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

 

Afternoon in the City

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had a bit of free time last week and was able to catch up on sleep, reading and working out. After finishing 3 books in 4 days I decided it was time to get out of the house and spend some time in the city (and of course, to stop by Barnes & Noble for my next conquest.)

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Even Miso was sick of me hanging around the house.

Sometimes I don’t like to spend leisure time in the city while I’m training because Boston is so small that I inevitably end up running around the same places over and over again and I’m the worst when I’m bored with a work out.

However, spending two summers in a windowless, freezing office has ignited in me a passion for the outdoors. So downtown, it was.

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After browsing around B&N for a bit (it’s one of my favorite places to be, actually) I realized I was pretty hungry so I decided to try out a new place that just opened in Copley Square, called Dig Inn.

Pretty much everything about Dig Inn appealed to me. The food is locally and sustainably sourced and the restaurant focuses on healthy, plant based meals.

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I got a market bowl with mixed greens, cauliflower, roasted peaches, tofu, and pesto. The flavors were unique, delicious and tasted really fresh. Plus, all the utensils and containers were compostable! They also did really well with the tofu, which I think is difficult. It’s tough to find good tofu.

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Full and completely satisfied, I decided to enjoy the summer heat and walked home. As nice as it was, I will say I am counting down the days to fall, ha. Are you guys summer lovers or do you prefer the cold weather? Let me know!

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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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

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

Glowing Cranberry Smoothie

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Ever get that feeling when you keep eating very calorie rich, heavy food but you’re never quite satisfied? I found myself feeling that way a few days after Christmas, when I had been living off holiday leftovers.

To keep myself from eating everything in sight, I like to fill up on fruits and veggies. Usually, if it isn’t thirst, when I feel endlessly hungry its because my body is craving nutrients that it isn’t getting. Filling up on fruits and vegetables is beneficial because it a) fills you up, possibly keeping you from bingeing on unhealthy foods and b) makes sure you’re getting all the important stuff, like vitamins, minerals, and fiber.This way, if you’re still craving food afterwards it’s more likely to be just that— a craving.

One of the easiest ways to get all your fruits and veggies in is a smoothie. You’re not missing out on any of the fiber and you get a wide variety of ingredients in one gulp.

I whipped up this smoothie when I was visiting my family. It’s a variation of the “Glowing Green Smoothie” found in The Beauty Detox Solution (really worth a read if you’re interested in the benefits of plant based eating.) It’s a bit more sour than the original but that can be remedied by an extra apple or banana.

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– 1 Romaine Heart
– 3 Apples, cored
– 3 Bananas – the spottier, the sweeter
– Juice of 1 lemon
– 1 Cup Fresh Cranberries (frozen would work too)
– 2ish~ cups water

Blend romaine heart and water
Add apples, bananas, cranberries, blend.
Add lemon juice, blend.
Tip: Squeeze the lemon juice into a cup or bowl before adding to the smoothie so you can scoop out the seeds.

I put it in the refrigerator to cool for a bit but adding ice to recipe would do the trick too. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to follow me on instagram!

Vegan Pizza and Simple Salad

I’ve got an update on the foot: The doctor thinks its tendonitis with maybe some plantar fasciitis in the mix as well. The good news is that as of today I can try to start walking around without it. Then ease into running on a treadmill. Baby steps… literally.

It seems to be getting better so my hopes are still high. And being in the boot hasn’t been too bad– if you’re in the Massachusetts area, you know how cold the weather was last week. It made staying inside all the easier.

All this time at home did, however, give me some inspiration to cook; –itchin’ for the kitchen, if you will, so I got in there to whip something together. The outcome: vegan pizza and a super simple summer salad. (Or, “ssss” if you’re really short on time.)

I still had some veggies left over from the post on kitchen sink pasta and I thought it would be cool to provide some other ideas on what you can make with the same ingredients. Let me know what you guys think!

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One of the difficulties of cooking in my apartment is that I have such limited space to do anything. Although I love having a studio in Boston, my kitchen is more like a glorified pantry.

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Because of this, when I’m thinking about recipes and trying to come up with “easy” dishes to cook, I don’t just consider how simple it is to understand the instructions or how long is takes to make. I’m always thinking about the number of ingredients and how many pots/pans/bowls etc. it requires as well.

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This also helps me eat healthier because God knows when I come home from work starving the last thing I want to do dive in to an elaborate recipe.

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I admit, I’m pretty bad when it comes to going out to eat. I do it a lot, and I waste a ton of money in the process. If there’s anything I really want to crack down on, it’s that.

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Pizza:

(The dough needs work and I’m not going to share the recipe here. Baking experts: advice on why it tasted like a pretzel?) If you’re not a baker, my suggestion is to buy a pre-made dough/crust or find a really easy recipe online.  I added nutritional yeast, basil, salt, chopped garlic, and ground flax to mine for flavor/extra boost of healthy stuff. Somewhere along the way something didn’t work, so like I said I’m not going to mislead you all.

The pizza was completely vegan. I sauteed some of the zucchini and summer squash left over with basil, oregano, thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper. While they were simmering I chopped up the half of a white onion, a few varied baby peppers and cherry tomatoes.

I used some of Chris’s homemade sauce (benefits of dating an Italian,) but I think any pizza/pasta sauce would do the job. I’m not a sauce snob in this case. I won’t hold it against you if you are.

I used extra sauce to make up for the lack of cheese and loaded on the cooked and raw vegetables. Then I threw it in the oven at a 450 for 15 minutes.

While the pizza was in the oven I used the time to clean up a little bit and make the salad:

Sliced baby cucmbers
Halved cherry tomatoesSplash of Italian dressing

It may sound basic but it’s a great summer side dish that’s both healthy and refreshing. If you’re like me and enjoy some sort of chips or crackers with your sandwich, the cucumber provides a crunchy alternative to that. Plus, I had leftovers in the fridge for 3 days and it didn’t get soggy at all. I’m always hesitant to add dressing to salads because I cringe at sad, soggy lettuce but I didn’t have to worry about it with this.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy. I’d love to know what you guys make when you’re short on time or energy!