food

Fueled by Gluten

This girl is fueled by gluten and proud. 

I posted on Instagram the other day about about a CrossFit member’s shirt saying “Fueled by Gluten” and how I LOVED our conversation about food education in our society.  A couple of people reached out to me asking my opinion on the subject, so I figured I’d blog about it!

Going gluten free has become very trendy over the past few years.  I myself tried it, and quickly discovered it wasn’t best for my body. Every body is different. Every body reacts differently to foods.  Most people who go gluten free choose to do so because of the way their body reacts to gluten.  So, well, they don’t really have a choice.

What is gluten? 

I will be the first to admit that when I tried being gluten free…I didn’t know what the heck it even was!  All I knew was my stomach had not been digesting well, and I had been reading that going gluten free can help your digestion.  However, this is really only the case if you are allergic to gluten, or have a gluten intolerance.  I had neither. I know based off of trial and error.

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye.  If you are allergic or have an intolerance to gluten, it is because your immune system has physically damaging reactions to gluten.

When I tried going gluten free, I did not see any difference in the quality of my digestion, bloating or fatigue.  This is because I do not have an intolerance to gluten.  A gluten free diet is not healthiest for my body. 

What helped me fight off fatigue, bloating and poor digestion? 

Balanced eating.  I was fatigued because I did not consume enough calories.  I was bloated because I did not eat enough protein.  My digestion was off because I was not balancing out the percentages of carbohydrates, proteins and fats that suite my body.

What has worked best for me on this journey to leading a more mindful life, is I’ve stopped placing food into categories: good vs. bad, healthy vs. unhealthy.  I educate myself.  I read nutrition labels.  I’m aware of where my food comes from, and how my body reacts to it.  We are so easily convinced that physically cutting foods or calories will make us healthier, when in reality it makes us obsessed mentally, and unaware of our bodies true needs.

So, I’m fueled by gluten and proud.  Because my body needs the protein and reacts a-okay to it.

But, please please PLEASE do your own research.  I believe the best practice is to stop listening to the fads, following the trends and to grow in your personal awareness.  This is what works best for me.  Now, go discover what works best for you. 

Running of the Bulls 8K: Race Recap

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Yesterday, I had the pleasure of venturing through downtown Durham.  Despite the high humidity (90% to be exact…) the race was a success!

And, although, I’m very proud of my pace, and overall placement for age group and gender..I’m measuring the success of this race in a different way.

I know what pace my body is capable of. I commit to long distance runs every Saturday morning and have easily sustained an 8 minute pace for 9 miles.  I didn’t go into this race with a pace goal.  I didn’t set myself up to meet an expectation.

Instead, I made a commitment:

to smile.

to be aware.

to breathe.

I wanted to soak up my surroundings.  My focus was to be aware of the bliss and gratitude that surrounded me when I ran.  I centered on the sights, the sounds, the scents that were present; that were a part of this journey with me.

At one point in the race, I told myself to keep my head up.  And I did just that.  I looked up, peered around at the sea of people surrounding me and soaked up the empowerment that came from recognizing I was one small part of this big community.  Pretty powerful stuff.

So rather than trying to control my pace, my body, my breath…I just let it be.  I ran. I smiled.  I enjoyed my time on the road with my fellow runners.  I truly believe this is why I had a successful run.

That and my fuel.

There are many components to living a balanced life style.  Creating a balanced mindset is probably the most necessary, and difficult to achieve.  Balanced nutrition is key, especially for athletes.

Night Before the Race

I planned my meals the day before the race to allow myself to have most of my carbs at night.  Carbohydrates provide stored energy.  So, I had strawberry banana protein pancakes followed by some oatmeal for dessert. And water. LOTS of water ALL DAY LONG.

Morning of the Race

Coffee.  And more water.  Followed by Shakeology with half a serving of whey added to it.  I’m the odd one out who has to eat right before a work out.  Shakeology before my runs has proven to work for my body.  It provides me with TONS vitamins and minerals. It leaves me feeling energized and ready to go!

Post Race

2 Chia Bars (1 acai berry, 1 chocolate peanut butter), 1 banana, 1 sesame seed bagel with 2 egg whites, 1 cup of greek yogurt with a scoop of strawberry whey protein and 1 cup of protein fiber almond flax granola from Whole Foods.  I. Could. Not. Get. Full. When your body burns calories, it’s VITAL to restore those calories.  I may not have gotten full…but I also never got that post race crash…because I fueled my body properly! Restored my body with carbohydrates and rebuilt muscle with protein!

Here’s some ramblings of me talking about the race.  Other topics coming soon:

the value of quality race gear

and

why I’ve stopped blasting music during my workouts

Having Your Cake & Eating It Too

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, diets are not my cup of tea.  They promote this stigma of bad food vs. good food, when in reality we need to focus on fueling our bodies.  We need to eat food that has a healthy purpose.

This doesn’t make it easy to stop eating foods that we’ve gotten into the habit of consuming.  Like the boxes of cookies I used to consume on the reg. Just because I’m thin does not make this okay.  Foods high in sugar destroy your energy levels.  Sure, they give you than instantaneous joy, and maybe a sugar rush.  But, that crash is sure to follow.  Why eat foods that ultimately bring you down? Food should fuel our bodies, fill us with nutrients and make us feel energized.

Being a teacher (or really, just a professional), it can be challenging to stay fueled throughout the day.  I’m constantly on my feet, on the go for 8+ hours a day.  It’s easy to get that “2 pm feeling.” You know, the one where your eyes can’t stay opened and you feel like an actual couch potato. You get grouchy…perhaps even hangry.  (The hangry struggle is real people).

Well, I’ve found a way to conquer these lack of energy. And the best way to describe it is as having your cake and eating it too. I know, it’s supposed to be impossible to have both.  But with Shakeology you can.  I’ve decided to add Shakeology to my morning routine, right there with my cup of coffee and big ole glass of water.

Shakeology is a superfood shake.  It’s made with all natural, whole food ingredients and literally tastes like a milkshake.  Hence the whole having your cake and eating it too.  

I’ll admit, at first I was hesitant.  In fact, I only ended up trying Shakeology because I really really wanted to try Piyo.  Piyo is a pilates-yoga at home workout program.  Sometimes, I’m just not feeling the gym after a longer day, and wanted to have an at-home alternative.  There happened to be a special going on at the time, so I decided to give these super food shakes a shot. And I’m so happy I did.

Here’s why I’m in love:

  • I actually stay full until I’m able to sit down and enjoy a snack or lunch.
  • I stay energized all day.
  • It’s delicous and filled with vitamins, minerals and proteins.
  • It’s reduced my cravings for sugary foods. (I’m no longer a self-proclaimed cookie monster)

My go to recipe at the moment:

  • 1 serving of either chocolate or vanilla shakeology mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp of peanut butter
  • 1/2 a banana
  • ice for thickness

All blended up!

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I not only look my best, but I feel my best.

Let me know if you’re interested in giving it a shot! 

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Sorry. No shame in my mirror selfie game.