Green Monsters and Veggies Galore

Hope everyone is having a good week! This little guy got a haircut this week! He always looks like a brand new pup when I pick him up from the groomer’s. His hair grows so fast!

murphyIt’s been a colorful, fall week of food in my house. I follow mostly a low fodmap diet and try make my breakfast and lunches primarily fruits and veggies. Here are the food highlights from my week!

foodcollageI always underestimate a good green monster smoothie. I love to have one for breakfast or after a great workout. I’ve saved produce like spinach and kale by freezing it and using it in my smoothies. I hate to think of the produce I used to throw away!

I was excited to use up a jar of peanut butter to make hot oats in a jar! I threw in chia seeds, bananas, cinnamon, and there was obviously peanut butter left in the jar!

My snack between lunch and dinner is usually greek yogurt. I topped Chobani Apple Cinnamon greek yogurt with dehydrated apples and cinnamon. Unfortunately, I probably won’t be eating this again because apples have been giving me stomaches…and they are a no-no on a low fodmap diet due to fructose. Livin’ and learnin’ over here. 

I picked up some vine sweet mini peppers on sale at the grocery store. I’ve never had them before and I’ve been missing out! I love them! They are small, cute, and taste really good by themselves or on a salad.

2013-10-06 13.34.32Every lunch for the last couple weeks has been some form of a spinach salad and a kiwi. I’m obsessed, but I don’t care! Keeps me full and energized throughout my afternoon!

2013-10-03 18.48.41My favorite dinner last week was a saute of mini bell peppers, broccoli slaw, portabella mushrooms, a wedge of laughing cow cheese, and sprinkle of cajun seasonings. It was colorful and delicious.

2013-10-05 19.36.45-1I picked up some pumpkin spice M&Ms to bake with. I was feeling some oatmeal cookies and decided to give a Martha Stewart Living recipe a try. They turned out really good! Not too hard and I like the subtle taste of the pumpkin spice M&Ms.

I have a couple late nights at work ahead of me tonight and tomorrow night for parent/teacher conferences. I’m a busy speech bee that’s for sure! On the plus side though, I’m able to leave at 9:30am on Friday and my hubby and I are celebrating our second wedding anniversary this weekend! Have a great Wednesday, friends!

I’m linking up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday! Make sure to check out what everyone is eating lately!

What was your favorite dessert this week?

Are you using any seasonal produce in your recipes?

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Banana Cinnamon Protein Pancakes

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! I’m thankful we’re halfway through the week because mine has been super busy with lots of meetings and paperwork. Boo.

We pretty much ran out of everything in our fridge/freezer last week, so my usual oatmeal in the morning was a no-go (i.e., no almond milk). I’m addicted to oatmeal with almond milk, chia seeds, pumpkin butter, and banana. Mmmmmm. With a side of coffee, of course.

2013-10-01 06.27.30Instead, I decided to try making protein pancakes. I like to eat something filling in the morning because I hate hunger pains mid-morning. My therapy schedule is pretty “go, go, go” so I don’t have a lot of time to sit and eat a snack. I try to eat a Kashi chewy or KIND bar at 10, but somedays it’s 11 or 11:30 before I have a chance to eat something.

These pancakes are filling, quick to make, and taste delicious!

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Banana Cinnamon Protein Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of quick cooking oats
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 TB chia seeds

Mash the banana and egg together until combined. Mix in oats, chia seeds, and cinnamon. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto a skillet (medium heat). Wait until bubbles appear, then flip pancake. Sides should be a golden/dark brown.

Makes 2-4 pancakes (depending on how large you like them)

*FODMAP friendly for those of us on a Low-Fodmap diet

Top with anything that floats your boat! I used peanut butter, but you can add nuts, syrup, almond butter, pumpkin butter, greek yogurt, pretty much anything!

Side note…

Hey fellow bloggers, did you know that it’s now October? I’m relatively new to blogging, so I never knew a new month was such a big deal in blogland! Pretty sure almost every post I read yesterday mentioned the month changing. Yes, we know. 🙂 Yes, it’s amazing, but it also means winter is coming and that’s not cool.

I also saw this quote floating around Twitter…hilarious because it’s so true! And I’ll admit I’m one of those girls (just minus the latte and add “coffee”)!

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Have a great day friends! 

What’s your favorite filling breakfast? Are you in favor of Fall or is it over done on blogs?

Last Long Run & Fall Fest {MIMM}

What a beautiful Saturday! The weather here was finally more bearable for running. This weekend was my last “long” run in preparation for the half marathon on September 22nd. I decided not to run with the group since it was only 6 miles. I slept in an extra half hour and then hit the pavement.

sep14I felt great during the run. It was nice to break out my running tights for once. It was in the low 40s when I left, but in sun it definitely felt warmer. I took the run at an easy pace, trying to practice my goal pace of 9:30 min/mile for the half and not start too fast. At the end of the run I felt I could’ve gone farther. High five because I’m feeling mentally and physically prepped for next weekend! Bring it on half marathon!

2013-09-14 09.30.54After my run, I headed to the gym for group core. After I learned of my weak glutes, I am making more of an effort to attend core regularly like I used to. I love that the class is only 30 minutes and it’s always a great workout!

fallfestThe rest of Saturday was spent at Fall Fest, which is an amped up version of the usual Saturday farmer’s market. The market had lots of handmade crafts, music, veggies, and some delicious Caramel Apple kettle corn (pictured above). Where did half the bag disappear to already? No idea 🙂 . I first thought it was “Packer” popcorn because of the colors, but happy to discover it’s a new kind of kettle corn!

2013-09-14 12.24.27I picked up this cute, crocheted hat from Fall Fest for $5! Not quite cold enough to wear it yet, but I know that weather will be here before we know it.

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Hubby ordered this pizza from a local vendor, Firefly Woodfired Pizza, at the farmer’s market.

Firefly Woodfired Pizza is a mobile wood-fired brick oven that serves fresh, made-to-order pizzas at private catering events, festivals and farmers’ markets. Ingredients are from local sources.

He chose the breakfast pizza with scrambled eggs, bacon, green pepper, and cheese. Within 5 minutes of waiting the pizza was ready. I stole a piece and it was so good! Loved the eggs and cheese on a crispy crust.

For lunch we headed out by the mall and stopped at Panera. It’s one of our favorite lunch places, but unfortunately there’s not one too close to our house (about 20 minutes). I’m still on my salad kick and decided on the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad. I’ve previously tried the Thai Chicken Salad, which I love. I still on a mostly low-FODMAP diet (read more about the diet here), so I try to limit the amount of apple I consume in a sitting (apples are high in fructose). This salad went over fine, but I have felt stomachaches after eating too many dehydrated apple chips at one time.

2013-09-14 13.27.45The salad was lightly dressed with apple vinaigrette, which I appreciate. There’s nothing I hate more than when a restaurant douses a salad with too much dressing. I prefer my veggies with dressing, not my dressing with veggies swimming in it. After trying both salads now, I prefer the Thai Chicken Salad because it’s something so different that I wouldn’t make at home. I might throw something together at home that is similar to the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad. It was still really tasty though!

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After lunch we stopped at TJ Maxx and JanSport Factory Store. I love the JanSport Factory Store because they have super cheap tshirts and sweatshirts. The clothes are technically “misprint” items, but usually you can never tell!2013-09-15 09.37.26

I bought this off-the-shoulder sweatshirt from JanSport for $10 (anyone know where the U of Richmond is? Love that their mascot is the spiders!) and I picked up these comfy, cotton lounge leggings from TJ Maxx for $13. I just had to get the leggings because of this sign in the dressing room…

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Talk about suggestive retail.

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Sunday was mostly a rainy, dreary day. I started the day with Centergy (yoga+pilates class) with my favorite instructor. I’ve been doing this release since July so I’ve memorized pretty much the whole thing. I loved that the instructor gave us new suggestions to make it more difficult. This class feels so wonderful after running! I hope to get certified soon, just waiting on the gym to host another training weekend. 🙂 Rest of the day we watched the pack take home a win!

Hope everyone else had a great weekend! I’m looking ahead to a marvelous week (check out other lovely ladies marvelous Mondays here) and trying not to fret about the half marathon this coming Sunday too much. I put in the work over the last 5 months, now it’s time to just get out there and enjoy it!

What’s your favorite food/drink to order at Panera? How was your run this weekend? Anyone racing soon? What’s your favorite local festival?

Fighting through IBS and Running

Everyone’s story is different. Everyone’s body is different. This is a glimpse into my life living with IBS-C.

*This is a lengthy post. This worked for me, but you may be a completely different story. Do your own research. Listen to your own body.

What is IBS-C?

IBS-C stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome- Constipation predominent. “Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a functional bowel disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort accompanied by alterations in bowel function, diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both, typically over months or years. The cause of IBS is unknown.”- Source: ibsgroup.org

How did it start?

I’ve been dealing with IBS-C for 6 years. Looking back, I remember most of my issues starting during a 6 week trip to Mexico. I had problems with constipation before this trip, however, it was exacerbated during my study abroad time. It was so bad I started bleeding when I went to the bathroom. I went to see a doc there and he gave me some medication to make it bearable at least. My mom made me an appointment to immediately see the family doc when I returned home.

What did the doc say?

During my initial visit to my family doctor, he diagnosed me with an anal fissure (cut in the rectum) that was made worse with constipation. If I didn’t fix the constipation, I wouldn’t stop bleeding. He gave me a referral to see a GI specialist. A blood sample to rule out Celiac’s came back negative. So on to the GI I went.

What did GI say?

I had to have a colonoscopy at the age of 22. It came back unremarkable. The GI doc examined me and gave me recommendations to relieve the constipation naturally and artificially. This was the appointment where he recommended I start taking Miralax. Six years later, I have been taking it every day since that appointment. My gastroenterologist preached “fiber, fiber, fiber” more than anything, which I quickly found was difficult to do. I turned to artificial means of increasing my fiber, such as supplements like Metamucil. I also began to eat 100% whole wheat everything, beans, Fiber One bars, high fiber cereals, pretty much anything I could find that had high fiber content. I thought that was the answer. 

I was wrong. Because of the increase in fiber in my diet I began having tummy troubles. My stomach would hurt at random it seemed. I felt I had no control over my body and how I felt. It began to be a waiting game throughout the day. Would I feel good? Would I be in pain? I just had to wait it out and see.

This is how my life was from 2007 to 2012. It affected my social life, my work, and my eating. I wasn’t hungry when I had pain. Alcohol made it so much worse. I would have the opposite problem after a night of drinking. I would exercise in cycles. I belonged to a gym and tried to get there regularly, but honestly I wasn’t committed at that point to exercising. I was wreaking havoc on my body.

The Tipping Point

Last year my husband and I decided (kind of out of the blue) to do a half marathon. We didn’t think about it too much and just signed up. I wasn’t a runner at this point. I would exercise for a couple weeks consistently, and then fall off the wagon and wouldn’t exercise at all. I set out to begin training for the half marathon with a couple miles here and there. I didn’t love running, but was committed to training for this half.

My mom became unexpectedly sick at this time. We had no idea how sick she really was or that the symptoms she had was cancer. Her stomach was bloated, almost making her look pregnant. She was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer. On June 17, 2012, a short two weeks after we found out, she passed away from complications of her surgery to remove the cancer. It never crossed my mind that my mom would die. She was my absolute best friend and it still brings tears to my eyes as I write this. So what does this have to do with my IBS? I told my mom before she passed that I would run the half marathon in her honor. She was fighting cancer, I could fight through running and IBS.

Our Photo by Adam Shea Photography-0237

My mom and I on my wedding day.

As I ramped up my training for my half marathon my stomach pains became worse, almost unbearable. During and after my runs the stomach pain I experienced greatly intensified. With short distances I faired better, but I also knew I had to increase my mileage if I was ever going to make it 13.1 miles. The stomach pains became so bad after running I would lay down in bed all day. I was still taking Miralax and eating as much fiber as I could. It wasn’t working and I was at a loss of what to do. 

I gave up. I “ran” here and there, knowing and dealing with the pain that was to come. I completed the half last September. I did it for my mom. It wasn’t fun and I can remember being in so much pain by mile 8. The only light at the end of the tunnel was seeing my dad at mile 12 and having him walk the rest of the way with me. My husband also caught up with me at mile 13 and we were able to finish the race hand in hand together. I finished in 2:54.

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Not finishing strong, but finishing.

When did things begin to change?

I stopped running after that half last year. I was so terribly sick the day after the half that I called in to work. I thought I wouldn’t run again. This year rolled around and I really wanted to participate in local runs. I knew without stomach pains I would really enjoy the different races. So I, again, went to see my doctor. I had been researching running and IBS without finding much, until I came across someone mentioning a low-FODMAP diet. I asked my doctor for a referral to a dietitian to get started with the diet. The diet includes an elimination phase for 6 weeks to remove foods containing Fermentable, Oligosaccarides, Disaccharides, Monosaccarides, and Polyols. These molecules can be found in many of the foods I had been eating. After the elimination phase, the diet indicates to add back foods one at a time and keep a journal of side effects. This approach to eating has changed everything for me. 

My dietitian visit was disappointing, as she had no background in the low FODMAP diet. She had never heard that many runners also have GI issues. She, like many doctors I saw, told me to go back to increasing the fiber in my diet. She also told me to give up running (!). I was frustrated, but determined to figure this out on my own and take back control over my body. 

The Low FODMAP diet

I checked out every book I could get my hands on that had to do with IBS and low FODMAP diet. I journaled when and what I ate. I followed and still follow a mostly low FODMAP diet while still eating natural fiber. I ditched the artificial means of fiber and the high fiber cereals, bars, and breads. I get my fiber now from oats, specific vegetables and fruits, and seeds. And guess what? My stomach pains have gone away. I’m not constipated anymore (at my low point I would go once a week). It’s not perfect. I still take Miralax everyday and still bleed sometimes. I don’t miss the foods I “can’t” eat because I know how good I feel not eating them. I’ve identified trigger foods including raw onions and watermelon. I feel GOOD. I feel in CONTROL. That’s a wonderful feeling. I can run without pain. I can run long distances without having to lay in bed all day afterwards.  It’s a combination of diet and exercise that has made the most difference. It occurred to me a couple weeks ago that I don’t even think about my stomach when I run anymore. That is exciting beyond words. (!!!)

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Running my 4th race a couple weeks ago!

What did you learn?

  • Doctors don’t have all the answers.
  • I know my body better than anyone.
  • It’s important to educate myself.
  • Periodically I need to journal my food, fiber, and feelings.
  • Not to give up. 

If you are curious about low FODMAP diet, please do your own research. There aren’t a ton of books, but there are some good resources out there. Here are some that I found helpful:

*The low FODMAP diet continues to be developed so not all foods at deemed safe/unsafe at this point. It was developed by Sue Shepherd in 1999, who continues to do research at Monash University in Australia.

If you have any questions about what worked for me, please feel free to email me at grabyourkicks@gmail.com. I’ve had to do much of this on my own and I’m no professional, but I can give you insight into what worked for me.

That was long winded, but that’s my story.

*Big thanks to my husband who has supported me through everything. Don’t know what I’d do without that boy.

About the picture above….

For me, running started about a year ago when my husband and I decided to run a half marathon. Thinking, of course, that’s not that far! The novice in me not realizing that there was all sorts of great websites to research, we set out on our own “training” schedule. My longest run before the half marathon was 8 miles. During my training last year, I was also battling IBS-C (and I continue to, but it as gotten better). Anything further than 3-4 miles sent me to bed feeling very sick. I can especially remember the sickness after the 8 mile run. We geared up anyhow and ran the half marathon in September 2012. I finished just under 3 hours with my husband holding my hand. Literally, he had to drag me across the finish line, as my legs gave out after mile 9.

That being said, I am DETERMINED at this year’s half marathon (same half in September) to finish stronger. I have been adamantly reading running blogs for the past couple months and they have greatly inspired me. I feel I know LOADS more now than at this point last year. I honestly thought I would give up running after completing the half last year. I was so sick after running that I almost did give up. However, my desire to run lead me to really look at my diet and how it was affecting my body not only after running, but day to day. I have dealt with IBS-C since 2008. After numerous disappointing doctor appointments and seeing a dietician, I realized this is my own battle to conquer. After all, who knows my body better than me, right? I read every IBS book I could get my hands on and I finally feel a sense of control. I no longer feel it’s not up to me whether I feel good or bad. I have running to thank for that!

What I have found that works for me is a low FODMAP diet (which my dietician had never heard of…disappointing visit to say the least). Since following a mostly low FODMAP diet, my random stomach pains at night have ceased and I feel so much more in control of my body. Pain after running has also, for the most part, subsided. For me, it’s a combination of eating the right foods for my body and making sure I’m not constipated (i.e., the big “C” in IBS-C). Since I started the change in March I have not only felt better, but I have fallen in love……with running! It’s such a rush during race day, something I don’t feel at any other point in my life right now. I also relish in the individual  accomplishments I reach after each run. “I did it!” is such a great feeling.

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
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