Running with the Foxes

Well ladies, I don’t know about you, but I am really dragging this morning. I didn’t get to bed until after midnight (racing thoughts about the work week) and then managed to wake up at 5 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep! Don’t you hate when that happens? Especially at the start of the work week.

Oh well, the world keeps spinning, and somehow I keep running. I finally got out of bed around 5:45 after spending 45 minutes of wishing myself back to sleep to no avail. Many experts will say that it is better to sacrifice a workout for more sleep and I am all for that! But, what happens when you can’t sleep? Well, those who can’t sleep go for a run! 

I was out the door a little after 6 AM. It was barely light outside and it was very quiet. It’s that time of year when it’s getting darker earlier at night and staying dark later in the morning. This makes running in the wee hours a little challenging. I don’t like running in the dark by myself. Aside from crazy human predators that plague our society, I also have to worry about coyotes, large fox, and skunks. I don’t live in the sticks by any means, but my area is a very wooded area. I’m also adjacent to a golf course so we get all sorts of critters scurrying around. Even this morning, I caught a glimpse of something low to the ground, moving in the shadows. Could have been a fox or a squirrel, but I did not stick around the find out.

After my fast 4-miler, I headed inside to get ready for work. I decided to throw caution to the wind (and my digestive track) and load up on fiber today. I’ve been reading bits and pieces of the Full Plate Diet, a book scheduled to come out in early 2010 that focuses on filling up with fiber as a way to maintain or lose weight. One of the cereals the book recommends is Kashi high fiber cereal. 

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I always thought high fiber cereal would taste like sticks, but this Kashi cereal is excellent! So for today, I had a full cup of Kashi’s high fiber high protein cereal (10 g. of fiber!!) and a nectarine (2 g of fiber) for a whopping total of 12 g of fiber for breakfast. The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine recommends that women under 50 get at least 25 g of daily fiber and I’ve already consumer 1/2 of that!

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Along with cereal and fruit, I had a shot of Zola’s Daily Wellness juice – I’m on Day 14 now of my RWC Daily Wellness Challenge!

Now it’s time to actually get some work done. Hope y’all have a great day!


Time For A New Pair of Running Shoes…

Morning everyone! I had intended to run 8 miles this morning, but only ended up running 6 miles in a little over 50 minutes. I woke up later than I had planned and sometimes, the only way to get back on schedule is to shorten your workout a little. 

Prior to my run, I thought I’d break out my first ever CLIF bar. I’ve heard they are more for “guys” but because they were on sale for $1, I thought I’d give them a try.

9.13 Cliff bar

The chocolate chip peanut crunch bar has 260 calories. To me, that is quite a few calories for a power bar. I decided to only eat 1/3 of the bar, so about 85 calories, before my run. The CLIF bar was pretty tasty, although I’ve tasted better. I’m sure, because it’s more gear toward highly active men, that taste wasn’t their #1 priority. Overall, I’d say the bar is a little too much for me in calories, plus it’s huge compared to other bars. I would probably get sick mid-run if I ate the whole thing. 

My run went very smoothly for the most part. At the beginning, I felt a little sluggish, but once I got over that Sunday morning slump, I really felt great. Although, my calves and hips are a little sore. I’m thinking it’s time for a new pair of shoes! I can always tell when it’s about that time because parts of me that normally don’t ache, like my back and glutes, start to get sore. 

For breakfast, I thought I’d try the new Kashi cereal I bought yesterday. At just $2 a box on sale, I thought I’d try the Go Lean High Protein & High Fiber Cereal with 10 g of fiber and 13 g of protein. I think that’s the most fiber I’ve ever seen in a cereal!


Instead of eating a full cup/serving of this cereal (I didn’t want to shock my digestive track), I decided to go half and half with the high fiber version and the the Go Lean Crunch…

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The cereal mixture was lightly sweetened and packed a great crunch. I also added handful of fresh raspberries – ‘cuz berries are so good for you! Along with the cereal, I also chugged my Daily Wellness shot from Zola.

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We’re headed out to do a little shopping, then work around the house. I also think there is a homemade apple pie in store for tonight, so stay tuned for the yummy photos!

Cereal Better Than Sports Drink After Exercise

Need Post-Run Refueling? Try Cereal

The next time you do a hard run or other intense exercise, you may want to opt for a bowl of cereal instead of your normal sports drink. New research from the University of Texas Austin compared the post-exercise effects of both cereal and exercise drinks in 12 trained athletes. They found that a bowl of whole-grain cereal with skim milk replenished the athletes’ immediate muscle fuel, called glycogen, as well as the sports drink, and in some aspects, even better. Cereal and milk is typically less expensive than sports drinks, making it an even better option for nonprofessional athletes like me!

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On many mornings, you will likely find me enjoying a big bowl of whole-grain cereal after my run – just like today! I was up and out the door around 6:20 AM today to run a moderately paced 4-miler. I’m still sick so my energy level has not been the greatest.

After my run, I measured 1 cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch-Honey Almond Flax, which has 8 g of fiber and 9 g of protein in every serving! I poured in about 1/2 cup of skim milk and then the crunching began!

I also had my Daily Wellness Shot from Zola and a few chunks of bright, juicy watermelon…

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I love watermelon! I’m sure I will be longing for this lovely fruit all winter long.

Today, our office is, once again, being overtaken by strangers and food! I’m trying to avoid the staff lounge/kitchen as much as possible for this reason. For lunch, I had a bowl of leftover veggie pasta salad…

9.11 lunch

It still has great flavor even when it’s nearly a week old! I think the photo of the salad turned out pretty well, considering it was taken in my cube.

Alright. Must get back to work so that I can leave early to get a jump start on my weekend. Have a great afternoon!

Tricking the Office Snack Monster

Evening everyone. Wow, talk about temptation. Because my office had a special meeting/course being held onsite all week, there has been food everywhere – and not much of the healthy kind either. For instance, today, there were all sorts of Panera sweets, bagels, and then for lunch, deep dish pizza. 

How To Trick the Office Snack Monster

I do have a little trick that helps me pass up these high calorie, low-nutrient foods. If I see something that looks good, like a coffee cake, I will take one small slice and wrap it up to save for the afternoon. This way, I don’t feel left out in the merry-making, but I make myself wait all day to make sure that I really want the treat and am not just eating it because it’s there. Many times, by the time afternoon rolls around, I get too busy to eat it. Or, I decide I’m not really hungry enough to eat it and just toss it in the garbage. I’m telling you, this works like a charm! Although, it can be a bit wasteful I guess.

For dinner tonight, I defrosted some of the homemade chili I made a few weeks ago. The chili was made with turkey meat, red and green peppers, grape tomatoes, and spinach – kind of a cross between a veggie and regular chili!

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I served the chili over Barilla Plus Multi-grain pasta with added Omega-3. And, it has 7 g. of fiber per serving! Some people (like my father) refuse to eat anything pasta/bread product that is NOT white. I just don’t understand it when the multi-grain or whole wheat kind is so much better for you. My father also refuses to eat any lettuce other than iceberg lettuce, even though I’ve told him it is the equivalent of eating paper because it has zero nutrients. If I could only convince him to change his eating habits, even a little, I’m sure he wouldn’t have as many ailments as he does.

Sorry for the digression. After my chili bowl came dessert! I wasn’t really craving dessert – which is a good thing really – but decided to have a few of the brand new French cookies I bought the other day.

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The Le Chocolatier cookies, or biscuits as they are known in Europe, are chocolate covered wafers that are layered with both chocolate and cream. They are really yummy, but man do they get stale FAST. They need to be sealed up tight (like in a ziploc bag) or else any humidity will ruin the cookies.

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I had 3 of the cookies which totaled 150 calories, plus a little more than a shot glass of milk. Ahh, cookies and milk before bed, now that’s what I called being a kid again – right Mia? I think the only thing that could have made these cookies better is if they were dipped in peanut butter – already planning that little experiment for tomorrow!

Ok, I need to head to bed. I’m usually off on Fridays, but I’m going into work tomorrow to catch up on a bunch of projects. And, there WILL be more food there tomorrow. You can run but you can’t hid from the Office Snack Monster!

Night everyone!

Hump Day Stress

Hello all and Happy Hump Day! I am having a very stressful day (and a BAD hair day which just adds to the fun). So please excuse me if I’m not my typical cheerful self. Despite being my off day for running, I woke up early to try to get a jump start on the day and that I did. 

Before I left, I ate a quick and healthy breakfast ….

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A super juicy nectarine! They’ve been so good this season – I don’t think I’ve had a bad one yet. I also had a piece of Brownberry Double Fiber bread with a tbsp of MaraNatha all-natural creamy peanut butter.

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For quite a while, this was my go-to breakfast for the work week and on the weekends. It’s simple but healthy because it has tons of fiber, protein, and MUFA! Throw a little fruit and a Daily Wellness shot and you’re all set.

I arrived at work just before 8:30 without making any detours (although Starbuck’s was calling my name). I am in charge of so many projects right now that all seem to have the same deadline – how the hell did that happen?? But, I have to keep reminding myself that many people out there have lost their jobs, so I should just be thankful that I still have one in this economy. 

In keeping with my simple but healthy theme, I ate a 1/2 ham and salami sandwich for lunch, with a side of sweet and crunchy carrots…

9.9 lunch

Not very fun, I know, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Now, I’m thinking about going to Starbuck’s. And, it’s not that I need the caffeine, it’s more that I need a pick-me-up. I hate that I rely on Starbuck’s to put me in a better mood. But I guess it’s less expensive than going on a shopping spree!

Have to get back to work. Have a great afternoon everyone.

Odwalla Choco-walla Disappoints a Hungry Runner

Happy Labor Day!

A few days ago, I made a quick run to Dominick’s, a grocery store that I had not been to in at least 6 months. Dominick’s is a typical grocery store, although it generally has higher prices than Jewell, the store that I frequent most often. Well, when I walked into Dominick’s I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had completely remodeled the store – it was now a cross between an upper-scale grocery store and Whole Foods. Perfect timing too, considering the backlash that Whole Foods is receiving. They had a ton of great deals too on specialty and health food items. In fact, I was able to buy 5 power bars, each for $1. I don’t normally buy powerbars but have recently been eating them to see if they help with my running performance.

9.5 powerbars

Of the 5 bars, I bought a CLIF bar, a LUNA bar, and 3 different Odwalla bars – one of which I had today. About 30 minutes before my run I tore open my new original flavor Odwalla bar…

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The original version, called the Choco-walla, is made with fruit, whole grains, and chocolate – all the things I love. Plus, it had a good amount of both protein and fiber. Well, it’s too bad I didn’t love this bar. Ok, I didn’t even like this bar. One taste and I knew this bar was not for me – the chocolate tasted chalky and it had another strange taste/flavor that didn’t sit well with me. I made myself eat 1/2 of it then I thew the rest in the trash. Well, that was only $.50 and 110 calories down the drain. But, I still have 2 more Odwalla bars to try, so we’ll see how that goes.

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After a few sips of water, to hydrate and to wash the weird taste out of my mouth, I headed out the door. On Mondays, I usually only do 4 mile runs because I’m pressed for time to get to work. Today, I ran a little over 40 minutes or 5 miles and felt GREAT! I think I might try doing a 7 or 8 miler next weekend.

I was really hungry again today after my run I did a shot of Zola’s Daily Wellness drink and then chowed on a big yogurt bowl…

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I started with a carton of Trader Joe’s vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt and topped that with chopped watermelon, finely chopped Gala apples (fresh picked on Saturday!) and a few walnuts. So filling and yummy!

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I absolutely love watermelon in yogurt and on vanilla ice cream. It’s a great mix of flavors and it gives you added vitamin C and antioxidants in every bite!

We’re headed out to the store now and then onto to the in-laws for a Labor Day dinner. Hope you all have a beautiful, fun, and relaxing Labor Day wherever you are!

An Apple A Day….

As you know, yesterday was my family’s annual trip to the apple orchard to do a little apple picking. It was an absolutely gorgeous day for apple picking – about 70 degrees and sunny.

We all arrived at the country-style orchard around 10 AM- right when it opened. We were surprised to find that the orchard had just changed its prices/policy. Instead of all of us being able to pick apples and put them in one big bag, we now had to all have our own 1/2 peck bag, including the kids. This was rather annoying considering it was $10 a bag and by the time each bag was full, it weighed about 5 lbs. That’s fine for adults, but for a 4-year old boy, that’s a bit heavy.

Apple Tree

But, we didn’t let this little hiccup ruin our day. We all piled on the tractor hayride-style and proceeded out to the actual line of trees. At this point in the season there was only one variety of apple available for picking – Gala. That was good news for us because Gala apples are really versatile – you can use them in pies, apple sauce, salads, and eating straight.

Apple Dew1

It was quite a foggy morning when we first started so there was still dew on the apples as you can see above. It made for a cool picture.

Bags in hand, we set out walking through the designated Gala rows. It was fun to see the kids running around and getting excited when they would find an apple good enough to eat. Although you’re not supposed to eat the apples right from the tree, I may have had one or two as a sample – have to get my fiber in, ya know!


Most of the really red apples were way up at the top. Needless to say, there was a lot of shoulder sitting to reach them – ha ha!

Apple Trees

About an hour and a half, and 8 1/2-pecks later, we climbed back onto the tractor and headed to the drop-off point. A little later we dived up the bags between 3 families – somehow we ended up with 3 1/2-pecks of apples – way more than we can eat. I guess I’ll be taking some to work!

At lunch, we all debated on who would make the first apple-dessert. I plan on making an apple crisp tomorrow – hmmm goood! I’ll be sure to post the recipe and photos!

Now, I’m off to our final outdoor music event of the summer. We are going with my in-laws to hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra play songs from Rogers and Hammerstein. I love musicals! I’ll post a quick update later tonight although I don’t expect to get home until after 10 PM. Have a great afternoon!

Walnuts – Small in Size, Big on Nutrition

Hey Friends! My hair is officially shorter than it was this morning thanks to a brand spankin’ new haircut! I do like it, but it’s styled a little too flat for me right now (and that’s saying a lot since I like my hair straight) so I decided to wait until tomorrow to take a photo.

Prior to my haircut I ran to the grocery store and to Trader Joe’s just to pick up a few odds and ends, including Yogi antioxidant green tea which my husband loves. For lunch, I originally made a simple sandwich, but then doctored it up with a few Mezzetta red pepper slices and provolone cheese…

9.4 lunch

For some reason, I’ve been in a potato chip mood lately. Today, I had more of the Cape Cod low-fat plain potato chips – love them!

After lunch, I was able to get a little work done answering emails and even doing a little house work. Then, I actually sat outside in the warm sun and read my new Real Simple magazine – and I just happened to have a Starbucks mocha frap in my hand at the same time. I’m such a multi-tasker like that.

Friday nights are typically my night to cook. But, whenever Friday rolls around, I never seem to want to cook anything. Tonight followed that same pattern. So instead of me cooking the planned chicken stir fry, we opted for pizza takeout. I know, it’s such a cliché Friday night dinner, but it was gourmet pizza!

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My husband and I split a plank-style pizza. His half had pepperoni, spinach, and red peppers; mine had spinach, goat cheese, red peppers, mushrooms, and pesto sauce. I’ve had this many times before and it is so awesome each time I order it.

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I was pretty full after I finished my pizza (all but two pieces) but just a few minutes ago I decided to end the night with a little spumoni….

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I had about 3/4 cup Edy’s spumoni and added about 1 tbsp of walnuts to the cold, creamy treat. I’ve been adding walnuts to everything lately – well, nearly everything. Most people know that walnuts, and many other nuts, are high in fiber and good fats (MUFA). But, new research from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that walnuts may actually help lower cholesterol more than fish. I am so glad to hear that news because I do NOT like fish, but LOVE walnuts. Finally, I have an argument for not eating fish!

Tomorrow, we are headed apple picking with my husband’s whole family. It’s a tradition we started a few years ago. After that, we all go out to lunch, then head home to start out apple-treat baking. I think a homemade apple pie is in my near future. Stay tuned for a recipe!

Have a great night all.

The Last Days of Summer…

Morning everyone! Can you believe it’s Labor Day weekend already! I’m a little sad that the summer is over, but I have a great weekend ahead. Here’s what’s on my agenda for the last days of summer…

  • Friday – haircut (which is an event for me)
  • Saturday – Apple picking with the fam
  • Sunday – Outdoor music concert (my “Labor Day weekend show”)
  • Monday – Golf (not me, but the guys) and a BBQ
  • Tuesday – A vacation day for me and hopefully the day I finally see the latest Harry Potter

I want to fit in some magazine reading and a new recipe or two. So much to do, so little time! 

But, before I get into the weekend, let’s talk about today! The weather is just amazing this morning – slightly cool and sunny. It was just perfect for a run.

For breakfast, I was inspired by Tina’s oatmeal this morning and decided to make my own oatmeal creation…


I started with about 1/4 whole oats and added 1/2 cup skim milk. After I microwaved it for 2 minutes, I added a spoonful of MaraNatha all-natural creamy peanut butter, a few walnuts (I’m on a walnut kick if you can’t tell!) and a handful of blueberries. Oh my, this is such a filling combination and full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. 

I also had a little chopped fruit that I brought home from our staff luncheon yesterday…


Doesn’t that fruit look yummy! Finally, to top off my breakfast, I had a shot of wellness from 

 I have a ton of grocery shopping to do today so I need to hurry up and get ready then head out the door. I also have a haircut appointment at 1:45 – yeah!! I’m dying to try a new style, but I’m such a nervous nellie about my hair. Whatever I decide, I’ll post some pics later – if it turns out well. Otherwise, I’ll be in hiding for a few weeks -ha!

By the way, what’s everyone doing for the long Labor Day weekend? Even though I have a full weekend planned, I really wish I could pull a Jimmy B. and say I was heading up to San Francisco for the Labor Day weekend show… I can never get enough Jimmy!

Ok, now I really have to get going. Have a great morning everyone!

New Research: Popcorn as Healthy as Vegetables

Hello All! Well, I never ended up going for my walk. I was hoping to walk to a new farmer’s market about a 1/2 mile from the office. But, when I was about to head out, I decided to double check how late it was open. Sure enough, it’s only open until 1 PM and it just happened to be 12:45 PM! Bummer. So, I opted to stay at the office and continue to work – not very fun, but fairly productive.

But, I did snack on some really tasty popcorn….

8.2 popcorn

It was just the microwavable kind with butter and salt, but I also added a little black pepper – so good!

There was a time when I would eat popcorn nearly every day at work. But then I became burned out on it and stopped eating it altogether. Now, I enjoy a few cups every now and then. Popcorn is actually a great alternative snack to pretzels and chips because it has way more fiber. And, my popcorn only had 25 calories per popped cup.

Not only does popcorn have more fiber, but new research presented last month at a meeting of the American Chemical Society found that popcorn has surprisingly large amounts of the healthy antioxidant, polyphenols. Polyphenols, which are commonly found in fruits, vegetables, chocolate, wine, coffee, and tea, are known for protecting against cardiovascular disease and reducing the risk of cancer. Further tests showed that popcorn contains similar levels of the antioxidants per gram as fruits and veggies. Who would have thought that popcorn would be as healthy as a salad!

For dinner, I had intended to make BBQ chicken and grilled sweet potatoes, but I arrived home later than expected AND the chicken wasn’t defrosted. Don’t you hate that?! I had to make a fast executive decision – we were going to have homemade pasta sauce instead.

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And even that took longer than expected – and all I had to do was warm up the sauce! We didn’t eat until about 7:30 PM which is really late for us. I swear we’re not that old, we just don’t like to eat late.

Now I’m enjoying some of Edy’s Spumoni ice cream – one of my husband’s favorites.

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He says that he likes to eat it after having Italian food because it “settles the stomach”. This is just one of my husband’s many justifications for eating ice cream and other not so healthy foods.

Ok, now I’m off to bed. We have our annual staff appreciation luncheon tomorrow, and you know what that means…more food! I’m hoping we have a few healthy selections on the menu, but what can you really hope for with free food?

Have a great night everyone!