Thursday, July 19, 2012

Protein Pancakes

When you omit flour and sugar from your diet you may find that breakfast no longer has the appeal that it use to. Gone are the days of muffins, pastries, pancakes, waffles, or cereal.  While this all sounds devastating and may leave you wondering why anyone would ever give up those beautiful breakfast entrees, there is still hope. For me, breakfast is usually a couple of eggs and a piece of fruit. Or if time permits, I will make myself a big green smoothie. Throw in a banana with some almond butter and you have a go-to meals for breakfast each morning. I make it a point to NEVER miss breakfast. No matter how late I am running in the morning, breakfast gets made or at least assembled. I have found that skipping breakfast sets me up for a long day of always being hungry and snacking mindlessly. If I can start the day with a full tummy, I am more productive and have more energy to get me through the day.

Now I will be the first to tell you that my favorite breakfast foods use to be a fluffy crossiant or big bowl of cold cereal or a nice slice of homemade bread with butter. (I won't lie, I still indulge in these treats on the during the occasional weekend breakfast) But if you think about the goes into making those popular breakfast items, you realize you are essentially starting your day by throwing cups of flour, sugar, and butter into your body. Not the ideal way to start the day.

Every Tuesday at work they are gracious enough to bring in fresh bagels and pastries. You can find the whole office squeezed into the break room slicing their bagels and slathering them with heaps of flavored cream cheese. I will admit to having one on occasion. I mean the first thing you learn in college is to never pass up free food! That seems to be a habit that no one can break! And the interesting thing is I find myself eating it very quickly, as if my body won't notice that I am eating this carb-filled contraption if I eat as fast as I can.  Silly! It doesn't take long for the emotional and physical regret to come on. I immediately want to take a nap, I start to think about how long it is until lunch time and I start to rationlize how acceptable it would be for me to just get one more bagel with maybe less cream cheese this time. And the visious cycle begins.

So to beat the breakfast monotony and ensure I never set succumb to the bagel demons, I am trying to diversify my breakfast foods and find things that are quick and easy to make in the morning but also leave me feeling full until lunch time!

One thing I have recently found to be extra yummy is protein pancakes! These pancakes don't require any sugar or flour, but actually only require 4 items.
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter
Mix the banana (this works better with ripe bananas), egg and almond butter together until they are well combined and form a smooth batter.  This is easily done in a food processor.

Heat the coconut oil in skillet on medium-low heat. And pour a 1/3 of the batter in. ( I can usually get three small pancakes out of this recipe).
The trick here is to cook on low for about 3 minutes on each side. They will burn easily if the heat is too high.

They are not the prettiest pancake in the world, but they are really yummy. I slathered mine with some sunbutter and sprinkled some chia seeds for  added crunch. Served with some sweet cherries and you have the perfect protein filled breakfast!

Here are some other protein pancake receipes that I am eager to add to my menu:
OMG. Pancakes! from Carrots n Cake
Blueberry Flax Protein Pancakes from Eat Spin Run Repeat
Basic Protein Pancake Recipe from Busy But Healthy
The Perfect Protein Pancake from The Fitnesssista

Give it a try! You will find that you are sufficiently full from a quick breakfast and will be jumping off the walls while your colleagues battle the mid-morning fatigue.

Here are some breakfast facts that I found interesting:
  • people who skip breakfast tend to crave more carbohydrates later in the day
  • people who skip breakfast weigh more and have more unhealthy habits
  • people who eat breakfast everyday are 34% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people who skip breakfast
  • people who eat egg proteins for breakfast are more likely to feel full during the day
  • people who skip breakfast also tended to have higher cholesterol, elevated insulin levels, and larger waist circumferences

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Minor accomplishments

One of things I love about Crossfit is that you are constantly competing against yourself.  You can go into the gym every day and get by with minimal effort without anyone calling you out. OR you can go into the gym each day and push yourself harder than you ever have. The only person that will keep you accountable is yourself. The only way you will ever make progress and get stronger is if you are constantly pushing yourself to try harder and not giving up. I will admit that there is a lot of stuff in Crossfit that I can't do, but that is what keeps me coming back each week. I look back at where I was last year and my list of "I can't do that" was pretty long. But with consistent work, I am slowing cutting that list shorter and shorter.  Crossfit workouts can be as hard as you make them. You run slow, lift light and call it a day. Or push yourself to be a bit faster and stronger then you were last time. There is something about being around other people that do this day in and day out that motivates you to become a better version of yourself.  There are so many instances in life where I find myself saying, "I can't do that" and walk away, but in Crossfit I don't find myself doing that.  Never once have the words "I can't" come out of my mouth while in the crossfit box.  Rather, I suck it up, modify, and give it a try. If I fail, that is ok. I just try it again.  And while some things take longer than others, I always succeed.
Yesterday was one of those days that I succeeded at something that I have been working on for a LONG time.
I did my first double unders! What is a double under you ask? A double under is passing the jump rope under your feet twice in one jump. Sounds simple, but for me, it has been a struggle.  I have gotten really good at jump roping but the double unders always been a struggle for me. Until yesterday. I didn't do anything differently, but remembered everything my coaches have told me and went for it.  And when it finally happened for the first time, I was in shock because it was so easy! Now that I know what one feels like, I can do several of them. WooHoo! I still have a lot of practice to do to get better, but now I can do them! I am so glad that I continued to stick with these and work on getting it accomplished. It may be a minor accomplishment, but each minor accomplishment whether in Crossfit or in life adds up to a better, stronger, and happier me. On to the next challenge...overhead squats...ugh...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Just keep swimming

Talk about a blog hiatus! It's been awhile since my last post.  Unfortunately, I do not have a great excuse for my lack of posting, rather just letting all the things in my life that keep me busy take priority. Now as I look at the calendar and realize we are already half way through the month of July, I am shocked that the summer has gone by so quickly and that school supplies are already lining the store aisles. I will admit that I always get a bit excited when I see school supplies being put out. For most, the sight of pencils and backpacks is enough to make you cringe, but for me, those sights signal the best time of year! For me, new school supplies meant another school year, which I was always excited for! A shameless admittance...despite the fact that I have been out of school for too many years to count, I still stock up on a few supplies in August. I can't help myself!! Aside from Christmas, it is my most favorite time of the year!

 "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."  Do you know who said this and in what movie?? ( of my all time favorite romantic comedies, cheesy but a fav)

Ok, now I have to redeem myself after that nerdy confession. 

Sadly, I am not going back to school when fall arrives, but I do have something else to get excited for!! Marathon season! That's right! Come September there will be full and half marathons happening every weekend around the country. I can name at least a dozen that are scheduled in the surrounding DC area. I couldn't be more excited! While I only plan to run a couple of half marathons and the full Marine Corp Marathon, the thought of race day adrenaline gives me the goosebumps! I am already laying out my training plans for the full marathon (on on this to come!) and searching through half marathon courses to pick which ones I want to run. I have some pretty ambitious goals for the full and half marathon, not to mention a 10k trail goal that I still need to meet, so I have to get my head back in the training mode. 

One goal that I did not set for myself this year, but is a long term goal of mine is to complete a sprint distance triathlon. A sprint triathlon is .47 mile swim, 12.4 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run. Doesn't sound too terrible for someone that has run a marathon, right? Well, the part that has me a bit on edge is the swim. .47 miles may not sound like much, but for someone whose best swimming stroke includes the doggy paddle, it is a BIG deal!

Yup, I'll put it out there. I am not a swimmer! I took swim lessons every summer at the YMCA growing up and did what I needed to do to get that certificate of completion, but somehow, I sneaked away from each class without any water confidence or real skills.  While I can keep afloat and tread water all day,  I have no idea how to do the proper strokes to get me from one end of the pool to the next. That coupled with a fear of deep waters do not make me the ideal candidate for a triathlon.

So here I am, an adult that wants to do a triathlon but doesn't know how to swim! Does this sound familiar? Do you know someone that wants to bike a century ride but doesn't own a road bike?
Small details...

So what am I going to do about it? I really do want to complete a triathlon. It might not happen in the next few months, but it will happen eventually and I can't let a little thing like the fear of water get in my way.  So I enrolled myself in adult swimming lessons!

Every Monday night I join about 5 other adults that are trying to become better swimmers. We are a diverse mix of folks. Some not even able to tread water, some not ready to get their head wet, and others trying to learn how to swim better for fitness and competition.  Last week was my first lesson and I will admit, I was really nervous, but after a few minutes in the water, I felt more confident in my ability to learn this new skill. Learning to swim as an adult is not easy. If you have ever watched a child swim, they are fearless and just jump in head first. Adults tend to over think things and let fear consume their ability. So much of my problem is my thinking and worrying. So I hoping these lessons will give me more confidence in the water, which will lead to more time in the pool to get ready to complete a triathlon! I'll keep you posted on how things go!