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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Healthy Recipe for Low Calorie Vegan Cookies!

Mmmm healthy VEGAN cookies

It has been way too long since my last post and i'm so glad to be back on here with a great new recipe!  It's pretty simple and VERY healthy.  And attention vegans: it's dairy and egg FREE! Plus it lets you satisfy your sweet tooth without all the added sugars in regular store bought cookies!

Here are the ingredients you'll need:

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup UNSWEETENED applesauce
  • 1/4 almonds or walnuts
  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp any other dried fruit
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground flaxseed

what the cookie mixture looks like before baking
  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. mix vanilla extract and cinnamon into the unsweetened applesauce
  3. blend applesauce mixture with all other ingredients and let stand for at least 10 minutes
  4. scoop onto a cookie sheet and flatten cookies into rounds (this can make 12-16 cookies depending on the size of each cookie)
  5. bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden
  6. remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes to cool

Enjoy!  Please leave a comment below and let me know how you tweak the recipe to make it your own!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mix It Up & Lose Weight!

I love yoga.  I crave running.  I enjoy exercise period.  But the key to keeping your body in overall great shape is simple.  MIX. IT. UP.  Keeping your body guessing means that you can avoid that plateau we all tend to come across at some point.

So today I tried a variation of my usual exercise choices.  Not just yoga or weights or calisthenics.  But all of the above.

TODAY'S ROUTINE: I started with 50 jumping jacks. Then I began the standing portion of Bikram yoga poses (see image guide below).  Followed by 50 more jumping jacks.  Then down to the mat I went to finish the Bikram series.  Don't forget those 50 crunches next.  Two sets of 10 push ups.  Then 10 dead lift leg raises on each leg. Close out with 50 more jumping jacks.

Doesn't take too long but it will definitely kick your butt!  Mixing in cardio with strength training kicks up the calorie burn and we can all use that!

Try this series out and tell me you aren't tired!

image source

Monday, May 21, 2012

Capitola Half Marathon - 2012

What a beautiful day for a race in Santa Cruz, California yesterday!  70 degrees and sunny with a light breeze.  Gorgeous.  The Capitola Half Marathon started out in front of the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk at the crack of dawn 7am.  All us runners piled through the arch set up across the starting line then we were off!  After weaving through some nearby neighborhoods, we made our way to East Cliff and cruised along the ocean.  Beautiful views were endless.  Pleasure Point, one of Santa Cruz's most famous surf spots had waves rolling in.
We continued down through the Capitola Village and looped around to come back up East Cliff.  Half way there!  The hill out of the village though was because it was steep and two because it was the 3rd steep hill that we had conquered by that point!  But I couldn't slow down.  I liked to think that each step I took got me that much closer!  When I was getting to the top of these hills, my breath was noticeable shorter.  What worked for me to get it back without stopping to rest or walk?? Slow your pace down to just under your race pace, and focus on taking slow, deep breaths.  When you can run without breathing through your mouth, return to your practiced race pace!

As I ran back through the course, I was sure to take advantage of the water and refueling stations throughout the race.  If you are a runner that prefers not to carry water bottles or energy packs on you (like me!) then these are critical.  Plenty of water will help prevent cramping.  Then I saw the Boardwalk and knew I was almost there!  Here is a shot of the runners passing the Boardwalk right before the Cowell's Beach finish line.
My finish time was 2hrs 7min!!!  Beat my last half marathon time by 9 minutes!  So proud that I finished strong and so happy and thankful that I had such a supportive team there with me to cheer me on!  Great job to all the runners yesterday and I can't wait for my next race!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Carbo-loading For Your Race!


Seeing as how I am racing in the Capitola Half Marathon this Sunday, May 20th, I thought this topic was perfect!  Most runners already know that if you are going to be running in a half or full marathon, loading up on extra carbs is a must!  Carbohydrates provide energy for your body throughout the 13.1 or 26.2 miles ahead of you and will help you avoid what is known as "the wall."  The questions become when should you start loading up, how much, and with what exactly???

When you eat carbohydrates, they are stored in your muscles as glycogen.  This is the easiest form of energy for your body.  Fat then is converted to energy. Yes this sounds great...but during a race this is NOT the goal as it is more difficult for your body to do and we want the GREATEST level of energy we can get!  Glycogen is still needed to convert your fat to energy.   Make it easier on your body.  Stay energized!

Some of the carbs that you SHOULD be consuming include:  tortillas, oatmeal, bread, pancakes, waffles, bagels,  or yogurt (go greek!)  Fruit is packed with good carbs, but the high fiber can affect you mid race. If you are a fruit fan like me, try bananas that are great for energy, yet lower in fiber.  

What to AVOID: foods that are high in fat --> like creamy sauces, cheeses, butter, and oils.  High fat foods will only slow you down.  Instead, try jam on your toast instead of butter and for your pasta use tomato sauce.  And folks, EXTRA protein isn't really necessary.

Now the biggest question...HOW MUCH SHOULD WE EAT???  Well, you're in can't fill up your glycogen stores with just one meal.  Start just 2 or 3 days before your race.  Since the week of your long race should be light in the mileage you are running, the stores will continue to build up.  For a precise formula, check out where runners can include variables such as age, resting heart rate, predicted finishing time, and more.  

Be careful not to eat more calories though runners!  Instead, more of your calories should be coming from carbohydrates.  And as always...remember to really enjoy these few days of extra carbs! ;-)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Can EGGS really be a runner's power food???

In case you haven't noticed, I am a vegetarian indeed.  But I have contemplated and attempted to go vegan a few times.  Thing is, unless you have access to some amazing whole foods, it is extremely difficult.  That, and the fact that there are may power foods that are critical for us runners that animals have the ability to give us.  There is always a wrong and a right way to eat animal products, so make smart decisions (like choosing FREE RANGE not CAGE FREE or CAGED) but know that you are actively participating in a healthy lifestyle too.  Today we're going to look at how eggs are a great power food for runners and why you should work them in to your diet!

They help you cut your daily intake of calories.  The protein in eggs can hold you over until you are able to make further smart decisions in your diet.  The protein curbs hunger and cravings inching you closer and closer to your goal weight and fitness level.  According to Runner's World, egg protein is easy for your body to absorb, making it a key player in muscle-repair after a long workout or run.

I have a feeling that at this point, you have already thought about the dreaded "cholesterol" rumored to be lurking in those eggs.  Yes it's's in there.  However you are packing in so much nutrition it is far from devastating to your health or diet.  You other option is to choose egg whites like me!  I like them better personally.  And there goes most of your cholesterol!  But how to get the yolk out without breaking it up?? When you crack your egg in half, just pour the yolk back and forth letting the rest fall into the bowl for mixing!

Bone strength is critical for runners too.  Eggs are one of the few natural sources of Vitamin D which allows your body to efficiently absorb calcium making our bones good and strong!  So crack a few open for breakfast, a snack, or try it in your smoothie.

Trust me...your body will thank you!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Aerobic vs Anaerobic - What Kind of Exercise Do We Need?

image source
Let's start with defining these terms.  Aerobic exercise involves relatively low intensity workouts.  It literally means "with oxygen."  This type of exercise promotes circulation of oxygen to the blood.  Anaerobic refers to exercises "without oxygen."  They tend to be delivered in bursts rather than consistent level energy output.

Benefits of aerobic exercise: There are numerous benefits of aerobic exercise.  It improves cardiovascular performance and lung function as the body adapts to more efficiently utilize oxygen.  It lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol.   It reduces body fat and is more effective than anaerobic when it comes to weight loss and management.

Benefits of anaerobic exercise: Anaerobic exercises include strength building and flexibility.  Strength building refers to short, more intense movements.  Flexibility exercises assist in the toning and stretching of your muscles.  Anaerobic exercises are definitely more effective in muscle toning and definition.  Also, it aids in the development of greater muscle mass...which leads to more calories burned while at rest.

What are some great ways to get these exercises types covered?  Here are some examples:
  • Aerobic: jogging, cross country skiing, swimming laps, spinning, rowing, walking
  • Anaerobic: sprints, weight lifting, power yoga, interval training, tennis, basketball

For a balanced workout regimen, be sure to involve both types of exercise.  This will help you BURN FAT and get TONED.  Which is what we are all going for!  Don't overdo any one exercise or sport.  The best way to attain the good shape we are working toward, always keep your body guessing.  For me, I like to run 3-4 days each week with a long run on one of the days.  In between, I practice yoga (bikram) and lift weights for muscle tone and definition.

For specific schedules, you can speak to your doctor or health professional...just reach out! They all enjoy helping you reach your fitness goals :)  Also, feel free to message me or comment if you have any questions!

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hiking Mount Saint Helena

Today we hiked Mount Saint Helena in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park.  We summited the North Peak which stands at 4,342 feet as the highest point in the San Francisco Bay Area Watershed.  It is of volcanic origin and is surrounded by numerous geysers and hot springs which can be seen while on the climb.  Our hike started out around 9am when the weather was pretty cool.  Be sure, as on every hike you plan, to layer up!  Do your best to avoid cotton clothing.  Instead wear materials that will wick sweat away from your body and will maintain the healthiest and most comfortable conditions for you to climb in all day.
That's my fiance and me at the trail head!  Why do we look so excited?? Well because of the nutritious breakfast in our bellies :)  But seriously, eat a breakfast with whole grains and protein for long lasting energy.  This morning we enjoyed some oatmeal mixed with ground flaxseed and cinnamon complimented by a delicious coffee for the extra caffeine of course.  Toast, fruit, and greek yogurt are also great options if oatmeal isn't your thing.  To maintain your energy throughout the hike, pack snacks!  Granola bars, bananas, and peanut butter sandwiches (AND PLENTY OF WATER) made for a tasty lunch and re-engergized us for the 5.1 mile trek back down the mountain.
...The Fire Road...
Now some information about the trail itself...The first mile to mile and a half consisted of some switchbacks and technical sections.  After that the fire road was how we traveled up. 

...Easterly View... 
Halfway up the view way already magnificent!  Today was sunny and pretty warm but still a bit hazy.  On a clear day, after a storm has passed through perhaps, you can see the snow capped mountains in the distance.
...The Final Summit Push...
A few miles later we had the summit in sight.  The trail doesn't look too bad right??  Psh!  False! It was quite a steep push!  And oh so worth it.  After sweating out the last 1.5 miles we summited and in less than 2 hours.  The views were INCREDIBLE.  360 degrees of mountains, Lake Berryessa, and the Pacific Ocean.
After lunch, we started back and the climb down flew by!  Within 1.5 hours we had made it all the way back to the trail head once again.
...Heading Home...
My last tip for you after a long hike like this??  Have a change of clothes handy along with some fresh wipes to get most of the dirt off!  You WILL thank me for this one.  Nothing like feeling refreshed for the drive back home.  Yes, I know I look tired, but i'm happy too because the hike was amazing!  Not only did we get a chance to check out some insane views of vineyards and mountains, but we burned hundreds of calories today without getting bored!  No gym time.  Just fresh air.  Thank you Mother Nature.

Go out and enjoy it :)