Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lentil Lettuce Wraps

I had some left over veggies this week and was trying to think of something I could put together for dinner without having to go to the store. Luckily, I keep my dry beans and grains stocked in my mason jars, so I came up with this recipe! Lentils are a great substitute for ground beef because they're easy to use to make the "meat" of a meal, like a veggie burger or lettuce wrap. These are the ingredients I used, but lentils are really versatile so you can mix them with any vegetables and spices that you desire. I always like to add tomato sauce or paste because it adds some "mushiness." Here's another lentil "meat" recipe to check out.

3/4 cup dry lentils
1.5 cups water
1 stalk celery
1 large carrot
1/2 cup of tomato sauce (I used marinara)
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp. Worchestire sauce (optional)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
large lettuce or swiss chard leaves.

In a medium-sized pot, combine the lentils and water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until all of the water is absorbed by the lentils, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the carrot and celery in to small pieces (it's easier to use a food processor). Once the lentils are cooked, take about half of them and place in the food processor and puree until smushed. Then, take all of your ingredients and add them back into the pot. Stir the mixture and cook for about 5-10 minutes, depending on how soft you want your veggies (I like them crunchy).

Serve the lentil "meat" inside of the large lettuce leaves. I used a huge swiss chard leaf and wrapped it up like a burrito (below), but I think it would be better in a few smaller lettuce leaves because it got messy.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fitness Log 10/15 - 10/21

Just 3 weeks until the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K, but I think I'm ready already! My 7-mile run went well last week so I'll just do 8 miles this weekend and 9 miles the weekend before the race.

Monday - CrossFit
Pre-WOD: max clean and jerk: 80 lbs - new PR!
WOD: 5 rounds:
5 cleans (65 lbs.)
5 jerks (65 lbs.)
10 pull ups (blue band)
Time: 9:23
I was feeling quite tired today, as is always the case on Mondays. I need to have a more consistent sleeping schedule on the weekends. Still a good workout though and I'm glad I didn't sleep in.

Tuesday - CrossFit
Pre-WOD: Back Squat 8 Reps at 60%, 65%, 70% and 75% of your 1 Rep Max
1 rep max is 135 lbs: 8 x 81-88-95-101
WOD: 30-20-10
Wall balls (10 lbs)
Time: 9:24 (? I forgot exactly)
My arms/shoulders/back were really sore from Monday's workout. This made the push ups really hard. Another girl in my class and I were talking about how hard push ups are. We've both gotten a lot better with pull-ups (she does them unassisted) but not really shown much progress in push ups. Are any of you girls out there really good at push-ups and how did you get so good at them?

Wednesday - CrossFit
Pre-WOD: 3 minute AMRAP: 10 push-ups, 10 squats, 20 skaters, 100 m run (completed 2 rounds)
WOD: 5 rounds:
10 pull-ups (blue band)
20 box jumps
30 double unders (90 single unders)
400 m run
Time: 25:25
This was a great endurance workout but I am really sore everywhere from the past three days. Tommorrow will be a rest day!

Thursday - Rest Day
My muscles were pretty sore from the past three days so I just ran 1.5 miles on the treadmill and then streched out and did some foam rolling.

Friday - CrossFit
Pre-WOD: Front Squat: 5 reps of 60%, 65%, 70%, and 75% of 1-rep max (115 lbs.)
WOD: 21-15-9 of:
Squat Cleans (53 lbs.)
Ring dips (blue band to assist)
Time: 9:27
My legs were still pretty sore from Tuesday/Wednesday so the front squats and squat cleans hurt. The girls also practiced pull-ups after the WOD, which was fun. I stayed too late and then was late to work! I could seriously spend all morning at crossfit haha.

Sunday - LSD Run
Distance: 8 miles
Total Time: 1:07:42
Pace: 8:28 per mile
Had a good run, I hope I can keep up this pace for the race!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

I attempted to make some butternut squash/kale/quinoa salad but it didn't turn out very good. So I had some left over butternut squash and I decided to make a simple butternut squash soup. It was super easy to make, the hardest part was chopping up the squash! The consistency and color of this soup is very similar to the Creamy Curry Pumpkin Soup I made last week, which if you haven't tried, you need to! I would suggest just getting frozen, already chopped, butternut squash since it was difficult to chop (maybe I need better knives).
4 cups water
3-4 cups cubed butternut squash

1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion or 1 tsp. onion powder
1 clove garlic, chopped or 1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne (optional)
Put the water into a large pan and turn on high heat to bring to a boil. Meanwhile, chop up your vegetables. Add all of the ingredients into the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, use a blender to puree the soup until it looks like the picture above. This is easiest with an immersion/hand blender in the pan but you can also use a regular blender or food processor, just be very careful with the hot liquid. If the soup is too thick, just add more water. Serve immediately or save for later! Soups are very easy to refrigerate or freeze and reheat later.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

HFG is on BlogLovin!

BlogLovin is a website/app that alerts you when a blog that you follow is updated with a new post. This way you don't have to check blogs constantly or keep them in your bookmarks!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Recipe: Scallop Ceviche

Ceviche is a popular dish in Central and South America and is made by "cooking" fish or seafood by marinating it with lemon and/or lime juice. The citrus juice not only adds flavor to the fish, but the citric acid also denatures the proteins, thus "cooking" it. Ceviche kind of reminds me of sushi because the seafood still tastes raw, but with a great citrus flavor. I'm seeing ceviche served more and more in Mexican restaurants. I had some great ceviche at Agave in Naples (read my post) made out of a variety of seafood. However, the shrimp ceviche at Blue Agave in Chicago that I had a couple of weeks ago was not the best. The salsa was too sweet and the shrimp had actually been cooked before marinated, so it wasn't even really ceviche.

This recipe uses scallops, which are one of my favorite seafoods! And they are served in the form of a salsa. I've also seen ceviche served plain on a chip, with the salsa on the side. I adapted this recipe from one that my boyfriend's dad, Jim, gave me!

1 pound fresh scallops (about 8 scallops)
1 cup fresh lime juice (about 6-8 limes)
2 large tomatoes, cored and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (about 1/4 of a bunch)
1 jalapeno, cored and diced
2 avocados, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne

Chop the scallops into bite site pieces and place into a bowl with the lime juice. Marinate in the refrigerator until the scallops are opaque, about 3 hours. The picture above shows what they should look like after marinating (basically not pink). I marinated mine overnight because it was easier. Place the scallops in a large clean bowl and reserve the lime juice. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix well. Add some of the lime juice, to taste. You should also wait to add the avocado until just before serving so it doesn't brown. (The picture below doesn't have the avocado yet).

Serve this ceviche plain in martini glasses, as a salsa with tortilla chips, or inside of tacos. You can also save leftovers for a couple of days. Enjoy!

What's your favorite scallop dish?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fitness Log 10/8-10/14

Less than a month until the Hot Chocolate 15K so my goal this week was to crossfit and run 7 miles.

Monday, 10/8/12 - CrossFit
Pre-WOD: 1-rep max Snatch: 60 lbs. new PR!
WOD: AMRAP 8 min
2 pull-ups, 2 box jumps
4 pull-ups, 4 box jumps
6 pull-ups, 6 box jumps
...increase by 2 reps until time is up
Score: 14 plus 3 pull-ups (using blue band)
Post-WOD: 150 sit ups and 50 hip-extensions
I felt so tired today and barely woke up to work out. The snatch was hard because I just wasn't feeling powerful enough. But, I still PRed because I hadn't done it in a while. Hopefully I am more awake tomorrow.

Tuesday, 10/9/12 - Gym workout
1.5 mile run on treadmill
21-15-9 of KB swings (35 lbs), push-ups, and sit-ups
I went to sleep early on Monday and was totally planning on waking up for crossfit but I forgot to set my alarm! I was dissapointed when my boyfriend's alarm went off and I realized it was too late for crossfit so I just did a quick workout in the gym in my building.

Wednesday, 10/10/12 - CrossFit
Pre-WOD: 1 Rep Max Push Press, 75 lbs.
 WOD: "Helen" - 3 rounds:
400 meter Run
21 KB Swings (35 lbs.)
12 Pull Ups (red band)
Time: 12:55
I felt really energized today so this workout felt good. Although, I know my arms and shoulders will be sore later! Kettlebell (KB) swings are really a great workout for your entire body and something you can do easily at the gym if you have kettbells. Check out the video below for proper form.

Thursday, 10/11/12 - Rest Day
Resting up for my run tomorrow!

Friday, 10/12/12 - LSD run
7 miles in 59:35, Pace: 8:30/mile
Although it was quite windy and started raining, I did really well on this run! I beat my pace time from my 6.8-mile run a couple of weeks ago. I hope I can keep up this pace for the race! I'll be traveling a lot this weekend so I won't have time to workout but it was a good week overall.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Birchbox - sample beauty products!

When I first started this blog, I meant to write posts on beauty along with health and fitness, hence the "goddess" part of the name. However, I don't really use a lot of beauty products and I'm often too lazy to do the DIY beauty things that I find on Pinterest. So in an effort to make myself more "beautiful" I signed up for Birchbox to try sample beauty products. Birchbox is a great service that sends you samples of beauty products once a month for $10. You can then buy products you like right off the website.

Here's my first box with the product descriptions! First of all, I think the $10 is defnitely a good value because nail polish alone can cost $5-$8. The color is a very pretty indigo and I loved it on my nails. The Twistband is a decorative hair tie and I would like it except that it's red (which is my least favorite color and I never wear it). I really like the Kate Spade perfume smells really good and I like having small perfume samples to travel with. I didn't care much for the two creams. Finally, I was suprised to see tea in the box! I guess you could call tea a beauty product. I've had this brand before so I know it's good.
Are you a Birchbox member?
What's your favorite perfume?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Foam Rolling for Runners and Crossfitters

I've been getting sore muscles quite a bit lately from lots of crossfit and running so I decided to purchase a foam roller on Amazon. Foam rolling is basically like getting a sports or deep tissue massage.  Massaging your soft tissue breaks down adhesions and scar tissue and soothes tight  connective tissue. Foam rolling also increases blood flow and circulation to your muscles, so its beneficial before and after a workout. I primarily use my foam roller after a workout to recover and to massage sore muscles at any point in the day. Unfortunatly, I'm often rushed after my morning workout and don't spend as much time on the foam roller as I should. However, I have plenty of time to foam roll in the evening while I'm watching TV, for example.

Once you buy the foam roller (try to get 18 inches or more), it's really easy to use. Basically, just roll your body over the roller, focusing on different muscle groups. Just roll back and forth over the muscle, using your body weight for resistance. Check out this Runner's World article that has some good videos of foam rolling movements for your leg muscles.

In CrossFit, you use your legs muscles as well as your upper body. Foam rolling your chest, back, shoulders, and arms is a little trickier than your legs. You kind of have to get into some weird positions. I scoured youtube for some videos of foam rolling your upper body. I've never tried some of the arm and chest movements so I'm definitely going to do those in the future after hard upper body workouts!

Foam Rolling for Upper Back
Foam Rolling for Arms
Foam Rolling for Chest and Shoulders

Monday, October 8, 2012

Creamy Curry Pumpkin Soup

The temperature is in the 30s here in Chicago which means that it's officially soup season! (By the way, I am not liking this early onset winter, what happened to fall?)

I mentioned how healthy pumpkin is in my post on the Vega Pumpkin Smoothie. Well this recipe also has some good Indian spices to add to the healthiness. Curry powder is a mixture of spices usually used in Indian cooking and has been found to have many health benefits. The turmeric in curry powder (I also added some extra in this recipe) has been found to prevent cancer and Alzheimer's.

I found many pumpkin soup recipes on Pinterest that were sweet but I decided to go with this spicier recipe instead. You can just get sweet curry powder if you like it hot. Also, while cumin is used in a lot of hot/spicy recipes, it is not spicy itself but adds great flavor.

3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1 can pumpkin
1 can coconut milk, or other milk substitute
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
Heat 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened (about 4 minutes). Stir in the curry, cumin, and turmeric and cook for 1 minute. Add the rest of the broth and the pumpkin. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the coconut milk and cook for 4 more minutes. Transfer soup to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth (be careful of the hot liquid - blend in two batches if necessary).

It's hard to take pictures of soup, but this is the best I could do. It really has a nice bright orange color. The recipe makes about 4 bowls of soup, you can refrigerate or freeze the leftovers for later!
I'd love for you to share you favorite soup recipe in the comments!

Fitness Log 10/1-10/5

I'm trying to keep up the good pace of working this week since last week was really good.

Monday, 10/1 - CrossFit
WOD: Crossfit Total
1 rep-max back squat (135 lbs.)
1 rep-max shoulder press (60 lbs.)
1 rep-max deadlift (145 lbs.)
Total score: 340 lbs.
This is a classic crossfit benchmark workout, and I set new PRs on all of these movements! I'm hopeing to improve even more soon.

Tuesday, 10/2 - CrossFit
Pre-WOD: 30 burpees
WOD: 6 rounds:
150 m row
10 chest-to-bar pull-ups (green band)
10 burpees
3-minute rest
Total time: 27:00
During this workout, you sprint each round because you have the 3-minute rest in between. The chest-to-bar pull-up are difficult because your chest has to touch the bar. Overall, a good conditioning workout.

Wednesday, 10/3 - CrossFit
Pre-WOD: Find 1-rep max thruster, 70 lbs.
WOD: 10 rounds:
5 thrusters (53 lbs.)
5 kettlebell swings  (1 pood/35 lbs.)
Time: 10:50
This workout seemed easier than it was so I used a higher weight on thrusters than I normally would. It was difficult! Thrusters (video below) are a truly whole-body movement and you can do them in your gym with a body bar. Movements that use your entire body (legs, core, arms) are much better for fitness than using exercise machines that isolate specific muscles. In the real world, you would use just a couple muscle to do something, like lift a box for example. Stay away from machines!

Friday, 10/5 - CrossFit
Pre-WOD: 3-rep max overhead squat ( I don't remember my weight but I think it was around 65 lbs.)
WOD: "Nancy"
5 rounds:
400 m run
15 overhead squats (35 lbs.)
Time: 14:55
I felt really good today and beat everyone in the class due to the running portion. (I never beat the guys so it was exciting!) Of course, I didn't used the prescribed weight.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Mediterranean food is so delicious! Probably because there is so much olive oil involved. I love olives and try to add them to recipes when possible. Olive oil is a healthier oil to use in cooking, but it is not actually healthy. It is only fat and has no nutritional value. I used to use a lot of olive oil on my salads and in recipes until I realized how high in calories it is. It should only be used for taste when necessary in a recipe. I actually didn't add any olive oil to this recipe and it still tasted great. The kalamata olives bring that olive taste with much less fat.
I used brown rice couscous in this recipe because it happened to be on sale. I would suggest buying either that or whole wheat couscous. This recipe would also work great with quinoa! Also, you may think of  parsley as just another garnish or spice, but it is actually really healthy. Read about it at WHFoods. I would suggest using it more in salads like these because it adds taste and the healthful benefits of leafy greens.


Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

2 cups cooked couscous
1 can chickpeas
1 quart cherry tomatoes
1 bunch green onion
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
3/4 cup kalamata olives
1/2 bunch parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook couscous or quinoa according to package directions (2 cups cooked is about 1 cup dry). Meanwhile chop up all of your vegetables. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Also chop up the olives if you bought them whole. Chop the parsley into very small pieces. Add all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well with the lemon juice.

I made this salad on Sunday and ate it for lunch most of the week. It was just as good on Friday! Just package in glass containers and refrigerate.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vega Pumpkin Smoothie

I recently purchased the new Vega One French Vanilla flavor and it is so good that I've been experimenting more with the ingredients in my morning smoothies. I first posted about the basic protein smoothie that I make every morning, especially after working out. It wakes me up better than coffee because it is loaded with vitamins and other nutrients.

So it's October and of course pumpkin is everywhere! From jack-o-lanterns to pumpkin spice lattes, October is definitely the month of pumpkin. Pumpkin sometimes get a bad rep because it is usually served in sweet, unhealthy things like pumpkin pie. However, this squash is really healthy on its own. It contains fiber and lots of minerals and vitamins. It is especially high in beta-carotene (vitamin A) which is the same thing that makes carrots orange.

I made some healthy pumpkin pudding last week and actually ate it before my great run on Friday and had tons of energy. I'll share that recipe with you later. For now, think about adding some pumpkin puree to your smoothie. Make sure is 100% pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie mix (which has sugar and other things).

3 ice cubes
1 banana (can use frozen banana and ditch the ice cubes)
3 tbsp or more pumpkin puree
1 tsp. of cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 scoop Vega One French Vanilla
1 cup or more of almond milk

Mix together in a blender and enjoy! I use my handy-dandy Hamilton Beach Personal Blender which turns into a to-go cup. You can add more or less of the pumpkin and spices according to taste.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Paleo vs Vegan

My CrossFit gym is doing a 60-day Paleo Diet challenge starting October 15 and I'm debating joining it. Read my earlier post on what I think about Paleo.

I stopped eating animal protein long before I joined CrossFit. All CrossFit gyms follow and promote the Paleo Diet, which is based on what humans ate in the Paleolithic era, before agriculture. You basically only eat fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. I therefore decided to starting eating fish and eggs again, but only occasionally. There are actually a lot of similarities between the unprocessed plant-based diet and Paleo. No white grains, sugar, dairy, etc. The main difference is that Paleo includes meat and plant-based includes legumes and whole grains.

What confuses me the most is the seemingly contradictory research between the vegan and paleo diets. I've read literature from reputable sources on both, and they preach different things, especially with the whole meat/grain/legume situation. Although I am a technical researcher, I deal with things on the atomic level, and not molecular. I almost wish I had a medical degree so I could truly understand some of these studies.

Here are some points I would like to make about contradictions I've come across for both diets:

Modern meat is farmed. Paleo says that we should eat like we did before agriculture, but animals now days are farmed. We should really be eating wild animals that eat a wild diets. Cows are fed corn and grains, which changes the composition of the meat. You could buy just free range, grass-fed cows and chickens, but that is expensive and the regulations are not strict. This is why I like wild-caught fish, because they are still eating close to a natural diet. Then, there is also the argument of modern farming being inhumane. But, how do we feed the world without farming?

Humans are omnivores. Our evolution and gastrointestinal tracts prove that we are made to eat both plants and animals. The China Study concludes that a no-animal (vegan) diet is best because animal protein promotes cancer and other diseases. However, more "advanced" mammals, including our monkey ancestors, eat both plants and animals. Humans have always eaten animals.

Paleo and Vegan results are the same. The results that people get from both diets are essentially the same: weight loss, more energy, and reduction of preventable diseases. How can the results be so similar for such seemingly opposite diets? I would love to see a study done on people following strict paleo and strict unprocessed vegan diets.

Have we evolved? Evolution takes a very long time and we only started farming about 10,000 years ago. Our population has certainly boomed since then, so agriculture can't be all that bad. I don't want to go out and hunt and gather my own food. Are we evolving to tolerate farmed plants like legumes and grains? Those with Celiac disease would say no. But what about sprouted lentils and quinoa, for example? I think this is where the real research needs to go.

I've brought up some points where the plant-based and paleo diets really contradict each other. I think I've come to believe that the optimum diet for humans is somewhere in between, but where? I might try this Paleo challenge just to see what happens when I cut out grains and legumes and eat more animal protein (I'll only eat fish and eggs because meat grosses me out). What do you think? Should I do it?

P.S. This is a very good article on the battle between Paleo and Vegan that I just tried to describe:

Monday, October 1, 2012

When to work out?

In the past, the time of day that I work out has greatly varied. In college, I worked out in the afternoon/evening because going to sleep and waking up early was pretty hard. (This was even the case in grad school because none of my roommates/neighbors ever went to sleep early). However, during my internships and full-time jobs, I've tended to work out in the morning, before work, because it's easier to be in a better routine. I believe that you have the most energy for a workout in the morning, rather than later in the day because you've just had 8-hours of rest. I think that if you're not a "morning person," then that means that you're not getting good sleep. Read my post about things that can help you sleep.

The biggest benefit to working out in the morning is how amazing you feel the rest of the day. I usually don't drink coffee on days that I work out in the morning because I'm so energized from the work out. I'm also in a much better mood all day. That endorphin and adrenaline high really does exist. I also feel accomplished because the hardest part of my day is over. I think it's much easier to skip a work out when you come home from work after a long day.

Waking up early enough to work out before work is not easy. Believe me, I hate my life when my alarm goes off at 5:30 am, especially now that its completely dark outside. But once I'm out of bed and outside in the cold air and get to the gym and the music is blasting, I'm awake. Drinking Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer also helps because it has carbs and some caffeine from tea (pictured above). The downside to working out early is that sometimes I feel like I don't have enough energy because I haven't eaten in a while. That's where the pre-workout energize and coconut water help. Also, I get really tired and go to bed around 10 pm, which my boyfriend and friends make fun of me for haha.

You may be an afternoon workout person, which is fine, but I'm just suggesting that you try a morning workout! It might suck the first few days but you might learn to love it. The most important thing to do is to get in a habit of working out the same time everyday. Try not to switch between morning and evening too much unless you're doing 2 workouts in one day. Our bodies are very habitual and having a regular work out cycle is good, just like having a regular sleep cycle. Your body actually starts pumping up the adrenaline when its time to workout.

What time of day do you work out?

Do you eat/drink anything before your workout?