Pump(kin) up the Protein

There’s no question it’s fall in New England – it’s cool outside, the Patriots are in season, and Libby’s canned pumpkin is back on the grocery shelf! I picked up 2 cans on sale this weekend 2/$3.

On Sunday, I was inspired after seeing Janetha’s pumpkin protein pancakes, so I got to work in the kitchen to make some of my own. (Mine had WAY more than 3 ingredients, though!)

Into a bowl went:

  • heaping 1/4 cup of Instabake whole wheat pancake mix
  • 1/4 cup of vanilla brown rice protein powder
  • 1/2 cup of egg whites
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin
  • ~1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbs of plain non-fat yogurt
  • cinnamon

Janetha wasn’t kidding when she said these babies don’t bubble up like normal pancakes. I had a hard time flipping them over too. They started to fall apart on me. I probably could have skipped the yogurt in the mix because of all the pumpkin. Given the look of these in the pan, I was ready to write these off as an epic fail…

Topped with Smart Balance Light and Trader Joe's maple agave syrup blend

…until I tasted these! They were delicious, and the texture was amazingly similar to that of pumpkin pie. It was like eating dessert for breakfast! I wish I had had some pumpkin pie spice to add to the batter. They would have been even more amazing. Perhaps next time…

This might be my favorite new way to use pumpkin!

Do you like pumpkin? What’s your favorite way to eat it?

Running: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Hey all! I had planned to write up this post last night, but I ended up having a sick baby girl on my hands. 😦 So, here I am tonight!

Now, I’m certainly no expert on running. In fact, I’m still sort of a newbie. I’ve only been running since May. But based on my experience so far, I’ve discovered that running has it’s good, bad, and ugly points.

The Good

  • The sense of accomplishment. Throughout my half-marathon training so far, I have enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that comes from running farther and faster each week, and the sense of accomplishment of running 8, 9, 10 miles before anyone else wakes up.
  • Abs, abs, abs! Running has done more for my abs than all of the crunches I’ve done over the course of my lifetime, combined. Period.
  • Greater food enjoyment. I’ve taken more and more pleasure in eating since I started running. I enjoy every morsel that fuels and refuels me.

Protein oats topped with PB

The Bad

  • Running can be a big time committment. Especially when you’re training for a race. As my training progressed, I found myself getting up earlier and earlier each day to fit in my prescribed mileage.
  • Wear and tear on your body. Running can really take a toll on your joints and your muscles – something I’ve experienced firsthand. I’m currently nursing an IT band injury in the last week and a half of training before my race.

The Ugly

  • Chafing. Eeeeew. I discovered the first time that I ran 10 miles that chafing can be an issue. And I don’t just mean chafing from a sports bra or iPod armband. Chafing just from your own arms swinging back and forth for over an hour.
  • Black toenails. Double eeeeeew. Apparently this is not an uncommon thing. Unfortunately I have experienced this as well. I currently have a toenail that is getting ready to fall off.

All of things I mentioned above (the good, the bad, and the ugly) are things that I wasn’t expecting when I laced up my sneakers for my first run a few months ago. So has it all been worth it??? Heck yeah! Just the sense of accomplishment alone has made it all worth it. 🙂

Review: Attune Probiotic Chocolate Bars

Well, it’s a rainy Monday here in New England – and I’m running on 4 hours of sleep. I was badly in need of chocolate! Lucky for me, Annelies at Attune Foods was nice enough to send me some of their chocolate probiotic bars last week. (Thanks again, Annelies!)

From the Attune site:

Attune is the powerhouse probiotic bar packed with 5 times the live active cultures of yogurt. It has all the digestive health and immune benefits of probiotics in one tasty little package you can take on the go. One Attune bar every day is the delicious way to feel amazing.

I was psyched to try these because I love chocolate (who doesn’t?!), but I always feel guilty for indulging. With these bars, there’s not guilt because their good for you, too!

I started with a nibble of the Raspberry Dark Chocolate:

A symphony of smooth dark chocolate jam-packed with sweet raspberries for a fresh, flavor combination that will make your tastebuds sing.

I looooove dark chocolate, and this bar did not disappoint! My tastebuds weren’t just singing, they were belting it out! 🙂 There was just the right amount of raspberry taste and it wasn’t too sweet. Delicious! Did I mention that it’s also good for you?! Perfect.

I then moved on to a taste of the Almond Milk Chocolate:

The classic duo of milk chocolate and diced almonds come together for a satisfying, crunchy chocolate bar.

This reminded me of a classic Hershey bar with almonds. What more can I say?! Sweet, satisfying, and healthy. A great dessert!

Finally, I had a bite of the Chocolate Crisp:

Real, rich chocolate with rice crisps for a familiar, tasty crunch that’s just right!

Hello, Nestle Crunch bar! If Nestle Crunch and live yogurt cultures got together and had a baby, it would be this little Attune Chocolate Crisp! 😀 Yes, it was that good!

Final thoughts: I will no longer deny myself chocolate when the craving strikes me. I will buy these Attune bars instead! They satisfy my sweet tooth for under 100 calories plus deliver 5 times the live active cultures of yogurt. I can’t wait to pick up some of the other flavors to try!!

Food Find: Olympus Greek Yogurt

Much as I’ve tried to avoid getting sucked back in, Whole Foods has become a regular stop once again on my weekly grocery shopping circuit. As I browsed around looking for items on sale and items for which I had coupons, I came across Olympus Greek Yogurt, on sale 10 for $10 (reg. $1.99 each).

Source: Olympus Dairy website

 After looking at some of the flavors, I ended up buying 8 of the nonfat plain cups. (I prefer to dress my yogurt up myself.) Not only was this a great deal (50% off the regular pirce!), but the nutritional stats are out of this world! Each 6 oz cup is just 88 calories, with only 7 g carbs and a whopping 15 g of protein! Score!

So the stats are great, but how did it taste??

I tasted a bit of the yogurt on it’s own and found it to be much less tangy than other plain Greek yogurts I’ve tried (and believe me, I’ve tried a lot of them!). Then I dressed it up in typical HFM fashion: chocolate-mousse style.

Mixed with 1 Tbs cocoa powder, 1 packet of stevia, and some sliced banana

This was sooo incredibly creamy! It reminded me a lot of Oikos in it’s texture, but Oikos is much more tangy. I can’t wait to use this in overnight oats! It’s taking a lot of willpower not to go grab another one out of the fridge right now! This was by far my best food find in a while. It’s a shame that it is regularly $1.99 per cup. Much like Oikos and Voskos, it just doesn’t fit into my budget. I’m still at the point in my life where I’m a slave to prices… Thus, I will have to stick with my Chobani, which is just $1.25 per cup. At least the Olympus yogurt is on sale until Oct. 5 at WF! 🙂

What’s your favorite unexpected recent food find?

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Stay tuned tomorrow as I review the Attune Probiotic Chocolate Bars I received in the mail. (Thanks Annelies!!)

3, 2, 1

Before I jump into my brief post, an update on my knee:

I went to the doctor today and he confirmed what I suspected – I have IT Band Syndrome. I went for a 4-mile run yesterday and actually had to stop and walk the last half mile because the pain was so unbearable. It was radiating up to my hip. The doctor gave me a cortisone shot and told me I could still run my race in 2 weeks, but that it still might be uncomfortable.

I had no choice but to skip my run today. The shot makes your knee feel worse before it feels better. I’m freaking out a bit, feeling like I’m going to lose so much of the aerobic capacity and endurance I’ve built up. Not to mention the fact that, thanks to running, my abs look better than they ever have. I don’t want to lose those!

Have you ever experienced an injury during race training? How did you adjust your training?

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3 – The number of songs Sheryl Crow sang at the intimate radio event I attended today! I was so lucky to be invited to go to this event. I got to shake her hand and have my picture taken with her. So cool!

2 – There are 2 words that sum up why I could never be a vegan: Greek yogurt!

I made the most amazing bowl of overnight spelt flakes with vanilla Chobani, topped with honey almond butter. Awww yeah! I can live without chicken and fish, but I MUST have my Greek yogurt!

1 – There can only be one giveaway winner….JORDAN P! Congrats! Send me your mailing address and I’ll have your goodies sent out ASAP.

So Much to Do, So Little Time!

Is tomorrow really already Wednesday?! I am in the midst of an extremely busy week, and it is flying by! Unfortunately, in all the craziness, I’ve been neglecting my little blog here. 😦

I went to Virginia overnight for work over the weekend. Because I flew out so early on Saturday, I had to shift my half marathon training schedule. I pushed out my long run to Sunday. I ran a very painful 10 miles in 1:33:18 – a good pace, but it truly was an ugly run. I was gritting my teeth the whole way. My right knee started screaming at me around mile 2!

I wanted to get back to my regular training schedule this week, but that would have meant running on Monday, the day after my long run. I woke up at 4:30 am and my knee was sending me a very clear message – no running. I ended up waiting until the evening to any exercise. I replaced my scheduled 4-mile run with a 45 minute ride on my Spinning bike. I had a great ride, and my knee felt good since cycling is so low-impact on your joints.

Flash forward to today… I attended day one of a two-day social media marketing workshop in Boston. I wasn’t sure what the food situation was going to be at the conference center, so I made sure to eat a hearty breakfast before I left.

  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  • 1 mashed banana
  • raisins
  • vanilla
  • cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs ground flaxseed
  • 2 Tbs vanilla rice protein powder
  • 1 Tbs TJ’s PB, which was later mixed into the oats

This held me over until lunchtime, when I had a delicious grilled veggie pita at the conference center.

Dinner tonight involved a new to me product – Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs.

These are vegan and have great nutritional stats – 140 calories, 8 g carbs, 16 g protein. I was a little nervous to try these because my only other experience with meatless meatballs was not good. I don’t remember what brand those were though…

I simmered these “meatballs” in TJ’s marinara for about 10 minutes and served mine up over a bed of fresh spinach with a sprinkle of parmesan (to de-veganize the meal!).

My thoughts: Delicious! These were soooo yummy. Not too many spices. The flavor was just right and the texture was great too. Even my little girl ate them! I will definitely be buying these again.

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One more chance to enter my giveaway! I’ll announce the winner in my next post!

Giveaway Extended!

Hey all! I’m extending my Yoplait Splitz giveaway sponsored by My Blogspark since I was out of town for the weekend. (Unfortunately I forgot my camera on the way out, so no pics of the wine fest :-()

Stayed tuned for more product reviews and half marathon training updates…

Injury Update & Product Review

It’s Wednesday – half to the weekend! Woohoo! We are headed to DC on Saturday for the Virginia Wine Festival. Can’t wait! It’s going to be a whirlwind. We’re only going for one night. But it will be fun.

Have you entered my giveaway yet?! You have until Friday!

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I’ve been getting pretty much the same advice from everyone on my knee injury – rest is the best medicine. Now, if I could only follow that advice… I’ve been doing plenty of icing and I bought a compression sleeve, but I can’t say I’ve cut back on my running. I am shuffling things around a bit this week though, partly for time constraints, but mostly to avoid running 2 days in a row.

This morning I woke up VERY sleepy eyed at 4:30 am and contemplated skipping my run. For a brief second, I convinced myself that I should stay in bed “to rest my knee.” But then I popped out of bed, threw on my gear, and headed out the door – but not before grabbing a small scoop of PB and some raisins, my go-to pre-run snack.

Do you eat before running?

I ran 6.2 miles in 58:08, ~9:21/mile. I felt great for the first 4 miles – no knee pain. And then BAM. Just like that, the pain set in. At one point I was literally gritting my teeth. There’s no stopping and walking in the dark at 5:30 am when you’re 2 miles from home, though!

When I got home, I took a quick shower then simultaneously iced my knee, put on my makeup, and ate this glorious bowl of overnight oats.

This horrendous photo doesn't do this bowl justice!

  • 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk
  • ~3/4 cup of plain Chobani
  • 1 small mashed banana
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla
  • raisins
  • walnuts

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Ok folks – time for a brief product review!

Back in early July, I received a sample of the new Clif Crunch bars in the mail. It was the Chocolate Chip flavor, and I split the 2-bar serving with my hubby during our 4th of July road trip to PA. Upon first bite, I believe I said something along the lines of, “Oh my God – I have to find these and buy some!” It was crunchy (hence the name), sweet without being too sweet, and very satisfying. The 2-bar serving makes you feel like you’re eating more than a typical bar. And a serving is just 180 calories – perfect snack amount.

I hadn’t been into Whole Foods in quite some time, but I had a bunch of coupons so I went in there a couple weeks ago. (Side note: since that trip, I have been into WF every week. It has sucked me back in! Damn you, Whole Paycheck, er, Whole Foods!) To my delight, I discovered that Clif Crunch bars were on sale for $3.00 a box, a special that was STILL going on even last weekend. So I stocked up.

I’ve tried 3 of the 4 flavors and I’ve enjoyed each one. I definitely favor the Chocolate Chip though! Have you tried these yet?!

Run Recap & a Giveaway!

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend! Summer seems to have abruptly ended here in New England. It certainly feels like fall!

When I stepped out the door at 5 am on Saturday morning for my 12-mile run, it was a crisp 55 degrees. I had mapped out my route the night before. The route took me into a part of town I’m not very familiar with and I ended up accidentally taking a right to loop back much sooner than I should have. The run ended up being short of 12 miles. (More on that in a minute.)

I was a little tentative when I first started out, given that my 3-mile run on Thursday morning was so excruciating. I spent all day Friday icing my right knee in preparation for Saturday. I could tell right off the bat I was pacing much slower than the previous weekend’s 10-mile run, and much slower than my typical pace.

Around mile 6, the pain in my right knee set in. There was shooting pain. Oh no! I kept pushing through, and a couple miles later the sharp pains stopped and it was just sore.

As I mentioned earlier, my run didn’t end up being 12 miles. It was 11.36 miles, at an average pace of 9:51/mile. Still not too shabby, but that’s much slower than the 9:18/mile pace of my 10-miler.

I bought a compression sleeve for my knee today. I’m hoping that will help minimize the swelling and soreness…

Question for all you runners: I am going out of town this weekend. My flight leaves at 8:30 am on Saturday and I’ll be back Sunday afternoon. I won’t have time for my full long run on Saturday. I plan to add additional miles to all my other runs for the week but… What’s more important – getting in a long run or total miles per week?

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And know, for the fun part…

The Giveaway!!!

The folks over at Yoplait & My Blog Spark sent me a package containing a picnic bag, a roll-up picnic blanket, and a coupon for FREE Yoplait Splitz.

From the Yoplat site:

YoplaitÂŽ Splitz delivers the dessert flavor kids crave in a wholesome and nutritious yogurt that Mom can feel good about. It has all the goodness of 100% real YoplaitÂŽ yogurt with 90 calories, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors or sweeteners and it’s a good source of Calcium and Vitamin D.

I’m always leery of kids’ yogurt due to the sugar content. I absolutely refuse to eat anything or feed my daughter anything that contains high fructose corn syrup, too. So it was a big plus that these don’t contain any HFCS. They contain about 12 grams of sugar, which isn’t awful considering much of that likely comes just from the lactose in the yogurt.

These certainly pass the kid taste test – and they pass the mommy nutrition test too. Good buy!

Want to win your own Yoplait Splitz picnic pack?! Here’s how to enter:

  1. Visit the Yoplait site and leave me a comment telling me one thing you learned about Splitz.
  2. Tweet about this giveaway (I want to win the @YoplaitYogurt giveaway from @healthyfitmama) and leave a comment letting me know you tweeted.
  3. If you have a blog, link back to this post and let me know you did so.

You have until Friday at 8:00 pm ET! Good luck!

Next Up: 12 Miles

Well, once again I let the week get away from me! It’s been busy at work, but busy in a good way. I’ve finally found a job that is both challenging and enjoyable. How refreshing! I just wish I lived a little closer. 100 miles roundtrip is tough! Maybe in the near future…

I’ve been battling some pretty serious knee soreness this week, so I took today completely off from exercising. I haven’t done that in quite a while. Even though I didn’t exercise today, I made sure I fueled up with some good quality carbs and protein. I’ve got a 12-mile run on the agenda for tomorrow. Eeeek! Hopefully my knee holds up. My training plan actually calls for 11 miles tomorrow and 12 miles next Saturday, but I’ll be out of town next Saturday and I’m not sure I’ll have time for that long of a run before my flight in the morning.

Per my usual MO, I only captured breakfast (my favorite meal of the day) on camera.

A deliciously perfect combination of carbs, protein, and fat:

  • 1/3 cup of oat bran
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 Tbs of ground flaxseed
  • ~1Tbs of raisins
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla
  • 2 Tbs vanilla rice protein powder
  • 1 Tbs of drizzly PB

So yummy, and so filling! This kept my hunger at bay for several hours.

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Off to map out my 12-miler on MapMyRun.com. I’ll recap my run later in the weekend. Wish me luck!

Running question of the day: How many miles or months do you use your running shoes? How do you know when it’s time to replace them? I’m still new at this…