Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Confusion: How Should I Eat?

I posted before about my food philosophy, but recently, I've been a bit confused. After hearing about a co-worker who ate close to a paleo diet and after doing some reading on my own, I can't help but be a bit lost. I grew up eating similar to the USDA's food pyramid (now extinct). I ate a lot of carbs, veggies, fruits, seafood, and lean meats. I did partake in a lot of snacking and processed foods as well. Fat was something to avoid, so that meant no fatty cuts of meat, no full-fat cookies and chips, and lots of 100 calorie packs, gummies, and Olestra-laden chips.

I haven't necessarily been happy with my diet recently and especially not happy with how my clothing fits. When I first heard about the "paleo diet," I thought that it sounded like a crazy fad diet. The diet allows for lean meats, a ton of veggies, some nuts and fruits, healthy fats, and lots of water-drinking. Things that aren't allowed? Grains, legumes, dairy, sugars, alcohol, and processed foods.  Um, those are all amazingly delicious things.
Paleo Food Pyramid Source
The thing is, the more I researched it, the more I was interested in it and felt it wasn't a fad. According to those who follow the diet, all of the things they remove from the diet are inefficient and poor sources of nutrients; a lot of those items also adversely affect people's bodies. All of the nutrients and vitamins those products have can be attained from the permissible foods. People who are on it say they feel better, have more energy, lose weight, and are better suited for exercise (which, by the way, this diet discusses. It says one should do short bursts of exercise [CrossFitters are big into Paleo] and long cardio sessions are not needed).

While I haven't officially made the switch, I have been trying to eat less carbs, most of the time to no avail. I have at least been more conscious to my eating and trying to get in more fruits and veggies; instead of snacking on popcorn or chips, I've been eating fruits and veggies instead. The issues is now when I would automatically know what to make for dinner, I feel paralyzed because what I would normally make now seems not okay.
In order to get myself unstuck, I'm just going to do more research. For someone who would not consider herself a lover of doing research, when I find something I am curious about, I research it to death. I also know that some diets and ways of eating work for some while it doesn't work for others. I'm going to keep an open mind and allow that to lead me to what makes me the happiest and feel the healthiest.

Have you ever come upon information that totally left you confused? What did you do about it? Anyone eat similar to the paleo diet?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Foodie Weekend

How was everyone's weekend? Mine was filled with running, football, and most importantly, lots of yummy food!

Saturday morning, I got in my 3rd 20 miler of my marathon cycle. I am doing 5 of them this cycle to prepare for my two back to back marathons (recently registered for the NCR Trail Marathon in Sparks, MD on November 26th as I want to be a Marathon Maniac). With each 20 miler, the distance has become less intimidating and I am eager to get in my last two. After the run, I started my delicious weekend eats with a mango tapioca drink and shrimp bun from Pho Cali in Philly's Chinatown.

I'm salivating looking at this right now. 

Perfect way to relax after a long run!
Sunday, I had some friends over to watch the Eagles vs. Redskins game. Although the game did not go in my favor (of course I invited only Eagles fans and they would not let me hear the end of it), we had some yummy eats, including a delicious homemade 4 layer dip (cream cheese, fat free refried beans, cheese, local Italian long hot peppers, baked in the oven until melty and yummy!). After eating too many chips with dip, I needed a healthy dinner, so I roasted a whole free-range organic chicken over one giant local sweet potato that I had diced up. How delicious do the roasted sweet potatoes look?!

I want to eat you over and over again. 
The chicken will last for lunches for part of the week and so will the sweet potatoes. Very excited about this!

To continue the healthy and fall trend, I had a pumpkin smoothie for breakfast this AM. I've been tweaking it and the recipe is as follows (and totally adaptable!):
I want to be sipping on you yet again. 

Pumpkin Smoothie

6 pumpkin ice cubes (take canned pumpkin puree and put into ice cube tray, freeze, then pop them out into a baggie and keep them in the freezer)
1.5 cups non-dairy milk, unsweetened
1/8 c maple syrup (if your non-dairy milk is sweetened, you will not need as much)
1/2-1 scoop protein powder (optional, but I used Sun Warrior Vanilla)
splash vanilla
sprinkle or two of cinnamon

You just need to blend everything up in your blender and enjoy!

Note: You may not need as much liquid, but my blender is totally lame and cannot blend unless there's oodles of liquid. You can use regular milk, but my tummy isn't a fan. I also am not a fan of nutmeg or allspice, but if you are, add it!

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Anyone eat any yummy things this weekend?!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Worst Long Run in Foreverrrr

Well, they can't all go well, right? Especially with all of the factors that played into my terrible 20 19.25 mile long run. Oh yeah, when I cut a long run short, you know it's for real.

So what was in my way of a successful run? Let's count the things:

  1. Hottest day in a long time (84 degrees, which is around 25 degrees hotter than last weekend's long run) and I started my run right when it was the hottest. 
  2. It was Yom Kippur yesterday, meaning I spent the day before this run mostly sans food and drink (was able to eat dinner last night). 
  3. Decided to eat meat sauce and pasta as my breakfast. Oh yeah, I'm really smart. Let's just say I didn't feel well for like 3 hours before my run as it was too heavy for a pre-run breakfast. 
  4. Lower GI issues later on the run; I'm very thankful there are porta-potties along the route!
  5. Side stitches on BOTH sides of my body. I've had issue with side stitches in the past (since XC in high school), but I've NEVER had two at the same time. Yeesh.
I wish I had seen this during my run.
Source: http://timeshaft.tumblr.com/
Okay, so it just stunk. I was extremely tired and my legs felt heavy. I also started the run a bit too fast even with all of the reasons stacked up against me not to. After a PR in my half marathon a few weeks ago, I plugged my time into McMillan's calculator. You can plug in a time you have for a previous distance (in a race, ideally) and it will give you a guess as your future race times. It's not 100% on point, of course, but it's a nice way to see an idea how fast you can run. I did so with my half and it said I was on course to run a 3:40:34 marathon. Ummm, excuse me?! That's cutting 21 minutes from my marathon PR. I know that's too fast for me, but it gets me really excited since that's within a minute of my Boston Qualifying time (BQ) and it made me realize it may be possible sometime in the future. 

With all of that info, I was hoping to do the first half of the 20 miler at close to 9 minute miles, then do the second half at around 8:30 min/mile pace (close to the pace I'd need to hit for a BQ time). About 8 miles into the run, I realized this was not going to happen and was probably not smart to try to even do so. The last 6 or so miles were so difficult and I actually didn't finish the 20 miler; got back to my apartment with .75 miles left and knew doing them at the sloth-like pace I was only capable of was silly. 
Not half bad pace, even if I fell apart at the end!
Am I upset? Yes, because I don't like having bad runs, but it's one of the first ones I've had in this marathon training cycle and I'd rather struggle in training than in the actual races. I also averaged still a really decent pace, so it's not a total loss. Can't wait for next week's long run to redeem myself!