Newton’s running law of motion

Recently I attended part one of a two part running clinic by Newton. The event provides information to runners on natural running style and the importance of proper form. The second part of the clinic allows the attendees to apply what they have learned from the lecture. Due to my injury, I did not attend the second day, but did learn a lot of useful information from the lecture that I would like to pass onto you.

If you haven’t heard of Newton, they are a shoe company that has developed a product based on, you guessed it, Isaac Newtons laws of motion. Not only do they make a great shoe, but this company also provides loads of information on the topic of running, offers coaching and coach certification, in addition to books, apparel, and other running accessories.
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty here……first thing is first, proper form. When running, the hips should remain level with an upright body and forward lean (from the ankles, not the waist). The spine should be straight, sternum lifted, shoulders relaxed, chin slightly tucked, with a slight flex at the hip.

It is important that the feet land under the center of mass no matter what. When stepping out in front and striking the ground on the heel, it’s as if you are slamming the brakes on a car. Deceleration occurs, thus increasing the chance of injury.

Check out this graphic for a visual.

Landing with the heel causes greater impact with the toes and ball of the foot. The shoe raises the height of the heel causing impact to come in and push off from this causes injury. Hmmm, this sounds familiar to me. I admit, I’m a heel striker and right now I am in a bad way with an injury in the ball of my foot and swelling of my second toe. I haven’t run in over a month and this lecture was really starting to make sense to me.

Ground contact time-this is the amount of time your foot is in contact with the ground on each stride. Faster runners have a shorter contact time. Ground contact time decreases as pace increases. If you are wondering why this is important, here is the answer: when you are in contact with the ground, you are not moving forward. It is only when you are airborne that you are propelled forward. So, a foot that lands in front of the body’s center of gravity will ultimately increase ground time. Ahhhh, that’s why my time hasn’t been improving!

So how should we be landing? Well, as mentioned before, below our center of mass. By doing so, you should land on the mid-foot reducing shock and allowing the heel to land naturally. Once this happens, the elasticity of muscles engage naturally creating and storing energy. Now you are ready to lift back of the ground almost effortlessly. View images here.

Check out some information on how to improve your running.

View different natural running styles.

A couple of notes that I would like to address:

-I visited a podiatrist for my injuries and suggest fault on my behalf to due improper running style. I told him that I am a heel strikers and aware of the fact that I should be striking mid-foot. The doctors response? “That’s not accurate and doesn’t make a difference. You run how you run and don’t change a thing, you can’t change how you run.” AND, “don’t go buying those shoes with the toes, it’s just a fad.”

It was interesting to hear the doctors take on what I had suggested to him. He is after all a doctor, a foot doctor, he knows what he’s talking about right?

Don’t get me wrong, I have seen my fair share of doctors, especially over the past few years. During this time, I have learned that doctors don’t know everything and are sometimes just trying to figure things out just as much as we are. I’ve got to give credit to the doctor that fessed up and said, “I just don’t know, you are a mystery.” While this comment was a bit discerning, it was honest and I respect that.

Just because I now have my doubts about doctors opinions doesn’t mean that I will automatically discount what they have to say. I took his comments into consideration.

That being said, I’m almost certain that all of the professional runners which I follow and read up on have more knowledge in running than said doctor. Professional and mediocre runners alike often suggest the same running form-mid-foot strike!

If this is something you would like to try out, be patient. It takes time to adapt, a LOT of time. And new running form will come at ease with much practice. Remember-land, lever, lift!

Give it a go and if you get frustrated, feel free to keep in touch. I’ll be working on a new stride of my own!

Happy Running!

 

Treat Night-Candy Apples

Every Friday night is treat night at my house. I let my son stay up a little later this night and we make special treats to enjoy. It’s a great way to spend time together as a family and create lasting memories. It is also important not to deprive ourselves of the occasional sweet treat. This way we can indulge a little without getting off track from maintaining a healthy diet.

This past Friday we made our own candy apples. This is a quick and simple treat to create. Be inventive and have fun!

What you will need:

  • Sticks, yes sticks……have fun taking the kids outside and grabbing a few off the ground.
  • A bag of dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 6-8 apples (tip, go with a sweeter apple)
  • Toppings of your choice….some ideas include nuts, coconut, sprinkles, crumbled cookies or candies.
  • Parchment paper
  • double-boiler
Toppings we used: coconut, walnuts, pink sugar crystals, strawberry vegan marshmallows (melted)

Wash apples thoroughly and cut holes into the tops. Wedge sticks in…..sticks shouldn’t be to big that they don’t fit or too small so that they are unable to hold the apples on them. 
Melt chocolate chips in double-boilers.
Dip apples into the melted chocolate.
Cover in your favorite toppings.
Place apples on parchment paper and store in refrigerator for 45 minutes to an hour.
Enjoy!!

I enjoyed eating the apples right off the sticks. It was like eating the apple right off of a tree!

Cutting the apples into wedges, makes it easier to eat for the little ones!

Hmm…..I’m beginning to get some holiday gift ideas in mind……..

Just a note: as you can see, we used granny smith apples but after trying this, I recommend using a sweeter apple. While the tart blends well with the sweet, the high acidity of the apple combined with the toppings (i.e.-the walnuts) can unpleasant on your tongue.

Wrap and refrigerate.

 

Santa Fe Spaghetti Squash Casserole

I found this recipe on the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen website and couldn’t wait to make it. It looked amazing and tasted amazing too!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • cooking spray (I used olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup of diced onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1  14 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  4 ounce can of chopped green chilies
  • 2/3 cups of corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 packed cup of chopped spinach
  • 1-1/4 tsp of chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt

Crust
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tsp of  hot water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp of agave
Cut the squash in half, scoop out seeds, and place down on a baking pan with parchment paper. Cook at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until browning begins and squash has softened. Allow to cool and then use a fork to scrap the inside and create spaghetti.

Set the oven to 350 degrees. Spray pan and sautee onion, garlic, and peppers until tender. Add beans, chili, corn, spinach, chili powder and stir until heated throughout.

Remove from heat and add spaghetti squash, lime juice, and salt. Pour into an oiled casserole dish.

 

In a bowl, mix together crust ingredients. Pour on top of squash mix and sprinkle with chili powder. Cook for 25 minutes or until browning.

Now for what happened with my meal…..

I used milk instead of water for the crust. I misunderstood the recipe where it says 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp of hot water. I thought that the author of the recipe had left out an ingredient after the half cup and didn’t realize she was saying 1/2 cup of water AND 1 tbsp of water. So instead, I just used 1/2 cup almond milk.

I also misread the salt amount for the casserole mix and thought it said tablespoon, yikes! Since I thought that was a bit much, I put in less than that, but still more than a tsp. Needless to say, I found the dish to be a bit salty. Ironically, the feed back given on the website where I found the recipe was mostly in regards to lack of taste.

Instead of 2 tbsp of lime juice, I used about a quarter of a lime.

All in all, it turned out well…..it was a little too salty for me, but I know better for next time. We added some salsa on top to really give it that Santa Fe feel…..

 

I think this recipe would make for great lettuce wraps minus the crust. I’ll give it a go one day and post about it.

Until then, give this dish a go……Happy Casserole-ing!

48-Hour Smoothie Cleanse

For the past few weeks I have been in a slump. I’ve been struggling with personal issues and have a running injury on top of it. Unfortunately, I let these situations affect my health and haven’t been taking care of myself as I should be.

My workouts have felt weak and my eating habits started heading in the wrong direction. Most recently, I have felt the major physical repercussions of my actions in the form of weight gain and joint pain.

The pain increased so much in the past few days that I felt a detox necessary to remedy my problems.

I woke up early morning and made the decision to go on a liquid detox.

Here is a run down of what I consumed throughout the day:

Mixed Berry Smoothie

This is a smoothie I make on almost a daily basis. I go to the gym in the early a.m, get in a good workout, and when I come home this is my breakfast. Prior to my workout, I drink a hydration mix. Currently, I use Ultima. It is so important to make sure you are well hydrated before and during your workouts, so try to incorporate that into your routine.

Ingredients:

About a half bag of organic frozen mixed berries

roughly one cup of water (depends on consistency preference)

2-3 bananas, more makes more servings

a few ice cubes

protein powder of your choice (I used Vega Berry flavor-2 scoops)

Blend all ingredients together, adding the protein powder in once smooth.

Raw Green Smoothie

3-4 leaves of Kale

1 banana

1 cup strawberries (I used frozen)

2 cups of water

1 tablespoon of flax seeds

1 tablespoon hemp seeds (I didn’t have any, so my recipe is without)

Blend ingredients together and enjoy.

Recipe is from Squidoo.com

 Chocolate-Banana Smoothie

2 bananas peeled

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1 cup of dairy-free milk (I used almond)

1 serving of protein powder (optional-I use protein powder in my smoothies after a workout and since I already had one earlier, I didn’t add the protein to this one).

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

Blend on high until creamy

Earlier this morning, I rode the stationary bike at the gym for an hour and it wasn’t easy. My legs were achy and I had to drop my level down one from my normal speed.

In the evening I returned to the gym for a second time. This was my second day in a row going to the gym twice each day, so I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to hold up. I ride the bike for an hour every time I hit the gym. It’s the only way I feel like I am making up for my loss in cardio training during my down time from running.

This evening it seemed effortless and I was biking at my normal level. Half way through the ride, I increased my level, then again at 45 minutes, and again at 55 minutes. I felt great! Full of energy and full of joy-the kind of joy I feel when I run. I haven’t had this feeling since the my last run about 5 weeks ago. I was thrilled, and I know that my detox made all the difference.

Foods play such an important role in how we feel, emotionally and physically.

 Vega Chocolate Protein Shake

Post workout

I purchased this mix in individual servings so that I can throw into my gym bag. If I have somewhere to be after a workout, I take this with me along with my vega sports shaker. All you have to do is pour the mix into your shaker post work out, shake it up, and devour it’s yummy-ness!

 In between my liquid meals, I drank herbal teas as a way to keep my tummy happy along with my taste buds. I drank 2-3 cups through-out the day.

The day went so well, I woke up the next more and decided to persevere. My 24-hour liquid detox was about to turn into a 48-hour cleanse. I wondered if I could do it. The longest liquid detox I have done has been for 24-hours.

Day 2 

Mixed Berry Smoothie

(see above)

Banana-Cocoa Smoothie

3 frozen bananas

(note:slice bananas ahead of time and freeze)

1 tablespoon cocoa

1 tablespoon almond butter (or nut butter of your choosing)

1 cup of dairy-free milk (I use almond)

2 dates (this adds just the hint of sweetness you’ll love)

Blend until smooth

Apple Pie Smoothie

1 cup cold filtered water

1/2 apple peeled

1/2 frozen banana

a chunk of medium-firm tofu (less than 1/4 block)

a handful of leafy greens

cinnamon-a few shakes will do

1/2 tablespoon of honey or agave

a squeeze of lemon

a sprinkle of nutmeg

a pinch of ground cloves

Blend all ingredients

recipe found on livingintherealworld.net

Back to the gym and another post workout chocolate protein shake by Vega.

I have been making an effort to partake in a smoothie/juice detox for one day each week. It’s a great way to clean out my system and shed a few pounds at the same time. My weight 48 hours ago was 139 and at the end of my cleanse I dropped down to 135.

If you asked me a year ago what my goal weight was, I would have said 135! And while I am happy to have now reached that goal, I have since aimed towards a new one. I am now shooting for 130, and perhaps even 128! Right now, the goal is 130……one step at a time is the best way to get to where you are going!

My ultimate goal is to have a body that is toned and fat-free. I want to be able to look in the mirror and like what I see. Perhaps then, the weight itself won’t really make much of a difference.

If you haven’t tried a juice cleanse before, give it a go. And remember, I’m not a doctor, so you should check with yours first!

Happy Cleansing!

Please feel free to post any of your own recipes in the comment section!

Chocolate #9 Review

If you’re a runner than you’ve already heard of energy gels. If you have no idea what I am talking about, let me fill you in. Energy gels are created as a way to give long distance runners the fuel they need to keep going. Our body burns energy through a combination of protein, carbs, and fats. Gels are just complex carbs. Normally, food would provide the much needed energy, but when the going gets rough who wants to attempt chewing up an energy bar while running?

Gels are a smooth way to absorb the energy without the crunch factor.  They are easier to digest than solids, and are able to provide more needed calories per ounce than the average sports drink.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “A gel? that doesn’t sound to appetizing”. Even though they are titles “gels”, their consistency is more like pudding. Sounding better to you?

If you’re vegan, these gels are hard to find in a cruelty-free version-until now. I recently discovered Chocolate #9, and I’ve gotta say, “OH-MY-YUM!” Now, I haven’t tried any other gels before, simply due to their ingredients. However, Chocolate #9 is not only vegan, but natural too. Made with Organic Agave and breakfast cocoa processed with alkali. Yay for organic!

Here are some key points that make Chocolate #9 unique:

  • Only 70 calories! That’s right, it’s significantly less than the average energy gel which ranges from 100-110 calories.
  • It’s vegan!
  • it has a certified low-glycemic-index. What does this mean? Diabetics can use it too!
  • Low fat
  • made with 100% agave, no refined sugar here!
  • it tastes amazing, like chocolate syrup, YUM!!!
  • it’s gluten-free, yes you read that right, GLUTEN-FREE!
  • contains NO artificial ingredients such as food colorings or preservatives.
  • it’s chocolate, need I say more? Oh yes I do, it’s Belgian style dark chocolate.\
  • use for multi-sports
These bad boys are well priced too. Check out the order page of the Chocolate #9 website. Also available at R.E.I.
Now for the fun part…..I am having a contest for a free sample of Chocolate #9 Energy Gel. Here’s how it works: Do three of the following and then leave a comment below with which three you have chosen. Bonus: If you participate in more than three, please add a separate comment for additional contest entries.
  1. Like the vegwritingmomma new facebook page.
  2. Follow vegwritingmomma on twitter.
  3. Tweet this article.
  4. Subscribe to the vegwritingmomma blog.
  5. Post this article to your facebook wall and share.
  6. Send me a link to a tweet or comment regarding this article.
It is recommended to use a get 15 minutes prior to a run and then 30-45 minutes into your run time.
Happy Gel-ing!
(It should be noted that no payments we given in exchange for this review. Samples were provided by Cocolate9)

Juice/Smoothie 24 Cleanse

Recently I completed a 24-hour juice cleanse. Lately I’ve had some pain in the ball of my left foot, so much so that I don’t bear my weight on it when I walk. I’ve also been experiencing some pain and inflammation in my other joints. I know that my health issues are diet related and although switching to a vegan lifestyle has helped drastically, I still haven’t pin pointed the actual cause of my symptoms.

I was due to run a half marathon this weekend, but my doctor suggested that I have an x-ray of my foot. She worries I could have a stress fracture which would cause me to be out of running for 6 weeks! While the thought of not running for that long concerns me, I almost rather the pain be a running related injury as opposed to arthritis related.

With all the pain I have been enduring recently, I decided it was time for a cleanse and a juice detox is a great one for ridding the body of toxins.

Here is the menu of my 24 hour detox:

Breakfast

Mixed Berry Smoothie

  • 2 bananas
  • roughly 3/4 cups of frozen mixed berries
  • about 1/2 cup of water (this is based on your preference of consistency)
  • 6 ice cubes
  • protein powder of your choosing, I use Vega

combine ingredients in a blender.This is a recipe I use post work out. It’s a great way to get in some protein to help build muscles.

Snack

                             Carrot Cake Snack-A-Roo (from the Cool Smoothies Book)

  • 1 cup orange juice- I made my own with a juicer to cut out the sugar content
  • 1 6 ounce vanilla yogurt-I used whole soy
  • 3/4 cup baby carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconut-I used unsweetened while the recipe calls for sweetened.
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey, I used 1 tablespoon of agave
  • recipe calls for 1 whole graham cracker, I didn’t have any but I am sure it would make this recipe even better!
  • optional-1/4 cup slivered almonds for garnish
Blend ingredients together and add 1/2 cup of ice and blend.

Lunch

Chocolate Super Food (recipe from Baltimore Health Coach)

  • 1 heaping teaspoon of cocoa powder or cocoa nibs or both! I use cocoa powder
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 cup almond milk or water- I used soy milk by accident, I meant to grab the almond. I choose milk over water because I wanted something heavy enough to keep me full.
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 teaspoon flax seeds
optional superfoods
  • 1 tablespoon of goji berries
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina
  • 1/2 teaspoon maca root
  • 1/2 teaspoon bee pollen for those that are not vegan. Flower pollen may be used as a substitute.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Blend ingredients together.
I was curious about the outcome of this recipe as I have tried similar recipes before and wasn’t too impressed with them. I must say, this was delicious. A healthy and tasty smoothie. I had to throw a few ice cubes in my drink to chill it so I recommend adding 4 or 5 cubes to your blender.

Snack
A mix of tea from Teavana I just love their tea, it’s so flavorful and offers a ton of health benefits. The two teas I mixed together were Blueberry Bliss, a rooibos tea and Pineapple Kona Pop, an herbal tea.

Dinner
Spiced Apple and Butternut Squash Juice (from the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Juicing)
Ingredients
  • 4 apples
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 apple wedges for garnish
Clean apples and cut into sixths. Peel squash and cut into 2-inch cubes. Scrub carrot, cut off top and cut into 2-inch lengths.
Push apples, squash, and carrots through the juicer. Mix the juice and divide into two classes. Add 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and cinnamon to each class. Serve immediately and garnish with apples if so desired.
By the end of the day, the pain I have been experiencing in my foot for the past few weeks was nearly gone. The next day I ate some food with gluten in it and my pain returned. 
I am beginning to believe I have an gluten intolerance and will begin to eliminate it from my diet.
My experience through this 24-hour detox is proof that foods heal!
Try it out and Happy Juicing!

A few simple recipes


I’ve been eating salads for lunch a lot lately and have come up with a combination that I just love.

You will need greens of your choice. In these photos I used baby spinach, but I also like the baby spinach/spring green mix as well. I put a few handfuls into my bowl.

Add guacamole. You can make your own but I prefer Wholly Guacamole. They have 100 calorie snack packs available which provides the perfect portion. I use this in lieu of salad dressing which can add hidden calories and fat that people are often unaware of.

I also use about a tablespoon of sun-dried tomato pesto.

Add veggies of your choosing. I often use baby carrots and a pepper, lately I’ve enjoyed purple peppers. If you haven’t had them before, check them out!

I always add this firm tofu which comes in many flavors and has already been pressed. Sliced in cubes, it makes a perfect addition to any salad. My preferred flavor is the Smoked, but they were out last time so I bought the Italian.  I top off my salad with Sunflower seeds. Other options include pumpkin seeds or almonds. These seeds provide vitamin E, anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits.

I also like to add some raisins to add a little sweetness. Not too many though, raisins are high in sugar!

Lastly, I add a Salad Booster by Living Intentions. The flavor I use is called Vegan Cheesy. It is raw, sprouted, gluten-free, and considered a super food. It contains spirulina, chlorella, & sea veggies, among other healthy ingredients. If you haven’t heard of spirulina or chlorella, check out their health benefits here.

You can also use many of these ingredients to make a yummy sandwich!

Next up is something new I’ve been working with, spaghetti squash. With the fall season upon us, now is a great time to experiment with the season vegetables. I am working on incorporating more raw foods into my diet (although this recipe isn’t raw).

I want to go healthier than I have been. I started substituting spaghetti squash for pasta and have two very simple recipes here for you to try.

The squash can be cooked two ways. The first is as a whole. Poke some holes into the squash with a fork and put it in the oven on a baking pan. It will take much longer to cook this way but is a bit easier than the other option. That is to cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds out. If you haven’t done this before, then you will soon learn that it takes a bit of  muscle to cut through that bad boy. Make sure to scoop the seeds out, otherwise it could take longer to cook.

Brush a little olive oil on the insides of both halves an place upside down on the baking sheet. Cook at 375 for 30 minutes. It if finished when the skin is soft enough to push a fork through.

Let it cool and then start scraping the insides with a fork. This will create a spaghetti effect.

For an easy recipe, add it to a bowl with tomato sauce. This takes just a bit longer to make than the average spaghetti dish, but is much healthier.

My son loves it! A great way to incorporate veggies for the little ones!

You can add some vegan sausage or vegan “chicken” as well.

                                        Here I have added the vegan chicken

         In this dish I added some soy butter, crushed red peppers, and old bay.

Try out these simple recipes and get creative. Add a few ingredients of your own. Feel free to leave ideas in the comment section below!

Happy Eating!

 

 

10K training accomplished, moving on……

Once again, I have let far too much time go by since my last entry. It’s been weeks since I have completed my 10K training and I decided to skip running the 10K race and jump right into 1/2 marathon training. I did run the distance of a 10K, which is 6.2 miles and then started my 1/2 marathon training-13.1 miles. I picked up on week 6 of training which is the week that follows a 6 mile run.

When it was time to run a 10K in my half marathon training (at the end of week 9), I decided to run a 5K instead. The date- September 11th, 2011-the ten year anniversary of 9/11. I thought running this race would be a great way to honor this day and all of the people affected by 9/11.

The race started in front of Baltimore Police headquarters, wrapped around the Baltimore Inner Harbor, past Federal Hill, throughout the streets of Baltimore, and ended on the top of Federal Hill-which is–a hill. There were a few hills on this course and I expected there to be. I tried to slow my pace a bit in an effort to reserve energy for the big climb I knew was to come at the end of my run. Since I have been training for a half marathon, I have slowed my pace to about 11:30 minute miles in order to run comfortably and complete the longer distances. It is recommened to slow your pace by about a minute when running longer distances.

I was running well, much better than my last race and had hope to break a new PR(personal record) this time. My best run time has been 30:13, if I could just shave off 14 seconds. I so badly wanted to get in under 3o minutes and have done so on the treadmill already. I was hopping this would be the race to set my new record. I didn’t push as hard as I could have, I wanted to finish the race comfortably-after all, I have run twice as far as this during my half marathon training.

It was an inspiring race that started with the national anthem, and a tribute to the men and women that serve our country, not only in the military, but the police and fire departments as well. It was an honor to run alongside the individuals that have commited to protecting the citizens of the United States. It was truely a site to see as I ran by two firefighters in full gear, head to toe. They were running in over 80 degree weather and carrying a flag too! Talk about motivation! If anyone had any self doubt during this race, all they needed to do was take a look at the firemen running and the moment of doubt would quickly pass.

I finished at 31:21, much to my disappointment. This was my worst time yet. I have since learned that because I am training for my half, that it is natural for my running to slow down a bit. That gives me a little relief. Oh well, I ran for a good cause and enjoyed it. About ten minutes after I finished, I saw the three firemen in full gear coming across the finish line together with their flags. The crowd cheered and clapped for them as they made it up the last hill, it was an emotional moment to take part in.

All in all, I really enjoyed this race and will partake in this event again next year. They even give you a free beer after you finish! How is that for a perk?

Now I am in the middle of week eleven in my half marathon training. A few days ago I ran 9 miles on a trail called the NCR trail. This is a 41 mile trail running from Maryland to Pennsylvania. For those that are local (and even if you aren’t) check it out! I absolutely loved the trail and my run. I ran nine miles non stop in beautiful weather! It was so nice, I barely broke a sweat. I felt so accomplished after this run that within the past few days I have made the decision to start marathon training once I run my half! I’m so excited, I can’t believe I didn’t start running ten years ago.

Currently I am searching through races to find my next challenge. More updates to follow.

Until next time, happy running!

Amazing foods in South Florida

I had been long overdue for a vacation and although I previously lived in Florida for a duration of about three years, I never managed to make it to the Southern parts of the sunshine state.

My mom and I have birthdays just six days apart, and this year instead of exchanging gifts, we decided to take a trip. Since it was my 30th, we wanted to do something special, and with all of the great deals you can find online these days, we managed to find a trip to Miami for a great price! If you aren’t a member of Living Social, what are you waiting for? Join their mailing list and receive great deals via email!

We stayed at Sunny Isle Beach, just minutes away from Miami beach and South Beach. Our trip was amazing and we found plenty of vegan food to enjoy.

The first restaurant we visited was Sublime. I found this place when voting for VegNews Magazines Veggie Awards. I was voting a week before my trip and under the “best vegan restaurants” I saw Sublime in the Miami area and knew I had to check it out!

This place was amazing! A beautiful restaurant, with great food and a wonderful atmosphere. Just past the entrance is a serene waterfall flowing from large windows of the restaurant. The theme of “green” is noticeable throughout the place, and the feeling of clean fresh food comes to mind instantly.

We loved Sublime!

My mother was just as excited as I was to see such an elaborate menu of vegan options. We started a meal with an appetizer called “Frito Misto”, fresh cauliflower in a crispy coating covered with a sweet chili sauce and sesame seeds.

Frito Misto

Next up was our entrees. I orderd a mushroom stuffed ravioli which really was just divine, and mom ordered the “Dynamite Sushi”. Mom has never been a fan of sushi, so this was a big step for her. The entree was made with veganaise (vegan mayo), zucchini, capers, cream cheese, red onion, and cucumber.

Mushroom Stuffed Ravioli made with in-house made pasta, cashew cream, slow roasted tomato sauce and basil
Dynamite Roll

I have a sweet tooth like nobody’s business, so of course I couldn’t resist dessert. In fact, I have a habit of trying the dessert from every new vegan restaurant I encounter. Since mom doesn’t like chocolate, we decided to go with something neutral that we could share (I still have to watch my girlish figure!). We decided on the coconut cake. A white cake with coconut cream and almond tuile, loved this!!

Coconut Cake
almond tuile

Sublime offers a cookbook with many of the recipes listed on their menu plus some seasonal recipes. 100% profit benefits animal welfare!

The next restaurant on our list was during a visit to Key West. We stopped by Bagatelle, not a vegan place, but they had some great options on their menu.

We both ordered salads this time, but they weren’t just any salads. I ordered the Heart of Palm-mixed greens, avocado fan, cucmbers, costa rican heart of palm, plum tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Heart of Palm Salad

Mom ordered the Tropical Fruit Salad, watercress, mango, papaya,  pineapple, and a passion fruit vinaigrette. Origionally this salad comes with goat cheese, so she just ordered it without.

Tropical Fruit Salad

The salads were great and this was a cozy place tucked into what appeared to be a renovated older home. A must see for veg-friendly folks AND their carnivore friends!

After our lunch at Bagatelle, we took a tour on a glass bottom boat and upon our return, we found our tummys rumbling. We traveled the streets of Key West in hopes of finding some great vegan food and we found just what we were looking for, Amigos! A mexican restaurant with a great latin vibe and a much healthier way to fulfill your taco cravings than taco bell!

AMIGOS

We both ordered vegan tacos, which had an amazing mix of veggies. We also shared a basket of chips and guacamole. I noticed this sign on the wall and was more than happy to have seen it….

Inside my vegan taco

The next day we ventured onto a hop-on-top bus tour. I’ve always wanted to jump on one of these buses and I am so happy to have had the chance to.

Hop on Top

We were able to tour Miami beach, South Beach, downtown Miami, Little Havana, and Coral Gables (my favorite). During the tour, visitors are able to hop off at any of the stops in each area offering plenty of options for food!

We stepped off the bus at Coral Gables and it was well worth the stop. A beautiful town, adorned with unique trees providing more twist and turns than a roller coaster.

The beauty of this town is what motivated us to get off the bus and we were so glad we did, we were in for a treat! In search of a place for some vegan eats, we popped into a few places before finding Seasons 52, an exquisite restaurant along Coral Gable’s “Miracle Mile“. We stopped in to take a peek at their menu and found out their bartender is vegan so we decided to have a chat with him. He recommended a local place with great food, so we said we would have a drink at Season’s 52 and then go check out the food at the cafe he suggested. After about fifteen minutes of banter with Dan (the bartender) and a very well made drink, we made the decision to order our food there. After all, we only had two hours before the next bus arrived. Bus schedule aside, we just loved talking to Dan and could have stayed there all day chatting with him.

A piano behind the bar! Dan said he bumps into it all the time on busy nights, can you imagine having to manuever around this thing?

The restaurant had a vegan menu, which I always love to see, check it out!

I ordered the Farmer’s Market Vegetable Plate made with seasonal vegetables, grilled ponzu-glazed tofu, and cranberry-almond tabbouleh.

Farmer's Market Vegetable Plate

This meal was my favorite of the trip. It was fresh, light, and made me feel vigorous.

Mom ordered the Ponzu-glazed tofu with a side of roasted baby carrots and penne pasta.

 Doesn’t it look amazing? A carnivore could mistake this for fish by the looks of it.

We even had room for dessert, and what else would you expect after such a fresh meal?

Oh yes, the perfect end to a perfect meal!

We finished just in time to catch the next bus and headed back to South Beach where we made a pit stop for pina coladas. Just a tip…..south beach pina coladas-not so good. I’m not even sure of the name of the place we stopped at. We had a half hour before the bus left and thought we could drink one of these bad boys in that time, but it didn’t happen. An hour later and we finally realized we could get out drinks to go! So we grabbed them and ran to our bus just as it was taking off. Luckily got them to stop and let us on AND it was the last running bus that day!

Pina colada to go next to water glass

Our next stop was on Miami Beach’s Lincoln Ave. Our waitress at Sublime recommended that we stop by Books and Books, a book store that had a vegan menu. We made this a must on our list of places to go. The cafe was really nice and the book store was just my style (I’m a book store junkie). We placed our entree orders and not long after did the waitress come out with an appetizer. Wait, we didn’t order this. It was a blackbean hummus with bagel crackers. When we asked about it the waitress informed us that it came on the house. I liked this place already.

Blackbean hummus with bagel crackers

I ordered the Grilled Tofu Fajita wrap made with carmelized onions, roasted red peppers and avocado salsa in a whole wheat wrap served with roasted corn salad and sweet mustard.

Mom ordered the Tropical Arroz con Frijoles-a blend of long-grain brown and wild rice cooked with coconut, served with Cuban black bean soup and topped off with fresh avocado.

Later that evening we stopped by Nexxt, also located on Lincoln Ave. We ordered chips and guacamole and mixed drinks. The guac was really bland and I made a salad using the lettuce and salsa that came with it. The drinks were terrible and since the seating was outside, people were able to smoke. Everyone around us was smoking and I was literally eating the smoke as I ate my food. It was awful, do NOT go to Nexxt!

Our last day of vacation we made sure to make time to stop by another recommendation from our waitress at Sublime. Green Wave Cafe located in Plantation, Fl is an all vegan, all raw cafe. This time we went straight for the desserts since they were highly recommended!

Brownies with vanilla ice cream
Cheesecake made from cashews with strawberry sauce

We also purchased two large batches of their raw onion bread which they will ship if you are interested. Check out Green Waves menu.

They also offer classes, contact them for more info.

I enjoyed so many wonderful foods on my trip and highly recommend a visit to some of these places.

If you know of any other restaurants in the area please comment and if you are going to the Miami area check some of these places out. Feel free to ask me any questions!

New Ravens running back went from dread head to veg head

I’m from Baltimore, I’m a Ravens fan. Please keep negative comments to yourself. With that said, woohoo!! Vegan running back Ricky Williams has just signed a two-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

Known for his dreadlocks, Williams started in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints later joining the Miami Dolphins. Forced into early retirement for failing a drug test, Williams  later stepped back onto the field and has scored 72 touchdowns.

Recently presented with the opportunity to join the Detroit Lions, Williams took up the offer to join the Baltimore Ravens. Having yet had a chance to make it to a Super Bowl, Williams states,

 “The opportunity in Detroit opened up, and it would have been a chance for me to  play a lot and be able to contribute a lot, but Baltimore is  an established organization with a lot of vets, and … I thought I would fit in  well in this situation and be able to enjoy myself and possibly win a Super  Bowl.”

Read more: Sports Illustrated

Williams says he has moved past his rebellious days and has presented a more conservative look having shaved off his dreads.

I have a feeling the veggies fueling number 38 will make him a fast player. Let’s go Ravens and like Williams said, get to the Super Bowl!

photo credit-Sports Illustrated

My favorite new smoothie

If you haven’t been to Border’s lately, then head on over. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that they are going out of business. Right now their sale ranges from 25-50% off. Most books are 25% off, blue rays are 50%! The already on sale section at the front of the store is an additionally 25% off! I was lucky enough to find one of these deeply discounted books laying randomly on a shelf in another section. It’s called “Cool Smoothies” and it was on sale for $3.99 + 25% off= $2.99, woohoo!!

I already tried out one of the smoothie recipes titled Peanut Butter-Banana Dana and it is very delicious. I don’t have a photo, but here is the recipe:

1 cup low-fat or soy milk, I used Almond

2 bananas, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup of peanut butter, I winged it here and probably used more than the recipe called for, but YUM!

Add 1/2 to 1 cup of ice cubes and blend until smooth.

A bonus? Each page of this book offers little tidbits of knowledge. Here is the info for this recipe…..

“Americans eat more than 700 million pounds of peanut butter per year. It takes about 850 peanuts to make an 18-ounce jar of peanut butter.”

Cool Smoothies

I also made a watermelon frosty today. Check it out……

I got this recipe from the Healthy Happy Life blog, she has tons of great recipes on there!

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups frozen watermelon cubes
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 large lemon, squeezed , or use 2 limes-I used lemon juice
1 banana

Blend and serve with watermelon slices as a garnish. You can spice it up by adding two shots of tequila, or vodka.

Week 6 wrap up

Week six of my eight week 10K training finished with a bang. I had to run 5 miles and was pretty nervous about it. Earlier this week I ran two miles with much trouble. After running 4.5 miles successfully last week, I figured “2 miles? Piece of cake”. Well that wasn’t so. I struggled to get through it, but did it anyway. A few days later, I completed a three-mile run and again faced some challenges. What on earth was going on? Because of the trouble I had with my short runs, when my long run came up I didn’t know what to expect.

I decided to change things up a bit to make sure a successful run with minimal struggle. Instead of running the majority of my distance at a 5.8 as I usually would, I ran at a 5.6. I decided to take my speed down a bit and keep a comfortable pace. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Normally I watch my distance throughout the run, but this time I decided to keep my eye on the clock. Last week I ran 4.5 miles in 44 minutes so I figured it would take me about 50 minutes to run 5 miles. I covered the screen of the treadmill with  my towel and keep my eye on the clock on the wall. I had a plan to look at the clock every five minutes and give myself a boost with a count down.

It was exactly 3:00 when I started. At 3:05, I looked at the clock and said to myself “just 45 minutes to go”. Five minutes later, I looked at the clock again, and again five minutes later. This seemed to workout great for me. It took my mind off of my distance, which I never worried about. Usually, I would think “One mile down, three to go”. When I am thinking about how far I still have to go, it seems like it can take forever. When I think of how far I’ve come (i.e.-20minutes down, just a half hour left), time seem to fly by. I maintained a steady pace and didn’t get winded one bit!

I told myself that at my half way point, I would take a drink and stop for 10 seconds to do so. Once I reached 2.5 miles, I didn’t feel the need to stop or drink, it was going so well! I just kept running and felt amazing. I reached just past 4 miles and raised my speed to 6.0, ounces I reached 4.5 miles, I increased my speed again to 7.5. I finally started to get winded, but that was okay, I was almost done!

I am amazed that I finished a 5 mile run (52 minutes total) and did so without stopping, getting winded, or encountering any pain. I have just two weeks left in my 10K training! I am actually going to run a 10K!!

The idea of running a half marathon is no longer so far-fetched to me. After all, a 10K is just half of a half marathon!

If you are having trouble with your runs, keep track of what you are eating. Find what time of day works best for your runs, and try to switch things up a bit. When you are running longer distances (especially for the first time), don’t worry about time, just pace yourself and finish! Even if you have to walk, FINISH!!!!

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