Training, Nutrition & Tips for Healthy Eating

Temperatures are dropping, coats are coming out and Fall is finally here! Call me cliche if you must but autumn is my favorite season and October is my favorite month of the year.

One of the best things about October is the beautiful and *perfect* running weather. Sunny skies, cool breezes and leaves littering the trails makes getting myself off the couch and out for a run so much easier than in sweltering summer heat.

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Ok, I won’t totally give up sunset runs.

Another thing I love about fall (& the change of seasons in general) is the new produce available / the ability to use my oven. I love looking up recipes that use pomegranates, Brussels sprouts and all sorts of squashes.

With my race just a little more than a month away (it makes my stomach flip just writing that,) cooking and finding inspiration in new recipes is more important than ever. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been the most diligent this summer in making sure I was properly fueling my training. I regretfully admit that many times I used running as an excuse to eat like a garbage truck.

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I know that life works for some people – but I’m not one of them. Although I haven’t noticed any weight gain or dramatic consequences, I can definitely say poor nutrition has negatively affected my training. The biggest thing has to be energy levels. Training for a marathon can be draining on its own. Rest, as much as exercise, is crucial to getting through it. However, it has become very clear to me that eating the right stuff and eating enough of it is really important too.

On the days when I didn’t have enough fruits, veggies, and water, I came home from work starving and exhausted. In that state of being, I usually didn’t have the energy or appetite to whip together something healthy so I perpetuated the cycle of poor eating. It was only when I stayed healthy throughout the day that I found myself mentally and physically prepared for a strong run.

So how do I stay healthy? Let’s be real – it’s hard. So many people, myself included, struggle with healthy eating on a regular day to day basis. Layer heavy exercise on top of that, and you find yourself hungry all the time if you’re not dedicated to providing your body the correct nutrients.

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  1. One good thing I find with healthy eating is that I do actually crave junk food less if I eat healthy meals so it might just take an initial strong push to pull you out of a crappy cycle. Alternatively, sometimes when I find myself in a rut I try to make at least one meal a day really healthy. Usually that one meal makes it easier to make healthy choices at the next meal, and so on.
  2. Another way I stay healthy is by looking up recipes and meals on Pinterest/Youtube. I follow a number of people who inspire me and I watch their “what I eat in a day” videos to get a look at realistic meal plans. As much as I love a good food blog, I have a hard time believing that bloggers have carefully crafted, beautiful meals every time they sit down to eat. And I don’t have the time for that anyway.
  3. Although I could be better about this, it definitely helps to plan out meals on some level. I’ve never been one to mass produce food and separate it into color coded Tupperware (I do love those photos though.) However, picking a recipe or two and making enough to last me a few days does save me time and effort.
  4. Keep healthy food in the house. Whenever I go to the grocery store I make sure to keep my apartment stocked with a number of items I consider essential. I do my best to keep 2-3 kinds of fruit (enough to last me 3-5 days,) 2-3 different vegetables (kinds that I know I like and could easily throw into a recipe,) and basic items to glue recipes together – rice, pasta sauce, peanut butter, nondairy milk, etc. This helps the most on days when I don’t have anything planned and can throw together something simple and mostly healthy, like pasta and roasted veggies. 

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    Lunch today: a heaping plate of roasted veggies + lemony vegan alfredo
  5. Keep junk food in the house. –Okay, I know this seems like a contradiction and if you’re the type of person who swears by “out of sight out of mind” then keep doing what you’re doing. But if you’re like me and will go out and buy junk food when it pops into your head, this might be helpful to you. I usually keep one junk food item at a time in my house — for me it’s sweets. Sometimes it’s a bar of chocolate in the freezer or a package of cookies in the cupboard. That way, when I’m craving sweets I can satisfy that craving with a cookie or two without going out and demolishing a bag of mini donuts. It keeps me in check before I get out of hand.

I hope these help you & I’d love to hear how you guys stay healthy during training, or in general!

chelsea

 

Citrus Wheatberry Salad

Sometime a few weeks ago I stumbled across this recipe and thought “that looks doable.” It’s easy, interesting, healthy, and something I would be willing and able to whip up after a long day.

Of course, I didn’t quite remember all the ingredients for the original recipe at the grocery store but I think my version came out just fine.

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I figured that it would be a good lunch side but I’ve found myself having it for breakfast on a number of occasions. I’m not usually a fan of pasta salad and its variations, but I love the chewiness of the wheat berries and the fruit keeps it from being too heavy.

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I used feta in this, but if keeping away from dairy, I think it would still be delicious without the cheese. I think a scoop mixed in to a bed of arugula and red onion would be excellent.

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Ingredients:

1 cup wheat berries uncooked
1 grapefruit
2 clementines – (orange and the like is interchangeable here I think.)
A handful (ish) crumbled feta
Parsley, salt, pepper.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cook the wheat berries per instruction.

Meanwhile, peel fruit, cut grapefruit into bite size pieces and place in the oven for 30~ minutes, or until you see some blistering. I broiled mine at the end for about 10 minutes to add a little char.

In a bowl, mix wheat berries, feta, fruit, and a pinch of salt, pepper, and parsley. I created a dressing out of red wine, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and sugar, but I think with the fruit juices it could be fine with out dressing or just a splash of apple cider vinegar and oil. I hope you like it!

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Pan Bagnat

Sandwiches are easily my favorite thing to eat. Mostly because they can come in endless forms and most often include some kind of carbohydrate. Mmmm carbs.

They’re easy to make. Easy to transport. Hold up well. Almost always satisfying. Unless it’s really poorly thrown together, I’m never bummed that I brought a sandwich for lunch. Sandwiches are always a good call.

The other day I was seeking inspiration for yummier week day meals and I came across this recipe for the Pan Bagnat. Essentially, it’s a Nicoise salad on a baguette.

I was immediately drawn in my the colorful photo and ingredient list, plus Nice is the most amazing place I’ve been to and I dream frequently about going back.

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However, I’m not crazy about tuna and I avoid egg when I can so I made a ~vegan~ version of the sandwich. I don’t think the bread is vegan but you can make it on whatever bread you like. I opted for the baguette.

Here’s my version of Le Pan Bagnat:

Ingredients:
1 baguette1/2 of olives – I used green and black, pitted.
3 cloves of garlic, minced – I go heavy on garlic so if you’re not crazy about it, you can halve this amount
1/2 cup artichoke hearts
1/3 red pepper
1 cup green beans
1/4 red onion
1/2 small turnip
1 handful scallions
12ish fresh basil leaves
6 tbs olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Chop everything except the baguette, basil, olive oil, and salt and pepper.

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2. Cut the baguette in half and scoop the filling out of one side to create a trough for the chopped ingredients. Brush the inside of each loaf with olive oil and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Line the loaves with the basil leaves.

3. Mix chopped ingredients in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. *The original recipe calls for lemon juice here. I forgot it and my sandwich turned out fine, but I think it could be yummy, so lemon if you have lemon!

4. Empty ingredients into trough. Wrap sandwich and keep it pressed under something heavy, over night. I threw it in the fridge and place a glass baking pan over it. This is supposed to help the flavors meld together I think.

5. Eat! The outside of my sandwich stayed crusty but the inside was nice and soft so that it didn’t wreck my mouth (I’m looking at you, Captain Crunch.) I always enjoy my sandwiches with some kind of chip or pretzel but the recipe suggests a good green apple pairs well too. Hope you like it!

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Peanut Curry Chickpea Stew

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It has now been a full work week without spending time on social media. If that sounds pathetic to you, that makes two of us. Still, I think it’s important for me. If detoxing from social media and forcing myself to spend less time obsessing over peoples’ “perfect lives” on the internet is what I need to feel good and discover what matters in my life, then so be it. God, I feel so millennial.

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One of the delightful things I’ve experienced in this is how much time I’ve freed up. I knew before that I had an ugly habit of looking at my phone whenever I wasn’t distracted with something else (yikes) but I guess I never realized how much time that accounted for. As it turns out, a lot.

I got home from work multiple days this week and had time to work out, shower, cook a whole meal, and get to bed on time. By the end of each night I crawled into bed tired and grateful and happy. Happy. I’m not saying logging out of your Twitter account is the answer to end all suffering but it has at the least made my life marginally more enjoyable and lessened that undeniable empty feeling.

Anyhow, with all of this shiny new free time floating around I got to cooking a few things that came out surprisingly well. One of these things was a peanut curry chickpea stew. It started out as my aunt’s interpretation of mulligatawny soup, which I took and tweaked into something else.

I don’t know how else to explain its goodness except that I didn’t bring it to the office and then buy something else for lunch, which has happened more times than I’m willing to admit. I brought it to the office for lunch and was genuinely satisfied with it. That’s important to me. If I’m going to eat, I’m going to enjoy it goddamnit.

I see people struggle through salads for lunch and wonder- what’s the point of eating if you don’t like it? Not that every meal should be cheese fries and cupcakes—that will leave you unsatisfied in a different way—but I stand firmly by the belief that food can be healthy AND taste good. It’s possible. You heard it here first, folks.

So, here is my healthy and totally satisfying and moderately un-difficult and ~vegan~ stew:

Ingredients:
– 1/2 lg yellow onion
– 5 celery stalks, chopped
– 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
– 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
– 2 tbs better than bouillon
– 4 cups water
– 1 cup coconut milk
– 1 whopping tbs peanut butter
– 1 tbs olive oil
– 1.5 tbs curry powder
– A dash of turmeric
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice (honestly you can use any rice, you don’t need fancy fair trade organic shit grown in a remote part of the world to eat well. I bought this stuff at a discount store and it’s delicious so that’s why I have it.)

In a big soup pot, sauté the onion, carrot, celery, olive oil, chickpeas, bouillon, and curry powder on medium heat until the onions start to turn translucent.

Add the peanut butter and mix it into the veggies. Let it integrate a little before adding the water and coconut milk, then the rice. I almost didn’t use the peanut butter but it added a creamy richness that really rounded out the dish.

Cover and cook with a small simmer until the rice and veggies are soft. Add salt and pepper as you see fit. My coconut milk and peanut butter was sweetened so I opted for a little more salt.

As with most soups, be aware that the soup will thicken overnight. This is what turned mine into more of a stew, which personally, I think made it better. Enjoy!

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chelsea

Vegan Lasagna

I’ve had this post in drafts for weeks because I’m the laziest person alive. Which is ironic because this recipe took more effort than most meals I make. But! I’ve been on a bit of a kick and you can expect some more posts coming this week. So, without further ado, vegan lasagna:

Ingredients:

1 Zucchini
1 Summer Squash
1/2 Eggplant
1 Handful Spinach
1 ripe tomato
3 Cloves of Garlic
Olive Oil
Vegetable Broth
Nutritional Yeast (optional)
Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Basil, Thyme to taste
9 Lasagna Noodles

I began by blending the eggplant, olive oil, spinach, vegetable broth, garlic, spices, nutritional yeast and 1/2 of the tomato in a blender to create the filling.

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It took a bit of vegetable broth to get it to blend properly and I would suggest feeding it a little at a time to make sure you don’t make it too soupy. Taste as you go and make sure it’s seasoned to your liking.

Next, bring a large pot of water to boil and add a total of 6 lasagna noodles one by one. Keep an eye on them because they cook quickly. It’s safe to keep it on the al-dente side because they’ll cook more in the oven.

While the noodles are cooking, use a vegetable peeler to peel the zucchini and summer squash into ribbons. I tried to make them as wide as I could.

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I also used this time to whip up a quick tomato sauce in a saute pan with the rest of the tomato, onion, and canned tomatoes but if you have sauce on hand, go for it.

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Begin layering first with noodles, then with the blended filing. I topped this with tomato sauce and followed with a layer of zucchini ribbons. Repeat the process and swap out the zucchini layer for summer squash. Add a final layer of noodles and cover with sauce.

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Top with a sprinkle of your favorite vegan cheese. I’ve never gotten into vegan cheeses before so I’m trying out new ones. I really liked Daiya but it’s a little pricey. Go Veggie is a relatively cheap & tasty option *and* it melts.

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On the side, I used the leftover sauce to saute some broccoli rabe. The lasagna took about 30 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees, but I would keep an eye on it in case the cheese starts to burn.

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I thought it turned out pretty yummy and despite not having meat or cheese, it satisfied my lasagna cravings. Between Chris and I, it lasted about 3-4 meals each.

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This picture is not the least bit attractive but I had to show the final product. It tasted much better than how it looks here! 

chelsea

Berry Banana Bread & Work Day Lunches

When it comes to cooking, I tend to use recipes as more of a suggestion. I think it’s a combination of never having all the right ingredients, not wanting to refer back to a recipe when I’m covered in goop, and always looking for short cuts. Maybe that means I’ll never be a gourmet chef, but I stay well fed and don’t spend too much time doing the dishes so it’s all fine by me.

I also believe there’s some truth in the principle of simplifying your way to healthy. The fewer ingredients, the closer to nature. Or something like that. Admittedly I’m kind of a skeptic when it comes to processed foods so I like dishes that don’t have too many processed ingredients and are easy to remember. (I could just be lazy.)

Yesterday I took a look around my kitchen and decided to make Berry Banana Bread. The majority of it is made up of fruit, so it doesn’t dry out and it’s not too bad as far as sweets go. Here’s how I made it — follow my recipe – or do your own thing. This is a judgement free-blog. 🙂

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Ingredients:
– 4 over ripe bananas
– 1 big handful of fresh blueberries
– 1 handful (5-ish) ripe strawberries
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1/2 whole wheat flour (that’s all I had. You can use whatever flour your heart desires.)
– 1 egg
– 1 tbs coconut oil

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees
2. Mash and mix all the ingredients together in a big mixing bowl.
3. Pour into a greased pan. (I used an 8X4 bread pan but I had a bit of trouble with a runny middle so I’d suggest something more spread out.)
4. Cook for 40~ minutes. Check in about half way through and see how things are going. Adjust accordingly.
5. Let cool and enjoy so much that you check my blog religiously for updates

While the bread was baking and the kitchen was still a mess I prepped my breakfast and lunch for the next day. I personally can’t eat right when I wake up so I pack my breakfast and eat at work – usually 2-2.5 hours after I get up.

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Most days I just have fruit for breakfast. Sometimes I have fruit and a smoothie. (Coffee goes with out saying.) Here in the bottom container I have 2 clementines, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 kiwi, 1 grapefruit, and 5 strawberries. I always try to eat a variety and I buy whatever’s in season.

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I know what some of you are thinking. All that fruit every day? That’s so much sugar! It’s got to be fattening. I don’t like the idea of diets or too many rules with eating but one thing I’ve stuck with is that I will never limit myself when it comes to fruit and veggies. They are so full of vitamins and nutrients and I’ve never had any problems bingeing on the good stuff.

I always eat my fruits and veggies before the rest of my meal and not only do I fill up on the healthiest ingredients first, but I’ve also found that eating more fruit has totally kept my sweet tooth in check. If you want to know more about the benefits of eating fruit for breakfast, I would highly recommend checking out the book The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder.

I usually have lunch a little after noon. For this one I made a cucumber, avocado and tomato sandwich with tomato basil hummus, on a roll. A new grocery store opened up right by my apartment and the bakery is located right by the front door so I’ve started buying the freshly baked (super cheap) bread and I haven’t looked back since. I highly recommend the switch.

In addition, I packed 2 grapeleaves (photographed with breakfast,) which I picked up from the deli and some multi-grain tortilla chips – ’cause I like a little crunch with my lunch.

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I can’t say that I’m perfect but I do my best to stay meat and dairy free during the day and pack in as many fresh ingredients as I can. That way, when I come home exhausted and finish a whole loaf of berry banana bread in one sitting, I don’t feel as bad. 🙂

Hope you all have a wonderful week! Don’t forget to find me on instagram: @theastcoaster

Super Easy Strawberry Dutch Butter Cake

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Ingredients:
2 sticks of butter
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of flour
1+ handful of strawberries (I used 5 but next time I’ll definitely use more.)

Directions:
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees
– Melt butter
– Add sugar and flour. Mix until all ingredients are well blended and it takes on a cookie dough like consistency.
– Pack in to nonstick pan. I used an 8×4 loaf pan. The amount of butter in it keeps you from needing to grease it but I used nonstick to be safe.
– Place halved strawberries on top and pat them in to the dough with a fork or spoon. Sprinkle with sugar.
– Place in the oven for 30 minutes.

Voila! If you can resist, let it cool before cutting in to it & enjoy 🙂

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