Archives for January 2017

Fitness Update

Ok, so I’m going to try something new this week and do TWO posts in one week. I may regret this idea, but we’ll see how it goes. Since readers are split down the middle — between running/fitness posts and recipe posts — I want to appeal to both equally. I’m going to try posting a recipe on Wednesday and a fitness update on Thursday. What do you think??

It’s been about two weeks since my initial fitness update, so I wanted to let you know how the past two weeks have been.

I didn’t follow my plan to a T… and that’s perfectly fine and normal in my book. I have a BASIC plan, so I have something on paper to help move me along. But life happens, and we need to listen to our bodies. For instance, a workout didn’t happen on Thursday the 19th due to a family emergency, and I decided not to run yesterday morning, because I could tell I needed a break. My right hamstring was extra tight and my morning heart rate was elevated (I’ve been taking it every morning since Jan 1st). So instead, I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes, at my normal workout time. This helps me to stay in my workout routine, still get some blood flowing, yet not overdue it. Keeping the pattern going really helps me to stay on track.

Sunday’s long run was my first 11 miler where I incorporated some planned speed work, which is why I think I’m feeling more tired than normal.

If you can decipher this mess below, you can see what I’ve completed so far of my 12 week workout plan. I cross off and add arrows and make changes where needed. This is not an exact science, I am not a professional athlete, I’m just trying to stay healthy and offset the amount of time I spend sitting in front of my computer, designing. 🙂 Not to mention I enjoy running and sweating out the everyday stresses.

I can’t forget to mention, I got a new Garmin! My Garmin 610 has been dropping satellite reception A LOT lately, so sad to see it go — it served me well for 3.5 years! My new one is the Garmin 235 and it does way more than the 610 ever did; GPS watches have come a loooong way in 3.5 years! In just one little watch, I can get text and phone call alerts, social media alerts (if I want), track my sleep patterns and sleep quality, track my ongoing heart rate, track my heart rate during workouts without a chest strap (which I’m still on the fence about the accuracy – more to come later), track daily steps, sync with My Fitness Pal to see calories in/calories out, syncs with my iPhone calendar so I can see my day at a glance from my wrist, syncs with local weather, and I can ping my iPhone if I lost or misplaced it… just to name the top level things. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted on how it holds up on additional runs and workouts.

Lastly, food tracking has been going well. I still haven’t tracked specific calories, I’ve just been focusing on eating as many plants as possible… and sometimes beer makes its way in there. Beer is a plant, right?

Seriously though. I’m just trying to keep it real. I know that sometimes people think I have this “perfect” (<– what IS that anyway) way of eating and are shocked when they see me eat a treat or drink a beer in person. I don’t post about those things on my blog, because that is not my focus here. Those times are the exception, not the rule. I want to set a good example as well, so posting about it never made sense to me. I’ve realized that sometimes it gives people the wrong impression that I NEVER eat “off track” so to speak. That was never my intention.

Food is not my religion, life is too damn short and our bodies are incredibly resilient if we treat them right the majority of the time.

If you eat healthy 80-90% of the time, you can have a beer here or a cupcake there IF THAT IS WHAT YOU WANT. As you can see below, I have dark chocolate covered almonds to curb sweet cravings and I had a beer when I was out for a night of bar trivia with my parents and Mr. ZR. Writing food down, without tracking numbers (which is exhausting and takes all the fun out of food for me), is a way for me to hold myself accountable. I can look back and see how often I’ve had a single beer or a few chocolate chips and realize, oh hey! Maybe that is too much. LOL Then I can adjust moving forward.

So as a whole, I’m REALLY enjoying this little Be Well Fitness Log I bought. It has definitely helped me to stay on track and not feel stressed about my fitness goals. By next week’s update, I will have completed 30 days on this plan so it will be interesting to see if any of my stats/measurements have changed.

Spaghetti Dinner with Veggies

Our favorite homemade spaghetti dinner, is made entirely of non-processed plants! No grains, no flours – just all things straight from the ground! We have found a delicious homemade marinara sauce too (why mess with a classic?), which really sets this spaghetti dinner apart. I have come a LONG way from my college days of buying boxed noodles and a jar of Prego sauce.  If you make this for your family, they will not miss the pasta – I promise.

I’ve used spaghetti squash in place of noodles in past posts before, like the Lentil Balls with Spaghetti Squash recipe. And in all honesty, we use spaghetti squash as our noodles more than we use traditional noodles, so to us it is a no brainer. But I’m trying to get better at sharing the every day recipes with everyone.

To me, spaghetti squash “noodles” (ssoodles?) taste SO much better than pasta. They have more flavor and I can sit down with an entire plate of spaghetti squash, eat the entire thing and be hungry 2 hours later. And just to drive that point home, here is a little nutritional comparison between spaghetti squash and organic, gluten-free spaghetti noodles. Note the serving size; as I couldn’t find a perfect quantity comparison, but I’m guessing a whole pound of spaghetti squash is a LOT. (And, a pound is 16 oz. so if anything these stats are weighted in favor of the gluten-free noodles, and it still doesn’t help them!)

Data pulled from My Fitness Pal.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to at least give the plant noodles a try!

Tonight’s dinner will be spaghetti squash noodles topped with homemade marinara, served with a side of steamed green veggies.


First, the sauce. This is key, and can be made ahead of time and frozen, as it makes a TON. Head on over to Wellness Mama for the original recipe. But below is our slight spin on it:


3 boxes of Pomi brand tomatoes (2 boxes of chopped, 1 box of strained – this is our way of saving time on the ‘fresh tomato’ version)
¼ c. olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
8 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
⅓ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
½ tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 bay leaves (remove when done)
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. Real salt
1 carrot (1/2 should be grated and added to sauce, the other half should be added at the end of cooking and then removed)
8 oz. package of baby portobello mushrooms (this is our addition, also adds 8g of protein)

Instructions (We follow Wellness Mama’s instructions exactly.)

  1. Pour the olive oil into a large stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Add diced onions, garlic and grated carrots.
  3. Saute for 6-8 minutes or until onions are translucent and tender.
  4. Add tomatoes, chopped basil leaves, oregano, thyme bay leaves, parsley and salt.
  5. Simmer on low heat for 2 hours or until cooked down and starting to darken.
  6. Add carrot piece and mushrooms for the last 30 minutes. (The carrot helps to absorb acidity.)
  7. Remove bay leaves and piece of carrot.
  8. Use fresh or store in the fridge up to 1 week. Or freeze for up to 6 months.

Spaghetti Squash Noodles

In the last 45 minutes of cooking the marinara, cut spaghetti squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Fill a baking pan with 1/4 inch water, place spaghetti squash cut side down over water. Bake in oven uncovered at 375° for 30 minutes or until a fork easily pokes through the outer skin.

Once the squash is done, remove from oven and scrape out squash insides using a fork. (See previous recipe for more detailed instructions and a couple photos.) You will need to hold the squash with an oven mit as it will be HOT. At this time, you can season the squash with a bit of salt and pepper if you’d like. Top with your finished marinara and enjoy!

Steamed Veggies
We start these once we know the squash is done, it stays warm for a long time on it’s own if you leave it face down in the pan. Combine the following in a steamer pot, or a stock pot with a little water on the bottom:

2 c. frozen peas
2 c. frozen green beans
2 stalks fresh bok choy
1 medium sweet onion, chopped

Steam for 7-10 minutes or until bright green and heated through. The onions should be translucent too. Top with a little liquid aminos and serve as a side with your spaghetti with marinara.

What is your biggest struggle when trying to incorporate more plants into your daily life?