Friday, January 28, 2011

Healthy Grocery Shopping

I enjoy food. I REALLY enjoy food. Food is yummie in my tummy. But when I started to eat clean, I started to really enjoy healthier food. I always ate healthy food, but not enough of it. It was often a struggle on how to incorporate it into my diet. But now, if I don't eat enough fruits and veggies, then my body gets upset with me.
yes, I do buy a lot of fruit

I go grocery shopping once a week. Usually during the weekends. Prior to heading to the store, I make a list of items we ran out of. Then I plan our meals for the week. Just one week, until the next shopping trip. 

Why only shop once a week?
1) It is easier to budget.
2) It's enough time to eat the food before they spoil.
3) I try to avoid preprocessed food, and enjoy eating fresh produce.
4) It makes meal planning simple.

Where do you shop?
I live within walking distance to Safeway. But I drive about 8 miles, one way, to Trader Joe's. I feel that it's worth the trip. Don't get me wrong, Safeway is great and I still shop there at times. I often go there to purchase items at the deli. Usually deli meat and cheese.

But I buy everything else at Trader Joe's. I like their selection of produce. I love their organic orange juice and milk. I was quite shocked the last time I went to Safeway and searched for organic chicken. Trader Joe's was definitely more affordable. About 85% to 90% of my purchases are organic. And I like the fact that most of their packaged foods don't contain HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), nor do the ingredients read a mile long of stuff I can't even pronounce.

Why organic?
Why not? Ever since my son was born, I decided I would feed him what I thought was best. I never fed him jarred food from the store. I made his baby food. I feel that that act of love has done him well. He is a very healthy young boy, and he's quite smart. I'm sold.

Being surrounded by those battling cancer also helped me with this decision. A relative on my father's side passed from it. My first degree cousin from my mother's side passed from it. And my aunt, my mother's sister, is a 10 year breast cancer survivor. Cancer on both sides of my family doesn't quite put me at ease, so I am controlling what I can to try and avoid it.

What is your typical shopping list?
Fruits, Veggies, Sides and Snacks (90% organic)
  • brocolli and/or cauliflower
  • sweet potato
  • bananas
  • baby spinach or romaine lettuce
  • kiwi
  • apples and/or pears
  • dried fruit
  • dried seaweed
  • onions
  • garlic
  • protein bar

Dairy and Drinks (99% organic)
  • 1% or 2% milk
  • orange juice
  • grapefruit juice (for the hubby)
  • eggs
  • green tea bag

Frozen or Chilled (70% organic)
  • Cod filets
  • potstickers/teriyaki chicken/orange chicken
  • berries
  • chicken
  • meat

Everything else
  • Multigrain bread
  • Ground flax seed (once a month)
  • Toilet tissue
  • Multivitamin (once a month)
  • Vitamin D3 (every few months)
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dishwashing soap

So these are pretty much my staples and I work off of that. We have the occasional treat such as tarts, pizza or cookies so we don't go crazy. And we ALWAYS have dark chocolate to help with our sweet tooth.

My budget is $100 per week. Which isn't that bad considering that I buy mostly organic. Going organic won't break the bank if you do your homework.

Where do you shop?
What are your grocery shopping staples?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Signed Up For My First 5k in 2011

Ok, so I signed up for my first 5k this year. It's on March 19th, which is about 2 months away. I liked running Lake Merritt so much I decided I would run a real race there. It's called the Greek Independence Day Run. Once around the lake is a 5k, another lap around the lake is a 10k. Seeing that I've only been back to running for a little over a month now, I'll be running the 5k. Next month I am hoping to run around the lake again to see where I'm at on my training.

Have you signed up for races yet?

I started running outside on the weekends. This passed weekend was the second time. I really enjoy running outside. Sorry for being a broken record, but it's true. I only ran 1.02 miles on Saturday. Much shorter than I wanted. But there was a good reason. My sweats kept falling off. And they seemed to start falling off the further I ran. It got to the point where I was literally holding my sweats on with my hand. It got too annoying and distracting that I just had to stop running. Very cool that my sweats were loose enough to fall off, but it didn't help my training at all.

On Sunday I decided to wear my biker shorts under a more snug fitting pair of sweats. Ah, that worked out better. I wanted to increase my distance another half mile. I just wanted to run a mile and a half. That was my goal this weekend. And well, I did it! When I pushed the stop button on the Runmeter app it read 1.57 miles. Woo hoo! Unfortunately the weekends are the only time I get to run outside. We'll see how I do on the treadmill tomorrow morning.

Do you run outside?
What time of day are you able to fit in a run outside?

Back to pants falling off, the jeans I wore today were quite loose. I haven't worn this pair in months. Since I didn't get to finish laundry this weekend, I wore these jeans. And...whoa baby! They were super loose. Are you kidding me? I couldn't believe it. I think it's time to donate this pair.

With my pants falling off I will really need to think about what I'm going to wear during my first race of the year. I really don't want my pants on the ground.

What do you think I should wear? 
Biker shorts? Spandex?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Runmeter Wins Because My Treadmill Lies

Back in October I got a treadmill. Last month the foot was feeling better so I began running again. The weather hasn't been great so I continued running on the treadmill. For the last two weeks or so, I've been running for 17 minutes. Not sure why, but I can't seem to run longer than that at this moment. 17 minutes seems to equal running 1.2 miles. That's the distance I've been seeing at the end of my runs. Wow, that is super slow. I even cover up the distance display with my iPhone so I'm not distracted (or disappointed) by it.

I can either run at a constant speed, or increase the speed for a few minutes, and my distance is always the same in 17 minutes, 1.2 miles. I don't understand why this is happening, and I began to wonder if my treadmill was broken. 

Does it just stop working once it reaches 1.2 miles on the display? 
Was my new tool lying to me?
I needed answers.

I realized that I don't like speed controlled runs. Yes you can press a button and change the speed, but that's too distracting for me. When I run outside, I speed up and slow down when my body feels the need to. There are no buttons. This passed weekend I ran outside for the first time in months. Wow, it felt SO different because I've been running on the treadmill. But it also felt wonderful. I was happy to use Runmeter again and something shocked me.

Saturday's run

According to my treadmill, if I were to run 8min and 44sec then I'd only be at about 1/2 a mile. But Runmeter says otherwise.

Sunday's run

And lookie here. I ran a mile in right under 12 minutes. According to my treadmill I should have only ran a distance of about 3/4 of a mile.

Interesting, don'cha think? So which is more accurate?
I will have to agree with Runmeter. I have used Runmeter during my 5k runs. My Runmeter results and my official race time results are within seconds of each other. Runmeter FTW! (FTW = for the win)

But this knowledge is quite disappointing. Once again I am glad that I didn't pay $1300 for my treadmill. Sheesh.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Toss The Scale!

Those who read my blog or view my tweets have asked me the ultimate question.

How much weight have you lost?

When it comes to getting fit, many focus WAY too much on 2 numbers; pounds and calories. Just hearing those words turns my attention off.

Our society, if not most, are obsessed with weighing ourselves.
- We eat something, then we weigh ourselves.
- We do a workout, then we weigh ourselves.
It's a vicious cycle. If we gain a pound, or don't lose anything, we get discouraged and eventually revert to unhealthy habits. We flat out just give up. This is complete self-torture. Throw that darn scale away if you are obsessed with weighing yourself. That's exactly what I did. I've been there. I was doing the exact same thing! Constantly weighing yourself will not make the pounds go away. It's like a watched pot never boils. Tossing the scale was liberating for me.

I personally don't keep track of the calories I eat or drink. I am WAY too lazy to spend the time logging everything I eat. I think it can drive someone crazy doing so. I don't think it's a bad idea to keep a count of caloric intake at first. Initially, that's what I did on gyminee, which is now dailyburn. But it wasn't just about calories. This helped me learn more about my diet. 
- Was I low in my fiber intake, or protein? 
- Did I have too much fat today? 
After a while, I started to understand what my body was trying to tell me. I would feed my body what it was asking for whether it was more protein, or a glass of water. Now I just use a lot of common sense by eating clean. It doesn't take a scientist to figure out that the apple is your friend while the chocolate cake is your enemy. I focus on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, and lean meats.

So to answer the ultimate question...

Since I began running in July of 2010, I have lost a total of 8 pounds. It's now January of 2011. It has been 6 months since I started running, and 3 months since I started cross training. 8 pounds really isn't a lot. And I have no idea if I lost the pounds all up front, during the middle, or just recently. Did it fluctuate? I have no idea and I actually don't really care. Like I said, I rarely weigh myself.

But what I do know is that my clothes fit better. Heck, I just started shrinking my clothes because they were getting too loose for me to wear. (I used to wash them in cold water so they wouldn't shrink.) As I look at myself in the mirror, which is something you all should be doing, I am seeing more definition. I see that I really am replacing fat with lean muscle, and I am liking what I see.

So...for all you calorie counters, muscle is what you need to BURN calories.
And for you scale lovers, muscle weighs MORE than fat. 

So the next time the scale goes up, it does not necessarily mean that you've gained more fat. Think about your activity, your diet, and how your clothes fit, because it might just be that you gained some of that awesome muscle.

And ladies, don't be afraid of gaining muscle. Lean muscle is SEXY.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Your Brain Needs To Workout Too

When I was in my early 20's my HR manager told me that she does crossword puzzles. She said that she does it to keep her brain in shape. Being my 20's I didn't think much of it. I was young. Why would I need to work out my brain when I've got so many years ahead of me? Well a year here and a year there went by and now I'm in my 30's. Where the heck did the time go?

I'm now in love with running - check!
I'm also doing cross training - check!
I do some sort of activity or workout everyday - check!
My diet has improved - check!

But what about my brain? Oh my. My old HR manager was onto something. The body is complex, but the brain is....well, the brain of it all. So how does one exercise the brain? You need to feed the brain things to make the gears turn.

crossword puzzles
word searches
solve a rubix cube
take classes
work on your budget
learn a new language
...and the list goes on and on.

What are you doing to keep your brain in shape?
Currently my favorite form of brain exercise is playing Words With Friends on my iPhone. Wanna play? What's your username?
username is melygreen

Lastly....don't forget to do your deep breathing. Your brain needs oxygen. Set aside a few minutes a day (for starters) to do some deep breathing. Your brain and the rest of your body will thank you.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Perfect 5k Route

Last month I told you that I had planned to go running with my Vibram buddy Sherry. Well yesterday we met up. It was cool because another friend joined us. Kimmy brought her daughter Kally, so she was pushing a jogging stroller. That definitely created some resistance. Sherry wore her injini socks in her KSO's since it was quite cold.

We went for a jog/walk around Lake Merritt. The lake is 3 miles around. It's the perfect place to practice for a 5k race. But because of it's perfect 3 mile route, they hold many races there as well. Check out the East Bay's oldest running club for more info. There were SO many other runners there toughing out the cold, and boy was it cold. I've never been all the way around the lake, but now I know why people enjoy running there. It's so nice there. It's mostly flat, with a couple of tiny slopes depending on which path you take. There are 2 different types of terrain; gravel and paved. That was pretty cool since I've never ran on anything except for asphalt and the treadmill. The scenery was nice too. Of course you have the lake, lots of grass, birds, play structures for kids and more. Unfortunately I don't live close enough to run around the lake often.

Afterwards we headed nearby to grub on some yum yum dim sum. It was a pretty nice low carb meal paired with some tea. Yeah, we definitely needed to warm up. The run around the lake was my second workout of the day, since I started off with cross training in the morning. I didn't feel too guilty eating out for lunch yesterday.

Have you gone for a run around Lake Merritt before?
What did you think of it?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dude, It Was Ginormous

Great start to a new year. I did stay up past midnight, but I didn't watch the ball drop on TV. I was actually working on a blog post. (It will be up shortly.)

I completed week 2 of the Turbulence Training intermediate workout this morning, and it felt great. What better way to great January 1st? Just about all the holiday food has now been eliminated from the house. I can now go back to eating healthier. I went through our fridge, freezer and pantry today and tossed a lot of stuff out. I guess you can say I officially started on cleaning house. With the fridge being so bare I decided to go on my weekly shopping trip today.

I was super bummed that Trader Joe's was closed today. I thought they were open 7 days a week. (I guess I should have checked their website before heading out there.) I then headed to Safeway. Since I don't normally shop there anymore, my trip took longer than expected. I really had to spend time in order to buy, what I thought to be, the healthiest versions of what I wanted.

Of course, I bought lots of fruit and lots of broccoli. While in the produce section, look what I found. A ginormous green bell pepper. I almost bought it just for the sake of showing it to my hubby. But I figured a picture would suffice. It was HUGE!

I had chicken on my shopping list, but they didn't have a good selection of organic chicken. It was pretty much non-existent. The non-organic drumsticks were surprisingly MORE expensive than the organic drumsticks at Trader Joe's. And everyone says that organic is too expensive. Not this time. Needless to say, I didn't buy any chicken. I instead bought 2 pounds of organic ground beef. 

Surprisingly the organic eggs were the same price. The wheat bread I bought was more expensive, but it did not contain any HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). The milk was a few cents more. And I couldn't find a comparable orange juice. Overall, I am quite happy with my trip. It just took longer than expected. But I still prefer shopping at Trader Joe's, so I'm looking forward to next week's shopping trip.

Do you have a favorite store for your grocery needs?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...