetting properties of hydrophilic powders (e.g., low-fat proteins) and lipophilic powders (e.g., cocoa powder), controls dust, and helps complete dispersion in water. It can be used as a component of cooking sprays to prevent sticking and as a releasing agent.

For example, lecithin is the emulsifier that keeps cocoa and cocoa butter in a candy bar from separating. In margarines, especially those containing high levels of fat (>75%), lecithin is added as an 'anti-spattering' agent for shallow frying.

It is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for human consumption with the status "Generally Recognized As Safe." Lecithin is admitted by the EU as a food additive, designated by E number E322. There are studies that show soy-derived lecithin has significant effects on lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing HDL ("good cholesterol") levels in the blood. However, studies on soy lecithin have been inconsistent and contradictory since the 1920s.

New study suggests gut bacteria metabolites of choline promote atherosclerosis in mice through TMAO production and "augmented macrophage cholesterol accumulation and foam cell formation". (wikipedia)

So really it's just an additive to make sure my chocolate bar maintains its shape.  But other than that I'm doubtful that it has any health benefits.

I learned that I obviously did not find the holy grail of chocolate bars, but overall was my chocolate bar really that good for me?  Well I guess it's a toss up.  If I were a diabetic and really needed to watch my sugar levels then maybe it would be a good alternative.  But for my purposes the use of inulin and matitol don't seem to have any added health benefits, and after reading about them I feel it would probably be safer to me to eat the real thing (sugar) instead of a "Lite" version with all these additives. 

The most important thing to remember when picking out a treat to satisfy your cravings is that these are treats.  Treats are special gifts for our enjoyment and gratification.  If we treated our selves all the time they wouldn't be treats, so use the sweets sparingly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hi, It's been a few months....

I know, I dropped off the face of the earth again. I had to do some thinking about whether or not to continue this blog. Long story short...I've decided to carry on, but the theme will no longer be the same. I'll keep all the old content. It's still going to be about fitness, exercising and nutrition but I'm not going to go off on starry eyed rants about twilight and Robert Pattinson because well... confession: I'm over it.

However, some things never change...I'm still a dork I just won't be focused on forcing myself to make this blog about one particular subject, because to be honest it made it really hard to write a post and tie it in to something I wasn't particularly interested in any more.

Anyway, I have other nerdy obsessions... first up... have you been watching the new season of true blood?? I haven't caught up to the most recent episode yet, but I'm really liking season 4 a lot more than 3.

I don't know whats going on with Eric right now, but I love how he acts like a little kid.

Also... HAVE YOU SEEN GAME OF THRONES!???!?!?! Yes, I'm yelling that. Have you seen it??! OMG! I'm a total fan girl!  Say hello to my new eye candy...

Jon Snow!

Robb Stark!!

And I can't even talk about poor Boromir I mean Ned...I just can't talk about it.

(photos from

It's going to take me some time.  Maybe by the end of season 2 I might be ready, but season 2 is so far off at this point!!!  Seriously, you will watch this show and at the end of every episode shake your fist in the air and say 'damn you Game of Thrones!!' because it's just that addicting.

So I'm sure you're probably thinking well... with all this TV watching you've been doing I hope you haven't fallen off the badwagon.  Not to worry my friends.  HBO GO makes it very convenient for me to watch tv when I actually have the time to watch.  Take note cable companies...this needs to be your option now:  Online only content available on demand.  Aside from the fact that I don't own a TV... I can't follow a schedule, I've never been able to glue myself to the tv at a set time, but now I don't have to.  I can stay up til 2am on a Saturday night watching episode after episode of Game of Thrones on my lap top (I mean that's what normal people do on their Saturday nights, right?)

What ever don't judge me!!!

I think I might be moving on to Boardwalk Empire next.

Anyway, aside from my latest fantasy TV obsessions here's whats been going on the past few months...

Remember how I said I wanted to reach that 100lb weight loss goal last fall but then I blew it??  Well I did that back in April, then I went on vacation to Charleston, SC and ran a 10k.  The Cooper River Bridge Run is so much fun :)

Oh and then later that month I ran a 3 mile obstacle/mud race...


It was a blast!! And such a tough leg work out!  Running in sinking, sticky mud and muddy water for three miles (plus obstacles) is not easy!

Then in May, I decided to lead a Couch to 5k Group.  After almost two full months of training runs the group completely their First 5k!! I was a very proud running momma.

In June, we started a 6 week weight loss challenge at my bootcamp. I had my ups and downs but in the end I lost 5 more lbs.  So my total loss is now at 106lbs and I'm still working at it. Also in June, I got my braces I no longer resemble a teenager...but I still haven't been asked to prom!

So now we're into July.  I'm still working on my weight loss, but I've also decided to try and go back to school in the fall. I wavered for a long time, mostly because I wasn't sure if I personally had what it takes to be a good example of weight loss to others, but I want to become a Registered Dietitian.  I'm starting out small taking baby steps towards the degree since I've been out of school for so long and math and science were never my strong suits.  I have to take a college algebra class towards the degree, so I'm also studying review chapters a couple nights a week and going to a tutor to reteach myself a subject I hadn't studied in 11+ years. Yikes.

Actually, I think this mug is kind of awesome!

And, last but not least... I haven't left my true love out of my life either.  Did you watch the women's world cup?!  Please tell me you did??  Please tell me you supported these amazing athletes!?  Watching women's soccer reminds me of why I love the game so much.  The skill, the athleticism, and the sportsmanship that the men sometimes forget to display are just...I have no words.  It's an inspiration to so many.  In 1999 it was a huge inspiration to me.  The performance by our US women this year just confirms everything there is to love about this sport.  They are my idols.

I can't really talk about the results in the's too upsetting, it's still too soon for me.  Maybe one day.  I will say congratulations to Japan though.  And if I've taken anything from the game or the sport in general it's this.  Dreams can be made or crushed on that field, but at long as you're in the game you have the opportunity to make them.   Case in point, I played two games back to back yesterday. We're having perhaps the biggest heat wave of the summer right now with heat indexes over 100 degrees plus humidity of 52%.  It's brutal, it's the worst weather to play in.  To make matters worse we played a man down and had no subs, we were down on the score board, but at half time we said you know, what do we have to lose, lets play the best damn game we can.  And we did.  We lost but we walked away proud of our passing and our team work and all the effort we put in to the games.  It's a great feeling.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A 5 minute Lunch Idea and Under 500 Calorie Dinner!

So I was a slacker last night. I didn't prepare a lunch a head of time, so I knew I needed to come up with something quick and healthy. I went grocery shopping this weekend so buying a $7-10 salad for lunch is not an option since I've got a ton of food at home. So this morning after I got home from my work out I give myself about 30 minutes to prepare and eat breakfast before I need to hit the shower and get ready for my work that only gave me about 5 minutes to throw something together for lunch out of what I had lying around.

So grabbing things hastily here's what I came up with: Cod fillet with spinach and squash.

Here's what you need:

*Frozen single wrapped fillet of cod (4-5oz)
*Your favorite spice or a seafood spice
*Olive oil
*Ziploc medium sized steamer bag for the microwave (hopefully you have access at your job!)

*Frozen veges (cook in a separate container unless you want your veges to taste like fish)

So all I had to do was throw the filled of cod in the steamer bag, cut a lemon in half add one slice to the bag and squeeze in some of the juice, drizzle a little bit of olive oil, throw in some seasoning and shake...viola you've got a marinade going til lunch hour.

Then I grabbed some frozen vegetables I had lying around and placed them in a separate container.

For a healthy carb to go with my lunch I already had some of my winter squash quinoa salad left over so I have a well rounded meal of a protein/vege/healthy carb. If you don't have a left over lying around a slice of wheat bread or maybe even consider a half of a sweet potato (easy to cook in the microwave as well).

Nutrition information for this lunch:
*40z Cod Fillet: 119 Calories
*Yellow Squash and Zucchini: 2 cup serving = 25 calories. I didn't have that much left in my freezer so my serving is probably only 1 cup...but seriously you can fill your plate up with these veges so you don't go hungry and not do damage to your diet.
*Spinach:1 cup = 7 calories!!
*Quinoa Salad: one serving = 293 calories (following the recipe I have)

Totals: 444 Calories (and it's going to be one filling nutritious meal!)

If you decide to try this meal with a sweet potato on the side, a 4oz. portion is only 103 that's an even healthier option. All nutrition information for this meal is from

On to dinner!

So I have left over butternut squash from the other day that needs to get eaten up! And when I was looking for soup recipes for the last post I found this delish sounding recipe for a hearty dinner

Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Butternut Squash

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces chicken and about 3/4 cup vegetables) TSP Note: Obviously if you have a big family to feed prepare a larger bird and more veges so there's more to go around...but 3oz is a proper portion size for a serving of chicken.

2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1 (3 1/2-pound) roasting chicken
Cooking spray
12 ounces red potatoes, cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 8 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and sage in a small bowl. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Rub garlic mixture under loosened skin. Place chicken, breast side up, on rack of a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Place rack in broiler pan.

3. Combine potatoes, squash, butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Arrange vegetable mixture around chicken. Bake at 400 for 1 hour or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165. Let stand 10 minutes. Discard skin.

Nutrition Information:
CALORIES 399 ; FAT 12.1g (sat 5g,mono 3.2g,poly 1.7g); CHOLESTEROL 147mg; CALCIUM 77mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.9g; SODIUM 791mg; PROTEIN 43.8g; FIBER 3.4g; IRON 3.5mg
So I must make this tonight or tomorrow. Tonight might need to whip up something quick again though. I have a dentist appointment...I'm getting my last set of wires for my braces which means I'm reaching the home stretch...which means I'm one step closer to not resembling a teenager and being carded all the time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Healthy Soup Recipes!

Ok so I totally meant to post my attempt at cooking last night to share a healthy recipe... I made a winter squash and quinoa salad. (read: side dish) to go with my turkey and the end it didn't taste as good as it sounded on paper. It took me forever to make it too. Trust me, peeling and cutting up a butternut squash is a work out! The quinoa needed to soak, veges to be chopped and baked for 55 minutes in the oven.

I took pictures of the entire cooking process and I was so excited to share in the end but after the first taste I was like...meh. So I'm not going to share. I found some recipes that sound tastier that I'm going to attempt...and I think the best use for a butternut squash is in soup. I made butternut squash soup for the family as our Christmas day lunch and it was delish. But I found a recipe online that is healthier than the one I followed.

So with out further ado...

It's Healthy Soup Recipe time!

In case you haven't noticed it's cold out and most of the country is covered in snow or ice. Even better with soups there always seems to be left overs so there always plenty to share with a group or you'll end up saving money by eating left overs and not buying lunch out during the work week. I was kind of afraid of cooking soup the first time I tried it because I had this idea in my head that it would take for EVER...but really some of them can be put together pretty quickly and the time you put into it is worth it in the end because, trust me these will taste much better and be lower in sodium than the canned crap at the grocery store. I also love that you can get a little creative with soup by adding/substituting different ingredients for ones you might like better or play around with the spices to get it to taste juuuuust right for your palette. It can be a lot of fun and I feel like I (a person who is mostly allergic to the kitchen) can actually sort of cook!

Enchilada Chicken soup

Each serving (1 cup [8oz]) - 105 calories, 1.75 g fat, 641 sodium, 12.5 carbs, 2 g fiber, 4 sugars, 11 g protein.

*3 cups fat-free chicken broth (go for the low-sodium broth)
*1 1/4 cups finely chopped celery
*1/2 cup diced onion
*3 cups green enchilada sauce (2 cans)
*1 15-0z can pure pumpkin
*10 oz cooked boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped or shredded
optional - dash of hot sauce

Directions - In a large pot, bring broth to a boil, add celery and onion and simmer for about 5 minutes, until slightly tender. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for another 10 minutes. Optional: Serve with fat-free cheese or crushed baked tortilla chips on top.

So this is just the basics for this recipe, I think this one should call for more veges ie. fresh peppers would definitely taste awesome. Also, make this soup vegetarian by using vege based broth and substitute the chicken for beans. Maybe try black beans or pinto. (this will change some of the nutritional information but probably not by much)

Minestrone Soup

1 cup 105 calories, 0.5 g fat, 512 g sodium, 19.5 g carbs, 4.5 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 5 g protein.

*Two 14-0z can of fat-free chicken or veg. broth
*Two 14.5 cans diced tomatoes, drained
*One 15 oz can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
*One 10 oz package frozen spinach
*1 packed mixed frozen vegetables
*1 cup uncooked whole-wheat-blend rotini or penne pasta (substitute with different grain for those who are gluten free)
*1 TBs dried minced onion
*2 tsp chopped garlic
*1 tsp Italian seasoning
*1 bay leaf
*Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, add 1 cup water to all, stir and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to pair this with a good lean protein for a complete meal.

Butternut Squash Soup!
mm mm good!

Spicy fresh ginger complements the sweet roasted winter squash and shallots in this easy recipe. Serve with a grilled cheese or turkey sandwich for a simple dinner.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup soup and 1 teaspoon chives)
Nutritional Information: Calories: 112 (20% from fat)Fat: 2.5g (sat 0.4g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.3g) Protein:3.3g Carbohydrate:22.4g Fiber:3.6g Cholesterol:0.0mg Iron:1.6mg Sodium:266mg Calcium: 84mg

* 4 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 4 large shallots, peeled and halved
* 1 (1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced (when I made this I just used ground ginger that you can get in any spice aisle)
* 2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (or vege broth)
* 2 tablespoons (1-inch) slices fresh chives
* Cracked black pepper (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a roasting pan or jelly-roll pan; toss well. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool 10 minutes.

3. Place half of squash mixture and half of broth in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture and broth. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Top with chives and pepper, if desired.

Ok, now this recipe is off of When I made the soup I just combined the squash, onion, broth, ginger, pepper and a few sprigs of fresh thyme in a dutch over (ie. Large pot) and simmered until the squash was soft (you should be able to pierce it with a fork easily like when you boil potatoes). There's really no need to bake this in the oven you can cook it all on the stove top. Make sure that the soup is well blended it should be creamy.

If you really want to add a dallop of flavor to this creamy dish ad a drop of creme fraiche (2tbsp =110 cal. so cut that in half and only use a *tiny* drop a little bit packs a lot of flavor) and I top mine with more ground ginger. Either way it's a delicious satisfying soup on a cold day.

Hmmm... Delicious and satisfying... Kinda like looking at RPattz...

but he's even better... he's calorie free :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sometimes Things Are Too Tough to Blog About...

If you follow this blog you may have noticed that I took a bit of a hiatus...I actually took the blog down for a while with every intention of deleting it, but I sat on that idea for a couple months first. My last post was made on Oct. 16th. The day I ran my first half marathon. Two days later on Oct. 18th my grandfather passed away.

On Oct 15th my Dad had said to me that I needed to visit, that my Poppop had taken a turn for the worst and he might not be with us much longer. I had known he was sick earlier in the week but I didn't think it was that bad. He had been to the hospital a time or two in the previous years but, like he always was, my Poppop seemed to come out strong and chug along stoically as always with a Manhattan in one hand and occasionally a cigar in the other. I left work early to visit him that Friday and my Dad was right. I wasn't prepared to see my lovable Poppop struggling for breath, unable to open his eyes, eat food or even sit up. He still held our hands though and he still wanted my Mommom, his wife of 63 years, by his side. He knew when she wasn't there and that made him restless.

When I ran the marathon and the pain in my legs was at its worst I thought of my Poppop. He made me keep going. My Aunt had told me that he was a fighter. He always had been. Poppop fought in every major campaign in Europe during World War II: D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge and Rhineland. He never spoke much about the war but the few stories we did hear made me realize how lucky he was to be alive, how lucky my entire family was to even be here to share these stories. So when I was running I thought of Poppop and how he would never quit so I should never quit either.

Quite a handsome young man in his uniform too wouldn't you agree :)

Two days later my Poppop passed away. I had never lost anyone close to me before. It was a blessing he no longer suffered but it was also the most heart breaking time for me and my entire family.

Right before I ran I was pushing to reach a weight loss goal. I was only 2-3 lbs away from 100lbs of total loss. After my Poppop passed I took a week off from working out to be with my family. I was surrounded by desserts and hearty meals for an entire week. And I ate blindly with out even thinking. I seemed to have no control over the desserts. I just wanted sweets.

When I returned to bootcamp the following week I got on the scale and I had gained 10lbs. TEN POUNDS!!! I was crushed. On top of everything that had happened this was just one more stress ball to add to it. I freaked out. I had never gained so much weight so quickly. I felt like a failure. I felt like I failed everyone including my readers of this blog and worse I felt like because I let this happen during my Poppop's passing that his death was some how an excuse to let myself go a little and that made me feel terrible.

I hid the blog from public view. I contemplated deleting it because I was a failure. I was not someone setting a good example for a healthy life style. How could I write about getting up and exercising and eating properly when I failed so miserably at it. I just wasn't in a good place and I needed time to think and get myself back on track. Because I told myself remember Poppop wouldn't give up!

I've been working out just as hard as always since I took that week off, I still went to bootcamp I still went on runs even in the freezing cold too, I still played soccer I managed to lose a little through the holidays which I'm happy about, but I just couldn't bring myself to come back to the blog and share it. Because after all I still screwed up so bad. My friends told me I was being too hard on myself when I stressed about my weight gain and I realize now I probably was. Hindsight is always 20/20 they say. I set a new goal to push through those final pounds to reach 100lbs of loss, and I've been working toward it. I have a deadline and I'll see where I stand tomorrow when I hop on the scale again at boot camp.

I also learned a valuable lesson about how I deal with grief through all this. I've never mourned the loss of anyone close to me before. I've been very lucky in that aspect, I know. But now I know my way of handling grief is to turn to food. Now I know to be aware of it in the future.

It took me a long long time to come to the blog and write about why I basically dropped off the face of the earth, about why I gave up and hid the blog. For the longest time I didn't know what to say, but it was a post on Twitarded from Dangrdafne that made me say I have to keep writing. I have to keep promoting healthy living on this silly little blog of mine because it was my mission when I started and I'm not a quitter. It's not in my blood to quit. Thanks Poppop :).