Monday, February 24, 2014

Moving From Blogger to Wordpress

Hola friends! I wanted to let you know that I've officially transitioned over to wordpress!  The new blog is:

Update your bookmarks, call your mom, just head on over to see what's new!


I have so much to talk about!

I mean, it's nothing really exciting, but I definitely had a jam packed weekend including my infamous Weekend Splurge making her weekly visit all while putting a long run in the books. Oh yea, and I decided to change my life. Continue on...

From where I left you, I enjoyed meeting out some good friends on Friday at 6B in Boston, in order to indulge in a few drinks before our friends headed out for a date night. Chris and I then made our way over to the Hard Rock to watch an 80's cover band. I hate to admit that I much prefer 90's cover bands...but I had a lot of fun on Friday! We even got to meet Stay Puft from the Ghostbusters!! Let's just say, my 6 miles didn't happen the next morning as planned.

I did, however, receive a text from Go MOM Go on Friday night about something called... Oil Pulling... I put it out of my head until the next morning, when I had time to do more research.

Oil pulling is essentially swishing around oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes in order to "pull out" toxins and bacteria. It is recommended that one use cold pressed Sesame Oil, although olive, coconut, etc. are also permitted. I thought the whole thing was BAZONGAS until I did more research on it, and its actually a highly medically-researched based practice for decreasing plaque, gingivitis, tartar, and bad breath (although many other psychological health benefits have also been touted such as reduced anxiety and increased energy).  I've tried oil pulling for the last several mornings and I'm realizing I am one of the people who feel the negative side effects before seeing the good; I have congestion and tender gums.  Despite these setbacks, most sites suggest that they are temporary and you should continue your practice knowing that you will see the benefits within a few days.

Removing toxins from the body through oils is based on Ayurveda practice. Ayurveda is not only a system of traditional medicine from India, but it is also a way of life. I learned more about Ayurveda when on Saturday night I headed to my coworkers house for a ladies get together. My friend is practicing to become a tantric yoga instructor (its not just about...positions..ya know) and while describing my recent food intolerance discovery (it IS a combination of wheat and dairy) AN, as my friend is known as, handed me a book entitled, "Eat, Taste, Heal: An Ayurvedic Guidebook and Cookbook for Modern Living".

At its very basic core, Eat, Taste, Heal "provides modern applications of Ayurveda, humankind’s most ancient system of healthy living. A complete guidebook and cookbook in one, Eat • Taste • Heal offers every reader an individualized blueprint for achieving vibrant health. Fulfilling the adage, “Let Food Be Thy Medicine," Eat • Taste • Heal offers recipes that are inviting to both the kitchen novice and master chef."

There is so much to talk about when it comes to Ayurvedic living, but at the very least, I'm discovering that there are three types of Doshas ("biological energies found throughout the human body and mind that govern all physical and mental processes and provide every living being with an individual blueprint for health and fulfillment"). I believe that I am a combination of Pitta and Kapha, which includes a mix of fire, water, and earth.  "The Doshas are dynamic energies that constantly change in response to our actions, thoughts, emotions, the foods we eat, the seasons, and any other sensory inputs that feed our mind and body". When your dosha is unbalanced, you begin to feel many different health concerns, both mentally and physically. 

I do encourage you, readers, to research this topic more thoroughly, as I am only, just barely, skimming the surface with the edge of my pinky finger.  However, I feel as though this weekend was meant to happen exactly as it was because it came full circle as it continued.  

I woke up Sunday morning anxious about starting school following our February break and I knew I needed to get myself into action the moment I opened my eyes.  After cleaning, cooking, and typing up a psych evaluation for school, I decided it was finally time to take part in my long run.

I'm so glad I did, because that run was one of the best ones that I had had in quite some time.  Sure it wasn't the fastest, but I didn't want it to be. I just wanted it to feel like I could run for hours on end without any complaints and that's exactly what it felt like.  I took a quick pit stop at Trader Joe's in order to get some water right around the 6 mile mark, but other than that, I just trotted along.

I came home, rolled, and was ready to lay low for the rest of the evening. While perusing Facebook, I noticed that a friend had posted about the movie, "Food, Inc." and I figured with Chris being out of the house, it was the perfect time to prop up my IPad and give it whirl.

As was anticipated, the movie left me in awe and filled with anxiety.  I can't believe what we, as consumers, don't know about the food we eat, from how the animals are raised and killed, how our food systems are being modified and manipulated, to how workers are treated throughout all aspects of production.  

I was disgusted by the details of what hormones are used in our chicken and cattle, and that our chickens grow so big and so quickly, that their bones and organs can no longer support their weight. Instead, thousands of chickens sit in closed and dark henhouses while surrounded by their own fecal matter without having the ability to move. We are eating these frankenchickens. 

I was also horrified to know that cattle are being subjected to the same conditions and are caked in their own feces, which is then transferred to the machinery they are being slaughtered on. Furthermore, because cows are now being feed corn (with a mixture of cows blood, chicken feces, etc.) which they are not genetically predisposed to eating, they are contracting new forms of e. coli due to the difficulty with digestion. As you have seen in the news, these E. coli outbreaks have most definitely been making their way into our food system.  The industry's answer to these issues is to douse the meat in ammonia and then serve it to customers, as compared to feeding cows grass, which would solve many of the bacteria infections that they encounter based on their current eating style (and makes you wonder what corn is doing to us!). 

I honestly could go on and on about what I saw in that movie, but I highly recommend that you watch it for yourself (only $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video).  However, I pause to give you warning because if you do make a choice to watch this video, then you must make a conscious effort to change the way you eat. If you aren't ready to make that kind of commitment, then I suggest that you wait until you are ready.

I have essentially pledged to eat mostly organic, locally grown food, and will only purchase meat that has been humanely raised (although I'm sure when visiting guests or going out to dinner, it will be a challenge to find, and pay for, organic free-range chicken or grass-fed beef). I have even researched some farm shares in the area so that I can receive seasonally appropriate fruits and veggies, which, as you guessed, brings me back to the book, Eat, Taste, Heal.

After finishing the movie (and then watching True Detectives on GOOD!) I couldn't sleep and decided to continue to dig into the book. What's amazing was that I was moving into the section on eating organic, locally sourced foods as a way of sustaining resources and to heal our bodies, but also to avoid the inhumane practices of the animal industry. Exactly what Food, Inc, spoke of during the movie, Eat, Taste, Heal echoed throughout the pages of their book.

I feel like my life has forever changed. I'm interested to see how I am able to sustain these changes while having money in my pocket and the time and energy to put more effort into making sure my eating is clean, healthy, and healing. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Five Things Friday

1. I'm all for meat. Don't get me wrong. I grew with an extended family that hunts, and while you would never see me touting a shotgun, I think hunting is important for animal control (um hello overpopulation of deer much) as well as helping to provide my family with enough meat to last almost the entire winter season. I have also moved into a lower carb/low dairy diet to help with my food intolerance issues and you better believe that meat has become a huge staple of my diet.

However, I watched this video that one of my friends posted on facebook today. Be warned, its totally heinous and actually left me feeling a little overwhelmed and upset. In just a few minutes, you are reminded of the horrific practices of the food industry, which feeds into the dietary habits of the people purchasing their products.

I have been doing a lot of research on the food industry as of late, and its completely overwhelming to think about how food can impact your health. I can't even begin to afford the costs of eating sustainable, organic, hormone-free, grass-fed, non-gmo foods. I do my very best with the budget that I have, but thinking about what happens to animals before I consume them is making me rethink how I purchase meat in the future.  I don't ever see myself moving away into a pescatarian/vegetarian lifestyle, but the amount of hormones and pesticides that are being pumped into and consumed by animals before they are slaughtered is MOST CERTAINLY making an impact on our emotional/behavioral/physical health. Its really gross and overwhelming to think about.

2. The six-minute clip is only a small portion of the movie, Samsara, which is described as "is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives.  Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five countries, SAMSARA transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders.  By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern.  "

If you are interested in watching the rest of the movie, you are able to do so via Amazon Instant Video. You can rent it for only $2.99, or $3.99 if you have a hankering for the HD version. I will most definitely be inserting this into my weekend schedule, by clicking the link here.

3. On a lighter note, I want Chris to make this for me this weekend. 

Oh, look at that. It's vegetarian. I would probably add some protein to this, because it would not be enough to sustain me for an entire evening. Looks delicious though and is a part of an article tweeted out today on 20 Amazing Paleo Avocado Recipes, although the original post was written by Gina from Running to the Kitchen.

4. I'm also curious if any of you readers or Boston-area lurkers are going to participate in the inaugural Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon Weekend. 

I haven't signed up as of yet, but I'm definitely thinking of doing it (and more so before March 6th because the price increases at that point). I think any event put on by Runners' World is going to be top notch, and I can only imagine the local running celebrities and experiences that will be available to all those participating.  The whole weekend is split up into different components, with a 5k, 10k, and half marathon all in one weekend.  You can also participate in the Five and Dime or the Hat Trick if you are really feeling wild. I'm not so sure I am (mostly because I have to go to a graduation on that weekend).


5. Last, but not least... I have officially rented my first two dresses from Rent the Runway.

Each dress is retailed between 300 and 1000 dollars!!! You can rent them for a weekend for about $35+ (some are as low as $35 while others can be as high as $400). Even better, necklaces worth $800 can be rented for only $10. Its RIDICULOUS! I have my first black tie event and wedding rehearsal dinner (super fancy) that I felt needed the appropriately fancy frock, and decided that instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a dress I would only wear once, I would instead rent it. AND YES, I realize that wearing a dress only once is ridiculous but that's what you get in the day of Facebook, Instagram, blogs, and Twitter. 

First time renters at Rent the Runway can also use a $25 promo code:  FIRSTRTR25X7947

 Enjoy your weekends, you little noodles!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Today, I ran outside in shorts.

It was the CA raziest thing ever. I ran outside in shorts. Granted, I had a long sleeve base layer and compression sleeves, but I didn't have on long pants, earmuffs, and mittens, and that makes a girl super happy. Not my best run with all of the snow still on the road/sidewalks, but I got 'er done.

I've actually been on par for my training this week, although I did cut the speed workout on Tuesday a little short. I just realized that I am in no way Hungry Runner Girl, and 9 miles of speedwork are just not happening.  Instead, I did 7 miles doing a 2 mile warm-up and 3x1600 repeats with a cool down in between and then a final cool down of 1.75 miles. Wasn't the longest speed workout, but I freakin' did it and that's ALL that counts. I overheat like a small dog, so 7 miles was my limit when logging runs at the gym.

See! Look how red my face was! and that was 20 minutes after the run ended. 

Yesterday, I ran 5 unbroken miles on the ol' mill, then did a quick leg workout. Nothing special, made sure to go slow, but again, I'm proud of myself for getting it done.

That evening, I helped to babysit Chris's niece and then headed with Baby Snake and another friend to grab some quick bites and watch The Hypocrites' Romeo and Juliet at the Oberon Theater in Harvard Square.  It was an amazing show with only 4 cast members and a very intimate stage. The whole thing lasted an hour, with patrons having access to the bar throughout the show and were greeted with fortune cookies upon arrival.  The mix of Shakespearean language and today's colloquialisms made for a fun twist on the original show. I highly recommend Bostonaians going out of the experience, as it was only $20, although you have to be fairly well versed in the original play to understand some of the transitions among the characters (as they play multiple parts) in addition to changes in script, such as having Mercutio take some of Juliet's lines in order to play on the relationship between Romeo and his friend.

As was mentioned previously, I was able to get outside for a 5 mile run, making the total for the week 17 miles.  I have a goal of completing another 24 by the rest of this weekend (6 on Friday, 12 on Saturday, and 6 on Sunday). Let's see how that goes, because you know how bad I am at long runs.

I'm off to a family party and then to head into the city to see one of Chris's bestest (not a real word, I know) friends. Time to have some more fun on this vacation week!

Wax Tailor - How I Feel

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

This winter is making me die a slow death.

Seriously, this winter has been pretty awful. When it's not around 13 degrees out and finally hits above the freezing's snowing at least 5 inches (and its snowing as I type this post).  It's driving me bananas. It's really difficult to run around outside in this mess because most of the sidewalks aren't cleared and running on the road in the city is just not a choice.  Even my favorite bike paths are completely a mess, banishing most of us runners to the ol' mills. I think I speak for every one of us that this is getting CRAY. I see the same people with me at BSC night after night, trudging along on the treadmill.  Yesterday, I decided to take an active recovery day and give myself a break from running.  

I split my time up amongst three different cardio machines, including a spin bike that has a workout video for you to follow along with.  It was actually pretty tough because you had to make sure your heart rate and cadence were within a certain range (given the original goal I had set based on my fitness level, age, and weight).

30 minutes later I took to the weights (for another 30 minutes of random exercises) and I decided to call it a day.  I will say, it is nice to have the time over this vacation to go whenever I want and tag along with Chris. Peanut Butter Fingers put up a post suggesting that when couples sweat at the same time together, they are more likely to stick to their fitness goals.

Because I have also been a shut in since break started, Chris and I decided to meet up Baby Snake and her husband in order to grab some eats and play some trivia at Bull McCabe's in Union Square.  I didn't think we would stay as long as we did (thus, why we named ourselves, "We might not stay") but we were doing pretty well up until the end!  The winners at that point had a perfect plus score, so we knew we had no chance of winning. The best part was that I knew 7 correct answers for last nights' game, which has never happened to me before, in the history of Lauren's life of trivia. It. was. awesome.

(That...kind of looks like me? Remember me at 27?)

I slept in this morning, watched some trash tv, and ate a few things.  I'm currently delaying the gym even though I have every intention to go. I don't know what it is about the 9 miles of speedwork that is sounding awful. The schedule calls for a 2 mile warm-up and 5 miles speed (at 10 seconds faster than goal pace) and then 2 mile cool down. I'm going to try to break this up somehow, because I think 5 miles at 7:50 is going to present itself as a challenge on the ol' mill. Inspiration PLEASE!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lana Del Rey - Diet Mountain Dew

The perils of running in the snow

Have you seen this video yet? Its hilarious! A facebook friend of mine posted it yesterday and I was dying.

Oh runners...thinking you are invincible.

On another note, over the last week I have been (mostly) staying away from carbs and dairy and while yes it helps a little with the waistline, the most noticeable difference is that I haven't felt sick to my stomach ALL WEEK. The only day that I had a bad stomachache was right after Valentine's Day dinner. Now, through the magic of elimination, I'm going to figure out what it was about that dinner that made me feels so gosh dang awful. Hopefully it will help me solve the food allergy conundrum that I am currently facing.

10 years of stomachaches is 10 years too long and finally with the power of the internet and all of this HLB's that I'm obsessed with reading, I think I'm figuring out what makes my stomach happy and healthy (and not miserable, lethargic, bloated, and sick). I hate it, I'm not going to lie and say that its been awesome eating no carbs or dairy, because its not, but I just feel so much better that it might have to become a lifestyle choice.  The thought of SUSTAINING this for the long-term is a little scary, but, right now, I seriously can't say no to feeling good.

I'm also sorry for talking about it all the time...but seriously... I have nothing else going on in my life at the moment and this is all I think about. I need another hobby, haha. If only I could be out winning races and talking to you about that, but...that's never going to happen unless I run against a dead body.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day in the kitchen of Chef Chris

Happy Belated Valentine's Day! Chris and I had several ideas for Valentine's Day plans but knowing how I would feel the Friday before my February Break, we decided that a dinner at home would be much preferred.

Chris is an amazing at-home chef, so you are in for a treat! We started with an appetizer of salmon pinwheels and Oysters Rockefeller. For the main course, we have salmon stuffed with spinach and feta with a side of sundried tomato pesto (not pictured but OMG amazing). As for dessert, Chris created homemade chocolate chip cookies and a cream cheese/peanut butter sauce to dip our cookies and chocolates into. The whole meal was amazing!!

Following dinner, we opened gifts, which was a distant second to the amazing homecooked meal! Chris purchased a massage gift certificate for me while I put together the perfect Man's Valentine's Day gift basket filled with the essentials (i.e., socks, underwear, undershirts). to snacks (lots and lots of chocolate and coffee), to a cute little book I picked up that had me list 40 reasons for loving Chris! 

I have to say, it was one of my favorite Valentine's Days!  I hope every one of you was also able to enjoy yours, with company or not!  Today, I atoned for my sins by running 7 straight unbroken miles on the good ol' mill, while Chris heads to a bachelor party. Woof!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Phew, what a week!

Sorry for the delay, folks! When blogging isn't your moneymaker you sometimes have to put it on the backburner when life gets a little busy!  As you all know, I was away in Tampa, FL for the weekend in order to attend the wedding of my best friend from growing up!  While I wasn't very good at taking pictures because I was so involved in the event, I did get a few shots that I thought would be wonderful to share with you.

As for running and food, I've definitely taken a step back in the amount I've run, but I've been really good at eating mostly carb free since I've been back from Florida (which was amazingly difficult while I was down there).  Regardless, I'm feeling really good about the way I've been eating this week and have even found that my stomachaches have taken a break! Food or stress related, I'm just happy that my irritable gut/bowel are calm for the time being.

Better yet, next week is February break!  It couldn't have come at a better time. For all of you school know how crazy things get the week leading up to a vacation! Its like a full moon for an entire 5 days!  Anyway, here are some highlights from the weekend (which are not really highlights because I only pulled out my camera when I wasn't busy with bridesmaid duties).

God what I wouldn't give to be back in that weather. 70 degrees and sunny on our last day (a little colder the two days prior). I miss you Florida! I miss you Jody!


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