Hydration is Key

Here’s what happened when I started to drink 70 oz of water a day:

A few weeks ago my running was feeling off and my legs felt weak trying to hit times that I had hit easily a week ago. It was frustrating as you can imagine, and I decided to see if it was because of hydration issues. Spoiler: It was. I bought giant 50 oz water bottles and tried to drink those over the course of the day resulting in a lot of unexpected benefits.

No more “Side Stiches”: You know that horrible feeling that feels like stabbing in your ribs when you run? Yeah that can be an effect of dehydration, often occurring in morning runs when your body loses over a pound of water at night!  After drinking so much water during the day I didn’t feel these anymore.

I felt more awake. Starting your day with a giant glass of water is not only refreshing but it also wakes you up entirely. Now after keeping my body hydrated all day I no longer had that lingering tired feeling.

Less Hungry. Usually I was always hungry, even after meals which was probably due to a lack of water intake during the day. After I started drinking 70 oz during the day I wasn’t that hungry during meals or at night.

I felt stronger. That weak feeling that was ruining my runs was no more, I felt stronger than ever.

More likely than not, most people are not getting as much water as their body needs, so start drinking a little more water each day and reap the above benefits!

 

This is your staple summer smoothie

In the summer nobody wants to do a lot of work to make food or drinks, so why put that much effort into a smoothie? It’s hot and honestly you just want a quick smoothie. Well here is the solution; literally a minimal ingredient smoothie that took me two minutes and is delicious. Remember, emphasis on simple.

Side note: The strawberries that I used are from my garden!

Ingredients: (makes two)

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They’re so tiny!

  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup of stawberries
  • 1 serving of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup of ice and 1.25 cups of cold water
  • A dash of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Put ingredients in blender and blend to perfection. That’s it. Really.

Blueberry Chia Pancakes

I’m pretty sure I speak for everyone when I say that pancakes by far are the greatest breakfast food. But, we also know that pancakes can be filled with lots of unnecessary sugar and all that jazz. Here is a healthy pancake recipe that doesn’t sacrifice taste and can justify grabbing an extra helping.

Side note: This pancake mix is amazing! I also use it as whole grain flour in recipes. Such as in these banana muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup of Bob’s Red Mill 10-grain Pancake mix
  • Two eggs
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  1. Whisk two egg whites in a separate bowl, and place the yolks in a larger bowl
  2. Combine coconut oil and yolks until mixed
  3. Pour mix and water into the oil/yolk mixture and stir
  4. Fold in egg yolks and chia seeds
  5. Finally stir in blueberries and add more water or mix depending on the consistency you want
  6. Heat up a skillet and cook pancakes until golden-brown, flipping halfway through
  7. Enjoy with fresh fruit and peanut butter!

 

Eat to run

Food in my opinion is one of the most important parts of maintaining performance and making sure your body stays properly fueled. I’m not talking about counting calories and a restrictive diet, I believe in eating nourishing, wholesome foods to help your body build muscle and recover properly. I used to not eat so great but a couple of years ago I really wanted to take my running seriously and changed the whole way I approached my diet. At first I thought that I just wanted to get lean because skinny=fast but I ended up eating too few calories and dropping a whole bunch of weight in a short amount of time. After going through some articles and listening to some dietitian lectures, I realized that getting to race weight isn’t the primary goal; it is eating right so that our body feels nourished. Today I eat a lot of organic and protein rich food that help me be a healthier and fitter runner without obsessing over calories or anything like that. Female runners are more susceptible to getting eating disorders and anemia (iron deficiency) so it is always important to assess what you eat and make sure you are getting enough of the good stuff (veggies, chicken, lots of whole grain, even PB :), etc.) Below is the master list that I use to brainstorm grocery shopping and what I plan to eat for lunch/dinner during the week. Take a peek and gain some ideas:

Resources that I use for recipes/food ideas:

 Breakfast Ideas:

  • Breakfast burrito w/ egg, tomatoes, etc.
  • Rice cake, PB, banana & chia seeds
  • Oatmeal with….
  • Strawberries, bananas & almonds
  • Egg (fried)
  • Avocado toast w/ boiled egg
  • Whole grain waffles and pancakes
  • Whole grain ready-made oatmeal
  • Whole grain cereal and banana
  • Breakfast salad (cooked spinach and egg)
  • Breakfast Hash

Pre-run snacks:

  • Protein bars w/ little fiber
  • Waffle or graham cracker PB & J
  • Squeezable applesauce
  • Try gels? 

Snacks:

  • Yogurt, granola & chia seeds
  • Apples & PB
  • Carrots and hummus (or Guacamole)
  • Sugar Snap Peas & Hummus
  • Beef Jerky
  • Pea crisps (Their lentil bean crisps are really good too)
  • Almond butter packets
  • Quinoa tortilla chips & Guacamole packs
  • Trail Mix
    Lunch:
  • Sandwiches loaded w/ veggies (mustard)
  • Salads w/ a lot of protein
  • Quinoa patties
  • Brown rice Fried Rice recipe
  • Greek Salad
  • Pesto pasta

Dessert 🙂

  • Justin’s Dark Chocolate PB cups
  • Luna bar bites
  • Fruit popsicles
  • Banana Chips
  • Halo top Ice Cream
  • Banana Muffins

Dinner:

  • Veggie Pizza
  • Microwave healthy burrito
  • Protein blends/rice bowls
  • Salmon burgers w/ sweet potato fries
  • Zucchini pasta or Spaghetti squash
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Tofu Stir Fry
  • Turkey Taco bowls
  • Fattoush salad
  • Shakshuka

Five healthy dinners to try this week

I have always believed in the power of food. When I start slipping with my vegetables or haven’t been eating nutritionally-well my running seems to slip as well. I am not saying that I don’t eat ice cream every once and a while, but whole, nutritious food always seems to power the body the best. Here are five wholesome dinners to try this week.

Pesto Pizza: Find the recipe here

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Substituting pesto for tomato sauce was one of the best decisions ever, why isn’t this repeated more?! Usually I am not a fan of cherry tomatoes (it’s a weird thing okay?!) but by splitting them and putting them on the pizza, they turned into roasted, delicious tomatoes. This pizza is a good meal for after a workout when you really just need some recovery-worthy pizza.

Mint Greek Salad: Find the recipe here

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This salad is soooo good, plus it is even better the next day for lunch. I totally recommend roasting the tomatoes and adding the mint. Pair with toasted pita to add carbs, and for extra protein add garbanzo beans instead of chickpeas.

 

 

 

 

 

Quinoa Chicken Parmesean: Find the recipe here

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Just when you thought quinoa couldn’t get any better, it goes and does it again. Bread- crumb substitution. I know. Mind blown. Plus even with my limited cooking skills I was able to make this and my family who usually dislikes quinoa, thought that it was delicious and made with actual breadcrumbs!

Vegetable Ramen: Find the recipe here

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Don’t get those packaged ramen bowls that are filled with sodium, make it yourself! I guarantee that it is both healthier and tastier. I especially though that the Brussels sprouts paired well and added an extra punch to the broth.

Avocado Grilled Cheese: Find the recipe here

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If you think peanut butter and jelly is an iconic pairing, meet avocado and grilled cheese; a literal match made in heaven. This recipe makes about four sandwiches so share this amazing dish with your friends as well. They will thank you. Also, at first I thought the food processor would be to time-consuming but it ended up only taking me five minutes.

Brand Spotlight: Picky Bars

Picky Bars are for picky people. Based in Bend, OR, this all-natural vegan gluten free protein and recovery bar brand (wow that’s a huge label) was started by three pro-athletes for other athletes at any level. Jesse Thomas, Lauren Fleshman, and Stephanie Bruce were on a mission to create a “real food” sport balanced bar and developed these 200 calorie bars with a 4:1 carb to protein ratio to maximize absorption of nutrients. Not only this, but the bars actually taste good so I mean, that’s a huge bonus as well!

So what’s especially awesome about Picky Bars? They have super cute packaging with pictures of real people doing stuff on them!

They also come in 9 flavors with amazing punny names like: Chai and Catch Me and Moroccan Your World. My personal favorite is Cookie Doughness since it tastes literally exactly like cookie dough and it’s actually good for you. Yes, this means you need to go and try it right now. I’ll wait.

The only downside to all these different flavors is since all the bars have to same seed and fig base, they all taste remotely the same. For example, All-in Almond and Lauren’s Mega Nuts both taste very similar since they are both but flavored. However, they still taste good anyway if you enjoy the base flavor.

I also really enjoy the versatility of Picky Bars. They are the perfect size and 200 calories so they are perfect for recovery after a workout and snack before hand, or you can eat half during a workout and it won’t weigh you down, which is not like most other bars. Seriously, I’ve never gotten stomach cramps mid run with these! It’s a miracle! My entire family eats these and they are great for not only athletes but also as a random snack for work or just to slip into a school lunch.

My onlymajor issue with these is Picky Bars are on the expensive side. Bars sell for $3.00 each as a standard at retail, or a box of 10 for around $27.50. It’s not like these are big bars or anything, but it makes sense when you realize that they are fair trade, all natural, and gluten, dairy, soy, and GMO free. So if that matters to you, then the price is worth it. So even though I love Picky Bars and they taste delicious, the price is a drawback keeping them from being an everyday staple in my diet.

But aside from the bars, Picky Bar is also a brand. They sponsor athletes and have a Picky Club where you get sent your choice of bars monthly plus you get a tee shirt and discounts which is pretty cool. All you have to do is sign up online and pay the undisclosed membership fee.

Overall, Picky Bar is a unique brand with great tasting and effective bars but at a high price (there are more expensive bars out there though, if it makes you feel better). I’d highly recommend you try them at some point.

The Battle of the Yogurts

Yogurt is a staple for runners. It can be used for a post-run snack, dessert, or even 20170305_154433.jpgbreakfast. When paired with chia seeds, granola and fruit you have a delicious, healthy and nourishing snack. We tested multiple yogurts in order to find out what organic yogurts taste the best and are the best for you.

The contenders: Siggi’s Icelandic skyr yogurt, Dreaming cow Grass fed, Chobani, Fage, and Dannon light & fit yogurt.

The BEST granola: I found this granola and it is my new favorite: “Bear Naked granola” in original cinnamon flavor. It has only 6g of sugars, and also 6g of Protein with all natural ingredients. Plus it has delicious ingredients: Cinnamon whole wheat oat clusters, cranberries, and sesame seeds. Find it here.

  1. Siggi’s Icelandic style yogurt: I tried the blueberry flavor and I loved it. If you are used to eating mainly Yoplait or sweetened yogurt it might take some getting used to the sour/traditional yogurt flavor. But it is actually delicious and I loved the thickness of the Skyr-type of yogurt and had only five ingredients! It was also filled with 15g of Protein! And barely any sugar! ***Plus the packaging is super photogenic and Instagram-worthy***20170311_162209.jpg
  2. Dreaming cow Yogurt: This yogurt is so cute and I love everything about it! It is all organic and made with grass fed milk. The flavor that I tried was Dark Cherry Chai and the cherry flavor was so prominent and amazing. It is not as thick as traditional yogurt so I would use some chia seeds and granola to thicken it slightly. In addition, they have so many wonderful flavors and I honestly can’t wait to try them all, especially the Maple Ginger. Check out their website here.20170311_162355.jpg
  3. Chobani: Although I was skeptical of Chobani because it is so commercialized but when I explored their brand I learned that they only use all-natural ingredients (and you know how I love organic!) I tried Vanilla non-fat and it was delicious, especially since it was Greek yogurt. Although it did have the most sugar out of all the yogurts that we tried.20170311_134844.jpg
  4. Fage: Okay maybe I should not be the judge of this yogurt because I got the plain flavor it was honestly nasty. It was sour even though I put tons of fruit in it. But, the nutritional benefits and thickness of the yogurt definitely would make it ideal in a smoothie or recipes. I would be interested in trying their “splits” that have fruit or honey to pour in the yogurt but they do have a lot of sugar.
  5. Dannon light and fit Greek yogurt: Although this yogurt is not organic, this yogurt is low in sugar, high in protein, low-calories, and very delicious. I really like the flavors in this brand and it is a good snack to have when I am hungry before bed. Find it here.
  6. Noosa Chai yogurt: I love this brand and I think their yogurt is really good. I found this yogurt when I was walking downtown, and I saw that their truck was giving out free yogurt. It was kind of sketchy but their yogurt was so good. They have such unique flavors and I literally want to try all of them.. Especially since they are made with all-natural ingredients, but on the downside they do contain a high amount sugar.

February Finds

 

Over this short month of February we have been trying out new foods and gear that we think you will enjoy or would benefit from trying as well. From dried Edamame to running with a fanny pack????

 

  1. Dried/Roasted Edamame: This was the oddest thing to stumble across at the grocery store and I knew I had to try it! For those who don’t know Edamame is the official name for soybeans, or what Tofu is made out of. I got the organic box and it only contained two ingredients: Salt and Edamame. I was convinced.These are actually addicting! They are full of protein and healthy fats (14 grams of Protein for ¼ cup of beans!) and are surprisingly delicious. I highly recommend these for a snack after running or when you are craving chips/salty foods. Although the sodium content is actually very low.

 

  1. Vanilla Clusters Kashi Cereal: At first I really liked this cereal and like the other Kashi cereals, it is full of whole grains and natural ingredients. But, I am not a fan of overly sweetened cereals and it tasted very sugary to me. Instead of trying for breakfast I might put it in Trail mix or even a before-bed dessert.

 

  1. Straw propeller Oatmeal: This oatmeal is AMAZING. I am not exaggerating. First of all, it is completely organic and made with wholesome ingredients. Second, these oatmeal cups are perfect for breakfast on the go. I tried the PB&J oatmeal cup and it was filled with dried strawberries and peanut butter chips. After pouring in the required amount of hot water, I put the lid on and waited 5 minutes then BAM you have a nutritious breakfast to enjoy on the go (or not). The last point I would like to make about this oatmeal is that it kept me full until lunch which is rare for a lot of my breakfasts, but this wholesome breakfast kept me from getting hungry mid-day. Buy here!

 

  1. Running with a fanny pack: I have an android phone which is on the larger side for running and it often doesn’t fit into any of my pockets. I hate carrying it but I still need it just to be safe while running outside. The solution? I gave into the “Fanny pack craze.” I purchased a slim running one from my local Marshalls or here that was big enough to fit my phone and my keys. I took it on my long run, of course under my shirt and I wore it so the pack was against my back (not the traditional way) and I was pleasantly surprised. There was no issues with the pack bumping up and down and frankly I forgot it was there. The only thing that I didn’t like about it was that it was hard to adjust to my smallish waist size but other than that it was perfect.

 

  1. During the winter I usually have to do training runs on my own which means more music! But, my headphones literally always break within 2 months, which is weird because I never break or lose my stuff. Anyway, I bought these Panasonic headphones because they were cheap and thought hey, if they break, who cares. Although they aren’t specifically for active use THEY WORK SO FREAKING GOOD. They have lasted through lots of sweat and rain and they actually stay in my ears (I have really small ears so that’s a bonus). Although I’ve only had these a couple of months, my brother uses the same kind and they still work after 1 year of use, so I HIGHLY recommend these if you are looking for good cheap earbuds to run with or just in general.

 

  1. You can never have too many pairs of running shorts so when I see a good pair on sale during the winter off season, obviously I’m going to buy them. The Athleta Track This Run shorts are amazing quality and have a secure waistband. I love them since the leg opening is on that smaller side, and I have really skinny legs so these shorts actually fit me well. Also, they were on sale for $16 so it was a great deal (they still have some left right now!). They remind me a lot of the Lululemon Speed Shorts, with the same design but a much better deal if you catch the Athleta ones on sale. Buy them here!

 

  1. ZonePerfect Nutrition Bars are probably my favorite thing at the moment. My dad bought me the huge Costco box that contains both the Peanut Butter and Fudge Graham flavors and they are to die for. Ok, so maybe they aren’t the healthiest bar- they’re basically candy because it’s covered in chocolate but they do contain 14g of protein, so that counts for something right? These are definitely a guilty pleasure so I only eat them after really hard workouts when they are well deserved.

 

Vanilla Chai Granola bars

I haven’t had the best luck in the past making granola bars, but this time I was determined. I changed the recipe slightly to accommodate for missing ingredients but the result was amazing. These bars are the perfect mix of cinnamon and vanilla, and are amazing warmed up on these chilly winter days! Recipe adapted from the cookbook “Racing Weight” by Matt Fitzgerald and Georgie Fear. Buy it here

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup egg whites
  • 5 oz vanilla or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (doesn’t have to be exact, I was generous when measuring)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vanilla, or chocolate protein powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Spices:

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp allspice (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, mix egg whites, yogurt, vanilla, oil, and spices
  3. Stir in baking powder, sugar, and protein powder
  4. Finally pour in oats and mix until combined
  5. Pour and spread mixture into an 8×8 greased pan
  6. Bake for 15-16 min. (you can bake longer if you want them less chewy)
  7. Enjoy! Tag us if you have success with these!

***Sorry I don’t have pictures, unfortunately these were eaten before pictures were able to be taken

Purple Smoothie Power!

This smoothie was more of an experiment than a planned recipe. I got home from school after finals and was really feeling a pick-me-up smoothie, preferably in my favorite color: purple. Unfortunately we didn’t have any protein powder or strawberries so I had to make do with limited ingredients. The resulting recipe turned our delicious and looked beautiful as well!20170127_160730 (1).jpg

Ingredients: makes one serving

  • 1 banana
  • 1 small handful of frozen blueberries
  • 2 tbsp of dried peanut butter (or 1 tbsp of regular peanut butter)
  • 7 ice cubes (doesn’t have to be precise)
  • 1 leaf of Kale, stem removed
  • 3/4 cup of cold water
  • Protein powder (optional)
  1. Put the ice and water in the blender first, then add the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Enjoy! (Tag us if you try out this smoothie!)