Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Guilty Pleasures....

Hi Friends,

I  hope you are all having a great week. I am sort of done with my cold although I have a strange lasting effect...I keep getting dizzy spells that last for several minutes. It's very odd and uncomfortable. Any ideas about that?

I got in a 5 mile run yesterday and am going to shoot for a 6 miler tomorrow to gear up for my race Sunday. This is cramming at it's finest, not the smartest way to train! But, with my cold and time constraints, it is what it is. I am looking forward to running at the Del Mar Race Track and know I will finish. And, since this is my first 10k, it's a PR, right!!! :)

In the meantime, I was thinking about some of my guilty pleasures the other day and thought I would share. What are your guilty pleasures?

1. Staying in bed late into the morning with a fresh pot of tea and peering over food magazines, cookbooks, or whatever novel I am currently working through. As much as I like working out in the morning on the weekends, I LOVE staying in bed late and reading. It's so relaxing and gives a greater sense of peace to my entire weekend.

2. Slicing button mushrooms and hard boiled eggs. I don't know why, but I just love the way these feel under a sharp knife! Call me crazy.

3. Indulgent loose leaf teas. My favorite teas are from the French Tea House Kusmi or from my local coffee shop Pannikan. Lovely. Bagged teas work in a pinch, but the ritual of lovely tea mixed with boiling water in a pretty tea pot is so much better.

4. Frozen yogurt. I can't stop eating it although it almost always makes me feel bloated. It's just such a tasty treat and I let myself indulge about once a month.

5. Healthy living and food magazines. My favorite was Gourmet...I still am sad it's gone and miss it's gorgeous pictures every month. I also love Natural Health, Whole Living, Saveur, Cucina Italiana, Food and Wine, Vegetarian Times, VegNews, and occasionally Living and Real Simple. I dog ear recipes and try them out, I check out natural alternatives for cleaning, healthcare, etc, I find book reviews to read, think of ideas for decorating my house, etc.

6. Down. Down comforters, down pillows, down feather beds. Ah! I can't get enough. I love slipping into a big puffy, fluffy bed of feathers.

7. Clean sheets. I would wash my sheets every day if I could. Martha Stewart recommends washing them every other day! Who has time for that? I wash mine once a week since Pdog sleeps on the bed. Ahh.

8. Essential Oils. While Essential oils are great for cleaning, health issues, aromatherapy, etc, they also smell lovely. I like putting some drops in my shower, sprinkling some on my yoga mat, mixing some with water and misting all over the house, my bed, etc, for a fresh home. I won't tell you how many of the little bottles I own. It's a lot.

9. 90210. Yes, I love these cheesy show. While I am at it, I might as well admit I watch Jersey Shore. I know, I know. Horrid! But, these are guilty pleasures, after all.

10. Cheese. As much as I would love to be a vegan, cheese, I just can't quit you. You are creamy, melty, salty, delicious.

11. Flower vases, I have more of you than I know what to do with. I actually cleaned out some of my vases recently, but still have quite the collection. I buy fresh flowers often and love these vessels for showing them off. They also look pretty in key spots around my house.

12. Sweet smelling candles. Do I need to explain? I have been trying to switch to soy or other natural candles lately. I have been reading about how bad regular candles are for you.

13. Badger Balms. I have about 15! They do everything...from soothing a headache, to grounding you for yoga practice, to mending sore muscles, to keeping bugs away. These balms are organic, smell fantastic, and they really work. I highly recommend them.

14. Banana Republic. Hands down my favorite store. Great work clothes, great casual clothes, great dresses, etc. I would guess that 80% of my wardrobe is from Banana.

15. Cookbooks. I can't even begin to tell you how many I have!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Racing Fever

Hi Friends,

I hope everyone had a great week!

I have racing fever! Who am I? One of my goals for 2011 was to run a 5k and a 10k. I did a 5k in March, I have done 3 tris, and I am doing 2 10ks! Holy moly!

My tri on October 16th was fantastic! It was this race: in San Diego. This was the first triathlon I signed up for...back in January! This was the one that started it all...the race that got me training in March, signing up for two more races over the summer, whipped my butt into shape, and helped me to loose over 20 pounds. It really amazes me that I have done THREE triathlons!  This has been a life changing experience. The work outs are fun, the camaraderie of the people I train with is lovely, the strength and fitness I have gained are amazing...and race day is just so darned exciting. I am addicted to racing...that is a fact. I think I will do at least 2-3 tris a year for the foreseeable future. I am considering doing an Olympic distance race next year...which is a 1 mile swim, 50k bike ride, and 10k run. I am really pretty confident I can do it. We will see!

Anyway, I never wrote about my second race in July. It was a shorter race so it was difficult to compare my times with the race I did in May. While the July race was fun, I got a cold the week before. It made race day really tough and I did not feel like I was at my best. My back hurt, my muscles were stiff from no activity, my lungs were not working very well...and I was drained of energy. It was still fun and I am glad I did it. Because I did not feel great in July, I really poured myself into training for the October tri. I mean really! I really kept up with my workouts and pushed myself for speed. I did all of my swims in open water (rather than the pool), I did longer bike rides, and I ran more.

Of the three races, I was certainly most excited for this one in October. I felt prepared, I knew what to expect, and I wanted to kill it! Well...I did! I beat my racing time from the race in May (the same distance) by over 20 minutes!!!!! The first race was 1:53 and this one was 1:32! The whole race was a thrill. I had lots of friends in the race and just felt amped and well...ready for it.

The swim started in the water which was weird and annoying because you got kind of bunched up with the people from your group. But as soon as I got past the traffic jam...I was off! And wow did I swim fast. I lapped people two waves ahead of problem. My first swim time for the same distance was 26 minutes or so. This time it was 17 minutes! That is improvement right there folks.

Then came the bike ride. Given I have a clunker of a bike, I don't go totally fast, but I beat my time by a few minutes. I really pushed myself on the bike...and just pedaled as fast and as hard as I could. The bike ride was around Mission Bay which is very pretty so it made the ride go by fast.

Now, it was time for the run. I jumped off my bike and my legs did not hurt at all! I remember the first race I felt my legs were going to give out from under me at this transition...not this time. I just started running...and ran really fast! In fact, I ran so fast, I finished the 5k in 26 minutes. Folks, this is huge. I usually run a 9:45 mile. 5k is 3.2 miles... you do the math! During my first race, my run time was over 32 minutes. Umm...again...improvement much!??? I just kept thinking "you are stronger than you think you  are" and pushed through. It was amazing. I felt so darned proud of myself.

This race was wonderful. I had so much fun I didn't take any pictures! Oopsie! All I can say is, anyone can do a sprint triathlon and should. It's a great way to get in shape, test your physical and mental strength, and well it's just an absolute blast.

My next race is a 10k at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Sunday, November 6th. I am not overly nervous for this race although it's been about 6 months since I last ran 6 miles. I can easily run 5, and know I have the endurance for it. I mean...what's a 10k when you have done a triathlon? :) I had planned to get a few longer runs in this week...but guess what? I am sick! Is this a trend? A curse? I hope this isn't a new kind of "racing fever"!!!! Getting sick before a race sucks. It does not help mentally. Although it's really too late to build speed or strength in my training so close to race day, I just wanted to get in the runs to mentally prepare. I also wanted to stretch and warm my muscles at yoga, which I have not been able to do since I am sneezing like a banshee. I knew this 10k would not be my fastest, I just wanted to bite the bullet and start running more, so I signed up for the race....why not? It worked with the triathlons. And, clearly since I just did the triathlon, I haven't had a ton of time to train for speed. But....anyway, I am sure it will still be fun, I just hope I don't continue to get sick ahead of other races. It's no fun! Here is the race next weekend:

My next 10k is December 10th, so I will have more time to train for that one. And it will be fun to see how my time improves from next week to the 10th. It will also be great to be running through the holidays, and hopefully I won't have the weight gain so many people experience at this time of year. Here is the race in December:

To be honest, aside from my fantastic Triathlon on the 16th...the past two weeks have been total crap. I had two automobile snafus, work hasn't really been great, I had two fairly awful outings, I haven't been able to sleep, my television broke (and I paid someone from AT&T $55 to tell me what I already knew) and to top it all off...I am sick with a crappy cold!!!!!!!!!! Bleck, bleck and more bleck. It's amazing how much you miss your health when you don't have it....

Anyway, I hope you all have some fun Halloween plans for the weekend. My plans include making a few batches of homemade soups, sitting on the couch with some books and the magazine pile I need to catch up on, and watching movies on my brand new TV (that I really didn't want in the first place....ha! At least I can make a joke about it).

Happy Halloween, Love Bugs!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Saag Paneer with Tofu

Hi all,

I made my Saag Paneer tonight. I didn't take pictures because my kitchen at night is a black hole and let's be honest...Saag Paneer is not pretty anyway. It's an Indian spinach dish with yogurt, and typically made with cheese. I chose to make it with tofu. This is a pretty simple dish to make, it only took me about 20 minutes. However, it takes a food processor and I used two it kind of makes a mess. But once you get the hang of it, it's really easy.

1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 TBSP butter
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp curry powder (I used freshly pounded curry mix from my farmer's market)
1 package tofu cut into large chunks (I am really liking Trader Joe's organic sprouted tofu)
1-2 pounds fresh greens (I used 2 bags of Trader Joe's fresh baby spinach and 1 bunch of beet greens. You can use any non-bitter greens that you like. I bet chard would be great. Last time I made this, I used 2 bunches of spinach from the farmer's market and that was the right amount. Tonight I think I had a bit too much, but it still worked. You want about 3-4 cups of processed greens.)
1 cup Fage 2% plain yogurt.

If you want this dish to be vegan, substitute the butter with EVOO and the yogurt with soy yogurt.

Saute the onion, ginger, garlic and curry powder until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute or roast your tofu until it has a crisp outer layer. Set aside.
Now, at the same time, comes the annoying part. You have to puree the greens in the food processor. Do it in batches, pushing the greens down all the while. Once the spinach is very finely processed (think pesto), then add it to the onion mixture. Some recipes said to pre-blanch the greens, but I found it unnecessary and found the water from the raw greens helped to deglaze my pan. I am sure that I retained more of the nutrients this way as well.
Once the greens are cooked down and the water evaporates, add salt, and stir in the yogurt off the heat. Add the tofu at the last minute and stir in. Voila! This is SO tasty, I really encourage you to make it.

This made three entree servings. I served it with whole wheat naan for dipping. You definitely want something to dip into the smooth and creamy spinach! If you are having this in addition to other dishes as traditional Indian food is served, it would serve 6. I bet it would taste great over rice too. You could even add in some veggies...just nothing too acidic as to curdle the yogurt.

I hope everyone's week is going great!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cleanse Updates and Mount Woodson

Hello Friendies! I hope you all had a glorious weekend and are settling comfortably into your work week. I was on top of my work out plans last week and surpassed my goals.

My workout goals were:

  • Yoga 5-7 times a week
  • Run 2-3 times a week
  • Swim 2x a week
  • Bike 2x a week
  • Walk Peroni for 45 minutes 5 times a week
In actuality, I did:
  • Yoga 8 times!!!! This is a new record for me!
  • Ran 2x
  • Swam (in open water!) 2x
  • Biked 2x (one 15 mile ride and one 20 mile ride!)
  • Walked Peroni 6 times 
  • AND I did a killer 3 and half hour hike up Mount Woodson. It's been two days and my legs are STILL sore! Holy cow...what a hike! More on that in a minute.
As far as my food was concerned, I was good except for two small slip ups: 
  • I ate a popsicle from Trader Joe's. It was lime. It was tasty. I kind of forgot it had sugar in it. Oops!
  • I wanted to make vegan Saag Paneer but could not find soy yogurt, so I used real yogurt. I have to tell you, this dish turned out so amazingly good, I can't wait to make it again. It's essentially finely chopped spinach with yogurt and seasoning mixed in. It's typically made with big chunks of cheese, but I used pan fried tofu. I will post a recipe the next time I make it. 
Overall, I am so happy I did the cleanse. It's great to give your body a break from sugar, wheat, dairy and alcohol. I feel refreshed and got so much done around the house. I highly recommend a cleanse for anyone but it's especially good if you have been feeling sluggish or you have been getting behind on's just great for the soul. 

Now back to Mount Woodson! I have done a fair amount of hiking in San Diego but had never been to Mount Woodson. It's a 7 mile round trip hike, going straight up the side of this mountain and then turning around and coming back down. It took about 3 and 1/2 hours with a couple of water and snack breaks. It was an awesome workout and the views were lovely. I highly encourage you San Diegans to do this...just bring LOTS of water and  sunscreen.

 Taking a break from the heat....
 Peroni loves hiking....

 My friends Kim and Ondre....can you believe them? I would not climb on that looks way too unstable to me!
 Kim, Amanda and Michelle....

 This was a moment before a huge crow swooped down with claws out and tried grabbing at the dogs!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cleanse Updates


Is everyone's Monday off to a good start? Due to my cleanse...I am having a pretty good Monday so far.

Here is my update of how things went the first week:

Food (I have been cooking quite a bit of recipes out of "Clean Food"...a must have cookbook for clean eating and cleansing!)

Sweets/ Sugar: One of the reasons I wanted to cleanse is that I have had an undeniable sweet tooth lately! I find that the more sugar I eat, the more I want. It is addicting, after all. So, when I cleanse and cut it out, over time my cravings go away...or if they are still there they are satisfied by some fresh fruit or a small bit of dark chocolate. So far, I have been pretty good with sweets:

  • Last Monday I ate a small piece of dark chocolate. I have not slipped up on sweets since then. 
  • I baked some healthy "treats" (if you can call them that) of nut cherry bars adaptedfrom "Clean Food". They have no sugar, are made with brown rice flower, and have very little fat. I would hardly call them sweet, but they are tasty and keep me on the clean eating while allowing a little treat in my day. 
  • I also made some poached fruit from "Clean Food"...again, with no sugar and really not bad for you. I used fresh apples and figs with dried cherries, spices, fresh oj and orange zest. Yum. But, after dinner when I have a sweet craving, this fruit does the trick.
Dairy: As much as I love cheese and Greek yogurt, I really feel so much better when I avoid dairy. (I don't eat any other dairy...I use alternative milks and haven't had regular milk in YEARS. It's gross). My stomach feels flatter, my skin is better, my digestion works better, I don't feel sluggish, etc, etc, etc. There are SO many reasons NOT to eat dairy, but honestly, I am addicted to cheese and don't think I could give it up completely. What is more glorious than a delicious glass of wine shared with friends on a patio over a nice cheese board? For a while I was eating non-dairy cheese, but now it just grosses me out. It just seems so fake...real, organic, non-hormone, cruelty free cheese is probably better for me in the end. Of course, dairy is really hard on your digestive system...our bodies are not made to break down other animals' milk. So, even if you can't go fully vegan...give your body a break from dairy once in a while. 
  • I had a little cream cheese and Greek Yogurt left in the fridge on Monday and did not want it to go to waste, so I used it. I have not had any dairy since Monday and honestly...I don't really miss it.
Processed White Carbs: So I don't really eat processed foods but I do love me some fresh French Bread and pasta. Since I have been working out so much, I haven't been feeling guilty about eating these naughty foods lately. But again, the point of this cleanse is to give my body a break, so I am trying to lay off. I don't really consider my two items "slip-ups"...They were well thought out decisions to eat carbs...that happened to be white. In both instances, the things I ate were organic, handmade, without preservatives, and served with balanced, healthful meals. I do not feel guilty one bit about either one. I am not going to eat any more this week. 
  • I was invited to a soft opening at an awesome new restaurant in my neighborhood: Urban Plates.  This is a farm to table restaurant and they use all local, sustainable, organic products. It was fantastic...and free! They offered dessert which I easily turned down...but on my lovely plate of grilled ahi, raw kale salad and roasted potatoes, I was offered a toasty peice of ciabatta bread. Ummm...I ate it. And loved it. 
  • Last night I made fresh made egg pasta with raw tomatoes, garlic, and basil. It was grand.
Green Juice / Green Smoothies: I have been drinking at least one 12 oz glass of veggie juice a day. It gives you so much energy. (I am not talking V-8! I mean freshly made juice of kale, cucumber, carrots, spinach, herbs, etc.) Every morning I make some kind of green smoothie: some combo of frozen bananas, fresh spinach, green powder, and some other kind of fruit...and sometimes flax, chia seeds, etc. I blend it all with rice milk, almond milk, etc. These drinks give you so much energy...I highly recommend them! I don't have a juicer, so I go to juice bars to get my veggie juice. It's fairly pricey, but when you consider all the pounds of organic veggies that it takes to make juice...and how expensive juicers are, it seems worth it to me. 

Snacks: I have been snacking on raw nuts and fruit. This seems to be doing the trick.

Meals: My meals have been tasty! I have been making salads, soups, roasted veggies and tofu, grains like quinoa with flavorful mixins, and things like that. This week I am going to try a vegan Saag Panneer with tofu rather than cheese. I am also starting to crave fall foods like roasted root veggies and squash. My meals aren't that different than usual...with the absence of cheese. I still am eating free range organic local eggs, and have had wild caught sustainable salmon once too. I feel perfectly satisfied.

One note about food: So much of my job is schmoozing....going to happy hours, lunches, breakfasts, meetings, etc. All of these things = wine and food! I feel very proud of the fact that although I went to about 6 of these types of events last week, I did not have any slip ups! If there were appetizers, I stuck to eating raw veggies and hummus, and fruit. If there was breakfast, I avoided it. I did have a lunch at a Thai restaurant, but I stuck to veggies and brown rice. Still tasty, and in line with my cleanse. 

Wine / Beer: I haven't really missed alcohol. Without it I find my sleep patterns are much better and my sleep is much deeper. I have only thought about it twice: once last night with that fresh know some chardonnay would have been great with it. And, on Saturday when I got to try Urban Plates...that lunch would have tasted great with a beer. But other than that, my herbal tea, water and green juice has been quite enough for me. 

Workout updates: So, I did pretty well with my workout goals last week...surpassing some goals and only falling short on one.

My workout goals were:

  • Yoga 5-7 times a week
  • Run 2-3 times a week
  • Swim 2x a week
  • Bike 2x a week
  • Walk Peroni for 45 minutes 5 times a week

In actuality, I did:
  • Yoga 6 times
  • Run 2 times
  • Swim 2 times
  • Biked 1 time
  • Walked Peroni 6 times, 4 were 45 minute walks, one was 30 minutes, and one was 90 minutes
I am pretty happy with my first week of the cleanse. It's going so well, I might decide to keep at it longer than just two weeks!

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cleansing = Crossing off the "to-do" list

Hi Friends,

I have had a glorious and productive weekend, tackling my to do list and having some fun too!

Listen to everything I did:

  • Yoga Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Walk Pdog Friday, Saturday (along Coast Highway in Encinitas) and Sunday
  • Biked to Yoga Saturday (and my legs are still sore)
  • Cleaned my entire house
  • Did about 10 loads of laundry
  • Cooked a healthy "desert"...Nut Raisin Bars from "Clean Food"
  • Went to the farmer's market in Del Mar on Saturday, and in Leucadia on Sunday. 
  • Dropped off pants to be altered
  • Groomed Pdog
  • Took Pdog to the groomer to clip his toe nails (which is always an absolutely horrid experience! Pdog freaks out like nothing I have ever seen. He is 16 pounds of unbridled strength!)
  • Cooked Coconut Lentil Soup Friday
  • Took some returns to H &M (why oh why did one of these have to open so close to my house? TROUBLE.)
  • Took some returns to Anthropologie
  • Got my Japanese Knife Sharpened
  • Restocked my dry goods (beans, lentils, grains, etc) at Sprout's bulk sale
  • Cleared out a pile of magazines
  • Picked up dry cleaning
  • Planned my meals for the week.
  • Started reading a new book.
  • Watched some trashy tv and a few good movies.
Phew!!! I need a break from my weekend :). I am SO productive whenever I cleanse. I love, love, love it. I feel like I have so much energy and just love crossing things of my to do list. I tend to let domestic projects pile up, so it's great to get so much of this stuff done.

I still have a pretty big list I want to tackle over the next week:
  • Purge Guestroom / Office (I have tons of clothes that are too big for me and I need to figure out if I am selling them, donating, etc.)
  • Organize and purge dressers (I have recently done this with my closet and love it. I had to get rid of all the clothes that were too big, and reorganize and make space for my new smaller attire! My closet feels like my own personal store. I love it.)
  • Organize my photo albums (this has been on my to-do list for YEARS. AGH! Enough.)
  • Put together an emergency kit (this became an important item after last week's major blackout)
  • Organize recipes. (I have piles of magazine clippings, recipes printed from the web, etc. I am actually hoping to start tackling this tonight)
  • Organize garage
  • Organize balcony closet
And my fun to dos:
  • Make jewelry (I have tons of beads, etc., and should take advantage!)
  • Do some Asian Brush Painting (I purchased all the equipment in May of 2010 and have yet to paint once!)
It's actually just nice to organize these thoughts. Like I have said before: cleansing clears your body of toxins and opens you up to new ideas. When you cleanse your body, it's only natural that you start cleansing other parts of your life too!

I hope you all had a great weekend.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Back on the running train!

Happy Friday Friends!

What do you have planned this weekend? I have so much I want to get done: My to do list is a mile long and includes things like house cleaning, dog grooming, organizing, cooking, yoga, farmer's market, etc. I hope I get through it all and find some time for gratitude, reading and relaxing as well. :)

My running efforts have suffered a bit over the past few months...due to lack of time given all the other activities I work on. In January, February and March of this year, I was running three times a week, typically a 3 mile, 4 mile, and 6 mile run. But then I started training for the triathlons and didn't have time, energy, blah, blah, blah....excuses, excuses. While I find running really hard, I actually feel so strong when I do it...and it makes me realize my big thighs are strong and good for something! I feel so accomplished when I am done with a run...and really most of the time it's a rush. I also LOVE how much weight I lose when I run. So I really would like to work my way back up to that 6 mile weekly run (and who knows? maybe longer?). My runs over the past 6 months have been 3 more. I just keep thinking that 3 miles is the distance of my races, so that is what I need just to keep up with training. Well... I think this is plain lazy and lame!

So today I decided to try a 5 mile run, giving myself permission to walk as much as I needed, knowing that jumping up by 40% in distance would not be easy (or advised by any training experts, by the way)...but I had it in my head and off I went. The first 3.75 miles were AWESOME! I felt like I was moving the earth under my feet. I was also averaging about 9 minutes a mile! Holy smokes! This is really fast for me! I haven't been watching my time this summer...just going out for leisurely 3 mile runs. But, I guess I have been gaining speed! This is SO encouraging. I really thought after mile 3 today I would hit a wall...and I really didn't. At the end of mile 3 and 4 there are hills that I ended up walking up (hills suck). So I finished 5.10 miles in 55 minutes, and I am guessing I walked for at least 7 minutes. Not too shabby at all! The next time I run I am going to try the same route and see if I  can run for more of the time.

In any case, I am so glad I forced myself out of bed this morning, laced up my running shoes, and ran. I feel strong and ready to start my day...and it certainly helps to start your day by burning over 530 calories in the morning!

Yahoo! Happy Friday to you all. Here is to hoping I get all my "to-dos" done!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Back to School" Cleanse

Hi Friends,

I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted. I hope everyone has had a lovely and exciting summer. My summer has been an absolute whirlwind. After going to Maui for a week, I traveled to NYC for a week to visit my sister, took two trips to San Francisco, went camping twice, had 3 weekend visitors, did another triathlon and have spent much time with friends going to the Del Mar Horse races, going to the pool, the beach, shopping, eating out and generally having a blast. I have been continuing with my healthy eating and cooking (as much as possible with all the traveling and eating out). What I haven't had is much time or inspiration for blogging.

While most of my summer has been joyous, there has been some pain two. My family lost two very close friends...both of their lives were taken too soon. One was like an aunt and the other was like an uncle to me, so that has been very sad, particularly for my parents that were so close with these people. I have also had several friendships go sour, which I find heartbreaking. I think that when you lose a friendship, a little piece of you dies. In most of these cases I am not sure what went wrong, but all I can do is try to learn from these situations and try and be a better friend going forwards. I cherish my friends and pour a lot into my friendships, so I find it really sad when things don't work out, especially with friends I have known for decades. I have to tell you that this has definitely taken a lot out of me. Between all the fun, there has been sadness, and hence I think a reluctance to blog. I have just been trying to enjoy life, work and continue to keep up with work, yoga, strength training and triathlon training....all the while being thankful for those that are in my life.

I have my third triathlon in October and want to get back on the healthy bandwagon, so I have decided to do a "back to school" cleanse. I am not going back to school, but fall has always seemed like a time for new beginnings with all of the excitement of school starting.

Today I am starting a two week cleanse to re-jump start my healthy ways and refocus my energy on triathlon training and my own mental well being. Cleanses are so good for giving your body a break from all the things we put into ourselves, but I also find that my mind clears, I get lots of projects done, I read more, and just generally refocus.

I will be doing the following (which isn't far off from what I normally do, but it's good to put into writing):

  • Yoga 5-7 times a week
  • Run 2-3 times a week
  • Swim 2x a week
  • Bike 2x a week
  • Walk Peroni for 45 minutes 5 times a week
  • No alcohol
  • No sugar
  • No dairy
  • No processed food
  • Avoid white carbs (I have been obsessed with making fresh dinners with pasta lately)
  • I am taking Trader Joe's "two week cleanse formula" which is full of cleansing herbs for the internal organs and digestive organs. 
  • Although I hate it, I will also be drinking straight cranberry juice... it does wonders for cleansing your organs even if it tastes awful!
  • I will eat as many fruits and veggies as possible and focus on clean, homemade foods.
  • I will drink lots of smoothies with spinach and get vegetable juices whenever I can. 

I usually do a cleanse like this in January and also like to do another one at some other point in the year as well. I feel fantastic when I cleanse and know that this will start my fall off right.

I hope you all have a fall and consider a cleanse to kick it off before we get deep into holiday overeating!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Good Eats and More Weekend Fun!

Well the fun continues at Plato's Plate! I have been so busy lately with work, friends, fun and working out. I have been really focusing on eating as much produce as possible. Given that I am now the only human in this house, my large box of produce from the CSA seems extra large. BUT, I am challenging myself to eat through it, and have been doing a pretty good job. I am headed out of town for three of the next four weekends, so friends and neighbors and have been getting some of the benefits. Here are some of my best dishes from the past couple of weeks.....

Post Race last Sunday, I ate a magnificent, veggie filled meal. I made a salad with fresh shelled peas, fresh chopped cilantro, fresh green onions, S and P and EVOO.

 I also grilled some zucchini and spring onions, and then roughly chopped them with fresh basil, parsley, and cherry tomatoes. A little S and P and Balsamic Vinegar...delish!
After all that racing  I thought I needed a little protein so I grilled some scallops to go with my veg. I think it's funny I think of protein as something to go along with my veggies! For years I thought it was the other way around...finding enough veggies to go with my protein.  I wish more people thought this way, weather they are meat eaters or not! I doused everything in lemon juice and ate on my porch with Pdog. Yum! What a nice nightcap to an amazing day of racing.
This is a loaf of multigrain bread...that I made! I was so proud of myself! Well I can't be too proud, it came from a Mix from Bob's Red Mill. But, it was still very time consuming with lots of raising, resting, raising, punching down, etc, but in the end it turned out great!

With that bread I had an absolutely delish light dinner...toast with chopped mango, avocado, cilantro, S and P and lemon juice. OMG. This was so good, I could not stop saying "mmmm" the whole time. Peroni was jealous.
This is a little desert combo I have been enjoying...a couple pieces of brie, a little cup of blueberries, and some dark chocolate covered cherries. Do I even need to tell you how good this is?

Last Saturday was an epic day. I woke up early, rode my bike to an insane yoga class, rode home (it's 7 miles round trip of ridiculous hills that make me wonder what on earth I decided to start riding a bike for) and got ready for brunch at the Grand Del Mar.

The Grand is an UNREAL hotel. I have never seen anything like it. I am not bragging, but I have seen 4 star hotels in NYC, SF, Paris, Rome, London, Maui, Kauai, etc.....but I have never seen this place's equal. It's very elaborate with lots of crown molding, gold details everywhere, marble everywhere. It's quite palatial. It's a little over the top, but it is somehow very pretty. No detail was spared, and the grounds are gorgeous. I mentioned dinner at Addison a while back...that was at the Grand. Well, my best friend Erica is pregnant and unfortunately I have to miss her baby shower, so I treated to brunch! We had such a nice time talking, enjoying yummy food, and opening her gifts. I didn't do a great job of taking pictures...but you get the idea....
And here is my perfectly pregnant Erica. She looked so elegant in this dress....I thought she should be a preggo model! If it weren't for her belly, you would never know she was pregnant! She is about a month away from being due and has only gained 16 pounds. She looks fantastic!
After brunch I had a last minute invite to visit with another dear friend, Jessica, and her boyfriend, Martin, on Martin's boat in the San Diego Harbor. Divine is all I can say. Jessica was dolled up and perfect as usual with lots of tasty treats on the boat including homemade guacamole and whole grain chips, smoked salmon, and truffle cheese. She also had some of the seasons first cherries. There is something so satisfying about eating cherries on a boat and sending the pits into the water. We had some champagne while Martin and Peroni steered the ship!

 The sun came out for about an hour, and we soaked it right up!

I am the captain! He is my skipper!
Jessica is the best hostess I have ever experienced!!!!!She always makes things so nice and perfect and she is a pleasure to spend time with.

Later on Saturday I went out for sushi and drinks in Del Mar. It was a long but fun day!

The following Sunday was filled with the beach, farmer's market, and lunch at Captain Keno's. Captain Keno's is a greasy spoon heavy on the meat. They do have Crab legs on Saturday nights which I love, but other than breakfast one of the few things I can have is a tuna melt. It is tasty but not very healthy.

In effort to lighten things up, later that night I made a twist on this Coconut Spinach Dish from 101 Cookbooks. (By the way, this is short grain white rice "New Crop". It is hands down the best rice I have ever had. I always try to eat brown rice because its so good for you...and I like it! But sometimes white, fluffy, sticky rice is all that will do. This rice does this trick. I got it at a Japanese grocery store...I highly recommend seeking out some new crop short rice and learning how to cook it properly. I drain mine in a siv until the water is clear. Then I put 1 1/4 rice to 1 1/2 cup water. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil as quickly as possible. Once boiling, turn way down, as low as possible, and let cook for 25 minutes. Turn off, and let steam for 15 minutes. Once you turn the rice on, DO NOT REMOVE THE LID! This is key. Then take off the lid and gently fluff your rice. Perfect Sushi rice, ready to be eaten or covered in sushi seasoning).

The changes I made to the Coconut Spinach recipe included using a whole chopped caramelized onion...and I used this weird baby spinach I found at the farmers market. It doesn't look like spinach and didn't taste like spinach, but I wasn't going to argue with the person who grew it. I also used fresh asparagus, and I topped it off with tons of chopped cilantro, green onions, and toasted cashews. I served it over fluffy white sushi rice. It was wonderful!

I made this soup on Monday. I made a simple stock from celery, carrot, onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and red pepper. After simmering for about an hour, I strained out all the ingredients. I  added the broth into a large pot with sliced asparagus. After a couple minutes, I added chopped beet greens and chopped spinach. I added in some noodles that were cooked and added at the last minute (I find adding noodles directly to soup makes them mushy) and topped with some sauteed tofu and fresh green onions. I added some drops of sesame oil, soy sauce and black sesame seeds. It was SO tasty and fresh!

And that my friends, is it for now. I am off to enjoy a long weekend in SF. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Well, I completed my first triathlon!

It was, above everything else, a complete and total blast! I had SO much fun and was smiling the whole time. I got up super early (I actually woke up on my own at 3:15 am!). Luckily I slept pretty well thanks to massive amounts of tea, a hot epsom salt bath, and plenty of homeopathic sleeping pills.

I was the first athlete to the race at 4:40 am...I think I was a little over excited! The transition area opened at 5, and I wanted to get a good parking spot and spot in the transition area. The wind was howling and the waves were kind of gnarly! I was pretty nervous.

First it was time to set up the transition area.

 Here we are trying to act calm. We were not calm. We were nervous and excited and full of emotion!

Then we walked down to the beach for a practice swim. I was SO happy we did this. It seems the first 100 yards are the hardest, so we got them out of the way. The wind died down and the waves died down...although there were definitely still waves and the water was pretty choppy.

Then we had to wait for about 40 minutes. My feet were FROZEN by the time we got in the water. In fact, for about 75% of the swim, my feet were numb! I was in the 5th wave of people starting. They do it by sex and age group. The anticipation was building while we were waiting to go! But, we finally went in. The water was 63 degrees, so it was just as warm if not warmer than the air, so that certainly helped. I tried to stay calm and did a pretty good job of it! I swam for what seemed like an eternity. But I finally finished and wasn't even really out of breath! Wahoo! 1st step done.

Then I had to run up this awful hill to the transition area. Not fun. I walked. Quick change and jump on the bike. I did not train on my bike enough. Not that the ride was too hard, but I could have gone faster with more training. I was so worried about the running and swimming...I just didn't focus on the bike. Next time!

The bike ride was pretty and fairly uneventful.

Next came the hardest part...changing from biking 12 miles to running for 3 miles. HOLYCOW BATMAN! My legs felt like jello. I thought they were going to give out on me and I was going to topple over! But, after I got into a rhythm, it was fine. There were not very many spectators. The ones that were there sure did help! It was very encouraging to have people cheer for you.  It was also great to see my tri training buddies along the course! And whenever someone older or heavier than me would pass me, I would be very motivated to go faster. Overall it was just such a cool feeling! I seriously was smiling ear to ear the whole time. It was just so much fun!
 I ended up sprinting at the end (who am I?) and passed that guy in the a lot!

 Who-hoo! I finished! They even called out my name over the loud speaker!!!! It was SO FREAKING AWESOME!!! And if I do say so myself...I think my arms are looking very toned in this picture! That's probably thanks to yoga. :)

We did it! Look! I got a medal!
My awesome friends Missy, Gil and Aaron got up early to come and support me. They were so nice to do that! I needed moral support. Afterwards we walked to Captain Keno's which is my favorite dive bar and greasy spoon for a big breakfast and drinks. Can you tell I am happy to be getting food in this picture??? And who are we kidding...that was the best beer of my life!
 These ladies are awesome. We already signed up for another race in July and are going to train together for the next couple of months. Yahoo!

Overall, I highly recommend doing a triathlon. The training was time consuming and sometimes pushed me outside of my comfort zone (umm...swimming in the ocean at 6 am? WTF?) but it was doable. And I have never considered myself to be an athlete before. If I can do can you! The actual event was so much fun and I felt a great sense of accomplishment afterwards. Plus...I lost 15 pounds while training...if that isn't motivating, I don't know what is! I also made some great new friends which is just an added bonus. 

I also finished the race in 1:53...I thought it would be a least two hours, so I am really proud of that time. All in all a great experience....and now I think I am hooked!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Countdown Starts....

Well in about 12 hours from now I am going to hear, "Females, aged 30-34, Wave 5, take your marks at the shoreline...ready, set, go!" Gahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! The anticipation is killing me! it time to see this yet?

This finish line is going to look SO good tomorrow!!!

I went to pick up all of my race stuff today and ran into my tri buddies Andrea and Jo. We actually went out for a great pasta dinner last night too. 

This is where the killer swim will occur. I know its hard to see, but we are swimming out to a yellow buoy. It's actually not too bad... I am being overly dramatic about it! It's actually just past the buoys we have been practicing with, so I am not too worried about it. The surf is supposed to be non-existent tomorrow which is great news.  Also, Jo and Andrea will be in my wave! So that is going to be fantastic. 

So...I have done everything on the pre-tri check list. Carb loading two days exercising for the day is all ready to go...gear is packed. I just ate dinner....baked greens, cracked wheat toast and some tofu. It was tasty! Now I am trying to calm down and get to bed...I want to get to the transition area by 4:30 I think I need to get up at about 3:30 to allow time to drive, blend my smoothie, and take the pooch out before I leave. My clothes and everything are all laid out, so it shouldn't take too long to get ready. Going to bed at 7 on a Saturday night is not easy. I am drinking tea, took some night time homeopathic sleeping pills...and am going to jump in a Epsom Salt Bath...hopefully that helps loosen my muscles, calm my nerves, and make me sleepy! 

I am full of nerves...mostly excitement. I hope that I have trained enough...that I don't get  a flat....and that I don't drown.  OK, I am not going to drown...but I really hope to do well. It's so funny how I have already accomplished so much...all the time put in for training...all the weight I have lost (15 pounds! Can you believe it????)....and above all....pushing myself far outside of my comfort zone. Yet, with all of these accomplishments...the biggest one is still tomorrow. I must get across that finish line! Today this man at the expo was telling me to get rid of "monkeys"...first...there will be a monkey on my back while I am waiting to jump in the water....there will be a monkey on my back for the first hundred yards of the water...there will be a monkey on my back when I have to run up the hill after the swim...and there will most certainly be a monkey when I transition from biking 12 miles and my legs feel like they are going to give out when I start to run. 

Well....I am off to force myself to sleep and try to sedate those monkeys until tomorrow. 

Wish me well, lovebugs! Here goes nothing!!!!