Archives for nutrition

Survey Results and Training Plan

First of all, I want to say THANK YOU from deep within my heart to everyone who completed the reader survey last week! I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of responses, and it has reassured me I am headed in the right direction with my posts. If you haven’t taken it yet, and want to participate, please feel free to hop on over and take it now. It will only take a few minutes.

Survey Results

One thing just about all readers had in common? You want more running related posts! So once I give a quick review of the survey, I will talk about my training plan for the next 11 weeks. And it also looks like many of you want me to continue with the plant-based recipes, so we are golden there!


The other thing everyone had in common? You ALL said YES or MAYBE to a “Travel” section on the blog; not a single NO! Mr. Zucchini Runner and I travel quite a bit; particularly locally in AZ, so I am very happy to share our upcoming adventures with everyone! We just got back from a quick trip to the Grand Canyon and a quick stop in Sedona!

It also seems people were less enthusiastic about a paid eBook, but for those who were, the topic of choice was, “How to Transition to Plant-Based Nutrition”, with a close second of “Running Basics” and “Pantry Reorganization” TIED. More people were interested in a FREE handout, with the same topics in winning order. So I will need to see what the best approach is for that one. Stay tuned for updates!

Now, on the weekly Facebook posts, it seems like “Meditation Monday” and “Shopping List Sunday” were close contenders. I have noted this in my weekly posting schedules and I will try both for a while and see how it goes!

There was also some great feedback and post ideas provided in the “share your other thoughts” section, which I hope to incorporate in upcoming posts! Thanks again and if you have anything else you’d like to share, or other suggestions please comment below or take the survey. 🙂

Training Plan

My training for 2017 is going to be very different from 2016. My approach for 2016 was to just keep it light and low and nothing too strenuous. Mr. Zucchini Runner and I were giving ourselves one last shot at starting a family, which meant taking it extra easy on the body. As a result, I ran about 500 miles in 2016 compared to 935 in 2015. In addition, we did a LOT of yoga, and many of those miles were very short runs, at a very easy pace.

In 2017 we are moving on, and letting go. We have tried all that we want to try and do, in regards to starting a family. So, if it happens it happens, but we are no longer going to put our life on hold for the “what ifs” or the “maybes”. 2017 is about getting into the best shape we have been in so far, with the main rule that we also do it in the healthiest way possible. How do we define that?

In a word, BALANCE.

We will not strictly or rigidly eliminate any single food group that we enjoy. We will practice moderation however, and be extremely mindful of the food we consume. If we eat something that doesn’t have high nutrition, it is a choice we are making and not an evil or bad food.

As I mentioned in my previous post, where I discussed my 2017 goals, I have a fitness log — the good ole fashioned paper kind — where I am tracking my workouts and nutrition for the next 3 months. Week one is already complete and it is working out very well so far!

Below is a rundown of the fitness plan I have mapped out.

This planner is called the “Be Well Fitness Log” by Inkwell Press. I purchased it at Office Max.

Essentially it looks like this:

  1. Monday – 20 minutes of weights + 3 mile run
  2. Tuesday – Strength workout (30-45 minutes; CVX, PiYo or The Challenge)
  3. Wednesday – 5 mile run (tempo and easy alternating weeks)
  4. Thursday – 3 mile run (with pick-ups/sprints alternating weeks)
  5. Friday – Upper body weights + bike/spin indoors
  6. Saturday – Long run day
  7. Sunday – Yoga

I will of course modify this as needed, but I always do better with a plan as my guide. You can already see where I adjusted week 1 in some spots, based on having company in town.

Below shows a detail of a single day, which also focuses on nutrition. I have chosen not to count calories, but instead give each meal a rating.

  • 0 – no nutritional value; cookie, fudge, etc.
  • 1 – minimal nutritional value; granola, almond milk, processed foods like GF crackers, bread, etc
  • 2 – some nutrition but no color; baked potato, wild rice, quinoa
  • 3 – some nutrition but high sugar/fat; fruits and nut butters
  • 4 – good nutrition; has lots of veggies but some protein (veggie burger, beans, eggs)
  • 5 – ideal nutrition; all greens, essentially if I ate a plate of nothing but broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, bok choy and kale with onions and garlic

The above is the epitome of what I consider leading a life focused on plant-based nutrition. The best scenario would be to have green leafy plants first and everything else is secondary in a descending order. I’ve never done Weight Watchers, but I would imagine this is similar to their concept, except I don’t value processed foods. This method is not an exact science, it’s just a self-imposed one I have developed to help me to keep my food in check.

Below is the training I’ve completed so far for 2017, based on my Strava data. I have managed to run 48 miles, which I’m pretty stoked about! The key with all of my runs this year, is that I want to keep my heart rate under 160 beats per minute for 90% of my runs. (If it is a race, all bets are off and I won’t even pay attention to HR.) So far, easy runs have fallen in the 135-145 bpm range, average runs fall in the 145-155 bpm range and decent effort runs reach 160-163 bpm; which is typically my long run or a mid-week tempo run. I will keep that in mind as I move forward with training and keep you all posted with how it’s working.

So, how’d I do? Is this post helpful and informative?

Thirty Days of Shakeology

Back in September of 2013 I did a trial run of thirty days of Shakeology. I started the journey with no expectations other than sticking with it for 30 days, and posted my daily recipes on Instagram as I progressed. I never drank a packaged shake of any kind before, so I was a little skeptical. However, I wanted to give it a fair shot, since I’d heard so many amazing things about itMy goal was to take it every single day, for 30 days and see what changes (if any) I noticed in my body. (Please note, this post has been updated from my original post, Sept. 2013.)

Here were my personal experiences back in 2013: 

  • With a shake for breakfast every morning, I could actually make it to lunch without feeling like gnawing my arm off, even after a long workout.
  • I felt satisfied and like I was receiving good nutrition, so I didn’t feel guilty if I couldn’t get all my vegetables for the day (nothing can replace FRESH WHOLE FOODS in my opinion, but I felt much better on the super busy days, than I did in the past without Shakeology)
  • My energy levels (given my workouts, lack of sleep and stress lately) have remained pretty high, which is surprising to me. Typically when I run myself like this, I end up getting sick. (Knock on wood…)
  • In the end, I don’t think I ended up losing any weight on the scale, but I’m not as concerned about that, since I’m at a good weight.
  • I feel like I have more muscle definition, but this could be from T25 but I noticed this before T25. Maybe it was just because I FELT better all around.
  • Lastly, I most definitely was more regular, if ya catch my drift. 😉 (Psssst… improved digestion.)

shakeology day 26 coconut berry

2013 Conclusion: I’m going to continue taking Shakeology since I am currently on a program where it ships automatically to my house every month. I really like the dependability of home shipment, I do it for a few household items on Amazon too. I came home last week and BAM it was on my doorstep. No thinking about it, not another trip to the store, just right there waiting for me. Overall, I feel better. Not a miraculous OH MY GOSH THIS IS AMAZING. But I did crave a shake every single day… so my body definitely needed what was in this and you cannot beat the convenience. I had a nutritious breakfast every morning in under 5 minutes.

If you are interested in learning more, this site is LOADED with everything you need to know!

2017 UPDATE:

It’s now April of 2017, and with the exception of a month or so back in 2015 I’ve been drinking Shakeology regularly, every day (95% of days) since my original post. I still love it. I still drink the same flavor — chocolate vegan. And I still stand by it as the best tasting, most satisfying plant protein shake on the market. I’ve tried at least three others over the past few years and none of them compare to Shakeology. I don’t want to throw any of them under the bus, but there were some high quality, well-known brands.

Adding to my 2013 experience, I’d say that when I have stopped taking Shakeology, I definitely missed it. I can’t put my finger on it, but the best way to describe it is that I didn’t feel as nourished. If I skip a day or two due to various circumstances, I notice its missing and I’m always excited to drink it again.

Look, I am still technically a Beachbody coach, and I still technically have a link you can purchase it from… but I honestly don’t care if you buy from me or someone you know better. At the end of the day, I’m still drinking it because its the best fit for me and my lifestyle. After every workout it is a great way to refuel, get protein and a ton of other nutrient filled supplements into my bloodstream. Quick and easy. Some days it lasts me an hour and other days it lasts me four; it just depends on how much I’ve burned and how hungry I am.

Bottom line — NOTHING will ever replace whole, fresh, organic, produce. We should always EAT PLANTS FIRST and use shakes and supplements as just that, a supplement to our everyday nutrition. So if Shakeology is too expensive for your budget right now, just simply eat more plants. I have created a quick start guide on how to incorporate more plants into your daily nutrition. You can read about it here, or purchase it for $5 here.

Below are pictures of all 30 shakes I made on my 30 day journey. I posted them to Instagram everyday. If you click on the picture below, it will take you to the Instagram post which includs the recipe as well! {Or you can download a PDF of all 30 days of recipes here. Coming soon!}

shakeology day 1shakeology day 2shakeology day 3shakeology day 4shakeology day 5shakeology day 6shakeology day 7shakeology day 8shakeology day 9shakeology day 10shakeology day 11shakeology day 12shakeology day 13shakeology day 14shakeology day 15shakeology day 16shakeology day 17shakeology day 18shakeology day 19shakeology day 20shakeology day 21shakeology day 22shakeology day 23shakeology day 24shakeology day 25shakeology day 26shakeology day 27shakeology day 28shakeology day 29shakeology day 30

Food for Thought on the Price of Shakeology

Everyone needs to make a living, so I’m sure they make a profit and charge more than the cost of production – but so does the company who produces every bag of protein powder you purchase. Wether it be from Wal Mart or Beachbody.

Everyone, everywhere needs to make a living – you just have to decide for yourself if the product is worth the price. In my opinion, I think it is. Even for someone who is willing to spend money freely on quality nutrition. I definitely had a hard time swallowing the price of Shakeology at first so I get it, 100%. But now, after almost 4 years of taking it as part of my daily nutrition, I don’t blink an eye at the cost. It is my new normal, and I include it in our budget for groceries.

If you are interested in a low-cost Vegan Sampler of Shakeology, you can purchase a sample pack online. It has Tropical Strawberry and Chocolate. Mr. Zucchini Runner drinks Tropical Strawberry everyday and I drink Chocolate! You can also take comfort in their 100% satisfaction guarantee.