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Posted on Oct 7, 2011 in Food, Recipes | 29 comments

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Holy cheese on a cracker, guys! I had a sneaking suspicion that the topic of fat acceptance vs. fat glorification would be a conversation starter, but I really had no idea that it would inspire such thoughtful discussion (and imagine my delight at how thoroughly civilized it was!) If you have a few extra minutes today, I highly recommend reading through the comments on the post — there was a vast and varied range of opinions shared (including those of my Dr. Dan, my brother-in-law!) All the thoughtful commentary made me a happy schnauzer bear.

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Good job, friends, good job.

So, now that we’ve made note of your sheer awesomeness, I shall make an observation. Things have been kind of serious on the blog this week (no, my name isn’t Captain Hammer Obvious, why do you ask?) Between revisiting my darker days and yesterday’s post, I’ve been putting out a lot of heavy, thought-provoking (for me, at least) stuff. And aside from my second foray into the world of vlogging, I haven’t exactly been my chipper self. I’m so glad that I have a forum where I can candidly discuss those kinds of things (and that you all feel comfortable sharing your points of view in return!), but c’mon, I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer over here, especially not on a glorious Friday like today!

So! Let’s lighten up! Starting with my first pumpkin oatmeal bowl of the season, which was enjoyed yesterday morning.

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So Fall-icious.

In the mix, we have:

2/3 cup pre-soaked oats
1/3 cup light soy milk
1 heaping tablespoon pureed pumpkin
1 tablespoon maple syrup
An undetermined amount (read: a lot) of pumpkin pie spice
And a dollop of Peanut Butter & Co. White Chocolate Wonderful on top

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Warning: this make ALOT of oatmeal. It carried me from 8:30 AM to 2 PM.

If you’ve read more than like, er, one healthy living blog, you are probably familiar with the concept of overnight oats. If not, well, sucks to be you.

I kid, I kid! Let me elaborate: overnight oats are when, in lieu of taking the time to cook raw oats on the stovetop, you let them soak in water or milk before consuming for a period of time (uh, overnight, possibly?) The oats absorb the liquid and become soft, though admittedly not as soft as they would be if they were cooked, and it’s hugely time-saving in the morning because you can prepare them the night before. Huzzah! Since I’m a good li’l healthy living blogger, you know I love me some oatmeal, hahaha.

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Anyway, a coworker and I have recently been discussing the idea of pre-soaking grains prior to cooking, and she told me she tried it with oatmeal and had great success! So I figured I’d give it a whirl as well. Turns out pre-soaking your oats is essentially the same thing as making overnight oats, only, um, even easier.

Step 1: Put oats in a bowl.
Step 2. Dump a lot of water in the bowl.
Step 3: Cover and, optionally, refrigerate.

No measuring required! In the morning, you strain all of the water from the oats, and then mix up your regular oatmeal ingredients, only you can use way less milk than normal because the oats are already nice and pillowy. THEN you cook ’em, and they become a creamy, smooth, fluffy bowl of morning comfort. Or, if you’re me, you take the bowl to work and zap it in the microwave for 2 minutes because the very idea of turning your stove on at 7 AM makes you want to cry.

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And then you have it alongside a big ol’ glass of iced joe.

I think I’ve made it abundantly clear here that I am not exactly what I would call “a morning person.” So being able to throw together quick but hearty breakfasts and lug ’em to work with me is a definite must in order to keep to my “always eat breakfast” mantra.

All right, I have one last “lighthearted” treat for you guys this Friday. This might not be a huge shock to you if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, but I went crazy the other night and decided to submit an audition tape for The Glee Project! Urk. So please click through and watch me as I make a thorough fool of myself and (GASP!) sing! And then, even if you hate it, please Like it. πŸ˜‰

So I know you are probably sick of wedding recap posts by now, but this weekend brings on Wedding #3 of 2011 (here’s #1 & #2), with my good friends Abby and JP getting mawwied in Baltimore! Steve is a groomsman again, and Ben is the videographer, so it should be good times all around!

What are your favorite oatmeal toppings/mix-ins? I like pumpkin in the fall, but my all-time favorite combo will probably brown sugar + raisins. The brown sugar melts into the hot oatmeal, and there’s just something about this combination is so, so good!

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Posted on Mar 16, 2011 in Food, Pup Posts, Working Out | 11 comments

El Stupido

So… I did something kinda stupid last night.

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I did, or rather, I attempted to do P90X. And not just P90X. P90X’s Plyometrics workout.

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Granted, I didn’t know what plyometrics were when I put the DVD in, but my brother did warn me that this was not a good one to start out with. Oh, dear Lord, how right he was.

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P90X is an INTENSE at-home workout/training program lead by Tony Horton. For those of you who, like me, don’t know what plyometrics training is, it “is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements” (according to Wikipedia), and it is “jump training” according to Tony. Basically, it involves a lot of squats, jumps, lunges, and death.

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I made it a little halfway through, with 25 minutes of the hour-long workout still to go. I just couldn’t keep going! I made up for it with some free weight arm workouts, a few lady push-ups (I can do 10 in a row now!!) and some sit-ups.

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My roommate Erin was nice enough to come in at that point and take the pictures so I could stop taking awkward self-timed photos of my midsection, hahahaha.

I also took a trip down memory lane and picked up the 45 pounds that I’ve already lost, in weight form:

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OMG. How did I go around living my life with that much extra weight on my body! After like 15 seconds of holding them up, I almost dropped the dumbbells. Don’t worry, Ben, I said ALMOST.

Either way, Harry & Daxter had a great time watching me suffer (I actually had to lock Daxter in the bathroom during one part because he kept trying to join in and I didn’t want to trample him, haaaaaahahaha):

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I’m so sore right now, and I was more tired this morning waking up for work than I EVER have been before (went to bed earlier than normal, too!) But it’s a good thing, right? I haven’t actually been muscle-sore in a long time (it’s one of those good-bad feelings, haha) and a lot of you guys have said that strength- and weight-training is the key to breaking through a weight-loss plateau, so that was one attempt! The only problem is, if I’m already so sore and it’s barely been 12 hours… how sore am I going to be in the next 24?? Oh, the horror…

Okay, onto happier things! Eats!

Last night after dinner (more vegan pizza) and working out, I refueled by digging into the sweet GIANT pummelo that I picked up at the Chinese supermarket the other night. A pummelo is one of my favorite fruits – it’s like a sweeter grapefruit, and you usually don’t see them in the regular grocery store so I had to take advantage.

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And yes, that is my frickin’ awesome dog-covered nightdress you’re looking at in all my post-shower glory, hehe.

Taylor also gave me one of her steamed red bean buns (also procured from the Asian supermarket):

We all enjoyed our desserts while watching Glee. How did everyone feel about the whole original songs thing? I’m still not sure… I feel like the main anthem song they sang wasn’t really that good. I liked Rachel’s song though… it reminded me of the songs that I write. Hahahaha.

For breakfast this morning, I enjoyed another prepped to-go bowl of oats:


Today I repeated yesterday’s banana-walnut Quaker instant oats beefed up with additional raw rolled oats and chia seeds, but also a couple tablespoons of unsweetened shredded coconut! DELISH. In the middle is a little tub of almond butter (home-made!!).

Put it together and what have you got? Bibbity bobbity BOO:

I made a humongo bowl of it because my coworkers and I are going out to lunch to send off one of our own (sniffle) before she leaves for bigger and brighter things. THAI FOOOOOD! But yeah, I wanted to make sure I didn’t overdo it, so I wanted to ensure I had a big breakfast to fill me up first.

After failing to locate the aisle at Whole Foods where they hide the coconut, I was ecstatic to find some at Kennedy’s Natural Foods in Falls Church, where I went looking for this:

Everything I’ve been reading says that on a vegan diet you need to take a B12 supplement because B12 can only be naturally found in animal sources. I went the whole 9 yards and got a full B-complex supplement. It was frickin’ expensive though! I think next time I’ll have to pick it up online. At least this bottle should last me the entire Lenten season though…

And one last thing, for your viewing hilarity. When I went to go drop off a package yesterday, I found out that despite any future intentions I might have had, UPS will NOT be shipping Harry or Daxter for me anytime soon:

Their policy toward other dog breeds remains unclear. πŸ˜›

Question: Have any of you ever tried the P90X workout? My brother and sister were doing it pretty regularly for a while and they were looking HARDCORE fit. In fact, some of the female testimonials you can read on the P90X website are a little scary. I’m not sure I ever want to look THAT muscley…

If not P90X, any other home-fitness DVD favorites? I have Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred and Bob Harper’s Yoga for the Warrior, and I’ve heard about Insanity and Hip Hop Abs (which are also part of the same company that does P90X, I think?)

Hope everyone’s having a great day!

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Posted on Mar 15, 2011 in Food | 5 comments

Asparagus’d

So for the past couple of weeks now, I’ve had the most serious craving for asparagus. Weird, right? Who CRAVES asparagus? Certainly not me, at least not in the past. Chocolate cravings, yes. Ice cream cravings, f’sho’. Mashed potato cravings have been known to happen on more than one occasion. But asparagus?

Well, last night I took that asparagus craving and turned into an asparagus overdose. Didn’t know those existed before yesterday either…

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Yep. I cooked up an entire bushel (bundle?) of asparagus, intending to eat only half and instead ate the whole thing. Hey, I guess it’s better than binging on samoas!

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In an attempt to balance it out at least slightly, I also had a portobella mushroom cap and some remaining leaves of red chard on the side. I cooked everything in a combination of olive and coconut oil, garlic, salt & pepper, and squeezed some meyer lemon (!!) on top. Result? DELICIOUSNESS! Hence the whole I-ate-all-the-asparagus-part of this. Ahh well. At least I had some leftover mushroom caps to bring for lunch today!

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I was very full after eating all of that (obviously! I mean, that’s a lot of veg!) but later on that evening I got a little peckish again, so I had a bowl of Kashi cereal and some almond milk. Guess I’m still not doing so great on the upping the protein quotient if all I’m eating is a big plate o’ veg. But they’re soooooooooooo good!

Just a quick visit to breakfast for the morning. I woke up feeling pretty bad, stomach-wise. I’m not sure if it’s because of the aforementioned asparagus OD situation, the ridonkulous amounts of fiber from the Kashi, or just bad luck, but it was kinda touch-and-go this morning. So I came into work late, but not before I threw together a li’l breakfast to-go:

I poured a packet of Quaker instant oatmeal (banana & walnut flavor) into a ziplock baggy with an extra handful of raw oats and some ch-ch-ch-chia seeds to bulk it up. Then I snagged a naner and hit the road! A little hot water and disposable plateware later:

Voila!

At the inspiration of some of you delightful readers, I’ve decided to bring back my sweet Vivo lunch tiffin and bring in a little variety for lunch.

This is actually the kid’s version of the lunch tiffin. They make a square, three-tiered version for adults, but the little guy already packs so much food I can’t imagine using the “grown-up” version for anything other than a picnic!

The green layer holds a salad with greens, sliced red pepper, carrots, and a sliced up portobella ‘shroom. The blue layer holds some Sloppy Gretchen mix on the bottom, layered with some kind of Chinese tofu, mushroom, and watercress dish that my mommy made for me. Weird? Probably. But I’m sure it’ll taste really good!

Okay, that’s your update, up to the minute. Hopefully some of these food choices are healthy ones, and will lead to good things come next Monday…!

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Posted on Feb 11, 2011 in Dear Diary, Fail | 0 comments

Hrm.

You know, for the first time since I’ve really started writing this blog, I find myself stumped. I’m actually at a loss of what to write! And I *want* to write. Keeping up with an almost-every-day (well, taking into consideration my raging social life that sometimes prevents me from posting on the weekends… otherwise known as laziness, haaaaa) posting schedule is hard work, I can’t imagine what it’s like for those bloggers out there who manage 2 or 3 posts every single day. Whoosh!

In fact, now that I think about it, perhaps doing a double-post day on Wednesday is what is causing my current blogger’s block. I think I tried to up the ante too early. Tsk, tsk Gretchen.

Well, the sort of news for me right now on the health front (other than getting back into 5k training) is that I’m trying to further enrich my nutritional knowledge by partaking in a little thing called reading. After reading about it on Fitnessista, I decided to give Kris Carr’s “Crazy Sexy Diet” book a read. It’s all about her whole-foods, pH-balancing vegan diet, and how you can emulate the same. It’s engagingly written, but there are definitely some points that I’m not sure how I feel about yet.

While I’ve already briefly touched on whether or not I wanted to try a vegetarian or vegan diet in the past, I do think now that I wouldn’t really ever be able to fully embrace that lifestyle. However, this book does make some good points about the benefits of consuming large amounts of raw or very lightly cooked vegetables and whole grains as the staples of a healthy diet. I have noticed just in revamping my eating styles in general that I’m eating a lot less meat than I previously was (esp. red meat) anyway. I’m not really sure how I feel about all her stuff about pH balance and food’s acidity vs. alkalinity (anyone with knowledge on this front, feel free to weigh in!), but I’m only a little ways into the book so far. I’ll give the book a full review once I’ve actually finished it (my first real review of anything! Huzzah!)

In other news, breakfast was a packet of Quaker Hearty Medleys Apple Cranberry Almond oatmeal and a cup of green tea, served in super classy disposable cups at work:

I’d say that my sad disposable-lookin’ brekkie is because I was in a mad rush to get to work this morning, but when have I *not* said that? So at this point, I kinda figure it’s assumed, hahaha. At least I’m still making good on my resolution to eat breakfast every morning! And I even scarfed down a ‘naner before I left the house. Boom.

Hey, lookit that! I cranked out a semi-functional post after all! Guess it’s just all about perseverance. πŸ˜‰

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Posted on Feb 8, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 0 comments

Bleh

Well, here we are again. Sickness: 1, Gretchen: 0. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Well, I do. My stomach is all wonky and (shield the eyes of the sensitive) I threw up this morning. Vom. Literally. Ew. But it’s so weird because just like yesterday, I felt fine when I went to bed, fine when I woke up, and it started like twenty minutes after that. :-/ Anyway, so today I’m taking it easy, trying to drink lots of water and eats lots of non-tummy-upsetting foods. I am feeling a little better now, but I don’t want to take any chances. I just hate that I am ALWAYS getting sick! Boo!

Anyway, I *was* all pumped to update you all today on the fact that I signed up for my second 5k yesterday! Scratch that, I’m still excited to tell you all! πŸ™‚ I’ll be running the American Red Cross “Out for Blood” 5k in Columbia, MD! It takes place on March 26th, so any DC area locals, feel free to join me!

So I guess that my (re)training schedule isn’t going to start today like originally planned, but I’m looking forward to having a scheduled goal to work toward again. I think this was really key in keeping my exercise ramped up in working towards my first 5k, and it was after that was accomplished that my exercise rapidly decreased. So! Something to work towards, now! Once I’m back to a non-nauseated state, that is.

The breakfast that I’m currently nibbling on is a bowl of warm oats with honey, dried cranberries and a few dark chocolate chips on top (hey, I’m sick! I need comfort!):

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And a slice of whole wheat toast with natural PB and some strawberry preserves:

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I made it about halfway through the oatmeal and ate my toast, so hopefully I can keep it down and everything will be back on track tomorrow. Gotta get better and back to work, especially since I’ll be missing another day at the end of next week to go to Ottawa! I’m so excited to go back and visit all my friends in Canada I haven’t seen in multiple years. For those of you who don’t know, I spent my senior year of high school (and graduated) from a school in Canada, and my parents stayed there through my junior year of college. I haven’t been back since the summer of 2008, and I’ve been feeling very nostalgic lately. So I booked a flight for over Presidents Day weekend, and I’m totally jazzed! Needless to say, I need to get my health back in tip-top condition, because you just know that going to Canada in February is NOT going to help that immune system much, haha.

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