30 Day Gluten-Free Challenge

This has been a long time coming. It’s something I’ve thought about trying but I’ve always had an excuse – half marathon training, fear, time, etc. But when it comes to your health, why do we allow ourselves to make excuses? We only have one body, we only have one chance to get it right and I know that while I’m on this earth, I want to constantly be striving for the best version of myself – physically, mentally and emotionally. Maybe this will work, maybe it won’t. Maybe it’s the answer, maybe it’s not. But there’s only one way to find out. Try.

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On Sunday, I began a 30 day gluten-free challenge. I’m not trying to jump on any bandwagons, I’m not trying to get caught up in any hype, I’m trying to see if this might be the solution, or maybe part of the solution. Over the last 4-5 years, I have been tweaking my diet, replacing processed foods with whole real foods, taking away fish and eggs and then reintroducing them, cutting back significantly on my sugar intake, etc…all to find the right balance of what makes my body feel it’s best. And let me tell you, there’s a night and day difference between my health and my body now than it was 5 years ago. A positive difference.

 

But there’s still room for improvement, particularly with stomachaches that I can’t quite place. I’m not willing to accept it as my reality when I know very well there’s something else I can do. Besides, it’s only 30 days. Maybe I’ll continue past it, maybe I won’t or maybe I’ll find a  happy medium in-between. The timing isn’t ideal with the holidays but this is my health and I’m done making excuses; it’s now or never.

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Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sure to share how it’s going, my tips and advice on going gluten-free, some of the meals I’ve eaten and anything else that comes up and feels relevant. This week, I figured I’d share my grocery list. Real exciting, right? But I know many people will come back and say that it’s too expensive or too hard, especially as a vegetarian (I imagine a lot of the “what will you eat questions?” to come up) but I bought a lot of food at Trader Joe’s Sunday for only $68! (My goal is to spend about $50/week on groceries but some of this stuff will last me a couple weeks and some is for the dish that I’m bringing to Thanksgiving, but I didn’t feel like figuring out my total with those items off the list so you get it all). ;)

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I’m excited about the next few weeks. I know it won’t always be easy but I’ve had some amazing support from friends, family and my blends so I’m also excited and ready for what’s to come!

 

Do you eat gluten-free? What are some of your favorite gluten-free recipes? 

Feel free to  link them up in the comments!

Linking up to What I Ate Wednesday – come on foodie community – help a sista! ;)

Sign of a Woman’s Health {Spon}

Warning: If you’re a boy, you may want to pass on today’s post – we’re about to dive into some “girl” talk.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by U by Kotex through my agreement with Clever Girls Collective but as always, all thoughts, opinions and stories are completely my own.

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I’ve been putting off this post for awhile. Not for any reason other than I just wasn’t sure how to best share my story. If you’ve been reading for awhile, you may remember a couple years ago when I was in and out of the doctors offices, went through surgery to remove many cysts, followed by a medication that put my body through a forced menopause to deal with endometriosis, and then birth control after to reintroduce the proper hormones into my body.  That’s the cliff notes version and that all went on for over a year.

 

I’m a very different person now. Physically and emotionally.

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And maybe I’ll get some heat for this (or maybe I won’t) but this past spring I decided to put my body to the test – I chose to take myself off birth control. I’m lucky to have some amazing chiropractors at my disposal who have been my sounding board of concern but who have also been some of my biggest supporters, offering advice and reassuring me this is a safe decision.

 

You see, as women, our periods are a sign of our health. They may be a form of pain, discomfort, and annoyance but they’re still an important sign of our health and when we can’t properly monitor this aspect, how do we know where our health stands?

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And the truth was, while I was on birth control, I had no idea. I knew when I was put on it, it may take a couple months for me to start a cycle but that time came and went and still nothing. I called my doctor who told me it was normal to not have one or have a very light one while taking such a low-hormone birth control. It didn’t sound normal to me but she was the doctor, I trusted her and hoped for the best.

 

When I finally started spotting, it was like Christmas. Okay, maybe not actually like Christmas, but I remember a sense of comfort knowing something was going on, even if it was forced. This continued up until a couple months after I took myself off birth control.

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But now it’s nearly 6 months later and times have changed. My body is returning to normal, returning to the way it’s supposed to be and allowing me another way to track my health.

 

When I was asked to be a part of the U by Kotex campaign, I was in the midst of the unknown. It was a time when I didn’t know if things would continue lightly, create an onslaught or settle into a new regular. I’m still finding out exactly what’s going to happen but as each month passes, there’s a level of consistency that leads me to believe I’m on the right path. A path to improved health.

IMG_2284And this path requires protection…and thankfully the people at U by Kotex had my back and got me covered so I was ready, prepared and protected for what was (and still is) to come. I’m a busy girl so between work, staying active and hanging with friends, there’s no room for discomfort or problems (and there weren’t!)…if ya know what I mean. ;)

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It’s not easy by any means to share my story or to talk about this kind of stuff but I appreciate U by Kotex providing me this safe space today.  And while I know it’s uncomfortable and not my most fun post, I appreciate all of you hanging around and listening.

 

If you have your own story you want to share, feel free to leave them in the comments below or send me an email (kt.talkless.saymore at gmail dot com), I’m here to listen and support you. And if you’re looking for the protection from the unknown, request a free sample and try it for yourself.

I wrote this review while participating in a content series through Clever Girls Collective on behalf of U by Kotex, and received products to facilitate my post and compensation for my time to participate.

Fitness Friday

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am I right, or am I right?

I love my job but as I was feeling a little discouraged yesterday, I’m happy that Friday has finally arrived and hopefully I can find some time to play catch-up but also relax. Y’know, whatever that whole relaxin’ thing is…

 

Anyway, let’s just skip ahead to this whole Fitness Friday nonsense…

 

 

I continued on with the Ellie Ab Challenge this week and it’s definitely brought on a fun little challenge every day. I’m going to keep going with it for now.

Ellie Ab Challenge

 

Friday 11/1

1-1.25 mile walk

Saturday 11/2

20 mins YogaDownload.com Heart Opening Flow

150 crunches

2 mile walk

Sunday 11/3

5k hot chocolate run

3+ mile walk thru city

75 second plank

Monday 11/4

1 round GPP Jones’n for 40 workout

This was a reminder I need to build up my muscle endurance

50 reverse crunch/50 toe touches *instead of 50 v-ins

Tuesday 11/5

2.56 mile run

125 crunches

Wednesday 11/6

Rest

Thursday 11/7

1 mile run

Full body strength & abs

80 second plank

20 mins YogaDownload gentle Hatha #3

 

Now let’s get to the link-up!

 


 

How were your workouts this week?

Any fun plans for your weekend?

Fitness Friday {Giveaway!}

I’m so excited for today.  Not just because it’s Friday. Not just because it’s Fitness Friday.

 

 

Not just because it’s this lovely lady’s birthday (Happy Birthday Mom!).

From last year's Turkey Trot 5k

From last year’s Turkey Trot 5k

Not just because I have some fun things planned for my weekend.  Not just because my first week at my new job was freaking amazing. Not just because I’ve spent the week filling my ears with music and it doesn’t get any better than that.

 

So why am I so excited?

 

Because I have a really kick-butt giveaway for you guys today.  I was hoping at this point I would have already shared my race recap with you guys but I’m just going to have to spoil one aspect for you – it was FREAKING INCREDIBLE! And one (big) reason I have to thank for that are EnergyBits.  No joke.

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So what are EnergyBits? Taken right from their website:

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These little bits are freaking incredible and really pack a punch. (They do recommend taking 20-30 bits which I did before my half marathon but I’ve even taken 5 before some shorter runs and had a positive experience.) They’re a bit on the pricey side but they’re definitely worth it!

 

What did I notice?

  • Increased energy
  • Increased focus
  • Increased endurance

 

You know that part of the long run where you hit a wall? In my first half marathon in April, that point hit around mile 11.  This half marathon? All I would ask you is what wall? It never happened!  In fact, the race flew by and I know a big part had to do with my ability to focus inward, to get in my running mindset and just stay there, to just power through.

 

Now, before we get to the giveaway, let’s take a look at my workouts this past week (I know, it’s not nearly as exciting):

 

Friday 10/18

Rest

Saturday 10/19

Rest

Sunday 10/20

1/2 marathon!

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Monday 10/21

Rest – felt amazing!

Tuesday 10/22

25 mins Gentle Hatha #1

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Wednesday 10/23

GPP KBAB Pyramids

20 mins walk

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Thursday 10/24

2.23 mile run

I’m really happy that I was able to give my body the time it needed to recover from Sunday’s 1/2 marathon. I was surprised by how amazing my body felt Monday morning – I totally felt like I could go for a run and as I told that to my chiropractor, he looked at me and said “but you’re not”…no, I’m not.  But I loved feeling like my body was able to recover so well.

 

Now, onto that giveaway….

EnergyBits has been kind enough to offer one reader a sample pack of EnergyBits to try! I’m a huge advocate and can’t wait to hear how you guys are #PoweredbyBits too!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

{Disclaimer: Winner will be announced during next week’s Fitness Friday post and will have 48 hours from the time I contact them to send me their mailing address or I’ll have to pick another winner.}

 

And because it wouldn’t be Fitness Friday without it, don’t forget to join in the party below:

 


 

Have you ever tried EnergyBits? What was your experience?

Tell me about a great workout you had this week!

What I Ate (Not On) Wednesday

What a week! …I’m saying that and it’s only Wednesday but I’m saying it with the best of intentions. It’s been a busy, hard, but incredible week so far and I’m so excited to continue on this journey and see where it takes me.

Anyway, I’ve had some incredible meals this week and I’m so excited to share them with you, so let’s get on with this What I Ate Wednesday dealio…

 

I was hoping to share my pre-race eats with you guys this week but of course, I’m one of those bloggers that was never meant to be a food blogger (at least aside from a weekly post or the occasional recipe) and forgot to take pictures of my pre-race eats…except the dinner I ate the night before.

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So what did I eat? Sprouted pasta with roasted tomatoes + hummus, sausageless sausage and green beans.  Yum!

 

Since crossing the finish line on Sunday, I’m sure you can imagine my hunger has been souring.  Here’s a bit of the other deliciousness I’ve been eating…

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More sausageless sausage…and I assure you, despite eating it right out of the pan, I did have a bunch of green beans + carrots with hummus on the side.

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I’ve also been fighting a major craving for french toast so in my post-half hunger, I decided it was time to give in and it was so delicious.  No need for syrup, this was simply 1 egg mixed with coconut milk + cinnamon, cooked in coconut oil and topped with peanut butter and sliced banana.  With hot coffee with coconut milk on the side and I was a happy happy girl.

photo-352I’ve been dreaming up this soup for weeks…weeks I tell you and I was so excited to break out my new Ninja blender last night and cook up this deliciousness. You’ll have to wait for the recipe later, but I assure you it’s worth the wait and so easy!

photo-350While I don’t eat Paleo, I have been doing some searching for some Paleo-esque recipes and after seeing a recipe for Mustard Balsamic chicken, I knew I needed to make it but using tempeh instead. So I did and it was delicious.  Not only did I have it with a side of roasted veggies, but the leftovers were a great addition to salads later in the week.

 

Definitely some great eats this week and I’m so excited that I’m changing up my meals more and getting back into the kitchen.

 

What delicious meals have you had this week?

What are your favorite meals to eat before or after a race?

Fitness Friday

 

Guys…this is it.  In two days I’ll be waking up at the butt-crack of dawn, putting on my running gear, downing 1/2 an english muffin with banana + peanut butter, drinking a cup of coffee, strapping my feet into my Mizunos and when the start gun goes off, making my way 13.1 miles through downtown Des Moines, Iowa. …crap.

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It’s not that I’m not ready, because I am but I’m definitely dealing with some mind games right now…that’s what tapering does to you, even if you’re only dealing with a week of it.  But seriously, yesterday’s two miler felt like a warm-up…and in reality, I guess it was.

 

Because of that whole tapering thing, you’ll notice after Sunday’s long run, my workouts got easier and easier so my body and legs have time to rest, relax and get ready for what’s to come.  Because of this, I’ve also been trying to be really mindful of what I’m eating this week and be sure I’m only fueling my body with healthy, nutritious meals and snacks and doing my best to lay off the splurges.  Easier said than done, even for someone who eats clean 90% of the time.  (The week I’m trying to stay clean would be the week I really want to enjoy a glass of wine or crack open a chocolate bar…)

 

But enough yapping, let’s take a look at my workouts this week:

Friday 10/11/13

3 mile run + abs

Saturday 10/12/13

Rest

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Sunday 10/13/13

10.27 mile run

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Kettlebell Superset Workout

Foam rolling + stretching

Tuesday 10/15/13

4 mile run

Wednesday 10/16/13

30 minutes walk outside

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2 mile run

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Regardless, it was still a week to be proud of.  I’m still trying to figure out what my workouts will look like next week but I’m probably just going to play that by ear and do what feels right for my body.

 

For now, don’t forget to grab a button and link-up your #FitnessFriday posts below:

 


 

If you don’t hear from me – have a great weekend!

What do you have planned for the weekend?

What I Ate This Week

Now that we’ve been in the new place for about two weeks, there’s less boxes lying around and it’s starting to actually feel like home. We have internet, cable, a couch and chairs, things on the wall and one of the two cars is able to park in the garage.  It’s the little things, huh?

 

But what I’m the most excited about is being able to go grocery shopping again, to be cooking for myself all the time, and bringing back my desire to cook in the kitchen.  My eats might not have been that different this week but I definitely had a few stars of the show, so let’s just skip right to it.

 

A couple weeks ago I received a Ninja Ultima Blender to test out and review.  I’m still working on trying out a few things before diving into the review post but let’s just say, I’ve never had a smoothie this good before!

photo-346This was frozen spinach, banana, and strawberries blended with Vega protein powder, a splash of almond milk and water.  I couldn’t believe how delicious this was!

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Sometimes life throws curveballs and your original plans for the day in the city get turned into a late lunch/early dinner.  As soon as we sat down at Native Foods, I don’t think any of us regretted our trip in.

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I had the Indo-Noodle Salad and as soon as I took one bite, I looked at my friends and said “please excuse me, but I’m about to devour this entire bowl.” Needless to say, we all cleared out plates and while we were stuffed, we wanted to go back for more.  Delicious!

photo-345I’ve been eating more eggs lately (as I’m sure you’ve noticed) and while I found myself wanting them for dinner the other night, I didn’t feel like making scrambled eggs or an omelette.  After seeing my roommate make eggs-in-a-frame the other night, I knew that was what I wanted for dinner.  I think this was the first time I made them myself so I don’t have a technique down just yet.  The yolks overcooked a bit but they were still super tasty, especially since they were cooked in coconut oil.

photo-343A 10-mile run calls for proper fueling the night before so I cooked up a bowl of spelt pasta with roasted tomatoes and veggie sausage for dinner.  I stirred in a little hummus to make it feel like a creamier sauce and ate some leftover green beans while everything was cooking.  Simple and delicious!

 

What delicious-ness have you cooked or consumed this week?

 

Thanks again to Jenn for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Fitness Friday

I’m so happy it’s Friday, that I have clean carpets in my new townhouse, and that after I get off work today, I have plans with my coworker and new roommate to just hang out, relax and start unpacking.  It may not sound like that much fun to anyone else, but I’m definitely looking forward to the girl time.

 

 

Anyway, let’s move onto this past week’s workouts.  Despite moving and lots of exciting (yet still somewhat stressful) stuff, I’ve been able to stay active and allow myself that time.  You’ll notice I was definitely slacking on the yoga but hopefully I can pick that back up this week.

 

Friday 9/27

5 mile run

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Saturday 9/28

REST

Sunday 9/29

8 mile run

1383846_957244627139_134776450_nMon 9/30

KB workout

15 mins Stretching & foam rolling

Tuesday 10/1

Moving!

Yes, that IS a workout! ;)

photo-336Wednesday 10/2

5 mile run

Thursday 10/3

Strength – upper body + abs

2 mile run

Now it’s your turn – link up your Fitness Friday posts:

 


 

How were you able to stay active this week?

Any big plans for the weekend?

Fitness Friday & An Awful Race Photo

You’re in for a treat today…

 

Well, only if you consider a funny race picture a treat.  And I think you should because I can’t believe I’m posting this terrible thing on the internet…

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Thankfully, I can also back it up with a pretty good picture.

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These are from my 10k race last Sunday, which you’ve all read about…ha!

 

Anyway, I feel like I’m making my comeback this week.  While I was lacking motivation on Wednesday, I had a great run on Thursday.  I still had to bundle up a bit (it was in the 30s here) but the sun was shining and I just couldn’t help but smile all the way through my run.

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And to make it that much better, I’m sure I was making every other runner, walker or car driver smile with my silliness – I looked like such a nerd! ;)

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Regardless of how I looked this week, it was a great week of workouts and with my 1/2 marathon creeping up, it felt good to have a great week under my belt.

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Now don’t forget to linkup your Fitness Friday workouts, posts, or motivations!

 



 

How were your workouts this week?

Is the weather getting better where you live?

Breakfast

We’ve all heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you know what?  It’s no urban legend – it’s true!  And in all honesty, I’ve never been one to fight breakfast; I love it so much I often eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! ;)

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But in all seriousness, it’s true – breakfast is an important part of your day and definitely not something to miss.

  • Eating breakfast helps you feel more energized, less tired, and more focused
  • Eating breakfast starts your day on the right foot, leading you to make healthier choices throughout the day, consuming more nutrients.
  • Eating breakfast gets your metabolism started for the day and therefore, breakfast eaters are less likely to battle obesity

Sources: Huffington Post, EveryDay Health

 

Seeing as I usually wake up hungry in the morning, I don’t have to worry about “forgetting” or convincing myself to eat – I’m hungry, I want food! But I know it’s not always that easy for other people but I’m a believer that it’s all about getting into a rhythm and planning ahead for those mornings when breakfast needs to be on the go.

 

We all know my favorite breakfast – whole wheat english muffin (or toast) with peanut butter and smashed banana – and don’t forget that side of coffee!

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I’m also all about a delicious and comforting bowl of oatmeal…

IMG_2742Or pancakes for those mornings when I have a few extra minutes…

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But then there’s those mornings when you oversleep, you’re running late or for whatever the reason may be, breakfast needs to be on-the-go.  Those mornings require a little planning and having some quick and easy options available.

 

Overnight oats are a great make the night before option but take with you the next morning…

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And breakfast bars are great to just have on hand all ready to go…

Defender 3 pack with ingredientsSpeaking of breakfast bars, I had the opportunity to test out the CORE Foods Meal Bars  and I honestly believe they’re great for those on-the-go mornings.  And to make it even better, they have SIMPLE ingredients so you know exactly what you’re eating.

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CORE Foods recommends having 2 glasses of water with each bar to feel as if you’re having a big hearty bowl of oatmeal.  When I first tried one of these bars, I was surprised I wasn’t hungrier earlier.  I thought I felt hunger coming on early in the morning but realized I hadn’t quite had the recommended water so I drank up and was fine.

photo-215The bars taste pretty good (just a bit dry) but with my coffee on the side it wasn’t bad at all and I enjoyed my breakfast.  These would also be great for traveling!

 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day with many delicious options – why question it when you can eat up and enjoy?!

 

Are you a breakfast eater?

What is your favorite breakfast?