What I Ate Wednesday: Lean on the Greens

It’s Wednesday, or better known as WIAW! If you’re new to this party venture to Jenn’s blog where she features hundreds of WIAW blogger posts! I read way too many WIAW posts every Wednesday but it serves as a source of clean eating inspiration (most of the time!). I’m not creative so I need all the help I can get!

Since we’re going green this month, I’m so tempted to post a video of my sweet niece eating broccoli… she loves her veggies so much! She talks about broccoli being so yummy like most kids talk about cookies being so good. It’s like we can’t keep her hands out of the veggie drawer. Good problem to have, I suppose!

Breakfast: Egg muffin (egg whites, shredded zucchini, carrots, scallions, red pepper, cayenne pepper, pepper) and two kiwis.
ThinkThin bar & green tea
Spinach salad with berries, feta, and walnuts from Fresh Market.
Dinner: Spaghetti squash sautéed in olive oil, garlic, and parsley served over crushed tomatoes. This as my first time making/eating spaghetti squash and it’s safe to say I’m in love!
Snack: Handful(s) of dried cranberries & a square of dark chocolate

I was pretty lean on the greens today. I pledge to do better next week! I’ll be on vacation where there will be lots of greens available!

What’s your favorite green food? 

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Trail Tuesday: Ten Great Trails to Hike, Bike, or Run in the Carolinas

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I am always incorporating fun activities to help me stay in shape. Hiking is one of my favorite things to do outside of my structured workouts since it truly allows me to escape the busyness of the world. I enjoy the moments of deep reflection and silence when I’m outdoors. Hiking is an enjoyable way I stay fit and also helps me get some extra steps in!

  1. McMullen Creek, Lower McAlpine, and Four Mile Creek Greenways. These greenways are heavily traveled by bikers, runners, and walkers. If you don’t have a dog, be ready to have major pet envy! It seems like every other person is walking with their adorable companion.
  2. McDowell Nature Preserve. The lake is my happy place and this trail loops around a cove on Lake Wylie. I usually go here if I’m looking for a relaxing, slow-paced walk through the woods.
  3. U.S. National Whitewater Center. I’ve ran an 8k trail race here, but I really love mountain biking on the trails. There are trails for novice, intermediate, and expert riders. If you live in the Charlotte metro region and have not visited USNWC yet, I forgive you as long as you visit this year! I am in love with this place.

Here are some other trails I enjoy in North Carolina:

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Increasing Mileage = Increasing Expertise!

Happy Monday!

I’m not typically so cheerful on a Monday, but I took the day off to get ready for my upcoming vacation (destination will be announced soon!).

I’m rather ambitious today. Here’s what I’ve accomplished so far:

  • Cooked up a delicious egg white omelette
  • Completed a 30 minute elliptical workout/15 minute stationary bike
  • Completed a 29 minute Fight Gone Bad style workout (5 rounds)
  • Made a trip to Run for Your Life
  • Enjoyed a 45 minute Caribbean style pedicure
Still on my to-do list:
  • Get a manicure
  • Stock up on some protein snacks for my trip (thinkThin bars, Power Crunch bars, etc)
  • Attempt to find running sunglasses
  • Possibly splurge on a new bikini
  • Pack

Anyway, as my title suggests, I’ve learned more about running this week! Yesterday I hit the greenway around 9am for my 8-mile long run. It was about 50-degrees, sunny, and breezy in Charlotte yesterday. We had some pretty heavy storms on Friday so the greenway was a bit muddy and parts of the boardwalk were super slippery! I nearly slipped a half-dozen times so I definitely had to slow down and use caution several times.

Slippery conditions weren’t my only concern. The sun was overbearing and, combined with the wind, my eyes hated me. I came to the realization I desperately need to buy some sunglasses for running (thus the trip to Run for Your Life)! Regrettably, they didn’t have any sunglasses I was crazy about so my search will continue this afternoon. I’ve run in my Tom Fords before and let’s just say they are “too pretty” for running. They are terrible to run in so I’ll keep those babies for non-active outings.

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Farm-to-Fork Friday: Almost Time to Plant my Microfarm!

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone’s day is off to a great start. I have a little confession to make- I didn’t eat at a farm-to-fork restaurant this week! I also didn’t buy any local food this week so I didn’t have the opportunity to use my awesome chef skills (or lack thereof) to cook up any delicious local meals myself! Therefore, I do not have any great local, sustainable, meals to share with you all.

I was a little excited when I walked by Harvest Moon Grille, a farm-to-fork restaurant, in uptown Charlotte last weekend, but my boyfriend and I were meeting some out of town friends for dinner so I couldn’t exactly mandate that we eat there. It’s definitely on my growing lists of farm-to-fork restaurants to try.

I will definitely have a nice farm-to-fork restaurant posting next Friday!

In the meantime, I thought I’d chat about microfarming. I’m not an expert on microfarms, but I grew up in a family that planted a small garden every year. It started out with the basics- tomatoes and strawberries. Last year my father planted an assortment of fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeños, squash, zucchini, cantaloupe, cucumbers, green beans, and strawberries. Oh, and my favorite, pattypan (sunburst/summer) squash. I grew up calling it “spaceship” squash because that’s what it resembled to me. Perhaps “UFO” would have a more fitting name because of its shape, but I suppose I liked the nickname “spaceship” better.

This year, I am going to contribute to my dad’s microfarm. I don’t really have a place to grow my own so I’ll just use up some of my parents’ property! I recently learned about some organic gardening classes being offered by Microfarm Organic Gardens at the Atherton Mill and Market. Hopefully I can find time in my schedule to attend the classes on March 20th and 21st so I can educate myself on harvesting quality organic produce. I doubt my dad’s garden meets any sort of “organic” standard!

So what is microfarming? Here’s a good explanation I stumbled upon on Microfarm Organic Gardens’ blog:

Simply put, a microfarm is a small amount of land – an acre or less to be exact- that is devoted to the production of food. The term often applies to tiny farms operating in dense urban settings, but can just as easily describe a small area used for food production in a suburban or rural setting. The idea is to utilize available space for raising food, and harvest the property’s natural resources, like rainwater and leaves, and recycle them back into the farm.

You can read the rest of the blog post here.

I’m beginning to plan what I’m going to plant this year and will share the details with you in a future post!

Are you planning to grow anything this spring?

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What I Ate Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!

Is this the first time you’ve read a What I Ate Wednesday post? If so, you’ll want to read my post here or venture straight to Jenn’s blog, Peas and Crayons, to learn all about it! Click on the picture above and you’ll be directed to her blog where hundreds of other bloggers share what they eat!

Yesterday I started my day with a delicious egg white omelette made with mushrooms, scallops, bell peppers, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. I also had a kiwi and a big glass of water.

Around 10am I treated myself to the same snack I had over the weekend. Papaya, unsweetened apple sauce, a scoop of almond butter, and more cinnamon than I care to share.

For lunch, I had some deli meat, a half-dozen macadamia nuts, and this delicious edamame salad. It had edamame, feta cheese, dried cranberries, pepper, and fresh basil. As you may recall, I’m on a major feta cheese kick right now!

My afternoon snack consisted of a banana and a white chocolate thinkThin bar. I snatched this bar out of my carry on that I already packed with snacks for my upcoming vacation. I guess I’ll have to make a trip to the store to replace it! I’m hoping I can find the lemon cream pie flavor because I haven’t tried it yet!

The banana and thinkThin bar served as my fuel prior to my 5 mile greenway run.

Speaking of my run, I ran by a jersey shore looking guy on the greenway and he about killed me with his cologne. He was riding this little cute cruiser bike in a sleeveless shirt with a full bottle of gel in his hair.  As I ran past him I literally felt like I was running by Abercrombie. I’m not quite sure what the reasoning was for him to wear so much cologne on a greenway but I certainly hope someone had the nerves to call him out! So silly. He’s definitely not like the people I typically see on the greenway in Charlotte.

After my run, I zoomed over to my boyfriend’s place. I had a few too many pretzels and hummus  as I prepared our cobb salads for dinner. Here’s a picture of his salad… my salad looked the same except I didn’t eat the egg yolks. The homemade dressing on this salad was so simple yet so good. Red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced shallots, and black pepper.

I must have been super hungry after my run because I completely failed to top our salads with my favorite toppings: dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and goat cheese! I have no idea how I forgot to add those little munchies to the top. I didn’t even realize I forgot them until well after I finished my salad.

Anyway, I’ve had more exciting food in my life. I haven’t been feeling that great the last few days so I haven’t made meal planning a priority. Maybe one of these days I’ll impress you guys!

Now I’m off to run 3 miles before I begin my workday!

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My Six Favorite Fitness Things Right Now

1. Kenra Platinum Dry Shampoo 2. Inov-8 F-Lite 230 3. Kettlebells
4. Lululemon Run: Pace Setter Skirt
5. Suplove Challenger 8’10”  Stand Up Paddle Board
6. Lululemon Astro Wunder Under Crop 

  1. Kenra Platinum Dry Shampoo is perfect for days I just don’t have time to wash my hair after a workout. My hair stylist recommended it after he nearly had a heart attack when I told him I wash my hair everyday, sometimes twice a day. I’m convinced he would have had a heart attack had I told him I sometimes blow dry and straighten it twice a day!
  2. I love my purple Inov-8 shoes! I think I’ve received a dozen compliments on them at my gym. I wear them for lifting and calisthenics. I’ve only been training in them for 3 weeks but I am already sold on them for life.
  3. Kettlebells are amazing. That’s really all you need to know. If you haven’t tried a kettlebell workout yet it’s time you do! I’ll be buying some in the near future to have at home!
  4. I’m about to give in and buy a running skirt. The one featured above from Lululemon is super cute. In the past, I was anti-running skirts for years but I guess I’m ready for a new, more feminine running look.
  5. I’ve fallen in love with this brand and board. Someday I’ll be the proud owner of it… maybe this summer!
  6. I love Lululemon wunder unders! I have the crops and the full length pant and I’m obsessed with working out in them. People at my gym must think they’re the only workout clothes I have when I have at least a dozen Nike shorts and a half-dozen other workout pants to choose from. I’m obsessed with Lululemon and it’s hard not to wear them everyday.
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My Five Healthy Workday Habits

I am a young professional so it’s often a challenge live a healthy lifestyle throughout the week, but I feel like I am slowly mastering healthy workday habits.

Here are five little healthy weekday habits of mine:

  1. Don’t hit the snooze button. This is a challenge I gave myself for 2012. I now spring out of bed every morning when my alarm goes off at 6am. Waking up at 6am every morning gives me the time to do the things I should do every morning like eat breakfast and apply make-up before leaving the house. I feel like a new woman now that I have time to eat a healthy breakfast and apply make-up before heading out the door.
  2. Sip green tea and water throughout the day. I workout often so it’s really important for me to hydrate all day long. I like drinking water, but my go-to drink at the office is green tea. It helps suppress my appetite until it’s time for me to snack or eat lunch. I used love TAZO zen green tea but now I’m smitten over Yogi green tea blueberry slim life. It’s so good!

    My favorite green tea!

  3. Take the stairs. My office is on the 2nd floor so it’s not like I’m benefitting much from taking the stairs but at least I’m being more active than taking the elevator. I can also get to my office much quicker than riding in the elevator. That thing moves at a snail’s pace.
  4. Pack lunch and snacks. This is a biggie. Bringing my lunch to work has helped me eat healthier, save money, and free up time. In 2011 I was eating out almost every day. As you can imagine, it’s hard to make healthy choices and even the “healthy” items at restaurants truly aren’t that healthy. I realized I would save a ton of money by packing my lunch plus it saves me time since I don’t have to drive somewhere to pick something up. I used to rush around frantically on my lunch hour but now I enjoy my lunch in the office and actually feel rejuvenated after my brief break from working. If I feel up for it, I typically take a short walk or climb the stairs in our parking deck.
  5. Take mini breaks. Luckily, I have a job where I’m not usually glued to my desk for eight hours a day but on the days that I am I always find ways to stretch out my legs. I try to get out of my chair at least every hour even if it’s just to grab something off the printer or treat myself to another cup of green tea. I’m also big on walking to my colleague’s desk if I have a question.

I’m sure there a million ways to stay healthy and active during workdays. What are your best tips?

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Seven Novice Cold Weather Running Blunders

Venture to my “about” page and you’ll find out I run, but I’m not a runner. I don’t know when I will start referring to myself as a runner, but I just know I’m not quite there yet. Perhaps I’ll consider myself a runner once I’ve completed two half marathons. I really need to call my ultra marathoner aunt and find out from her when I can begin referring to myself as a runner. I would hate to step on any toes!

Anyway, I’ve completed a handful of 5k races and a few other random races, but nothing more than an 8k. I like to think I could offer decent advice to someone seeking tips for running their first 5k; however, I wouldn’t recommend coming to me for advice. I know what works for me when it comes to preparing for 5ks, but I know my approach may not be the best approach for everyone.

While I may feel somewhat knowledgeable about running 5ks, I learned this morning that I have so much to learn about running and feel many more learning opportunities coming my way as I continue to train for my first half marathon.

This morning I headed out for a seven mile run and I made seven serious running blunders. Seven. I actually thought about titling this post “Novice Runner Stupidity.” However, I thought that title was far too harsh and negative for the mostly positive world of running. But, my actions were just that- stupid. At least I learned some valuable lessons today!

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Princesses v. Pirates

If you’re on twitter, chances are you’ve come across the #princesshalf hashtag a few times over the last week or so. If you follow healthy living bloggers on twitter (like I do), you’ve seen this hashtag pop up dozens of times, if not hundreds. All of these lucky ladies are participating in the Disney Princess Half Marathon this weekend.

So, while I’m sitting here bright and early on a Saturday morning enjoying my bacon, egg whites, and papaya, tens of thousands of women and girls are making their fairytales come true. Running in princess attire!?! Yes, that’s a dream come true!

I would love to be at Disney this weekend enjoying all the Princess Half Marathon festivities. It seems so magical. I just can’t get over how cool it would be to be a running princess. I love princesses and I love running so it’d be heaven for me! I can think of a half dozen costumes I’d love to wear and my guess is some lucky girl in Orlando is dressed just like I would be if I were there.

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Farm-to-Fork Friday in Charlotte: Poplar Ridge Farm Tour and Market Days

Via localharvest.org

In honor of farm-to-fork Friday, here’s a fun event to go to tomorrow if you live in the Charlotte region. I wish I could go to this event,  but my hair appointment is a higher priority for me than checking out a farm!

I recently learned about Poplar Ridge Farm, a Certified Organic Community Sustainable Agriculture farm (CSA), from a colleague at work and I’m amazed by all the fun events they host. This spring you can take a variety of classes ranging from gluten-free baking to heart healthy desserts. They also host elegant farm-to-table dinners with area chefs and guest speakers! How cool is that?

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