Revolutionize Your Resolutions!

So I just spent 30 minutes writing a post and it was erased when I tried to submit it! Ahh! I will attempt to recreate what I had the first time. Everyone looks forward to the beginning of a new year. I think it is comparable to the start of a new chapter in your life. You can set goals for yourself knowing that you have an entire 365 days to complete them. It is important to make sure your goals are attainable. I am sure so many people go to their kitchen on January 1st and throw out all junk food, buy smaller sized clothes, and vow to exercise everyday. However, it is not that simple to just change your lifestyle in the matter of a day. It is all about gradual changes that will stick in the long run.

For the past few years, my best friend Rock and I have come up with 25 things to do each year. Some are simple, fun things and others are more far-reaching. We figured that if we accomplished at least one of our things to do, we would feel a little bit satisfied. Last year,  a few things I accomplished were: getting straight A’s, being a vegetarian for a month, not eating McDonald’s (with the exception of 1 McFlurry – but it wasn’t too bad!), hiking more, running a half-marathon, and playing more with my dog, Enzo. I am especially happy that I accomplished the last one since Enzo went to doggy heaven on December 27th.

I have not completed my list for 2013, but here are a few things I have come up with:

Blog more

Get an internship

Get a second job for the Spring semester

Graduate with a GPA above 3.5

Go to church more (I’ll admit, I’m a cafeteria christian)

Eat more raw foods

Run 10 miles a week

Read biographies

Travel more

Save more money

Complete a triathlon

These goals are, for the most part, attainable for me. You should consider what is attainable for you. Even if it is just increasing your physical activity to 60 minutes a week instead of 3o, or cleaning the house once a week, starting small will allow you to stick with your resolution in the long run. I hope all of you have a happy and healthy 2013 🙂

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10 Miles Of Fun!!

Ah! I have finally reached double digits in my running! I am still a little nervous about the last 3.1 miles; but according to my training plan, I am supposed to let ‘inspiration’ carry me through. If inspiration can magically make my blisters and sore muscles go away then BRING IT ON. However, I imagine the last 3 miles will be the most challenging both physically and mentally. Since I have been running longer distances lately, I invested in a few ‘tools’ to help me along the way!

 

Jelly Belly Sport Beans – These actually aren’t too bad! You are supposed to consume them 30 minutes before you run and as needed thereafter to maintain energy. They usually hand things like this out during the race, so I wanted to practice using them before hand to make sure my stomach can handle them.

My Trail (Fanny) Pack – I have come up with several ways to deny the fact that I wear a fanny pack when I run; but the truth is, I do. I look somewhat comical but the truth is, it works! This holds all of the necessities: sport beans, iPod, tissues, keys, etc. Even though it is heavier because of the water, I think it helps your training! When I run without it now, I feel 10 lbs lighter and running is a bit easier. I also SWEAR that it does not bounce around, it is great!

Running Hat – Okay, I will admit to a little excessive online shopping in order to find this (and maybe a few other items to add to my Fall wardrobe) at Zappos. I got a great price for it though! It was on sale for $20, which I think is totally worth it. I sweat A LOT when I run, and I hate wearing sweat bands; and head bands just don’t quite do it for me. I believe that a running hat is the perfect solution! It keeps sweat from running into my eyes (gross, but true), and also keeps my face shaded so I don’t have to bother with sunscreen or sunglasses! I have only worn it once so far, but I love it!  I was also a little worried that it might give me a headache and/or make my head really hot, but neither of the two bothered me!

Headphones – For me, the MOST essential element of running. I have tried, and just can’t manage to run without music. I swore for a long time that I had misshaped ear canals or something because my headphones would ALWAYS fall out. WIth these, I no longer have that problem. They are guaranteed not to fall out, and they work! I found them at the book store on campus and was so surprised that they have kept up with me. They were a little pricey, about $40, but once again, totally worth it. Yes, they do look like some funky ear torturing device, but I promise they are comfortable and have great sound!

Now that I have shared my fabulous running tools with you all, go out and grab some for yourself! Hit the trail and use these items to push yourself a little further than you went before 🙂

 

Happy Monday!

Noting or pertaining to a class of chemical compounds that formerly comprised only those existing in or derived from plants or animals, but that now includes all other compounds of carbon.

Wow! What a mouthful!
 
If you were asked to define ‘organic’, what would you come up with? A lot of people are misled by the definition of the word to believe that this term is an umbrella for all molecules, and foods made with these molecules, that are comprised of carbon. While this is the textbook definition, the word organic encompasses so much more when it comes to the production, characteristics, and quality of our food.
 
So what exactly are the guidelines for growing food organically? The USDA has developed three ways to categorize organic food: 100% organic, organic, and made with organic ingredients. All foods with organic anywhere in the label must follow guidelines set by the USDA for growing. These include: prohibited use of synthetic and non-synthetic substances and ingredients (including those used in processing plants), no radiation, prohibited use of vaccines, and no sewage sludge. The land the crops are grown on is also required to have buffer zones, which may be forested areas, to prevent contact with prohibited agricultural substances. The farmer must also practice crop rotation, composting, proper feeding practices (which includes the animals being limited to organic feed, no poultry slaughter by products – which are fed to feedlot cattle, and no antibiotics or steriods – unless organic), and also allow the animals proper living conditions and grazing sections. All of these restrictions, of course, have exceptions. I know, so many rules, and this is the abridged version!
 
As far as food labeling goes; to be considered:
                 “100% organic” – products must contain 100% organic ingredients
                 “organic” – products must contain 95% organic ingredients
                 “made with organic ingredients” – products must contain a minimum of 70% organic ingredients
 
The remaining ingredients in products labeled “organic” or “made with organic ingredients”, must comply with certain restrictions as well – though not as strict as the organic restrictions. Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may have the organic ingredients listed on the label, but may not make any organic claim. I hope I have convinced everyone reading this to jump on the organic bandwagon 🙂

OMG! Shoes.

It’s no secret that I have a slight soft spot for shoes. Last I checked my collection, I had racked up 42 pairs! Running and exercise shoes are especially hard to say no to since new styles and fun colors are always being developed. I usually like to stick to Brooks running shoes. I have found they offer great support and don’t wear out easily. My Nike LunarGlides are a close second, I just love them because they are bright orange!

Recently, I have been hearing so much about the new Nike Free and Nike Free Run shoes. Generally, I like to stick to the more supportive running shoes, but I decided I wanted to try a more flexible, free, style. Also, I of course was intrigued by the idea that you can design your own pair on Nike’s website. This was obviously not going to be a cheap splurge so I kept holding out on buying a pair until my boyfriend (bless him for knowing the exact pair of shoes I want), led me to an online sale. Just for the record, online shopping is 100x more dangerous than in-store shopping, for me. The $50 mark down, free shipping, and the fact that they had my size in PURPLE, were the deal breakers. I ended up getting my new Nike Free’s (not Nike Free Run’s) for $49 from Jimmy Jazz.

Ummm…I LOVE THESE SHOES! They arrived in the mail 5 days ago (in a package that I was concerned was empty because it was so light), and I have worn them running twice since. I don’t think it is a coincidence that these two runs have been my longest in a while (4 and 5 milers!). These shoes offer awesome support for the heel and arch of your foot, but at the same time are super flexible and give you an extra spring in your step. I also love that the tongue is sewn into the shoe so it doesn’t slide around. I swear these shoes make it hard to stop running because they are so light! My last, but certainly not least, comment is that they look awesome!

What do you think??? I can’t wait to wear them again!

Just for a laugh, in case you didn’t get the title of the post:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCF3ywukQYA

You Are What You Eat

No one is able to make this point clearer than Michael Pollan, the author of multiple books, journals, and articles on the food system in the United States. My personal favorite, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals”, will truely change the way you look at food. While I have heard several stories of people converting to vegetarianism after reading Rory Freedman’s “Skinny Bitch”, I am sure that just one chapter of Pollan’s book will have just as great of an affect. In my opinion, “Part Four: The Feedlot”, is the most intriguing and informative. I will admit that I cringed a little (okay, a lot) at some parts, but if you’re looking for the hard truth in what really goes on in our agricultural system, look no further. Pollan discusses the unsustainable and unethical system of feeding commodity corn to cattle in US feedlots. Not only are cattle’s rumens unable to digest the grain, which causes bloating, increased stomach acidity, and can lead to fatal liver disease, but eating meat from grain fed cattle also affects our health as humans. E. Coli, a prominent bacteria in cattle’s stomachs, have now begun to adjust to an environment that is more acidic, allowing them to survive in the acidic environment of our stomachs. In addition to cattle being forced to eat grains they have not evolved to digest, on feedlots they are forced to ingest protein (usually in the form of feather meal and chicken litter), and antibiotics (which lead to resistance in humans). I don’t want to get too graphic, so I will leave you with that information. But I would highly suggest reading at least part of this book. Pollan also does a good job at explaining how toxins in run off end up in our drinking water. If you’re interested, google Des Moines Blue Baby Alert… GROSS! While I know it is more expensive and harder to come by, try looking for meat that comes from grass fed only animals. It is healthier for you (higher in omega 3’s and less saturated fat), because there are no grains in the animal’s diet, and also better for the environment 🙂

When You Think You Can’t, Think Again!

In all honesty, who doesn’t have a laundry list of things they want to accomplish. A list of things that are completely feasible if you just work hard for them. Last week, I completed the final science course of my 4 year curriculum. I remember 3 years ago thinking, ‘How on earth am I going to get through all of this?’. It was a long haul through general biology, microbiology, cell biology, mammalian physiology, general chemistry I & II, organic chemistry I & II, biochemistry I & II, and my food science classes. A lot of tears and ‘I can’t do it anymore”s were shed along the way but I am so happy I stuck it out! I’m sure any other Dietetics major will vouch for me on that. One of the most important things I have learned is that you can’t compare yourself to other people or their methods. Everyone learns differently, studies differently, and is better at certain things than others. You can’t let a 40% on a test (yes, it happened) get you down just because the person next to you got an A, if you did the best you could 🙂 I am sure that countless people did better than me in all of my classes but I am happy and proud of my school work and that is all that matters, right?

This past semester I accomplished something else I have always aimed to do: become a group fitness instructor! I took a class offered through my university and auditioned for (and was offered) a job at the campus rec center. I started teaching cardio kickboxing at the beginning of the summer and have fallen in love with it. Initially this was a class I didn’t want to teach, but I am so thrilled with it. A class full of people is a great motivator to push yourself harder and not give up on your workout. Starting this Thursday I will also be teaching cycling! I would say spinning is the biggest contributor to my love of exercise, since it was initially the only thing my mom could drag me out of bed to go to! Don’t get me wrong though, 7:15 am on Thursdays will be no piece of cake. Moral of the story: If you are around College Park Monday’s at 7 pm or Thursday mornings at 7:15 am, come to my fitness classes! I promise you’ll get a great work out 🙂

Even though I have crossed numerous items off of my bucket list, I still have many more I want to do! My next goal (as some may know) is to run a half marathon. I have been training for a few weeks and I LOVE the plain I am using. Hal Higdon’s plan is great because it allows you to be flexible and work at your own pace. I also like that it is not running all day everyday, you can give other parts of your body attention too! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to run outside as much as I would like since it has been so hot (111 yesterday, WHAT!?). When I am on the treadmill I try to push myself by running on an incline (1.5-2%) for half a mile and then back down to 0 or .5%. Figure out what works best for you since, after all, you can’t just compare yourself to the person running next to you.

Put Some Pep in Your Step

I don’t know if you subscribe to “Self” magazine, but the last issue was all about music. I LOVE all types of music and it helps me get through my workouts so much more easily! Setting your pace is easier when you have a beat. I figured I would post some of my favorite work out songs for you to see. I know that not everybody likes the same music, so I am going to try to give a few good examples of what I like from each genre (bare with me, I don’t know much about some).

House music/electronic/techno – My personal favorite to work out to!

Avicii “Levels”, “Street Dancer”

Calvin Harris “Close to You”, “Flashback”

Stromae “Alors on Danse (remix with Kanye West)”

Swedish House Mafia “One (Your Name)” “Save the World”

Darude “Sandstorm”

Country

Brooks & Dunn “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You”

Gloriana “Wild at Heart”

Kellie Pickler “Best Days of Your Life”

Lady Antebellum “Our Kind of Love”

Mashup

Girl Talk “Triple Double”

Milkman “Circle of Fifths” “Chosen”

Pop

Loona “Vamos a La Playa”

Shakira “Waka Waka”

Katy Perry “Teenage Dream”, “Wide Awake”

Wiz Khalifa “No Sleep” — Yes, I would consider this pop.

Rihanna “Where Have you Been”

Classic Rock

The Who “Baba O’Riley”

Jimi Hendrix “All Along the Watch Tower”

Led Zeppelin “Ramble On” “Black Dog”

Alternative/Indie/Rock

Dave Matthews Band “Jimi Thing” “You and Me”

Phoenix “1901”

Matt & Kim “Daylight”

MGMT “Kids”

Rap

Kanye West “Homecoming” “The New Workout Plan”

Chris Brown “Forever”

Drake “The Motto”

Jay Z “Brooklyn Go Hard” “No Church In the Wild” “Gotta Have It”

Oldies

Jackie Wilson “Your Love is Lifting me Higher”

Jackson 5 “ABC” “Candy girl”

Metal

Underoath “A Boy Brushed Red, Living in Black and White” “Reinventing Your Exit”

Pantera “Walk”

Avenged Sevenfold “Beast and the Harlot”

Killswitch Engage “My Curse”

I could go on about music for days. I love it all! Those are just a few of my personal favorites 🙂