Weighty Wednesday

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I have a confession to make.

I have not been the healthiest of health/fitness bloggers lately.

I’ve also resorted back to my gluten-full ways.

It all started right around May 1st – I was moving, so it was easy to grab food on the run. Then I had a week full of appointments, so I decided again that it was easier to grab food on the run.

Then I had a race and Mother’s Day – so I ate out twice in one day and indulged in a few beers.

Then it was time for Reach the Beach and my system got all out of whack – post race? Burgers and beers. Then pasta and more beer with my parents.

Are you seeing the trend here? And it hasn’t stopped.

Sunday afternoon I felt like absolute death. Between Wednesday night trivia (chicken sandwich and beer), Friday night out with the bf and one of his friends (nachos and fries for dinner…and beer…), Saturday party at my house, Sunday grad party at a pool hall… OMG, I was in unhealthy food/alcohol overload.

Then I stepped on the scale Monday morning and wanted to scream. I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be after I tried on 2 pairs of jeans and something like 3 or 4 shirts Sunday afternoon and couldn’t fit into any of them properly.

I was up 10# from May 1st. Whoops. How the hell did I let that happen? Now, I’m not going to give my weight here, or my goal weight, because I don’t want to start any type of discussion about that.

All I know is shit’s gotta change. And I started Monday – food only on Monday because I was still feeling overly sluggish and disgusting from the poor choices I had made for practically a month straight.

I’m back to gluten free.

I’m back to regularly scheduled workouts.

The best part is – I have plenty of accountability. My best friend watches my MyFitnessPal account like a hawk and yells at me when I screw up. The boyfriend is trying to lose weight so we’re in this together. My mom also follows my MyFitnessPal and we chat about our food choices.

With a 10 mile road race, 2 half marathons, and a marathon yet to come this year I have a lot of training to do and I want to be my healthiest. The number on the scale may not always reflect that, but I will know when my clothes fit right and I feel my best. Right now, that is not the case.

We are all a work in progress, sometimes the progress gets stalled. Sometimes you fall down. As long as you get back up and continue to strive toward the best you can be every day, it’s never failure. Just a stepping stone in this health and fitness journey.

Have you had any food/alcohol/exercise mis-steps lately? What did you do to remedy that?

Are you on My Fitness Pal? Follow me: runcupcake19

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Joe’s American Bar & Grill–My Gluten Free Experience

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Let me preface this post by saying it is in no way, shape, or form sponsored by Joe’s American Bar & Grill.

Last night I went to dinner with Jess at Joe’s American Bar & Grill in Providence Place Mall. I’ve eaten there once before while being gluten free and had good service, but last night’s service was really above and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced at a chain restaurant.

After perusing the menu for a while I decided on the Angel Hair Primavera with chicken, knowing that Joe’s offers gluten free pasta. When I ordered the first question from the waitress was “Is this for an allergy or just a matter of personal preference.” to which I replied allergy. I had also ordered a side salad which typically comes with croutons, so she advised me that there would be no croutons on my salad.

Less than 2 minutes later the manager is at our table, introducing herself and talking to me about my order. She repeated my order to me, advised me that the gluten free pasta was penne, reiterated the fact that my salad would come sans croutons (and asked what dressing I had ordered, to be sure that was also GF), and then asked me if I’d like a gluten free roll to go with my meal. Of course I said yes, I never say no to bread!

The manager told me I was in good hands with the chef that was on duty, they have a specific procedure they use to prepare food for people with a gluten allergy.

All of the food was AMAZING. I am so impressed with Joe’s staff and their willingness to go above and beyond for their customers with food allergies. If you suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac – Joe’s is one chain restaurant you will NOT have a hard time dining at.

A huge thank you to the staff of Joe’s in Providence Place mall for giving me such an amazing dining experience – I am a very happy customer and I will be back!

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What I Ate Wednesday: Taco Rice

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Good morning! It’s Wednesday already! Where does the time go? This week’s What I Ate Wednesday is brought to you by a recipe I completely made up last night – and being oh so original, I called it Taco Rice.  It’s so simple to make – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

TACO RICE

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice

1 pound ground beef

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 medium tomato, diced

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Homemade taco seasoning:

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

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Directions:

Cook rice according to package directions. While it’s cooking add sea salt, black pepper, cumin, and cilantro to taste (I never measure my spices when I’m cooking!).

While rice is cooking sauté all vegetables (except tomatoes) in about a tablespoon of olive oil until crisp-tender. Pour hot vegetables into bowl on top of tomatoes, mix together, and set aside.

Cook ground beef until fully done, then add homemade taco seasoning and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium, and simmer until all water is absorbed.

Combine rice, vegetables, and beef in large bowl until fully integrated. Serve with fresh chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro, and corn tortilla chips if desired.

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What have you made recently that you really enjoyed?

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Grocery Shopping & Meal Planning on a Budget

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Happy Monday everyone! I often get asked how I afford to shop at Whole Foods. And I always reply with the same answer, “It’s easy, if you do it right.” I even tested my ability to shop there versus our local grocery stores, and I spent the same amount of money. So, how do I do it? It’s really quite easy. Here’s what I bought for a grand total of $54.86:

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Step 1) Plan your meals. Here are my meals for this week:

I have 14 total servings of food to be eaten between lunch and dinner over the next few days. I am eating dinner out with my mom on Friday night, and I’m not entirely sure what my plans are for the weekend; however, 14 servings and 2 meals each day should last me 7 days. Don’t be afraid of eating leftovers!

Step 2) Scope out your fridge/cabinets for ingredients you already have on hand. For this week’s recipes I already had:

  • Carrots
  • Goat cheese (I used that versus buying feta cheese for the Moroccan Chickpea Salad)
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Chicken
  • Brown Rice

I also have corn tortilla chips for snacking, so I bought hummus to go with those. The yogurt and bananas are for breakfast – I also have chia seeds and almond milk on hand for chia pudding.

Step 3) Buy sale items, bulk items, and store brand items. I like to eat apples with peanut butter for a snack, Fuji apples were on sale for $2.49 a pound this week, so I bought Fuji apples. (I, of course, always have peanut butter on hand.) I bought my textured vegetable protein in the bulk aisle – it was $1.15 for 1/3 of a pound and will give me at least two full meals (or 8 total servings). Store brand items I purchased include beans, coffee, and pasta sauce. Double check your produce too – sometimes it’s more worth it to buy organic. Today’s example: Non-organic bananas weren’t looking too good, there were no green ones and they were riper than I like. For $0.20 more per pound I got bananas that are almost ripe, and I know will last me the week; therefore, I will not waste any food.

So, as you can see, with the right approach anyone can shop at Whole Foods and walk out without feeling like their wallet was violated. Plus, by shopping at Whole Foods you know you’re getting better quality items, locally sourced items, and you’re avoiding GMO’s. What more could you ask for?

Do you shop at Whole Foods? If not, will these tips convince you to at least give it a try?

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P.S. Don’t forget that today is Day 1 of the #30for60 Challenge! We’re up to 80 participants – who else is going to join us?


Going Gluten Free

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Disclaimer: This post may be too TMI for some – if you’d rather not read about bodily functions, don’t read any further.

I do not have a gluten allergy, nor do I suffer from celiac (at least that I know of…). My life, for as long as I can remember, has been plagued with stomach troubles. Ask my mom – there are many times that I could “vomit at the drop of a hat,” as she puts it. And she’s right. Cramps, bowel problems, gas, bloating, vomiting, you name it.

The first food group I gave up was dairy. Other than Greek yogurt, I avoid dairy. I’ve never been diagnosed as lactose intolerant, but the symptoms are all there, and I’d rather not deal with it. But giving up dairy didn’t put an end to my symptoms. The symptoms I have aren’t near as bad as when I did eat dairy, but they’re still there.

Now, I’m giving up gluten. I will admit – I haven’t done any research prior to making this decision. My best friend Jen gave up gluten a month ago and has had phenomenal results – no more tummy troubles, weight loss, inches lost. She says she’s never felt better. That intrigued me…

I started yesterday. I bought the book Wheat Belly (the same book that convinced Jen to go gluten free) and I’m already amazed at the statistics, the science, and the success behind going gluten free.

My other problem  – acne. I’ve read in multiple places that wheat consumption can be linked to acne problems. I’m hoping that going gluten free will also aid in clearing up my skin – I’m not going to make any changes to my skin care routine for at least a month, to see if this helps with that also.

I can’t wait to continue with this journey/experiment and see where I end up. I would love to finally be free of stomach problems, and if this just so happens to help me reach my weight goal, even better!

Are you gluten free? Do you know anyone that is? What are your thoughts on this?

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Big Cookie Cake Giveaway

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You guys all know how much I love sweet treats, right? After all, the name of this blog is Running and CUPCAKES. Imagine how excited I was when I received an e-mail offering me the opportunity to co-host a Big Cookie Cake giveaway – now I get to share my love of sweet treats with all of you!

Cookie Gift Baskets is a company that offers all sorts of different cookies and cookie cakes for all occasions – and I mean ALL occasions. They even have sugar free cookies!

Cookie Gift Baskets is giving away 3 Big Cookie Cakes valued at over $35 each! You can choose between a sugar cookie or a chocolate chip cookie in over 16 different designs!

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Don’t those look delicious?! I want one for myself!

So, here’s how this works:

1) Use the rafflecopter widget to enter the giveaway. You can enter up to 21 different times by completing tasks assigned in the Rafflecopter widget, but you must AT LEAST comment on this post for your first entry in order to be qualified to win.

2) Giveaway is only open to US Residents in the continental states (AL and HI excluded) and those that are 18 years old or older.

3) Winners will be chosen randomly from all participants in the giveaway.

Whaddya say?! Get entered – this is a deliciously sweet prize! For complete rules and details, click here.

 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway


Losing Weight: How I’m Doing It

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Back in late October I wrote about how I was joining an 8-week weight loss challenge hosted by a fellow Rhody Blogger. Since then the challenge has been extended until the New Year to keep everyone accountable through both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But even more exciting than that is that since November 1st I had lost 7 pounds!

I started at 141 pounds, with a goal weight of 130 pounds. Only 4 pounds to go! Woohoo!

Today I am going to share with you just how I am doing it.

1) Eating LOTS of fruits and veggies. I’ve been including fruits and veggies in EVERY meal and every snack. It makes a difference in satiation. I’m trying to get everyone I know involved too – I shared a big bowl of veggies and hummus with my friend Claudia the other night and I made this beautiful veggie tray for my birthday party, and the entire thing went!

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2) Massive amounts of H2O and tea.  I have a 32 oz water bottle that I fill a couple of times per day while I’m at work. At home I drink lots of tea (decaf) and also use a 22 oz mason jar for my water.

3) More plant and grain based proteins. I already rarely eat red meat and pork, but I’ve cut back on the amount of meat I’m eating in general. Last week I made quinoa with grape tomatoes sautéed in garlic and served it with a wrap spread with hummus stuffed with spring mix. I also made homemade rice and beans, which lasted me almost the entire week.

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I’ve even found myself being more careful when I eat out – I ordered eggplant parmigiana (not the best I know, but could be worse), a turkey/portabella burger, sweet potato instead of regular fries (hey, no judging!). I ate almost entirely vegetarian last week!

4) Switching up the workouts. I haven’t done much of the same stuff in my workouts at all lately. I’ve been lifting, I’ve been running, I’ve been spinning, I’ve been doing yoga. But none of these workouts  have been the same “flavor” at all! I ran a ladder workout on the treadmill, I ran a 5k, I did a leg workout with a coworker unlike any I’ve done before, my yoga instructor changes stuff up every week, and RPM was taught by a different instructor this past week so it was a release I had never taken! Plus I’ve been rearranging furniture, moving boxes, walking the dog, you name it! And I live on the second floor so I have no choice but to use the stairs – a lot. Especially on laundry day.

Here’s a bit more of a look into what I’ve been eating lately:

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So there you have it! My way to successfully shed weight during the holiday season!

What secrets do you have to losing weight?

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Thanksgiving Weekend Recap, #Elf4Health, & More

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Hey everyone! I hope you all survived the weekend. It was sure tough getting back into the swing of my crazy schedule, but I managed and even got a butt kicker workout in too! I’m going to start with a photographic recap of Thanksgiving weekend and we’ll go from there!

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Phew! These pics range from Thursday morning’s Turkey Trot 5k (Not a PR, but pretty damn good considering how little I’ve been running…) to food and treats (and a worn out pup) at my grandparents house, then of course my fave score from Black Friday shopping with mom, to food prep for a big birthday party I had at my apartment on Saturday night. What a weekend! Needless to say I was in bed playing Words With Friends by 8:30 on Sunday!

Moving on…

Yesterday was the official kick off of the Elf 4 Health Challenge. Elf 4 Health is an amazing 6 week challenge designed to keep people healthy and motivated throughout the holiday season. Each person is assigned a random partner to keep in contact with every 2 weeks – plus there are daily challenges! Yesterday’s challenge was to go meatless, which I did all day long, and so did my partner Helen from Hevil’s Special Delights.

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Breakfast was oatmeal with Peanut Butter & Co Cinnamon Raisin PB, dried cranberries, and banana; lunch was quinoa with garlic sautéed tomatoes and a wrap spread with hummus and filled with spring greens; dinner was homemade Spanish rice and beans. And I am going to share that recipe with you now! I also had an apple and some almonds for my morning and afternoon snacks.

Spanish Rice & Beans

Ingredients:

1 cup rice (your choice – I used organic jasmati)

2 cups water

1/2 yellow pepper & 1/2 red pepper, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 medium shallot, diced

25 grape tomatoes, halved

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, minced

Cumin, sea salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, cumin – all to taste

Directions:

Cook rice according to package directions. Season with the listed seasonings to your taste (I didn’t measure anything…).

While the rice is cooking, sauté the peppers, celery, shallot, and garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil. When the veggies are almost to your desired doneness, season more (if desired) and add in tomatoes.

Once the rice is done, add to the pan with the veggies and also add in the beans. Heat until all ingredients are hot.

Makes about 6 servings.

There you have it – a simple, protein and veggie filled, #Meatlessmonday dinner for you!

Today’s challenge is to send a card or handwritten note to a friend. This was easy for me because one of my roommates truly deserved this the most. He’s been here for me all week long while I’ve been recovering from the breakup – making sure I’m eating and taking care of myself, through to guarding my phone for me so I didn’t text drunk during the birthday party (yes, I admit, I had a few too many), to helping me walk Lexi at 2 a.m., then hanging with me to chat and have brunch Sunday morning while recovering from the aforementioned party. I knew from the moment I saw today’s challenge that he’d be the recipient of my note – so I slipped a card under his door before leaving for work this morning. I love having friends that care so much surround me on a daily basis!

Phew, that was a lot of stuff for one post… How was your Thanksgiving/weekend?!

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Rainy Day Intervals & Chili

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Ick. It is a hella ugly day out there. But I won’t let that get me down! Kevin’s back so I’m super happy that I have tonight off and he gets out of work at 6:30. Date night in with dinner and a movie? Yes, please! Especially since we both work late the rest of the week and won’t be able to spend much time together until the weekend.

Yesterday I had already decided to make white chicken chili, and now it seems even more appropriate given the rainy cold weather we’re having (I’m sorry Mother Nature – did I over-celebrate yesterday?). I posted this pic on Instagram and have already gotten a few recipe requests, so I’ll share that with you at the end of the post.

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If you think that looks good, you should really be in the house with me right now – the smell is KILLING me.

Now onto these intervals I mentioned. First of all, I would greatly appreciate a big round of applause because I dragged my butt to the gym on MY DAY OFF (IN THE RAIN!) just to run. And do some ab work too… crazy, right? Anyway, enough of me talking about how proud I am of myself (wait, isn’t that what blogging is all about…) – here’s what I did:

Rainy Day Intervals

I said above that I can’t remember the last time I ran intervals – so I went back through my Daily Mile account and checked. It was August. YIKES! Well I’m proud to say that I survived this run very well – I almost quit after 4, but decided that I am NOT A QUITTER! And finished the 6. Phew. My shin actually seems okay too – and just to ward off any not-okay-ness my legs are resting peacefully in their favorite pink compression socks!

Now I know you’ve heard enough about the run and you’re wondering “When the hell is she going to just get to the recipe already?”

Here it is, White Chicken Chili. Adapted from this Food Network recipe . This is enough food to fill a 7 quart crock pot, so probably at least 8-10 servings (we don’t cook small around here…).

White Chicken Chili

I just tasted this, made a few tweaks, and I do believe that it will be delicious!!!!

How do you motivate yourself to workout on days like today?

Have you ever made white chicken chili?

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Manic Monday

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I know I know, totally cliché – but totally true. I feel like I’ve been in a whirlwind all day! But we’re not going to let that get us down now are we?

Let’s talk about what I am currently loving on this Monday, shall we?

1) My new training plan. I took a training plan from Runner’s World, and I’m going to follow the basic concept. I’m going to look at some of the Hal Higdon plans – and probably do a combination of the two. Either way, this will be the plan I follow that gets me through the Jamestown Half, the Rock N Roll Providence Half, and Chicago.  I start tomorrow with an easy 4 miler (10ish pace).

2) Beach weather. I took Lexi to the beach on Saturday. Turns out she’s not a fan of the ocean. I don’t think she’s my dog Winking smile I can’t blame her though, the water temps right now are around 59 degrees. Brr. It felt so nice to walk barefoot down the beach though, oh how I love summer!

Lexi No Ocean

3) Simple homemade recipes. Homemade rice pilaf – recipe to follow later in the week/weekend.

Rice Pilaf

4) Passing the NASM Certified Personal Trainer practice exam on the first try. This is a giant confidence booster. Post-practice exam I went through and read up on the stuff I didn’t know well, and even made some flash cards. I have so many flash cards now:

5) My last week of reception duties at my job. I move into the new position next Tuesday. I’m embracing it for now, while I continue to search elsewhere (hello Saucony, I’m looking at you!).

What are YOU loving this Monday? Have anything exciting going on like trainer exams and job transfers? Tell me all about it!