Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Obviously I have been gone for a looonnggg time. I might fill in some of the gaps and I might just plug along as if I have been here the whole time. A short recap (because who really cares anyway) we went to Florida (loved), had a Hurricane named after my mom Irene (not so lovey), attacked by a Lupus flare up (stupid), blizzard Halloween weekend (weird), working a ton (really stupid), and here I am feeling surprisingly good.

Since the two of you who read this are probably wondering: Am I running and am I still a Vegan? The last time I ran was in September when the Lups got me and I was on the 'roids. I was totally out of wack and decided to take a break. I feel like I can start to get back into it now albet slowly (walking). As far as my diet, I have invented something called the Lupus Diet since everything has to have a label these days. People usually don't bother me with regards to what I eat if I call it that haha. It is primarily vegan, with lots of raw fruits and veggies, always vegetarian, but I eat whatever I want if we are out to dinner and I leave myself 1 day a week if I feel like eating non-vegan. Oh, and obvi Holidays do not count!

The boring recap is over yay! Here are some fun pictures from apple picking this past September! I uploaded them from my phone so they look all wacky and unformatted (is that a word?). You're lucky I even figured out how to email them to my blog so don't complain.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

when i'm not blogging i'm not being healthy

Here's a little secret for you...

If I'm not blogging that means I have fallen into some bad habits and I am trying to avoid talking about them! Namely, my healthy diet has fallen into the gutter. I have flown off the handle and am subsisting entirely on a diet of garbage. I blame this on the fact that it is summer and I am either working entirely too much because co-workers are on vacation, or I am on vacation. For non-work weekends James and I are at the beach or some kind of party which equals bad food choices. It all started after I came back from Florida and I just decided to keep eating like I was on vacation, where calories don't count. After all, I had another vacation coming up so why bother eating better if I was only going to eat junk again? This was really fun at first. I have been running pretty regularly so I don't look terrible and I eat chocolate, carbs, and cheese all day. I don't think about what I am having for dinner because I just eat chips or pasta. Really good huh? Plus, my malaria/lupus medicine is working fabulously, and I feel a million times better. This is a huge blessing! I guess that after a year of eating really well just to function daily it has been nice to throw caution to the wind and scarf down whatever I want and still feel okay. Up until now that is. Lately, I haven't been feeling "great" and I can only blame my diet. I don't care what anyone says, food matters, especially for me. I may be taking a magic pill to feel better but I shouldn't rely on that alone. After all, I don't want to be on this stuff for a long time no matter how minimal the side effects. So, here we are, back at square one. I am going to start planning and prepping my meals again, trying new recipes and sticking to old ones. Wish me luck!


Has been going well! I'm looking to do a Half Marathon in the Fall. Maybe... It is something that I really want to do, I just don't want to push myself too much. I think that if I start now I will be able to do it. The problem is that I have had some minor set backs. I have been very consistent, running 3 miles a few times a week and some half-assed XT on the other days. I even wake up before the sun to get my runs in because the heat has been crazy on the East Coast! So that is all good. The bad is that I am having trouble increasing my mileage. I'm frustrated because I'm still having problems with my knees. I have been wearing an ACE thing on my left knee because my right one is usually okay. For a while I had braces on both and I think that I may have to go back to that. It just looks stupid. My last two doctors said my knees were fine so I think that it is just some weird inflammation thing going on. This is another reason I want to revamp my diet. I think it will help my running.

I am stuck in a rut for my XT days. I was going to buy Tracy Anderson DVD's but the reviews are terrible. She is the trainer for all of the super fit fabulous celebrities. Maybe she is better in person? Either way, I cannot afford to fly to LA for personal training sessions so I am back on my search for something.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

First 5K!

It all started with a simple FB message from my cousin Pam inviting me and our cousin Krystal to run a 5K with her. This was something I had been wanting to do for a long time so once I knew I wouldn't have to make an appearance at work I signed up. At first I didn't really think about it. After all I had been doing a 5 or 6 mile once a week. Then I started to feel really crappy again. Pretty much the whole month of May was a wash. I worked ridiculously long hours and ran very little.

May was also the month that I decided to try medication for the mild form of Lupus that I have. My doctor informed me that it has a very successful record, few side effects, but it can take 4-6 weeks to start working. At this point I was just so sick and tired of being sick and tired I was ready to try something.

The week before the race I was still feeling like garbage. At this point I resigned myself to the fact that it would take me about 36-40 minutes to finish the run depending on what happened with my legs. Sometimes they are good, sometimes not so good. I even thought about dropping out of the whole thing so I would not embarrass myself!

Luckily, I hadn't signed up by myself and backing out wasn't an option! All of the sudden 2 days before the run I started to feel better, much better. I even had a root canal which caused my mouth to hurt but overall I was feeling good. I was starting to get excited for my first run!

Saturday began warm, with a cool breeze, and slightly overcast skies. Great shuffling weather! I got up, walked the dog, and we hit the road. Of course I made James come to be my official photographer. I had no idea how many people were going to be there or how long it would take me to get my number. As a result we arrived on scene about 40 minutes before the start. I now know that this is way to early for me. The people there with me were stretching, running around, and doing all kinds of serious runner things. All of the sudden I felt out of place because I didn't have a cool warm-up routine! I picked up my goody bag and proceeded to exit the pavilion when I saw a big map on hot pink poster board. omg was I supposed to memorize this?! Was the course that hard that it needed a map? no, I can just follow other people. but what if i'm dead last and there are no other people? Those were the crazy thoughts running through my brain. Soon enough I wised up and decided that I didn't need to figure out how to read or memorize the map. We took some pictures and then it was about time to line up!

I met up with Pam right before the start.

We decided to start together because the beginning is fun and then we would part ways if I had to walk or was really slow haha

I was so excited when the race went off! We actually ran at the same pace which was great. Pam said that many people start off way to fast and we would get to pass them at the end. I sure hoped so! The first mile flew by, I felt fantastic. I told myself to just keep going and then the second mile was behind us. Only 1 mile left!

This was the fun part. The last mile started about where the finish was and looped around. I knew this from all of my time reading the map. I was almost done and started to get really excited. There was a guy playing a trumpet and lots of people cheering. We saw Pam's friends going into the final few yards a good 10 minutes ahead of us! They were serious runners. We started laughing because the mom's with strollers who started a full 5 minutes after us were not far behind! Then we noticed women running while carrying kettle bells, also not far behind!
Towards the end Pam ran ahead to try and beat her time from last year. I saw James on the side lines taking pictures and cheering. I was tired but decided to push myself in the home stretch. Pam was right, I started passing tons of people! this was great!

I did it! I was beaming as ran across the finish line!

My official time was 33:39. Which was great for me! Since I started running again the best I had done was 36. I finished in the 800's out of 1300.

I have to give a BIG thank you to Pam! I would not have signed up for a 5K if it wasn't for her. Plus, I know that the reason I did so well was because we ran together. Thanks Pam!!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

where have i been?

WARNING!! The following contains a boring recap of what has been happening in my life for the past few weeks. I will try to be as brief as possible. This is also why I posted a funny picture of my favorite friends and I. If you get bored go back to the picture.

Everything was going just peachy with my health and running up until a week before we were to leave for my bff's Fawn's wedding in Florida. Side note: growing up I had a bff named Mary Kate so we were Mary Kate & Asheley and my other bff's last name was Patete so we were Little & Patete weird huh?

Anyway, I contracted a bad cold because everyone at work was spewing germs all over the place. Like my rheum said, "you're immune system is already going crazy so when you get a simple cold it is going to knock you off your feet" oh, thanks. Basically, I could barely do anything besides get to work. I don't even know how I packed. By the Grace of God my hacking cough diminished enough so that I didn't cause a riot of noise on the flight.

For the first day in Florida I still felt crappy but I swear the ocean heals everything because after a day of playing in the waves I was much better. The wedding was amazing, I loved seeing my friends, we love Florida, I fit a fabulous run in, and James and I want to run away to there soon!

Our return flight landed us home late and I didn't get to bed until 12. For some stupid reason I decided to work the next day which just set me up for a week of exhaustion. My whole routine was thrown off and I haven't gotten it back into place even though we came home the first week of May.

I literally haven't run since vacay and I just signed up for a 5k with my cousin. I'm so excited! I'm not worried about finishing it, 3 miles is nothing, but my time is going to be embarrassingly slow. Like 40 minutes slow lol. To be honest, I am writing at this very moment so I can put of my run for a little longer. I am going to shoot for 4-5 miles today. For me, the first run after a hiatus is usually great, it's the day after that I feel like I am dying. Did I mention that the 5k is in 2 weeks? yeah, I better get my butt moving!

I fell of the vegan bandwagon hard! I decided that for the last 2 days of vacay that I would eat whatever I wanted. It was great. The problem is that when I came home I was in such a funk that I couldn't stop eating garbage. This happens every time I come home from a vacay. I'm so sad to not be at the beach that I console myself with food. At first I didn't notice any difference in my health. Now, I feel as bad as the garbage I have been eating. No energy, aches and pains blah blah. So I will be back on the vegan path starting... tomorrow! Today is my day off and I have a great book and a box of cheeze-its with my name on it hehe.

I went back to my rheumatologist last week. I really like her and I am glad I finally found a good doctor. My bloodwork is still all over the place. Some things as bad some are good. According to the tests my type of Lupus is the reactive type which is good. Something happened to throw my immune system out of wack, such as a virus, causing the Lupus. She thinks that I will continue to get better and never have a major problem again. This type of Lupus is just the annoying kind causing joint pain, muscle weakness and pain, fatigue and other stupid stuff. Luckily, it is not the kind that affects vital organs. yay! After a long talk I decided to go on anti-malarial meds that treat Lupus symptoms. No one knows how or why it works but there are minimal side effects and in most patients it is very effective. If I am going to have this why not try to alleviate some of the problems. In addition, I am at the point where I am just tired of feeling like this and am ready to try something. I haven't really noticed a positive difference yet, it takes about 4 weeks for the meds to get in your system. On the flipside, I haven't gotten worse! Furthermore, I am on a mega dose of vitamin D for a month. Like most Americans, I am vitamin D deficient. This has nothing to do with Lupus but my rheum said it might make me feel better and its only a vitamin.

That is pretty much it. I have put off running long enough and I am going to hit the road before it rains!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

From Short Sleeves To Snow

When you live in the Northeast, or anywhere with seasons, you have to come to terms with running in all different types of weather, sometimes in the same week. This Winter/Spring has not disappointed. One week I ran in the upper 50's in short sleeves and wind pants. A few days later I had to shorten my long run because of a snow storm. When I did my long run that week it was in 16 degree weather. Basically, you never know what you're going to get.
Pictures before my run in the snow. It was too wet to take my camera with me.
After my first run of the year in a t-shirt I felt pretty confident that the warm weather was here to stay. Boy was I wrong. The mild temps were short lived indeed with rain, sleet, and snow following close behind. I had no idea that one week I would be running with the sun shinning on my face and the next I would be pelted with wet snow.

In way it is kind of fun. It breaks up the monotony of running around the same places. You really feel the seasons, the weather, and can appreciate them in a way others probably do not. A run in the first warm day of the year brings a type of wonderful joy. It feels like the world is waking up from a long slumber. The air smells fresh and clean. And, just when you think you can pack your hats and gloves away, you wake up to a snow storm. A beautiful dusting of sparkling white powder turning your ordinary back yard into a winter wonderland. I was excited to shuffle around my neighborhood that had transformed into a picture from a fairytale. There was something special about running in the heavy wet snow because I knew (hoped) that it would be the last snow storm I would be running in for several months at least. I really enjoyed myself. Sure it was slippery and wet, but the temps were actually in the 30's which was great. Whereas for months I had muttered under my breath running around ice and snow banks, I knew that this time the ground was too warm to hold the snow and in a matter of days the inches would melt away and therefore I relished slogging through the slush. It was the perfect farewell to Winter even though it is technically Spring. Goodbye Winter we will meet again soon enough!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ode to LG

Little Guy

In the April 2011 issue of Runner's World the Editor's Letter was about his life with his dog Trucha. She lived a long eventful life to the age of 15. In that time the author was a runner, became married, and had children. Through it all Trucha was by his side. By the end of the story I was crying of course lol! Pets are a part of our families. They give us boundless love and loyalty and fill our hearts the way few things can.

My dog, Little Guy, is a 5 pound Chihuahua. He may not run with me but he loves to go for long walks, play fetch, and snuggle. He is a typical Chi in that he barks at other dogs and takes a long time to warm up to strangers. He is a crazy little dog but he loves my husband and I with all of his big heart. When I was really sick and could do nothing but lay on the couch for hours he would be content to lay with me, his little face by mine. When I started to get more energy I was so thankful for a companion to take short walks with. Plus, there is nothing better than coming home to a fluffy ball of love. He is so ecstatic that his wagging tail shakes his whole body and he rolls over for belly rubs.

He just congradulated me on running 5 miles, and sat on my legs/lap as I stretched. In addition, he runs around when I do strength training and jumps on my stomach when I do ab work.

Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for my furry family member!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

When Tanning Goes Bad

HAPPY ST. Patrick's Day

Do you notice something weird in these pictures? Look closely. Thats right, I look like an orange oompa loompa! I have a confession to make. Hello my name is Asheley and I am a tan-a-holic. I love tanning. To be more specific, I love laying in a tanning bed being blasted with fake UV rays. It is really one of the best things ever. Everything about the whole experience is wonderful. It smells good, feels great, and looks fabulous. There are a number of problems with this. Obviously there is skin cancer. Which for some reason I was able to forget about. In fact, I would still be having a weekly session at the tanning place if it wasn't for the fact that I may have Lupus and the sun is a big trigger for a flare up. Hopefully, I am one of the lucky 20% of people with Lupus (if it fully develops) that are not sun sensitive. After all, I really love the sun.

So as not to tempt fate, I have stopped tanning completely. My orange hue is from tan in a can, or rather, bottle. I swear that I do not look orange in person. In fact, someone at work even commented on the fact that I looked really tan and must be hittin the parlor again. I don't know what happend in these pictures but obviously it isn't good! Therefore, my new mission is to find a fake tan that looks real. There has to be something out there. After all, how do celebrities get tan? I doubt that they lay in a tanning bed, and yet they all looked bronzed and gorgeous on the red carpet. I vow to uncover their secret!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Who Cares What Anyone Else Eats?!

This is a rant!
I'm getting punchy
I work with this crazy guy named Dave. He always updates me on weird stories that have recently been in the news. I'm not sure if what he tells me is very accurate but it is entertaining. A few weeks ago he informed me that Americans hated other Americans more than anyone else. Amongst their top complaints were about what other Americans ate. Weird, huh? Based on my own experience, I actually think that this might be true. I cannot tell you how many people become upset about what I eat or do not eat. Seriously.

I just do not understand why anyone cares what anyone else eats. I'll be the first to admit that I am most likely in a vegan phase and I could be back to eating SAD (Standard American Diet) in a matter of months or even weeks. But that is no reason why people should be angry when I politely decline eating some foods.

I've been to a few social events since this whole vegan health kick. I never ask for special food or say anything about why I am not eating something like pizza. I just find something that I do want to eat. In addition, I always eat before I go somewhere. Not once have I felt deprived or "wished" I could eat something. If I really wanted to eat the pizza, cookies, or whatever trust me I would. Heck, I even had a piece of real cake the other day but that will be in a later post.

Those who know me, notice that I am not eating the foods that I used to love and they would start to question it. At this point I usually say that I am eating better for my health and if they keep bugging me I'll say something about not eating cheese and animal stuff. This is when things become weird. People, even friends, start going nuts trying to "make" me eat non vegan things. I just don't get it. Here is a good example: The other week I was at a charity event with a set menu. I had the vegetarian option that was covered in cheese. I was unperturbed by this, I honestly wasn't even expecting a meatless option and had been content with my salad. I managed to eat around the cheese never saying one word about anything when everyone else around me started freaking out that I wasn't eating the greasy slop in front of me. It got worse with desert which was a mini apple pie with ice cream. I had a bite of apples from inside of the pie. Instead of just enjoying their own dessert, everyone was exclaiming how they couldn't believe that I was not eating this. Frankly, it's annoying. I don't talk about what you are eating, so please let me enjoy what I am eating.

Here are some of the hilarious comments I have heard followed by things I wish I had said:

  • "You know vegan is not the same thing as vegetarian?"
  • "OMG are you serious!? I had no idea!!"
  • My son dated and moved in with a vegetarian and he couldn't stand it so he made her move out
  • "Oh man, I better start eating meat and animal products or my HUSBAND will forget the vowes that he took in front of God and our family, kick me out of our house, and divorce me"
  • "What does your husband eat?"
  • "um... whatever he wants to eat, he is an adult"
  • "You're not getting any protein"
  • "wow, I had no idea you were a doctor. Actually, due to the fact that I get regular bloodwork I can say that my levels of protein are excellent. What are yours? oh, you have no idea, huh?"

I feel so much better having gotten all of that out!

To end on a positive note, I will add that one of my co-workers gave me the best compliment. She said, "you know, you look really healthy. You seem to have so much energy lately" I thought that was so extremely nice. What a great compliment to give someone.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Super Slow 4 Miles - but it still counts!

This past Sunday I went for my typical 40 minute walk/shuffle and something magical happened. This magical episode happens to all new runners or any runner coming back from a hiatus for whatever reason. I'm not sure how to quite explain this but I'm sure most runners know what I am talking about. It's the moment when everything comes together and you feel like a runner.
It occurred on the way back from my run. I had been doing my standard 3:2 ratio of walking and shuffling and all of the sudden I felt so great that I just didn't want to stop. I was no longer worried about becoming exhausted or that this workout would wipe me out for the rest of the day. I just kept going and felt great. Sure my knees and hips were slightly achy but they felt strong, no wobbles or weakness. That is when I knew that I had arrived back into the world of running!
When I returned home I started making plans and goals for the future once again. I am not ready to divulge them just yet, you will just have to wait for a future post. And don't worry James, I will not train for a marathon (yet). After the Lupus thing he made me promise that I could keep shuffling as long as I "didn't do anything crazy like start training for a marathon". I tend to agree with him for the time being. There are plenty of other goals to shoot for and I formed a loose plan in my mind. First, I am going to add a once a week long run into the mix. And that's about all I have come up with so far hehe.
This week I would do 4 miles at a 2:2 ratio and see how I felt. You see, I have this huge mental block to overcome. I'm scared of pushing myself too much because I don't know what will happen. It's not that I am crazy (well maybe just a little). For those of you who don't remember this whole Lupus thing started about a year ago while I was training for a marathon. One day I went for a normal 10 mile run and the next day I literally could not get out of bed. I have never been the same since. So you can see where I might have a dilemma. Although, I'm starting to come to terms with this and I feel like if I listen to my body and take it slow I will be fine. Therefore, I chose 4 miles as a sort of test. I flirt with 3 on my normal running days and I decided to just go for 4 and see what happened. On the day of my planned run I was actually nervous. What if I hit 3 miles and couldn't go any farther? What if I was exhausted the next day? Could I do this? Because of these questions looming in my mind I brought my MP3 player with me. I'm normally not a fan of listening to music on my runs but I wanted to drowned out the negative thoughts. It was funny because for the first 2 miles I was so distracted by stupid things like my clothes and trying to find a tissue. The route I had planned ended up not working due to the fact that it was covered in treacherous ice. I therefore had to add a make shift loop to get the mileage right. Then I caused my Garmin to fall off. I almost had a heart attack because it shut off and didn't turn on right away. All of this made me angry and I was coming on 3 miles. I guess mentally I thought that I might just pass out or something but physically I actually started to feel great and the last mile was awesome. I DID IT! Not only did I do 4 miles but you can assume from my ramblings that I still feel great. I woke up the next day feeling just like I always do. I did some strength training yesterday and went for another fantastic 40 minute shuffle this morning sticking with the 2:2 ratio. I guess it is safe to say that my confidence is building. I am going to stick with 4 miles as my long run again next week. Better to be safe than sorry!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Root mashed & Vegan Gravy

This is another recipe from Kim Barnouin's cookbook. It is a healthier version of mashed potatoes featuring parsnips, turnips, and a white potato. My first problem came from trying to find turnips at the food store. To be honest, I don't even know what turnips look like. I was relying on the labels to guide me and all I could seem to find were rutabagas. Are turnips like sweet potatoes/yams? You know how sweet potatoes and yams are technically different veggies but for some reason everyone uses their names interchangeably. I figured that rutabagas and turnips are both root veggies so they would probably work the same in this recipe. Maybe?
I cut up all of my veggies and threw them in the pot of boiling water. I had too much water in the pot and when I threw the veggies in the water boiled over and put the burner out! I had to switch to another burner because my first one was saturated.
Did I mention the fact that I do not own an electric hand mixer? For some reason I do have this old fashioned human powered masher and it seemed to work just fine. The problem was that it just mashed them and didn't whip them. I don't know if it was the veggies, masher, or a combo of the two. At this point I tried the mashed veggies and all I can say is, WOW they tasted fantastic!!

Ingredients for my vegan gravy. I put stuff all over the place.

I don't know why the color looks weird in this picture but in real life the color is brown, and it looks just like real gravy. Not only does it look like real gravy, it tastes even better!

YUM! This dish was awesome! I'm so happy that I have left over mashed to eat for a few days and extra gravy in the freezer. I can't wait to have this gravy with biscuits.
*I googled turnips and rutabagas and they are definitely different vegetables but in Europe rutabagas are called yellow turnips. Luckily for this recipe it really didn't matter. I'll just keep using whatever I bought last time.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

probable diagnosis (i think)

Well, it looks like I have early stages of Lupus.

I have actually known for a few weeks now and debated writing about it. Partly, because I haven't been to a rheumatologist for confirmation. It all started with my friend Heather "Bebe" (she comes up with the best ideas), suggesting that I go to an infectious disease specialist. First of all, it blew my mind that such a person existed! Why didn't I go to one of these guys immediately? I mean, I became horribly ill after spending a week in the Caribbean in addition to the multiple ticks (one embedded in my leg) that I have found on myself in the past year. I had been going to one specialist after another who each focused on one sympton out of many, this doctor would be able to look at the whole picture and know about all different types of bizarre diseases.

I have learned the hard way that not all doctors are created equal, and in fact some are down right crappy. As a result of my experiences, I now utilize a number of research methods to find a great doctor. Namely, I google "best infectious disease specialist or whatever kind of doctor I am looking for and I plug in my county or state". It really works! So I found this amazing doctor, Dr. Deshaw. He is a true gem in the medical field. He actually listened and responded (omg) to everything that I said. Let me tell you that I have a whole file on myself at this point and he was extremely patient and engaging. Some things that were great about this guy: he and his family are runners and he didn't make me feel bad for refusing to go on Lyrica for the fibromyalgia I supposedly had.

If you are a runner you know that most doctors will tell you that running is bad and will ruin your knees. It is so annoying! I just want to say, "thanks for the warning doc, I'm going to stop running, watch TV, sit on the couch and eat so I don't blow out my knees". Anyway, Dr. Deshaw said that my knees were fine and my legs feel "wobbly" because of inflammation. Interesting. Continuing, it was so refreshing for a doctor to confirm my feeling that Lyrica was a serious drug, that wasn't a cure, and carried some bad side-effects with it. Finally!! In addition, he ran a million tests for every kind of disease, virus, and any other weird thing I could possibly have. I gave 7 viles of blood. Why did this make me happy? Because I am so tired of doctors running a few tests, waiting for results, then going back for another few tests, over and over again.

So, I gave my blood and forgot to call for about 2 weeks. I seriously thought I had some kind of cool thing like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. When Dr. Deshaw finally got back to me and said that it was early stages of Lupus I was shocked. Lupus had always been in the running but I never wanted to seriously consider it. Who wants to hear that they have a chronic disease? Not me! Here's the thing, there is no Lupus test but my bloodwork came back in congruence with early stages of Lupus. My ANA test was previously high and now it is even higher. On top of that, my white blood cell count and Hemoglobin dropped. All in all, not so good. Obviously, nothing to panic about; I simply had to schedule an appointment with yet another rheum and hopefully this one will be better than the last 2.

Currently, I am focusing on my health and staying positive. I realize that my diet is now more important than ever. Eating healthy, anti-inflammatory foods is extremely helpful in keeping flare-ups at bay. This is probably why I saw such amazing results when I went vegan. I have also found a bunch of people with Lupus who lead normal lives, are active, and have gone for years with no problems at all. In addition, after I see the rheum and get a more concrete idea of what is going on, I will seek alternative therapies. Who knows I may see the rheum and she may give me a different diagnosis. Finally, I will keep my faith in God for strength and a continuation of good health. Sorry to get preachy, but He is the ultimate Healer!

best vegan thing I have cooked - crepes!

This recipe was the reason that I bought the cookbook in the first place and it did not disappoint. I was really proud of myself because I cooked 2 things at once. I was making my weekly batch of lentils for my lentil tacos and making strawberry sauce and batter for crepes.
Lentil Tacos in the making

This was the first batch of frozen strawberries that I defrosted. Clearly I microwaved them for way too long. I guess that the "defrost" button doesn't work for frozen fruit? I decided to throw them out and start from scratch.

Strawberry sauce in the food processor! Obviously this is my new favorite appliance.
YUUUMMMYYY!! Okay, I'll admit that they do not look so great but they tasted delicious. They were so good that I just kept eating one after the other straight out of the pan. In conclusion, I will be making crepes often

Thursday, February 24, 2011

quick update!

I still haven't gotten use to my schedule. I've been working a lot, had some late nights, and haven't been able to fit blogging in. I have managed to get my 3 weekly runs in but I have been struggling to fit in my XT days. On top of that I have a sinus infection.

I'm still using my 2:3 ration for shuffling. I had planned on increasing my jogging a minute but I still have moments on my runs where my knees feel wobbly. I definitely feel much stronger and I have been going farther with each run so I do not see a need to push it. I feel like I am benefiting from my strength training and I am going to make it a priority next week. I plan on just doing 15 minutes 3 days a week. That is about all that seems realistic at this point.

I have been cooking some really great vegan things, eating too much bread, and I ate something non-vegan. Yeah, I just tried to slip that in, but I'm sure that you caught it. It was actually an accident. I thought for sure the first time that I ate something with an animal product in it, it would be pizza or a binge on chocolate. It was a stupid Quorn brand meatless Chik'n patty. When I was a vegetarian I ate these things as a special treat. They are marketed as being "meatless" and "soy free" and are made out of some type of mushroom protein. I don't have the box in front of me and cannot recall what exactly is in this thing. I do know that I was all excited to have a sandwich. I put my patty in the toaster oven, got lettuce, tomato, and hummus, then checked the back of the box to see how long to cook my patty. As I was reading the back of the box my eyes grazed over the list of ingredients. I hadn't checked this before because I knew they were not made out of meat and I could see no reason why they would have a dairy product in them. My heart almost stopped as I read the second ingredient: rehydrated egg protein. As I continued to read I saw the dreaded "contains 2% or less of the following: buttermilk powder, whey protein, concentrate..." I might have been able to pretend that those things were not really from animals except at the bottom it clearly states: "Allergic consumers: This product contains: egg, milk, and wheat products" AHHHH!!! At this point I could have just thrown the patty out but I didn't. I was hungry and I wanted to eat it, and it was delicious! I don't feel bad, I am following this diet for my health and I don't think the patty was unhealthy. In the future I will read my food labels more carefully.

next up I will have some posts about the cool vegan things I have made like crepes with strawberry sauce, Ranch style salad dressing, and corn and potato chowder. yum!

Monday, February 14, 2011

St. Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love my husband so much and I am so blessed and lucky to be able to spend my life with him
Love you James!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This Is The Kind of Friend That I am- I Stand My Best Up

Let me preface this by saying that Bebe is one of the best people in the entire world! I love her so much! There was a time in the not too distant past when she was in school to be a Physicians Assistant and I got out of work at 1:30. We would meet one or more times a week at our favorite local eatery, Panera. We would go into carb comas eating asiago cheese bread, sandwiches, mac n' cheese, soups, and of course their Cesar salads. Over awesome food, we would pour our hearts out to each other. Not a visit went by that we didn't laugh, cry, talk about non-politically correct things, and go home with migraines from laughing so hard that we cried.

For the past few months we haven't been able to see each other because of our crazy schedules. We finally thought we would be able to meet up this week.

I'm really not sure how it all happened in the first place. I was txting work related things to other people and somehow Bebe's bbm was thrown into the mix. We were having a conversation and for some reason I told her I was getting out of work at 2:30 that day and we could meet at Panera. I usually do get out of work at 2:30 on that particular day but due to circumstances I had to stay until 4:30. I was busy at work when I received a bbm from Bebe

♡ ​Hεαthεя : I'm here!!!!!

All of the sudden my stomach dropped! Did I tell her I could meet her today?! I frantically scrolled through the history of our conversation and read that I did in fact tell her I would be there today. OMG I felt horrible. I proceeded to spew apologies & luckily Bebe was really good about the whole thing. That is, until she sent me this...

♡ ​Hεαthεя : Bebe!!!!
♡ ​Hεαthεя : I'm eating alone at panera bahahahahaha
♡ ​Hεαthεя : This is so sad
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sorry Bebe!! I hope you accept my blogpology!!! ILU!!!

My First Vegan Pizza From Scratch (not so good)

I have been falling very far behind in documenting my experiments in cooking. These are not really experiments, I am following recipes, I've just never cooked or worked with half of this stuff. I try and stay confident but I know that most of the time, the first time I am making something new, like dough, I will probably do it wrong. I prepare myself for the fact that although I may follow the directions explicitly, the end result will probably not be so great. So far, I've been able to learn from these first experiences and make it correctly the second time around. This is why I usually cook the same things all of the time.

This is the FIRST time I have ever attempted to make dough or a pizza from scratch. I got the recipe out of Kim Barnouin's Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook. I know it sounds weird but doing things like making dough make me nervous. It just seems like something you learn from your grandma and if you missed that boat than you should never attempt to make dough. I bought all of my ingredients, of course confused by all of the yeasts. I bought 2 small packets of something that said it was good with all flour including whole wheat. I got all of my ingredients together and went to work.

The recipe did not say anything about testing the yeast to see if it was active but the back of the yeast packet said to do this very thing. hmmm? I guess I should test the yeast? I prepared to test the yeast and realized I had no idea how to gauge the water temperature. I know if it was slightly warmer of colder the yeast would die. This stuff seemed pretty important. I tried to guess the water temp and waited for my yeast to bubble. By looking below you can obviously see that it didn't.

On to the next! I tested the next packet and made the water a little cooler. I waited for it to bubble.... SUCCESS!

If you want to know the truth, I have no pictures of my dough because I was panicking as I was kneading it and getting it settled so it could rise in the cooled oven. I'm not kidding, panicking lol. Once the dough was in the oven, I cut and prepared my veggies. I was making a pepper and onion pie. The kitchen smelled amazing while the veggies were sauteing.

Furthermore, I don't have any pictures of my dough "rising" because it didn't really rise. It got slightly bigger but definitely did not double in size. I googled this, and read that I could still eat the dough it would just be dense.

Here is my finished pizza! I forgot to mention that I was certainly not making sauce from scratch. I used Nature's Promise organic pasta sauce (so yummy). I bought Daiya brand mozzarella style vegan cheese. It was the only one that I could find, although I didn't really look that hard. I had read some reviews about this cheese,that it tasted more like a Parmesan and to use a small amount, which I did.

The end result was just okay. My dough wasn't bad but it was pretty dense. The cheese was not bad at first and then I really hated it. I would never use this cheese again. The veggies were great so I ended up scrapping the cheese off and just eating the dough, sauce, and veggies which was great.

When I started this whole vegan thing I never thought that I would keep it up after the 21 days. I set about changing my diet solely for health purposes and once I realized how great I felt I wanted to keep going. I never intended to be at the point where I was going to eat "fake cheese". I didn't want to eat all of the same junk I was eating but in a soy alternative form. I feel like that defeats the purpose of eating this way. That being said, there is always room for treats. This is why I waited so many weeks before even attempting to have a vegan replacement for any of my old favorites. There are several other vegan cheeses that I will try. Hopefully, my next dough/pizza attempt will be better!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Warmer Days Make Me Happy To Be a Shuffler/Walker

I wrote this post on Monday when it was warm out. Guess what? A cold front blew in yesterday and it is freezing once again whomp whomp.

Today was beautiful out. Well beautiful compared to the previous weeks of ice, snow, sleet, and freezing cold. It was mid 30's which felt gloriously warm! I had such a great time on my shuffle. I loved not having to wear a hat. The air felt so good on my face. In addition, I was also able to vary my usual path a little bit since the sidewalks are somewhat passable. I definitely stepped into some giant puddles though.

On Saturday I stepped up my jogging to 2 minutes for every 3 minutes of walking. The funny part is that my time hasn't gotten any faster lol. My legs have been holding up pretty well. I have had some times where I have started getting the "weak in the knees" feeling. I think this is because I still have widespread inflammation from an unknown cause. If it keeps up I might go back down to 1 minute of shuffling. I finally got around to calling my doctor, the infectious disease specialist, for my bloodwork results. He has to call me back. I'm really curious to see what if anything has turned up in this last battery of tests. In a future post I will write all about this awesome doctor. By far the best one to date. That's about it!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Night, Snow, and Freezing Rain Shuffles

I really need to keep up with this blogging thing. Almost a whole week has passed and I didn't say one word about anything that has happened! First of all I got a promotion at work! It is temporary but I know I'll do an awesome job and it will be permanent hehe. I've been working 9-11 hour days and my schedule is going to be all over the place for the next few weeks. The replacement for my old position has not been officially hired so I will have to do my current job and my old job. Basically, I will have to still have to be at work at 5am for trucks, work the closing shift once a week, and work some time on the weekend. I'm going to have to plan when to prep my meals for the week and when I am going to exercise. This past week went pretty well. I managed to get in most of my workouts, although I did miss a strength training session. On top of my crazy schedule we have had some rough winter weather. I had to swap a run day with some indoor cardio because everything was a sheet of ice. I literally, had nowhere to walk outside.

Night Run- I went for my first evening run last week. It was pretty fantastic. I went out as the sun was sinking behind the Earth. I planned to stay close to home since I only had black clothes appropriate for the cold weather. It actually wasn't too cold on this night. I had forgotten how much I loved to run in the evening. When I first started running around 2005 I always ran in the evening. I love watching the light go out of the sky and smell people cooking dinner in the houses that I pass. I was glad that I did not travel far, when the sun did set my surroundings became extremely dark and there were still patches of ice to contend with. It seemed to have slipped my mind that there are no street lights around. I was even able to use the light on my Garmin for the first time because it was too dark to read the face.

I realized that I will probably be faced with many more evening runs and I should invest in a reflective vest of some sort as soon as possible. Therefore, the other day while I was running errands I happened to pass a Sports Authority and decided that I should check out the gear. I made a bee line for the reflective stuff. If I wander around a store like this I begin to want all of the really cute running clothes. Heck, I would settle for clothes that just matched! Anyway, they had 2 styles of vests. One was black mesh with 3 skinny lines of pink reflective material. The other was way less cute, made entirely of florescent green/yellow reflective material. Due to the fact that I am not going to a fashion show and actually just trying not to get hit by cars I choose the less cute green one. I honestly do not even know why they would make a black mesh one. Of course I will let you know the first time that I wear it.

Snow/Freezing Rain Shuffle - I've shuffled in some pretty wacky weather but Saturday morning was the weirdest yet. The temps were in the low 20's. The weather forecaster predicted snow, sleet, and freezing rain all morning. For some reason I choose to forget this as I decided not to wear my water resistant outer shell. After all, everything looked fine from my window. About 5 minutes into my journey I realized that it was "misting" out and the misty rain was freezing. There was a thin layer of snow/ice that crunched under my shoes. My feet were staying dry so I kept going. The noise was kind of nice. Plus, the streets were virtually deserted. I was exactly 20 minutes into my shuffle when the skies opened up and it started heavily raining. Crap. Sorry, I don't usually swear but that is exactly what I thought. This is because it wasn't just raining, it was freezing rain. This means that the rain is cold and freezes when it hits the ground. At least, that's what I think that it means. I should google that later. Anyway, I was getting wet and cold and I had 20 minutes before I would be home again. I couldn't even go any faster because the ground was getting slick. I kept thinking that I would be so mad at myself if I got sick. Luckily, after 10 minutes it let up and I made it home soon enough. I learned that anytime there is a prediction of rain or sleet or any other precip I will wear or bring some water resistant gear.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

winter hike

Today I decided to go to my favorite shuffling park trails and check out if they were passable or not. I dusted off my hydration pack and hiking boots. I was working on a theory that some kind of path would be packed down seeing as though the nearby stable used these routes for trail rides. I know from experience that winter trail rides a great. I pulled into the parking lot and there were a couple of cars; a cycling group was meeting and some people were going cross-country skiing. I checked out the situation and noted that there was a path. I knew that my hiking boots were water resistant but I had never actually tested them in the snow. I decided that I would just go for it and if my feet got wet I would turn around. In the beginning I was having a ton of fun. My feet were dry, I was having a hard workout, and the scenery was beautiful. It was fascinating to see my favorite stream decked out for winter. The air smelled cool and crisp of winter and musky and wet from the stream. It was quiet, peaceful, and perfect. Now I'm going to be honest, about 15 minutes into my hike I began to get bored and really sick of the snow. You see, the conditions were difficult. The snow was packed and therefore kind of slick. I could not take my eyes off of the path which is why I started to get restless. I slipped and slid and had to pick my steps carefully. If I went off of the path the snow was up to my knees. I decided to keep going to my 25 minute turn around. On the way back I thought about how as little as 2 months ago I would not have been able to do this. As little as 4 months ago I could barely walk up the 2 flights of stairs to my door after work. Subsequently, I picked up my step and enjoyed my walk back. In the end, I walked for 2 miles in 47 minutes. In addition, my feet stayed completely dry so I guess my boots are more hardy than I thought. Please enjoy my amateur photography.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winter Wonderland

You can skip the first paragraph if you so choose and go straight to my fabulous narrative of my snowy walk.

We were hit with another big storm Wednesday into Thursday which dumped over a foot of snow. Our truck seemed to be running on time which meant that I would have to arrive to work at 5am. I have 2 employees that walk to work so I knew that I would have someone to open and receive the truck with. I knew that several inches of snow were expected so I set my alarm for 2:45 am. The hardest part was shoveling out behind my car and cleaning it off. Luckily, I live in complex that is responsible for plowing our drive and they really do a great job keeping things clear. It was slightly difficult actually getting my car out. The plow had left piles of snow in the roadway while he was clearing out a lot. Fortunately, he saw me and plowed the road for me. I made it to work on time and had a long day of unloading and processing the truck. Needless to say I did not feel like going for a walk/shuffle when I returned home. I was cold and exhausted. I took LG for a walk, ate a delishous piece of baguette, and just sat and read for a while.

Then, all of the sudden, I got the urge to take to the roads. I geared up and hit the pavement. I didn't feel like being sodden with slush from passing cars so I meandered over to a beautiful neighborhood nearby. The sun was sinking lower in the sky casting dancing lights on the snow covered trees. It was absolutely lovely. Continuing on, I went past a park where a family was sledding down a huge hill. The mom was pushing the children from the top of the hill and the dad was taking pictures at the bottom. I stopped to watch them for a moment with a smile on my face remebering all of the times I have been sledding. Towards the end of my trek the low light cast an almost blueish glow on the mountains of snow. A group of giggly, screatching girls was scalling a heap of snow left from a plow. A mom and three children were making a snowman. I arrived at my door with a sigh of thankfulness of life's simple, beautiful, blessings.

Monday, January 24, 2011

adventures in cooking :)

Let me tell you a secret, I don't cook. I guess that it all started with my parents. You would be hard pressed to find better people than my parents, but we ate the same few meals day in and day out, over and over. They comprised of the following: pasta, Ragu sauce, and bread, pork chops, pizza, some kind of steak, meatloaf, hamburgers, mashed potatoes, and corn. This was the majority of what I ate. In addition, I hate meat so I ended up just sitting at the table and pushing food around my plate. As a result I was never trained to cook. To date, I have learned the most from cookbooks and James. Did you know that I never even put pepper on my food until I started cooking with James? Isn't that crazy?

Therefore part of my 21 day vegan challenge was to cook out of my comfort zone. So far I have made three dishes, two of which were a great success. I even used my food processor for the first time! I literally had to dig it out of storage.

Below are pictures from making Curried Chickpea Patties. Soooo yummy!
Food processor brought up from storage
I fought my fear of using the processor, put it together, and prepared to dive into the unknown
So far so good. At least I got the ingredients in the thing.
WOAH it's blending!!
sauteing some patties
Golden brown on one side
My plating skills leave much to be desired

The recipe makes 10 patties so I will enjoy these again tonight! Success!