Tag Archives: Healthy

It’s Race Season….Run! Run! Run!

After several months of holidays, busy schedules, and the resultant relaxation (no, the complete neglect) of my exercise habits, I’m feeling a little sluggish. In the past few years I have maintained a healthy level of fitness and activity through yoga, hiking, running, and whatever else I can grab time for. Physical activity, more than anything else in my life, keeps my mind clear and focused, my emotions steady, and my body strong and healthy. Which all make me a better mom, better partner, better friend….a better woman in general!

So we’ve rolled over into a new year, and are rounding the corner on winter. I’m craving some exercise and the pick-me-up that comes with it. Spring will bring sunnier days and warmer temperatures and….race season!

I just started running a couple of years ago with the encouragement of my sister, Kate, a marathoner. She’s inspirational in her own running and I’ve had so much fun racing with her! And she’s not afraid to yell “Tie that shoe Angie!!!” in the middle of a course.

Downloads

Left: June 2011 Solstice Run, Vancouver WA. Right: June 2012 Pacific Crest Sports Festival, Sunriver OR

Just like Kate has passed her love of running on to me, I aspire to instill the same feeling of excitement about fitness in my kids. Evie has participated in three seasons of Girls On The Run, a great program that builds confidence and love of fitness in grade-school girls. She and I have run three 5K races together as part of that program! I’ve been delighted to run together and encourage her, and to see the pride on her face when she completes a race and improves her time.

Left: Evie and one of her Girls On The Run pals after their Spring 5K. Right: Evie’s very first GOTR 5K. Will and Luke provided moral support and comic relief.

We participated in the weekend-long Pacific Crest Sports Festival last summer in Sunriver, Oregon, and Evie, Will, and Luke got a taste of the triathalon world. They each rocked the Kids’ Splash, Pedal, and Dash, and Will finished with an impressive 6:49 (that’s minutes).

We hung around transition areas and cheered. We watched athletes claw their way to the finish of a challenging triathalon course and then break out in laughter and smiles at the accomplishment! And in our downtime we rode miles and miles of paved and unpaved bike trails through the gorgeous Deschutes National Forest (Bonus!).

Kids' Dash

Left: Luke, Evie, Will (and cousin Ella) at the mini-tri bike transition. Right: Post-race smiles, and medals all around.

The very, very best thing about this particular festival is that it serves to generate excitement for fitness in the whole family. Kids run, moms run, dads run, friends run, strangers run (and bike and swim!), and everybody has a great time!

Emphasis is on personal best and finishing, not winning, and everyone’s efforts are recognized. Our group had racers in both triathalon events, the half-marathon, 10K, and kids’ races, and everybody’s finishes were celebrated wholeheartedly. I honestly can’t think of a better way to make fitness fun and to model that health is important and valuable.

1-mile Dash finishers

Left: Luke, Evie, and Will after their 1-Mile Dash finish. Right: Luke was especially proud of his race medal, and has since permanently affixed it to his school backpack.

So I’ve set a goal for 2013: I will run a 10K race in under an hour. I only have one 10K time under my belt for reference, but I think it’s doable. I have one race lined up for April, and I’m anticipating a second chance in June.

In the meantime, I’ve got to get running!

What activities excite you and make you want to get moving? Please share!

This looks like it could be a great tool! I wonder if I can take a peek at the code book before buying?

See Jen Dance

My CDE noticed my new appreciation for making things from scratch. (Or more often than not, having my husband make things from scratch for me because I hate cooking.) She also noticed that my blood sugars are being poorly affected from miscalculating carb counts in fresh foods.

The quinoa bake was a really good example of the mistakes one can make during insulin dosing. (Seriously… why do pasta and grain packages only give you nutrition information for dry portions?) Since I was getting frustrated not knowing exactly what I was eating when making things from scratch, she suggested I get a scale. But not just any scale – one that measures carbs and other nutrition facts for a multitude of other foods.

I bought one this weekend. Here is my Perfect Portions Nutrition Scale.

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Don’t get me wrong. This is a small investment. My little $5 scale pales in comparison…

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Why I’ll Never Buy Microwave Popcorn Again

PopcornI love popcorn. And my kids love popcorn! Plain popcorn is a healthy, crunchy, whole-food snack with only 6 grams of carbohydrate per cup (popped). What I don’t like, however, is popcorn smothered in butter, oil, and sugar and/or salt. I want it PLAIN.

I also want it to be quick, and without a lot of fuss, or an extra appliance to fiddle with. I tried Alton Brown’s Good Eats method once, but the process of shaking a metal bowl of kernels over a gas burner was cumbersome, and it turned my bowl black (and it was HOT!). I need something more kid-friendly.

Enter the microwave, the quintessential convenience tool. Throw in a bag, enter the time, stand back and listen for the POP. Great, right? Except that most of the microwave popcorn found on grocery store shelves is full of ingredients that make me cringe.

Even the few labeled “Home Style” and “Natural,” and the organic varieties, contain tons of oil (usually soybean or palm oils, sometimes partially hydrogenated) and salt. The worst offenders contain nasty ingredients like diacetyl, which gives a butter flavor, chemical preservatives and colorings, and artificial flavoring agents. To top it off, the bags are lined with PFCs (perfluorinated compounds). Yum.

So it dawned on me yesterday that there wasn’t really anything special about microwave popcorn. I have paper bags. I can buy plain popping corn. And sure enough, it was a breeze to make. Here’s what we did:

Evie measures out the popcorn into a brown paper lunch sack

The right amount of popcorn for a brown paper lunch bag is between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup. Our first try resulted in a bag that opened up mid-pop, so we solved that problem by threading it closed with half of a wooden skewer. I think a toothpick would work just as well.

A wooden skewer keeps the full bag closed while the corn pops

A wooden skewer keeps the full bag closed while the corn pops

We set our microwave for 4.5 minutes, and it finished popping around 4 minutes. Every microwave is different, so make sure you listen for when the popping slows to 1 or 2 per second to avoid burning.

Evie pours perfectly fluffy and white popcorn into a bowl

Evie pours perfectly fluffy and white popcorn into a bowl

Open the bag carefully (it’s hot!), pour into a bowl, and munch away! If you’re not really as into plain popcorn as I am, here are some fun recipes to try:

Source: foodgawker.com via Angie on Pinterest

Quick Lunch: Madras Lentils and Spinach

This is my latest go-to quick lunch for busy weekdays, when I often only have the time (and the inclination) to throw something in the microwave. It’s usually dinner leftovers, but those run out. This is a great alternative to a pb&j when you need a speedy meal that’s both filling and healthy.

I buy these shelf-stable packages of Tasty Bite pre-cooked Madras Lentils at the grocery store (in the Natural Foods section at Fred Meyer) or Costco. They contain 2 servings per package, but I’ve found the whole package to be a nice amount for lunch.

INGREDIENTS:
Water, Tomatoes, Lentils, Red Beans, Onions, Cream, Salt, Butter, Sunflower Oil, Chilies, Cumin.

All you have to do is tear the top of the pouch about two inches, toss the whole thing in the microwave for 90 seconds, and then pour it into your favorite bowl.

photo 1

Like so.

photo 2 The lentils will be piping hot at this point. To boost my veggie intake for the day, and to add some crunch, I pile on a big heaping handful of spinach leaves. The hot lentils will wilt the spinach slightly, but you can return it to the microwave for another 60 seconds or so if you like your spinach softer.photo (1)Voilá! A 300 calorie lunch packed with Vitamin A, fiber, B-Vitamins, essential amino acids, and trace minerals, made in under two minutes. Throw a kiwi (or other Vitamin C rich food) onto your plate to increase your iron absorption from the lentils and spinach, and dig in!photo 4

Calories: 307, Carbohydrate: 37 gm, Protein: 8 gm, Fiber: 11 gm. Vegetarian. Gluten-free.